Friday, May 30, 2008

Christian vs. Secular

Have you ever noticed that many christians will exercise great discernment when it comes to theological matters concerning doctrines. They are quick to dismiss preachers, teachers, and those who espouse certain doctrines they deem unbiblical or heretical and yet the same people seemingly lack the same care in the choice of their music.

How is it that so many who call themselves Calvinist can swallow the lyrics of secular and contemporary Christian music so easily? Much of this current music would be fairly Arminian in nature and yet it seems to pass through the doctrine filters rather effortlessly. Have you noticed this dichotomy as well?

Also, what is your opinion on the sensuality of christian singers? Do you think it is ok to sound exactly like the world in the praise of our Saviour?

23 comments:

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

What about looking like the world? Is it okay for a Christian singer to wear a suit and tie, or is that worldly?

Jim said...

Matthew, are you being cheeky?

Do you not believe music can influence theology?

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Yes, I think it can.

However, in talking about singer 'sounding like the world' you are using categories that need to be defined very precisely.

If any elements that are found in secular music are out of the question, the pool of musical options for Christian music is very limited indeed.

But perhaps you mean particular negative elements in secular music?

Jim said...

Matthew, yes that is a good delineation.

Do you think it is ok for christians singers to use sensual tones and inflections in their songs?

Would you consider any negative qualities of singing off limits to christian music ministers and singers?

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

"Do you think it is ok for christians singers to use sensual tones and inflections in their songs?"

Isnt most music pleasing to the senses? Otherwise, why would we listen to it?

"Would you consider any negative qualities of singing off limits to christian music ministers and singers?"

Obviously lyrics would have to glorify God.

I think a lot of modern music would be inappropriate in a church setting. I think non-instrumental music is best for worship. The simpler the better.

However, I find it hard to think of styles of music that would never be appropriate for a Christian musician to perform.

Perhaps you can suggest some.

God Bless

Matthew

Jim said...

Matthew, I think we could say that most sin is pleasing to the senses. Yet we are not called to please the senses but the spirit.

If a singer's voice and style distracts the listener from their focus on God and instead causes them to think inappropriate thoughts is that not an improper use of the music?

Only Look said...

One of the first things that happened to me when I was out in the Persian Gulf and being confronted with the reality of death was the change of heart that occured in me. In spite of all doubts that came from without I really do believe I rested at Calvary there and found such blessed peace with God in faith alone in Him. I think I have wrestled with doubt since, simply because I am a critical thinker and many bloggers out here are I see... and also having prayed the sinners prayer as a child and those emotional issues. I really leave it in the Lords hands now and trust in Him alone but before that day hymns were a drudge to me and boring, but I came alive out there in the Son of God and all of a sudden those hymns that once seemed so dead were now joy to me...even the Arminian ones. The Wesleys were Arminian and with my lil o bit but not enough for others but who cares...Calvinistic perspective, I love those hymns....all of them. The Wesley hymns are so wonderful. I love to sing to the Lord a new song now. I dont agree with my Calvinistic brethren that like to pick apart some of the hymns. They like to critique Fanny J Crosby as well. I love her hymns and am so encouraged by her faith. I dont agree with the unashamed of grace blog critical thinkers either, for they pick the hymns apart as well. There is something wrong about that. Last year I remember them picking apart the beautiful hymn, "He lives". Also they seem upset with the people that led them to the Lord. Not Matthew, but one seems to always attack a ministry that led them to the Lord and another constantly seems to be upset with the people that led them to the Lord and critique their reputations on these blogs. It is hard to imagine that they would be so tough on the very people that wept and prayed over their souls and cared enough to tell them the truth. I have however seen Matthew critique the hymns. Is this of the Lord? Why do we get like this? Who are we listening to? Our firstlove or the devil? I think when we form this critical thinking sometimes we are often beginning to do service for the devil. I believe he hates all of the hymns of the faith for they are all growing believers writing about their firstlove and Jesus loves it. Satan hates it. I love that Jesus loves it and I love to sing to Him. My firstlove. I don't want to be too much of that critical thinker when it comes to praising Jesus. Even though it is unfortunate that the CCM movement has drifted I still love to sing many of those songs. Especially the earlier ones and it does my heart good to see them grow in the faith as well. I have been critical of the Heavy Metal scene because the Bible tells us to sing with melody in our hearts and how blessed is the man who hears the joyful sound. I guess Matthew will take issue with me there, but I simply cannot understand what is being said and I begin to find myself getting depressed in spirit with some of the noise and violence. I hope that makes sense to you and if some feel that I am a hypocrite about this then it really doesnt matter much to me. I just want to sing to the Lord with melody in my heart and the Bible tells us to encourage one another to do this. I pledge allegiance to the Lamb!!

Grace upon grace,

Brian

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Jim
"Matthew, I think we could say that most sin is pleasing to the senses. Yet we are not called to please the senses but the spirit."

Do you not please your senses if you eat a nice meal?

I think we would agree that not everything which pleases the senses is bad.

It is not clear whether you are talking about only music in worship or music that you might listen to at home or in your car.

If you are talking about all music, it would appear that all instrumental music without words is inappropriate as the focus is on the tune and not God.

Only Look said...

True Matthew and I know I am not Jim, but I do think that there is a way to nightclub sing and hiss and gasp like a feline cat that is not helpful to the male when he wants to worship God. Of course when you mention it someone may accuse one of having a sick mind so the poor brother remains silent and trys to worship God. We live in a tough day though. I know there are plenty waiting in the wings to pick me apart on that. God is not our girlfriend, but he is our bridegroom and there is to be love in our praise....just not of the sensual order and I think that may be what Jim is driving at dont you?

Grace upon grace,

Brian

Jim said...

Brian, thank you for your comment, that is really the point of my argument. Matthew do you not agree that a sensuality in ministry is not becoming of men and women of God?

BTW, I am not advocating asceticism and anything like that.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Jim, I think you need to define what you mean by sensuality.

I think the answer is probably yes, it is wrong. But I am not going to let you get away with throwing around categories without defining what you actually mean.

God Bless

Matthew

Only Look said...

Matthew said:

"But I am not going to let you get away with throwing around categories without defining what you actually mean."

Wow Jim...you desperado you. Sheriff Dillon is in town and on to you:-)

I hope you can come up with the definition that will meet the legal requirements here:-)

Grace upon grace,

Brian

Jim said...

Matthew, here are a couple of definitions from the dictionary.

Sensual

1. pertaining to, inclined to, or preoccupied with the gratification of the senses or appetites; carnal; fleshly.
2. lacking in moral restraints; lewd or unchaste.
3. arousing or exciting the senses or appetites.
4. worldly; materialistic; irreligious.
5. of or pertaining to the senses or physical sensation; sensory.
6. pertaining to the philosophical doctrine of sensationalism.

relating to or consisting in the gratification of the senses or the indulgence of appetite : fleshly

a: devoted to or preoccupied with the senses or appetites b: voluptuous c: deficient in moral, spiritual, or intellectual interests : worldly.

Anyways, I think my point is clear enough. This is really a matter of conscience.

God bless,
Jim

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Good. And indeed the New Testament uses the word sensual in that way.

So for instance, getting 14 year old girls to dance in front of the congregation would seem to be very questionable.

But what about an hymn with a catchy tune?

For instance, 'O Happy Day that fixed my choice' has a catchy tune that may appeal to the senses. Is that unacceptable because it has a sensual appeal?

I am not trying to be awkward, I am just interested to know how you would deal with that.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

Jim said...

Matthew, the particular usage of the word sensual in this situation is the wrongful stirring up of lustful passions and desires.

Melody and harmony are God created things which in their purest sense are not sensual.

Only Look said...

Matthew. Your comments are childish and should not be dignified, how dare you challange this subject so triflingly....


:-)

Just felt like pulling a debating Da Rosa maneuver:-)

Actually you do have a point. Jim, did you know that Puritans did not allow any harmony to be sung on Sundays. Only melody was allowed to be sung on Sundays. Harmony was considered something indulgent to our human tastes. Also some in the early church did not allow seventh chords to be played.

Grace upon grace,

Brian

Antonio said...

Gentlemen,

I enjoyed the dialogue and I must admit that I have actually nothing to share.

Oh, maybe I do.

One man's stumbling block maybe another man's altar.

Maybe some Christian music causes my mind to associate it with some secular music that I would party to in my non-Christian days. But that same music may be very worshipful to someone who does not have that association.

There is no hard and fast rule. It has a major degree of subjectivity. If you don't like the Christian music because of any reason, don't listen to it, buy it, or whatever. But there maybe someone out there who is glorifying God through it.

My thoughts... Anyone want to talk soteriology? (or food?)

Antonio

Antonio said...

Brian,

don't be so quick to bring another brother down

Antonio said...

Brian,

don't be so quick to bring another brother down

Jim said...

Thanks for your thoughts brothers. While I do not hold that music is inherently subjective, it is nevertheless an issue of conscience as in all matters of christian conduct.

Only Look said...

Antonio,

"don't be so quick to bring another brother down"

Selah

Indeed.

Good advice brother.

Grace upon grace,

Brian

Antonio said...

Brian,

I love you, brother. I wish you the best. I am going to lift you up in prayer tonight. That goes for you Jim, you Matthew, you K.C., and you Wayne.

Your imperfect brother, who nevertheless waits for the Lord,

Antonio

Only Look said...

"Your imperfect brother, who nevertheless waits for the Lord,"

I am blessed by this confession Antonio and am honored that you take time to pray for me.

Thank you for allowing me to be imperfect as well. You and me? We are rough around the edges. We're dudes...guys, and sometimes we go to far, yet sometimes we are bridled by others that missunderstand a dude or a guy. Ol Erasumus and Luther were tough on one another I hear, but many have learned from their fights and earnest heat.

Even though I strongly still disagree with your position about the cross, I know you are a brother and We can pray for one another.

Grace upon grace,

Brian