Sunday, June 25, 2006

Music in the Church

In this post on The Resurgence blog, John Armstrong gives a very fresh perspective on the role of music in the church. I so enjoyed his Biblical teaching on God's love for and use of music. He also makes the following statements of how certain approaches to music fall short of a proper Biblical perspective:
For one, music should not be rooted in the tastes of the people through a kind of democratic principle. If this is the case, we sing and play what appeals to the group at hand, and the result will be composition that usually lacks theological concern and musical depth.

Second, it seems to me that we must not sing and play, as an end in itself, what simply “preserves our particular heritage.” Scripture will not endorse the idea that the primary function of our music is the preservation of heritage, as important as that heritage may be.

Third, it should be obvious that the place of music in the church is not entertainment! Such an approach treats music as a kind of escape valve. Music can certainly have a place for entertaining us elsewhere, but worship is never conceived of as entertainment in the whole of Scripture.

Finally, any philosophy that treats music as an end in itself is suspect and unhelpful. This is the “art for art’s sake” idea. It often drives certain churches that take great pride in their “high cultural” approach to liturgy and form in music. The answer to this is simple: Art for Christ’s sake is our goal!
What a great message for the church today. You can read his complete post here.

(HT: Resurgence)

1 comment:

scooterpastor said...

I just re-read this entry and thought I better clarify something. Point one from Armstrong does not negate the need for us to be aware, sensitive and even strategic regarding our targeting of certain peoples taste in music. The main point is that there are dangers in “rooting” oneself to the tastes of people alone. For example, if a Pastor only preached messages that people wanted to hear, his messages would be popular for a time, but would ultimately result in a congregation more concerned about being comfortable than advancing the work of the kingdom.