Saturday, December 16, 2017

Aesthetics in A Christian’s Music Paradigm—part 4


Aesthetics in A Christian’s Music Paradigm—part 4

            What really matters about the use or disuse of a style of music when one is worshiping a high and holy triune God is much more complicated than mere musical or aesthetic quality—although musical and aesthetic quality does matter.  What really matters is what a particular style of music communicates to the musicer and the listener and what that communication has the potential to do to a person mentally and spiritually.

             A piece of music that is not full of aesthetic meaning is not necessarily harmful to the musicer and the listener. So, whether or not the formal properties of the music are arranged in such a way to make that music aesthetically valuable is not reason enough to exclude a style of music as a whole or as a single musical composition from the life of a Christian.

Thought for the Day

 The Bible in Basic English translates 2Corinthians “7:11 For you see what care was produced in you by this very sorrow of yours before God, what clearing of yourselves, what wrath against sin, what fear, what desire, what serious purpose, what punishment. In everything you have made it clear that you are free from sin in this business.”  Although this scripture is not addressing music directly, the principle stated in this verse extends to the music and musicing of a musician who is a born again Christian.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Aesthetics in A Christian’s Music Paradigm—part 3


Aesthetics in A Christian’s Music Paradigm—part 3

            A Christian musician should not admit or exclude a style of music solely on the quality of its aesthetic value.  Notice that I said totally; I did not say that one should ignore a style’s aesthetic qualities that give it its value. However, the question at hand is not music’s deepest aesthetic value but rather what effect it is capable of having on the whole life of a Christian.  For instance, it has been a mistake to exclude the host of  different styles of music that exist today from the musicing of a Christian based on the belief that these styles are not music at all or that they are not aesthetically high quality music.

             The issue is not whether a type of music is “musical junk” or that it is “not music at all” or that it is “not of enough musical quality” to be aesthetically effective.  The problem with such statements that are often made is that they are simply not always accurate statements.  Although the conservative Christian musician is continually guarding the practice of musicing unto God, overstating one’s position on music aesthetics is not the answer.

Thought for the Day

When it comes to the use or disuse of many pop styles of music in public worship, the simply stated facts are much better arguments than making statements about a style of music that cannot be substantiated.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Aesthetics in A Christian’s Music Paradigm—part 2


Aesthetics in A Christian’s Music Paradigm—part 2

 As I have often stated, the Christian should not develop an aesthetic approach to religion, but rather a religious (biblical) approach to aesthetics.  Music aesthetics is by no means the bellwether of Christianity.  Having an aesthetic experience with music does not form any proof, nor is it any indication that the Holy Spirit has placed His anointing or approval on a musical performance or a performer.  However, aesthetics and aesthetic experiences with music are important and must be considered in our discussion of both musical paradigm and music philosophy.  Music’s beauty is an important part of its nature, and will definitely affect what that music will communicate to the musicer and the listener.

The Christian musician must be cognizant of the fact that although beauty, as it relates to music philosophy and ultimately musician unto God, is in some aspects a personal matter.  However, the Bible does consider beauty in music and in Psalm 89:15 it very clearly states, “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.”  So, the aesthetic consideration of sound is not completely a matter of taste or personal opinion.

Thought for the Day

Since the Bible states very vividly that some people understand what the “joyful sound” is, conversely, some people evidently do not understand what it is.




Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Aesthetics in A Christian’s Music Paradigm—part 1


Aesthetics in A Christian’s Music Paradigm—part 1

            The Christian musician must become aware of where the aesthetics of music has been placed in his or her musical paradigm.  Although we will consider many more aspects of aesthetics in the life of a Christian musician, pin pointing where aesthetics is placed in one’s musical paradigm, and ultimately in that person’s music philosophy, is essential to the establishment of what that musician considers the nature and value of music to actually be.

            It is often difficult to get a church musician to explain his or her specific beliefs about aesthetics in church music, if that musician does not consider this aspect of philosophy toe even be important.  In the business of a Christian’s music ministry, that musician must be personally convinced of the importance of aesthetic philosophy before that musician is willing to dialogue about what aspects of aesthetics are or are not congruent with a Bible based music philosophy.

Thought for the Day

Since a Christian is never autonomous, but always subject to the laws of God, every Christian musician must seek to find and do God’s will—and that includes music and musicing.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Are There Any Absolutes?—part 3


Are There Any Absolutes?—part 3

            Before Hegelian synthesis thought, the Scripture in I John 2:15, “Love not the world”, meant just that, don’t love the world or become controlled by the system of “this present age”.  After acceptance of Hegelian synthesis thought, it became acceptable to be a worldly Christian.  Those who accepted this viewpoint no longer believed the Bible when it said that if you loved the world, the love of the father was not in you.  Under this autonomous philosophy you could love the world and the Lord at the same time.  So, the synthesis thinking church musicians, who were in many instances, graduates of Christian colleges and seminaries began to think that if it was okay to love the world system then it was okay to love the world’s music.  Philosophically they believed that the answer could no more be based on good music and bad music, God’s music and the Satan’s music, or in appropriate or inappropriate music.  They believed that all styles were equal and that the musical answer must be somewhere between truth and error.

Thought for the Day. 

One of the ways that Christian musicians are swept into philosophical error is by believing that it is not possible to develop a Bible based music philosophy.


Monday, December 11, 2017

Are There Any Absolutes?—part 2


Are There Any Absolutes?—part 2

            Philosophy has been historically a pursuit of the systematized principles that give a wisdom that reveals truth and a unified filed of knowledge based on truth and error or thesis and antithesis.  Somewhere in the early 20th century many philosophers began to give up hope in a unified filed of knowledge based on thesis (right) or antithesis (wrong).  They began to believe the philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Frederick Hegel (1770-1831).  Hegel believed that every idea belonged to an all-embracing mind in which every idea (thesis) elicited its opposite (antithesis) and the result of these two was a unified whole which he called synthesis.  His “unified” whole was epistemologically different since it derived “knowing” from a new synthesis thesis.  This “knowing” brought about a new truth that was always found somewhere between truth and error.

Thought for the Day

It is disappointing that many church musicians now believe that the only thing they can know for sure about religious music I that they cannot know anything for sure about it because they are of the notion that there are no absolutes in church music.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Are There Any Absolutes?—part 1


Are There Any Absolutes?—part 1

            I am deeply indebted to the work of Francis Schaffer for opening to me a very clear basic understanding of how philosophical thought has shaped the thinking of modern and postmodern Christians.  After reading his Escape from Reason and The God Who is There as well as other of his great works, it became clear to me how many Christian musicians came to believe that there are no absolutes in music. 
            For centuries philosophers believed that it was possible for all thought to come under a unified filed of knowledge.  They often fought bitterly over just what that unified field of knowledge included.  Although philosophers did not agree on the content of that unified knowledge, they did agree that philosophical endeavor could and should bring about a philosophy of hope to the world   
Thought for the Day
If a Christian musician’s music is to be Christocentric, it must be congruent with God’s Word and Bible principles of musicing.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Singing about Our Chief Corner Stone


Singing about Our Chief Corner Stone

            My Son in law sent me the quote below by pastor Jim Cymbala the other day 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.
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

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, December 8, 2017

Thinking about Church Music


Thinking about Church Music

Church musicians continue to be in a very heated argument about styles of church music.  Normally church musicians do not argue in favor of secular rock music, however this is changing since some churches are now playing secular rock and other similar styles of music that have no relationship to sacred music.  There are an increasing number of pastors and church musicians who do not see much, if anything, wrong with religious rock music in the church.  In many places in the world today, church attendance is getting smaller, so pastors and ministers of music are trying to make church attendance attractive to people who are not Christians.  Almost everything traditional is now being reviewed to make sure that traditional acts of worship are relating to “worldly” people.  Traditional styles of church music often receive the blame for a lack of church growth.

            When a particular church is experiencing increased attendance, pastors and ministers of music naturally look at the style of worship that has been “successful.”  Often church leaders pattern public worship after “super churches” without thinking through the results of those major changes in music worship. 

                                                                                                           

Thought for the Day

Christian musicians must be more concerned about being “faithful” than “successful” when it comes to which styles of music are or are not admitted to a church’s music repertoire.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Teaching the Next Generation to Music--Part 4


Teaching the Next Generation to Music--Part 4



            An often much overlooked necessity is studying music seriously.  It is no joke that “knowing is doing”.  A Christian cannot teach what he or she does not know.  In our highly educated world today it is ludicrous for one to try to instruct others in how to music and how to develop a music philosophy without as much as knowing the names of the lines and spaces.  Being a music consumer does not qualify one to instruct others in music.

            Christians must consider the whole of music.  This includes a long broad study or music which includes both sacred and secular music.  Everyone should have knowledge of classical, folk, pop, jazz, rock, country and a host of other types of music in order to converse intelligently with the generations to follow us as pastors, parents, and church musicians.  Anything less than music literacy and a general understanding of the performance practice of these styles will dwarf our possibilities of reaching our young people with a logical, reasonable, explainable, discussible, and practical philosophy of music.



Thought for the Day

            Why is it that many Christians both young and old believe that II Timothy 3:16, but have never considered that its truth extends to the whole of music?  It is over simplistic to pick and choose which verses on music to believe.  The fact that the Holy Writ and what it teaches is many times difficult to understand and interpret in the light of modern twenty fist century post-postmodern culture does not give a  musician the right to ignore the Bible’s teachings on music and musicing.  1Cointhians 13:12 explains very vividly, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”  The fact that, as 1Corinthians 13:9, “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.” does not give us the right to ignore the truths taught in the Holy Writ about music.