From The Word

  • I Samuel 7:12
    "Then Samuel took a stone...and called its name Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 

Click through us!

Subscribe





Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 12/2004

« Love Those Gourmet Breakfasts! | Main | Encyclopedia of Me ~ H is for... »

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Comments

Tammy

Somebody in the family had to learn to play the guitar-I can remember your dad playing for our Tuesday night Bible study group!!We won't say how many years ago that was!!

I can't imagaine trying to get my fingers to play a guitar-It is a God given gift.Enjoy playing.

Jodi

What is it with "Hot Cross Buns" ~ LOL? That was the first song I learned on the flute ... uh, err, well ... 36 years ago! Glad to hear it's still popular. ;o)

I grew up with guitar music. My dad has played all my life. It was he that *encouraged* both my sister and I to learn to play the piano. My dad gave his first Gibson to my son about two years ago. We just learned last month it needs a little overhaul, so I guess it's going to the old guitar hospital soon!

I agree that playing an instrument is *very* relaxing and a precious talent. It will bless you (and others) your entire life.

Anonymous

What constitutes "ungodly?" Is there anywhere in Scripture that delineates "ungodly" music from "godly?" Does the beat make the difference? No offense intended, but perhaps it's something about which to think.

Jonathan

Thanks, Anonymous, for the comment. I agree, it is an issue that Christians should think through; although sadly, many do not.

I think first of all, we should establish the core issue: does Scripture give guidance on the issue of music?

I am of the mind that it does. One of the purposes of the Bible is to make the man of God adequate, equipped for every good work; and music, created by God, is certainly included therein. Hence, Christians should use the Scripture when discerning what their music standards are. Do you agree that Scripture speaks about this?


This brings me to my first point: Christians should have music standards. All too often, I encounter this line of reasoning:

1) Literature is an art form. It can be used for good or evil. We should use discerment.
2) Cinema is an art form. It can be used for good or evil. We should use discernment.
3) Poetry is an art form. It can be used for good or evil. We should use discernment.
4) Music is an art form. All music is fine, as long your heart is right.


This strikes me as jarringly inconsistent! Christians use discernement in nearly every other area of culture, but then shrug their shoulders when it comes to music! I'm not saying that you think that way; I really don't know what perspective you're coming from. I'm merely observing the views I've heard other Christians communicate to me.

I would write more, but hesitate in this cursory overview to provide further discussion until I know a little bit more about where you're coming from.

So before I can answer the question of what constitutes godly and ungodly music, we must first agree that there is indeed godly and ungodly music, not just a nebulous amoral art form.

In Christ,
Jonathan Girotti

Anonymous

Thanks for your thoughtful answer. As to from direction I'm coming, I guess I don't really have an answer for that. As to my background, I am a believer and I attend a church that adheres to Reformed theology. Obviously, as Christians, we are to glorify God in all we do. While I understand that lyrics can be objectionable, I fail to see how music in and of itself can be "ungodly." I think one has to be careful about letting personal preference creep into their world view. When something is clearly prohibited in Scripture, then you can label that ungodly. BUT, if it's not, you'd be hard pressed to make a case. Music is indeed a gift from God, but there are some in the Christian world (I know some of those people) who think that if you sing anything other than the Psalms, you're sinning. There are others that think if you don't homeschool, then you're sinning. All I'm saying is that you may have a preference (I would prefer that the TV and radio not be played at decibels that offend my sensibilities, for example) for one thing over another, e.g., Christian music vs. rock music. That doesn't mean, though, that you should label things "ungodly," just because you have a conviction, more rightly labeled a preference, about them. Scripture plainly states that our barometer for participating in things that are perhaps questionable to others is the love we have for weaker believers. We are probably on the same page theologically, but we may be light years apart on the nonessentials. I call them nonessentials because they are hardly something for which I would die.

Anonymous

Sorry, that second sentence should have read, "As to from what direction I'm coming..."

Jonathan

Thanks for the reply, Anonymous.

I agree there is a fundamental difference between our worldviews. Our orthodoxy (correct doctrine) may be similar, but our orthopraxy (correct practice) seem to diverge. Here's the problem: I think that doctrine and practice are inseparably intertwined. Thus when I see you label orthopraxy as the "nonessentials," that suggests to me a deeper disagreement in our worldviews. I don't view the Bible as a book of doctrine that has little or nothing to say on how we live our daily lives or how to respond to everyday issues. I think the Bible has plenty to say--via specific commands, patterns, and general principles--on issues such as music, education, finance, business, etc. etc.; it speaks to everyday life!

Therefore, I disagree with your statement that my convictions should more appropriately be labeled as "preferences." No, they are distillations of what I see as correct practice and application of correct doctrine in Scripture. This isn't some trivial "Should I get vanilla or should I get chocolate?" question; it is taking a real-life issue and finding what the Scripture has to say on that issue.

I personally believe that most Christians extremely limit what the Scripture has to say to them. How? By listening only to the direct commands ("clearly forbids") and not heeding the general principles and patterns.

I disagree that we can't call something ungodly unless the Scriptures "clearly forbids" it. Scripture doesn't clearly forbid the use of marijuana or LSD, does it? Does this mean that marijuana use is not sinful and ungodly? It would be preposterous to say so, obviously. Where then do we get the notion that marijauna use is ungodly? From the patterns and principles in Scripture. If we arrive at a conclusion by consistently applying Scriptural principles, then it is certainly not a preference.

Getting back to our original topic of music, I would also challenge the consistency of your statement that music lyrics could be objectionable, and thus by implication we shouldn't listen to songs containing objectionable lyrics. Where is the clear prohibition in the Scripture against listening to objectionable lyrics? There isn't any; at least none that I can find. One could rightfully maintain that it is wrong by the principles outlined passages such as Ephesians 4:29, Ephesians 5:4, and Phillipians 4:8. But according your own argument, it isn't ungodly, because there is no clear prohibition.


Again, I hesitate posting what I believe ungodly music is, when we don't agree on the core issue, which is the suffiency of Scripture on the issue of music and that there are objective principles on music. Again, I submit to you that music not amoral; it can be used for evil, and I'm not referring to evil lyrics.

Let me finish by saying that I hope I haven't offended you in any way; if so, I certainly didn't intend to. However, I do wish to make clear my position and the implications of the contrary view.

In Christ,
Jonathan Girotti

Anonymous

You parsed and trivialized my words. Of course, there are principles by which we are to conduct our lives as believers in Jesus. We are to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of our calling (Eph. 4:1) and that includes our daily living. If Christianity is only a way in which we escape Hell, then there is little difference between us and the world at large. (Before you pounce on that, I would have serious doubt as to the validity of a person's faith if they didn't live out their faith and only thought of it as "fire insurance.) The Bible is clear about producing fruit.

Obviously, smoking pot isn't mentioned in the Bible. Please don't misrepresent what I said. I spoke to the issue of you labeling particular music "ungodly." By whose standards are you labeling it "ungodly?" I submit that it is YOUR understanding of Scripture. Because I have a different view, does that mean that I have a wrong view of "correct practice?" So, in other words, if I don't hold to your version of "ungodliness," then I'm not living correctly? While I fail miserably EVERY day, my goal is to glorify God in EVERYTHING that I do.

What do you mean that music is not amoral? That seems to contradict your original post in which you stated that you are "often bombarded at work with ungodly music." Perhaps I don't understand your premise.

I absolutely believe that the Bible is a handbook for daily living. Frankly, I resent your caricature of me not believing in the sufficiency of Scripture. That is simply not the case. I don't believe the Bible is a book of doctrine only. I guess I didn't make myself clear. Computers aren't mentioned in the Bible, but that doesn't make it OK to look at porn just because it's not expressly prohibited.

Lastly, could/would you fellowship with those who disagree with you on things like music, education (your examples), etc.? Many of the families of the blogs that I read (and enjoy), including your family's, seem to have large families (I have one, too), are of the Reformed theology mind set (I am, as well) and most of them have their kids living at home until they're married, regardless of age. Many of the kids don't attend college (I'm not sure what their take on that is, but I can guess.), the women, for the most part, wear dresses or skirts all the time, many of the families farm and most of them homeschool. THOSE are the things that I call nonessentials. Tell me something, do you believe those issues are ones which would disallow fellowship with a believer who didn't buy into those behaviors? Would music?

I am not in accord with many of the practices listed in the above paragraph, but I can still have a marvelous time talking about Jesus and His work on the Cross with those who do practice those things. Can you say the same?

Anonymous

BTW, did you HONESTLY think that I was advocating smoking pot? That is what I meant by you trivializing what I said.

Jonathan

Anonymous, to conclude this debate, let me get back to my main point: Scripture speaks to the issue of music and its principles outline standards of music. Scripture does not have to clearly prohibit something for me to say it is ungodly. When I say music (regardless of lyrics) is not amoral (literally "without reference to morality,"), I mean that it can have intrinsic moral qualities, good or evil in itself. It is not merely a neutral vehicle by which good or evil words can be carried.

An ideal Scriptural example would be 1 Samuel 16; David plays instrumental music (without lyrics!) for Saul, causing an evil spirit to leave Saul.

Spiritual discernment needs to be exercised in everything. Examine the origins and nature of [fill in the blank], then apply Scriptural principles that deal with what you find in its nature (1Thessalonians 5:21-22, "Examine everything carefully... abstain from every form of evil.").

I hope that clarifies my position; thanks for the discussion.

In Christ,
Jonathan Girotti

The comments to this entry are closed.