Monday, May 06, 2013

Music: Style and Message

Ask what style of music Christians prefers and you will get a variety of answers. A lot of this is determined by one’s upbringing. But personal taste in music should not be the determining factor in how we worship the Lord and minister to the saints. The Scriptures are full of principles which help us make those decisions. Does the music put a melody in your heart to the Lord and encourage other Christians (Eph. 5:19-20)? Good music is God’s gift to the Church for mutual encouragement and for worshiping the Lord. The combination of good words and good music is important because of the influence it has on our relationship to other Christians and to the Lord. But these are not the only biblical qualifications for acceptable music. We have to compare the message and style with what the rest of the Bible says. Does the music promote worldliness (1 John 2:15-17)? The lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life should have no place in the style or message of Christian music. That passage alone should keep Christians from using rock, jazz, swing, or other sensual music styles in our worship. Does the music control me (Eph. 5:16)? Christians are supposed to be controlled by the Spirit and not by wine or any other substance. But some of today’s popular worship styles do just that. They are designed to lead people into an emotional trance where they will do whatever they are told. I have often seen lyrics posted on Facebook that are very shallow but have somehow made a huge impact on that person. I presume that the music produced an emotional experience that made the words seem more powerful than they actually were. This brings up another question. Does the music have a clear, biblical message? Jesus promised that the Spirit would guide us into all truth (John 16:13) not into a transcendental state of mind. That type of music is often used in a charismatic, feeling-oriented worship service and should be avoided. Both the words and music style together should accurately portray Christian truth to the listeners. If it does not, it should be marked and avoided.

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