Friday, November 28, 2008

Regarding a Theology of Worship: An Aside About Music in the Bible

By Andrew Faris

I still most certainly plan on continuing my series on worship, but two factors have led me to this little interruption. First, it's Thanksgiving Day and I'm sitting on a patio overlooking the beach with my delightful family, a good friend, and my fiancee. Look, it's not that I don't love theology, it's just that there are other things on my mind. What do you want from me?

Second, and more to the point, I was listening to a sermon from Bob Kauflin of Covenant Life church (where C. J. Mahaney and Joshua Harris are also pastors) on music in their series on wordliness yesterday. Kauflin leads worship at that church and made an interesting point: the Bible talks a whole lot about music.

I suppose I never realized how true that is. The OT temple cultus included much singing (e.g. 2 Chr. 7:6), many Psalms were clearly set to music and sung by the congregation, Lamentations is a book of songs, the Prophets predicted that joyful singing would characterize Yahweh's future restoration of His people (e.g. Jer. 30:18-19; 31:4, 7, 12-14), Jesus and the disciples sang a hymn after the institution of the Lord's supper (Mt. 26:30), the NT congregation is supposed to sing to and with one another (Eph. 5:18-19; Col. 3:16), and the Lamb who can open the Scroll in Revelation is praised with singing (Rev. 5:9-10). And that's just to name a few examples.

Why bring this up? The fact the Bible is so full of music and singing makes it all the more conspicuous that there is so little specific prescription about what and how to play and sing.

And that further strengthens my case from this post that we who are trying to worship biblically must work on principles, not specific examples.

More on that next time, when I'm not surrounded by the beach, my family, my friend, and my fiancee.


Carrie Allen said...

YES! Thank you for finally putting your names at the top of your posts! :)

Anonymous said...

My question of music in church is where is the line or point at which music can become almost pornograghic in nature? Where the way music affects you is more important than praise of God. Some contemporary music can even lack direct language refering to the Godhead in any way, and yet the congergation is emotionally and physically involved.(It may be due to the great light show) Other songs you could switch the word Jesus for the word baby and you wouldn't know the difference due to the shallowness of the song. Most of the music is good, but I think some are a christianized love song. I think from the right heart attitude all music styles are ok, but a bit of self-examination might be usefull to see if the music is for God's glory or the edification of our flesh. It is easy to bob your head, sway, and clap when the music is what we like, but the words can be just as important.
Is there more to this idea than preference versus principle? I wonder if it may be closer related to the hot, warm, and cold personalities the church can drift between. The shallowness being that lukewarm which is spit out.