John Vaughn (FBFI President/CEO): "one thing is clear: this video ends the fiction that 'Northland has not changed.'”

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jcoleman's picture

Brent Marshall wrote:

jcoleman wrote:
So the question ends up being whether NIU is a disobedient brother. And to answer this question, we might ask this "If they continue doing what they're doing, would I practice church discipline on them? Which is to say, am I going to treat them as an unbeliever?"

Since I don't believe for a moment that they should be treated as unbelievers, I don't believe that you can call them disobedient brothers.

It strikes me that you have this backwards. In essence, you are deciding whether one has broken the law (disobedience) by whether you feel that they should be punished (treated as an unbeliever). Instead, you should be judging disobedience by comparing the deeds, doctrines, or affections to the applicable commands and related principles of God's Word.

 

Let me clarify: I'm not trying to say that I don't think there disobedient brothers because I don't think they should be treated as unbelievers. I'm saying that there is no Biblical category for so-called disobedient brothers whom we don't treat as unbelievers. So it's one or the other. Does the supposed disobedience rise to level of my needing to evangelize them (treat them as unbelievers)? If it doesn't, then while we may disagree on second or third tier issues, I can't treat them as disobedient brothers.

jcoleman's picture

Greg Linscott wrote:

To me, it seems that trying to resolve the music issue in threads like this is an exercise in futility. It's not that the issues aren't important, but even if a few are convinced here, countless others will remain unconvinced, and it won't answer the matter at hand. I understand that matter to be: is there room to work alongside those with whom we strongly disagree on this issue?

For example: could Dan McGhee have Bauder in to preach in a conference? Could Scott Aniol send his kids to a week of camp where Jay was the activity director?  Could Brenda's church have a missionary in whose kids listened to "Go Fish"? That kind of a thing.

 

Practically speaking, that is the question that will not be going away for any of us in the foreseeable future.

 

And desperately hope that all of use could answer "Yes", at least at some level. Maybe it means not sending your kids to NIU. But it shouldn't mean blasting them.

As an interesting parallel, I remember Bob Kauflin telling that story that the T4G conference almost didn't have music because the views represented were so widely divergent. In the end, they decided to do a very basic hymnody style.

I think that that's an excellent model of how we should treat this. When we come together, it may look like only doing what we have in common. But hopefully it also means that we can respect (publicly!) each other's respective ministries, even while having strong debate on our differences. But that debate (on the issue of the style of music) shouldn't ever end up in statements that border on accusations of heresy etc.

Lee's picture

After reading most of these posts (but probably not all), the observation I'm gathering is this: every one of us would agree that there is music that is completely inappropriate for use in the church even if accompanied by sound lyrics.  The disagreement is on the defining characteristics of that music.  

If I may indulge in an extreme example: some years ago a youth pastor brought to my attention a phenomenon referenced as "Screamo-Emo" where singers (performers) in a praise and worship context utilized "music" that basically consisted of the heaviest of heavy metal beat/format accompanied by screamed words (good words mind you) and thrash actions performed with such intensity that the end result was the performers literally puking all over the church (that was the goal). 

While I can't speak for everyone my tent is pretty large, and even my brethren most "tolerant" of musical styles readily stated, as I'm sure practically everyone on this forum would, that that is way "over the top."  Which is an admission that there is a right/wrong line of demarcation when it comes to music styles in relation to the church, worship, and the believer.  Just where that line is is the discussion.

Music is a unique entity in that it is a medium of communication, so there is a moral quality to it.  After all, we know absolutely from scripture that there is "corrupt communication."  But music also falls under the very broad statement "there is nothing unclean of itself," so classifying it as good or bad and in what contexts is not simple.

Me thinks our efforts are misplaced.  There is a plethora of information throughout scripture, especially in the OT, as to what is acceptable in worship and what is not.  Irreverence, the slightest form of immorality, or idolatry at any level are all completely ver boten in worship (words like "abomination" and "profaned" are common descriptors). 

Music whose foundation structure is immorality ("rock music is sex"--Frank Zappa and others), which is absolutely definitive of a prevalent societal idolatry, and which struggles on its best day to communicate any form of reverence really deserves little consideration as a legitimate tool of worship, much less agonizing for hours upon hours as to where the exact line should be drawn. 

Lee

Greg Linscott's picture

But that debate (on the issue of the style of music) shouldn't ever end up in statements that border on accusations of heresy etc.

And yet, I think there is room for strong expressions, yea, even occasional controversy. There are issues that Christians, even between Fundamentalists, have strong disagreements. Things like church polity, baptism, divorce and remarriage, revivalism, matters of soteriology... and much of the time, though discussions can get heated, we figure out ways to avoid labeling each other heretics (even if it means, sometimes, separate churches or institutions on the applications of  some of those topics).

This is why I am not kidding when I suggest there may need to come a day when conservatives somehow organize around something that would include a theology of music/worship as a distinctive. For good or bad, almost no one comes into a Baptist church demanding to have their newborn sprinkled- it would go against an established distinctive. A revivalist evangelist should probably know better than to call up a Baptist church that has "Sovereign Grace" in its title. I am not sure what that label or organization would look like, but it seems to me some of the controversy might be alleviated if the parameters were more precisely defined and part of the identity of the congregation or fellowship of churches. It doesn't necessarily have to be the issue they lead with constantly (I'm not suggesting the birth of "To Hymn Be the Glory Baptist Fellowship..."), any more than all Baptists ride baptism by immersion as a perpetual topic of emphasis. Rather, believer's immersion is assumed, taught and practiced, and people generally understand that if that practice is altered, the will be abandoning a key component of what it means to be Baptist.

As it stands now, the music topic is a point of unresolved controversy, and will continue to remain so, if not increase in coming days, just because there is no established, agreed upon consensus.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

jcoleman's picture

Scott Aniol wrote:

Dan, here's the point of all this:

There are certain Christians today (me, Mike Harding, John Vaughan, or whomever) who believe that certain musical forms are inappropriate for worship at best, and displeasing to the Lord at worst.

We believe this, not out of personal preference (i.e. we don't like it), but out of conviction that it is so, and we have based our convictions on (what we believe to be) reasonable application of God's all-authoritative, all-sufficient Word.

We (or I, at least) am quite open to anyone disagreeing with my interpretation of Scripture or how I apply Scripture to musical choices. I welcome discussion on these matters. Anyone who reads me honestly will have to admit that I welcome such discourse. That doesn't mean I will agree, of course. But if someone is willing to say, "Here is why I think the form of rap is fitting with biblical principles" (for example) I am more than willing to hear him out.

Yet you are denying us even the right to claim that we have these convictions based upon Scripture. You insist, rather, that we admit that our judgments are based on personal preference alone. Folks like you are unwilling to disagree with us on the basis of our interpretation or application; rather you shut down any discussion by claiming that the Bible doesn't say anything about musical style or that we are defending preference.

 

I don't think we necessary are denying you the right to claim that you hold these convictions based on scripture. But we are saying that scripture does not allow them to be first tier issues. They at best 2nd tier, possibly 3rd. And to go against your convictions (conscience) would be sin for you. But for you to assert that they are sin for others is to elevate them to a level we believe scripture doesn't allow, and thus to cause disunity in the church.

Joel Tetreau's picture

Greg,

Various sacramental groups will "saint" an individual often after that brave soul suffered much as a result of a "heavenly cause." So bro - you want to organize baptist around a musical-theological distinctive? You are a sweet man - you are a brave man - you are a principled man but dude - you are nuts!

So as John Calvin would say, "good luck with that!"

Actually you probably can do it but it will either be one of two things - a broad enough statement concerning a biblical-theology of music/worship/theology distinctive that enough of the various groups can come up with a substantial consensus......

Or you'll have it so detailed it will be as it is now - fractured to the point of guys playing musical "pick-up sticks!" in their own little corner of our Lord's grand ecclesiastical vineyard.

Hey - I think it's a great idea. Greg, if anyone can do it, I'm sure you could.

Straight Ahead!

jt

ps - by the way, I like the idea that when we do come together when there is much diversity there is safety in singing some of the historically rich hymns. Not sure how you go wrong there!

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

Brent Marshall's picture

jcoleman wrote:
Let me clarify: I'm not trying to say that I don't think there disobedient brothers because I don't think they should be treated as unbelievers. I'm saying that there is no Biblical category for so-called disobedient brothers whom we don't treat as unbelievers. So it's one or the other. Does the supposed disobedience rise to level of my needing to evangelize them (treat them as unbelievers)? If it doesn't, then while we may disagree on second or third tier issues, I can't treat them as disobedient brothers.
I think that I follow your clarification, but I still perceive problems. First, assuming that you are building on Matt. 18:17, I do not see how "needing to evangelize them" flows from that passage (it seems like a misinterpretation). Did Paul need to "evangelize" Peter when he had to confront and rebuke him for his blameworthy behavior (Gal. 2:11)? Even if the interpretation is correct, I do not think it helps here, for it still seems like you are analyzing this backwards: using Scriptures about the punishment to determine whether there was disobedience. Why do we need to have categories of punishment/consequences/response to determine whether there is a violation in the first place?  Or am I still misunderstanding you?

Things That Matter

As the quantity of communication increases, so does its quality decline; and the most important sign of this is that it is no longer acceptable to say so.--RScruton

jcoleman's picture

Greg Linscott wrote:

But that debate (on the issue of the style of music) shouldn't ever end up in statements that border on accusations of heresy etc.

And yet, I think there is room for strong expressions, yea, even occasional controversy. There are issues that Christians, even between Fundamentalists, have strong disagreements. Things like church polity, baptism, divorce and remarriage, revivalism, matters of soteriology... and much of the time, though discussions can get heated, we figure out ways to avoid labeling each other heretics (even if it means, sometimes, separate churches or institutions on the applications of  some of those topics).

Oh, strong expressions, sure! I'm all for that! For example, I'd suggest listening to the (several videos) of James White debating Michael Brown (Calvinism versus Arminianism). There is very strong disagreement! Yet they both treat each other as brothers!

And I'm definitely not opposed to different churches either. The whole point of denominations is disagreement on secondary and tertiary, but not primary, differences. I just want to see each of those churches interacting about the other with the willingness to say they disagree but along with the strong reminder that they share the gospel as being of primary importance.

Greg Linscott wrote:

This is why I am not kidding when I suggest there may need to come a day when conservatives somehow organize around something that would include a theology of music/worship as a distinctive. For good or bad, almost no one comes into a Baptist church demanding to have their newborn sprinkled- it would go against an established distinctive.

No problems there. Just so long as the church doesn't accuse the paedobaptist couple in their congregation of sin for desiring to have their newborn sprinkled.

Greg Linscott's picture

I'm not saying I'd want to organize it. I am saying, though, that if there are those who feel strongly enough about it (that it is a "first tier" issue), it will have to come to something like that, especially if there is to be any hope to last more than a generation. It will need to be taught and stressed, passed on. Example: John MacArthur has done this with the style of elder polity he emphasizes.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Brent Marshall's picture

dcbii wrote:
Brent Marshall wrote:
1. How would you complete this sentence: "Scripture clearly and forcefully says that the substance and content must be ...."? I am thinking of the primary attributes of right substance/content. What do you think they are? 2. How is substance or content a different matter than musical style?
Since Dan doesn't want to answer these, I'll take a stab at it. 1. Philippians 4:8 would give a pretty good answer to this one. It's not a complete or comprehensive treatment of all scripture has to say on this point, but it's a pretty good starting point. However, I doubt that anyone involved in this discussion believes that content should be different from being true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report. Obviously, any lyrical content falls in this jurisdiction. The disagreement is in the music itself. 2. How are content and substance different from style? For one thing, I've never seen a solid treatment discussing how musical style can be directly mapped to concepts like truth . . . .
Dave, I appreciate your thoughts. I agree that Philippians 4:8 is useful, and I think that the first attribute, truth, is a useful basis for discussion. I think that we would all agree that the lyrics must, at the propositional level, communicate truth.

What about style? I am not prepared to argue that one can map style to truth. However, as one preacher I heard years ago say, "Music paints pictures." It is communicative. It seems to me that the message that it communicates must be truthful and consistent with the words.

Things That Matter

As the quantity of communication increases, so does its quality decline; and the most important sign of this is that it is no longer acceptable to say so.--RScruton

Joel Shaffer's picture

Lee wrote:

After reading most of these posts (but probably not all), the observation I'm gathering is this: every one of us would agree that there is music that is completely inappropriate for use in the church even if accompanied by sound lyrics.  The disagreement is on the defining characteristics of that music.  

If I may indulge in an extreme example: some years ago a youth pastor brought to my attention a phenomenon referenced as "Screamo-Emo" where singers (performers) in a praise and worship context utilized "music" that basically consisted of the heaviest of heavy metal beat/format accompanied by screamed words (good words mind you) and thrash actions performed with such intensity that the end result was the performers literally puking all over the church (that was the goal). 

While I can't speak for everyone my tent is pretty large, and even my brethren most "tolerant" of musical styles readily stated, as I'm sure practically everyone on this forum would, that that is way "over the top."  Which is an admission that there is a right/wrong line of demarcation when it comes to music styles in relation to the church, worship, and the believer.  Just where that line is is the discussion.

Music is a unique entity in that it is a medium of communication, so there is a moral quality to it.  After all, we know absolutely from scripture that there is "corrupt communication."  But music also falls under the very broad statement "there is nothing unclean of itself," so classifying it as good or bad and in what contexts is not simple.

Me thinks our efforts are misplaced.  There is a plethora of information throughout scripture, especially in the OT, as to what is acceptable in worship and what is not.  Irreverence, the slightest form of immorality, or idolatry at any level are all completely ver boten in worship (words like "abomination" and "profaned" are common descriptors). 

Music whose foundation structure is immorality ("rock music is sex"--Frank Zappa and others), which is absolutely definitive of a prevalent societal idolatry, and which struggles on its best day to communicate any form of reverence really deserves little consideration as a legitimate tool of worship, much less agonizing for hours upon hours as to where the exact line should be drawn. 

 

Well, even a Christian Hip-Hop advocate like me would have a problem with the music you described.  Screaming until one almost pukes in song definitely does not fit Phil. 4:8.   I actually agree with one of your points.  That Scripture speaks of corrupt communication and there is nothing unclean in itself.  In this, you have acknowledged the goodness of creation and the depravity of man because of the fall.  

Yet when you make the application is where I differ.  First of all, just because certain rock musicians state that rock music is sex, doesn't necessarily make it true.  I was a keyboardist in a Christian rock band that played throughout Michigan for 7 years and I can honestly say that our audiences were not linking us to sexual immorality. The only ones that might make that connection were fundamentalists that really believed there still was a link between all rock music and immorality.   However, I do have to say that I honestly struggled with our audience and idolatry and I was one of the ones that broke up the band because of "societal idolatry."   At several youth events after a concert and after pouring out our hearts sharing Jesus, we'd often get starry eyed teens asking us how we started a band.   Very frustrating.  Yet there were venues that this did not happen.  Whenever we played at coffee houses or when we led worship for a youth group or church, the idolatry didn't occur......... We began to pray about the direction of our band.  Do we just do coffee houses and worship?  Do we break up the band? When our guitar player moved away, it made our decision much easier.

You mention that irreverence, the slightest hint of immorality or idolatry at any level is unacceptable.  I'm sure you realize that music began with Jubal from the ungodly line of Cain.  Where pride, violence, immorality had already reared its ugly head.  If we had your standard, music never would have been accepted in the first place because it came from such a rotten culture of Cain's line rather than the godly line of Seth.   That is why within the doctrine of creation I also embrace common grace.     

Karl S's picture

Is engaging in discussion at this late hour allowed? Oh well.

 

I'll admit up front that I'm pretty strict in what I would approve when it comes to music. I appreciated very much KTB's comment which succinctly and logically underscored why this is a "big deal" to some of us. This fleshed out something that I've felt for a long time, but never understood how to express very well. Of course, to explain the reasoning for why certain forms/styles of music are "sinful", "fleshly", etc. would take much more space. However, the point that musical styles can be a "fundamental" issue due to the "affections" that accompany them I thought was very well expressed.

 

Regarding how I would apply this conviction as it relates to separation, let me simply give a few guiding principles.

 

First, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with preference. My concern is not what you prefer, nor what I prefer. Honestly, if I made choices based upon preference, I could list any number of songs (read: styles, not lyrics) that I "like", but which I am convinced lead my heart toward worldly thoughts and affections. My sin nature enjoys them; my spirit abhors them. The issue is not what I like, but what my Lord commands and desires.

 

Secondly, I see a very great difference between what one might listen to in leisure, and what one presents before God in worship. That is the greatest part of what we are doing (the act of which yields exhortation and encouragement to one another; i.e. Col. 3:16) when we sing or play music in the meeting of the church, or other Spiritual gathering. We are presenting it as an offering of worship to God. Scripture is replete from beginning to end with commands and principles that strictly govern what is acceptable worship to God. It must be truthful, from the heart, and absolutely holy. For example, the animal sacrifices were required to be without blemish or spot. Before one could approach the temple with such a sacrifice, they must be ceremonially clean. It is entirely about Him and His glory. So to draw out a principle - any musical style which tends toward performance or showmanship in its exhibition should receive the strictest examination (will anyone deny the "showiness" of some of the musicians in the NIU video?).

 

Speaking of principles - some would argue that where God's Word does not speak "explicitly", there needs to be much leniency. However, I could list a number of activities that God's Word does not specifically approve or condemn, but for which almost everyone would be willing to engage in battle. Why? Obviously, because we naturally apply the principles of Scripture to these areas. This is how Scripture remains sufficient and relevant in any age and culture! Granted, some issues are clearer than others, and I willingly admit that music has a very subjective nature. However, the styles that are most often the subject of debate seem so incredibly clear-cut, it amazes me the scope of the argument over them! Although by no means an expert on cultural history, I see a very clear connection between rock music styling and the sexual revolution, teen rebellion, feminism, and drug abuse culture which accompanied its explicit inception in the 50's and 60s. All these other things we clearly see by the common sense of the Spirit-enlightened man to be worldly and fleshly - yet we defend that which is joined at the hip with these things! I'm not trying to demean the intellect of those who disagree. I realize that we've reached the point where we are so immersed in this culture, it's hard to think "outside the box". Yet at the same time, I do look with amazement and dismay over debate of such (to my eyes) obvious worldiness.

 

Practically, I would not disassociate with any individual who listens to CCM, rock, hip-hop, rap, etc. as long as they did not flaunt their music in my face. I don't believe that listening to these styles necessitates that you will end up a devil worshipper. But in the corporate sense, I would find it extremely difficult to fellowship with a church that used CCM. I view it as basically a form of sycretistic idolatry. Realizing that some have good intentions with what they're trying to do does not change the fact that I could not bear to be a part of a worship practice that I see as being in direct opposition to the worship that God desires. For those that see it from across the way, would you not then be willing to apply the principle of Rom. 15:1 for us "weak" brothers?

Karl S's picture

Kind of immersed in my own thoughts for a while... seeing Joel's comment above, I can see that there are some ideas that I'm kind of re-hashing (probably unnecessarily). Just quickly my thoughts on this:

 

 First of all, just because certain rock musicians state that rock music is sex, doesn't necessarily make it true.  I was a keyboardist in a Christian rock band that played throughout Michigan for 7 years and I can honestly say that our audiences were not linking us to sexual immorality. The only ones that might make that connection were fundamentalists that really believed there still was a link between all rock music and immorality.

 

First, just because certain audience members fail to link your rock music with sexual immorality, doesn't necessarily make it untrue. Smile However, I'll agree that not all rock music communicates "sex" explicitly. Some of it seems to communicate other emotions more prominently - anger, sentimentalism, etc. That being said, the reactions it engenders seem to arise out of natural man, not the spiritual man (ex: sometimes rock communicates happiness, but I can't say that it communicates joy).

 

There is still an undeniable connection between the general style of music and the various forms of debauchery which came to the cultural forefront half a century ago. That rock can communicate something besides sex does not preclude the fact that it was the sound of choice for those that promoted "free love" and carnal experimentation (thus the catchphrase "sex, drugs and rock n' roll"), and that the same sounds and it's derivatives are still the predominant sounds of choice for the same ideologies today.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Karl S wrote:

Kind of immersed in my own thoughts for a while... seeing Joel's comment above, I can see that there are some ideas that I'm kind of re-hashing (probably unnecessarily). Just quickly my thoughts on this:

 

 First of all, just because certain rock musicians state that rock music is sex, doesn't necessarily make it true.  I was a keyboardist in a Christian rock band that played throughout Michigan for 7 years and I can honestly say that our audiences were not linking us to sexual immorality. The only ones that might make that connection were fundamentalists that really believed there still was a link between all rock music and immorality.

 

First, just because certain audience members fail to link your rock music with sexual immorality, doesn't necessarily make it untrue. Smile However, I'll agree that not all rock music communicates "sex" explicitly. Some of it seems to communicate other emotions more prominently - anger, sentimentalism, etc. That being said, the reactions it engenders seem to arise out of natural man, not the spiritual man (ex: sometimes rock communicates happiness, but I can't say that it communicates joy).

 

There is still an undeniable connection between the general style of music and the various forms of debauchery which came to the cultural forefront half a century ago. That rock can communicate something besides sex does not preclude the fact that it was the sound of choice for those that promoted "free love" and carnal experimentation (thus the catchphrase "sex, drugs and rock n' roll"), and that the same sounds and it's derivatives are still the predominant sounds of choice for the same ideologies today.

 

You just proved my point!  The only ones that still make that connection of rock music and rebellion and free love in our culture are the fundamentalists.....

Because of how my wife and I raised our children (2 of which are teenagers) and the music I played while in our Christian rock band and the music we use for worship in our church, they associate CCM with beauty and holiness.   I also expose them to classical music and hymns as well (I am a classically trained musician that graduated with a music degree).   What seems so obvious that what I'm describing is somehow worldly, is so obvious to me that you are denouncing an aspect of God's creation that he declared good, even in such a fallen world (I Tim 4:1-5).  

Greg Linscott's picture

You just proved my point!  The only ones that still make that connection of rock music and rebellion and free love in our culture are the fundamentalists...

Joel,

To be fair, though- is that the only way to judge something? Let's apply your thinking to something like women's clothing. I have teenage daughters. Sometimes they want to wear clothing that is fashionable, but doesn't meet with parental approval- say, because of skirt length, or the cut of the neck or waistline, or midriff exposure, or degree of adherence to the body. They could argue that in the culture, those things have become accepted, and are no longer explicitly associated with "free love" and overt sexuality- and in some ways you could say they had a point, because that kind of clothing is pretty well established and accepted in our culture, even for pre-teen girls. Women don't necessarily put it on to consciously advertise their sexual availability. They could even argue that Scripture doesn't address these things explicitly- there's no verse that specifies how form fitting clothing can or can't be.

I would suggest, though, that just because a society doesn't make the connection doesn't mean a message isn't being communicated. I understand, too that some Christians don't agree with the application we hold to in our home ("But Mom, Mrs. _________ wore an outfit like this to church just last week!"). Is it possible that societal desensitization factors into this at all, whether speaking to matters of clothing or music?

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Andrew K.'s picture

Incidentally, I was just listening to Shai Linne's "Fal$e Teacher$" and thought of an interesting question:

Even allowing for views on rock music, what do people have against rap as an art form? I'm serious. I'm not a huge rap fan, I admit. But listening to it... it isn't really even music in one sense, is it?

I'm currently teaching a poetry unit and we've talked some about various rhythms poets utilize. That's all rap seems to be--a fast-paced colloquial poetry where a beat emphasizes the rhythm. It's really very verbal. How can it be affecting our emotions sensually?

神是爱

Joel Shaffer's picture

Greg Linscott wrote:

You just proved my point!  The only ones that still make that connection of rock music and rebellion and free love in our culture are the fundamentalists...

Joel,

To be fair, though- is that the only way to judge something? Let's apply your thinking to something like women's clothing. I have teenage daughters. Sometimes they want to wear clothing that is fashionable, but doesn't meet with parental approval- say, because of skirt length, or the cut of the neck or waistline, or midriff exposure, or degree of adherence to the body. They could argue that in the culture, those things have become accepted, and are no longer explicitly associated with "free love" and overt sexuality- and in some ways you could say they had a point, because that kind of clothing is pretty well established and accepted in our culture, even for pre-teen girls. Women don't necessarily put it on to consciously advertise their sexual availability. They could even argue that Scripture doesn't address these things explicitly- there's no verse that specifies how form fitting clothing can or can't be.

I would suggest, though, that just because a society doesn't make the connection doesn't mean a message isn't being communicated. I understand, too that some Christians don't agree with the application we hold to in our home ("But Mom, Mrs. _________ wore an outfit like this to church just last week!"). Is it possible that societal desensitization factors into this at all, whether speaking to matters of clothing or music?

 

Good point.  And by the way, I am not saying that it is the only way to judge something.    At the same time, there really are some cultural associations that were birthed within depravity that do have no bearing today.    The puritans were against wearing wedding bands because of its associated worldliness back 400 years ago.  What I was getting at is summed up in this video by Dr. Doran.  http://vimeo.com/56639911

jcoleman's picture

Brent Marshall wrote:

jcoleman wrote:
Let me clarify: I'm not trying to say that I don't think there disobedient brothers because I don't think they should be treated as unbelievers. I'm saying that there is no Biblical category for so-called disobedient brothers whom we don't treat as unbelievers. So it's one or the other. Does the supposed disobedience rise to level of my needing to evangelize them (treat them as unbelievers)? If it doesn't, then while we may disagree on second or third tier issues, I can't treat them as disobedient brothers.
I think that I follow your clarification, but I still perceive problems. First, assuming that you are building on Matt. 18:17, I do not see how "needing to evangelize them" flows from that passage (it seems like a misinterpretation). Did Paul need to "evangelize" Peter when he had to confront and rebuke him for his blameworthy behavior (Gal. 2:11)? Even if the interpretation is correct, I do not think it helps here, for it still seems like you are analyzing this backwards: using Scriptures about the punishment to determine whether there was disobedience. Why do we need to have categories of punishment/consequences/response to determine whether there is a violation in the first place?  Or am I still misunderstanding you?

Further clarification: I'm not "using Scriptures about the punishment to determine whether there was disobedience". It may in fact be that someone is disobedient. But what I'm talking about is a paradigm not for determining whether or not disobedience has occurred, but for determining if the perceived issue/disobedience rises to the level of separation. And I'm arguing that scripture knows nothing of separating from those whom we still profess as brothers in Christ. (Note: that doesn't mean there might be less or more cooperation on a practical level...e.g. denominations.) Separation is always from "disobedient brothers" whom we're removing from the visible church because we're saying that based on what we can see, they aren't actually believers in the first place.

Mike Harding's picture

Dr. Doran argues that associational issues are legitimate when there is a clear or direct relationship which does not require special research, but is generally known (i.e., playboy bunny logo on a shirt).  Today there is no clear or direct relationship between wedding rings or similarly dressed groomsmen with spiritism as there was apparently 400 years ago, and secondly that knowledge today would require an unusual level of inside information virtually unknown to  99:9 percent of Christians or non-Christians.  Is rap/hiphop generally perceived in our culture as sexual, violent, misogynist, and expressive of the values in urban culture?

Pastor Mike Harding

Karl S's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:

You just proved my point!  The only ones that still make that connection of rock music and rebellion and free love in our culture are the fundamentalists.....

Because of how my wife and I raised our children (2 of which are teenagers) and the music I played while in our Christian rock band and the music we use for worship in our church, they associate CCM with beauty and holiness.   I also expose them to classical music and hymns as well (I am a classically trained musician that graduated with a music degree).   What seems so obvious that what I'm describing is somehow worldly, is so obvious to me that you are denouncing an aspect of God's creation that he declared good, even in such a fallen world (I Tim 4:1-5).  

 

I guess I can be a self-fulfilling prophecy of your point in that I'm a fundamentalist and I make the connection. Smile Understand, however, that I'm pointing to a historical precedent and not necessarily just recycling the arguments of those who experienced this at the time. I didn't live through that era, I only look back on it.

 

I agree that with regards to associations, it is far different than it was at the time it occurred. There is no question about that. While at the time the rock and roll style was a very new, striking sound in music (although it had a long line of predecessors), over several decades it evolved and was assimilated by the culture. Because nearly everyone listens to it in some form, and not just rebellious teenagers or hippies, there is not the direct association in the current generation(s) to "free love", etc.

Where we differ is that you view such styles as only associative, while I am arguing there is something innate in them. From my view, it is natural that these strong associations no longer exist, because as Greg pointed out, our culture has moved so far into immorality and debauchery that viewing things from the bottom of the pit doesn't make the things halfway up look so dirty. In the last 2 decades (or even 1), our culture has undergone a dramatic shift in how homosexuality is perceived. It doesn't change what is innate about it.

I appreciate you sharing I Tim. 4:1-5, and I understand your argument. You should understand that in that context, however, you placed me and others arguing our position outside the faith (vs. 1)! Is that really what you mean?

I believe you'd argue that music falls within the category of "every creature of God" - with nothing to be refused. Even in the context of meats, its not as broad as it may first appear. Let's broaden the spectrum very little to include only drinks or other consumables. Is the only guiding principle that we give thanks over it, and in such cases nothing is to be refused? What about alcohol, narcotics, poisons? Even some meats might be poisonous and harmful to the body. We still apply practical principles found in Scripture to this statement. I believe the context is clearly what we see in Acts 10-11, where God specifically lifts the ban of the law on "unclean" foods. This is to reflect the Spiritual principle of the washing of Christ's blood which makes all things (read: Gentiles) clean. So in effect, to restrict eating of meats is symbolically tied to a denial of Christ's atoning work. The wickedness in prohibiting these meats is the spiritual symbolism tied to doing so!

Prohibiting certain types of music does not carry the same effect, because God has not used it to symbolize the same thing as meats. It's use/prohibition does not imply the same thing.

Now, is every type of music "good" and "nothing to be refused"? Even though I believe applying music to this passage and statement is a stretch contextually, I'll try it. As many have said, music is communication - similar (but not the same) to the way art is communication. The paintbrush, canvas, and paints are not inherently good or evil. Even the finished painting itself (as a combination of these items) is not inherently good or evil. However, the purpose (or at least the consequence) of combining all these elements is communicative; meaning that what it communicates carries a moral weight.

Again, music is so subjective that at times this becomes difficult to quantify. However, just as with a painted picture, there are some areas which should be easy to quantify. The "sound" in Exodus 32:17-18 and the "sound" of I Sam. 16:23 communicated very different things; one of which was evil and one of which was good. This is a simplistic answer, but I believe that by applying principles found throughout Scripture, there is ample evidence to conclude that God would expect us to bring our music styles in subjection to Him as well.

 

Jay's picture

Mike Harding wrote:

Is rap / hiphop generally perceived in our culture as sexual, violent, misogynist, and expressive of the values in urban culture?

To me, yes.  

That being said, I can understand that not all rap songs are one or all of these things (sexual, violent, misogynistic, etc).  If you go WAAAAY old school, Coolio's Gangsta Paradise (link to lyrics only) from the movie "Dangerous Minds" (which I have not seen) was none of these, although it does reference violence more than a few times.

I don't like rap and would not endorse it for congregational worship (I can understand why some would for individual worship), but I remember that song vividly from high school.  It portrayed a lot of the emptiness and futility that I was dealing with at the time, and it's a very sad song.  To be honest, it reminded me a lot of the book of Ecclesiastes.

"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

Mike Harding's picture

Rappin with Qoheleth, hmmm?:  "There's a time to win and a time to lose, a time to wait and a time to choose--- a bop ba da lu bop, zis bam bou!" 

 

Sorry Jay, but I couldn't resist the temptation.

Pastor Mike Harding

Lee's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:

You just proved my point!  The only ones that still make that connection of rock music and rebellion and free love in our culture are the fundamentalists.....

The issue is not music, per se.  It is culture defining idolatry and the instruments/inventions of that idolatry (and, since idolatry and immorality are like conjoined twins, immorality is also the issue). Every culture on the face of the planet has several defining factors, not the least of which is what it worships. Most cultures are idolatrous, and that idolatry permeates every level, even to the level of normal commerce and accepted customs.  Know the worship structure of the culture and you can identify the idolatry, idols, and other inventions of that idolatry.  And scripturally, you MUST keep them out of the church and the life of the disciple at every level.  And yes, they vary from culture to culture so that the instruments and inventions of one culture may be completely meaningless in another. 

While music plays a part in the worship practice of almost every culture's specific form of worship/idolatries, there are some idolatries that are defined by the music.  The "shaman" music/dance of native American cultures might be a good example, as would some of the tribal music of some African cultures steeped in the spiritism of those cultures.  Though that does not mean the music represented in these cultures is inherently evil, as a defining element of their idolatry, even though it could be argued that it is just a societal custom, scripturally it cannot be incorporated into true worship of God within the sphere of that culture without violating scripture, particularly passages such as I Cor. 10:18-22.

Though of a much more subtle design than the ancestor and spirit worship of the aforementioned cultures, our own macro-culture is defined by idolatry , a core element of which is a very specific genre of music and its associated spin-offs, which effectively brings the culture in general into accord with that idolatry.  Scripturally we cannot bring even this outside ring of idolatry into the church. "Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table and the table of devils."

 

 

Lee

Joel Shaffer's picture

Is rap/hiphop generally perceived in our culture as sexual, violent, misogynist, and expressive of the values in urban culture?

As more and more underground hip-hop (non-commercial hip-hop with socially conscience and positive lyrics) and Christian Hip-hop have become mainstream over the past 10 years or so, those who are 40 and younger see certain types (such as Christian and Underground) of hip-hop as positive and the commercial hip-hop artists such as Lil Wayne as sexual, violent, and misogynist.......  

Joel Shaffer's picture

Lee wrote:

Joel Shaffer wrote:

You just proved my point!  The only ones that still make that connection of rock music and rebellion and free love in our culture are the fundamentalists.....

The issue is not music, per se.  It is culture defining idolatry and the instruments/inventions of that idolatry (and, since idolatry and immorality are like conjoined twins, immorality is also the issue). Every culture on the face of the planet has several defining factors, not the least of which is what it worships. Most cultures are idolatrous, and that idolatry permeates every level, even to the level of normal commerce and accepted customs.  Know the worship structure of the culture and you can identify the idolatry, idols, and other inventions of that idolatry.  And scripturally, you MUST keep them out of the church and the life of the disciple at every level.  And yes, they vary from culture to culture so that the instruments and inventions of one culture may be completely meaningless in another. 

While music plays a part in the worship practice of almost every culture's specific form of worship/idolatries, there are some idolatries that are defined by the music.  The "shaman" music/dance of native American cultures might be a good example, as would some of the tribal music of some African cultures steeped in the spiritism of those cultures.  Though that does not mean the music represented in these cultures is inherently evil, as a defining element of their idolatry, even though it could be argued that it is just a societal custom, scripturally it cannot be incorporated into true worship of God within the sphere of that culture without violating scripture, particularly passages such as I Cor. 10:18-22.

Though of a much more subtle design than the ancestor and spirit worship of the aforementioned cultures, our own macro-culture is defined by idolatry , a core element of which is a very specific genre of music and its associated spin-offs, which effectively brings the culture in general into accord with that idolatry.  Scripturally we cannot bring even this outside ring of idolatry into the church. "Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table and the table of devils."

 

 

It is because of Scripture that I will not keep them out of the church and out of the disciple's life because I am responsible before God to protect those under my care from such dualistic thinking that declares certain things bad what God created good. I have argued this elsewhere. http://sharperiron.org/comment/50438#comment-50438  Wow...maybe I am reading you wrong, but it seems as if you are making your convictions about this an absolute!

Kevin T. Bauder's picture

Earlier on this and another thread I put up a few posts concerning the music issue. That broke a long-standing personal rule, and I wish I had not broken it. Not because the matter is unimportant, but because there are so many pieces to the argument that it cannot be addressed hit-and-miss in a discussion forum like this. Coherence on this issue requires a sustained conversation, and the fact is that I have too many other things to do in the real world to be able to devote the necessary time and effort to a drive-by discussion on a very ephemeral medium.

I suspect that it looks like I just want to lob a grenade or two and then duck out. That's not the case. There's just too much else going on.

So my apologies for putting out bait and then not pulling the trigger.

Kevin

Jay's picture

Mike Harding wrote:

Rappin with Qoheleth, hmmm?:  "There's a time to win and a time to lose, a time to wait and a time to choose--- a bop ba da lu bop, zis bam bou!" 

Sorry Jay, but I couldn't resist the temptation.

Mike - 

Tell you what - you write the song and I'll listen to it.  We both 'win'...or something.  Something being the operative term.

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

Joel Shaffer's picture

Ok, I am going to check out for awhile because of many ministry responsibilities that I have going on........

Matthew J's picture

Andrew K. wrote:

Incidentally, I was just listening to Shai Linne's "Fal$e Teacher$" and thought of an interesting question:

Even allowing for views on rock music, what do people have against rap as an art form? I'm serious. I'm not a huge rap fan, I admit. But listening to it... it isn't really even music in one sense, is it?

I'm currently teaching a poetry unit and we've talked some about various rhythms poets utilize. That's all rap seems to be--a fast-paced colloquial poetry where a beat emphasizes the rhythm. It's really very verbal. How can it be affecting our emotions sensually?

I was reading some Cowper the other day and noticed something fascinating. As most would agree, Cowper was an excellent lyricist (poet if you prefer). One of his strengths was his variety. Some of his longer, prose like poems follow the same rythmic pattern and cadence and ryhmn scheme as "rap." Now I am not professionally trained, but I tried to rap Cowper and found that it flowed perfectly. BTW, I don't get rap and am unconvinced that it is appropriate for worship and probably will remain unconvinced as I still think the association is still too close (in time mostly) to the negative associations with it. But I found it interesting that Cowper could be done as "fast-paced colloquial poetry." 

Here is one of his poems that could be done as a lyrical art in the modern "rap" sense.

http://www.puritansermons.com/poetry/cowper1.htm

Actually, the poetic/rhythmic form of rap is kind of pleasing to my ear, what irritates my sensibilities in rap is the background noise and (IMO) "musical instrumentation" implanted in the "song." For example, Linne's "False Teachers" rap was interesting to listen to, but the constant vocal backups and the music attached was distracting. I am sure that for those who listen to rap, those elements are essential. 

Greg Linscott's picture

Mike Harding wrote:

Rappin with Qoheleth, hmmm?:  "There's a time to win and a time to lose, a time to wait and a time to choose--- a bop ba da lu bop, zis bam bou!" 

 

Sorry Jay, but I couldn't resist the temptation.

 

Sorry, Mike, neither could I...

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

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