OK. On to rock music and the church.
I hope we understand and agree that by Ã¢â‚¬Å“churchÃ¢â‚¬Â it is meant the
church, the body of Christ, not necessarily the corner Presbyterian, Lutheran or Methodist building with its congregation in Anytown, USA.
First some review. To save time and typing, please allow me to repeat what I believe is a good exposition of the church from my earlier post to Scott:
According to the Bible, The Church is the body of believers that make up the body of Christ. Acts 2 has some verses that sum up pretty well what the first church consisted of. There are many more.
Acts 2:42- And they continued steadfastly in the apostlesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Acts 2:43 - And fear (or reverential awe) came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
Acts 2:44 - And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
Acts 2:46 - And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Acts 2:47 - Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Basically, The Church is made up of believers assembling for teaching and discipleship (Acts 2:43), fellowship with other believers (Acts 2:44 and 1Cor 6:14), breaking of bread, communion and shared meals (Acts 2:46), and praising God (worship) and praying together (Acts 2:42, 47).
All this was to be done with the body being in Ã¢â‚¬Å“one accordÃ¢â‚¬Â (Acts 2:46).
During the apostolic era churches were basically what we would call home churches. Believers would go out into their communities, make new believers, and then Ã¢â‚¬â€œ only then Ã¢â‚¬â€œ bring them into the fellowship of the church. The church Ã¢â‚¬Å“serviceÃ¢â‚¬Â was definitely not to be used to evangelize non-believers or to be conducted in a worldly, pagan way to attract non-believers off the street so they could possibly win them to Christ. Church is to disciple and edify those who were already in the body of Christ, and encourage them to go out and win new believers.
Throughout the epistles we read where those who violated GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s principles regarding the church are brought under church discipline.
Are we in agreement so far?
OK. On to worship.
Again, may I bring some information down from an earlier post?
What is worship? How does God expect to be worshipped?
Again, as always, the Bible gives us the final word.
95% of the time when worship is mentioned in the Old Testament the word used is Ã¢â‚¬Å“sachah,Ã¢â‚¬Â which means to prostrate in homage to God, to bow down, to humbly beseech, to do reverence.
In the New Testament, the word most commonly used for worship is proskuneo, which means to kiss like a dog licking his masterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hand, to fawn or crouch down, to prostrate oneself in homage.
Some example scriptures:
Jos 5:14 ... And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
Psa 95:6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
Mat 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
1Cr 14:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on [his] face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
Rev 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
Rev 4:10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne,...
So, you can see that worship is to be accompanied with the attitude of abject humility, subservience, reverence and awe, and in a posture expressing those characteristics. Certainly these are rare in todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s church, much less in our society in generalÃ¢â‚¬â€what with decades of Ã¢â‚¬Å“self-esteemÃ¢â‚¬Â being taught in the government school systems.
OK. Here is where I put it all together with rock music.
If I can assume that we agree that the church is a gathering of the body of Christ coming together for humble, reverential worship in one accord as God would have them do, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s see how the introduction of a sensual, rebellious, worldly, pagan style of music fits in according to the principles laid out in the Bible.
(I am indebted to Dan Lucarini and John Blanchard for having preceded me in harvesting these principles from the Bible and sharing them with us in their excellent book, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Can We Rock the Gospel.)DOES ROCK MUSIC HELP US TO HEAR THE WORD OF GOD CLEARLY?
Isaac, you have graciously provided the answer to that question, my bolds:
The name of the song on the second video (because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to understand the lyrics) is Ã¢â‚¬Å“praising Him tonightÃ¢â‚¬Â by Kutless. And even though some may disagree with the music, I believe this reaches an audience that would not be reachable any other way.
But, whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s happening here? If the congregation cannot understand the words, but they are being subjected to a barrage of a loud, sensual, driving beat, just exactly what message are they getting? Just what exactly is Ã¢â‚¬Å“reachingÃ¢â‚¬Â this audience? Is it the word of God? Or is it something else?
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what God has to say about it.
The Bible says that, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.Ã¢â‚¬Â (Rom 10:17)
Each message should be clearly, Ã¢â‚¬Å“handling the word of God.Ã¢â‚¬Â (2Cor 4:2).
The church should be cleansed with it (Eph 5:26), sanctified through it (John 17:17), consecrated by it (1Tim 4:5), equipped for spiritual warfare in it (Eph 6:17), gently reproved by it (Col 3:16), and instructed by it (Col 3:16).
We will also have our hearts judged by it (Heb 4:12), our behavior corrected by it (2Tim 4:2), our lives encouraged through it (2 Tim 4:2), and will overcome by it (1John 2:14).
In other words, the written and preached word of God will, and should be, used to lead us to Christ. Scripture, and only Scripture, is utmost in importance for salvation, sanctification and for life itself.
So, does the music of the rock music style of CCM follow all these principles? Not even one of them! It canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t, because it is music, not words.
Do the lyrics of the rock music style of CCM follow these principles? Hardly, if one canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even understand the words most of the time Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ as you so graciously admitted.
This is borne out in my own experience as well. You remember my story earlier in this thread about the local grocery store owner who played Ã¢â‚¬Å“ChristianÃ¢â‚¬Â rock music over his speakers. He is actually taking advantage of the fact that nobody can understand the words.
His theory is that they will appreciate the rock music style, like the music, and Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ somehow Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ become unwittingly infused with the Holy Spirit, and maybe come to salvation. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a good man, and I believe heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a believer. But, he is deceived about the roll that his rock music will play in his customersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ spiritual lives Ã¢â‚¬â€œ as God attests to in the quoted verses above.
But, what about the occasional Ã¢â‚¬Å“ChristianÃ¢â‚¬Â rock song that you can clearly hear the words? Does the Bible have examples of hard-driving pagan-origin, wordly music being used to further GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s word in an assembly of the Body? Hardly. When music and worship go together in the Bible, the song is subservient to the words, accompanying, not overriding.
Also, are the Ã¢â‚¬Å“ChristianÃ¢â‚¬Â rock music words truly Godly? Or, do the lyrics of todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“ChristianÃ¢â‚¬Â songs reflect the dangerous trend toward seeker-friendliness, love Gospel, name it and claim it of the New Age emergent church movement? If the Gospel is not being presented in its entirety, are those who profess after a rock concert, or because of a particular artist or song, really being saved? Can they stand the biblical assurance test of 1John. Statistically the overwhelming answer is Ã¢â‚¬Å“No.Ã¢â‚¬Â Even Billy Graham admits it.
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s more on this topic, but I must move on.DOES THIS MUSIC MATCH UP WITH THE GLORY OF GOD?
Does Ã¢â‚¬Å“ChristianÃ¢â‚¬Â rock music with its driving beat, rhythm, syncopations and barely recognizable words reflect the purity, majesty, holiness and serenity of God? Be honest, can you imagine Jesus Christ singing praise that way? Or any of his apostles or disciples entertaining Jesus with the driving beat, loud guitars and tortured lyrics? If it has occurred any time or place in the New Testament God is oddly silent about it.DOES THE MUSIC DIVIDE OR UNIFY CHRISTIANS?
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve already touched on scriptures illustrating the biblical principles of one-mindedness, unity and being of one accord among believers in the body of Christ. It is not only important, it is vital for Christians to be of one mind as they assemble together.
Isaac, I asked you earlier to provide some examples of the good fruit produced by the introduction of rock music into the assembly of the body of Christ. All you could provide was some nebulous assertion that people are drawn to the Lord via rock music.
This issue of unity is the real nut of the case against rock music in the church. There is some fruit produced here, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all rotten. In actuality, rock music is probably todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s leading cause of people leaving churches and church divisions. Testimonies are legion, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll provide some examples in a few more paragraphs.
But for now, ponder this: Even if rock music on its own merits was not damaging morally, physically and psychologically, how can bringing it into the church body against the wishes of large numbers of long-time believers bear any fruit in light of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s principles for believers to assemble in unity?
One argument for rock music in church is to encourage the unsaved to come through the doors to hear the word preached. But, how can anyone claim that this honors God when the same music causes long-time church-goers to exit through those same doors? This violates GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s law of brotherly love and unity, and erects a stumbling block in the church.
God tells us that a Ã¢â‚¬Å“house divided against itself will not standÃ¢â‚¬Â (Matt 12:25). Is it just coincidence that the falloff of church attendance by true believers happened just about when the drums started coming into the worship service?
Here are some tragic testimonies from Ã¢â‚¬Å“Can We Rock the Gospel?Ã¢â‚¬Â Multiply this by thousands, maybe millions, and then tell me if this is good fruit, or bad fruit. My bolds illustrate poignant passages in these testimonies.
Ã¢â‚¬ËœA number of years back we attended an Easter service in a Baptist church. The pastor was quite involved in missions and the theme was Ã¢â‚¬Å“Christ died for all and rose for allÃ¢â‚¬Â For the end of the service he asked someone from Africa to play the drums. It seemed a bit jolting to me, but it absolutely devastated my Cuban husband and ruined the whole service for him. He immediately recognized it as a rhythm used in Cuba to bring in the spirits in a seance. He remembers nights when this would play in a nearby home for hours on end.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (A former missionary who grew up on a Caribbean island)
Ã¢â‚¬ËœWe had a 75th anniversary service at our Methodist church led by a Ã¢â‚¬Å“Praise and Worship TeamÃ¢â‚¬Â I was appalled. Members of the praise band looked exactly like the rock musicians my former husband used to record. The seductive dress of the women mimicked the styles worn by contemporary rock stars. There was a lot of prancing and dancing and performing just like at a rock show. This was not a Ã¢â‚¬Å“worship serviceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢; but rather a Ã¢â‚¬Å“rock show with somewhat sacred wordsÃ¢â‚¬Â The music was deafeningly loud due to the massive sound system. After 15 minutes, I left because my ears were hurting from the high decibel level of the music. Others walked out as well.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (A classically trained musician with a masterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s degree and involved in church music from her very early years)
Ã¢â‚¬ËœI joined a rock band as a drummer in East Texas and played classic rock from the 1970s. I was indulging in all the sins of the flesh. I finally left this lifestyle and like the prodigal son I returned to the Lord. He showed me how the devil was using this music to destroy people. But to my amazement, the same rock music followed me back into the church. I was alarmed but as hard as I tried, I could not seem to convince others of the dangers of Ã¢â‚¬Å“ChristianizingÃ¢â‚¬Â the devilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s music. I thought the church had learned from history the danger of mixing pagan music or anything else not pertaining to God.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (A former rock drummer)
Ã¢â‚¬ËœI attended a service [in a large megachurch] ... last year that made me uncomfortable. There were strobe lights twirling with artificial smoke swirling inside the lights. And many camera close-ups of guitarists and the drummer were projected onto a video screen. I have to say that it left me somewhat cold. It really seemed like a format for the worship leader to show his talent more than anything.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (A Presbyterian minister)
Ã¢â‚¬ËœI am a member of the Greek Free Evangelical Churches. Before I met Christ as personal Savior, I was a fan of heavy metal music (AC/DC, Queen, Deep Purple and so on). The first thing that God did in my heart was to set me free from this kind of music. However, it is so sad to see how the devil manages to persuade the believers to use this same music in the LordÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s House!Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (A deacon at an evangelical church in Greece)
Ã¢â‚¬ËœLast year I visited a Baptist church where I had once been the organist. I had to leave the service. It was Ã¢â‚¬Å“rock concertÃ¢â‚¬Â city. The Ã¢â‚¬Å“blended serviceÃ¢â‚¬Â consisted of loud, boisterous music with slamming drums and screeching guitars. A few traditional hymns were thrown in for the benefit of the few senior citizens who could stand the rock music.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (A long-time organist)
Ã¢â‚¬ËœAt ... Chapel, the worship was awful. It was like pure noise. The drums were so loud that I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hear the praise team sing. And the bass was really loud too. It was like going to a rock concert. And the songs they picked were not worshipful, to say the least. They troubled my spirit.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (A thirty-one-year-old who has since left that church)
Ã¢â‚¬ËœIÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m in what was until a few years ago a very conservative 200-year-old Presbyterian church. Our new pastor has begun a campaign to break down peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s resistance to new worship music by leveling charges in sermons such as Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you care about tradition or traditional worship, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re living in sin.Ã¢â‚¬Â How horribly wrong and hurtful! I am regularly in the cross hairs, and am praying for deliverance from this situation, by GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s grace. It is unsustainable over the long haul, without completely compromising what I believe GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Word clearly teaches about how he wants to be worshipped.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (A Presbyterian churchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s music minister)
Ã¢â‚¬ËœThe loudness of the music is unjustified. There is an old saying, that when a pastor has nothing to say, he needs to yell louder and pound the pulpit. The noise alienates the older people. Their ears cannot tolerate the sound. I know many people, including my own parents, godly people, who have stopped going to church for the simple reason that the loudness of the music is intolerable to their ears. And the message is: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Young people matter ... you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬Â (Former president of an international Christian broadcasting ministry)
At one Christian camp the programme director got up on stage before all of the campers and started dancing and singing, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonightÃ¢â‚¬Â [from a hit song in the 1970s by K.C. and the Sunshine Band].Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ He was oblivious to the fact that this was outrageous. He also played secular rock during activities, unaware that it was even wrong. The songs, all of which I knew from my past, were not all Ã¢â‚¬Å“neutralÃ¢â‚¬Â in their message Ã¢â‚¬â€ some were just outright ungodly.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (An evangelist and Christian camp speaker)
Ã¢â‚¬ËœWhen I went into the youth building for the first time, I was nearly blown back out of the doors by the rock music that they regularly performed. I felt like I was having a cardiac arrest! But, what really struck me was that their worship area (lights dimmed, band up front, techies [technicians] in the back, etc.) was just like the bars in college where I had spent time so long ago. The only exception was that there was no booze or glittering disco ball on the ceiling. Whew. It was the pits.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (A Sunday school teacher, high school science teacher and self-professed former party girl)
Ã¢â‚¬ËœIt breaks my heart to watch our people cover their ears and walk out, because the music is too loud. I hear people say, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to go into the sanctuary and hear that rock and roll music.Ã¢â‚¬Â What do we do? We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to leave the Nazarene church, but we must.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (A senior member of a Nazarene church)
Ã¢â‚¬ËœWe were beginning to wonder if we were all alone in our frustration with our communityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s churches. We have been searching for over a year and are appalled at what churches are offering as worship to God. At some churches we had our eardrums shattered; at others we were embarrassed trying to go along with inappropriate congregational music. It appears that worship today has boiled down to singing a group of pop songs. There are no longer any Scripture readings, prayers, quiet meditation, confession of sins, and affirmation of faith ... things that are part of true worship.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (An elderly church couple)
Ã¢â‚¬ËœThe WomenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Missionary Union leader showed a video that emphasized that heaven is a big rock party, and she played some loud and chaotic rock music to show the ladies how wonderful heaven will be. One lady came to her afterwards in private and said that she did not think heaven would be a big rock party, and the leader replied, Ã¢â‚¬Å“You have your opinion and I have mine. Do you really think that we would just be angels with wings, flying all around, strumming on harps all the time?Ã¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“No,Ã¢â‚¬Â she answered, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I only believe what the Bible says about heaven.Ã¢â‚¬Â The leader said as she walked away, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Well, if you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like it, then donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t watch it!Ã¢â‚¬Â The movie was shown that Wednesday night to the whole congregation.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (A member of a Southern Baptist church)
Ã¢â‚¬ËœWe are a GARBC church [General Association of Regular Baptist Churches] with an AWANA program [a popular Bible club for children]. Have you seen their new programs? The Bible memory tapes are accompanied by pure rock music and the local annual leader training program is a CCM service complete with video screen and a sound system to shake the walls and blow your eardrums, just like the rock concerts we used to attend.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (Long-time AWANA leaders in a Baptist church)
Ã¢â‚¬ËœThe drums this morning pretty much drowned out the other music. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s behind plexiglas which just means they turn up the volume louder. I have gone to this church just about all my life. I feel so badly that the Assemblies of God have lowered their standards to this type of music. But my husband is with the Gideons and speaks in many different types of churches and I must admit that I dread having to go to any church with him because the music is mostly contemporary there too. I just canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get myself to go to Sunday evening service because it is all contemporary. I went one evening because communion was going to be served in the evening service. But a guitarÃ¢â‚¬Â and the drums were the music for it.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (A lifelong member of an Assembly of God church)
Ã¢â‚¬ËœWe should have known to leave when we saw the stage area with a trap set up there, but I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what we were thinking Ã¢â‚¬â€ maybe they wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t use it on Sunday morning? When the deafening noise began, I turned to my husband and said I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stay. I had to get out of there, whether anybody else did or not. That put him in a difficult situation because we were visiting with his brother-in-law. He looked over to our teenagers (ages 15,17 and 19) and he could tell they were visibly disturbed. We made the decision to leave that church, even though it would look like a very judgemental statement and we knew our relatives would take it wrong. As we left the church building, a woman ran after us and asked us what was the matter. My husband, in a very controlled but deliberate way, told her that what was taking place in that building was displeasing to our God.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (A Christian family visiting relatives)
Isaac, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if you read all these testimonies and thought deeply about the implications. But, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m hoping you did. You need to ask yourself if it is Godly and biblical to drive sheep out of the fold because of a musical style preference.DOES THIS KIND OF MUSIC HELP YOU TO SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM THE WORLD?
1John 2:15 is pretty unambiguous here: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.Ã¢â‚¬Â And in 1Thess 4:7, Ã¢â‚¬Å“God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.Ã¢â‚¬Â And in 2Cor 6:17, that we are to Ã¢â‚¬Å“come out from among them and be separateÃ¢â‚¬Â
GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s children are supposed to think, look and act different from the world. Is this happening in the Ã¢â‚¬Å“rock concert church?Ã¢â‚¬Â Or, could you turn down the sound on a video of a church service and see a rock concert taking place?WOULD YOU EXPECT TO FIND THIS KIND OF MUSIC IN HEAVEN?
There is definitely music in Heaven! Revelation 5:8-9, 5:11, and 5:13 speak of singing praise and honor and glory to the Lord, for example. Can you imagine God the Father enjoying rock music? Do you think he would receive it as being performed with humility, awe and reverence? Can you imagine that kind of music being sung by the angels, archangels, cherubim and seraphim? Really, Isaac?
In wrapping up, I want to say that the question that every music minister or worship leader should ask himself is if his own personal preference in music is creating wounded spirits out there in the congregation. Is he shattering the Ã¢â‚¬Å“one-accordnessÃ¢â‚¬Â that God tells us we should have?
He should examine himself in light of 1John to see, first, if he is truly walking with the Lord, and then to ask if his musical style reflects that walk.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not about oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s personal preference about musical instruments. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not about oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s personal preference in chords, notes, rhythm. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not about oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s personal preference in dress or comportment. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s to know how God wants His children to worship Him as they assemble as the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ.