Jeremy Stein - Journal

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Christian Pop

I am completely unqualified to comment on this topic, but that never stopped me before, so I will continue…

I cannot stand Christian pop music. Sometimes I listen to Christian radio during my commute and the programming sometimes includes Christian popular music. 90% of it is garbage.

“You narrow-minded reactionary art-hater!”

Please save your insults for the end, thank you. Now, as I was saying, this “music” has no place on radio intended for the Christian’s ear and mind. It is obvious to me (as a narrow-minded reactionary art-hater) that the music was created by a process similar to the following:

  1. Christians allow the world to influence them by listening to (and enjoying) its music.
  2. Christian adults feel guilty for listening to this music (or for letting their children do so) and want an alternative.
  3. Christian “artists” imitate the world’s music, but add Christian-ese to make it acceptable.

This is the only way I can explain what I hear. Everything but the words convince me that the throaty voice of that female singer is attempting to seduce her listeners. The pounding rhythmic shouting of the young male “singer” reviles the devil like a gangsta telling off the cops. And certainly those droning indifferent singers weren’t really narcotized as they were singing, were they?

I can only guess at the real lyrics of those songs, and they wouldn’t be appropriate for Christians.

Comments? Insults?

October 29, 2004 45 Comments.

45 Comments

  1. Tara replied:

    I think I agree with your conclusions, though I think it only fair to give the ‘Christian artists’ some benefit of the doubt: they might honestly think they have done nothing wrong and probably are more honest in their approach than you suggest. I just think the ‘worldly’ effects you mentioned are so prevalent they can influence a person without his knowledge. Even if you’re being a little harsh or — oversimplified? in your dealings, it seems that the music with lyrics that cannot even be understood as being Christian or not stands condemned.

    October 29th, 2004 at 3:47 pm. Permalink.

  2. Shannon replied:

    I want specifics.
    What music are you referring to exactly?

    October 29th, 2004 at 6:25 pm. Permalink.

  3. Joan Hershberger replied:

    Wrong? I don’t know if I would use that word, but not my style. Or as I read in Christianity today “the whole song consisted of one phrase repeated many times.” Annoying.
    I agree seductive sounds … and music. On Sunday mornings a couple times a month I walk through the nursing home where the TV is blaring away with black church music and performers … LOTS of motion, actions, dancing.
    The real question is this … those who listen to the music and like it, are their lives different from those around them? consider the Christian musicians of reknown … are their lives and their actions different, do they stand out and stand up for something?
    The Australian young woman who takes a stand for modesty and purity, impresses me, I am not familiar with her music, but I have read about her.

    October 29th, 2004 at 7:00 pm. Permalink.

  4. Jeremy replied:

    Shannon, I have no idea what specific music I’m referring to. I never tune in long enough to hear what it was.

    Aunt Joan, Google tells me you’re referring to Rebecca St. James. It seems many are impressed that a Christian musician is a virgin. That’s telling.

    October 30th, 2004 at 8:45 am. Permalink.

  5. Entries In Life replied:

    Christian Music
    What I’d like to see in Christian Music

    October 30th, 2004 at 10:22 pm. Permalink.

  6. Brian replied:

    Man can I relate. I’ve only found a few Christian artists that don’t seem to have been caught up in all of the fame hype and being entertainment instead of offering worship. (Directed at the audience, not God.)

    Being around a few big names while helping out with concert “security” and “production” aspects really opened up my eyes. I pray for change.

    Anyway, two people that seem down to earth are Andrew Peterson & Mitch McVicker. If you ever get a chance, check them out.

    November 2nd, 2004 at 4:39 pm. Permalink.

  7. Bob Aman replied:

    I’d like to suggest that not all Christian pop music is equal. (And I apologize for the long comment.)

    Exhibit A:

    Up to my ears in bitter tears,
    I can’t believe I’ve sunk this low.
    As I walk the plankton,
    Inner sanctum.
    Got outta Dodge,
    Sailed on a bon-less bon voyage.
    You said North I headed South,
    Tossed overboard,
    Good Lord, thats a really large mouth….
    I’m sleepin with fishes here,
    In the belly of the whale.
    I’m highly nutritious here,
    In the belly of the whale.
    Bad food, lousy atmosphere,
    I don’t wanna belly ache…
    How long is this gonna take?
    Woke up this morning kind of blue,
    Thinking through that age-old question:
    How to exit a whales digestion?
    It might behoove me to be heaved,
    Head out like a human comet…..
    Larry: Guys…you might not want to rhyme with comet!
    I’m sleepin with fishes here,
    In the belly of the whale.
    I’m highly nutritious here,
    In the belly of the whale.
    I’m ready to reappear,
    I don’t wanna belly ache,
    Lord, how long’s this gonna take?
    End times, they come rolling around,
    Enzymes, they come breaking us down to the core.
    The good Lord grants we all get a second chance,
    I’m one of the dishes here,
    In the belly of the whale.
    They say I’m delicious here,
    In the belly of the whale.
    Lord, please make him chuck it all,
    It’s a gut call,
    In the belly of the whale,
    I’m in the belly of the whale,
    In the belly of the whale,
    In the belly of the whale,
    I’m in the belly of the whale,
    In the belly of the whale,
    I’m in the belly of the whale,
    In the belly of the whale,
    I’m in the belly.
    In the belly of the whale,
    In an underwater jail.
    It’s a tight squeeze,
    It’s a-gettin to me,
    But it’s roomier than the tail.
    Hey sailor got my flow free,
    Like a salmon to the sea,
    From the L.A. symphony.
    I’m a paddleboat paddlin in their wake,
    A fake free-styler but my unemployment pays,
    I’m avoiding cliches,
    Like a “whale of a tale”
    Or “you can’t keep a good man down”
    ‘Cause you can and I been there, man.
    But I’ve been expectorated,
    I’m elated!
    I’m free like Willie!
    Happy Day!
    Oops…..
    Thats a bit of a cliche.

    I mean…. come on. They used ‘expectorated‘ correctly in a sentence.

    November 4th, 2004 at 7:39 pm. Permalink.

  8. Jeremy replied:

    Bob, I think you missed the point. I’m not complaining about the lyrics (I can usually barely make them out anyhow). I’m complaining about the “music”. Listen to that song (Amazon has a clip). Without the words, what do you think they’re singing about?

    The music doesn’t reflect Jonah’s situation, though it might still be appropriate for Archibald Asparagus, so I won’t pick on this particular song. My point is that most popular Christian music claims to be about spiritual things, but the music is instead earthly, unspiritual, [fill in the blank].

    November 6th, 2004 at 11:53 pm. Permalink.

  9. Bob Aman replied:

    No, I didn’t miss the point, just trying to be cute, and Veggie Tales and the Newsboys seem to be as well. It’s not that they’re trying to accurately reenact the story of Jonah. The primary offense of Ninevah in the Jonah movie was “Fish-slapping.” Understandable given the nature of their real offenses. You don’t necessarily want to bring that up in a kid’s story. But they are trying to recreate the idea behind the story, that of why it’s important not to run away from God.

    But really, I’m not sure that I agree with the assessment “most”. What you hear on the radio, quite probably, yeah. From the (probably flawed) perspective of most Christian radio stations, they’re trying to appear to the widest range of possible listeners, many of whom won’t be Christians. But non-broadcasted music tends to be quite different in my experience. Maybe it’s just my music taste that steers me away from the music you’re specifically referring to. I don’t know, but I personally find much of the contemporary Christian music to be quite good. SonicFlood, Jars of Clay, usually (but I’d say not always) Newsboys and dcTalk, and a whole host of other Christian artists really do make the attempt to glorify God in their music, and that’s something that ought to be respected. I don’t really think that it’s something that is open for criticism if the only real issue you have is differing music taste. It’s fine to be conservative in your music choices, but there’s no reason why the Ska music done by the Supertones for instance (which I tend to personally dislike) can’t be glorifying to God.

    So yeah, I think you need to be careful to not make blanket statements like “Christian pop music is all bad because the lyrics are dumb, you can barely hear the words, and even if you could, it could be ambiguous whether the song is about Jesus or some dude’s girlfriend.” This is certainly true for some songs, but certainly not true for others.

    November 7th, 2004 at 6:14 pm. Permalink.

  10. Bob Aman replied:

    Also… uhm, without the words to a song, just the music, uh… I’m not really sure the hymns we sing would really be glorifying. They’re just notes strung together. It’s the words that lend the song the real glory. We can play hymns without the words, but because the tune reminds us of the words, that is where the glorification comes from. Not the tune itself unless the intent of the original composer was to glorify God. Classic example being all of the hymns whose music was really drinking tunes. People turned drinking tunes into hymns, but if you separate out the words it goes back to being just a drinking tune.

    So I think your admonition to separate out the words is somewhat counterproductive.

    November 7th, 2004 at 6:21 pm. Permalink.

  11. Jeremy replied:

    Bob, I wonder if I wasn’t clear when I wrote

    I can only guess at the real lyrics of those songs, and they wouldn’t be appropriate for Christians.

    I was not saying that I couldn’t make out the words. Rather, I was suggesting that the words used by the performers didn’t seem to fit with the music (or with the way the words were sung). It sounded like the music was taken from the world and the words were switched to Christian-ese. Thus, my oh-so-clever and sardonic reference to the “real lyrics”.

    I’ve sometimes been in situations where I have to hear wordly popular music. It’s evil and it disgusts me. Every aspect of the music is designed to entice the listener to sin. The words describe the joys of sin. The beat excites the listener. The female voices toy with the words, breathy or guttural as needed to seduce. The male voices are almost monotonous, too cool (or stoned) to care. I try to escape those situations as quickly as I can, before any part of the world’s music gets caught in my head.

    And then I turned on Christian radio, and what did I hear? The same songs were playing! I couldn’t believe it. Oh, wait… no they’re not quite the same. Did he just say “the grace of God”? What’s happening here? It was all the same sinful music save the words.

    You’ve repeated the argument that the non-lyric elements of the music are amoral. But when I heard the world’s songs, it was obvious that they use these elements to promote their evil goals. I challenge you to explain the non-lyric elements of your favorite music. Is it similar to that of the world’s music? If so, why?

    November 8th, 2004 at 10:23 am. Permalink.

  12. Bob Aman replied:

    Well, since you said “your favorite music” I’d have to point out that my favorite music is anything by Chris Thile & company, which tends not to have any lyrics at all. It’s not similar to the rest of the world’s music, because uh…. I don’t think anyone else could successfully play it.

    But in any case, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think your argument is completely invalid. The Christian radio stations in Rochester are, for lack of a better way of describing them, complete trash. The radio stations elsewhere are not necessarily so. The Christian radio station in Waxhaw, NC was quite excellent really. I think all I’m really trying to say is, the problem isn’t as bad as you think it is, and you’re overreacting because the local radio stations just happen to be trash and you have no opportunity to hear the good instead of the bad without intentionally seeking it out.

    I have no doubt that the world’s songs have used the non-lyrical elements to promote sin, and that reusing these elements is generally a bad idea. But I would still make the case that there is nothing inherently good in one set of notes as opposed to another. This means that the enjoyability of a set of notes or the unenjoyability of a set of notes is really a matter of taste. I happen to like a more modern bluegrass sound, you might prefer a more classical music sound. Neither is inherently better than the other, and both can be used to glorify God given the right intentions.

    November 8th, 2004 at 11:08 am. Permalink.

  13. Shannon replied:

    Interesting comments!
    I have been thinking about this entry a lot lately. And I’m glad Bob pointed out the hymn tunes/drinking songs example!

    I’m afraid that one of my current favorite contemporary songs might be considered to have that sinful sound…I’m thinking of Nicole C. Mullins in the verses of “When I Call on Jesus”. But I find this song to be very powerful.

    And as long as people are mentioning Veggie Tales, the “Praise the Lord, He’s the God of Second Chances” song from the Jonah movie is also extremely powerful to me.

    What about Steven Curtis Chapman? I think his “Dive” song might not sound particularly Christian on the first hearing, but the same CD has “What about the Change”….which made me run right out and buy the CD soon after I heard it. SCC is also cool because he has 3 kids and has adopted 3 more…

    I think my only point is that I would prefer to pass judgement on individual songs. I think Jeremy should listen to “When I Call on Jesus” and tell me what he thinks!

    I may as well also agree that secular music can be horribly, horribly evil…and that music is enormously powerful, and that we should listen critically….like we do. This is, of course, the issue that gets churches hot under the collar!
    May we be self-controlled and alert, remembering that everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial, and that we should make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace…

    November 9th, 2004 at 10:25 pm. Permalink.

  14. Jeremy replied:

    I honestly have no idea what any of you are referring to when you mention specific musicians or works. Clearly I am unqualified to make the “90%” statement. However, I wonder whether many Christians have been so conformed to the world that they no longer hear what the music is really saying.

    It’s often quoted that words are only responsible for a small percentage of the meaning conveyed in a conversation. That is true even over the telephone when visual cues are not available. How much more the case, when instrumentation is available in addition to inflections of the voice!

    I want Christians to think about what the music and its performance are saying. Why is the performer trying to make you feel that way? Why do they sing in that way? Why do they use those instruments? I just want people to ask why.

    A hymn was also a drinking tune. OK. Either the tune conveyed some emotion common to church-goers and drunks, or one of the two picked a poor tune. In any case, I’m sure the performance of the songs were considerably different, and most likely consistent with its message.

    November 10th, 2004 at 10:08 pm. Permalink.

  15. Shannon replied:

    I agree about asking why.

    I bet it is universal for Christians to struggle with being conformed to the world. If we really knew what God was like, for instance, wouldn’t that change a lot of what we do? Like the Israelites at Mt. Sinai, begging that God not talk to them directly.

    I bet we’re all so conformed to the world we often don’t even hear what we ourselves are saying. I’m glad God is big enough to deal with even us!

    November 17th, 2004 at 10:17 pm. Permalink.

  16. Jess replied:

    I think you should consider taking the Sonship course that Duane Girdner hosts. Another series starting soon in a Sunday school room near you!!
    Also: I just found out you have a website (when Aunt Joan said she got pictures off your website). I see several interesting articles about Shannon & CJ and Grandpa & Grandma Weeks, but not a single clue that there is another side of the family-Grandma Stein, Uncle Ben & Aunt Jess, Cousin Amelia…(since we are not speaking in person, nor even on the phone, you are missing all the clues that would tell you whether or not I am actually offended or sarcastic ;-)

    January 18th, 2005 at 9:09 am. Permalink.

  17. Jeff Seifert replied:

    This reminds me of an oft-quoted story involving the science-fiction author Theodore Sturgeon. One day, while at a book-signing (or sci-fi convention, I don’t quite remember), a lady come up to him and says, “90% of science fiction is crud!”, to which Sturgeon replies, “Lady, 90% of everything is crud!”

    Thus was born Sturgeon’s Law: “90% of everything is crud.”

    Hence, to characterize 90% of Christian music as crud is right on the money. However, wouldn’t you also characterize 90% of the secular music market as crud as well? It’s just that, because the original pool is so small to begin with, radio stations need to dig deeper into the crud to find something to play. Other radio genres can get away with skimming off the top 10% or 20% of music, but Christian radio probably has to resort to playing everything to avoid repeating itself every hour.

    March 24th, 2005 at 2:06 pm. Permalink.

  18. Dave Wolfe replied:

    Christians today like to try to use the old hymn argument (“Even the tunes to the old hymns were drinking songs…”) as a grounds for bringing secular music with “Christian” lyrics into the church. The major difference though between the drinking songs and secular songs back then and the secular songs today is the MANNER in which they were/are presented. The secular songs back then were piano tunes (played on the piano in a rather harmless style, though perhaps in a saloon or other ungodly place). The secular songs of today are presented in a rather sensuous, worldly manner where performance and effect are preeminent. Playing the old secular songs today will not evoke any kind of sensuous feeling. Playing the newer secular songs WILL (or I should say INTENDS to) evoke a sensuous or “feel good” response. The words today in most Contemporary Christian music are shallow and “me”-centered, showing lack of knowledge of God and who He is and what exactly transpired at Calvary. You can argue all you want, but the “dusty hymns” of the 1800’s show that men and women knew the depth and true meaning of the cross and the Lord Jesus. “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks in to His name” (Heb. 13:15). It appears to me that believers today are sorely wanting in offering sacrifices to God (where He gets all and I get nothing). The current mindset today is that I also should get something when I offer to God. Feeling good when “worshiping” (or having the “worship” look good) is the priority, i.e. “Did I get something at church?”

    April 15th, 2005 at 12:49 pm. Permalink.

  19. anne replied:

    It seems to me that Christian music is an art form and art in its nature is an expression. Therefore it only makes sense that you have some music that is very deep, some music that is very self-centered, some that is very religious, etc. It is as vast as the artists and each particular style of communication. There is no definition of art, only that it is true to the artist. So, it seems to me to judge each expression and say whether or not it is worthy, is irrelevant. Now, I could judge the art as “is this worthwile to me” and that is when I turn it off or throw it away. There is a greater purpose over and above the art. For example: Worship leader Jami Smith (www.jamismith.com), on her web-site, says something along the lines that “worship doesn’t depend on a great song but on the heart of the listener”. Her expression is true to her as an artist and her hope is that her expression will encourage others to connect with God. Whether I do connect or not does not invalidate her expression. I hope this makes sense.

    April 17th, 2005 at 5:04 pm. Permalink.

  20. Dave Wolfe replied:

    I am very hesitant to reply to the above, but I must because of the importance of worship in the Christian life (as some have rightly called “the Christian’s highest calling.”) Anne, I understand what you are trying to say, but much of our conception of worship today is unbiblical, and even Jami Smith calls us to examine how we do things as Christians. On her website she also says the following:

    “I am asking God to alert my senses to what is cultural Christianity and what is biblical Christianity…I want to help teach the body of Christ not to be confused about the purpose of corporate worship.”

    We are so good at saying this (“let’s do things biblically as Christians”), but we are very poor at actually accomplishing this motto. Please tell me in the NT where you find even a hint of a “worship leader” (besides the unseen Holy Spirit of God)? Where do you even find a hint of music having such a visible and important role in the church? We want to be “Biblical” as Christians, but we are very careful to ignore the very clear teaching in the Bible for us as Christians. How the Lord must be saying to many of us, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). Does not the same Lord who saved me in His grace have the right now as “Lord” to say HOW we go about corporate worship? And indeed He has in His word (esp. 1 Cor. 11-14).
    Cultural Christianity (as Jami calls it) is often blindly being called biblical Christianity, and unfortunately anyone who criticizes or points this out is called legalistic. And then I hear, “Well that’s how the church did things back then [1 Cor. 11-14]. We are not obliged to do things the same today, for things have changed.” I can see how someone might say this except for the very strong language in 1 Cor. 14:37 concerning HOW we are to meet as Christians: “If anyone things himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.” This does not sound cultural to me! We acknowledge that the Lord COMMANDED us to love one another as Christians (John 13:34-35), but will are hesitant to embrace that He has also COMMANDED us to meet in a certain manner (which by the way excludes women from verbally leading or speaking, 1 Cor. 14:34, no offense to Jami because she sounds like a good singer). Perhaps I have drifted a bit, but (anyone) let me know what you think…

    April 17th, 2005 at 8:33 pm. Permalink.

  21. Elizabeth replied:

    Okay, as someone who does listen to a lot of popular Christian music, I think this conversation is leaving out a few major points. First of all, who are we to say that the secular music of our time is that much more shocking to us than that of another era was to committed Christians of their time? Mozart was considered scandalous in his day, and possibly the biggest reason some composers wrote sacred music in the past was because that was the only way to earn a living. They were not allowed, or not subsidized in any way, which amounted to the same thing, to write music that was not meant to be played in church. Artists and composers were supported by benefactors or sponsors, often the ruling court of their particular time and place; historians have written that some of these artists and composers paid the artistic version of lip service to the court, when their reasons for writing music may have been just as secular or apathetic to God as some of the so-called Christian music probably is today.
    Living in the South, going to church is just what most people do, and is not necessarily an indicator of the state of someone’s soul, so how are we to judge a person’s commitment, or lack thereof, by their music alone? I agree to a certain extent to the person who wrote above that one has to look at the life of a writer/performer/artist to be able to form a more informed opinion, but, again, who are we to say that God doesn’t use people, songs, art, etc. in whatever way He chooses? Suppose a non-Christian is surfing radio stations and stops on a song that he/she likes the sound of. Much of the music put out in the last 5 years or so is of a much better musical and production quality than in say, the early 1990s, and if it catches the attention of a non-believer that causes that individual to begin a search that will lead him to a committed relationship with the one true God, how can it be wholly condemned? Particularly on the basis of an admittedly uninformed condemner? If you listen to Mac Powell of Third Day, or many of the current popular contemporary or alternative Christian bands, you might be surprized by what they have to say about critics who have accused them of “selling-out” or conforming to the world’s standards rather than those of God. Yes, there are song-writers and performers in Christian music today who are not interested in spreading the Gospel, who live lives that are not consistent with the tenets of Christianity, but are there that many more of them than there are in the general church-going population? I believe that these artists may be held to a higher standard, simply because they lead more public lives, but the same can be said of church leaders, and how many of them have been exposed as not having a true personal relationship with Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour? Or worse, how many of them have NOT been exposed? That doesn’t mean that a sovereign God can’t still use them.
    It seems to me that prayer for God’s will to be done by and for music, musicians, and those who listen to music, in whatever way God chooses, might be a more appropriate (and effective) exercise than railing against how evil “Christian” music is today. I understand that the complaints are directed more at the beat, the voice, the feelings evoked; I also understand that every generation since who knows when has disapproved of the next generation’s music and/or art. Human nature being what it is, we often criticize and condemn that which we do not understand, and which we feel threatens someone or something dear to us. Having said that, I also acknowledge that this is YOUR website, and you can say what you whatever you want. Just remember, God IS in control.

    May 6th, 2005 at 11:24 am. Permalink.

  22. MikeC replied:

    “Why does the devil get all the good music?”

    The drinking songs were used during the last great revival period because everyone already knew the tune. They just wrote new words. That way everyone could sing along. Amazing Grace is the classic example.

    May 6th, 2005 at 3:50 pm. Permalink.

  23. Shannon replied:

    It is useful to keep the drinking songs history in mind, just to keep myself from holding hymns up as completely superior to anything else.

    As a violinist who isn’t any good at improvising, hymns generally have melodies that are much more interesting to play.

    Variety is useful…it’s rough to visit a church and not know a single song that is being sung.

    Our latest Christian music aquisition is Psalms put to music. There are some fairly compelling arguments for making more use of the Psalms than we do.

    The random comments of Shannon end here!

    May 8th, 2005 at 6:44 pm. Permalink.

  24. Tara replied:

    Promises, promises.

    May 8th, 2005 at 8:11 pm. Permalink.

  25. Dave Wolfe replied:

    In response to Eliz’s comment above, a distinction that should be made is “in the church” vs. outside. A Christian certainly has the liberty to listen to any kind of Christian music conscience before a holy God allows, but when we meet in the church, “the house of the living God” (1 Tim. 3:15), we are to meet in His name, i.e. His authority. Thus the authority has changed. When I’m in my house I have authority to do anything and everything I want (including listening to any kind of music) and anyone who comes into my house is obligated to abide by the authority I have established.

    When it comes to GOD’s house, isn’t it the same? When I meet with His church I am placing myself under His authority and cannot just come into His house and say, “This is the kind of music I think we should have.” Rather, I should be thinking, “What music is pleasing to Him? What has no tint of the world (for God’s house is holy)? What is edifying to the saints (that is truly BUILDS them up), for only this kind of music should be in God’s house?” When someone meets in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ it is not lightly to be thought of, for our God is still a holy and to be feared.

    May 11th, 2005 at 10:37 am. Permalink.

  26. Tara replied:

    Disagree, partly — we’re under God’s authority as His servants wherever we are. I would think that what is appropriate in church is what we should want everywhere else.

    May 11th, 2005 at 5:09 pm. Permalink.

  27. Shannon replied:

    Not only was Shannon wise, but she also imparted knowledge to the people. She pondered and searched out and set in order many comments, and they were all wise, and though her sister treateth her wisdom flippantly and twisteth her words to mean that which they did not, Shannon was not hindered.

    I agree, partly. Of course we are always under God’s authority, but that does look different in different places. There was nothing wrong in the OT with selling things, but doing it in the temple is another thing.

    Isn’t that why music in church shouldn’t be a “give glory to me” performance, but a “less of me and more of Him?”

    I’m gloriously off topic from the original, but oh so happy….

    May 11th, 2005 at 8:25 pm. Permalink.

  28. Dave Wolfe replied:

    I’m sorry, but I have to agree with Shannon the Great. For example, a woman is under the authority of God at all times–agreed. But she certainly has “God-ordained” restrictions when she comes into a gathering of the assembly. Outside the church she is free to pray and prophesy, but in the church God calls her to be silent. Is music different?

    May 12th, 2005 at 10:53 am. Permalink.

  29. Elizabeth replied:

    So what music specifically does God say we should listen to in church? I seem to remember something about “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord…” Does that exclude everything other than sacred music written by a few white guys over the past few hundred years?

    I agree with Dave about coming under God’s authority in His house, but Tara also is correct in pointing out that we’re to be under His authority wherever we are. In fact, isn’t that kind of the crux of the whole human condition?

    But back to the music discussion.

    I think the problem lies in discerning just what kind of music is pleasing to God, and it’s my opinion that we need to be very careful about making assumptions here. It would be very easy to limit musical offerings; in fact I believe that’s exactly what “The Church” has done since — well, I don’t even know. Certainly since the Middle Ages, and I have no idea how much longer.

    And while we’re placing limits, isn’t it annoying that while they’re playing your all-time favorite hymn, the choir is performing at their best, and you yourself are singing beautifully, angelically, that idiot behind you is singing his heart out, but just off-key enough to make it difficult for even you to reach those high notes, and — what? That idiot is making a — is that a JOYFUL noise?

    Ecclesiastes 3:4 tells us that there is even “a time to dance.”

    Psalm 149 says

    1Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.

    2Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.

    3Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.

    4For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people

    and Psalm 150:4:

    4Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed

    instruments and organs.

    Now, I don’t personally feel led to dance in worship, but the point is that there are many ways to praise and worship Biblically. I couldn’t find one single reference to Bach in the Bible Gateway online concordance, nor have I ever seen anything there mentioning alternative or contemporary Christian music!

    At any rate, (at the risk of repeating myself, Jeremy) I know for a fact that when I fill my ears and mind with praise and worship music, not much else can get in there. I like many different styles of music. I listen to Bach and By The Tree, to Gregorian Chant and D.C. Talk. Sometimes I even listen to just the sound of the wind in the trees, and consider it all praise to the Living God.

    May 13th, 2005 at 5:17 pm. Permalink.

  30. Shannon replied:

    Maybe it is easier to talk about what we shouldn’t listen to rather than what we should listen to!

    In church, I find music inappropriate when it is performed by persons who are wearing revealing clothing.

    I find music to be inappropriate when it is performed by people who clearly have not practiced very much. Making a joyful noise is a wonderful thing…I personally prefer doing that with pots and pans in the kitchen, but I fully support anyone who chooses to do that in church. I am talking about people who take their playing lightly and just don’t prepare.

    I find music to be inappropriate when it is clearly not focused on God. I am thinking here about classical music that was not even written for the church.

    This is a bit more controversial, but I lean towards thinking music is inappropriate when played during prayer. “God is in heaven, and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” I don’t exactly know where the dividing line is between the God whose fire consumed those who entered his presence inappropriately and the God whose heart went out to the widow who had lost her only son. Obviously both are true pictures of God, but how does that apply? I tend to think that why someone in church is talking to God, everyone else should be fairly respectful. I find music during prayer to be extremely distracting- say, when the organ is playing softly…I’d like to know what all of you think of that…

    In church, where the music is mostly live, the attitudes of the musicians and the congregation become so much more important.

    Now on to content of music, it should clearly give God the glory…The book of Esther can get away without mentioning God, but one will spend less time with a song. Its focus should be on God. That brings up the interesting point of instrumental music. Sometimes I don’t play a hymn because I think not many people will know it. I’m thinking the words while I play and I want everyone else to be doing the same. Someday I will play in church and have the words up on the screen while I’m playing.

    Believe it or not, I actually looked at Jeremy’s original post several times while writing that last paragraph!

    May 13th, 2005 at 7:39 pm. Permalink.

  31. Dave Wolfe replied:

    You all have very good comments, and I see wisdom in what is being said here. Let me give a couple of examples of how I have seen music used poorly, as it may help practically in our conclusions:

    1) My brother and sisters and I have a brass quintet. We are asked whenever we all happen to be home to play at our home assembly (I don’t do this anymore, but at the time I did). The brother coordinating the music one particular Sunday asked us to play while the bread and cup went around, so that the saints’ “worship might be enhanced.” (These are his exact words.) I quietly objected, and a look of surprise came upon his face.
    True worship should not (and I would daresay cannot) be based upon music (whether style or group). I cannot “enhance” worship any more than adding notes to a Mozart Symphony “enhances” its quality. Joshua built an altar of stones to worship the LORD after the LORD gave him victory against Ai, but the stones were not to be cut or shaped in any way with iron (Josh. 8:31), which was in accordance with God’s word. Similarly, true worship needs no human addition or ingenuity to make it “better.” This is why I have such a problem with the huge focus on music in the church. People think that music is worship, when in fact it may not be! The grounds for true worship is GOD alone, and music cannot add to or enhance worship. It certainly may accompany it (2 Chr. 29:27), but the cart goes before the horse!

    2) We often use hymns (in the Lord’s Supper and the FBH) to cover up our lack of spirituality. A brother may call out a hymn, not because it is in our heart as an assembly by the grace of the Holy Spirit, but because we really don’t have anything to offer God, so a hymn is used to cover this up. We then think we have “done our service to God” by singing to him, when in fact our hearts are cold and worldly and far from him! Or even worse, we think that playing/singing loudly, more, or “with passion” (i.e. working up our emotions) produce or show forth true worship. Yikes!

    Do these thoughts help any?

    May 14th, 2005 at 11:03 am. Permalink.

  32. Elizabeth replied:

    1. So what is “true worship?”
    2. Is there any possibility that different people have different worship styles? if not, then
    3. What is the correct style and on what (or whose) authority is that based?
    4. Is it possible that music during prayer may be distracting to some and not to others?
    5. Is anyone else enjoying this exchange as much as I am???

    May 18th, 2005 at 1:05 pm. Permalink.

  33. Shannon replied:

    1. worship- homage rendered to God which it is sinful (idolatry) to render to any created being- according to Eaton’s Bible dictionary

    Somewhere I heard that the word refers to being on your face before God.

    In my experience, people rarely seem to know what this word means…not sure if I do! I think it tends to be one of those “church lingo” words that everyone tosses around and nobody really knows what it means.

    2. People absolutely have different worship styles. Picture Miraim leading the women of Israel with a tambourine…and then picture Jesus and his disciples singing a hymn…or David dancing before the Lord. Coming from another perspective, I think it is impossible to make an argument from the Bible against different worship styles.

    3. Uhhh….

    4. Music will definitely be distracting to some and not to others. I’m sure it is more distracting to me because I am a musician, of sorts. But the real question is, is that what God wants? Is it honoring or is it disrespectful?

    5. I am absolutely enjoying this exchange! Thanks for the concrete questions that I can just answer….

    I guess it is unfair to leave number 3 totally alone. I am sure there is no one correct style in the way we are talking about style. But we could talk about correct worship in terms of “the sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite heart.” He wants our repentance. He wants us to seek Him whole-heartedly, to love Him with all our hearts and souls and minds and strength. If all Christians were truly doing that, I bet music would not be as divisive an issue as it is.

    Application:

    1. Love the Lord your God….

    2. Make sure you are worshipping God the way you should. Examine yourself…

    3. Don’t do yourself what you don’t think should be done…(I will not play on my drumset in church…I will not…)

    4. Don’t gossip about those who do what you think ought not to be done.
    5. Love your neighbor as yourself.

    I suppose I could go on, but I’m feeling a bit guilty. Did somebody start praying while I was playing music during the women’s retreat? Do I talk too much about what is wrong with the music at my church? Ouch!

    Stopping, before I expose my sins any further…

    May 18th, 2005 at 4:21 pm. Permalink.

  34. Dave Wolfe replied:

    Like every other important doctrine or concept in the Christian life I believe we must go to the Bible to find out the mind of GOD concerning the matter. There are many instances in the Bible that are labeled by the Spirit of God as “worship.” Mark them! There is “true” worship in the Bible. And our Lord Jesus said that “true” worshipers (indicating there is “false” worship!) worship in spirit and truth (John 4). Worship, I will suggest, is not dependant upon a circumstance or “mode” of expression. It doesn’t need music, a “church” building, or “happiness” to occur. In fact David worshiped when his son was killed by the LORD. Job worshiped when Satan was allowed to demolish his family and his flesh. Etc.

    I’m not saying that every form of expression of worship is mentioned in the Bible, but why do we as “believers” in God’s Word start at any other place when trying to figure things out? “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Is. 8:20).

    May 19th, 2005 at 1:32 pm. Permalink.

  35. Elizabeth replied:

    I like Shannon’s definition (from somewhere) that worship is being on your face before God. What about those Christians who choose to literally worship in this attitude? Any thoughts on this?

    So, if Shannon and Dave’s last comments are correct, and I believe they are, what is the problem with music during worship, prayer, communion? So again I ask, is a particular style of music in church inherently better than any other and if so, why? If it is God-honoring, reverent, and produced in an appropriate manner, what’s the problem? If you don’t like it, can’t you just go to another church or another service at that same church? I don’t mean to sound flip about this: I know all too well what it is like to leave a church you have grown up in, been baptized, confirmed, married in, have buried loved ones from. And if you belong to a church community that changes after many years, there are surely channels to go through in dealing with those changes, short of leaving. But don’t we as adults make choices about how and where we worship based partly on the style of worship offered there? Obviously these are not the only criteria for attending or joining a church, but if you aren’t comfortable with dancing in the aisles, or you are lulled to sleep by solemn, staid ritual, no matter how heartfelt either is by other participants, don’t you just go somewhere else? Spoken like the true city girl that I am, I suppose…

    Back to Jeremy’s original entry. Maybe I am so worldly that I just don’t notice it, but after re-reading his assertions about Christian pop music, I gotta say that I don’t feel particularly inflamed by lust when listening to the music on my current favorites playlist. Caedmon’s Call doesn’t solely write or perform praise and worship music, but what isn’t is still meaningful, honest, really good music. I could list so many more examples of high quality bands — Caedmon’s Call is just what happened to be playing when I began that sentence.

    This was not an idea I was open to at all prior to about 1991, which seems to be when a greater variety of Christian musicians started gaining attention and airplay. I wasn’t open to it during church (except during weekend spiritual retreats, etc. — kind of like being at summer camp) until about 4 years ago, and now I can’t imagine going to a church that didn’t offer a contemporary service.

    My point? If you don’t know of any “popular” Christian music that appeals to you, you might just not know of much “popular” Christian music. Give the folks mentioned in this exchange a listen and you might be surprized.

    May 19th, 2005 at 9:00 pm. Permalink.

  36. Dave Wolfe replied:

    Elizabeth wrote, “But don’t we as adults make choices about how and where we worship based partly on the style of worship offered there?” If we agree that true worship is utterly and without question directed toward God, then why should I choose a worship style that fits MY taste? Perhaps a better question to ask ourselves is, “What warms the heart of God? What is pleasing in HIS sight?”

    Never mind the different, controversial musical “styles” out there, whether WE like one better than another. What does the LORD desire? A very important principle in the OT is this: “You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way [the way the nations do it]…” (Deut. 12:31). We are not under law, but God, in His Son the Lord Jesus, is calling men and women out of this world to serve and honor Him, and He has shown us “the way” worship occurred in the early church (1 Cor. 11-14, 1 Pet. 2, etc.). The way the world does it (see Dan. 3) is NOT the way we are to do it.

    Eliz also wrote, “If you don’t like it, can’t you just go to another church or another service at that same church?” I really think this is detrimental to the conception and indeed reality of the church being Christ’s body. If the body is one (made up of many members, 1 Cor. 12), then what are we showing by having different services (i.e. “traditional,” “contemporary,” etc.)? In effect we are saying that my personal taste dictates the order of God’s house. 1 Corinthians consistently shows the believers, when they met for “church,” to be gathered together “in one place” (e.g. 1 Cor. 5:4, 14:23). The purpose of these early believers gathering was not personal preference of music taste, but to remember Christ (1 Cor. 11) and to edify one another (1 Cor. 14) in love.

    Not only “What warms God’s heart?” but “How should I do it?” (the order) seems important. Having a band or song leader “leading” all of the songs is foreign to the Bible. The one man show has become the “way” many do church today. It cannot be found in the Bible. All I’m asking is that we examine what we do (and why we do it) in light of NT teaching…

    May 20th, 2005 at 9:23 am. Permalink.

  37. elizabeth replied:

    Dave, you make some good points. I have long believed that different services can be detrimental to the body of Christ, but if you extrapolate that out (is that redundant?), then shouldn’t all believers in a given area meet at the same time and place? Not practicable, in urban areas. So should all, say, Baptists in an area congregate together? Again, not practicable (especially in Texas, even though they sure do try!:)). And does that then require that churches get bigger and bigger (again, especially in Texas!) as more and more people attend and become members? Or do they break off and form smaller assemblies? And what if some of those assemblies get too big for just one service? Do they break off and form new “churches” or do they just add another service or two? A question I know many communities have grappled with and not one I think there is an easy answer to.

    Jesus met people where they were, or rather, meets US where we ARE. How do we reach those who have had very negative, even traumatic experiences in the past? I was raised in The Church, but was totally opposed to hearing anything that hinted at evangelization. I once had some very friendly young Christians ask me, “Have you heard the Good News?” Anticipating something worldly and momentous I replied, “No, what is it?” to which they answered, “That Jesus Christ died to save you!” I told them that I was an Episcopalian. That shut’em up, and that was before most of the radical reforms/indecision/heresies were so prevalent in my former denomination. I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour, and if anyone brought that subject up to me I tuned them out and rolled my eyes for the benefit of anyone who might have heard them.

    We are given the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20)
    to make disciples of all nations; I believe that this means in our own communities as well as in foreign lands. Unfortunately, since many in our society have such a bad impression of Christians and Christianity, meeting people where they are today is not always going to be in a traditional American church service on Sunday morning. While I am totally against conforming the Church to the standards of the world, I have no problem speaking to non-believers in a way that they can understand. And I have found that that can often be through music. If that music touches them in a way that creates a hunger in them for what Jesus Christs offers us, it sometimes happens that when we take them to a more traditional service, we’re going to lose many of them. They have reasons as varied as that it reminds one person of his mean, but church-going grandfather, to another person feeling like they’ve been tricked into the same old thing they’ve had preached at them before.

    It also seems that when we take these unchurched souls into an informal setting that preaches the Gospel and supplements that teaching and worship with music that the visitor actually likes, then there is a much greater chance that he or she will want to return. Of course we want that church to be faithful to the Bible, more specifically to the teachings of Jesus Christ, including the hard ones. Of course we want to teach those new seekers, potentially new believers, that God’s way is not the way of the world, and that we must live in this world but not of it. But I don’t see a problem with suggesting popular Christian music as an alternative to listening to secular music. Hopefully, with proper guidance and discipling, they can in time become more discriminating about what goes into their ears and minds. They can then make choices based not only on how a song sounds, but what it says and how the performer(s) live their lives and set examples for others, which they (the bands,etc.) implicitely do.

    Having said all that, once again I ask, what kind of worship IS pleasing to God? I don’t personally care for having a single person leading (performing) music either. I believe music is a ministry that people are called to, and should be open to all within a church setting. BUT. How can we presume to we know what God likes best? Can He not be honored and worshiped in many different ways? If this is true, then I cannot hold with the idea that He likes one kind of music better than another. If it is God-honoring and if the performers/participants are sincere, appropriate, and reverent in their intention to worship only God, who are we to judge? What about Christians in other parts of the world??? They don’t all sing “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Does this make them wrong? They’re worshiping in a way that is Biblical, that resonates with them, that is meaningful to them, and not only in their selection of music. Is that any different than varied styles within our own communities?

    I know from my own experience of searching for a new church home that there are many dead or dying churches out there. There are a lot of very prosperous churches that preach doctrines antithetical to the Word. It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of music they play or what style of worship they adopt, more or less liturgical, for instance. We are called to be discerning and wise, to worship God in a way that is pleasing to Him, whatever that may be, and to bring others into the fold and disciple them according to the Word of God. How we do these things is a question of personal discrimination supported by the Bible, and decisions should be arrived at only through much prayer, meditation and study.

    So, that’s the end of my latest novel. ;)

    May 21st, 2005 at 12:03 pm. Permalink.

  38. Dave Wolfe replied:

    Elizabeth, you are very sincere and I appreciate this…Praise the Lord! If you look at the church meeting though in the Bible (and we must inevitably deal with 1 Cor. 11-14) you will be shocked to find that the believers were gathered together in one place and the meeting was only for believers. Only as an exception to the rule were unbelievers among the Christians (1 Cor. 14:23-25). The Church MEETING is for believers. Now hold off here before you disagree because I totally agree that the Church has our Lord’s commission to preach the Gospel.

    The Church has a basic threefold mission in this world: 1) OUTWARD–To preach the Gospel in a dark, dark world to every creature (Mark 16:15), but also 2) INWARD–To “make disciples…baptizing them…teaching them to observe all things that [Christ] has commanded [them]” (Matt. 28:19-20), and most neglected today 3) UPWARD–that is, worshipping God (Lord’s Supper, etc.). The meeting of the church as found in 1 Corinthians involves the 2nd and 3rd. This is where the “seeker friendly” movement has really departed from the faith, for it tries to get the “unchurched” in a church, while at the same time trying to make them feel comfortable and at ease. We have tried to reverse the God-ordained order of 1…Preach the Gospel, 2…People get saved, 3…Saved are added to the church (Acts 2:47). Why are we trying to get people into the church, into a gathering where true worship occurs (when only saved can offer worship to God)? And why are we teaching and preaching the gospel to the unchurched when Corinthians vehemently shows that edification for the SAINTS is the norm? You might ask, “Well where is the Gospel going to be preached by the church?” There is nothing wrong with having outreaches (or personal evangelism–as seen consistently in Acts), but many churches today have left the saints starving and unexercised while trying to convert the unsaved during church meetings.

    As for your first question (I’m akin to a politician–I answer things in reverse order! O wait…Politicians never answer questions…), I would say this: Paul wrote specifically to “the church at Corinth,” (1 Cor. 1:2) that is, the local church in Corinth, and spiritual gifts flourished at this assembly (though they used them poorly). His instructions (actually the Lord’s) were thus: “How is it then brethren? Whenever you come together EACH of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation…[etc.] Let all things be done for edification” (1 Cor. 14:26). Exercise of gift was the norm for all of them. Practically, if a local assembly is too large (I’m sorry, I can’t give a number…), spiritual gift lies dormant and EACH cannot exercise his gift. In an assembly of 1500 people, will all 1500 be able to exercise their gift in 1-2 hours week by week? (No.) Thus it would seem beneficial to “hive off” peacably when the flock grows “too large” (O may it be the case!). Again, in Corinth, they were gathered “together”–that is, the saints of that particular local assembly were together in one place. We should be careful not to bypass how an assembly ought to meet just because we like or have huge numbers.

    How did I get so far off from Jeremy’s original intention? I guess this tends to happen in blogs…(Forgive me, brother).

    May 21st, 2005 at 3:46 pm. Permalink.

  39. Shannon replied:

    1) Off topic comment inspired by what I’m reading: I fully support looking at the way the NT church was run, but I would like to throw out the following question: Certain things are commanded in the NT(for example, the Lord’s supper). Certain things are done but not commanded in the NT. Is it a rule that if something was done a certain way in the NT, say one or two examples, but not commanded, then that method becomes a rule for all churches?

    2) Back to the music during prayer, I still think the issue there is not the music, but the placement of the music. Does it show a lack of understanding of Almighty God if someone is playing music while someone else talks to Him? (I won’t say I definitely think this…I just sort of suspect it…)

    If I sit here and think about this any longer, I’ll be in danger of another week of silence, and I KNOW you are all anxious to hear from me!!! I am going to stop thinking and hit “submit”. Well, no, I am going to keep thinking, but I will also hit “submit”.

    May 27th, 2005 at 8:26 pm. Permalink.

  40. Dave Wolfe replied:

    1) Shannon asks a good question. For indeed the Lord’s Supper is a “command” (Luke 22, 1 Cor. 11), but its frequency is not. “As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup” (1 Cor. 11:26) is the only frequency given. But if you look at Acts the early believers at first broke bread “daily” from house to house (2:46) right after Pentecost, and then later it seems the pattern had changed: “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread…” (Acts 20:7). It certainly is not a direct command from the Lord, but why else would the Holy Spirit record this little statement?

    If we take Acts to be the inspired word of God, why, based on 20:7 would we keep the Lord’s Supper once a month or every three months? No, it isn’t a command from our Lord, but how sincere are we when approaching the Word of God? It seems the Lord is testing our sincerity. Notice 20:7 says, “…the disciples came together.” The Lord’s DISCIPLES, those who wholeheartedly followed Him, did it this way in Acts. Are we going to design or improve upon this pattern? As someone once said, “A king’s request is His command.” The Lord can’t force people to love Him and to do the things He desires, and King David exemplifies this when he asked, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” (1 Chr. 11:17). He didn’t command his mighty men (or anyone) to get water for him, but those who loved David broke through to get a drink for him. All I’m saying is that principles and patterns in the NT still should have weight…

    2) I agree with you concerning music during prayer!

    May 28th, 2005 at 8:57 am. Permalink.

  41. Shannon replied:

    My question wasn’t just about communion, but Acts 20:7 is a perfect example. You think in this case that it is not a command, but that the Lord is testing our sincerity.

    I agree that it is a command, but I don’t think our sincerity is necessarily being tested. I don’t even think 20:7 by itself implies that they were having communion every first day of the week.

    We are really discussing hermeutics (hope I spelled that correctly) here. How do you know when something should be interpreted as something that must be followed? There are even different levels for that…how do you know when you should follow it and how do you know when you should tell other people they should follow it as well?

    For example, there are some who say we break the 10 commandments by holding services on a Sunday rather than a Saturday. It is very easy to find verses to support this view. However, we also have NT passages that clearly talk about how one should view that sort of thing…one man regards one day as more holy, etc.

    I would try to draw some very general conclusions from that. It is ok to sincerely go to church on Saturday…one can worship God on Saturday, and it is ok to sincerely go to church on Sunday. What counts is worshipping God in spirit and in truth.

    I think weekly communion is not specifically commanded in scripture and therefore needs to be treated similarly to the above example. Sincerity doesn’t necessarily look the same in all believers.

    Now back to music…there’s no way one is going to be able to condemn a specific style, etc. Hmmm….can I condemn music during prayer? I can say I don’t like it and that it is distracting to me. I could refuse to play it during prayer. I could even suggest to church leadership that I thought it was distracting and disrespectful. But I can’t go up to the organist and tell her she is sinning, and I doubt I would ever bother to complain about music during prayer…there are so many issues that are much more important.

    June 19th, 2005 at 1:38 pm. Permalink.

  42. Dave Wolfe replied:

    Shannon, as a trumpet teacher I teach two ways (And I assume you do the same being a school teacher): 1) By command–I tell the student to play it a certain way. I tell him verbally what I want…but also 2) By example–I myself play the music for the student and ask him or her to imitate. Both are valid “instructions” for the pupil. The Bible does the same thing in my estimation. It says, “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11). That’s a command! It also says, “On the first day of the week when the disciples met to break bread” (Acts 20:7). That’s an example…

    Hmmn, look at it this way. You’re a body of believers who want to please the Lord in all things. You seriously want to do what is best. So when it comes to the Lord’s Supper, you ask, “When should we do it?” A valid question to ask! What does the Bible (our authority) say? It doesn’t say, “Thus says the Lord: Do it on Saturday.” It simply shows details of what the early believers did, when they met, etc. It gives a clear example of when early Christians met for the Supper. Also in 1 Cor. 16:2 it says, “On the first day of the week, let each of you lay something aside…” It is very clear by the time 1 Corinthians was written that believers met on the first day of the week. So is a church sinning by meeting on Saturday night? I would not go so far as to say, ‘Yes!’ But I ask, if you want to be honoring to God and decide on the “when” of the Lord’s Supper, what other method are you going to use to decide? “Let’s meet once a month!” Well, that’s fine. The Lord certainly isn’t going to shoot down lightening and smite everyone that one Sunday! But what are your Biblical grounds for doing such. If someone came to me and asked, “Why do you meet every Sunday?” I can give them an intelligent and reasonable answer from Scripture.

    Notice, please, I am not saying something outlandish like I heard one brother say when asked about how big a church should be: “The size of the church should only increase up to 153 and then it should hive off, because this is the number of fish the disciples caught after Jesus’ resurrection.” No, no, no…this is foolish hermeneutics and wrongly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). All I’m saying is that the Bible gives patterns and examples for a reason. Luke did not just write certain events because he felt like it would make a good story. He gave details for a reason!

    June 21st, 2005 at 6:53 pm. Permalink.

  43. Naomi replied:

    Hi. I hate to interupt this conversation, but I just found this blog. I was trying to get to my dad’s blog (Matt Anderson), but the search engine I used sent me to a page here that discussed my dad’s blog. I started reading and I thought all your comments on worship were interesting. I thought you might like to check out John Piper’s articles, “Thoughts on Worship and Culture,” and “What is the Philosophy of Worship that Unites Us?” You may agree or disagree, but I hope you’ll find it good food for thought.

    July 18th, 2005 at 8:51 pm. Permalink.

  44. hmmm replied:

    i dont think that because a band has a certain sound they are unfit for me, as a christian, to hear. i have been researching this topic a lot and have found some incredible examples of christian ignorance, and i hate to say this, but i can understand why some people dont like christians, even i was offended by the narrow-minded, prejudice comments made by christians. if it werent for bands like underoath and blindside, many young people wouldnt have any christian influence in their lives at all. i read recently a comment by a member of one of these bands that said that a lot of the kids at their shows think it would be to uncool to step foot into a church, and that they have been able to influence them. with bands like belphagor around that openly tell about their hate for christians, and how hypocritical we are, i think it is important that there are bands that can defend our faith to others, ecspecially teenagers that are exposed to anti-christ bands. i love these bands (underoath, blindside, P.O.D etc…) sound, i think that it would be unfair to take away something that i love, that i can relate to and understand, more than the more traditional sounding christian music, just because it doesnt sound ‘right’. it is not for anybody else to judge the way othes prasie God. i understand that you were just putting across an opinion, and i can respect that, but i encourage you to look at this issue from a teenagers perspective, most teens cant relate to the old hymns. God has made us all individuals, with different intrests and talents, dont try to undermind that intricate design by saying that because something isnt right for you, it isnt right for others- “this “music” has no place on radio intended for the Christian’s ear and mind.” i dont mean to be, in anyway, insulting to your beliefs, i just really want you to consider that there are always more ways the one to view things…

    October 15th, 2005 at 10:08 pm. Permalink.

  45. Shannon replied:

    can’t believe this thing only got up to 44 comments…

    February 16th, 2007 at 8:54 pm. Permalink.

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