Steve Pettit and the Skillman family

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Bert Perry's picture

....and the point about David being in fact a prophet is well taken.  That noted, we still have the question of not only all the other Psalmists and those bringing songs to church per 1 Corinthians 14, but quite frankly the question of whether David's contemporaries would have recognized him as a prophet.  Now certainly, in one way every Psalmist is a prophet--he has had the privilege of at least once speaking God's very Word for the first time, and it was preserved in God's Word--but even so, we need to remember how these men were seen in their own lives, before God's seal of approval was put in their work.

As common, ordinary men, often without the authority that would come from being a priest or known prophet.  That's a profound thought if we consider the idea that many would see it as important that we have "known authorities" guide these things.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

Thanks for the welcome, Bert!

Based on how the Spirit frames David's arrival on the biblical scene, we have reason to understand that David's attestation as a prophet was well-established whenever the Spirit began to inspire the writing of his Psalms through him. First, God directed Samuel, the leading prophet of his day, to anoint David. Shortly thereafter, the Spirit came upon him and remained on him thereafter (1 Sam. 16:13), which was vital to his status as a prophet.

In a key scene for our musical perspectives (1 Sam. 16:14-23), a servant of Saul testified to David's being a skilled instrumentalist of whom he knew that "the Lord is with him" (1 Sam. 16:18). In the biblical narrative, this expression is predicated of only a few people up to the time of David, highlighting that he was already distinguished overtly as a man who was specially related to God.

Based on this data, we are justified in holding that David was well-attested to as a prophet when he wrote his Psalms under divine inspiration.

RickyHorton's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

It's a Thanksgiving miracle. A music thread lives again!

So I'll ask again: Is this music sinful, evil, bad, whatever?

Please assign it a moral quality, Don. 

Make it even "easier" and someone analyze the Shai Linne song that someone just referenced.  That should be easy...right?  This is where the crickets always start chirping.  Still don't expect anyone to change their "belief" though. 

Jay's picture

So Lee argues that music is wrong because it has to do with the intention of the artist.  I put up a song and ask Lee to explain how the intention of the artist is wrong.

Don objects because of the music itself, although he's probably never listened to Shai before.  Don, have you ever listened to the song before this?  Or are you objecting because I disproved Lee's point?  And as Ron notes - on what basis can you definitely say that the music itself is wrong?  Where is the Scriptural violation within the music, since you've ceded the point on the 'literature'?

I'm putting that song out there because it blows holes in both arguments, as I did when Aniol was on this website.  But the philosophy must be defended because the results must remain sancrosact.  That's why a song by SGM is verboten until someone within the "authoritarian fundamentalist movement" deems it so or it magically appears in a sanctioned hymnal.  Then all of a sudden, we're OK with that one song but no others.  Rinse and repeat.

Sometimes the 'tragedy of compromise' looks more like 'the inability to change' more than it does anything else.  But that's me.

 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

TylerR's picture

Editor

You clearly haven't been reading Pickering very closely! Behold:

The Contemporary Christian Music so loved by large numbers of evangelicals today is witness to the theological deterioration of the church. Spiritual Christians are aghast at the frothy, wild, undisciplined, and earthly music sung and played by so-called Christian rock groups. There is more than an age gap here. There is a difference between that which is spiritual and that which is fleshly (Tragedy of Compromise, pg. 114). 

How so? Pickering foes on to provide a quote from another author who observes that old music was intellectual and is aimed at the mind and feelings, whereas the "new music" "rocks the whole body and penetrates the soul." He claims CCM is all about experience. "It fits in with the self-centered culture of the day in which persons concentrate on 'meeting their needs.'"

Pickering recognized what I've been saying; intent matters. I'm just not willing to impugn the intent of people whom I've never met and know nothing about; I'm willing to judge their intent on the basis of the lyrics. Pickering had no such qualms. 

Pickering goes on, and states:

Although music can reflect emotions, it must never be merely emotional. It must be tied to the mind which in turn is anchored firmly in theological concepts taught in the Scriptures ... Music that honors God must not only be heartfelt but also have intellectual validity (pg. 114-115). 

In short, Pickering gives us nothing but broad-brush statements and wholesale imputation of bad motives. You'll have to look elsewhere for substantive analysis, and an answer to your question, Jay ...

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Don Johnson's picture

Jay wrote:

Don objects because of the music itself, although he's probably never listened to Shai before.  Don, have you ever listened to the song before this?  Or are you objecting because I disproved Lee's point? 

Jay, simply posting a poem is not the same as the music. I don't particularly care about this song, the artist, the music, whatever. Simply making that point. You post the poem and want people to make a judgement about the music? Weird. Some kind of disconnect there.

As for the song itself, I have never heard it and don't plan to. I'm not making a judgement one way or the other. Simply calling attention to the fact that you can't judge music on the basis of literature.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Greg Long's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Greg Long wrote:

 

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

 

RajeshG wrote:

David was a prophet who is the most important musician spoken of in Scripture.

 

 

We have David's lyrics and references to musical instruments, but I wonder what David's music actually sounded like. I'll have to ask him to sing something for me when we get to heaven.

 

Come to think of it, I wonder if we'll be creating our own music in heaven, or if we'll just be listening to the angels singing their songs.

 

Except it doesnt say that angels "sing," only that they "say." Smile

 

 

 

Revelation 5:8-9 says that angelic creatures sing:

Revelation 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

In the flow of thought in this passage, both the beasts and the elders are the subjects of both verbs, "fell" and "sung." There is no grammatical basis for limiting the antecedent of "they" in 5:9 to just the 24 elders and saying that they symbolize the Church, etc. This passage says that the beasts, which are angelic creatures, and the elders fell down, having harps, and both groups sing the new song.

It never calls them angels, only beasts or creatures. They may be angelic like creatures, but they are not called angels. Note that v. 11 distinguishes between angels and the living creatures.

Angels are recorded as saying, not singing (for example to the shepherds at the birth of Christ, Luke 2).

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Jay's picture

Jay, simply posting a poem is not the same as the music. I don't particularly care about this song, the artist, the music, whatever.

Don, this is embarrassing, even for you. It's Christian hip-hop.  Linne expressly identifies himself and his music as such.

You object to a piece of music on the basis of the singer's intent and then argue that it isn't actually a song but a poem?  And you object to a song on the basis of the music when you haven't even listened to the song you are objecting to?

I rest my case, everyone.

Tyler, some fundamentalists are ok with shoddy argumentations.  And some of us are not.

 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jay's picture

While we are discussing whether or not angels sing or speak (put me down for doing both, BTW), let's solve the ancient mystery or not they can dance on the head of a pin and just how many can do so.

Wink

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Ron Bean's picture

While we're waiting for answers let's not get sidetracked by how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. We all know that holy beings don't dance. As to their singing, when we consider the loudness often assigned to their verbal utterings, it is only logical that any singing they would do would be too loud to be acceptable. Personally if God is singing I hope he has a choir behind him.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jay's picture

It turns out that the song I linked to earlier has a purely instrumental version - there are no lyrics or words at all.  If anyone wants to dissect the music itself and demonstrate the flaws from Scripture, you can get it at Spotify's site here.

 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Don Johnson's picture

Jay wrote:

Jay, simply posting a poem is not the same as the music. I don't particularly care about this song, the artist, the music, whatever.

Don, this is embarrassing, even for you. It's Christian hip-hop.  Linne expressly identifies himself and his music as such.

You object to a piece of music on the basis of the singer's intent and then argue that it isn't actually a song but a poem?  And you object to a song on the basis of the music when you haven't even listened to the song you are objecting to?

Jay, I am well aware of who Shai Linne is. I don't agree with using his style of music. Yet you insist that I evaluate his music on the basis of the words of a song. Please note, Jay, this is very elementary. When you go to a piano and strike a key, it doesn't SAY anything. It plays a note. If you put enough of them together in an organized fashion you have music. Evaluating music requires evaluating music. I don't particularly care about your attempt to get me to evaluate this poem (poems are made of words, Jay. Words make up literature. I am sure you might have run across this concept at some time, but you are still young.). We know the genre Shai Linne uses. I object to the genre as inappropriate for Christian expression, but it has nothing to do with the words. And you know that. So stop the silly posturing.

 

Jay wrote:

Tyler, some fundamentalists are ok with shoddy argumentations.  And some of us are not.

 

For that proposition to be true, you would have to be a fundamentalist. 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

TylerR's picture

Editor

The larger point of Jay's question is on what basis you dismiss the music he mentioned, if not by the content of the lyrics. This has been what many people have asked, on the various recent music threads. It's what Riley did not address. I don't know if it can be addressed. None of us will likely ever minister with the other, so I don't believe there is any posturing going on! 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Don Johnson's picture

The subject is well over done now. There is no point in hashing it over again. See my article on P&D. Cultivate an understanding of what music communicates. There are many resources, including secular. Probably especially secular would be important, since you mistrust Christian sources. When you understand what music communicates, you won't have any problem evaluating.

But please spare me the challenge of "see these lyrics, now evaluate the music." Lyrics aren't music.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

TylerR's picture

Editor

Just because I don't think Pickering's brief discussion was good, and I think Riley can't get past subjectivism, it doesn't mean I mistrust Christian sources! I agree music communicates. What nobody has been able to objectively explain is by what objective basis you can say one style communicates something intrinsically unholy, without factoring in the intent of the writer and performer. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Jay's picture

Don, I will link to the background music for any other Shai Linne song so that you can evaluate it without dealing with the words. I will say that I don't think instrumentation only is available for his most recent album ("Still Jesus"), but I want  to try and settle this. So pick one.  

In exchange, you are going to prove that music to be sinful on the basis of what God says in the Bible. If you don't want to or can't do so, then the only conclusion we can draw is that your entire premise and position is fatally flawed.

You are a fundamentalist pastor with 20+ years (maybe more - I don't know for sure) of experience, and you sit on the board of at least one major Fundamentalist organization. Proving something to be a sin issue ought to be eminently doable.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Don Johnson's picture

Sorry, Jay, I won't bite. It really doesn't matter what I say about any piece you care to point to. Your mind is made up. And of course, so is mine.

My point in today's exchange is simply that the debate isn't about the words. I'm sticking to that point. I have no obligation to evaluate your examples. Won't prove anything. But my point is eminently true. The music debate is about the music, not the words. 

[Granted, some CCM lyrics are incredibly shallow, but that's not the point either. Some more conservative pieces are less deep as well. The issue is not the words.]

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

TylerR's picture

Editor

Don wrote:

The music debate is about the music, not the words. 

That's fine. But, can you explain by what objective basis you can say one style communicates something intrinsically unholy, without factoring in the intent of the writer and performer? Many people have asked, on this thread and the related thread, how you can escape the charge of subjectivism in this regard. I'm not trying to be difficult; I just don't think the question has been answered. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Don Johnson's picture

Subjectivism? Meaning isn't relative. Read the secular music theorists. They tell you what music means. It isn't intent of every composer and has nothing to do with the intent of the performer. Some composers simply compose in a style/genre they like, though they may not fully or at all understand the meaning.

Granted, there is some difference of opinion, including some contrary opinions. But if you study meaning thoroughly, I believe you will find that a general consensus emerges. 

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Kevin Miller's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

Subjectivism? Meaning isn't relative. Read the secular music theorists. They tell you what music means. It isn't intent of every composer and has nothing to do with the intent of the performer. Some composers simply compose in a style/genre they like, though they may not fully or at all understand the meaning.

Granted, there is some difference of opinion, including some contrary opinions. But if you study meaning thoroughly, I believe you will find that a general consensus emerges. 

 

This is where I disagree with you. In my opinion, a set of notes in a particular style has no inherent meaning other than that assigned by it's associations within our culture. If rap music is unusable for Christians, it is unusable because it contains certain cultural associations, and the strength of these associations is relative for each person. Circus music has the meaning of circus music because of it's association in our minds with circuses. Two hundred years from now, people who have never heard of circuses might assign a completely different meaning to that style.

RickyHorton's picture

Let me take it a bit farther because I think this is where the "music is moral" people will go next.  After showing (like Kevin Miller just did) that meaning is assigned to music by people and not necessarily by the music itself, the conversation then normally goes to studies about emotion in music. Why is certain types of music used in a horror movie and certain type of music used in car chase scenes. I don't think anyone disputes that music conveys emotion, but don't make the mistake of saying that this shows music communicates to the point of right or wrong. Some have said rap and hip/hop is angry and aggressive, yet anger and aggression can be a good thing as well.  This doesn't mean that the style is wrong.  This also doesn't mean that everyone feels we should use rap and hip/hop in our church services tomorrow...meaning and appropriateness for the particular situation are two different things. 

The point is that if something is considered sinful then you must show this from Scripture. You can go to the experts and studies but ultimately you must go to Scripture to show how something is sinful.  God doesn't want to keep sin hidden from us.  He intended for even the simplest of people to go to Scripture to find what is right and what is wrong. This is the problem I have with most that are proponents of the morality of music...they never take the music itself and show from Scripture how it is wrong.  I've had conversations with the "experts" in this asking them how someone is supposed to go to a particular piece of music and know whether it is sinful or not. If it is sinful then we need to know! In those conversations I have never found anyone that was willing to take a song and breakdown how it is right or wrong. Why? Because when it comes to practically applying the generalities of this "doctrine", it simply falls apart.

Don Johnson's picture

Two points for Ricky and Kevin.

first, it is true that context, association, etc can add meaning to a particular style, but the meaning isn't entirely or even mostly connected with contexts.

second, why does Paul say, "nature itself teaches you..." on more than one occasion? General revelation teaches us as well, and we are accountable for all that it teaches. Further, I have showed passages that apply, see my piece a few weeks ago on P&D. There is sufficient revelation for us to have at least a general guide of what to think in this area.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Jay's picture

The point is that if something is considered sinful then you must show this from Scripture. You can go to the experts and studies but ultimately you must go to Scripture to show how something is sinful.  God doesn't want to keep sin hidden from us.  He intended for even the simplest of people to go to Scripture to find what is right and what is wrong.

This is the bedrock of my thinking on this issue, and why I keep hammering on "prove it from Scripture".  We did not have the Protestant Reformation so that we could appoint another cleristy and group of experts to tell us what God thinks a couple of hundred years later on any given subject.

The Bible, and the Bible alone, is what informs believers about who God is and what He wants, and any appeal to any other source as the authority on matters of faith and practice is an assault on the sufficiency of God's Word.  So if anyone teaches me that I have to understand why 17th century European culture is more godly than the culture I live in or how I cannot discern the music that is pleasing to the Lord with understanding chord structure and music theory, the proper response should be "the Scriptures are sufficient for me".  

This is not to say that those things are wrong or unhelpful.  They just aren't the authority on my relationship with God. That's why I generally don't waste my time reading articles like this by Riley or Aniol or Johnson.  I am not going to cede that principle to them, no matter how nice they are or how much I may like them personally.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

GregH's picture

Of course Don is not going to do what you guys keep asking him to do. He is not going to discuss what that music means because he can't. He claims that anyone can study a bit and easily know what music means but he can't do it himself. That is why he is ducking the question.

If you notice, all the people in that mindset are that way. They are quick to tell people that they need to judge music for meaning but they can't do it themselves. If I am wrong, they can prove me wrong but they won't. They will continue to duck and weave and avoid going on record interpreting a song for us, all the while telling us that it is easy.

RajeshG's picture

TylerR wrote:

I agree music communicates. What nobody has been able to objectively explain is by what objective basis you can say one style communicates something intrinsically unholy, without factoring in the intent of the writer and performer. 

Do you believe that it is possible that there can be one or more styles that can communicate “something intrinsically unholy, without factoring in the intent of the writer and performer” or do you believe that is impossible? If you believe that it is impossible, on what biblical basis or bases do you believe that it is impossible?

RickyHorton's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

Two points for Ricky and Kevin.

first, it is true that context, association, etc can add meaning to a particular style, but the meaning isn't entirely or even mostly connected with contexts.

second, why does Paul say, "nature itself teaches you..." on more than one occasion? General revelation teaches us as well, and we are accountable for all that it teaches. Further, I have showed passages that apply, see my piece a few weeks ago on P&D. There is sufficient revelation for us to have at least a general guide of what to think in this area.

Even what is generally revealed in nature is expounded upon in Scripture. Your article spoke in generalities yet does not reveal how to practically apply this to music. If there is some music that is truly sinful, then shouldn't we be able to identify what is sinful? I was taught about the sinfulness of some music when I was in high school yet no one could ever or would even try to show us how to tell what music was sinful and what wasn't.  Everyone had a different opinion and it was quickly understood even by a high school kid that there was no standard in Scripture that any of this was based on. It was all a matter of opinion, though well intentioned. Yet it was taught as doctrine and was the worst of sins! We were at the mercy of an authority figure to tell us what was right and what was wrong. That is a scary thing when the authority on sin is outside of Scripture!  

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

This is where I disagree with you. In my opinion, a set of notes in a particular style has no inherent meaning other than that assigned by it's associations within our culture. If rap music is unusable for Christians, it is unusable because it contains certain cultural associations, and the strength of these associations is relative for each person. Circus music has the meaning of circus music because of it's association in our minds with circuses. Two hundred years from now, people who have never heard of circuses might assign a completely different meaning to that style.

Do you have a biblical basis for your opinion that "a set of notes in a particular style has no inherent meaning other than that assigned by it's associations within our culture"?

How do you know that is true?
 

Bert Perry's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

TylerR wrote:

 

I agree music communicates. What nobody has been able to objectively explain is by what objective basis you can say one style communicates something intrinsically unholy, without factoring in the intent of the writer and performer. 

 

 

Do you believe that it is possible that there can be one or more styles that can communicate “something intrinsically unholy, without factoring in the intent of the writer and performer” or do you believe that is impossible? If you believe that it is impossible, on what biblical basis or bases do you believe that it is impossible?

Keep in mind here that those who would argue "traditional music only" or "some/all modern music styles are inherently wrong" are seeking to impose a limit on the freedom of fellow believers.  So instead of asking "do we believe that it's impossible that some music would have intrinsic moral value?", we ought to ask "on what evidence do we say that certain forms of music have an objectionable moral value?".  

If the answer is merely "guilt by association" or similar. we need to jettison the hypothesis.

That noted, given the usual pattern of these debates, I am leaning towards the conclusion that yes, I do believe it's impossible to prove that music has intrinsic moral values.  Those who study music might speak of emotional moods of music--that's why you might find yourself tearing up for no apparent reason while the movie background music is going--but Scripture doesn't tell us that certain emotions are wrong (only that they can be abused or entered sinfully).  

The long and short of it, though, is that the onus is on those who want to limit freedom to prove their point.  I agree with others that Don's column has abjectly failed in this attempt.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Don Johnson's picture

No more time for this subject today. Spent most of the day conducting the funeral of one of our deacons. What a great man. Trusted the Lord 18 years ago in the same room we conducted the service. Almost all his family, except his wife, unbelievers. Many coworkers in attendance, also lost. A great privilege to serve them today.

As for this topic, I'm not interested in attempting to analyze any particular piece of music because not one person here arguing the other side would agree. You are committed to your presuppositions, I think they are unbiblical. Music is the product of human hearts, it has to reflect the heart. Christian music these days is imitative, not creative. It imitates the products of the world rather create products of the Spirit.

So we disagree? What else is new?

But my point at this time is simply to argue with Jay who seems to think that good words make good music no matter what the genre or style it is presented in. The argument about music is not an argument about the words. That's all I'm saying today. You all can dance around and try to distract from that point all you want. You should be able to agree with that point, but you won't. Who knows why? Seems incredibly odd to me.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

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