Archives For Christian Books

I recently finished reading “New Heart, New Spirit, New Song,” by Douglas Bachorik. It is well-written and provides much valuable information.

Having read several books, and many articles, and other materials from both sides, especially from those who are not musically “conservative,” I think that his book will be especially helpful to those who are already solidly convinced of the correctness of being musically “conservative” and want to expand their understanding, perspectives, etc.

It is one of the top books available that from a biblical viewpoint supports using conservative music. If you have not read this book, I encourage you to do so.

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Progress on My First Book

January 23, 2021

For the past decade, God has directed me to study Scripture intensely to learn what He has revealed about music. Lord willing, I hope to write my first book this year: “The Battle for Kingdom Music: A Call to Worldwide Consecration.”

I worked for several hours on the book today and am very thankful to God that I made some good progress!

As the Lord leads, please pray with me for Spirit-filled wisdom, skill, and grace to finish writing this book this year. Thanks in advance to any who pray for me about this matter in the days to come.

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

I recently began reading an excellent book by John Flavel, Triumphing over Sinful Fear. The following paragraph arrested my attention:

It cannot be said of any person, as it is said of Leviathan: he is ‘made without fear’ (Job 41:33b). The strongest people are not without some fears. When the church is in the storms of persecution, and almost covered with the waves, her most courageous passengers may suffer as much from this boisterous passion within as from the storm without. This is the result of not thoroughly believing or seasonably remembering that the Lord—Admiral of all the oceans and Commander of all the winds—is on board the ship to steer and preserve it from the storm.

—Triumphing over Sinful Fear, 2

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

The early Christian writers aimed no polemic at the nobler art music or the folk music of their day. Had they been opposed to it, they would no doubt have spoken against it. Their denunciations of music were not general; rather, they were aimed at a few well-defined targets: the music of the popular public spectacles, the music associated with voluptuous banqueting, the music associated with pagan weddings, and the music of pagan religious rites and festivities. As we have already seen, they were not alone in their denunciations. They joined their voices with those of pagan Romans who were painfully aware of the decay of their civilization.

—Calvin R. Stapert, A New Song for an Old World: Musical Thought in the Early Church, 145

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Profoundly dangerous teaching about music from an influential writer on the subject:

Because true Christianity cannot be thought of apart from new creation, there should be no kind of music, however radical, however new, however strange, that is out of place in Christian worship, as long as it is faithfully offered. And no Christian, truly living by faith, should ever turn his or her back on and refuse to offer a musical piece simply because it is too radical.

—Harold M. Best, Music Through the Eyes of Faith, 154

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

In 1992, Tim Fisher wrote the following about CCM:

Christian Rebellion?

If it is true that rock music is the music of rebellion, then it follows that Christian rock music is the music of Christian rebellion. Christian rock exploits the generation gap that the secular rock culture has done so much to establish. The early arguments in favor of Christian rock pointed to it as a tool to draw masses to Christ and into the church. Twenty-five years of observation have shown just the opposite to be true. CCM is robbing our churches of their young people and turning them against their authorities—parents, pastors and Christian school teachers. CCM is breaking apart Christian colleges and organizations. It is polarizing the church into CCM supporters and nonsupporters. Pastors tell me regularly that no theological issue is breaking up their churches and causing people to leave like CCM.

—The Battle for Christian Music, 84-85

Is “Christian” rock “Christian” rebellion?

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Tim Fisher expresses well the importance of singing Scripture in worship:

We have departed so much from the Word of God and the instruction of Scripture that probably not one church in a hundred ever sings Scripture at all! What a shame, since the New Testament tells us specifically that we ought to be using Scripture in our worship songs (not just scriptural thought, but Scripture). The only church hymnals in existence until 100 years ago were either primarily or totally Scripture passages or paraphrases. Songs of “human composure” were not even allowed in public worship until the nineteenth century. How far have we departed from the biblical ideal in such a short time! I am not advocating a total return to the Psalters, but I am insisting upon some return to songs of Scripture.

The Battle for Christian Music, 46

 

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Praise Glorious is a new hymnal supplement that my church Mount Calvary Baptist produced this year! I am very grateful that it includes my first published hymn O Sinner, Hear!, a song that I wrote more than 10 years ago.

This hymn has been sung in several churches, including as a special at my church. The hymn highlights how God wants all mankind to hear His urgent message to repent and turn to Him because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through the Man whom He raised from the dead and has appointed to be the Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 17:30-31).

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

I was appalled to find recently an article in the Life Application Bible that asserts the following:

Music in Bible Times: Paul clearly puts forth the Christian view that things are not good or bad in and of themselves (see Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 14:7, 8, 26). The point should always be to worship the Lord or help others by means of the things of this world, including music. Music was created by God and can be returned to him in praise. Does the music you play or listen to have a negative or positive impact upon your relationship with God?

LAB, 759.

These statements that probably represent what many Christians believe about music are misleading. The first sentence is patently false:

Paul clearly puts forth the Christian view that things are not good or bad in and of themselves (see Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 14:7, 8, 26).

No, Paul does not teach this! Paul teaches that anything that God has in fact made is good in and of itself: “For every creature of God is good” (1 Tim. 4:4).

Also, I do not find a single statement in the Bible that says that “music was created by God” in the sense that is implied in this article.

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Twenty years ago, John M. Frame produced a highly touted work that has been spoken of as a premier biblical defense of contemporary worship music (CWM). I recently finished reading this work and found it to be commendable in some ways but lacking in key respects.

Strengths

Frame is a skilled writer who writes with an engaging style. He generally maintains a very commendably irenic tone throughout this work.

He treats his subject with considerable thoroughness concerning biblical considerations about the lyrics and many other related aspects of CWM. For those who approve of CWM, he provides what should be helpful direction in the selection and use of such music.

Weaknesses

In spite of choosing “A Biblical Defense” as the subtitle of the book, Frame’s treatment of the Bible is lacking because he does not provide any detailed exegetical treatment of many specific passages in the Bible that speak about instrumental music (such as 1 Samuel 16:14-23). He may have done so because he believes that they do not provide pertinent information concerning a biblical assessment of CWM.

In support of that evaluation of his views is what he writes as a concluding point in his chapter on some basics of a theology of worship:

Music is an area in which we have little explicit scriptural direction, and in which, therefore, human creativity should be encouraged, within the limits of general biblical standards.

—Frame, 28.

In my opinion, it would have been helpful in his attempting to make his case had he spent the time discussing what those “general biblical standards” are and how specifically they determine what music is acceptable for use in worship.

Because Frame assesses the Scriptural data in this way, he provides very little discussion of the fitness of the instrumental musical styles used in CWM. Later in the book, interestingly, he does say that he personally does not find Christian words set to heavy metal music to be edifying:

I cannot hear this style of music, even performed by Christians, without being harassed by emotions of anger, contempt for others, justification for drugs, violence, perverted sex, and other forms of rebellion against God. Musically, it draws attention to the artists, as audiences marvel at the increasing outrageousness of each performance. This atmosphere may be acceptable as entertainment, but it is not easily reconcilable with the purposes of worship.

—Frame, 58

In spite of having such a corrupting personal response to this music, he yet holds out the possibility that “in time that may change” (58). Yet, he provides no biblical justification for holding such optimism.

The rest of the book is similarly lacking in any biblical treatment of the key issue of whether the instrumental musical styles used in CWM are acceptable to God.

Conclusion

Christians who are looking for a solidly biblical defense of the contemporary instrumental musical styles used in contemporary worship music will be disappointed with this book. Because this book has been highly touted as a key work in supporting CWM, I find that its lack of Scriptural attention to this key issue supports my view that it is in fact not possible to make such a biblical defense of using contemporary worship music that incorporates certain contemporary instrumental musical styles commonly used in CWM.

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.