Are there any Bible passages that specifically support the use of music to evangelize unbelievers?

Are there any Bible passages that specifically support the use of music to evangelize unbelievers? If so, how do these passages support that practice?

 

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Rob Fall's picture

there aren't any passages that meet your specifications.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

RajeshG's picture

Rob Fall wrote:

there aren't any passages that meet your specifications.

That is one commonly held view. If that is the case, why do so many preachers and churches use music in evangelistic endeavors to appeal specifically to unbelievers to get saved after they have heard the preaching of an evangelistic message?

Kevin Miller's picture

I can't think of any, but a lack of verses to support the practice does not rule out use of the practice. We don't have any verses to support the use of gospel tracts, but that doesn't mean they cannot be used.

I will provide some verses to get a conversation going, though, In I Cor 3:6 Paul wrote, "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase." This verse reminds me of the parable of the sower, in which seeds were spread on various types of ground, but only some grew to maturity. I understand the casting of the seeds to be evangelism, but what methods can be used in evangelism? Certainly preaching can be used, but so can one-on-one conversations with people. We have the gospel explained in Paul's letters, so certainly writing can be used. Andrew brought his brother to Jesus, so wouldn't the act of bringing someone to a place where they can hear the gospel also be a Biblical method of evangelism?

I Cor 9:19-23 gives us a picture of the extent Paul would go to to bring the gospel to people. 

19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

I don't consider it out of line to think that Paul might have added "to the musicians, I became like a musician, so that I could win musicians." How better to reach musicians than to put the gospel message to music! Of course, Paul did give himself a restriction. He was not going to do anything that was against Christ's law. Considering that restriction, we would have to examine whether the use of music is against Christ's law.

So the real question should not be whether any verses support the use of music. The question should be whether any verses specifically restrict the use of music in evangelism as being against Christ's law. At least that's the way I see the issue.

Ron Bean's picture

I would be interested in seeing the proof behind this statement:

If that is the case, one wonders why so many preachers and churches use music in evangelistic endeavors to appeal specifically to unbelievers to get saved after they have heard the preaching of an evangelistic message.

 

Although I'm sure there are still a few who sing umpteen verses of "Just As I Am" in the invitation until someone gives up.

 

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

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

I don't consider it out of line to think that Paul might have added "to the musicians, I became like a musician, so that I could win musicians." How better to reach musicians than to put the gospel message to music! Of course, Paul did give himself a restriction. He was not going to do anything that was against Christ's law. Considering that restriction, we would have to examine whether the use of music is against Christ's law.

So the real question should not be whether any verses support the use of music. The question should be whether any verses specifically restrict the use of music in evangelism as being against Christ's law. At least that's the way I see the issue.

This is an interesting application of 1 Corinthians 9. I have never heard someone try to reason specifically this way that they use or would use music in evangelism specifically to reach musicians, etc.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

So the real question should not be whether any verses support the use of music. The question should be whether any verses specifically restrict the use of music in evangelism as being against Christ's law. At least that's the way I see the issue.

As you probably already know, there are many believers who hold that we are not practice in the church what God has not authorized us to practice. For those who hold that view, using music in evangelism would be wrong if there is no biblical support for doing so.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

So the real question should not be whether any verses support the use of music. The question should be whether any verses specifically restrict the use of music in evangelism as being against Christ's law. At least that's the way I see the issue.

 

 

As you probably already know, there are many believers who hold that we are not practice in the church what God has not authorized us to practice. For those who hold that view, using music in evangelism would be wrong if there is no biblical support for doing so.

Would this group also be the ones who refrain from using musical instruments during their Sunday worship? I have a friend who attends a church like that. Singing is authorized in the NT, but musical instruments aren't found. I wouldn't classify that group as "many believers", however. They seem like a rather small subset. Are you personally such a believer, or are you just describing people you know of?

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

Would this group also be the ones who refrain from using musical instruments during their Sunday worship? I have a friend who attends a church like that. I wouldn't classify that group as "many believers", however. They seem like a rather small subset. Are you personally such a believer, or are you just describing people you know of?

Not necessarily. People who hold the view of not using musical instruments could still sing evangelistic appeals to unbelievers, if they believe that doing so is biblical.

No, I do not hold the view of not using musical instruments in worship. I have ministered numerous times musically in services, both in singing and instrumentally.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Not necessarily. People who hold the view of not using musical instruments could still sing evangelistic appeals to unbelievers, if they believe that doing so is biblical.

No, I do not hold the view of not using musical instruments in worship. I have ministered numerous times musically in services, both in singing and instrumentally.

I've always wished I could play a musical instrument. What instruments do you play?

Then, more to the point, are you one of the "many believers who hold that we are not practice in the church what God has not authorized us to practice"? 

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

I've always wished I could play a musical instrument. What instruments do you play?

Then, more to the point, are you one of the "many believers who hold that we are not practice in the church what God has not authorized us to practice"? 

I play classical guitar. I have not studied exactly in detail what those people believe . . . I believe that we should practice what the Bible teaches us to do either explicitly or implicitly by way of proper application. I would like this thread to return to the actual subject of the thread. Thanks.

RickyHorton's picture

There is no passage that says music can communicate Biblical truth effectively enough to evangelize.  Lyrics can though. I'm betting that isn't what you meant though and that you actually meant a song (music and lyrics).  Assuming that is the case, Scripture does say that we should use songs to teach and to admonish (Col. 3:16). Even though that was written to the church, is there any reason the same songs wouldn't also aid in teaching unbelievers the truths of Scripture? If I sing about Christ's death, it really is no different than speaking to him, though you could argue singing could be more effective. 

RajeshG's picture

RickyHorton wrote:

There is no passage that says music can communicate Biblical truth effectively enough to evangelize.  Lyrics can though. I'm betting that isn't what you meant though and that you actually meant a song (music and lyrics).  Assuming that is the case, Scripture does say that we should use songs to teach and to admonish (Col. 3:16). Even though that was written to the church, is there any reason the same songs wouldn't also aid in teaching unbelievers the truths of Scripture? If I sing about Christ's death, it really is no different than speaking to him, though you could argue singing could be more effective. 

By design, my OP was stated as broadly as possible. Singing lyrics is music, whether it is accompanied by any instrument or not.

I also did not take any position about the question that I posed. I asked an open-ended question about what is in the Bible pertaining to my question.

As you have noted, in context, Colossians 3:16 is not explicitly a statement about ministering music to unbelievers. Applying that statement to using music with unbelievers is a position that has it supporters. Others disagree.

 

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

I play classical guitar. I have not studied exactly in detail what those people believe . . . I believe that we should practice what the Bible teaches us to do either explicitly or implicitly by way of proper application. I would like this thread to return to the actual subject of the thread. Thanks.

Sorry. I didn't think it would be a problem asking you what instrument you play.

Jay's picture

 

As you have noted, in context, Colossians 3:16 is not explicitly a statement about ministering music to unbelievers. Applying that statement to using music with unbelievers is a position that has it supporters. Others disagree.

So...it appears that Rajesh and I may agree on something - that Col. 3:16 is about Christians ministering to each other and not to unbelievers! 

This is a glorious day for (at least 2) SharperIron members! Biggrin

"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

Kevin Miller's picture

I think Romans 15:8-9 might apply here.

8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles;  I will sing the praises of your name.”

As the praises of God's name are sung among the Gentiles, the Gentiles would come to glorify God for His mercy.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

I think Romans 15:8-9 might apply here.

8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles;  I will sing the praises of your name.”

As the praises of God's name are sung among the Gentiles, the Gentiles would come to glorify God for His mercy.

This is one of the most important passages on the importance of music in the Bible! The connection between v. 9a and 9b, however, is not quite one of explaining how the Gentiles would come to glorify God for His mercy.

When Paul says, "As it is written . . ." he is setting forth 4 scriptural citations from the OT to support his statement about the dual nature of the Messiah's ministry: He was a servant to the Jews "so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed." To the Gentiles, He became a servant "that they might glorify God for His mercy."

As a result of the glorious work of God's Servant, the Gentiles will one day glorify God for His mercy, just as it is written in these 4 glorious passages!

You are on the right track . . .

RickyHorton's picture

Jay wrote:

 

As you have noted, in context, Colossians 3:16 is not explicitly a statement about ministering music to unbelievers. Applying that statement to using music with unbelievers is a position that has it supporters. Others disagree.

So...it appears that Rajesh and I may agree on something - that Col. 3:16 is about Christians ministering to each other and not to unbelievers! 

This is a glorious day for (at least 2) SharperIron members! Biggrin

I agree it is written to Christians...I was the one that brought that point up. However, I used it to illustrate that music is used to teach. If it teaches me, as a Christian, about the death of Christ, is there a reason the Holy Spirit can't use that same song to teach and draw an unbeliever to Him? To me, the original question is about like asking if verbal words or a blog can be used to evangelize. Verbal words, a blog, or lyrics to a song are just modes of communication. Are there any Bible passages that specifically support the use of blogs to evangelize unbelievers? 

I don't really think this was the actual intent of the original question though.  I have a sneaking suspicion the mode of communication isn't in question as much as the style of communication!

 

Ron Bean's picture

The idea of using secular music in church to "sell" the message to outsiders has been around since Vatican II. 

The Vatican Rag

I haven't heard anyone promoting the use of music to evangelize the lost in decades.

I have heard people "claim" that those who use different music styles in church do so to reach the lost.

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

RajeshG's picture

RickyHorton wrote:

I don't really think this was the actual intent of the original question though.  I have a sneaking suspicion the mode of communication isn't in question as much as the style of communication!

You are going to give a solemn account to Christ some day for making these kinds of statements about me. 

RajeshG's picture

Kevin,

Continuing with the actual topic of this thread, take a closer look at Romans 15:10-11.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Kevin,

Continuing with the actual topic of this thread, take a closer look at Romans 15:10-11.

Yes, and as Gentiles praise the Lord, they would be proclaiming the name of the Lord not just among other saved Gentiles, but also among the unsaved Gentiles, which would cause unsaved Gentiles to consider their need for the Lord. If the praising is done in the form of singing, then the singing would certainly be considered evangelistic in nature.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

Yes, and as Gentiles praise the Lord, they would be proclaiming the name of the Lord not just among other saved Gentiles, but also among the unsaved Gentiles, which would cause unsaved Gentiles to consider their need for the Lord. If the praising is done in the form of singing, then the singing would certainly be considered evangelistic in nature.

If you look carefully at both passages in their original context, you will discover that there is much more than even what you have found so far.

Consider:
 

1. The nature of the surrounding context

2. Who the speaker of the statement is

3. Who is being spoken to

4. What specifically is being said to those being spoken to

5. The manner in which what is being said is said

 

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

If you look carefully at both passages in their original context, you will discover that there is much more than even what you have found so far.

Consider:
 

1. The nature of the surrounding context

2. Who the speaker of the statement is

3. Who is being spoken to

4. What specifically is being said to those being spoken to

5. The manner in which what is being said is said

Even with covering all of those questions, I'm not sure how you can say, as you did earlier, that "This is one of the most important passages on the importance of music in the Bible!" The passage is about Gentiles coming to God through Christ. Singing is only mentioned as a vehicle for praise that Gentiles are coming to Christ. My point is that when God is praised, then that praise is going to be reaching the ears of unbelievers. Would that be false?

RickyHorton's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

RickyHorton wrote:

 

I don't really think this was the actual intent of the original question though.  I have a sneaking suspicion the mode of communication isn't in question as much as the style of communication!

 

 

You are going to give a solemn account to Christ some day for making these kinds of statements about me. 

Rajesh, I'm not sure what was offensive there but I apologize if there was anything offensive. 

RajeshG's picture

RickyHorton wrote:

Rajesh, I'm not sure what was offensive there but I apologize if there was anything offensive. 

Ok. Thanks.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

My point is that when God is praised, then that praise is going to be reaching the ears of unbelievers. Would that be false?

When God is praised in the hearing of unbelievers, they certainly are given a testimony that God can use in their hearts.