Skip to comments.Concerning the use of music in church services: what "styles" are Biblically permitted?
Posted on 12/28/2013 10:20:36 AM PST by Laissez-faire capitalist
As to "in church" I mean that not so much broadly as to the Church (body of Christ), but as to which styles are Biblically permitted in individual churches.
1.) At what point (scripturally) does a church worship team (for instance) go too far when plucking the bass guitar or electric guitar, or beat the drums too loudly? At what point is the "riff" (or beat) becoming too "wordly."
Define "wordly" music as opposed to non-wordly music if/when discussing this. I ask this of those who lean more towards the Michael W. Smith type worship services or to those who like the Southern Gospel type worship services.
2.) At what point does "Southern Gospel" music become a little too Southern and thus become too worldly/honkey-tonk/Country/Country Rock? I ask this of those say they like who like what they deem to be Godly "Southern Gospel."
3.) I still can't find any scripture that exegetically/hermeneutically says that a service must be marked by only Latin/Gregorian chanting. Surely these churches can imploy other "styles" of music, too, at least in the "main" service.
Make a joyful noise.
By “noise”, what do you mean? Beat on a trash can lid and bang rocks together?
And by “joyful” can there also be songs that are more somber in their “tone”?
PSALM 100: vs. 1 - 2
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.”
“Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.”
The reason I am posting this, is because there is a youth pastor on television near-constantly harping on what he believes to be God’s type or style of music and decrying those styles (that he apparently doesn’t agree with) as being worldly.
He likes the beat, or the just as I am repentant or what ?
The early Church forbid instrumental music entirely because of its’ pagan associations.
Psalm 150 calls on us to praise God with trumpets, stringed instruments, drums and cymbals.
It is the Spirit in which Music is made that marks it as Godly or otherwise.
Particular styles of music never bothered me. However, there are 2 current trends that make my spirit uncomfortable. One are the focus put on “praise groups” standing on stage and becoming the center. The other are the “Jesus is my boyfriend” types of choruses. Am I being overly sensitive?
I think the Bible predates all of those musical forms.
And Gospel music influenced other genres so “hearing” other music sound like it is “influencing” gospel is possible, but the style may have been present before whatever trend set in.
The Early Church sang songs based upon many of the Psalms in the OT. Why then would they ignore what Psalm 150 said to do?
Which New Testament (NT) Apostle backs up what you said?
And where in the NT did the Early Church finding its inspiration for Latin/Gregorian-style “music”?
All of that music should be permitted, but I prefer music that was written before 1900, including “Rock of Ages,” “What a Friend we Have in Jesus,” “Onward Christian Soldiers,” “How Great Thou Art,” and “Amazing Grace.”
I don’t care for the “Jesus is my Boyfriend” stuff either.
I prefer the old hymns to the new “rock mass” songs that came in somewhere after the 1960s cultural revolt.
Whatever makes you feel good and is the most fun is probably the best since that will attract a lot more young people to the service.
Was it The Simpsons or King of the Hill which had a failing Country singer (female) who decided to sing religious songs, merely changing the object of her affection from her boyfriend/husband, to God?
All members should be “fed” with music that they prefer during the year. Just as a flock of sheep will find individual sheep eating in different places in the pasture, getting their nourishment. One needs to feed the entire congregation with the types of music they enjoy. And all should be aware that there are others who have their own preferences. Thus all music that praises our Lord should be used.
I wish I could remember the exact wording of an elder who was leading the worship one Sunday when we did all hymns and had many different types and styles. I’ve tried to paraphrase it above. But just like people don’t eat the same food for every mean (eg bacon, eggs, potatoes, toast) 3 times a day 24/7/365, thus we should consider the same with the musi we play during church services.
***Make a joyful noise.***
Unfortunately much of today’s modern religious music sounds like dirges.
Give me THE CHUCKWAGON GANG type music.
I WANT TO BE READY is one of my favorites.
HYMN: I WANT TO BE READY TO MEET HIM
CHORUS:I want to be ready to meet Him by and by,
I want to be ready to meet him in the sky.
I want to be more like Him and do His best command,
For I want to be ready to meet Him in the gloryland.
Music is artistic and is thus subjected to interpretation to a high degree. If a certain type of music is tied into, and easily recognizable as, music that is sinful in other venues — then you’re going to have a lot of Christians reluctant to use that type of music, just from their own personal interpretation of the art form.
You’ll find a lot of the “traditional” hymns and music tied in with wording that exemplifies different Bible Doctrines. And that’s actually good as people will retain that.
Some more modern music that I’ve heard these days in “Contemporary services” - are more like repetitive chants designed to put people in a “trance state” and a “feel good” state, but does not actually praise God, as a worship service should.
Look, it’s a social thing, not biblical-unbiblical. Sometimes it’s unbiblical, but mostly a social thing. If you’re the big cheese, you decide what passes. Of course, no tyrant is a ruler without willing subjects.
Electronica and House music.
If you want to be sure, you'll have to consult the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.
In the church of Christ we don’t have instruments. I have been to churches that have what you are talking about.. seems like the focus is on those on the “stage” versus on worship, but that is totally my opinion..
I like this one
I prefer traditional hymns and gospel songs, accompanied by an organ, piano or orchestra. I have no use for "praise" music. As far as I'm concerned, guitars are for singing cowboys and drums are for parades. Unfortunately, the electric guitar has driven the organ and the choir out of many, and perhaps most churches.
If I were put in charge of editing the Methodist hymnal, I would throw out everything written after 1939 and replace all of those insipid and lifeless "modern" hymns with songs by great Methodist hymn writers such as Lelia Morris, Charles H. Gabriel and William Kirkpatrick who have been neglected in recent decades.
I SAW THE LIGHT by Hank Williams.
People think this is an old hymn. It is not. Hank and band were on their way to a gig, and couldn’t find the place. Then one of the members saw the light for the back stage door and yelled..”There it is!”
“How do you know?” said another.
“I SAW THE LIGHT!” he said. Hank liked it, took those words and wrote the song.
That is what I heard on a radio program out of KVOO Tulsa years ago when I was traveling in Oklahoma.
The first is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. The second is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Of a truth, Teacher, thou hast well said that he is one; and there is none other but he: and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is much more than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.
If you enjoy singing with others in the congregation, then please do so.
Music in church that makes the congregation passive participants in the service seems to defeat the purpose. Have you ever been to a rock concert in a professional sports stadium in which the whole crowd is singing along to every word?
I say "tried" because there were (for all practical purposes) about 15 or so songs that were played over and over and over and over again ... at least two weeks prior to Christmas day.
I listen to BBN via internet when I am at home and it is so comforting to have Christmas enveloped in Christian music, stories and sermons rather than pop songs at least 30 years old.
So, what would be "proper" church music?
Personally, I prefer the slower but well suited for harmonizing, songs from the hymnal.
I think anything that allows a congregation to play with harmonics and it still sounds good is JUST what God wants.
NONE of us can do much with rock n' roll type music ... it requires somewhat specialized and individual voices ... no room for a congregation ... the true meaning of, "people"
Any style or form of music praising God and his son is acceptable.
A subject very close to my heart. I’ve been a worship leader in a small Christian church in North Phoenix for four years. I’m also the music director. I think the culture of the church determines the style of music. I work closely with the Pastor of our church who allows me wide latitude in choosing the music. I pick from a variety of genres - hymns, country gospel, bluegrass gospel, blues, worship songs, CCM stuff and the occasional original.
There’s a movement to eliminate the old hymns from the church and replace the music with the CCM stuff. Lately, there’s been a movement to take the old hymns and traditional Christmas Carols, put new choruses in them, and sell them to churches. And that’s what’s happening. The church is being sold songs. There are a lot of copyright issues associated with the practice. I try to include public domain songs as often as I can to eliminate. I think people who rely on one type of worship music, or one source (like the CCM radio) are musically un-intellectual.
As for the worship itself, I don’t think you can or should eliminate the performance part of the equation, but you must set yourself aside. The job is about leading people to the throne. Some one told me once that the worship leader’s job is to prepare the soil of the soul for the seed of the word sowed by the preacher.
I’ve been on worship teams and find it freeing to be the only person responsible. I was asked to lead a team at a church we were going to. The pastor’s wife wanted to sing. She was so bad, people would get up and leave the service. You have to bring skills to the equation, or it’s just distracting. It’s an interesting process, bringing your skills but setting yourself aside. I think it comes with maturity in Christ.
So, to answer your question, I think God wants us to sing praises to Him in what ever style. If we do it in church, it needs to be orderly and as good as our abilities will allow us. The youth pastor is afraid of other music. Probably because he doesn’t have the skill or the knowledge to perform it. Too bad. He’s missing out on a treasure trove!!!
With the beautiful Southern gospel songs, old fashioned Baptist hymns, I still love to hear the old latin GREGORIAN CHANTS.
Maybe that is why I still love to hear the soundtrack from BECKET and THE LION IN WINTER.
The human voice, God’s finest instrument, found exquisitely in Gregorian Chant. I love this music.
People think this is an old hymn. It is not. Hank and band were on their way to a gig, and couldnt find the place. Then one of the members saw the light for the back stage door and yelled..There it is! How do you know? said another.
I SAW THE LIGHT! he said. Hank liked it, took those words and wrote the song.
As Leo Durocher once advised, "win any way you can!"
In my church, which uses all styles, the congregation frequently sings along with the choir or the praise team.
God blessed us when he gave us the pentatonic scale and said to make a joyful noise.
What is a vocal choir or bell choir for but ‘special music.’ Look at the nearly 2000 years of music that has been created to help us praise and reach out to our Lord and Savior. More music will be created in the future. I recall how ‘scandalous’ the Little Drummer Boy was when I was teenager in the 60s and now it is “an old standard.”
nearly 100 years ago there was a split in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) over whether or not there should be instruments played along with the singing or if all songs should be sung acapella. thus there are the two groups “instrumental” and “non-instrumental.
It was definitely “Lights, camera, action”......sound and light show reminded me of an Ozzie Osborn Concert complete with lead guitarist doing air splits as they played the Siberian Orchestra so loud the room shook.
It was all about the so called “worship teams’ performance and nothing to do about celebrating Christ's Birth. Even when the “audience” was invited to sing you could not hear them singing over the roar of the band and it's sound accompaniment.
Where was Jesus in all this? A small shadow cutout of the Manager scene in the background shorter than the performers in height.
This wasn't even remotely a celebration of Christ's Birth. It was a rock concert in every sense of the word.
When leaving one had no sense other than being entertained, certainly nothing that would lead one to uplift Christ.....you were too busy clearing your hearing.
There was little said of Jesus Birth as the Pastor "spoke" about the growth and expansion of this Mega Church. His experiences as Pastor throughout the growth. Easy to see why a secular world would be attracted there. This “Church” which refers to it's opening others called “campuses” not churches. Is not even remotely Christ centered....He is simply being used as the “seal of approval” for something else entirely.
When in Rome . . .
Those pretty much irritate me also.
On the other hand, when I was younger, there were 2 gentlemen who led worship in my church. Both were about the same age.
One was a very quiet person. Very "traditional". Everything he led seemed slooooooow. I remember one time, closing the hymnal and not singing, as the song we were singing seemed almost like a funeral dirge. There was no life or excitement to the song. The song...
Joy To The World.
The other man only led worship occasionally. But when he did, everything was different. First, he seemed to always be smiling. He greeted people with an ear to ear smile, a enrgetic "hello" or "how ya doin'", with a hearty handshake.
On stage, leading worship, he always seemed to pick the uplifting songs (either that, or he made them all uplifting songs). He'd stand on stage with that big smile, joyful announce the song to be sung, the music would start and when the people were to sing, he'd wave both his arms to lead. If IRC he made a triangle motion, but on the up swing he'd rise up on his toes for a little added affect.
To this day, when I'm in a good mood, or feeling particularly thankful, or out of the clear blue, the hymn "In My Heart There RINGS A Melody" pops in. A smile crosses my heart and face and I think of Dick Cooper.
There is a place for contemporary styles of worship music. But the emphasis needs to be on WORSHIP not on people, or music or style of music. Even old songs can be appealing to young people.
In the Garden Of Eden by I Ron Butterfly
Both strains creep me out. “Praise group” repetive chanting reminds me of the Hitler Youth rallies, and the “love songs to my new girlfiend, Jesus,” just creep me out, period. No majesty, no reverence, just creepy cloying almost homoerotic emoting.
Truth be told I do not like to sing myself, preferring to listen to good music. Worship sans music is just fine with me. That is why I prefer house-based Bible studies rather than corporate gatherings.
>> By noise, what do you mean? Beat on a trash can lid and bang rocks together?
And by joyful can there also be songs that are more somber in their tone? <<
Yes. A person who is beating on a trash can lid with his heart filled with joy and lifted toward God is music to His ears. A person who has played the organ for years at a church, but finds it a mundane chore, is not.
It’s not what anyone hears, it’s what is coming from the heart, which is what everything else in the Bible points to as well.
Sing a new song too the Lord.
Perhaps you might want to read, “Why I left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement” by Dan Lucarini, Evangelical Press, ISBN 0-85234-517-8
Available new and used on Amazon, this book was written by a guy who pushed for and was a musician in the contemporary music scene. He is a now a former “worship leader”.
Judging from your questions, I suspect you may not like what you read in this book but it will answer the questions you pose. May god bless you as you read it.
There's the rub. Music can be more or less inclusive or exclusive. When music becomes less cerebral, for example, it will appeal more easily to adolescent feelings. Can't say they are unbiblical, but definitely specialized.
Some posters here have touted the "different style inclusivity." It works to some degree, but you know what happens when you eat at the Smörgåsbord.
They did something similar in a South Park episode. Cartman re-wrote a bunch of pop songs replacing "you" (as in "I love you") with "Jesus" or some such thing. Hilarity ensues.
Yeah ... they’re putting on an Entertainment Show For the worldly masses, and not informing them of what God says, in that they will go to hell in their sinful state, unless they avail themselves of the Salvation that is through, Jesus, the Son of God and Messiah of Israel.