We Must Heed the Vital Message of 1 Corinthians 10:18-20

1 Corinthians 10:18-20 provides vital instruction that every believer must heed:

1 Corinthians 10:18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

To eat in a worship context of what has been sacrificed on an altar to an idol is to be a partaker of the altar. To do so is also to have fellowship with demons!

Such fellowship with demons is not contingent upon a person's having to offer the sacrifices himself. Anyone who eats of such sacrifices comes into fellowship with demons.

The passage also does not provide any basis to say or to hold that this only happens sometimes--in a worship context, anyone who eats what has been sacrificed to an idol has fellowship with demons. God does not want any humans to have fellowship with demons!

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Jay's picture

Seriously?  We're talking about Andy Stanley's church as the norm in our circles?

This would have been a disgrace even without the lyrics.

No kidding.  Did you need me, Rajesh, or 21 pages of discussion on SI to figure that out?  I'm being serious.  

"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

AndyE's picture

Jay wrote:
Seriously?  We're talking about Andy Stanley's church as the norm in our circles?

Jay -- you didn't specify the norm in our circles. You said, "in a church."  So, yes, this type of thing occurs in church. And this is were the idea that music is amoral leads.

Jay wrote:

This would have been a disgrace even without the lyrics.

No kidding.  Did you need me, Rajesh, or 21 pages of discussion on SI to figure that out?  I'm being serious.  

I wonder how many people here agree with you?  Most of what I read here is along the lines of -- if you can't explain what makes the music wrong, you have no right to pass judgment on it, or you don't have any objective standard to determine if any music is right or wrong, or show me in the Bible where this genre is off limits to the believer, or similar.  I really hope you are right, but I don't know how you are able to justify this conclusion, or how others can, based on what I have read on this thread. 

Bert Perry's picture

Totally apart from whether modern music genre/rock & roll are appropriate as a base for Christian lyrics, it strikes me that a "tribute to boy bands" is a great way to tell the "XY" half of the congregation that they are not welcome.  What's next, Kenny G or the Chippendale dancers?  And we all know that Andy Stanley has said some very foolish things about the authority of Scripture.   If his congregation isn't taking action on that, should we be surprised at this at all?

What Andy's comment is, though, is a brilliant example of why it matters that we understand the genre we're criticizing, at least to a significant extent.  "New Kids on the Block" is not the same thing, for example, as AC/DC.  

Regarding the music in particular, we can look up the lyrics to songs by groups, and we can ask the question of whether that particular song ought to be in church.  OK, we would want to ape the words of a silly young boy in puppy love with a silly girl exactly....why?

Now let's strip away the lyrics and ask whether the guitar/drum/etc. work underneath might be used, albeit with a somewhat different melody to avoid copyright issues.  Well, why not?  If the meter works with the lyrics, and the "mood" set by the key and instrumentation helps communicate the Word of God to the people of God, enabling them to return praise to Him, why not?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

AndyE wrote:

And this is were the idea that music is amoral leads.

Of course it could lead there.  But lots of things that are perfectly legitimate outside of church we don't do in there either.  We don't fire guns, drive our cars, listen to a (good) song on our phones out loud, we don't cheer for the Clemson Tigers, have a paintball game,... I could go on and on.

There are a number of things that would restrict what music we use in church beyond whether the music itself is evil or not.  Personally, I don't want my worship music to sound like "Stars and Stripes Forever," or "Für Elise" either or pretty much any secular style that I might enjoy in other circumstances, yet I would hardly argue that the music to either of those named is immoral.

What I do want (and what I suspect most Christians seek) is an objective standard I/we can use rather than the least common denominator that can pass everyone (or at least everyone in church leadership) without offending someone.  Unfortunately, even the "normal" genre classifications we use are also unhelpful, as we can't cleanly put any of them (just by judging the music itself) on one side of the moral/immoral line or the other.  It's much more complex than that.  But trying to draw a dubious conclusion by stretching a scripture way beyond what it's trying to say is really not helping.

Dave Barnhart

GregH's picture

AndyE wrote:

 

Jay wrote:
Seriously?  We're talking about Andy Stanley's church as the norm in our circles?

 

Jay -- you didn't specify the norm in our circles. You said, "in a church."  So, yes, this type of thing occurs in church. And this is were the idea that music is amoral leads.

 

Jay wrote:

 

This would have been a disgrace even without the lyrics.

No kidding.  Did you need me, Rajesh, or 21 pages of discussion on SI to figure that out?  I'm being serious.  

 

I wonder how many people here agree with you?  Most of what I read here is along the lines of -- if you can't explain what makes the music wrong, you have no right to pass judgment on it, or you don't have any objective standard to determine if any music is right or wrong, or show me in the Bible where this genre is off limits to the believer, or similar.  I really hope you are right, but I don't know how you are able to justify this conclusion, or how others can, based on what I have read on this thread. 

Speaking for myself, I have never been more open to the "music is moral" argument than I am now. I am not quite there but I greatly appreciate the arguments. Actually, I would say that I do believe music conveys morality but the real argument is whether it is intrinsic or assumed based on cultural associations. I think the Bible is largely silent on this issue but that exact topic has been debated in secular philosophy for 2000 years without resolution by some very smart guys and I have enjoyed reading them. I do think that the second more relativistic approach is more in vogue right now but it seems that prevailing opinion has flipped back and forth over the centuries.

My big problem with this thread is not Rajesh's conclusion but the way he gets there. As anyone reading can tell, he brings a huge agenda and goes through extreme contortions to try to curve fit the Bible to his bias. His approach is the opposite of what I think good thinking is and is just dramatically inferior to the arguments I have read elsewhere. Probably I should just ignore him but it is just too tempting to jump in from time to time.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

GregH wrote:

Actually, I would say that I do believe music conveys morality but the real argument is whether it is intrinsic or assumed based on cultural associations.

Greg, that's interesting, because your latter argument is where I find myself as well.  I'm open to the idea that music could be proven to be intrinsically moral (though I've yet to see a convincing proof, and I don't yet believe it), but I pretty much also believe that music conveys morality not of its own that it gains from culture and associations.

Dave Barnhart

AndyE's picture

dcbii wrote:

There are a number of things that would restrict what music we use in church beyond whether the music itself is evil or not.  Personally, I don't want my worship music to sound like "Stars and Stripes Forever," or "Für Elise" either or pretty much any secular style that I might enjoy in other circumstances, yet I would hardly argue that the music to either of those named is immoral.

Agreed, just because something is inappropriate for church doesn't make that something immoral.  And just because something is moral, doesn't make it appropriate for church. 

dcbii wrote:
What I do want (and what I suspect most Christians seek) is an objective standard I/we can use rather than the least common denominator that can pass everyone (or at least everyone in church leadership) without offending someone.  Unfortunately, even the "normal" genre classifications we use are also unhelpful, as we can't cleanly put any of them (just by judging the music itself) on one side of the moral/immoral line or the other.  It's much more complex than that.  But trying to draw a dubious conclusion by stretching a scripture way beyond what it's trying to say is really not helping.
  The same sort of conundrum exists with "let no corrupt communication proceed out of thy mouth."  What is the objective standard for our language?  What euphemisms are OK and which ones are not? What constitutes a swear word or a dirty word, and how would you objectively define those with Scripture?  Asking for an objective standard is asking for more than what the Bible gives us, I think.  Yet at the same time I think we have to make decisions regarding our music.  I get the feeling that no one is really of the "anything goes" and is OK for Christian worship mentality.  For some reason, though, people feel like it is wrong to judge music when they have no problem judging verbal communication.

AndyE's picture

GregH wrote:

Actually, I would say that I do believe music conveys morality but the real argument is whether it is intrinsic or assumed based on cultural associations. I think the Bible is largely silent on this issue but that exact topic has been debated in secular philosophy for 2000 years without resolution by some very smart guys and I have enjoyed reading them. I do think that the second more relativistic approach is more in vogue right now but it seems that prevailing opinion has flipped back and forth over the centuries.

So, at the very least, I think there is morality based on cultural associations, as you suggest.  To me there is no question about that.  But, no big surprise, I lean toward the idea that the morality is intrinsic. What confirmed this to me was something that happened on our trip to the Philippines 10 years ago. We were treated to a cultural Filipino dance festival associated with the school where Daphne's aunt was the president.  They put this show on for us and most of the dance routines were performed (1) modestly by the performers and (2) accompanied by really good traditional folk Filipino music.  Really nothing objectionable. But there were a few routines, where that was not true. They were depicting a more primitive, sensual, lustful situation -- those routines feature both immodesty and music that I would characterize as bad and immoral.  I don't know if it was rock, or not, but it certainly was not like the other music and much more like the pop/rock sound that I would say is wrong.  In short it seems that they matched the immoral music with the immoral actions/dress.  This is just an example, but it helped confirm what I already thought about that type of music.  That music best communicated what they were trying to communicate and it was not good.  I"m not a musician and I can't explain why that music did what it did, but I could feel it and understand it.

 

 

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

AndyE wrote:

The same sort of conundrum exists with "let no corrupt communication proceed out of thy mouth."  What is the objective standard for our language?  What euphemisms are OK and which ones are not? What constitutes a swear word or a dirty word, and how would you objectively define those with Scripture?  Asking for an objective standard is asking for more than what the Bible gives us, I think.  Yet at the same time I think we have to make decisions regarding our music.  I get the feeling that no one is really of the "anything goes" and is OK for Christian worship mentality.  For some reason, though, people feel like it is wrong to judge music when they have no problem judging verbal communication.

You are correct that we have to make at least some judgment calls about corrupt communication.  However, although I hear this comparison all the time, I don't think it's completely analogous for a few reasons.

1. Language communicates much more clearly than music.  All the words you are reading that I'm typing have fairly well-defined meanings, and even where they have more than one meaning, getting the meaning from context is much easier than for music.  Again, I've yet to hear anyone take a musical phrase and tell me what it means (even if it would have multiple).  You might misunderstand a little of what I write here, but >90% of the meaning I intend is going to be what the reader gets.  Music is never that clear.

2. We understand that the sounds in the word don't have any moral value of themselves, but are entirely assigned by their given meaning and context (something I believe is also true of music, but clearly many disagree).  For example, take the word "hell."  We use that in several senses in English, but that word in German means "light."  So if I were to say in English, "It's hell outside," that, at least to many people, would be strong language.  If I say in German "Es ist hell draussen," all I'm saying is it's light outside, a perfectly normal expression.  In Germany, I would say that in church.  In America, not so much.  But the word itself (and the sound it makes) hasn't changed.  Only its assigned meaning.  As you can see, the meaning of the word "hell" (or the way it sounds) is not intrinsic.  For that matter, I'd bet that not even the sound of a "raspberry" means the same to all people groups on the earth.  Like mine, your wife is also from a different culture, and I'm sure you understand this just as well as I do, if not better.

3. Even communication that would be corrupt in some circumstances would not be in others.  For example, you might say things with your spouse that you would never say in public, and would be legitimately seen as corrupt if spoken to anyone else.  But almost no one on the "music is absolutely moral" side of the argument would agree that music they think is evil is ever good in any circumstance.

Basically, you and I can come up with basic building blocks of language that we would agree are corrupt, even if there would be some disagreement. But those blocks wouldn't be the same in every culture, whereas it's claimed that intrinsically wrong music is wrong everywhere.  As long as the meaning of a word or phrase can be assigned and agreed upon, then we can at least learn to know what corrupt communication is.  With music, which is claimed to have intrinsic meaning (but what that meaning is we are never told, except in sweeping generalities), if we can't learn what the building blocks mean, we can't really learn what it means overall and hence trying to discern what is corrupt and what isn't becomes a fool's errand.  At best we can make some guesses, but we still don't understand.

Personally, for my own judging of music, I consider association and appropriateness to be far more useful, and they are in fact what I use.  The problem is that others would not have my same concepts of appropriateness or the same associations, so it's much more difficult for me to give them a musical standard than it would be to correct them when they use communication that is agreed by all (or nearly all) in our culture to be corrupt.

Dave Barnhart

Jay's picture

So, at the very least, I think there is morality based on cultural associations, as you suggest.  To me there is no question about that.  But, no big surprise, I lean toward the idea that the morality is intrinsic. What confirmed this to me was something that happened on our trip to the Philippines 10 years ago. We were treated to a cultural Filipino dance festival associated with the school where Daphne's aunt was the president.  They put this show on for us and most of the dance routines were performed (1) modestly by the performers and (2) accompanied by really good traditional folk Filipino music.  Really nothing objectionable. But there were a few routines, where that was not true. They were depicting a more primitive, sensual, lustful situation -- those routines feature both immodesty and music that I would characterize as bad and immoral.  I don't know if it was rock, or not, but it certainly was not like the other music and much more like the pop/rock sound that I would say is wrong.  In short it seems that they matched the immoral music with the immoral actions/dress.  This is just an example, but it helped confirm what I already thought about that type of music.  That music best communicated what they were trying to communicate and it was not good.  I"m not a musician and I can't explain why that music did what it did, but I could feel it and understand it.

I actually agree with this as well.  I think there's too many variables in each situation to come up with one objective standard.  

We have all different ages, all different nationalities, all different musicians (at all different skills!) and more when we talk about worship music.  So why are we hung up on the particular styles or instruments used here in the US as what God wants in our music? 

The bible doesn't give specifics because people and culture (and the accompanying associations) have changed over the roughly 2000 years the church has been around.  Maybe the Bible doesn't argue that way because it is better to say "sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" and then let the reader decide based on the particular environment that they are in.

"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

I am still working through these things but to me, it comes down to the philosophical buckets of foundationalism and relativism. Either there are some concrete standards regarding music morality or music can only become immoral because of outside agents in culture. So here are some things I am pondering regarding the intrinsic vs cultural association question:

1) Since philosophy/world views tend to fall more into the relativistic camp in present times, how affected are we by that bias in considering this issue?

2) Is a relativistic view at least on some things (not all things) compatible with Christianity which clearly requires a foundationalist philosophy in many areas?

3) How is it rationally possible for music to be intrinsically immoral if we have no evidence that it communicates beyond a primary emotion level? 

4) If there is an objective, foundational set of rules governing morality in music, why did God not give that to us? You can see in this thread how hard some try to find those kind of rules and the futility of those efforts. They simply are not there.

I lean toward the relativistic argument on this based on evidence and I just don't think relativism is always incompatible to Christianity. I think most Christians apply relativistic principles to some things when they stop and think about it whether it is dress or whatever.

RajeshG's picture

I have repeatedly directed attention to the importance of 1 Corinthians 10:7,

1 Corinthians 10:7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

Anyone who asserts or implies that the specifics of this command are not what really matters, and that what really matters is that it is a prohibition against idolatry mishandles the passage.

Because of what Paul then later says in the passage, we know with absolute certainty that people who in a worship context eat and drink what has been offered to an idol in a worship context come into fellowship with demons and partner with them in their idolatry in a way that was not true of them prior to their consumption of those sacrifices.

Applying what Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 10:7 to Exodus 32:6, we know with absolute certainty that the people who ate those sacrifices in the GCI were in fellowship with demons and partnering with them in what they did subsequent to their consuming those sacrifices.

The Spirit explicitly records that the people who were engaging in idolatrous worship in the GCI were producing music in their demonically influenced playing (Exod. 32:17-18). Any Christian who denies that these verses teach us anything about worship music therefore denies what the Spirit explicitly says to us when He explicitly tells us that all Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for us (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Because God has given us an explicit record of demonically influenced idolaters who produced music in their idolatrous worship, every Christian must decide what he is going to do with this revelation and what he is going to believe about demonically influenced music. God has provided us with revelation about the reality of demonically influenced music, and He wants us to profit from that specific revelation!

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

I have repeatedly directed attention to the importance of 1 Corinthians 10:7,

1 Corinthians 10:7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

Anyone who asserts or implies that the specifics of this command are not what really matters, and that what really matters is that it is a prohibition against idolatry mishandles the passage.

Because of what Paul then later says in the passage, we know with absolute certainty that people who in a worship context eat and drink what has been offered to an idol in a worship context come into fellowship with demons and partner with them in their idolatry in a way that was not true of them prior to their consumption of those sacrifices.

Applying what Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 10:7 to Exodus 32:6, we know with absolute certainty that the people who ate those sacrifices in the GCI were in fellowship with demons and partnering with them in what they did subsequent to their consuming those sacrifices.

The Spirit explicitly records that the people who were engaging in idolatrous worship in the GCI were producing music in their demonically influenced playing (Exod. 32:17-18). Any Christian who denies that these verses teach us anything about worship music therefore denies what the Spirit explicitly says to us when He explicitly tells us that all Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for us (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Because God has given us an explicit record of demonically influenced idolaters who produced music in their idolatrous worship, every Christian must decide what he is going to do with this revelation and what he is going to believe about demonically influenced music. God has provided us with revelation about the reality of demonically influenced music, and He wants us to profit from that specific revelation!

Yes, you've reminded us of these things many many times in this thread. Another thing of which you have often reminded us is that you have never claimed that ALL music produced by demonic influenced people would be evil. So there still needs to be some standard by which the difference is judged between the music that a demonically influenced person produces that is evil and the music that a demonically influenced person produces which is not evil.

JD Miller's picture

I doubt that anyone would argue for the use of any music that the composer/author said was written for demons.  I don't care if it is a rock musician or a classical singer- if they say that they wrote a song and dedicated it to Satan I do not want to use that music.  I think we can find a lot of agreement on that.  

The problem I see is that some want to claim that certain music styles are always dedicated to Satan.  Unless we have clear scripture to show that, then we must be careful about our claims.  I think the frustration that many are having with Rajesh is not his position that demonic music should be avoided, but rather his position that certain categories of music are demonic and yet he will not give us a standard for the criteria for his conclusions.  That is understandable since the scripture is not specific on that either.  That is why I am unwilling to be dogmatic on music styles even if I have my own preferences.

TylerR's picture

Editor

For the inspired record of what the golden calf episode is about, see the following passages:

  • Deut 9:7-21
  • Deut 9:7-21
  • Deut 9:7-21
  • Deut 9:7-21
  • Deut 9:7-21
  • Deut 9:7-21
  • Deut 9:7-21

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?

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

Yes, you've reminded us of these things many many times in this thread. Another thing of which you have often reminded us is that you have never claimed that ALL music produced by demonic influenced people would be evil. So there still needs to be some standard by which the difference is judged between the music that a demonically influenced person produces that is evil and the music that a demonically influenced person produces which is not evil.

Because I do not want to wrongly assert that you are twisting my words in this comment, please provide me with links to each time that I have said that I "have never claimed that ALL music produced by demonic influenced people would be evil."  

RajeshG's picture

TylerR wrote:

For the inspired record of what the golden calf episode is about, see the following passages:

  • Deut 9:7-21
  • Deut 9:7-21
  • Deut 9:7-21
  • Deut 9:7-21
  • Deut 9:7-21
  • Deut 9:7-21
  • Deut 9:7-21

This is at least an unbiblical implicit assertion that anything that is important about an event that is recorded in Scripture must be repeated in one or more of the other passages that speak of the same event. That position is patently false.

 

RajeshG's picture

JD Miller wrote:

I doubt that anyone would argue for the use of any music that the composer/author said was written for demons.  I don't care if it is a rock musician or a classical singer- if they say that they wrote a song and dedicated it to Satan I do not want to use that music.  I think we can find a lot of agreement on that.  

The problem I see is that some want to claim that certain music styles are always dedicated to Satan.  Unless we have clear scripture to show that, then we must be careful about our claims.  I think the frustration that many are having with Rajesh is not his position that demonic music should be avoided, but rather his position that certain categories of music are demonic and yet he will not give us a standard for the criteria for his conclusions.  That is understandable since the scripture is not specific on that either.  That is why I am unwilling to be dogmatic on music styles even if I have my own preferences.

Exodus 32:17-18 is not a record of a composer/author saying that he wrote a song and dedicated it to demons. There is no evidence that the idolaters in the GCI preplanned exactly what music they would produce and how they would play it and sing it.

There is a world of difference between saying that certain music styles are always dedicated to Satan versus the issue that certain styles originate from or are sourced in activities in which humans come into contact with demonic spirits.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

Yes, you've reminded us of these things many many times in this thread. Another thing of which you have often reminded us is that you have never claimed that ALL music produced by demonic influenced people would be evil. So there still needs to be some standard by which the difference is judged between the music that a demonically influenced person produces that is evil and the music that a demonically influenced person produces which is not evil.

 

 

Because I do not want to wrongly assert that you are twisting my words in this comment, please provide me with links to each time that I have said that I "have never claimed that ALL music produced by demonic influenced people would be evil."  

You've used different words at different times, but I only have time to find one this morning. Just last Sunday, you told GregH "I have never made any categorical statements about all things made by any pagans/unbelievers as being wicked." I know we've had discussion about the spectrum of demon influence between all believers and upon just those who eat idol meat, but when we talk about evil music being produced, you often state it is produced by demon influenced people who have not eaten idol meat, so the influence in your position reaches beyond just that catagory.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

Yes, you've reminded us of these things many many times in this thread. Another thing of which you have often reminded us is that you have never claimed that ALL music produced by demonic influenced people would be evil. So there still needs to be some standard by which the difference is judged between the music that a demonically influenced person produces that is evil and the music that a demonically influenced person produces which is not evil.

 

 

Because I do not want to wrongly assert that you are twisting my words in this comment, please provide me with links to each time that I have said that I "have never claimed that ALL music produced by demonic influenced people would be evil."  

 

You've used different words at different times, but I only have time to find one this morning. Just last Sunday, you told GregH "I have never made any categorical statements about all things made by any pagans/unbelievers as being wicked." I know we've had discussion about the spectrum of demon influence between all believers and upon just those who eat idol meat, but when we talk about evil music being produced, you often state it is produced by demon influenced people who have not eaten idol meat, so the influence in your position reaches beyond just that catagory.

Any other statements that I have made that were specifically about demonically influenced people (and not just about unbelievers in general, such as the one that you are referring to that I recently made to GregH) producing music would have been about people who were/are in contact with demons through other forbidden activities that put humans into contact with demons, such as witchcraft, sorcery, etc.

For the record, I do not hold that any music produced by any such people that was/is made by them while they are involved in any activities that put them into forbidden contact with demonic spirits is music that is acceptable to God for use in worship. I trust that you now are clear about the position that I hold on this issue.

JD Miller's picture

Rajesh wrote,

There is a world of difference between saying that certain music styles are always dedicated to Satan versus the issue that certain styles originate from or are sourced in activities in which humans come into contact with demonic spirits.

If I knew that music was the result of contact with demonic spirits I would want to avoid it.  The challenge that I face is that I have not seen clear evidence that all music from a specific category is always demonically inspired.  We could suggest that electricity, radio and tv waves, and the internet are actually possible because of demonic powers.  I do not believe that.  In order to get me to stop using the internet much more proof would have to be given.  Just saying we have to avoid anything that might come from demons would not be enough to convince me.

RajeshG's picture

JD Miller wrote:

Rajesh wrote,

There is a world of difference between saying that certain music styles are always dedicated to Satan versus the issue that certain styles originate from or are sourced in activities in which humans come into contact with demonic spirits.

If I knew that music was the result of contact with demonic spirits I would want to avoid it.  The challenge that I face is that I have not seen clear evidence that all music from a specific category is always demonically inspired.  We could suggest that electricity, radio and tv waves, and the internet are actually possible because of demonic powers.  I do not believe that.  In order to get me to stop using the internet much more proof would have to be given.  Just saying we have to avoid anything that might come from demons would not be enough to convince me.

What comprises or would comprise for you "clear evidence that all music from a specific category is always demonically inspired" and how did you come to believe what you do about that issue? 

JD Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

JD Miller wrote:

 

Rajesh wrote,

There is a world of difference between saying that certain music styles are always dedicated to Satan versus the issue that certain styles originate from or are sourced in activities in which humans come into contact with demonic spirits.

If I knew that music was the result of contact with demonic spirits I would want to avoid it.  The challenge that I face is that I have not seen clear evidence that all music from a specific category is always demonically inspired.  We could suggest that electricity, radio and tv waves, and the internet are actually possible because of demonic powers.  I do not believe that.  In order to get me to stop using the internet much more proof would have to be given.  Just saying we have to avoid anything that might come from demons would not be enough to convince me.

 

 

What comprises or would comprise for you "clear evidence that all music from a specific category is always demonically inspired" and how did you come to believe what you do about that issue? 

In answer to your question, Scripture would have to give me that evidence.  I came to that conclusion because I do not believe in the authority of extra-biblical revelation for this era nor do I believe in the authority of feelings because the heart is deceitful.  If we come to the conclusion that one form of music is demonically inspired how do we prove that another form is not?  For example if one person "feels" that rock is demonic and another person believes that classical is demonic, do we just reject both rock and classical to stay on the safe side? 

RajeshG's picture

JD Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

JD Miller wrote:

 

Rajesh wrote,

There is a world of difference between saying that certain music styles are always dedicated to Satan versus the issue that certain styles originate from or are sourced in activities in which humans come into contact with demonic spirits.

If I knew that music was the result of contact with demonic spirits I would want to avoid it.  The challenge that I face is that I have not seen clear evidence that all music from a specific category is always demonically inspired.  We could suggest that electricity, radio and tv waves, and the internet are actually possible because of demonic powers.  I do not believe that.  In order to get me to stop using the internet much more proof would have to be given.  Just saying we have to avoid anything that might come from demons would not be enough to convince me.

 

 

What comprises or would comprise for you "clear evidence that all music from a specific category is always demonically inspired" and how did you come to believe what you do about that issue? 

 

 

In answer to your question, Scripture would have to give me that evidence.  I came to that conclusion because I do not believe in the authority of extra-biblical revelation for this era nor do I believe in the authority of feelings because the heart is deceitful.  If we come to the conclusion that one form of music is demonically inspired how do we prove that another form is not?  For example if one person "feels" that rock is demonic and another person believes that classical is demonic, do we just reject both rock and classical to stay on the safe side? 

When you say in this comment that you do not believe in the authority of extra-biblical revelation for this era, what sort of things are you talking about that you consider to be such revelation that you consider not to be authoritative?

When evaluating claims that something is demonic, what criteria do you believe that Scripture has given us to assess the validity of such claims?

RajeshG's picture

Because Scripture attests to the reality of demonically influenced music, Christian perspectives about worship music must undergo some key paradigm shifts.

1. The Bible must be put back into its proper place of ultimate authority. Musicology is not the ultimate standard for determining what worship music pleases God--divine revelation about music is the ultimate standard. Divine revelation attests to the reality that demonically influenced music exists. Humans are utterly incapable of analyzing such music definitively from a musicological standpoint to determine what makes it unacceptable to God.

2. Scripture reveals that reprobate idolaters are inventors of evil. When such idolaters or any other humans participate in forbidden activities that put them into contact with demonic spirits, whatever music they produce is to be rejected completely.

3. The notion that all instrumental music without words is inherently neutral, amoral, or good is false and must be rejected. Demonically influenced instrumental music is evil.

4. The view that holds that if the heart, motives, context, etc. are right, the content of the lyrics--not the instrumental musical style/genre used to accompany the lyrics--is what determines whether worship music pleases God or not is unbiblical. Even if the heart, motives, context, and lyrics are right, the use of demonically influenced instrumental music to accompany such lyrics renders the worship music unacceptable to God.

 

pvawter's picture

Concerning #1 above, Scott Aniol writes in Sound Music:

So the Bible in several places implies that instrumental music, without any words, can communicate emotional messages, but it does not tell us what kinds of music communicate certain messages or even how it works. To discover how and what music communicates, we must look to the science of music itself.

While I'm not convinced of Aniol's position, at least he acknowledges that the Bible doesn't give explicit direction about how music communicates and what forms and styles are acceptable.

RajeshG's picture

pvawter wrote:

Concerning #1 above, Scott Aniol writes in Sound Music:

So the Bible in several places implies that instrumental music, without any words, can communicate emotional messages, but it does not tell us what kinds of music communicate certain messages or even how it works. To discover how and what music communicates, we must look to the science of music itself.

While I'm not convinced of Aniol's position, at least he acknowledges that the Bible doesn't give explicit direction about how music communicates and what forms and styles are acceptable.

I do not hold the view that music communicates only emotional messages.

Moreover, as I have said more than once, humans are utterly incapable of knowing fully and with any certainty what demonically influenced music communicates and are utterly incapable of knowing how to analyze it properly to understand why it is unacceptable to God.

Were it true that the Bible does not provide the necessary information that we need to know what worship music pleases God and what music does not, then the Bible's own testimony to its sufficiency would be false. 

RajeshG's picture

Scripture provides a considerable amount of revelation about demonically influenced sounds or other ungodly sounds, much of which is explicit revelation about demonically influenced music or other ungodly music:

Exodus 32:17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. 18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.

Isaiah 5:11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! 12 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands.

Isaiah 14:11 Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

Isaiah 23:15 And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot.

Ezekiel 33:32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song [Heb.a sensual song”] of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.

Daniel 3:5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:

Amos 6:4 That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; 5 That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David; 6 That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.

Amos 8:3 And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord GOD: there shall be many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast them forth with silence.

Mark 9:17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; 18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.

Revelation 18:22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; 23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

Instead of being immersed in discussions of a musicological nature that typically involve very little or no discussion of the Bible itself, these passages that provide explicit divine revelation about demonically influenced sounds or other ungodly sounds--much of which is explicitly about demonically influenced music or other ungodly music--should be the focus of careful and thorough discussion among God's people. Only by studying this inerrant, infallible divine revelation (and other such passages) intensely and thoroughly will we have God's wisdom about worship music that pleases Him and worship music that does not.

RajeshG's picture

Both Testaments categorically prohibit believers from having any contact, fellowship, or partnership with any occult practices:

Deuteronomy 18:9 When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

2 Chronicles 33:6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

God makes clear that He has not given us an exhaustive list of such wicked practices (cf. "and such like" [Gal. 5:21]). It is also vital to note that God does not define these wicked practices--He names some of them and commands that they and all other practices similar to them be categorically rejected by His people.

Because Scripture testifies to the reality of demonically influenced music and because occult practices put people into forbidden contact with demonic spirits, God's people must not have anything to do with any music sourced in any occult practices.

Based on these truths, God wants Christians to reject all music sourced in witchcraft, sorcery, shamanism, animism, spiritism, voodoo, and all other occult practices. We must also reject all music based on or derived from any musics of these and all other occult practices.

We are not to study these musics. We are not to borrow any music from them or copy them. We are to reject any use of them in our worship music.

RajeshG's picture

In an earlier comment, the following was asserted about me:

Bert Perry wrote:

And yes, I include your sad excuse for exegesis in this category, too.  Fact of the matter is the word for "play" in Exodus 32:6 that you make so much of, Strong's 6711, means to laugh or make sport and has nothing whatsoever to do with playing music per se.  You are reading your personal bias into the text.  The root word means "to laugh" and is the same root for the name Isaac.

In other words, it's a fact that your "exegesis" is completely lacking here.  Shame on you for not even looking up the Hebrew word before starting this nonsense. [underlining added to the original]

The one making this comment seemingly claims that his looking up one Hebrew word in Strong's concordance is definitive proof of the meaning of that word and its usage in Exodus 32:6. This is a false claim that is not supported by how this Hebrew verb is used elsewhere in the OT.

The writer of this comment further asserted that I should be ashamed for "not even looking up the Hebrew word." How anyone could think that I would have not done so is unfathomable to me.

Not only did I extensively study the Hebrew use of this word in the OT, but I also in considerable detail studied how the LXX renders this verb in each passage.

Furthermore, as definitive proof that I did look up this Hebrew word and study it previously, here is a comment that I made back in December 2018 in an earlier thread:
 

Moreover, here is the entry for the Hebrew verb rendered "to play" in Exod. 32:6:

Holladay, Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the OT (HOL)
Hol7153   
צחק: qal: pf. צָֽחֲקָה, צָחָֽקְתְּ; impf. יִֽצְחַק־ Gn 216, וַיִּצְחַק, וַתִּצְחַק: laugh Gn 1717 1812f•15, w. l® at 216.

piel: impf. וַיְצַחֵק; inf. לְצַחֵק, לְצַ֫חֶק; pt. מְצַחֵק: — 1. abs. joke Gn 914, play 219, amuse onesf. Ex 326; — 2. w. °¢t fondle (a woman) Gn 268; w. b® play around with 3914•17; w. lifnê amuse onesf. before Ju 1625. † (pg 305)

I wonder why the standard Hebrew lexicon doesn't render it as fornication and sexual immorality in Exodus 32:6? 

Furthermore, the verb in Ex. 32:6 does not occur in Num. 25:2.

As this earlier comment plainly shows, I have studied the meaning of the Hebrew verb carefully in a standard Hebrew lexicon that is far superior to Strong's Concordance and in the rest of the OT as well.

In conclusion, the person who made this claim that asserts that I engaged in "sad excuse for exegesis" and should be ashamed "for not even looking up the Hebrew word" has made false and baseless claims about me. Because this person has made such false and baseless claims about me, readers of this thread should exercise great care in assessing the validity of what this writer asserts about me before accepting anything that he says about me.
 

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