Georgia Baptist bicentennial: Lamenting a heritage of racism and slavery

"It is generally known that Baptists in Georgia enslaved people. In fact, the Georgia Baptist Convention has acknowledged and repented of racism and slavery with resolutions in.... not so well known is how actively and extensively Georgia Baptists were involved in slavery and convict leasing." - BPNews

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WallyMorris's picture

How many times does an individual or an organization have to admit to the same sin before they can stop admitting to the same sin?

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

dgszweda's picture

I struggle with what repent even means?  An organization is not a living and breathing entity that lasts for generations in and of itself.  It is fluid and it is structured with individuals who only last a generation.  Why a group of people many generations removed that happened to still be organized under a structure must apologize for something ancestors did almost 200 years ago.  The Georgia Baptist Convention did not enslave people.  The people that made up the Georgia Baptist Convention at that time, used a structure, called the Georgia Baptist Convention to enable their behaviors.  All the Convention is, is a piece of paper, in and of itself.  It is most likely that a good portion of the leaders in the Georgia Baptist Convention have no ties to slavery, and most certainly are not practicing or supporting any form of slavery.  So what are they apologizing for?  My ancestors came to America after slavery and were themselves persecuted both in their home country and after coming over to the US.  I am just a typical example of many, who are parts of organizations or even lumped into groups of people who are coaxed into creating apologies for some past wrongs of people who are not related to me, or could even be classified with me, except for skin color.

Bert Perry's picture

It's probably instructive to remember the fact that in most white churches south of the Mason-Dixon, you will have members who can remember hearing pro-segregation sermons and rhetoric into the early 1970s, and segregation/Jim Crow was a way of keeping slavery (and its perceived benefits for the enslavers) as intact as the 13th Amendment allowed.  A similar thing will hold in African-American churches, where people remember last ditch efforts to keep some bits of segregation in place long after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

End result is that while some parts of the African-American reality derive from their own culture, parts also result from efforts to maintain this kind of discrimination, and then the question for whites is what acts of repentance and restitution ought to be made.  Yes, repentance, because sometimes earlier attitudes live on in "cleaned up" form that are not immediately obvious to us.  I'd suggest a portion of the "older music only" argument really derive from older racist attitudes against blacks & their music, for example, and when you're blessed to have African-Americans visit or attend your church, you might do well to ask "is there anything here that says to you 'I am not welcome'?".

And to the degree that former actions denied african-americans a place at the economic table, there are some simple things to do.  Go to the Boys' Club and volunteer to tutor or mentor a young person, or do the same at your church.  If you're a business owner, take a risk and offer a young minority person a job, and offer a bit of mentoring as well.  (do your best to lead by example, as "white man telling the black man how to go about things" can go over like a lead balloon)  Really, a lot of things.....that we ought to do anyways, but in this case, perhaps with a bit more intentionality.

Don't get me wrong; the apologies are great, but they're going to be believed when there is real repentance and genuine restitution.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

WallyMorris's picture

My family attended several different SBC churches in south Georgia in the 60s & 70s. I do not remember hearing ANY sermons promoting segregation.

To equate the "older music argument" with racism is an offensive accusation. I do not know anyone who likes "older" Christian music because they are racist.

Restitution? Be Careful. Why should people today who had nothing to do with slavery or the racist attitudes common in America (and they weren't just in the South) give any restitution for actions long past? You're playing into the hands of those who want money. The real argument for restitution is greed from some people today and unnecessary guilt from others. I don't feel guilty at all nor do I need to apologize or ask forgiveness because I did nothing to promote racism.

The independent Baptist church I was a member of in the late 1980s sometimes had joint services with a good, Biblical African-American church (can I say "black church" or is that racist?). The services were great, and no one needed to "apologize" for the past actions of people.

The psychological need to keep apologizing for the past is destructive to the soul.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Bert Perry's picture

Wally, I'm glad you didn't hear (or remember) it personally, but I've got two personal friends who remember it quite vividly when they were young college grads.  For that matter, I've heard some of it myself in the 1980s, and my roommate in college did his senior history thesis on the topic of why evangelicals were late to the party in terms of embracing the end of segregation.  Closer to home for you, Bob Jones 2 made a very nasty pro-segregation speech in 1960, and the school he served kept their ban on interracial dating until 2000.  So it's not that you weren't exposed to these tendencies, since you're a BJU grad.

Regarding music, if you look at the work of Frank Garlock and Bill Gothard, not to mention Rajesh here, you'll find endorsement of the notion that modern music has its roots in voodoo and African religion.  No mention, by the way, of the music and paganism of the Celts, Anglo-Saxons, ancient Greeks and Italians, which would have an even larger influence on modern music.

So imagine you walk up to an African-American pastor with this, and let's assume he's very nice to you and asks "Now why do you blame my people for everything wrong with modern music, when any competent musicologist can point to the European roots of a huge portion of what we do?".  How are you going to answer him?

There is a small sliver of "old music proponents" who restrain things to "a lot of the modern stuff isn't very good or theologically deep", but by and large, it derives from the old Jim Crow era argument that African-American music comes from voodoo.  And yes, that is a racist argument.

Regarding restitution, well, if people were being victimized by this in recent memory, and no adequate restitution has been made, then maybe, just maybe, we ought to consider it.  It also meshes wonderfully with the Bible's command to care for the poor.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Bert Perry wrote:

Closer to home for you, Bob Jones 2 made a very nasty pro-segregation speech in 1960, and the school he served kept their ban on interracial dating until 2000.  So it's not that you weren't exposed to these tendencies, since you're a BJU grad.

I'm a BJU grad as well.  I'm almost 60, and I was there from 81-85.  You realize that those graduates who were old enough to have heard a speech defending segregation from BJ Jr. in 1960 are fast disappearing, if not almost gone.  I certainly never heard anything like that from the university during my time there not even from Jr.  The number of people needing "restitution" from whatever offense they took would be vanishingly small, and I certainly don't believe in restitution either from those who didn't do the offense themselves or for descendants of those harmed.

There's no doubt my generation was faced directly with the ban on interracial dating.  To be honest, most of us found it completely stupid, and when we asked questions about defending it scripturally, the answer was nearly always silence or incredulity that we would even ask.  However, I should point out that due to this policy, there were very few black students on campus at all, and most of where we saw the issues with this policy was with asian students, particularly MKs or students from Hawaii, who all of sudden found themselves in the position of having to justify getting together with people they'd known their whole lives, even friends from their own home church.  Yes, it was a shameful chapter, and I personally know people who are now married who had to essentially hide any relationship they had while on campus.  My own sister (adopted from Viet Nam) chose to attend Clearwater, at least partially because going to BJU would have been difficult in the dating area.

But why should today's generation feel guilt for those in previous generations, when they've done nothing themselves?  And how would they determine the monetary value of harm to those in situations like I mentioned above?  And why should any restitution go to those who did not experience the issues themselves?  The university has finally repented of what they believed then and have moved on.  Continually bringing up the past is not at all helpful, and will certainly not help move past it to a better future.

I fully agree with John Roberts' statement that "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."  BJU has not only done that, they've apologized and repented for their past.  Now, it's time for them to move forward in the right way, not continually bring up past sins.

I'm not very familiar with the Georgia Baptist Convention, or their organizational guilt vs guilt of individual members.  However, if they have repented and repudiated their ties to racism and slavery, and now act accordingly, I don't believe there's any need whatsoever to keep bringing up what happened in those areas in the past.

Dave Barnhart

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Regarding music, if you look at the work of Frank Garlock and Bill Gothard, not to mention Rajesh here, you'll find endorsement of the notion that modern music has its roots in voodoo and African religion.  No mention, by the way, of the music and paganism of the Celts, Anglo-Saxons, ancient Greeks and Italians, which would have an even larger influence on modern music.

Bert Perry continues to sinfully use guilt-by-association to link me with the views of the other two people that he mentions here. I have refuted his claims in that regard repeatedly, but he continues to make such false links between me and the others.

He also continues to bear false witness against me by claiming that my views only have to do with the occult music of certain peoples from certain places. I condemn occult music from all over the world.

Bert Perry's picture

In this article on your own blog, Rajesh, you recommend two articles that clearly link modern rock & roll to African rhythms, so the point remains. African musical traditions alone are blamed in these articles that you recommended, Rajesh.  To quote, "The roots of rock lie deep in the soil of voodoo".  

I guarantee you that if you take those articles to an older African-American pastor, the nicest thing you'll hear will be akin to what I wrote above.  If I did it as a white man, I wouldn't be surprised if I got slugged.

Regarding "it's been a long time since BJ 2 said that", well, yes, but are we to seriously argue that the ban on interracial dating had nothing to do with BJ2?  Are we to seriously argue that the preachers trained in the early 1960s absorbed none of BJ2's views?  Whether we like it or not, the ripples from that talk are still out there.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

More than 30 years ago, Jeff Godwin wrote the following in his book:

There is one rule we should never forget. Rock is Rock is Rock is Rock. Whether it’s called “Soft” Rock, “Acid” Rock, “Punk” Rock or “Christian” Rock, we are still dealing with music more ancient than the classics. Rooted in the Druid demon worship of Celtic England, and baptized in voodoo ceremonies of Africa and the Caribbean, Satan’s rock rules the world.

–Jeff Godwin, Dancing with Demons: The Music’s Real Master, 1988: 8

Note carefully that Godwin more than 3 decades ago was declaring that the perverse occult character of rock music was from occultists in 3 continents of the world, especially Europe. This quote refutes Bert Perry's desperate attempts to characterize me and others as being those who have spoken against the occult abomination of rock music because we are supposedly motivated by partiality against one specific group of people from one place.

Furthermore, I just posted that very same quote from Godwin on my blog recently. This post, which was prior to Bert Perry's original comment on this thread in which he names me, shows again that I have condemned rock music as the product of occultists from multiple locations on the earth. This evidence again proves the falsity of Bert Perry's naming me in his earlier post as speaking against the music of only one group of people.

Concerning the two articles on the other post on my blog that Bert Perry linked to, both articles were sourced in published printed materials that discuss the occult character of rock music as being the product of occultists in more than one continent of the world, including Europe. Anyone who will objectively and truthfully look at both of those published printed sources will find that both sources thus provide evidence that believers have used to make comments that refute Bert Perry's claims because the comments speak against rock music as being the product of occultists from more than one continent.

Bert Perry's picture

....at the source from Brennan that you linked.  It clearly states an African origin, and the fact that you've found another source that doesn't have the racist overtones of Brennan doesn't change that.

I'd walk that endorsement of Brennan back, and let's face another thing; if Godwin is correct, you cannot endorse western hymnody, because just as Brennan argues that rock & roll is contaminated by the pagan overtones of the Yoruba, we would similarly conclude that Celtic and Germanic influences contaminate none less than Bach, Wesley, and Watts.  So you would need to walk Godwin back, too.

Trying to link rock & roll to pagan origins is a guilt by association fallacy, and it should have no more place in our discourse than human sacrifice does in our lives.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

WallyMorris's picture

Even IF rock music didn't have pagan origins, it's bad music simply as a form of music.

To point out certain cultural origins of a form of music is not inherently racist. You have to demonstrate other motivations. To say Garlock and others are racist is libelous.

As long as Christian churches/organizations keep apologizing over & over for the same sin, nothing will improve.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Bert Perry's picture

Well, if you don't like rock & roll, that's your choice, but that's hardly a theological argument, don't you think?

Regarding Garlock, I've read a book or two of his, and the ugly reality is that he builds his case not on Scripture, but rather on guilt by association fallacies, and a lot of them build off the association with African music genre.  That's simply a fact. Same thing with Gothard and Brennan, and a lot more.  More or less, it boils down to the notion that the white man's music prior to Elvis is OK, and everybody else's, not so much.  

Like it or not, that's pretty clearly a racist argument.  It's especially bad when one considers that the heritage of blues, jazz, and rock & roll goes back to the spirituals of the plantations that sustained African-American Christians through generations of slavery and Jim Crow.  I'd dare say we ought to give these rhythms a try and see if we can use some of these methods to bring the Word of God to the people of God.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

....at the source from Brennan that you linked.  It clearly states an African origin, and the fact that you've found another source that doesn't have the racist overtones of Brennan doesn't change that.

Brennan speaks directly about the original source in this quote and then expresses his assent to what the original source says:

Ventura goes on to connect the Haitian voodoo not only to its primary West African Yoruba roots, but also to the Irish druidic pagan culture and the kabbalah. As a decently educated student of world history and religion when placed alongside a scriptural perspective I have zero problem seeing the demonic similarities and connections in all of these. [bold and underlining added to the original]

Brennan thereby conveys that rock music has roots not only in the Yoruba but also in "the Irish druidic pagan culture and the kabbalah." Both Brennan and the original source thus communicate that rock music is the product of occultists from more than one continent.

Note carefully that Brennan and the original source thereby expressed the same basic things as did Godwin in his quote that I cited in an earlier post.

Later in the article, Brennan again cites the original source to say something similar:

By 1930, African rhythm – not African beats, but European beats transformed by the African – had entered American life to stay.

A fair reading of the article thus shows that neither Brennan nor the original source speak of rock music's origins as being from only one people in one place.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Regarding Garlock, I've read a book or two of his, and the ugly reality is that he builds his case not on Scripture, but rather on guilt by association fallacies . . .  That's simply a fact.

This is nonsense. Dr. Garlock as well as others use much Scripture as well as other information in speaking against rock music and its occult character.

RajeshG's picture

WallyMorris wrote:

To point out certain cultural origins of a form of music is not inherently racist. You have to demonstrate other motivations. To say Garlock and others are racist is libelous.

You are absolutely correct. Bert Perry's making such statements against Dr. Garlock and others is his use of ad-hominem attacks, which is all he can do because he does not have any actual evidence of sinful partiality or respect of persons on the part of the people that he attacks and misrepresents with his false statements.

Bert Perry's picture

Rajesh, one throwaway line in the article doesn't change the main tenor.  Like it or not, with Garlock and Brennan's work, you are endorsing a racist bit of work, end of story. It's long past time for this regrettable type of work to be kicked out of fundamental churches.

Side note; exactly how Voodoo practicioners would have gotten much from Kabbalah, which is something of a fringe movement in Judiasm--so even apart from how many Jews would have been found in the West Indies or New Orleans, it's quite frankly unlikely to have found Kabbalah adherents to any significant degree in either place.  Druidic rites came from the Masonic orders that they would have had contact with, but Kabbalah?  Not likely.  (another good indication of how "rigorously" Brennan reviews his sources, to put it mildly)

And yes, Garlock does use Scripture, sort of, but a serious appraisal of Psalms 149 and 150 does not seem to be much of a concern of his, to put it mildly.  In the same way, Brennan's horror of music that would move a person to move doesn't seem to fit that, either.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Rajesh, one throwaway line in the article doesn't change the main tenor.  Like it or not, with Garlock and Brennan's work, you are endorsing a racist bit of work, end of story. It's long past time for this regrettable type of work to be kicked out of fundamental churches.

False. Brennan's articles do not just have "one throwaway line." He has more than enough information in his series to show that he is not motivated sinfully in the positions that he holds and in what he writes, as you falsely claim him to be. The same is true for Dr. Garlock's works and for the works of others.

More importantly, "Bertian" pronouncement does not make something so. You have to prove actual intent, motivations, etc. You do not just get to assert something to be true without proving it.

You also have to provide factual evidence for everything you claim to be so. Your mere assertions do not constitute anything as "facts."

Bert Perry's picture

Pretty much every sentence but that one throwaway line points the finger at African-Americans.  If you cannot see how that would be reasonably interpreted as racist, you seriously need some help.

And really, we need to remember the history of discrimination against African-Americans and how it worked out in music.  For pretty much a century after the end of slavery, blacks were not allowed in venues granted to whites, and then those opposed to African-American music pointed the finger at them and said how horrible it was that African-American musicians did not adhere to the mores and patterns of the white majority.  Well, duh.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

And yes, Garlock does use Scripture, sort of, but a serious appraisal of Psalms 149 and 150 does not seem to be much of a concern of his, to put it mildly.  In the same way, Brennan's horror of music that would move a person to move doesn't seem to fit that, either.

I have repeatedly addressed your misuse of Psalms 149-150 and shown the falsity of your views. You beg multiple questions about music, especially concerning the use of percussive and rhythmic elements in music.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Pretty much every sentence but that one throwaway line points the finger at African-Americans.  If you cannot see how that would be reasonably interpreted as racist, you seriously need some help.

Actually, you are the one who desperately needs God to open your eyes and grant you spiritual understanding so that you will not continue to downplay the dangers and sinfulness of the occult in order to justify the use of the kinds of music that have no biblical justification for their use by believers.

Bert Perry's picture

Rajesh, you have never, ever made a substantive argument about why Psalms 149 and 150, with their requirement that Israel praise God in dancing with percussive instruments.  What you've done is made personal attacks against people, including myself, suggesting with no evidence that their exegetical methods are flawed.

You seriously need to learn the difference between making a substantive argument and insulting them.

From my point of view, I'm aware that for well over a century, people have been impugning African-American forms of music by writing invective against the rhythms (including syncopation) of the same, by writing (e.g. Garlock, Brennan) about the evil that comes through drums, about how "wrong" it is for music to invite the hearer to dance (again, Garlock, Brennan), about how "voodoo" is at the root of such things, and...

....and then I see passages where God's people praise Him with dance and music with percussive instruments, like the final two Psalms, 2 Samuel 6:14, 1 Samuel 29:5,  Jeremiah 31:4, 13, Psalm 30:11, Ecclesiastes 3:4, 1 Samuel 21:11, Luke 15:25, Exodus 15:20, 1 Samuel 18:6, and a lot more.  And when I hear traditional music from the Mediterranean area--lots of percussion, danceable, tambourines, lots of syncopation and the "offbeat" things hated by Gothard and such--the only reasonable conclusion to come to is that as far as we can tell, the music the ancients praised God with had a lot in common with rock & roll.  

Like it or not, Rajesh, what you are doing is not only repeating a racist argument, but you are training people not to believe what the Bible says.  In doing so, you are helping to keep churches joyless and as dry as dust.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

False. You are the one who in effect is sinfully guiding people to deny divine prohibitions against the vile wickedness of the occult. Your putting "voodoo" in quotations speaks volumes about your denial of it as a sinful occult practice.

You argue fallaciously by begging the question that rock music supposedly has significant similarities to the godly Israelite music of Ps. 149-150 that make it acceptable to God. Merely claiming that people dance to both does not prove anything about either the music or the dancing being similarly pleasing to God. Going to rock concerts and seeing what is done in the dancing there by many in those venues plainly refutes such false notions.

Claiming that what modern Mediterranean music sounds like is what godly ancient Israelite worship music sounded like is also fallacious reasoning.

You do not get to beg questions about supposed similarities that are actually of importance; you to have prove them.

The two main original sources that Brennan uses to speak about the vileness of the occult nature of rock's origins and history are from published sources that have been well-received and neither of those documents are from people who claimed to be believers who were speaking against rock music, etc. Your implicit claims, therefore, that the writers of those sources were racists and your explicit assertions that those who make use of their writings are racists are ludicrous claims.

Bert Perry's picture

The fact that pretty much every form of dance known to man has a good, solid, and generally consistent beat so the dancers know when to do things doesn't matter.  The fact that this beat is generally provided with percussive instruments doesn't matter.  Finally, the fact that modern music styles generally grow out of older music styles doesn't matter, either--we cannot infer anything about the music styles of the past by looking at the music styles of the present.

Interestingly, on that last bit, you just argued that the very premiss you, Gothard, Garlock, and Brennan use is false, because if we cannot infer anything about music styles of the past from the present, then we cannot blame the pagan patterns of the pre-Christian Yoruba or others for the music styles of today.  Congratulations.  You just disproved your own thesis.

But great use of the guilt by association fallacy and appeal to authority fallacy.  

For my part, I'm going to stick with the notion that, yes, danceable music will have many of the features I wrote about--a good strong beat and often syncopation, backed by percussive instruments--and I will stick by the notion that you can indeed infer some things about the past from what we see in the present.  It's called "standard historical and hermeneutic methods."  You should give it a try sometime.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

AndyE's picture

There is literally nothing in Psalm 149 or Psalm 150 that suggest the type of music, beat, or dance that God approved of is anything like the erotic dance or the beats or music associated with it that we see in today's rock culture.  We use percussion and cymbals nearly every single morning worship service at our church in a traditional classical way, fully in line with what it says in those Psalms.  There are lots of types of "dance" and things that fall into that rubric that don't have anything to do with modern erotic dancing. Not really sure how that would be incorporated into a NT worship service, but the point is that there exists sensual/erotic dance that is wrong and other types of dance that is perfectly fine. Just because a Psalm promotes dance doesn't mean it promotes every type of dance without exception.  These Psalms in no way promote or allow for any type of percussion, beats, and music, any more than texts that highlight preaching promote every sort of man-centered emotional crazy preaching style.

Bert Perry's picture

Andy, perhaps you ought to explain to the forum precisely what would render a beat "erotic", and how one would differentiate, say, the rhythms of Buddy Holly (rock & roll, right out of line!) from those of Waylon Jennings (C&W, acceptable, toured with Holly).

For that matter, let's find a common theme in the bass & rhythm lines of artists Holly, The Temptations, Billy Joel, Air Supply, Run/DMC, and AC/DC.    Good luck, as you're not going to find it in the 12 bar blues, key, instrumentation, or even the time signature.

You can also explain to us why, if an "erotic" rhythm is intrinsically wrong, why at least one Patch the Pirate song is written in a tango beat.  (I've personally taught kids to sing this one)  So the simple common time of "Peggy Sue" is forbidden, but a tango beat is OK?  Really?

For bonus points, if being judged as "erotic" automatically makes a piece of music out of bounds, explain to me the book right after Ecclesiastes.

And double bonus, explain how one would infer that the use of western European musical forms of the Renaissance through the 20th century, upon which most work from "Majesty Music" is derived loosely, could be determined to be the same as ancient Israelite hymnody.  Really?  With different instrumentation, different languages with different inherent meter, etc..?  

My guess, Andy, is that what you're going to find is that the line between what is acceptable and what is not is more or less "White man's music prior to Elvis Presley is acceptable, everybody else's, not so much."  Don't think our nonwhite friends don't pick up on this.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

AndyE's picture

If you go back and read what I wrote, you will notice that I said, "erotic dance or the beats or music associated with it that we see in today's rock culture."  I said erotic dance.  I can't prove the beats and music associated with are erotic, but I suspect that they are. Also, there is plenty of world music that does not fall into those categories from all sorts of cultures, people groups, and ethnicities.  You can mock all you want but you keep bringing up Psalm 149 and Psalm 150 as if they prove your point, and they don't.   

Bert, do you really draw no line in what is acceptable church music? 

Bert Perry's picture

OK, what you've basically admitted by saying "I can't prove the beats and music associated with are erotic, but I suspect they are", is that you really don't know what you're talking about, but you're going to say it.   And we wonder why we have strife in the church when people do this?  

To draw a picture of how problematic (really futile) it is to try and proscribe entire genre, let's take the tango as an example.  It's usually in common, 4/4 time, and the cadence is really that of a march.  You can do the tango to classic Argentinian tango songs, to Veggie Tales' The Dance of the Cucumber and Barbara Manatee, to Sousa marches like Liberty Bell (also the Monty Python theme song, FWIW) ,to AC/DC's Back in Black (really most of their songs), and of course to some songs by Patch the Pirate.  

Now the rhythm and bass lines to any of these are basically indistinguishable, and a lot of them have the 1/3 emphasis in the melody line as well.  Where do you draw the line?  We have the same basic features in several different genre of music.  Does anyone really go into an Onanistic frenzy when hearing Silly Songs with Larry or Patch Tracks?  If they do, we might suggest they have other problems besides the music, no?

You can say the same basic thing about barbershop, old Motown, black Gospel, and Southern Gospel.  Slightly different topics, somewhat different vocal techniques, but there's nothing night and day where one is "evil" or "erotic" and the other is acceptable.

And that's why you don't try to draw a hard line with genre with inflammatory words like "erotic" beat.  Period.  It sets people at one another's throats, and anybody that actually understands a bit about music knows you don't know what you're talking about.

That noted, there are some things that I'd point out as common weaknesses in Christian music, though.  Additional musicians are added playing the same parts, additional vocalists are added singing the same parts, expensive instruments are being used in effect as a metronome, classic harmonies are eviscerated in favor of playing chords, and to cover up a general lack of musicality, the amplification is turned up "to 11" until kids hold their ears and eardrums bleed.

So you avoid some of these errors, and then you take a good look at the lyrics and ask yourself whether it's really a Biblical sentiment being expressed, and then whether the musical setting imparts it to hearts and minds.  And we get to stop fighting.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

AndyE's picture

Bert Perry wrote:
OK, what you've basically admitted by saying "I can't prove the beats and music associated with are erotic, but I suspect they are", is that you really don't know what you're talking about, but you're going to say it.   And we wonder why we have strife in the church when people do this?  
 It is true, I’m not a musician. I love music, though, and I can tell the difference between a Souza march and a pop/rock song.  I can observe the types of music typically used for erotic dance (and other illicit things) and I’m going to avoid it as much as possible and I’m certainly not going to approve of people incorporating it into church music.  I have to stand before God on this, and for me do to otherwise would be a violation of Romans 12:1-2.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

AndyE wrote:

It is true, I’m not a musician. I love music, though, and I can tell the difference between a Souza march and a pop/rock song.  I can observe the types of music typically used for erotic dance (and other illicit things) and I’m going to avoid it as much as possible and I’m certainly not going to approve of people incorporating it into church music.  I have to stand before God on this, and for me do to otherwise would be a violation of Romans 12:1-2.

I'm sort of between you and Bert, but in application, I'm pretty close to you.  I don't see the notes, rhythms, harmonies, etc. as anything evil of themselves.  However, knowing that there is association of some music with certain activities in our culture (and I freely admit that those associations may not be the same in every single culture, even though most western cultures share many of them), I would particularly avoid use of such in church music.  You mention "typically used for," and that's what I'm getting at.

However, for my personal standard, I go further than that -- I think church music should sound distinctly different from music used for secular purposes in our culture.  For example, even if religious music has a classical sound, or is similar to a march ("Stand up, Stand up for Jesus") or waltz ("Make Me a Blessing"), I believe it should still not sound too close to secular versions of those.  I.e., I don't want Sousa or Strauss as church worship either.  I've mentioned this before, but my wife doesn't join in singing on "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken" for precisely this reason -- that tune to her (German citizen) is patriotic, not worshipful.

I prefer worship music to have its own distinct sound.  I realize that that is a "squishy" line, and that it's likely impossible to get close to 100% correct.  However, I think that music for church should be holy, and we know that a very large part of holiness is distinctness or separateness.  But I would agree with you that at a minimum we should avoid using music in church that sounds too much like music that is mostly associated with ungodly purposes.

Dave Barnhart

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

The fact that pretty much every form of dance known to man has a good, solid, and generally consistent beat so the dancers know when to do things doesn't matter.  The fact that this beat is generally provided with percussive instruments doesn't matter.  Finally, the fact that modern music styles generally grow out of older music styles doesn't matter, either--we cannot infer anything about the music styles of the past by looking at the music styles of the present.

Interestingly, on that last bit, you just argued that the very premiss you, Gothard, Garlock, and Brennan use is false, because if we cannot infer anything about music styles of the past from the present, then we cannot blame the pagan patterns of the pre-Christian Yoruba or others for the music styles of today.  Congratulations.  You just disproved your own thesis.

But great use of the guilt by association fallacy and appeal to authority fallacy.  

For my part, I'm going to stick with the notion that, yes, danceable music will have many of the features I wrote about--a good strong beat and often syncopation, backed by percussive instruments--and I will stick by the notion that you can indeed infer some things about the past from what we see in the present.  It's called "standard historical and hermeneutic methods."  You should give it a try sometime.

Wrong. You keep setting forth false notions about my views. I do not base my rejection of rock music on musicological bases, as many other people do. Rock music is vile occult music. God condemns the occult and demands that we not have anything to do with it. Christians who reject rock music because it is music of the occult do not have any obligation to explain anything about it musicologically.

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