MUSIC! Does it really matter?
There is so much which could be said along this subject. Where is one to start? I am drawn to Psalms 40:1-3. Here, the psalmist says
“I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
3 He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.
This is part of the basis for the “New Song Principle.” If we believe what II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new,” then, how can we believe that everything changes except our music? Instead of changing our music, these days, we are bringing in more and more of the world when it comes to this matter. A little bit of rock beat here, a little of jazz and blues there, and before you know it, there is little difference in the music of the world and the music of the church and those who profess Christ.
One argument used these day is that “we must use the music of the world in order to reach them.” Really? Where does that come from in the Bible? How can being like the world, result in them seeing any reason to change? II Corinthians 6:17 says, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” (KJV) Clearly, anyone who knows Christ will begin to move away from the world and closer to the Lord as he walks the Christian life.
Ray Comfort of www.livingwaters.com preached a powerful message several years ago on the need to present Christ and the gospel in such a way as to cause people to see their eternal, desperate need of Christ!!! Sinners are not in need of “life enhancement” as Comfort described the modern, watered-down gospel we hear. But instead, we need a clear presentation of the gospel that will cause men and women, boys and girls to see that, “yes, I am a sinner, without Christ, condemned to hell without Him.” Seeing one’s need for Christ will result in salvation. We can never “sneak” Christ in through worldly music that has the sinful words swapped out with supposed good words.. We must clearly present Him in our music and preaching. We cannot take worldly styles of music, change the words and convince people that they need a Savior. Therefore, it is important that we present Christ through music which is God-glorifying, and points towards Christ as the Savior of this world.
Some worry that people will feel “uncomfortable” with “church music” if all we sing is hymns and conservative styles of music. But, really, should the sinner “feel comfortable” in the house of God? He should feel VERY uncomfortable if presented with a clear gospel message. God is holy. We are sinners with no way in ourselves to be made holy. Through Christ, this gulf can be spanned. There is no other way. Only by seeing ourselves as destined for eternity without Christ can we have any hope of salvation.
Mr. Garen Wolf, in his book, Church Music Matters, gives us some tests for determining what is appropriate in the church.
Summary of “tests” from Garen Wolf.
1. Does a particular style of music lend itself to the awesomeness and solemnity of worshiping God?
2. Does the style of music we are using in our church remind the people of the music they listen to in a bar or at a dance club?
3. Will this music cause the hearer to think on the lust of the eye and the lust of the flesh?
4. What will be the end result of this style of music being performed? Will it cause one to think on Christ?