Monday, November 24, 2014

Quote for the Day

Quote for the Day
Colossians 1:18, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

 

Congruency in Our Musicing part 4

Congruency in Our Musicing part 4
             I am weary of watching and listening to Christian musicians as they receive the preeminence when they are performing what they call worship music.  I am reminded that God has declared in Isaiah 42:8, “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”  Many Christian musicians who consider themselves to be conservatives have subscribed to the popular “musical idol” philosophy.  As a result of accepting this worldly philosophical view, worship leaders set about the task of drawing the listener to themselves rather than to Christ-- thus they become an “idol” to the audience rather than a humble servant of  Christ.  I find it impossible to successfully worship the Creator of music while God is being upstaged by heady high-minded musicians who are performing the artistic medium that God created.
            Now we should consider what is meant by the tem secular music.  This term simply means music that is not addressed to Deity or to sacred acts of worship or adoration of the one true God.  There is absolutely no philosophical problem with a conservative Christian musician performing secular music as long as it is not music that is antagonistic to the changed life of a Christian.  Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with a performer receiving praise for a secular performance.  Honoring a performer for his or her secular performance is perfectly in order because God is not the object of this performance.  I would like to remind Christian performers that they must never forget that while God is not the object of secular performance, He is the creator of music and therefore philosophically music as an artistic form ultimately belongs to Him!  So, Christian musicians should not act like they own music.  All music in the life of a Christian musician belongs to God and therefore comes rightfully under the Lordship of Christ.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Quote for the Day

Quote for the Day
The world renowned musicologist Curt Sachs once stated in a discussion of ancient Hebrew, Egyptian, and Babylonian music, “But one thing is certain, wherever a higher class of musicians was distinguished from a lower class, [in the context of his writing it is evident that he meant high quality] wherever the official standard of an educational center was respected, there must have been law and logic, measure and reckoning.”  The Rise of Music in the Ancient World, p. 64.

 

 

Congruency in Our Musicing part 3

Congruency in Our Musicing part 3
            Since the conservative Christian musician is not pluralistic in his or her view of God, to him or her there is philosophically no possibility of a plurality of gods or musicing unto a plurality of deities.  Therefore, since much of religious world music does not address or concern the only true God, although such music is religious in nature because it in some way or another addresses religious things, it cannot possibly be considered sacred music by a Christian musician.  So, a music composition that may be rightfully considered sacred music is music that is inseparably connected to the only true God, is theologically accurate, and is suitable to the awesomeness and solemnity of the worship of a triune God.  It is not sacred if it is connected to a plurality of gods, to mere religious function, to music performance, or merely to religious acts or processes.
            Religious music is that large and indiscriminate conglomeration of musical compositions that are concerned with some form of religious usage.  Religious music and musicing may address itself to any god or to any false religion.  It may also address itself to any form of religious-pseudo-speak, or it may concern itself with the performer   or the musical composition itself.  Such music and musicing is in direct violation of the clear Bible principles of sacred musicing taught in Ephesians 5:19, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”  Sacred music and sacred musicing, as taught in this passage of Scripture, is God music rather than an artist hocking his or her musical wares before an audience who is enamored by the performer’s artistic abilities.  Although it is musiced before an audience and to an audience i.e. “to yourselves”, sacred music is sung “to the Lord”.  We must never forget that sacred music is God Music—it is always addressed to God and is about extolling God rather than about aggrandizing the performer or worshiping or admiring the artistic content of the music.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Quote and Thought for the Day

Quote and Thought for the Day
Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”  A Christian musician can perform both sacred and secular music if both are “acceptable unto God”.

 

Congruency in Our Musicing part 2

Congruency in Our Musicing part 2
            The conservative musician must realize that although a Christian musician’s entire life and his or her musicing should be ultimately a sacrifice of service unto God, sacred and secular music are not one and the same and therefore secular music is not always suitable to be used in worship.  When a Christian lumps the whole of music into an erroneous “musical stew pot”, enormous philosophical problems occur.  Although philosophical consideration of music must include both sacred and secular music, to treat them both as some kind of indiscriminate glob as though they were the same is a huge philosophical mistake.
            Before we venture any farther into this “deep woods” called the “whole of music”, we should define the terms sacred and secular music. We will define the term sacred as, “music connected with God or dedicated to the purpose of extolling and worshiping the triune God and hence worthy of and deserving veneration.”  Many dictionary definitions consider religious and sacred music to be the same phenomenon.  Religious and sacred music are not the result of a single perception of all composers, arrangers and musicers. Musicians who consider religious and sacred music as equals try to make an erroneous philosophical amalgamation of  these two distinct “musics” that are the result of two different perceptions and hence  are unlike, although somewhat similar on the surface.

 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day
It seem strange that when one refers to politics there is considerable agreement  about what the word conservative means, but when one refers to the same term in the context of sacred music or spiritual things, a host of twenty-first  century Christians plead complete and  total ignorance.

 

Congruency in Our Musicing part 1

Congruency in Our Musicing part 1
            Although I do not often use my blog posts to “blow off steam” I am going to do so today and possibly for a few days to follow.  I like to consider myself to be a conservative Christian musician.  Those who know me best know that I often contend for the value of traditional sacred music in this century (I also contended for the same in the last century).  I have often said that what a musician really believes is revealed in his or her music and in the way that a musician musics unto God.  I believe in a conservative lifestyle but I also believe that being a conservative Christian musician goes far beyond how a musician dress or looks when he or she musics unto God.
            However, before I elaborate on lifestyle and its relationship to a Christian’s musicing, perhaps the first order of business should be to give a clear definition of the terminology conservative Christian musician. I believe an accurate definition of a conservative Christian musician is one who holds to and highly regards traditional attitudes and values about sacred music and is therefore cautious about, but not necessarily antagonistic to,  change or innovation in sacred music and musicing.   We should also consider that this conservative musician is first a Christian and secondarily a musician, artist, performer, music director, music educator, composer, arranger, and church musician.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Quote for the Day

Quote for the Day
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.

“In dulci jubilo”

 “In dulci jubilo”
The Latin hymn “In dulci jubilo” i.e. “God Christian Men Rejoice” was written I the fourteenth century.  It was translated into English by John  Mason Neale in 1818.  The words that touch my heart in this Christmas hymn are, “now ye need not fear the grave”.  Why do we not need to be afraid?  Because, “Jesus Christ was born to save!”    Who will He save?  This wonderful hymn declares that He “Calls you one and calls you all to gain his everlasting hall.”  Thank God, because of the who-so-ever of the Gospel, none of us have to miss the joys of heaven!   If you cannot rejoice when you read the text below, I have good new for you--you can if you will only give your life to Him. Below are the word of this wonderful old Latin hymn:
Good Christian men, rejoice
with heart and soul and voice;
give ye heed to what we say:  
Jesus Christ was born today.
Ox and ass before him bow,
and he is in the manger now.
Christ is born today!
Christ is born today! 

 Good Christian men, rejoice
with heart and soul and voice;
now ye hear of endless bliss:
Jesus Christ was born for this!
He has opened heaven's door,
and we are blest forevermore.
Christ was born for this!
Christ was born for this! 

 Good Christian men, rejoice
with heart and soul and voice;
now ye need not fear the grave:
Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all
to gain his everlasting hall.
Christ was born to save!
Christ was born to save!