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

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

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

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

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

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

45653 reads
Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Discussing musicological specifics beyond a very general level is not the biblical way to understand what music pleases God. If it were, God would have talked a lot about such things.

If God talking "a lot about such things" is the way to determine what music pleases God, then why do you make definitive assertions about certain beats not pleasing God? If God doesn't like certain beats, then surely He would have talked a lot about such things.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Discussing musicological specifics beyond a very general level is not the biblical way to understand what music pleases God. If it were, God would have talked a lot about such things.

 

If God talking "a lot about such things" is the way to determine what music pleases God, then why do you make definitive assertions about certain beats not pleasing God? If God doesn't like certain beats, then surely He would have talked a lot about such things.

Because the people who originated those beats themselves have been involved in ungodly activities that they themselves say have put them in contact with demonic spirits. Any such music is categorically off-limits.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

I am not going to humor you at all with your attempt to draw an analogy between boats and music. There is no comparing those two things. God does not command numerous times in the Bible that boats be used to worship Him, etc.

But Jesus does command the use of a boat in Luke 5:1-11, and worship does take place because of what happened on the boat. First, Jesus tells Peter to push off from the shore so Jesus could teach and Peter obeys. Then Jesus orders Peter to "Put out into deep water and let down the nets for a catch." Peter obeyed and they caught so many fish the boats began to sink. Peter then fell at Jesus' knees and said "Go away from me Lord. I am a sinful man." Jesus then told Simon he would fish for people, and Peter, James, and John pulled the boats to shore, left everything, and followed Jesus. You can't separate the boats from this account of worship. Besides this, there are multiple times that boats play a pivotal role in miraculous events. Jesus calmed the storm while on a boat. Peter walked on water after jumping out of a boat. Paul told all the soldiers and prisoners to stay on the boat and all their lives were spared.

So what? Were the boats in any of these accounts actually offered to God as part of the worship in whatever took place. No, they were not. There is no valid comparison between the biblical revelation about boats and the biblical revelation about instrumental music that God repeatedly commands to be offered to Him in worship.

Kevin Miller wrote:

Quote:
As for Romans 1, regardless of what applications you want to make to all unbelievers, in context, the specific people in view are the ones to whom everything in the passage applies. Namely, they become idolaters,

Stop right here. Who is this "they" of which you speak? It looks like you are jumping right to verse 23 while ignoring verses 18-22. Who does verse 18 refer to as the topic of the passage?  "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness." Verse 20 says that from creation, God's power has been clearly seen so that people are without excuse. Verse 21 tells us that these people who are suppressing truth are failing to glorify God or give Him thanks. We don't see the progression leading to idolatry until verse 23. Up to that verse, the passage had referred generally to all unsaved people.

So what? Unless the rest of the passage also applies to all unbelievers, the objection that you are raising to my use of Romans 1:30 is invalid. If you are ready to claim that everything from Romans 1:23 to the end of the passage also applies to all unbelievers, then you are patently making a false claim.

The bottom line is the passage plainly teaches that there are reprobate idolaters who are sexually immoral and who are inventors of evil things. Anyone who claims that those evil things do not include instrumental music has to prove why it does not. Of course, there is no legitimate way to prove that it does not include instrumental music.

We know from Romans 1:30 that there is instrumental music that reprobate idolaters have invented that God says is evil.

Kevin Miller wrote:

Quote:
This thread is specifically about biblical revelation concerning the music of demonically influenced idolaters that must be rejected categorically and what that revelation teaches us about other music that we must reject categorically. 

This is an example of a sentence that starts out with your narrow focus, and then jumps dramatically to cover any and all music that you may wish to put in the category of "other music that we must reject categorically." So you're focus is NOT just on music by demonically influenced idolaters, but it's against any music that you decide to put in the "reject" category, whether or not there is specific bible teaching involved.

This is a misrepresentation of what I have said. The other music that I have said that must be rejected has been either the music of people involved in occult practices, which also puts them in contact with demonic spirits, or the music of other openly immoral people, such as harlots.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

RajeshG wrote:

Therefore, He has given us the essential criteria for knowing what music we must not use--we must not get our music from demonically influenced idolaters, harlots, and other wicked people who produce ungodly music. We must not have any fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, including their musical forms. We are not to be conformed to this present evil age. We must not walk in the counsel of the ungodly by borrowing their wicked music and bringing it into the worship of God. etc.

So I would be in agreement this far -- I would not want to borrow any song/tune/lyrics that are specifically aimed at sinful activity, thoughts, attitudes, etc.  But what you haven't explained is to what extent our music can't be similar.  We will also use rhythm, chords, notes, keys, etc.  I certainly wouldn't want any tune we use for worship to sound like a song from KISS for example.  But that really doesn't tell us in what ways our music can't be similar, and it always will be in some sense because we use the same building blocks, as Greg has tried to explain.

In fundamentalism, we certainly don't go so far as to make all secular tunes off limits.  What about the tune to "Gott, erhalte Franz den Kaiser," which eventually became "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles," and now "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit," which we commonly hear in churches as "Glorious Things of Thee are spoken"?  My wife, who is a German citizen, doesn't sing along in church when that song is used.  And I can understand why, as I certainly would have a hard time singing a worship song with the tune to "The Star-spangled Banner."  But clearly all Christians do not have that association.  Is that tune that was used during Nazi times now wicked enough that it can't be used by us at all?

Any scriptural prohibitions need to be able to encompass things like my example above, and we as Christians need to be able to apply them consistently.  Having someone come up to me and say "that sounds too much like ungodly <type-x> music for us as Christians to be able to use it" they are going to have to explain themselves and give solid reasons why.  If all you can say is that evil idolaters use or created such music, well they also use and create such music as the tune I described above.  If you say that tune isn't wicked, then you need to explain why, since it didn't come from believers.  Once we get down to those specifics, then we would finally be able to have a standard that Christians can use.  What you have described all along is far too general, and subject to way too much personal opinion and feeling, and it's never good for us to get our standards that way.

Dave Barnhart

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Because the people who originated those beats themselves have been involved in ungodly activities that they themselves say have put them in contact with demonic spirits. Any such music is categorically off-limits.

So do you have historical or biblical evidence that the origin of rock beats is with idolaters? You're making claims that simply can't be supported. How do you you it didn't originate with someone from Romans 1:18-22? How do you know it didn't originate with someone other than an idolater after Romans 1:23?

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

So what? Were the boats in any of these accounts actually offered to God as part of the worship in whatever took place. No, they were not. There is no valid comparison between the biblical revelation about boats and the biblical revelation about instrumental music that God repeatedly commands to be offered to Him in worship.

Just as you don't see a comparison between boats and music, I don't see a comparison between the sin of idolatry and the production of a similar style of music as what MIGHT of been used during an idolatry setting (especially since we have no indication of what style was used in the GCI, which is your go-to passage). I don't see a comparison between the sin of idolatry and the future invention of any style or object or whatever that may eventually be invented by an idolater.

Quote:
So what? Unless the rest of the passage also applies to all unbelievers, the objection that you are raising to my use of Romans 1:30 is invalid. If you are ready to claim that everything from Romans 1:23 to the end of the passage also applies to all unbelievers, then you are patently making a false claim.
So let's use your logic here. The progression leads to homosexuality in Romans 1. So unless your point is about homosexuals, then you can't use Romans 1 for your point.

Quote:
The bottom line is the passage plainly teaches that there are reprobate idolaters who are sexually immoral and who are inventors of evil things. Anyone who claims that those evil things do not include instrumental music has to prove why it does not. Of course, there is no legitimate way to prove that it does not include instrumental music.

We know from Romans 1:30 that there is instrumental music that reprobate idolaters have invented that God says is evil.

So this takes us back to boats. If boats are invented by idolaters, are they evil? If not, then you must recognize that the "evil things " mentioned have to be things that are actually evil, rather than just all things potentially invented by idolaters. So the task still remains for you to show HOW something or other invented by an idolater is ACTUALLY evil, rather than just being something invented by an idolater.

Quote:
This is a misrepresentation of what I have said. The other music that I have said that must be rejected has been either the music of people involved in occult practices, which also puts them in contact with demonic spirits, or the music of other openly immoral people, such as harlots. 
Then why reject CCM music used in a church? That music isn't being used in an occult practice or being used by a harlot.

RajeshG's picture

dcbii wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Therefore, He has given us the essential criteria for knowing what music we must not use--we must not get our music from demonically influenced idolaters, harlots, and other wicked people who produce ungodly music. We must not have any fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, including their musical forms. We are not to be conformed to this present evil age. We must not walk in the counsel of the ungodly by borrowing their wicked music and bringing it into the worship of God. etc.

 

 

So I would be in agreement this far -- I would not want to borrow any song/tune/lyrics that are specifically aimed at sinful activity, thoughts, attitudes, etc.  But what you haven't explained is to what extent our music can't be similar.  We will also use rhythm, chords, notes, keys, etc.  I certainly wouldn't want any tune we use for worship to sound like a song from KISS for example.  But that really doesn't tell us in what ways our music can't be similar, and it always will be in some sense because we use the same building blocks, as Greg has tried to explain.

In fundamentalism, we certainly don't go so far as to make all secular tunes off limits.  What about the tune to "Gott, erhalte Franz den Kaiser," which eventually became "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles," and now "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit," which we commonly hear in churches as "Glorious Things of Thee are spoken"?  My wife, who is a German citizen, doesn't sing along in church when that song is used.  And I can understand why, as I certainly would have a hard time singing a worship song with the tune to "The Star-spangled Banner."  But clearly all Christians do not have that association.  Is that tune that was used during Nazi times now wicked enough that it can't be used by us at all?

Any scriptural prohibitions need to be able to encompass things like my example above, and we as Christians need to be able to apply them consistently.  Having someone come up to me and say "that sounds too much like ungodly <type-x> music for us as Christians to be able to use it" they are going to have to explain themselves and give solid reasons why.  If all you can say is that evil idolaters use or created such music, well they also use and create such music as the tune I described above.  If you say that tune isn't wicked, then you need to explain why, since it didn't come from believers.  Once we get down to those specifics, then we would finally be able to have a standard that Christians can use.  What you have described all along is far too general, and subject to way too much personal opinion and feeling, and it's never good for us to get our standards that way.

God did not put any caveats when He forbad the Israelites from having anything to do with any aspect of the idolatrous practices of the Canaanites (Deut. 12:29-32). Their music, therefore, was totally off-limits to God's people. There was not to be any studying of it, borrowing it, or anything else.

We know that the instrumental music of these demonically influenced idolaters was itself evil.

I have not said anything about putting all secular tunes off-limits. The main purpose of this thread is not to give specifics for every situation. It is to show how the Bible refutes the false presuppositions that many Christians hold that all instrumental music--apart from any accompanying lyrics--is either inherently neutral, amoral, or good, and that it is therefore acceptable to God for us to use it to worship Him.

The Bible refutes the false notion that there is no instrumental music that is itself unacceptable to God. Instrumental music that is sourced in demonic influence on human beings is wicked music that must be categorically rejected. It cannot be used to worship God acceptably. Christians are not to borrow any such music and bring it into the church for use in any way in the worship of God.

GregH's picture

RajeshG wrote:

God did not put any caveats when He forbad the Israelites from having anything to do with any aspect of the idolatrous practices of the Canaanites (Deut. 12:29-32). Their music, therefore, was totally off-limits to God's people. There was not to be any studying of it, borrowing it, or anything else.

Then, as I have said many times (and you have ignored), you are in violation of your own theology. Your own music is rooted in paganism. You can continue to ignore this but it is true nonetheless.

It is sort of funny. You attempt to teach music theory on your site which I would certainly guess constitutes "studying" it. Who do you think came up with that theory? How does your condemnation not apply to you?

Bert Perry's picture

Folks, I think at some point, we've got to understand that when push comes to shove, there is nothing to Rajesh's argument except a guilt by association fallacy.  Oh, yes, he tries to doll it up with some sloppy interpretation of Scripture (and ad hominem attacks on people who disagree with his view), but at the end of the day, it comes down to smearing all modern music by pointing out that Gene Simmons and Frank Zappa said some things about why they were in the business, and assuming that applied universally.  (OK, add hasty generalization here, too)

There is no amount of evidence that is going to penetrate here, because Rajesh is not using traditional deductive or inductive logic.  Rather, he's simply tilting at that windmill until his opponents give up, telling us in effect that the light is not, indeed, flickering.  I would personally be surprised if he could even give a good working definition of rock & roll that would encompass the various sub-genre and exclude other genre.  He has, after all, repeatedly refused to analyze songs when Jay has challenged him on this, and won't even name a characteristic scale or chord for Greg.  (could any of us do that?....describe in a few paragraphs a genre that includes Buddy Holly, the Beatles (early and late), Michael Jackson, Prince, and AC/DC....)

You can't argue with that.  You can (as I have) attempt to point out the folly of his arguments, in the hope of freeing others from falling into his trap, but you really can't argue with that.  And to paraphrase the noted theologian Mr. T., I pity the fools who take him seriously, as he's putting nonsense into peoples' mouths that will have their neighbors wondering exactly what color the sun is on their planet.  There is a real Gospel, Kingdom consequence to this sort of tomfoolery. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

GregH's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Folks, I think at some point, we've got to understand that when push comes to shove, there is nothing to Rajesh's argument except a guilt by association fallacy.  Oh, yes, he tries to doll it up with some sloppy interpretation of Scripture (and ad hominem attacks on people who disagree with his view), but at the end of the day, it comes down to smearing all modern music by pointing out that Gene Simmons and Frank Zappa said some things about why they were in the business, and assuming that applied universally.  (OK, add hasty generalization here, too)

There is no amount of evidence that is going to penetrate here, because Rajesh is not using traditional deductive or inductive logic.  Rather, he's simply tilting at that windmill until his opponents give up, telling us in effect that the light is not, indeed, flickering.  I would personally be surprised if he could even give a good working definition of rock & roll that would encompass the various sub-genre and exclude other genre.  He has, after all, repeatedly refused to analyze songs when Jay has challenged him on this, and won't even name a characteristic scale or chord for Greg.  (could any of us do that?....describe in a few paragraphs a genre that includes Buddy Holly, the Beatles (early and late), Michael Jackson, Prince, and AC/DC....)

You can't argue with that.  You can (as I have) attempt to point out the folly of his arguments, in the hope of freeing others from falling into his trap, but you really can't argue with that.  And to paraphrase the noted theologian Mr. T., I pity the fools who take him seriously, as he's putting nonsense into peoples' mouths that will have their neighbors wondering exactly what color the sun is on their planet.  There is a real Gospel, Kingdom consequence to this sort of tomfoolery. 

Well, OK, I can't argue with that but on the flip side, this is interesting to me and a bit entertaining. I am wondering if this line of argumentation is a flash in the pan or a start of something new. In my lifetime, I have seen two big lines of argumentation against rock music/CCM.

1) The Garlockian approach of cherry picking quotes of music experts and rock musicians and building a large house of cards. This stood a while but came crashing down when the internet came along and people were actually able to research the assertions of the various experts.

2) The appeal to culture approach of Scott Aniol, etc. I have to say I thought it was a step in a better direction. It is at least possible to understand what they are arguing for and tie it back to legitimate philosophical systems. It is not a house of cards though there is plenty of room to disagree with their conclusions. To be honest, I used to dismiss this line of argumentation but I have tons of respect for it now because I have studied the underlying philosophy which goes back at least to Plato.

But now, we have a third...

3) The new Rajeshian approach which is to cherrypick verses from the Bible and do wild extrapolations from them to make broad sweeping generalizations. This is fairly new. Garlock did not even try to mine the Bible for support for his position in the way that Rajesh does. In many respects, Rajesh is doing something I have never seen before in this regard. He has built quite a system on this. It is amazing how many doctrine Rajesh can pull out of a word or two in an OT passage. If you go to his website, you do see that he makes application. For example, he says that good music has to be either mournful or victorious. Music that is in the middle is not OK because it is uncertain.

So I am curious to see if Rajesh's approach here is going to the be the new way that musical conservatives approach this. I don't really care too much; the one thing I agree with Rajesh on is I don't like CCM either. 

Jay's picture

Well, OK, I can't argue with that but on the flip side, this is interesting to me and a bit entertaining.

I don’t think it is interesting or entertaining. I think it’s embarrassing and sinful that this line of argumentation is engaged with or tolerated as a legitimate position.  Yes, this teaching will have real effects on real people.  Rajesh said he caught a series of classes on this and has been “teaching” it here since at least the beginning of this year in different threads.  His position is utterly without support from church history. 

We aren’t debating angels on pins here.  The use of music in worship is a very serious issue, and the fact that we are now 18 (?!) pages into it - more with the other threads that have been started - demonstrates that it’s not going anywhere except down.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

GregH's picture

Jay wrote:

Well, OK, I can't argue with that but on the flip side, this is interesting to me and a bit entertaining.

I don’t think it is interesting or entertaining. I think it’s embarrassing and sinful that this line of argumentation is engaged with or tolerated as a legitimate position.  Yes, this teaching will have real effects on real people.  Rajesh said he caught a series of classes on this and has been “teaching” it here since at least the beginning of this year in different threads.  His position is utterly without support from church history. 

We aren’t debating angels on pins here.  The use of music in worship is a very serious issue, and the fact that we are now 18 (?!) pages into it - more with the other threads that have been started - demonstrates that it’s not going anywhere except down.

I guess you may be taking it more seriously than me. Who is Rajesh really influencing? I have not seen anyone agree with anything he writes. Not even music conservatives will jump in to support him. So, I am not sure anything really dangerous is going on here and he will eventually get tired and move on. But I get your point. I do agree that the proper thing might be to refuse to engage so this will end sooner rather than later.

Bert Perry's picture

It's hard to reconcile the notion that music is wrong if it's not completely obvious with the reality that many Psalms, e.g. Psalm 42, are neither celebratory or mourning, but are rather contemplative.  And then you've got Psalm 137, which is hugely angry. 

This does not fit into the neat categories that Rajesh proposes, and there's a musicological/literary reason for this.  Poetry that is as obvious as a trumpet call to battle is called doggerel--you've heard this especially in tetrameter, "da-DA, da-DA, da-DA, da-DA" and so on.  You can also call it "bad prose" or an "instruction manual", but it's not poetry, properly speaking.  I don't know if there's a musicological term for music where there's no nuance to allow the mind to process it (paging Prof. Schickele or Greg!), but there is also music which leaves no room for mental or emotional interpretation.  It can get popular--e.g. Gene Simmons' minimum nadir--but good music it is not.

We might note, really, that 1 Cor. 14:7 is part of a larger passage counseling not anything regarding music, but rather shows a preference for prophecy/preaching over tongues.   So as Greg and I note, it's really part of Rajesh's habit of taking huge liberties with the Word of God, as his citation has nothing to do with the topic.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

GregH wrote:

If you go to his website, you do see that he makes application. For example, he says that good music has to be either mournful or victorious. Music that is in the middle is not OK because it is uncertain.

You have misrepresented my views by distorting what I said in that article. My statement concerned what was to be true in the context of a feast to the Lord--the sound of the music was supposed to be joyful because a feast, by definition, was supposed to be a time of rejoicing before God. My statement was not an unqualified declaration, as you have wrongly portrayed it to be. 

Misrepresenting the views of someone, regardless of whether you agree with them or you disagree with them, is unethical behavior.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

GregH wrote:

...the one thing I agree with Rajesh on is I don't like CCM either. 

I don't know if that's the only thing I would agree with him on, but it would be close.  I don't care for CCM either, but mostly not for the reasons he expounds.

Dave Barnhart

RajeshG's picture

Jay wrote:

Rajesh said he caught a series of classes on this and has been “teaching” it here since at least the beginning of this year in different threads.  His position is utterly without support from church history. 

This is another patently false statement: "His position is utterly without support from church history." 

Many church fathers held that pagan instrumental music was ungodly. For example, the church Father Justin Martyr stated the following in his "Discourse to the Greeks,"

“Do not suppose, ye Greeks, that my separation from your customs is unreasonable and unthinking; for I found in them nothing that is holy or acceptable to God.” (Chapter 1)

As well:

“And your public assemblies I have come to hate. For there are excessive banquetings, and subtle flutes which provoke to lustful movements, and useless and luxurious anointing, and crowning with garlands.” (Chapter 4; bold added to the original)

 
Moreover, until the CCM crowd came along and justified their bringing rock music into the church by inventing the myth that music was neutral, God's people consistently held that there was ungodly instrumental music.

Your statement that my position is "utterly without support from church history" is false.

GregH's picture

RajeshG wrote:

This is another patently false statement. Many church fathers held that pagan instrumental music was ungodly.

For example, the church Father Justin Martyr stated the following in his "Discourse to the Greeks,"

“Do not suppose, ye Greeks, that my separation from your customs is unreasonable and unthinking; for I found in them nothing that is holy or acceptable to God.” (Chapter 1)

As well:

“And your public assemblies I have come to hate. For there are excessive banquetings, and subtle flutes which provoke to lustful movements, and useless and luxurious anointing, and crowning with garlands.” (Chapter 4; bold added to the original)

 
Moreover, until the CCM crowd came along and justified their bringing rock music into the church by inventing the myth that music was neutral, God's people consistently held that there was ungodly instrumental music.

Your statement that my position is "utterly without support from church history" is false.

A few thoughts about this:

1) Yes, some have believed in morality in music throughout the history of the church. In fact, it started well before the church even existed. You can read similar arguments in Plato. Ironically, Plato discussed the morality of scales (modes) which is one of the reasons I have been trying to get you to engage on that topic. By the way, when you quote Justin Martyr, you are quoting a Platonist. You should ponder that. Plato talked a lot more about morality in instrumental music than the Bible does and Martyr was just a bit too impressed with Plato.

2) The CCM crowd is not responsible for the "myth that music is neutral." This has been a topic of heavy debate for centuries in theology and philosophy.

3) When Jay says your position is without support through church history, I doubt he is referring to your conclusion. He is rather referring to how you get there which I suspect he would say is dubious exegesis. In that regard, I strongly suspect he is right. I have certainly not seen exegesis like you use from others that share your conclusion.

 

Bert Perry's picture

Not only is his platonism an issue--it was common in theologians of the age--but applying that passage has a bunch of other problems. 

First of all, Psalms 149 and 150 command the flute to be used in God's praise.  Second, if you interpret it literally, you might say that you're not allowed to listen to Jethro Tull, but really the flute is far more common in other genre besides modern popular music. 

Third, you've got the question of whether there was anything inherent in how those flutes were being played that was the problem (or the instrument), or rather that the adherents of "gods" like Bacchus and Aphrodite had been conditioned to respond to a certain set of tunes on the flute by fornicating.  I'm leaning towards the latter.  Let's be honest here; in this day and age, there is no clear set of music that is associated with fornication.  Some consider nasal saxaphone a la Kenny G romantic, others consider it the equivalent of dental work. 

Finally, the passage really gives us no guidance as to what the nature of the playing was, and even with that, we've got no idea whether people today would have any similar response to it.  So rhetorically, all it proves is that Justin Martyr was saying some of the same things which (a) are supported by Plato and (b) are not supported in Scripture.

This is where sloppy exegesis, "any stick to beat my enemy", gets you.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

 When Jay says your position is without support through church history, I doubt he is referring to your conclusion. He is rather referring to how you get there which I suspect he would say is dubious exegesis. In that regard, I strongly suspect he is right. I have certainly not seen exegesis like you use from others that share your conclusion.

Yup, I called him on bad exegesis a long time ago.  To be honest, I told him he should take a hermeneutics class, and then someone else mentioned that Rajesh has a PhD, so I later apologized for that. I think "dubious exegesis" is putting it mildly. 

I've been involved with SI a long time and have argued on music standards for a lot of it.  I don't ever remember anyone taking these kind of exegetical leaps.  I've certainly never heard anything like it and I've read Garlock, Makujina, Aniol, and others.  

I just want to note that Rajesh pulls another sleight of hand in that last post.  I talked about the use of "music in worship" and he went straight to..."pagan instrumental music".

Moreover, until the CCM crowd came along and justified their bringing rock music into the church by inventing the myth that music was neutral, God's people consistently held that there was ungodly instrumental music.

I don't have the time or patience for this thread, but I'm fairly certain that God's people have been objecting to "ungodly instrumental music" long before the "CCM crowd came along".  I'm also fairly sure we've beaten, rolled out, smothered, re-rolled, and re-beaten that particular horse to death, though.

"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

Bert Perry's picture

Back in the Middle Ages, it was a nasty string instrument that was going to bring perdition through all of Merry Old England.  Specifically, it's the one Rajesh teaches, the guitar.   Also, there was a LOT of debate in the Reformation era over whether instruments belonged in the Church at all (still is in some circles), and that after (h/t Greg) there was debate over certain chord structures somewhat earlier.  Later on, it was a debate over Psalms vs. hymns that lasted into the 19th Century.  To put it mildly, Rajesh's mastery of church history is, shall we say, a wee bit light for a guy who claims a terminal degree.  

 Never mind that it's amusing in a way to see Rajesh arguing (a) that there wasn't a problem or debate until recently while (b) citing Justyn Martyr on his objections to certain kinds of music.  Just sayin'. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

GregH wrote:

2) The CCM crowd is not responsible for the "myth that music is neutral." This has been a topic of heavy debate for centuries in theology and philosophy.

They are responsible to a large extent for facilitating the use of rock music in churches that previously did not use that music, and they did use that myth to justify their practices.

RajeshG's picture

GregH wrote:

3) When Jay says your position is without support through church history, I doubt he is referring to your conclusion. He is rather referring to how you get there which I suspect he would say is dubious exegesis. In that regard, I strongly suspect he is right. I have certainly not seen exegesis like you use from others that share your conclusion.

It's easy to say "dubious exegesis" when you do not have to engage in actual discussion of the Bible to support your assessment. Just because you have not seen something said before based on a passage does not automatically invalidate it. 

RajeshG's picture

dcbii wrote:

 

GregH wrote:

 

...the one thing I agree with Rajesh on is I don't like CCM either. 

 

 

I don't know if that's the only thing I would agree with him on, but it would be close.  I don't care for CCM either, but mostly not for the reasons he expounds.

Instead of making comments like this, you could be actually engaging in specific exegetical discussion about how and why you disagree with what I am saying about specific points from specific passages. It's telling when people choose not to actually discuss the Bible itself and yet choose to say that they disagree.

RajeshG's picture

GregH wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

God did not put any caveats when He forbad the Israelites from having anything to do with any aspect of the idolatrous practices of the Canaanites (Deut. 12:29-32). Their music, therefore, was totally off-limits to God's people. There was not to be any studying of it, borrowing it, or anything else.

 

 

Then, as I have said many times (and you have ignored), you are in violation of your own theology. Your own music is rooted in paganism. You can continue to ignore this but it is true nonetheless.

It is sort of funny. You attempt to teach music theory on your site which I would certainly guess constitutes "studying" it. Who do you think came up with that theory? How does your condemnation not apply to you?

And your comments in this regard are flawed because my comments have not been about rejecting everything made by pagans/unbelievers. My comments have been focused on divine prohibitions to reject everything pertaining to the worship practices of demonically influenced idolaters.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

So this takes us back to boats. If boats are invented by idolaters, are they evil? If not, then you must recognize that the "evil things " mentioned have to be things that are actually evil, rather than just all things potentially invented by idolaters. So the task still remains for you to show HOW something or other invented by an idolater is ACTUALLY evil, rather than just being something invented by an idolater.

Were the boats invented by the idolaters as part of their worship and offered to an idol in their worship?

Obviously, I know that the text does not pertain to everything invented by idolaters because idolaters are not under the same unchanging demonic influence 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Deut. 12 and other passages specifically pertain to what they do in their worship of their idols.

For the purposes of this discussion, I do not have to show how anything specific is evil. Romans 1:30 establishes as an undeniable fact that there are reprobate idolaters who have invented evil things. There is no biblical basis to argue legitimately that the evil things that they have invented does not include instrumental music.

We also know from the Bible that demonically influenced idolaters have used and produced instrumental music in their idolatrous worship. Therefore, the existence of instrumental music that is itself evil is conclusively established and those who say that there is no instrumental music that is itself evil are wrong.

That is the main point that I am getting at. I do not have to show how anything specific is evil to establish that point.

pvawter's picture

Rajesh,

3 times you have said this:

For the purposes of this discussion, I do not have to show how anything specific is evil. Romans 1:30 establishes as an undeniable fact that there are reprobate idolaters who have invented evil things. There is no biblical basis to argue legitimately that the evil things that they have invented does not include instrumental music.

You demand that prove biblically that evil intentions do not include instrumental music (a position for which no one in this thread is arguing, btw) while you exempt yourself from proving that Paul was referring to instrumental music in Roman's 1. It's this kind of biased standard that I find undercuts any point you are trying to make. 

RajeshG's picture

pvawter wrote:

Rajesh,

3 times you have said this:

For the purposes of this discussion, I do not have to show how anything specific is evil. Romans 1:30 establishes as an undeniable fact that there are reprobate idolaters who have invented evil things. There is no biblical basis to argue legitimately that the evil things that they have invented does not include instrumental music.

You demand that prove biblically that evil in[v]entions do not include instrumental music (a position for which no one in this thread is arguing, btw) while you exempt yourself from proving that Paul was referring to instrumental music in Roman's 1. It's this kind of biased standard that I find undercuts any point you are trying to make. 

It does not matter that there might not be anyone in this thread who is (openly) arguing that there is no evil instrumental music itself. That is a position that is very widely held by many Christians.

Why would I have to prove that Paul is referring to instrumental music? He makes an unqualified statement. Those who say that what he is talking about only applies to certain things are the one who would have to back up from the Bible their basis for why it only applies to certain things but not to instrumental music.

Furthermore, we know from explicit biblical records that idolatrous worship did include instrumental music. Therefore, the Spirit Himself has called that fact to our attention. Comparing Scripture with Scripture about idolaters establishes the full legitimacy of holding that what Paul says in Romans 1:30 does apply to the instrumental worship music of idolaters. If you do not believe that it does, you have to use the Bible to show why it does not.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

RajeshG wrote:

Instead of making comments like this, you could be actually engaging in specific exegetical discussion about how and why you disagree with what I am saying about specific points from specific passages. It's telling when people choose not to actually discuss the Bible itself and yet choose to say that they disagree.

I've engaged with you at several points in the 2.5 months this thread has been alive, but it has been, shall we say...mostly fruitless.  I commented because I do think that it's important for those involved in this discussion, especially those with your views, to realize that disagreement with your views on music is not equivalent to wanting to use any type of music in church or for worship.  I'd bet you and I would largely agree on what music we would use for worship in our respective churches.  How we get to that point is completely different though, and I still reject the view you propose in this thread because you have been totally unable (or at least unwilling) to demonstrate which music falls under your assertions and how we would judge it.  You claim "rock" fits that category.  Fine -- demonstrate it, don't just claim it and expect others to just say yes and amen.  Tell us what elements are present in rock music that must be avoided.  Beat?  Notes?  Chords?  Tell us something about how that music is bad.  Clearly, "created or composed by idolaters" is not sufficient, as you don't believe all tunes composed by them are unusable.  Without that application step, the main assertion fails to be useful to the rest of us.  I'm sorry, but it's a large leap from Exodus to "now we know what kinds of music to avoid," and there are a lot of missing steps in between.

I actually agree with Greg's short take that people with your views either don't know or won't say how to judge which music is acceptable, but somehow believe we are still held responsible to know.  Although most people with your views or similar will never admit it, their judgment eventually comes down to "let me hear it and I'll tell you whether it's good or not," i.e., it's essentially a completely subjective judgment, because no objective criteria are ever given.  We somehow just have to know, and if we come to an opposite conclusion, we are wrong.

As to exegesis, I personally think it's irresponsible to "exegete" what isn't actually there.  When the Bible doesn't say something, it's hard to cogently discuss "the Bible's view" on something on which it doesn't speak at all or what it does say is inconclusive.  I agree with those who will not claim that all music must be "neutral" or acceptable, but after 20 pages of discussion, you have still been unable to convince just about anyone on this thread that your "exegesis" has merit, and that the main passage in question is capable of telling us, or, for that matter, even applies to music itself being evil rather that simply evil in context.  You are the one making the claim that the Exodus passage proves your point, and therefore, the burden of proof is on you.  It's not on me to find other scripture passage(s) that disagree with your view.  I don't have to prove you wrong if you haven't made your case, so I can disagree without making any case of my own.  When someone asks "how does the passage tell us which types of music are acceptable?" and you deflect, I don't need to make an opposing argument.  I can simply disagree.

My personal view is that God has a mind on everything being good or evil, but in some cases, he has not given us enough to make a judgment.  That leaves either a. the concept or object in question is actually good (because it hasn't been declared bad), or b. we have to act as if it were good or "practically" neutral because we don't know enough to tell, then it comes down to conscience, which is admittedly imperfect.  God may not have told us everything that is wrong, and expects us to use our discernment (coupled with the Holy Spirit) to judge.  I do believe he has given us the tools to discern which things are absolutely wrong and have no redeeming quality.  However, for things where we still can't come to a solid, biblical conclusion, it has to fall under Romans 14, and you have to use your own conscience as do I.  I think Paul's overall tone implies that for some things this is ultimately unsatisfying, but we still have to live charitably with Christians who disagree if we can't prove them wrong from scripture, even if we wouldn't choose to do or use the things they would.

Dave Barnhart

Pages