Friday, September 19, 2014

Quote for the Day


Quote for the Day
Philippians 1:9-11, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”
 
 


 

Philippians 1:9-11, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”

 

 

Is All Music Created Equal? Part 8

Is All Music Created Equal? Part 8

              If Christian musicians avoid all of the more intricate and developed sacred music, they run the risk of not supporting the majesty, glory, and honor of our awesome God with music that is more capable of representing these great spiritual themes of the Bible.  Sometimes Christian musicians seem to forget why some musical works are referred to as sacred classics. A classic is by definition a work of art of recognized and established value and in this case it is an artistic musical work that has proven itself to be a quality vehicle for the sacred content that it embodies.  A musical work of this nature is a more intricate and many times a more complicated working out of the formal properties and structure of the music. 
            These sacred classics have the capacity to deliver more designated and embodied meaning than a work of less musical stature.  One of the concepts that I am stressing is that the greater the working out of the music the greater the payoff in aesthetic value.  Also the greater one understands the import of the embodied meaning of this music, the greater will be the understanding that the performer and the auditor receives.  This conclusion is gathered from understanding that all quality music has a greater amount of understandable embodied meaning in the music and designated (referential) meaning which is given to the music from outside of the formal properties of the music itself than the more simple vehicles have.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Quote for the Day

Quote for the Day
Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

 

Is All Music Created Equal? Part 7

Is All Music Created Equal? Part 7
            While we are discussing whether or not all music is “created” equal, the concept of simple and complex music should be considered. I contend that a Christian musician must present God his or her best musical offerings; that all music is not equal in its nature and value, and that styles that are antagonistic by association to the principles of the changed life of a Christian are not well suited to represent the moral nature of a perfect and holy God; and that not all music is equally appropriate and useful as a worship vehicle because of the intrinsic and extrinsic  nature. o different styles of music. However, the concepts mentioned above are not controlled by whether the music is simple or complex.
            There are many situations in which a simple musical vehicle is more appropriate than a long intricate working out of musical themes, chord structures, and complicated organizational patterns.  Sometimes the proper concomitant to the simplicity of the gospel message is a simple music vehicle.  However, it should be pointed out that by the term simple I am not reefing to banal music. Furthermore,the simplicity of a piece of music does not necessarily connote that it has a lack of artistic quality.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Quote for the Day

Quote for the Day
Romans 14:22 “Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth [dokimadzo 1381—approves].”

 

 

Is All Music Created Equal? Part 6

Is All Music Created Equal? Part 6
            A composer, whether he or she is a Christian or not, is not a creator in the truest sense so the musician is not dealing  with elements of music that he or he created from nothingness, but rather the composer is artistically ordering or reordering, as it were, God’s building blocks of music is new and fresh ways.  Since God’s creation is an orderly creation, then it stands to reason that in the realm of music theory and aesthetics, the possibility exists that there is a good, acceptable, and even perfect ordering of the formal properties of a given music composition.  So, if any composer uses his or her creative gifts well, he or she may produce music that is appropriate and fitting for worshiping our awesome wonderful triune God regardless of that person’s spiritual condition.
            As I have often said, quality sacred music is not entirely about a high level of artistic quality or intricate musical working out of the formal properties of the music.  Also, acceptable musical offerings presented to God, although they must be the Christian musician’s best possible offerings, are not about high art or exceptional artistic musical performances. In Isaiah 29:13 the man of God stated, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.”  These people went through the procedures of worship, but their musical offerings were not acceptable unto God.  What I am contending is that although a composer who is not living in personal relationship with God may be able to use his or her artistic efforts to compose music that is appropriate or public worship, these same musicians are not able to worship with that music because God said they “have removed their heart far from me .”  No matter how well a musician who does not love and serve Christ has artistically ordered the building blocks of music, his or her attempts at worship will fail since true worship is not about high musical art.

 

 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Quote for the Day

Quote for the Day 
The Artist made us artists so that we might reflect the Beauty of His character and the wonder of His story.  Worship Leaders We are not Rock Stars, by Stephen Miller, p. 109

 

Is All Music Created Equal? Part 5

Is All Music Created Equal? Part 5
            Although the quality of the music we bring to God as an offering matters, musical offerings are not solely about  quality musical performance or high quality musical art forms. Amos 5:22-23 states “Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.”  God declared that He would not accept Israel’s musical sacrifices because of their spiritual condition and refers to their musical offerings as noise.  God was referring to the spiritual condition of those who “leave off righteousness in the earth” rather than, at least in this case, the quality of their music.  I am drawn to this conclusion by what is recorded in Amos 5:12, “For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.”  The Bible lesson is clear that our musical melodies and our instrumental music will be considered to be noise by our heavenly father if we attempt to music unto him with sin in our hearts.
            Now I will attempt to answer the question “Is all music created equal?”  First of all, based on the conclusions drawn earlier in this chapter, only God can create.  Man always takes something that already exists and uses his God given gift of creativity to construct  musical compositions in new and wonderful (or not so wonderful) ways.  Odd as it may seem, the spiritual condition of the creative musician’s heart does not always dictate the nature and value of a musician’s creative musical works.  It is sometimes difficult to reconcile the statement above with  Luke 6:45 which states, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”  Because of the evil condition of a composer’s heart, he or she may not use his or her artistic efforts to produce music that is suited for worship.  However, that musician could artistically arrange the formal properties of a piece of music that is appropriate and useful for Christian worship.

 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Quote for the Day

Quote for the Day
2 Samuel 23:16 “And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.”

 

Is All Music Created Equal? Part 4

Is All Music Created Equal? Part 4
          Why all the philosophical fuss over the sacrificial system of the Old Testament?  If a minister of music is going to refer to worship music as musical offerings presented to God, then it stands to reason that that musician should believe in the concept of presenting God the best and most appropriate musical offering that he or she and the worshiping body of believers are capable of offering.  Therefore, the notion that all music is created equal is not congruent with the philosophical concept of our sacred musicing being musical offerings presented to God.  Every honest minister of music minister or music educator who is knowledgeable of music composition and music theory will have to admit that all the creative efforts of composers and arrangers are not on the same level of musical quality and profundity and therefore not of the same appropriateness and value as musical offerings.
          As I mentioned earlier, references to the Old Testament sacrificial system appear in the New Testament in Hebrews 13:15 “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (For more references to the sacrificial system, also see Romans 12:1, Philippians 4:18 and 1Peter 2:5.)  So, since there are references to the concept of sacrifices made unto God in the NT without any reference to this concept not being compatible with Christian worship, I see no philosophical problem with worship leaders referring to their worshiping by musicing unto God as musical offerings.  I am simply contending that there is no logical philosophical reasoning behind the notion that these musical offerings should not be the very best and most appropriate offerings that a Christian is capable of presenting.  If one accepts the concept of musical offerings presented in the Bible, then it stands to reason that all musical offerings, regardless of what they represent; how they are presented; and what they contain, are not necessarily equal in their nature or value.