Friday, July 29, 2016

Blended Music before “Blending” Was Cool-Part 3


Blended Music before “Blending” Was Cool-Part 3
        Many fundamentalist churches have shortened or removed revivals, camp meetings and evangelistic campaigns from their schedule of public services.  These same churches sing a repertoire of praise songs on Sunday morning and Sunday evening and at the midweek service, with little or no songs that catechize the audience in the cardinal doctrines of the church.  When should the church music present the claims of the gospel and give people an opportunity to come to know Christ by a personal profession of faith?
             It seems that, if the modern fundamentalist churches are attempting to be seeker sensitive, they need to add an element of evangelism to their worship musicing in order for it to be a proper concomitant to the preaching of Christ crucified.  I want to emphasize again that I believe praise and worship music must hold a place of centrality in all the public services of the Assembly of Believers.  However, although praise music is fundamental to Christian worship, so is the exposition of the other cardinal doctrines of the church.

 

 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Blended Music before “Blending” Was Cool-Part 2


Blended Music before “Blending” Was Cool-Part 2
       Although there are numbers of these songs that have been written is the past 100 years or so are anything but “classics”, time has already shown that they are not the only religious songs that often rightfully fall into obscurity after a short period of popularity.  At this point in time there is an emphasis on worship music that centers almost entirely on God with little or no content about man’s relationship to God.  The claims of the gospel are purposefully omitted from the bulk of praise and worship choruses.
Certainly, praise to God is not an option but rather a necessity for worship musicing.  However, as I have said often, so are songs of prayer, confession, contrition, the Trinity, Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection, the second coming, and a host of other doctrinal and creedal content.
       So, the gospel hymns written by the hymnists listed in yesterday’s post were an integral part of the Moody, Sankey worship and evangelistic services.  Louis F. Benson notes that, “Their work [the gospel hymn] was appropriated in Dwight L. Moody’s English campaign and his later call upon American churches to add evangelism to worship.”  The Hymnody of the Christian Church, by Louis F. Benson, p.266   The concept of having an element of evangelism and fundamental doctrines of the church as a part of public worship is not popular in many churches today.  My philosophical question to those who oppose an element of evangelism in worship is, “Just when are songs that teach fundamental doctrines and have an evangelistic appeal appropriate for the modern audience?”

 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Blended Music before “Blending” Was Cool-Part 1


Blended Music before “Blending” Was Cool-Part 1

       About 100 years before blended music for worship became popular in public worship as part of the worship the worship renewal movement, Elisha A. Hoffman wrote the words to “What a Wonderful Savior”.  This song may be defined as a gospel hymn.  There are several definitions given for the gospel hymn by various authors.  These definitions run from a “mixture song” which includes praise to God mixed with clear fundamentalist doctrine to “simple songs with an elaborate chorus”.  Some of the definitions that I have found have been positive but others are very negative considerations of this musical genre especially because they stress adherence to the fundamental doctrines of the Bible.
        Notably, the early gospel hymns were developed first by George Root (1820-1895), William Howard Doane (1832-1915), Robert Lowery (1826-1899), Philip Bliss (1838-1876), et al.  There have been a host of writers who have produced these mixture songs in the 20th century.  Some current writers are particularly negative about gospel songs that exhibit clear fundamentalist doctrine and the fact that these songs are quite simple harmonically.

 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Is your ship under God’s Control?—part 2


Is your ship under God’s Control?—part 2  

       Verse seventeen of James chapter 3 states, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”  Wow! Ouch!  Verse five warns, “Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth.”
       Every time in my life that I have had the good sense to keep my mouth shut, I have been glad later.  There are four words that I have learned over the years that have helped me.  They are, “It just doesn’t matter.”  In the light of what words do to relationships, most things really do not matter as much as we think they do when the waves of adversity and disagreement are blowing. What we need to do in these times is let the blessed Holy Spirit be our rudder to help us stay out of “foot in mouth disease”.

 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Is your ship under God’s Control?—part 1


Is your ship under God’s Control?—part 1   

       James 3:4 states, “Behold also the ships, which though they be great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.”
       When I visited my son-in-law Mark Mander and his wife Deanna, my oldest daughter, I walked by the sea shore in Northern Ireland in the early morning.  The waves were crashing against the sea wall as they sent the sea spray high into the air.  Although it was an awesome sight, I was very glad that I was on dry land rather than in a boat that morning.
       James 3:4 reminds us that ships, although driven in one direction by the wind, are easily turned around by a very small rudder.  A horse may also be turned to the left or right by a tug on the bit in his mouth.  It is odd that you can turn a ship or a powerful horse completely around at the will of the one in control, but sometimes Christian musicians override the gentle checks of the Holy Spirit when he nudges the musician to keep him or her out of trouble.
       If we can easily turn a ship around in fierce winds and huge waves, the Christian musician should be able, with the ‘tugs” of the Holy Spirit, to control what he or she says.  This Scripture clearly teaches that the musician needs the Lord’s help in governing his or her life.

 

 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Musician’s Tower


The Musician’s Tower

       II Samuel 22:3 states, “The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my savior, thou savest me from violence.” 
       The first site that I wanted to in Paris was the Eifel Tower.  We arrived at the tower just before they turned on the tower lights at dusk.  The tower is beautiful all the time, but it is awesome at night when the lights outline the entire tower.  The tower looked big from a distance, but when stood directly under the tower it was very huge!
       I don’t know how many times I have read this scripture but it never stood out to me until I had seen the Eifel Tower.  Now I have a much clearer mental picture of God as my high tower.  He is bigger and stronger than the Eifel Tower.  He is the God who is above all false gods.  Now I understand that the false gods of the world are like those little key chains which have a small metal tower hooked to them with a chain.
       Everyone has a rock.  It may be a crumbling rock or a bunch of pebbles.  Let me remind you that God is your Rock and strong tower.  Since He is so high and lifted up, strong and mighty, He towers above all your troubles.  He will be your refuge and Savior. The Christian musician’s tower is the rock Christ Jesus.  There is no other tower as strong as our God.  The Christian musician is anchored deeply on the strong rock and tower Christ Jesus.
       When we got to the Eifel Tower it was raining and the wind was blowing.  However when we got completely under the tower, we were sheltered from the cold night rain in Paris.  I did not want to leave the protection of this magnificent tower.  However, I had too because the others I was traveling with wanted to see more of the magnificent city or Paris.
       Praise God, we never have to leave the protection of our strong, high and mighty tower Christ Jesus our Lord.  I cannot understand why any musician would willingly journey through this life without the strength and protection of our tower which is Jesus our Lord.

 

 

 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Quote for the Day

Quote for the Day
            "Gospel music has become very popular in recent years. Unfortunately, there are people involved in gospel music today who have no acquaintance with the gospel itself. The truth is that without the good news of Jesus Christ, there is no hope, no matter how much money a person may have earned in the music industry and how well they are known. Without Jesus there is no joy and no peace. The world testifies to that every day. So many celebrities have all the things this world has ...to offer, yet they have to stay drugged up to keep going. When you have Jesus, you don’t need escapism, because you can give your burdens to him and have hope not just for the here and now, but for eternal life.
            Sadly, some people use gospel music as a platform to go higher in their field; but you can’t go higher than the gospel! There are songwriters who try to write lyrics for gospel songs that are general enough to cross over into mainstream music, and so the gospel message is watered down. Whether we sing gospel music, or listen to it, we need to be a partaker in what we’re singing about. The next time you’re singing a gospel tune, whether the song sings the Lord’s praises or tells about the attributes of God and what he’s done in a person’s life, or shares the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, think of the words you are singing – or writing – and let them come from a heart of gratitude for all that he has done!" ~ Pastor Jim Cymbala

 

Scriptures for the Day

Scriptures for the Day
Ephesians 2:20, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.”
 1Peter 2:6, “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.”

Friday, July 22, 2016

Singing about Our Chief Corner Stone


Singing about Our Chief Corner Stone
            My Son in law  Rev. Mark Mander sent me the quote below by pastor Jim Cymbala some tie ago and I have been thinking about it ever since.  It is one thing to sing about Christ but it is totally another to have a personal relationship with the Christ about whom you are singing!  We as Christian musicians need to be sure that when we sing the gospel we are worshiping Christ rather than the gospel music.  A Christian should never sing or play sacred music for his or her aggrandizement.  As you will see when you read the quotation below, pastor Cymbala got it right when he said, “Sadly, some people use gospel music as a platform to go higher in their field…”  Gospel music should never be used by a musician as a stepping stone.  The gospel message should never be a stone to step upon because it is the message of our Chief “corner stone” Christ Jesus.

 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Wise as Serpents, Harmless as Doves

Wise as Serpents, Harmless as Doves
Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”  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.”
            Christian musicians need to be very wise in this post postmodern world. As a matter of fact, Scripture admonishes Christians to be as wise as a snake.  I have found out that is very hard to fool a snake or to slip up on him.  You can try, but it probably will not work.  It is his wisdom that keeps him alive in the unfriendly world around him.  Although Christian musicians should not live a life of negativity, they must never forget that this world is not a friend of grace.
            I am so glad that the Holy Writ is always balanced.  This verse In Matthew teaches Christians that we can be as harmless as a dove and at the same time be wise as a snake when we make musical choices.  My dad used to say, “Believe only half of what you see and none of what you hear.”  I believe that this is good advice for Christian musicians.  Just because you observe some music practice, you should not take at as the right thing to do musically.  Furthermore, do not let the world squeeze you into its latest music praxis because some church musician says that it is the right thing to do to insure you of getting your “market share”.  Christian musicians should always exhibit a holy and harmless attitude, but they should, at the same time, watch their backs when taking musical advice.