What does Scripture teach about all music without words?

Many Christians believe that all music without words is neutral or amoral. Some believe that all music without words is moral/good.

Many other Christians believe that all music without words is either moral or immoral, but not neutral or amoral.

What does Scripture teach about all music without words?

It teaches that all music without words is neutral or amoral.
0% (0 votes)
It teaches that all music without words is moral/good.
0% (0 votes)
It teaches that all music without words is either moral or immoral.
14% (2 votes)
It does not address this subject.
71% (10 votes)
It is not clear to me what Scripture teaches about this subject.
14% (2 votes)
Total votes: 14
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There are 23 Comments

RajeshG's picture

It is very interesting to me that out of 6 people who have voted, not one person has voted for either of the first two choices. I would have expected that the results would have been strongly towards one of those two choices.

RajeshG's picture

In voting on the question in this poll, please keep in mind that this question does not merely concern musical styles, etc. It pertains to the entirety of the biblical data, which is much broader than narrower questions pertaining to musical styles originated by or played by humans.

Ron Bean's picture

I took the liberty of posting this poll with the clarification in a Facebook group composed of active and retired pastors and received the following responses:

--It does not address the subject 24

--It is not clear to me what the Bible teaches about this subject 1

--It teaches that all music without words is either moral or immoral 1

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

RajeshG's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

I took the liberty of posting this poll with the clarification in a Facebook group composed of active and retired pastors and received the following responses:

--It does not address the subject 24

--It is not clear to me what the Bible teaches about this subject 1

--It teaches that all music without words is either moral or immoral 1

These results are telling.

Ron Bean's picture

May I ask what are these results telling you?

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

RajeshG's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

May I ask what are these results telling you?

There is a major disconnect somewhere when 24 out of 26 pastors say that the Bible does not address this subject.

Rob Fall's picture

is the Russian Evangelical Christian-Baptists I fellowship with with not play instrumental music for which the congregation isn't familiar with the words.

 

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

RajeshG's picture

Rob Fall wrote:

is the Russian Evangelical Christian-Baptists I fellowship with with not play instrumental music for which the congregation isn't familiar with the words.

The biblical witness concerning music without words is not limited to music that was used/is to be used in formal worship settings. When answering an all-encompassing theological question such as this one, the entirety of what Scripture reveals about the subject must be considered to come to a proper understanding.

About your specific comment, I would tend to agree that people in churches should be presented the words to instrumental music that is ministered in worship services.

RajeshG's picture

If you are unclear about what Scripture teaches about the subject of this poll and are interested in discussing the subject privately, please contact me.

TylerR's picture

I think it's an excellent idea for anyone who has sincere questions about the topic here to seek answers from a balanced, informed source which has demonstrated credibility. There are good and bad sources of information. We must rely on the Spirit and our good sense to give us the discernment to reject sources with dubious credibility. 

There's always more to learn!

Tyler Robbins is a pastor at Sleater-Kinney Road Baptist, in Olympia, WA, and an Investigations Manager with the State of Washington. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

JBL's picture

What kind of music does your church employ?  Is it Christ-honoring?  How do you personally know whether it is or not?

John B. Lee

RajeshG's picture

JBL wrote:

What kind of music does your church employ?  Is it Christ-honoring?  How do you personally know whether it is or not?

My church employs music that nearly all independent fundamental Baptist churches used to have and many may still have. We do not use any CCM, CWM, etc. We use a wide assortment of instruments in our music: stringed, wind, and percussion. 

We believe that our music is Christ-honoring. We would not use it if we had any questions or doubt about any aspect of it.

Answering your last question is not possible with a simple list or explanation. If you are interested in learning more, I have a vast number of articles that I have written on my blog that pertain to numerous aspects about what the Bible teaches about acceptable music for corporate worship.

Jay's picture

Now that's a funny post.  Anyone here use music in their church that ISN'T Christ honoring?  Anyone?  Surely SOMEONE here does.  

We use CWM at our church with stringed, wind, and percussion instruments.  Every week.  But I would put a fair amount of hypothetical money on a hypothetical table that Rajesh believes his church's musical standard is right and ours are wrong.

Maybe the real issue here is that I am not worried about remaining in the good graces of the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement.  If so, it's one of the better decisions I think I have made.

Give me a break on this music stuff.

"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

RajeshG's picture

Jay wrote:

Now that's a funny post.  Anyone here use music in their church that ISN'T Christ honoring?  Anyone?  Surely SOMEONE here does.  

We use CWM at our church with stringed, wind, and percussion instruments.  Every week.  But I would put a fair amount of hypothetical money on a hypothetical table that Rajesh believes his church's musical standard is right and ours are wrong.

Give me a break.

I wonder why you are commenting on my sincere reply to a question that was specifically directed to me. Perhaps it may be because you are interested in inciting more problematic interaction on SI directed toward me. If so, you are not behaving in a Christ-honoring way.

Ron Bean's picture

Jay's reaction was to your response, not to your person. 

This is just some advice from an elder.

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

RajeshG's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

Jay's reaction was to your response, not to your person. 

There was no problem with my response. I merely answered the questions that were directed to me. It's telling that he did not direct his response to the one who asked me the question about my church's music being honoring to Christ.

Jay's picture

At the risk of fueling this train wreck of a conversation, I will just note that JBL's original post didn't make me laugh and was actually quite good. 

And as for this:

because you are interested in inciting more problematic interaction on SI directed toward me.

You should note that was my first post in this thread and that I haven't bothered to vote in your poll either.  Furthermore, I am not the one starting new threads on music every couple of days, and it has been several days since I bothered to engage with you at all.

I'll duck back out now and do something more valuable with my time than engage with you on this subject.

"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

Joe Whalen's picture

RajeshG wrote:

..numerous aspects about what the Bible teaches about acceptable music for corporate worship.

Rajesh,

Will you please list the passages you believe the Bible addresses acceptable music for corporate worship?

Will you please list the passages you believe the Bible addresses unacceptable music for corporate worship?

I'm not looking for a write-up of what you think the passages teach.  I just want to see a list of where you think the Bible addresses either acceptable or unacceptable music for corporate worship.

RajeshG's picture

Joe Whalen wrote:

Will you please list the passages you believe the Bible addresses acceptable music for corporate worship?

Will you please list the passages you believe the Bible addresses unacceptable music for corporate worship?

I'm not looking for a write-up of what you think the passages teach.  I just want to see a list of where you think the Bible addresses either acceptable or unacceptable music for corporate worship.

Joe,

Here are some key passages:

Acceptable music for corporate worship – Ex. 15; Deut. 32; Judges 5; 1 Chron. 15-16; Ps. 1-150; Matt. 26; 1 Cor. 14; Eph. 5; Col. 3; Rev. 5, 14, 15; etc.

Unacceptable music for corporate worship – Ex. 32; Ps. 1-2; Is. 5, 23; Ezek. 33; Dan. 3; Amos 5, 6; etc.

To have a proper understanding of this subject, however, requires treating not just passages that talk directly about music but also everything that God says about acceptable versus unacceptable worship. Especially important in this respect are key passages such as Genesis 4, Genesis 8, and Romans 12:1-2.

It also requires treating passages that do not even talk about either worship or music but pertain to the subject in other important ways, such as Genesis 3 and 1 John 2:15-17, etc.

Furthermore, there are other key passages about music in the Bible that also have to be treated to have a comprehensive understanding of what God reveals about music that is acceptable to Him, such as 1 Samuel 10, 16; 2 Kings 3, etc.

Joe Whalen's picture

Rajesh,

Thanks for the list of verses.  From my review of them, I don't see any where God calls music "acceptable" or "unacceptable" to Him.  Perhaps you have more?  I've read all of them and can't see where God says the music was acceptable or unacceptable for Him. 

Where does God say that there is such a thing as "acceptable" music and "unacceptable" in His revealed Word?  If you can, please give us the list from the revealed Word of God, where God tells His people that some music is "acceptable" in their corporate worship and that some other music is "unacceptable".  Will you please take the time to do this?

RajeshG's picture

Joe Whalen wrote:

Rajesh,

Thanks for the list of verses.  From my review of them, I don't see any where God calls music "acceptable" or "unacceptable" to Him.  Perhaps you have more?  I've read all of them and can't see where God says the music was acceptable or unacceptable for Him. 

Where does God say that there is such a thing as "acceptable" music and "unacceptable" in His revealed Word?  If you can, please give us the list from the revealed Word of God, where God tells His people that some music is "acceptable" in their corporate worship and that some other music is "unacceptable".  Will you please take the time to do this?

You reviewed all of those passages (including all the Psalms) so quickly and studied them thoroughly and pondered them deeply in such a short time? Obviously, at most, you did a very surface analysis of them. 

I never said that you find in each passage that God explicitly calls it "acceptable" or "unacceptable" to Him. You are going to have to do a lot more study than you have done to understand what is acceptable to Him and what is not.

This much I will say to help you, but you are going to have to do the rest of the work yourself. My use of the concept of what is "acceptable" to God musically comes from an application to music of what passages such as Eph. 5:9-10 and Romans 12:1-2 reveal:

Ephesians 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Now, it's your job to study the passages and understand how the passages reveal what was accepted by God or what was not accepted by Him.

Ron Bean's picture

Since Exodus 32 was one of the initial passages brought up for our consideration, I've been studying it for awhile and came to this conclusion.

The worship of the Golden Calf ends in verse 6 when the people sat down to eat and then rose up to "party". As Moses concludes his undoubtedly long foot journey down from the mountain, law tablets in hand, he hears singing in verse 18. It seems to me that the singing is part of the debauched activities AFTER their worship of the golden calf and not part of their worship. 

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