Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Theological Musings On Music

"...Music in our day is dominated by the rapidly degenerating corruption of our society. It is riding the culture’s corruption down. For music that is beautiful, music that is magnificent, we have to go backwards in time. We have to get out of this culture to another time and another place. We even call that classical music. We have to go back sometimes decades, maybe centuries, to find music that endures because of its quality, its elevation, its dignity, its excellence.

...The music of the redeemed is different. We live in a different world. We are citizens of a different kingdom. The music of the redeemed is alien to the music of the world. The music of the redeemed is reflective of that which is most lofty, most elevated, most exalted, most noble: the truth of God – it never changes. So our music doesn’t ride the culture. Music doesn’t ride the culture among the redeemed, it simply reveals the truth, and the truth never changes.

...Music is not worship. Music is a means to express worship, but it is not worship. Worship is the heart going up toward God in gratitude and thanksgiving for all that God has done: that’s worship. Worship is acknowledging God to be who He is revealed to be in Scripture. It is acknowledging what God has done; and in particular, that He has saved us, redeemed us, given us eternal life; and it is expressing gratitude to God. There are many ways to do that; music is one of them. But music is not worship. Music is a means by which a worshiping person expresses his thanks.

Secondly, a misconception is that music motivates worship, music induces worship. That’s not true either.That is not true. It gives expression to love; it gives expression to adoration. But the motivation for that has to come from somewhere else, not from music. Music enhances and enriches. But the motive for all of our songs is not a sound, it’s a truth.

Another misconception is that when people have trouble worshiping, music will create worship, music will create the mood for worship. Worship is not a mood experience. That needs to be said loudly and clearly.You go to many “churches” and you’ll be in the dark, and there will be sensual kind of music that appeals to the flesh at one level or another; and there will be lights flashing in all kind of directions. That has nothing to do with worship; and, frankly, does the opposite of inducing worship. It simply induces a fickle feeling. It’s a false substitute for true worship.

...Another misconception is this, that non-Christians aren’t going to come to church unless we import their music. Music so dominates our culture. It is so ubiquitous that if we’re going to appeal to nonbelievers,we’ve got to change our music. We’ve got to do the kind of music that they like and somehow baptize it if we’re going to reach out evangelistically. That’s not true. Never, never in Scripture is music ever, ever stated to be used as an evangelistic technique in some direct sense.

So what is music? It is the gift of God, common grace to the world, to give them a means of expressing their emotion. That’s the broad part of music: their joys, their sorrows, their hopes, their aspirations, their disappointments. But for believers, it is a gift of God to allow believers to give expression of gratitude to God for who He is, what He’s done, and particularly for our salvation. The redeemed sing. Music reaches its highest level among Christians, its greatest usage among Christians. The music of the church is just that: it’s the song of the redeemed."


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