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Old 03-11-2007, 01:42 PM
Eliseus
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Apostolic "theology of music"?

I notice that there is a decided lack of a modern apostolic theology of music among our people. By "apostolic theology of music" I mean a framework of the apostles' teaching concerning music, a Biblical philosophy of music if you will.

At the present, we seem to have the following guidelines in place:

1. Music is preferred according to its effect on people - if lots of people really like a piece of music, and demonstrate strong emotional response to it, then it is classified as "anointed" and is recommended for the church to use in corporate worship.

2. GOTO line 1.

Well, that seems to about sum up the modern Pentecostal approach to music, generally speaking, as far as I can tell.

Surely this is somewhat lacking?

Surely we can use, indeed surely we NEED, a truly Biblical framework within which to make decisions regarding the music of the church?

The "worship wars" are raging, even amongst Oneness Pentecostals. Different styles of music are agitated for and against, but the ultimate foundation upon which all these opinions seems to be based is personal preference. And like it or not, generally the music director's personal preference, or the pastor's personal preference, is the guideline in determing the local church's hymnody.

Which by the way, has resulted in many churches abandoning hymnody altogether, in favour of the use of "praise choruses" and "worship" ditties.

Underlying all this confusion is the one common denominator, an approach to music in worship that is essentially self centered, and thus satanic. This approach is based upon an often unspoken assumption that "whatever God does not expressly forbid, He allows and even enjoys." We have taken the approach that God has no clear preference, except that whatever pleases us the most, we assume pleases God.

This self centered approach to music has led, in my opinion, to a magickal and superstitious viewpoint: music is spoken of and treated as if it has the power in itself to "conjure God".

Paganism has always had the idea that the gods could be conjured by the use of certain forms of music - usually repetitive rhythm-based music, in many cases. If the music induced psychological change in the listeners, it was assumed that it induced some kind of change in the gods as well. In fact, the change induced in the listener was often attributed to the gods' responding favourably to the music used to invoke them.

That music induces changes in man is well known and beyond controversy. Witness the use of music for battle, marching, and religious and meditative practices the world over.

But does God get "caught up" in the music, so much that He is obliged to respond to it by some manifestation of his presence and power?

Using music to "usher in the presence of God" is a belief and practice that originated in the idea that there must be the proper "Atmosphere" for God to "move" in. By "setting the atmosphere", God is expected to demonstrate His power.

But is this Biblical?

Witness the importance which is attached to music in both Pentecostal and charismatic circles. Without the "good music", the presence of God seems rather flat. It is almost as if many believe that God cannot, or will not, manifest Himself without "anointed music". Almost as if we must seduce God into acting by playing the pied piper for Him...?

Decisions are made every week regarding what songs will be sung in the local church. These decisions are made by the pastor, or else the music director (by whatever title he or she may be called), and perhaps a "special song" is decided upon by one of the regular "special singers".

The music decided upon is usually those songs which are believed to be "Anointed", and which it is hoped or expected will "usher in the presence of God". And the criteria for such is usually the perceived and expected emotional response to the music, based either upon past history of seeing crowds react a certain way to certain songs, or else upon the personal preferences of the person choosing the music.

It is telling that the intellectual response to various songs is decidedly not in the picture in many cases. Songs are not chosen because of the MESSAGE they bring or because of the effect upon the morals or beliefs of the ones hearing the music, but instead upon the temporary emotional response of the listeners. The lyrics are often chosen and written with a view to their emotional effect, rather than any intellectual and moral effect.

In short, because a song "moves us to feel strongly a certain way", we assume that the Spirit of God has been (magickally?) invoked into our midst. Songs are chosen for the emotional effect they produce, rather than for the intellectual and moral content they have (or don't have). The intellectual content is secondary to the "Feel" of the music...

This is proven by the fact that there are literally hundreds of hymns which have stupendous intellectual content, but which are shoved aside because they don't get the crowd excited enough like a three line chorus of often shallow content repeated so much that it takes on an hypnotic quality... The emotional response then is often the sole criteria for judging whether God "showed up" at the meeting or not.

Surely we can do better than this? What we need is a careful study of the Biblical data regarding music used in worship, identifying what God reveals about what pleases Him and what He wants, the purpose(s) of music in worship, and so forth. And it should be done with an eye to EVERYTHING. No subject can be left aside as unworthy of consideration, such as "is there an actual style of music God prefers us to use?" Whatever the answer to such a question, it must be arrived at by careful consideration of the evidence, and not merely by taking OUR preferences and baptising with the aura of biblicity, by simply making unfounded and unsupported assumptions and conclusions, such as "Well, God did not say in the Bible thou shalt use Southern Gospel so therefore any style whatsoever is available" or the old satanic fallback which supposes God has "no opinion" on important matters which concern the church.

And this subject IS important, because number one God is not arbitrary or capricious, and if he takes the time to maintain a current count of the number of hairs on our heads then He undoubtedly is interested in this subject which is much more important than how many hairs we have; and number two because the "worship wars" have actually led to church splits, bitterness, offenses, and various other evils... all as a result of the total lack of sound Biblical teaching and a unified approach to the subject at hand.

So then, what do we need in order to have a truly Biblical theology of music? What are the areas of inquiry we should begin with, and what is the method we should approach the subject with? And what are your thoughts on this?
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  #2  
Old 03-11-2007, 02:37 PM
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Silliness .
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  #3  
Old 03-11-2007, 02:54 PM
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Some hymns are re-written secular songs and tavern songs of the day ... Wax nostalgic all you want ... today's worship music might be loopy sometimes but is very horizontal ... many songs are more horizontal than many hymns.
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Old 03-11-2007, 06:45 PM
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Further more .... may of the modern worship songs are based on the Psalms and other scriptures ... um ... how more biblical do you want? ... Eliseus
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  #5  
Old 03-11-2007, 06:47 PM
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"This is proven by the fact that there are literally hundreds of hymns which have stupendous intellectual content, but which are shoved aside because they don't get the crowd excited enough like a three line chorus of often shallow content repeated so much that it takes on an hypnotic quality... The emotional response then is often the sole criteria for judging whether God "showed up" at the meeting or not."


i think that is a true statemnet.
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  #6  
Old 03-11-2007, 06:48 PM
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Do you think the Apostles sang hymns or songs based on the Psalms????
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  #7  
Old 03-11-2007, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Alicea View Post
Do you think the Apostles sang hymns or songs based on the Psalms????

I don't know
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  #8  
Old 03-11-2007, 07:18 PM
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Ever since Michael made fun of David's worship there has always been controversy about music. Same argument, different century. I'm not certain whether your post geared towards the lyric content of songs or the style of songs. It seems like at times you've meshed the two together. If your intentions were to discuss lyircal content, here are a few If you study the Psalms, most of the psalms are as you call it self-centered a la' what God can do for me.

Like it or not, every song ever penned was or is designed to invoke emotion. Emotions which range from a "frenzied" worship a la' David's dance before the Ark, to a quiet meditative state such as David on the hill tending sheep.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eliseus View Post
I notice that there is a decided lack of a modern apostolic theology of music among our people. By "apostolic theology of music" I mean a framework of the apostles' teaching concerning music, a Biblical philosophy of music if you will.

At the present, we seem to have the following guidelines in place:

1. Music is preferred according to its effect on people - if lots of people really like a piece of music, and demonstrate strong emotional response to it, then it is classified as "anointed" and is recommended for the church to use in corporate worship.

2. GOTO line 1.

Well, that seems to about sum up the modern Pentecostal approach to music, generally speaking, as far as I can tell.

Surely this is somewhat lacking?

Surely we can use, indeed surely we NEED, a truly Biblical framework within which to make decisions regarding the music of the church?

The "worship wars" are raging, even amongst Oneness Pentecostals. Different styles of music are agitated for and against, but the ultimate foundation upon which all these opinions seems to be based is personal preference. And like it or not, generally the music director's personal preference, or the pastor's personal preference, is the guideline in determing the local church's hymnody.

Which by the way, has resulted in many churches abandoning hymnody altogether, in favour of the use of "praise choruses" and "worship" ditties.

Underlying all this confusion is the one common denominator, an approach to music in worship that is essentially self centered, and thus satanic. This approach is based upon an often unspoken assumption that "whatever God does not expressly forbid, He allows and even enjoys." We have taken the approach that God has no clear preference, except that whatever pleases us the most, we assume pleases God.

This self centered approach to music has led, in my opinion, to a magickal and superstitious viewpoint: music is spoken of and treated as if it has the power in itself to "conjure God".

Paganism has always had the idea that the gods could be conjured by the use of certain forms of music - usually repetitive rhythm-based music, in many cases. If the music induced psychological change in the listeners, it was assumed that it induced some kind of change in the gods as well. In fact, the change induced in the listener was often attributed to the gods' responding favourably to the music used to invoke them.

That music induces changes in man is well known and beyond controversy. Witness the use of music for battle, marching, and religious and meditative practices the world over.

But does God get "caught up" in the music, so much that He is obliged to respond to it by some manifestation of his presence and power?

Using music to "usher in the presence of God" is a belief and practice that originated in the idea that there must be the proper "Atmosphere" for God to "move" in. By "setting the atmosphere", God is expected to demonstrate His power.

But is this Biblical?

Witness the importance which is attached to music in both Pentecostal and charismatic circles. Without the "good music", the presence of God seems rather flat. It is almost as if many believe that God cannot, or will not, manifest Himself without "anointed music". Almost as if we must seduce God into acting by playing the pied piper for Him...?

Decisions are made every week regarding what songs will be sung in the local church. These decisions are made by the pastor, or else the music director (by whatever title he or she may be called), and perhaps a "special song" is decided upon by one of the regular "special singers".

The music decided upon is usually those songs which are believed to be "Anointed", and which it is hoped or expected will "usher in the presence of God". And the criteria for such is usually the perceived and expected emotional response to the music, based either upon past history of seeing crowds react a certain way to certain songs, or else upon the personal preferences of the person choosing the music.

It is telling that the intellectual response to various songs is decidedly not in the picture in many cases. Songs are not chosen because of the MESSAGE they bring or because of the effect upon the morals or beliefs of the ones hearing the music, but instead upon the temporary emotional response of the listeners. The lyrics are often chosen and written with a view to their emotional effect, rather than any intellectual and moral effect.

In short, because a song "moves us to feel strongly a certain way", we assume that the Spirit of God has been (magickally?) invoked into our midst. Songs are chosen for the emotional effect they produce, rather than for the intellectual and moral content they have (or don't have). The intellectual content is secondary to the "Feel" of the music...

This is proven by the fact that there are literally hundreds of hymns which have stupendous intellectual content, but which are shoved aside because they don't get the crowd excited enough like a three line chorus of often shallow content repeated so much that it takes on an hypnotic quality... The emotional response then is often the sole criteria for judging whether God "showed up" at the meeting or not.

Surely we can do better than this? What we need is a careful study of the Biblical data regarding music used in worship, identifying what God reveals about what pleases Him and what He wants, the purpose(s) of music in worship, and so forth. And it should be done with an eye to EVERYTHING. No subject can be left aside as unworthy of consideration, such as "is there an actual style of music God prefers us to use?" Whatever the answer to such a question, it must be arrived at by careful consideration of the evidence, and not merely by taking OUR preferences and baptising with the aura of biblicity, by simply making unfounded and unsupported assumptions and conclusions, such as "Well, God did not say in the Bible thou shalt use Southern Gospel so therefore any style whatsoever is available" or the old satanic fallback which supposes God has "no opinion" on important matters which concern the church.

And this subject IS important, because number one God is not arbitrary or capricious, and if he takes the time to maintain a current count of the number of hairs on our heads then He undoubtedly is interested in this subject which is much more important than how many hairs we have; and number two because the "worship wars" have actually led to church splits, bitterness, offenses, and various other evils... all as a result of the total lack of sound Biblical teaching and a unified approach to the subject at hand.

So then, what do we need in order to have a truly Biblical theology of music? What are the areas of inquiry we should begin with, and what is the method we should approach the subject with? And what are your thoughts on this?
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  #9  
Old 03-11-2007, 10:30 PM
Eliseus
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I see that all but one respondent has utterly missed my entire point.

Perhaps I should attempt to restate the focus here - "If we were to develop a Biblical theology or doctrine of church music, what would it (the doctrine) look like?"

Or in other words... What does the Bible teach us about....

Oh never mind. I don't know why I do this.

Forget about it. Those who stumble on this and read it, and understand what I am getting at, will undoubtedly pursue things on their own, whether I make threads here or not.

The rest will simply continue to be just another statistic in the great wasteland of "modern Pentecostalism".

Cheerio, mates.
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  #10  
Old 03-11-2007, 10:32 PM
SDG SDG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eliseus View Post
I see that all but one respondent has utterly missed my entire point.

Perhaps I should attempt to restate the focus here - "If we were to develop a Biblical theology or doctrine of church music, what would it (the doctrine) look like?"

Or in other words... What does the Bible teach us about....

Oh never mind. I don't know why I do this.

Forget about it. Those who stumble on this and read it, and understand what I am getting at, will undoubtedly pursue things on their own, whether I make threads here or not.

The rest will simply continue to be just another statistic in the great wasteland of "modern Pentecostalism".

Cheerio, mates.
You want to develop a doctrine for church music ... Eliseus ... just get on the trampoline and jump .....
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