Where I Stand: Music in the Church

Here we go again, another sticky issue. Over the years there has been many ‘worship wars.’ The debate on musical styles in the church has caused tremendous problems and has even caused some churches to divide. Before we get into what is appropriate in church and what is not, there are few myths that need to be addressed.
Myth #1: Certain beats in music is evil. Unfortunately, this is something that has been taught by many Christian Schools and Colleges and also in the pulpit. However, the idea that certain beats in music is evil is nowhere found in the Bible. Yes, you can take scripture out of context and twist it around to make it say what you want to say. But, the bottom line is that this idea is not found in the Word of God, therefore, it has no business being taught and preached in the pulpit. Music, just like everything else, was created by God. Music in itself is not sinful. It’s just like any object. A television is not evil. However, what we do with the television can be evil. The same is true with music. Music is not evil. However, if we use music in a way that does not honor God, then what we do with it becomes evil. Understanding this will rule out any idea that certain musical styles is evil.
Myth #2: All secular music is evil. Now, this one I know may be a little controversial but let’s consider it. Music is the language of the world. We remember things by music. Teachers will often put their lessons to musical rhymes to make it easier to learn. Just because it does not talk about Jesus does not make it evil. Music is used to tell stories of real life and love. Classical music, for example, is not necessarily ‘Christian’. Is classical music evil? Just because a song was written by a secular artist or it is not used in church, does not make that song evil. The Bible teaches that there is a time and place for everything. As believer’s we also have liberty. There is not liberty to sin, but there is liberty for the Christian to enjoy life. You may ask, well pastor, do you allow secular music in your home? This is the principle I live by: If I can thank God for it then I embrace it and I enjoy it. It brings me joy and causes me to bring glory to God when I sing silly songs with my children even though those songs are not ‘Christian’. I enjoy celebrating Christmas with singing, yes, secular Christmas songs with my children. I enjoy this because Christmas is a time of rejoicing in what Christ has done for us. Love songs that cause me to think of my wife and in turn give God glory for her can sometimes be heard on the CD player in my home. Does this mean I’m sinning? Does this mean I’m a liberal? As believer’s we need to stop and think about the things we make an issue of. All secular music is not evil.
Myth #3: Christian Contemporary Music is of the devil. It is sad that many churches have split over the issue of Contemporary Christian Music. Now, I do admit that I question the spirituality of some contemporary Christian artists. However, just because I am not sure whether the artist is really a Christian does not make their music not Christian. There are preachers that may not be saved; does that mean that we cannot learn from their sermons? Just like everyone else, I have certain musical preferences. Those preferences have changed somewhat with age. I personally enjoy praise and worship music and hymns. I am not a big fan of Christian rock or rap. But do I condemn such music just because I do not like it? Of course not. Again, the issue has more to do with personal preference than with right or wrong. The simple principle to live by is: can I thank God for it? I don’t know about you but I will give God praise and glory if my children are listening to rock and rap music that is giving a positive message and is giving praise to God rather than allowing them to listen to the messages of the world through secular rock and rap. The thing we need to remember is that music in and of itself is not evil and that includes all musical styles, even those we do not like. It was what we do with the music that makes it right or wrong.
Now that we have addressed some of the music myths that are often preached and taught, let’s look at where I stand concerning music in the church. Remember that the Bible teaches that there is a time and place for everything. There is a time to worship and a time to be entertained. There is nothing wrong with good Christian entertainment, such as you enjoy at any Southern Gospel, or Contemporary Christian concert. However, entertainment should not be a part of our church worship services. When we gather at church, we are there to worship. There are some musical styles that may not be appropriate in a church setting. When it comes to music in the church there are a few basic guidelines that I look for: is it Biblically correct, is it of good quality, and is it of good taste. Not all hymns are Biblically correct. Not all praise music is of good taste. Not all southern gospel music is of good quality. Think about it. The music we have in church should draw us into the presence of God and cause us to focus on Him. That is my desire for the church that I pastor. I want my people to come to church focusing on worship God and not on the style of music. Who cares if we sing all hymns? Who cares if we sing praise and worship? What does it matter if various musical instruments are used, including drums? The bottom line is that our attitudes should be as such that it does not matter to us the musical style; we are just focused on worship because we love Jesus. Now, with that said, I believe there needs to be guidelines and considerations when it comes to music in the church. We should not purposefully use music that will cause someone to focus on the musical style rather than on worship. This is why I believe there needs to be a good balance; a balance of both hymns and praise music and a balance of various musical styles and other arts to bring worship to God. By the way, we do not necessarily have to have music in order to worship God. There are many ways in which we can express worship to God. In a church service there should be a balance and a variety of various worship methods and styles. I look at worship in church as if we are putting on a show for Jesus. It ought to be the very best we can make it. We ought to worship Him with every ounce of our energy and with every way possible. So, when it comes to music in the church I believe that the best approach is not to be concerned over various styles based on our personal preferences, instead we should focus on Biblically correct worship and a show that is fit for the King! And that is where I stand!

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