Torch, Summer 1981

Christian words, contains little more than the basic elements of modem (rock and) jazz." In my opinion, church music remains one of those areas of church life more influenced by personal "feelings" than by informed Biblical theology. What is the Origin of the Music Ministry in God's House? The scriptures furnish us with considerable insight regarding the ministry of music in the church . First, the music ministry was conceived in and generated out of the very mind of God. God was desirous that worship, in its totality, would take place just as He wanted it; so every aspect of worship, including the music , was made clear by the handwriting of God (I Chron. 28:19; II Chron. 29:25, 26). Second, the music ministry was a commandfrom the Lord. Music in the local church has sometimes been downplayed or considered by some to be an "option." We must understand that as we examine the history of church music the whole procedure for using the gift of God called music was a command from Him (II Chron. 29:25). Third, when God mandated the ministry ofmusic for worship, He provided for the exercise of this ministry by means ofa highly organized structure. Of the 38 ,000 Levites, 4000 were set aside for the ministry of music (I Chron. 23:3-5) of whom 288 were skilled choir directors (I Chron. 25 :7). Fourth, the individuals set apart for the ministry of music were dedicated, trained, and committed to excellence . This desire for excellence was rooted in the very nature and character of God who is the only Excellent One. As everything which God did and communicated to His people was important, so, today, God's interest in us and our exercise of the ministry continues to be the same, because we represent Him in the world . Finally, a study of the ministry of music as it is detailed in the content ofGod' s Word shows us that the ministry was blessed by God. One of the most thrilling descriptions of God 's blessing upon the ministry of music is recorded in II Chronicles 5: 11-14. All that God had commanded, the people did, and God poured out His blessing. What Are Some Theological Principles Which Impact on Church Music? 1. Music in the church belongs first and foremost to God. Psalm 24:1 reminds us, "The earth is the Lord's , and the fullness thereof. .. ." God owns everything. This includes us- first, by virtue of being created in His image and, second, by virtue of being redeemed by the blood of Christ. Music also rightfully belongs to God and our expression through music should be directed first to Him (I Cor. 10:31; Psalm 150) . 2. Music in the church should have its practical outworking based upon wise stewardship of the gifts entrusted to us. A wise steward is one who "manages, administrates , cares for the property and/or affairs of another." God requires of us that we "minister. .. as good stewards" (I Peter 4: 10) . 3. Music in the church should be a meaningju,l and purposeful expression of the life which God has designed for us . The God of the Bible is a God of meaningfulness and purpose . Being imaged after Him, we have intrinsic meaningfulness and purposefulness . God does not want the expression of our lives before Him--0f which music in the church is a part- to be without meaning and purpose. 4. Music in the church is subject to the principle of Biblical accountability. Every good and perfect gift comes from our gracious God. Included in these gifts is music. With His insistence that we be good stewards of all gifts is the concomitant of accountability (Luke 12:48 , 16:2; Romans 14:12) . 5. Music in the church can and should serve a variety of functions which are consistent with Biblical truth . In the exercise of both vocal and instrumental music the Bible allows for such functions as worship (Ex. 15 , I Chron . 25, II Chron . 5, Psalm 150), cultural expression (I Sam. 16:14-23), admonition (Col 3:16), experiential expression (Eph. 5:19, and many of the Psalm texts), evangelism, and Christian education . One writer wisely reminds us that there are a host of functions which are a part of all the realities that make up life in the people of God, and God wants us to be as intelligent as He is about those differences in function . The music of our churches must be built upon a foundation of theology rather than tradition. Remember, there is no doxology apart from Biblical theology . May we strive together as pastors, musicians , and all members of the body of Christ to engage in a music ministry which will: a. be entered into with understanding b. bring about edification c. express man's adoration of God in His holiness d . express man ' s humiliation for his sin and unworthiness e. express man's joyful experience of God's forgiving power f. express man's resolve to offer his life in dedication to God's service g. produce Biblical pleasure- first , for the ultimate pleasure of God (I Cor. 10:31) and second, forthe pleasure of man (I Tim. 6:17) . Consistent with the foregoing discussion may be a variety of musical expressions which would be suitable for our worship. Let us be quick to remember, however, that we are "the sheep ofHIS pasture. It is HE that hath made us and not we ourselves ." Music within the church should be Biblical and balanced, and also should incorporate common sense . This should result in a musical expression which , as Carl Halter said, "has the power to lift man's soul to greater appreciation of God and His love for man ." 9