Archives For CCM

This fairly recent article (2012) explains the origins of rock music. It is not written by a “wacko” fundamentalist with an ax to grind—the author is a rock musician.

Reading this article (and many others like it) should make clear to any Christian the ungodly origins and nature of this musical style. God demands that we “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph. 5:11), including any such musical styles.

Note: I did not watch any of the videos that are in this article and would recommend strongly that you do not do so either.

Numbers 10:1-10 reveals that God directed His people to make two silver trumpets and then assigned specific meanings to various uses of those musical instruments. For example, blowing the trumpets signaled that the entire assembly gather at the door of the tabernacle (Num. 10:3) whereas blowing only one trumpet signaled to the princes to gather to Moses (Num. 10:4).

This passage shows that certain humans have been supernaturally directed concerning assigned musical meanings communicated by specific uses of certain musical instruments. Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians concerning an apparently well-understood response to a trumpet being used in a specific way (1 Cor. 14:7-8) may attest to something similar or may in fact refer back ultimately to God’s revelation to Moses that Numbers 10 records.

Scripture also reveals that demonic spirits have influenced human beings to do many things without those human beings having any knowledge about such influence directing them to do so (1 Chron. 21:1; 2 Chron. 18:21; Acts 5:3).

Just as God directed His people to do specific things with musical instruments that would convey specific assigned meanings, it is entirely possible that demonic spirits have influenced human beings to do things with musical instruments that communicate specific assigned meanings in the heavenly realm, meanings which are entirely unknown by humans and unknowable by them apart from supernatural revelation (either divine or demonic) about those meanings.

To hold that demonically assigned musical meanings to human use of musical instruments in specific ways is impossible has no biblical basis and goes against specific divine revelation about supernatural influences on humans that have directed them to do things that the humans had no knowledge were their actually doing what the supernatural beings wanted the humans to do. We must consider also that various rock musicians have testified of demonic influence upon them in their producing and playing their music.

Aside from the corrupting influences of rock music on its human hearers, we must consider the possibility that rock music has a demonically assigned meaning to it such that anyone who plays music in that style communicates anti-God sentiments to supernatural beings, sentiments which are humanly unknowable. Such a possibility provides one more valid reason for Christians not to listen to, play, or use rock music in any other way.

Dr. Steve D. Pettit recently preached a helpful chapel message on the subject of music.

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.

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.

I recently started a closed Facebook discussion group called “Music and the Bible.” The description for my group states:

God has given to us much revelation in the Bible about music. Through careful discussion of what He has given us, we can all strive to be better equipped to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever in all aspects of our lives that involve music.

Today, I posted the following in that group:

At least ever since Cain refused to worship God properly (Gen. 4), God has not received the worship that He has deserved from mankind. Reading through Isaiah 46-66 this morning and comparing various statements in those chapters with Psalms 96, 98, and 100, it is clear that God has commanded the entire world to worship Him by singing praises to Him *accompanied by musical instruments* (Ps. 98:4-6).

God has never yet received such worldwide praise. A central facet of our worldwide mission is to disciple all nations to glorify God by singing praises to Him accompanied by musical instruments that are played in ways that are pleasing to Him.

If you are a Christian who is genuinely and seriously interested in discussing what the Bible reveals about music, please contact me about joining this group.

Various proponents of CCM have dismissed passages such as Exodus 32 from being relevant to the CCM debate for differing reasons, including because there is no mention of musical instruments in the passage. I believe that factoring the ability of humans to mimic percussion instruments vocally, as in the contemporary practice of beatboxing,1 substantively changes the discussion of Exodus 32 and many other passages in Scripture that have often been debated in discussions about musical styles and their propriety in Christian worship.


1 Wikipedia explains beatboxing as follows:

Beatboxing (also beat boxing or b-boxing) is a form of vocal percussion primarily involving the art of mimicking drum machines using one’s mouth, lips, tongue, and voice. It may also involve vocal imitation of turntablism, and other musical instruments. Beatboxing today is connected with hip-hop culture, often referred to as “the fifth element” of hip-hop, although it is not limited to hip-hop music.[1][2] The term “beatboxing” is sometimes used to refer to vocal percussion in general (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatboxing; accessed 11/28/16; 9:53 pm).

La Escritura enseña que hay música instrumental en el cielo que Dios recibe en adoración de sus criaturas (Ap 5:8-9; 14:2-3; 15:2-3). Por necesidad, la música instrumental del cielo debe ser de uno o más estilos musicales. Sabemos, pues, que existe al menos un estilo musical que le agrada a Dios.

Dios no nos ha proporcionado ningúnas grabaciones de audio de como suena la música celestial. No tenemos ninguna capacidad de escuchar directamente el estilo o estilos de música que los seres en el cielo tocan cuando adoran a Dios.

¿Esto significa que no hay manera para los seres humanos terrenales saber como suena la música de adoración del cielo?

¿Hay algunos medios supernaturales para los seres humanos para saber la información sobre como suena la adoración de los cielos?

La Escritura no nos proporciona ninguna información auditiva acerca de la música de adoración de los cielos. Los seres humanos que han muerto y que ahora adoran a Dios en el cielo conocen de primera mano como suena la adoración celestial pero no tienen medios para comunicarnos lo que saben sobre la música del cielo.

Satanás y sus demonios también saben como es la música de adoración de los cielos. En contraste a los seres humanos que ahora están en el cielo, Satanás y sus demonios son capaces de moverse libremente desde el cielo a la tierra y viceversa, para influenciar a los seres humanos para hacer lo que le es desagradable a Dios (1 Reyes 22:19-23; Job 1:6-7; . 2:1-2; 1 Crónicas 21:1).

Satanás y sus demonios buscan en todas las formas posibles negarle a Dios la adoración que él se merece. Podemos estar seguros de que cualquier música que los seres demoníacos inspirarían a los seres humanos para producir sería la música que es tan desagradable a Dios, ya que es posible que estos seres infernales influenciaran a los seres humanos para tocar.

Nosotros, por lo tanto, podemos aprender sobre la música de adoración de los cielos comprendiendo que es claramente diferente de la música producida por los seres humanos quienes han declarado que los seres demoníacos han influido en ellos para producir su música (como la música rock). También podemos saber que la música de adoración celestial es distinta de los estilos de música que se han originado específicamente de aquellos que utilizan sus estilos específicamente para participar en el culto idolátrico o prácticas ocultas (por ejemplo, música vudú).

Conclusión

A pesar de que no tengamos ninguna información auditiva desde la Escritura acerca de qué estilo o estilos de música son utilizados por los seres que adoran a Dios en el cielo, podemos saber como suena la adoración celestial comprendiendo claramente como es diferente del sonido de estilos musicales que se han inspirado en los seres espirituales malos. Muchos músicos de rock han dado testimonio del papel de la influencia demoníaca en su producción de su música.

Basado en la discusión anterior (y por muchas otras razones), los cristianos no deben emplear la música rock o cualquier otro estilo impíos en su adoración a Dios.

(Trasladado con la ayuda de Google Translate y Daniela Medina.)

Scripture teaches that there is instrumental music in heaven that God receives in worship from His creatures (Rev. 5:8-9; 14:2-3; 15:2-3). Of necessity, the instrumental music of heaven must be of one or more musical styles. We know, therefore, that at least one musical style exists that pleases God.

God has not provided us with any audio recordings of what the music of heaven sounds like. We have no ability to hear directly what style or styles of music the beings in heaven play when they worship God.

Does this mean that there is no way for earthly human beings to know what the worship music of heaven sounds like?

Are There Any Supernatural Means for Humans to Know Information about What the Worship Music of Heaven Sounds Like?

Scripture does not provide us with any audible information about the worship music of heaven. The humans who have died and who now worship God in heaven know firsthand what heavenly worship sounds like but have no means to communicate to us what they know about the music of heaven.

Satan and his demons also know what the worship music of heaven is like. In contrast to the humans who are now in heaven, they are able to move freely from heaven to earth and vice versa to influence humans to do what is displeasing to God (1 Kings 22:19-23; Job 1:6-7; 2:1-2; 1 Chron. 21:1).

Satan and his demons seek in every way possible to deny God the worship that is due Him. We can be certain that any music that demonic beings would inspire human beings to produce would be music that is as displeasing to God as it is possible for those infernal beings to influence humans to play.

We, therefore, can learn about the worship music of heaven by understanding that it is distinctly different from the music produced by humans who have testified that demonic beings have influenced them to produce their music (such as rock music). We can also know that heavenly worship music is distinct from the styles of music that have specifically originated from those who use their styles specifically to engage in idolatrous worship or occult practices (for example, voodoo music).

Conclusion

In spite of our not having any audible information from Scripture about what style or styles of music are used by the beings that worship God in heaven, we can know what heavenly worship sounds like by understanding that it is distinctly different from the sound of musical styles that have been inspired by evil spirit beings. Many rock musicians have testified of the role of demonic influence in their producing their music.

Based on the discussion above (and for many other reasons), Christians should not employ rock music or any other ungodly styles in their worship of God.

 

StringsWhat the Bible teaches about music is a very important subject that is an issue of much controversy among many believers today. A careful, thorough examination of Scripture shows that it does not teach ten key things that many people believe about music:

1. God created all music.

2. God created all musical styles.

3. All musical styles are inherently amoral.

4. All musical styles are inherently good and fit for human use, including for divine worship.

5. God has called Christians to “redeem” certain musical styles by using them to accompany Christian words.

6. Secular testimonies about evil spirits and music are inherently unreliable.

7. Music can only be sensual if it has sensual lyrics.

8. God does not care about the instrumental music that is used to worship Him—He only cares about the words that are sung to Him.

9. Believers with conservative musical positions have the burden of proof concerning musical styles that they say are unacceptable for Christian use, especially for divine worship.

10. For a musical style to be unacceptable to God, Scripture must explicitly say that He does not accept it.

For detailed, biblical explanations of how the Bible does not teach these things, see the articles referred to here.