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Standing Against The Ecumenical Monoculture

Standing Against The Ecumenical Monoculture

Standing Against The Ecumenical Monoculture

Standing Against The Ecumenical Monoculture

God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines Of never failing skill He treasures up his bright designs, And works his sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints fresh courage take, The clouds ye so much dread Are big with mercy, and shall break In blessings on your head.

Judge not the LORD by feeble sense, But trust him for his grace; Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding every hour; The bud may have a bitter taste, But sweet will be the flow’r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err, And scan his work in vain; GOD is his own interpreter, And he will make it plain.

--William Cowper

Monday, May 15, 2006

 

What is the Role of Music in Church?

This post is sort of an addendum to Music is not Worship…Breathing is posted by Justin Sok. Just so, no one is confused this post only addresses the role of music; I will be doing a follow post entitled What is Biblical Worship? That post will attempt to set fourth how worship is defined in Scripture, please reserve your comments concerning the nature of worship for that post.

Throughout the whole of Scripture, the corporate singing of songs is presented as a means by which we are taught (Exodus 15, Deuteronomy 31-31 specifically 31:19,21, Judges 5, I Samuel 18:7, II Samuel 22, I Chronicles 16 and that is just a small sample).

This is why Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit writes, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16). There are several implications of this passage.

First, our songs must be Bible-saturated Christ-centered songs. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” if our songs are to be effective at teaching and admonishing then they must be saturated with Scripture; because “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16).

Second, our songs must teach and admonish. If the word of Christ must dwell in us to sing such songs then it naturally follows that the word of Christ will flow forth when singing (Luke 6:45). Since the Word of God is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” it also naturally follows that songs based upon God’s Word will do such things. Teaching (didasko) means to instruct, impart doctrine, tutor, or to advise. Admonish (noutheteo) means to warn, exhort, rebuke, or to set right. Our songs should be those that, by the Word of God, lead us into submitting ourselves to Christ and rebuke or set us right when we fail to do so.

Third, the singing of such songs always results in and flows forth from a thankful heart. Scripture is God’s gracious self-disclosure; a gift that we are immeasurably unworthy of. We should always be thankful that we have received this Word and that after receiving it God is so gracious as to lead us in obedience to it and patient enough to correct our disobedience.

The ultimate purpose of the local church is to glorify God. The specific means by which it glorifies God is through the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). This is also in accord with the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) which sets fourth the task, of the church, as the teaching others to obey Christ, to the glory of God. In the same way, music and songs ultimately exist to glorify God; however, the primary means by which they do that is by teaching the saints to submit themselves to God, for His glory.

Without question the role of music, in the corporate gathering of the local church, is to teach and admonish God’s people by His Word.

9 Comments:

Blogger Woody said...

I agree that singing should teach and admonish, but saying that we sing to ourselves is man-centered! When we worship God through song, we are taught, and admonished, just as when we worship through hearing the Word preached. But the focus is not us, it is God. We sing to HIm, to worship Him, it is God-centered, the secondary application is us beging taught. Do all to God's glory, and you will be admonished.

You have taken only one passage and developed a doctrine off of it. In 1 Chronicles 16:23-36 the context is worship, and they are singing to God, even the field exults in the Lord.

In Psalm 22 we see the proclamtion of His name as worship! Again,at times when we sing we proclaim who He is. That is worship!

Hebrews 12:28 paralled with 13:15 provides a good supporting text. We are told to offer up "acceptable forms of worship" and then the writers tells us in the next chapter that we should "offer up sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name." And we we sing certain songs we do just that, and that is worship, which again mean to prescribe honor and reverence.

I see you divorcing the terms worship, praise, and they are no divorced in Scripture.

Sunday, when we sing to God, I will ask you if you are singing to me for me, or to God for his glory. I hope you say to God for His glory, and if so, then I will be edified and admonished as a result.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Woody said...

I don't have time to look up all the reverences you pointed to as singing as teaching. But I will point to one quickly.

Deut 31:19-20....the passage does not say that singing is for teaching, it says write and song and teach that song to the people for what.....not for man but for "a witness for ME against the people is Israel." The context is God-centered not man.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Keith Walters said...

I never said that singing was to be man-centered. I actually said repeatedly that it was to be Christ-centered.

Using you line of reasoning (teaching = man-centered) one could conclude that Scripture is man centered. After all “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16).

Yes, I above all people would agree that we do everything for the glory of God. That the end for which God created the world is His own glory.

Songs that teach and admonish are not man-centered nor is expository preaching man-centered. They are both God-centered finding their origin in God's Word and pointing us toward God. The type of songs I am speaking of cannot be man-centered. The chief end of these songs is God's glory because they aim to teach man to glorify God.

I will now individually adress your critique of my supporting passages.

1 Chronicles 16:23-36 They are not singing to God. Their song is a command; exhortating the nations to submit themselves to the Lord and give Him the glory that is due Him.

Deut 31:19-20....the passage does not say that singing is for teaching, it says write and song and teach that song to the people for what.....not for man but for "a witness for ME against the people is Israel." The context is God-centered not man.
Please see my above arguments this is silly, clearly singing is not man-centered; as seen in Colossians 3:16 it results in thankfulness in your hearts to God.

I have edited my post to further clarify that singing is not man-centered.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Woody said...

I didn't mean that teaching had to be man-centered, my reasoning is that when we teach we are worshipping God by proclaiming who He is, and in turn that admonishes the hearer, but the ULTIMATE purpose is still to worship the living God!

You didn't really address the point I made about the Deut passage. You simply said it wasn't man-centered, you failed to tell me how it isn't worship when God directly says to teach them the song so they can sing it for Him, as a witness.

Anyway, I see you guys divorcing praise and worship...the two are the same, when you sing prasies to God, honor Him and revere Him that is the DEFINITION OF WORSHIP.

1 Chron 16:23-36----the context is Davids Song of Thanksgiving, and because of God's faithfulness he exhorts the nations to sing praises to God, to "worship in splendor of holiness." Again the problem is you guys are divorcing praising the Lord and worship, which is to redefine the word the way the original readers would have understood it. When you take hermeneutics one of the questions you have been taught to ask is how the original readers would have understood the passage, and when they read the Hebrew or Greek word for worship they read a word that means to ascribe honor, praise and reverence.

Singing does all that and more, it does teach and admonish as well.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Woody said...

I couldn't help it....I had to look up your references to songs teaching. Well...they teach, but each and every song gives praise to God, they exalt His name...they prescribe glory and honor to the Lord!! And again that is Worship, the defintion of the word, the way the word is presented each time it is used in the whole of Scripture.

Really it is hard for me to concede as I study and read guys that are far superior to us in knowledge of the subject, in which none have agreed with your current stance. Dever was alluded to by SOk or JTAPP as agreeing but I read through the sections of Deliberate Church that deal with worship and it is obvious he doesn't. For us to think after hundreds of years we can reinvent the doctrine of worship is arrogant and naive. I want to read this Aussie book, what is that name of that again?

9:34 AM  
Blogger Keith Walters said...

Bro have you even read my post? The only time I mentioned was worship was when I said that this post is not about worship but music; so I do not know why you keep going on about me redefining worship. Also I said I agree that the chief/supreme end of everything is to glorify God, I am in no way saying that singing does not glorify God.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Woody said...

Hey man. I have read the post, and I know you believe in glorifying God in all we do. But you are saying that singing is for teaching and not worship. I am ahead of the game because I know you don't think it is biblical to call singing worship.

So in your post you are saying that the role of music in the local church is to teach and admonish and not to worship, that is why I disagree. The reason we do anything in the church setting is to worship the living God, the secondary affects are being admonished and taught.

6:50 PM  
Blogger Keith Walters said...

Woody you have not read my post and if you have you are letting your presuppositions and assumptions distort what you are reading. If I said, "that the chief/supreme end of everything is to glorify God" then why do you continue to say, "So in your post you are saying that the role of music in the local church is to teach and admonish and not to worship, that is why I disagree." Did I ever say that music is not for worshiping? NO I DID NOT. So stop putting words in my mouth. Oh and the definitions for role and purpose are different so stop using them interchangeably.

The reason we do anything in the church setting is to worship the living God, the secondary affects are being admonished and taught."

Woody that is absurdly pragmatic you have created a total disconnect between the end and the means by which said end is achieved. Being admonished and taugh are not secondary effects. They are the means by which God is glorified. All of the passages I referenced teach about God or instruct the people to submit to God; so that they could glorify Him.

Look at this example using the pastorate. The role of the pastor is to teach and equip the saints. This does not mean that the pastor does not exists to glorify God but that the equipping of the saints is the means by which the pastor glorifies God. If the pastor fails to equip the saints then he does not glorify God. Do you see how one is dependant upon the other?

The same is true with music, if it does not admonish and teach then God is not glorified through it. This is why it is imperative that both our theology and methodology are Biblical. You can have biblical theology and fail to fulfill your ministry because your methodology is not Biblical.

9:54 PM  
Blogger JTapp said...

I think your post just does a good job defining the role of music in the life of the church. I agree with Woody that when we're singing, we're singing to God for His glory.
Colossians 3:16 clearly says we're singing songs TO God, but for the edification of eachother.

I think of this as similar to when we speak in tongues. 1 Corinthians 14:13-17. When someone is praying in a tongue, they're praying TO God. We need an interpreter so that everyone benefits from hearing the prayer and saying "amen" to it.

Some of the best ways to teach people scripture is by singing it. We're singing it to God, but then we realize "Wow, Psalm 25 really does say that."

4:09 PM  

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