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

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

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

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

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

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

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dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

dcbii wrote:

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.

RajeshG wrote:

I grew up heavily immersed in rock music and lots of other wicked music of the world. I do not have to be able to define it myself to know what it sounds like.

I stand corrected.  You admit exactly what I thought you would not, that your judgment is subjective and that you are unable to define what makes rock what it is.  This is what gives the rest of us pause.  If something can't be defined, then by definition, you can't objectively know what it is, or what music does NOT belong to that category.  "I know what it is" is a purely personal and subjective judgment, and useless to anyone else.

Dave Barnhart

RajeshG's picture

dcbii wrote:

 

dcbii wrote:

 

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.

 

 

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

I grew up heavily immersed in rock music and lots of other wicked music of the world. I do not have to be able to define it myself to know what it sounds like.

 

 

I stand corrected.  You admit exactly what I thought you would not, that your judgment is subjective and that you are unable to define what makes rock what it is.  This is what gives the rest of us pause.  If something can't be defined, then by definition, you can't objectively know what it is, or what music does NOT belong to that category.  "I know what it is" is a purely personal and subjective judgment, and useless to anyone else.

You are misunderstanding the context in which I made that statement. All I meant by that statement was that I am fairly familiar with what rock music sounds like because I have listened to a lot of it. I did not say that I assess whether something is rock music or not based on my listening to it.

You have jumped to an invalid conclusion. Also, it is not a commendable thing that you took that one statement out of a paragraph and ran with it. It was directly connected to another sentence right after it.

I do not admit that my judgment is subjective because I do not use my judgment to decide on such things. I do not have anything to do with any music that is at all questionable. I do not use listening tests at all. I think that they are unbiblical. What I said was that the people who make that music obviously know what rock music is and they call their music rock music.

I reject all rock music categorically and all music related to it, derived from it, based upon it, etc.

As for defining it, people who study it and are immersed in it have trouble defining it and do not necessarily agree.

Anyway, I reject the whole notion of having to define something precisely that is wicked before you can know that it is wicked. The Bible repeatedly speaks of wicked things without giving detailed descriptions of those wicked things.

GregH's picture

RajeshG wrote:

I do not admit that my judgment is subjective because I do not use my judgment to decide on such things. I do not have anything to do with any music that is at all questionable.

Yes your judgment is subjective. You will never agree with that but you are the only person here that does not realize that. 

As mentioned before (and you have ignored), you don't even understand why some might find YOUR music questionable. Your music has pagan influence in it. That is an undeniable fact. 

RajeshG's picture

GregH wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

I do not admit that my judgment is subjective because I do not use my judgment to decide on such things. I do not have anything to do with any music that is at all questionable.

 

 

Yes your judgment is subjective. You will never agree with that but you are the only person here that does not realize that. 

As mentioned before (and you have ignored), you don't even understand why some might find YOUR music questionable. Your music has pagan influence in it. That is an undeniable fact. 

I explained the sense in which I say that my judgment about what rock music is is not subjective by saying that I do not base my assessment of something as being rock music by my listening to it; instead, I take the musicians' own characterizations of their music as valid assessments because they know what their music is.

I have never made any categorical statements about all things made by any pagans/unbelievers as being wicked. You have previously incorrectly asserted or at least implied that I hold such a view and you are doing it again here.

AndyE's picture

dcbii wrote:
If something can't be defined, then by definition, you can't objectively know what it is, or what music does NOT belong to that category.  "I know what it is" is a purely personal and subjective judgment, and useless to anyone else.

I'm not so sure about that.  I'm not a musician and so I can't define what makes a certain piece fall into a certain genre, but that doesn't mean I can't tell the genres apart. If you let me listen to a piece by Bach and one by Beethoven, I can normally tell you who wrote which one, even if I am not familiar with the pieces. 

Dan Miller's picture

I would suggest that D is right that it makes it subjective. But he’s wrong that a subjective opinion is “worthless.” 

Regardless, if Rajesh is right that the GCI should have taught the Israelites and us that there are evil music styles, we still have the problem that God never sought to:

  • Refer to evil styles by names the Israelites would have known and been able to subjectively identify
  • Refer to evil music elements that they and we could objectively identify in music. 
LGCarpenter's picture

I've been observing this discussion from the sidelines and found this statement by Rajesh interesting:

I am not going to waste my time talking about such things that the Bible does not talk about directly.

  That statement seems contrary to his entire argument.

Mr. LaVern G. Carpenter

Proverbs 3:1-12

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

AndyE wrote:

I'm not so sure about that.  I'm not a musician and so I can't define what makes a certain piece fall into a certain genre, but that doesn't mean I can't tell the genres apart. If you let me listen to a piece by Bach and one by Beethoven, I can normally tell you who wrote which one, even if I am not familiar with the pieces. 

Andy, I'm no musician either, and like you, I can normally the difference between classical music periods, whether baroque, classical, romantic, etc., and often even different composers in those periods  Beethoven is an interesting case, because he has written some late string quartets (not my favorites) that sound more like modern 12-tone music, and his early stuff is definitely more classical with his mid-period music being very romantic.  I've seen his music used in trick questions on which period the composer belongs to, especially since as a transitional figure, his music often contains elements that typically describe more than one "style" of classical music.

Be that as it may, I certainly have read enough about music from those periods that there are definitely markers (things "well defined") that characterize music from those periods.  It's fairly easy with the earlier music, though I would agree it's far from exact.  Trying to decide where music fits that comes after the impressionistic period is much more difficult, but I have heard attempts (like from Garlock) to define rock music.  Those attempts inevitably fail when some of the elements describe other music that is generally agreed upon to be "good."  My point is that if someone is going to tell me that a certain type of music is wrong, they are going to have to demonstrate it, not just claim it.  "The people that wrote that music say that it's evil" is neither proof nor truly objective.

You and I have talked, and we would probably agree on much music that I personally would not listen to or use, let alone for a worship purpose, but I'm not yet convinced that an objective standard exists that I can use for that purpose.  That's why I said a subjective standard from someone else is useless to anyone other than the one holding it.  Rajesh's standard is certainly useful to him, as yours is to you, and mine is to me.  But if neither of your standards can be objectively defined, they are useless to me.  Given that, my standards will be different from yours or his, given I have different experiences, different associations, etc.  It's unfortunate that it seems that inexact, but I've never seen a convincing argument otherwise.

As to definition, all one has to do is to read Leviticus to see the different types of sexual immorality defined quite exactly.  God wanted them to be very clear on what he considered immoral in that area, and he laid it out in what can seem to us almost excruciating detail that is difficult to read, but obviously he believed it necessary.  Not only hasn't he done that in regard to music, he hasn't even given us one of the less-well defined commands about it, like "shun profane and vain babblings," where we have to do some digging and application from our own experience and culture to understand what fits in those categories.

If there are types of music that in and of themselves are actually sinful (and I'm not claiming that there are not), then I really want to understand why and how music meets those qualifications so I can avoid it.  However, I haven't yet seen anyone able to break music down to show what fits.  Your being able to tell what fits a genre without definition might work for you, but it certainly does not help me.  Versions of that like espoused by Rajesh that we can't even examine or study something enough to know why it's evil help me even less.

I'll agree that inability to define something doesn't mean that there is no objective standard, but if one declaring it wrong can't define or at least demonstrate what makes it wrong, I still say that he is making a subjective judgment.

Dave Barnhart

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Dan Miller wrote:

I would suggest that D is right that it makes it subjective. But he’s wrong that a subjective opinion is “worthless.” 

Regardless, if Rajesh is right that the GCI should have taught the Israelites and us that there are evil music styles, we still have the problem that God never sought to:

  • Refer to evil styles by names the Israelites would have known and been able to subjectively identify
  • Refer to evil music elements that they and we could objectively identify in music. 

Dan, I actually said "useless," and I did qualify it to mean useless to anyone else (not to him).  If he can't define it for me, he is certainly welcome to use it for his own standard and find it useful, but without something concrete for me to understand, it's not one that another human can impose on me.  God can certainly tell us to avoid things without saying anything else about it.  I take no such prohibitions from fellow believers using only their own subjective standard.

Dave Barnhart

Bert Perry's picture

If you doubt this, find someone who used to teach freshman rhetoric in college, and tell him that you're wondering whether one needs to define his terms in a debate.  He will look at you as if you were insane, and possibly point you to Hobbes, who spent dozens of pages defining terms in his works.  Of course you need to define your terms, and especially critical here is that if we are going to try to define rock & roll, we need to define it in a way that distinguishes it from country, blues, and the like.

And to that, I say "good luck", because the classic bass line for rock & roll IS the 12 bar blues, to the point where a roommate of mine joked that the Beach Boys really had only one song with slightly different lyrics from time to time, and it's not for no reason that most C&W of the past 20 years sounds like rock & roll with twang.  I guess we could say that if you use a steel guitar, it's OK, but Hank would be surprised you said that.

But really, let's remember the main issue here; Rajesh's argument really boils down to guilt by association fallacies and hasty generalizations, something our hypothetical freshman rhetoric professor also would have told us about.  And as I noted a couple of months ago on this thread, you want to play guilt by association, game on, but it's going to be awfully quiet in church if we do so consistently. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

GregH's picture

My perspective is this: yes you can have subjective opinions of value. Of course you can. It is completely legitimate for someone to say he is not comfortable with a particular piece or style of music.

That is not what we have here though. Rajesh presents himself as an expert in this area and gives dogmatic sweeping application that he believes all Christians should follow. As such, it is completely reasonable to ask him to actually know something about the topic of music and be able to answer questions such as:

1) What are the music components of rock music that are objectionable?

2) What are the other styles that derive from rock that are objectionable and what makes them objectionable?

3) If a few musicians talking about demonic influence poisons the well, how big is the well? Does it extend to just their songs? The songs of the specific genre? The songs of the broad genre? The songs of the time period? The songs that use the same chords? The songs that use the same rhythm? The songs that use the same musical form? In other words, where do you draw the line.

If these questions can't be answered, Rajesh has an opinion that may be of value to himself but is pretty much useless as a prescription for anyone else.

 

Dave White's picture

Rajesh is a Frank Garlock wannabe. Garlock (b 1930) has largely passed by the scene. Like Garlock, Rajesh has 'professional' training from BJU.

Garlock had a career of pressing his views - that divided fundamentalism. 

Larry Nelson's picture

If I accept Rajesh's assertions, then I must place all classical music (and anything derived from it) in the off-limits category. Why, you ask?  Here's why:

https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Devils-Trill

https://www.thevintagenews.com/2017/12/03/giuseppe-tartini-g-minor/ 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violin_Sonata_in_G_minor_(Tartini)     

Talk about demonic influence, this is just one example of a classical work that its (earthly) composer attributes to the Devil himself!  Ergo, since the Devil composes classical music, all of it must go! 

(Oh, and since the Devil apparently plays the violin, churches must in all instances cease using those too.....just sayin'.) 

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

GregH wrote:

My perspective is this: yes you can have subjective opinions of value. Of course you can. It is completely legitimate for someone to say he is not comfortable with a particular piece or style of music.

[...]

If these questions can't be answered, Rajesh has an opinion that may be of value to himself but is pretty much useless as a prescription for anyone else.

Agreed.  This is what I was trying to say.  I may have been unclear, but "useless to anyone else" doesn't mean "of no value whatsoever."

Dave Barnhart

AndyE's picture

I’m still not sure why it is completely useless.  The very fact that we can use terms like rock, or jazz, or country, or classical means that some level we all know what we are talking about when we use those terms.  That’s not to say there is never any overlap or ambiguity, but these are legit categories that people recognize even if we can’t explain musically why one piece belongs in one category and another piece in a different category. 

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

AndyE wrote:

I’m still not sure why it is completely useless.  The very fact that we can use terms like rock, or jazz, or country, or classical means that some level we all know what we are talking about when we use those terms.  That’s not to say there is never any overlap or ambiguity, but these are legit categories that people recognize even if we can’t explain musically why one piece belongs in one category and another piece in a different category. 

Here's an example of when I would find a subjective judgment to be useless.

Let's say for the sake of argument that you and I were discussing one of Beethoven's pieces, and we disagreed about whether it belonged in his more classical period or more romantic period.  If you could give me no concrete criteria, but could only tell me "it's more classical because it sounds that way to me," I say that's a useless subjective evaluation.  You've given me nothing with which to evaluate my own judgment and say whether I'm more right or wrong.  It's perfectly sufficient for you to make the classification, but useless for me.  If you would go on to further say "Even if I can't define it, you're wrong," then I'm going to say something like "We'll have to agree to disagree," and leave it at that.

Ultimately, if there is no moral difference between "classical" and "romantic," then agree or disagree, it's just a shooting the breeze conversation that doesn't matter.  If, however, you claim that romantic music is less moral than classical, then it becomes of more importance that we be able to define the differences and be exact in our evaluation.  Because if at that point, your reasoning is still "it sounds that way to me," I can't use such "reasoning" to impact my perception of what is actually right and what is wrong.

Dave Barnhart

Bert Perry's picture

Andy, it's useless because (a) not everybody agrees what does and does not constitute rock & roll (most CCM does not IMO) and (b) Rajesh is telling us to flee from something he doesn't even define.  So we're not talking about a valid personal preference, since he's making a bigger argument.

Or really, worse than useless, since those who have the ill fortune to take his claims seriously are being trained in poor logic and rhetoric, from not defining terms to guilt by association, hasty generalization, personal attacks, and more.  Just bad for the Gospel in general.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

dcbii wrote:

My point is that if someone is going to tell me that a certain type of music is wrong, they are going to have to demonstrate it, not just claim it.  "The people that wrote that music say that it's evil" is neither proof nor truly objective.

Why do you believe that when someone says that they have made evil music under demonic influence their statements are neither proof nor objective evidence that their music is evil?

dcbii wrote:

If there are types of music that in and of themselves are actually sinful (and I'm not claiming that there are not), then I really want to understand why and how music meets those qualifications so I can avoid it.  However, I haven't yet seen anyone able to break music down to show what fits.  Your being able to tell what fits a genre without definition might work for you, but it certainly does not help me.  Versions of that like espoused by Rajesh that we can't even examine or study something enough to know why it's evil help me even less.

Why do you believe that you as a finite human are able to understand what music made by humans under demonic influence signifies to demons? How do you know that you are capable of understanding what makes that music evil? On what basis do you hold that musicological analysis of such music is the God-authorized criteria by which we must know and are able to know what music pleases God and what music does not?

AndyE's picture

I already conceded the possibility of overlap and ambiguity among musical genres.  That does not invalidate the ability of non-musicians like me to correctly (in many if not most cases) place pieces of music into their proper categories.  The very fact that there are defined genres means that it is possible.  It's like saying we can't distinguish between yellow, green, blue, and red because of the existence of transitional color shades.   So, yes, there are going to be examples of music that don't neatly fall into a particular category, and there will be some subjectivity involved in with those boundary-pushing examples, but that does not mean that *all* or even most musical evaluation can't be objectively identified.  Clemson and Tennessee both use Orange as a school color.  One of those is a pretty  sorry orange but they are both objectively orange.  

Jay's picture

Why do you believe that you as a finite human are able to understand what music made by humans under demonic influence signifies to demons? 

I'm still waiting for you to explain this, Rajesh, from page 4.  Is there a Google Translate for 'human music' to 'supernatural sounds that only demons can hear'?  Or an app that we download?  Or some other way to know that the sounds of a trap set and an electric guitar equals Satan's favorite chorus? (No offense intended for trap set and/or electric guitar players!)

You said in the very next post that these were sounds that no human could understand.  So how do we know what they mean on the supernatural level?  Perhaps more importantly, how do you know what they signify?  Do you have a supernatural sense of hearing?

"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

Jay's picture

Rajesh said that I hadn't used exegesis to deal with this topic.  When I pointed him back to the GCI thread from December (thanks for linking to it, Rajesh!), he then said that I hadn't done it on this thread.  I knew it was more than a few weeks ago but didn't realize that he'd been beating this particular topic since December of 2018.

Well, I have dealt with the text. The problem is that Rajesh builds a faulty interpretation of this passage based on a faulty interpretation of Exodus 32.  I can't exegete my way to the position that he holds in 1 Corinthians if his underlying premise is also faulty.

"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

LGCarpenter wrote:

I've been observing this discussion from the sidelines and found this statement by Rajesh interesting:

I am not going to waste my time talking about such things that the Bible does not talk about directly.

  That statement seems contrary to his entire argument.

Anybody can pull a single sentence out of its context and try to make a point with it. 

RajeshG's picture

Angus Young: (AC/DC guitarist)  “…it’s like I’m on automatic pilot. By the time we’re halfway through the first number someone else is steering me. I’m just along for the ride. I become possessed when I get on stage” (Hit Parader, July 1985, p. 60).

John McGlaughlin: “One night we were playing and suddenly the spirit entered into me and I was playing but it was no longer me playing.” (Circus Magazine, April, 1972, p. 38)

Little Richard: “My true belief about Rock ‘n’ Roll — is this: I believe this kind of music is demonic . . . A lot of the BEATS in music today are taken from voodoo, from the voodoo DRUMS.” (Charles White, The Life and Times of Little Richard, p. 197)

Van Halen’s David Lee Roth “I’m gonna abandon my spirit to them which is exactly what I attempt to do. You work yourself up into that state and you fall into supplication of the demon gods…” [Van Halen’s David Lee Roth. Interview w. Rock. April 1984. Pg 30]

Taken from the long list of such testimonies on this page: http://www.inplainsite.org/html/voices_of_rock.html

Bert Perry's picture

Well, yes, Rajesh, someone who (Young) makes his money playing guitar for songs like "Highway to Hell" and "Hells Bells" could be expected to say that.  In the same way, track #1 of Van Halen's first album is "Runnin' with the Devil."  Roth was key in steering the Van Halen brothers to be more of a party band than a serious rock & roll band.

And sure, out of the thousands of people who have played rock & roll, you're going to get a few that say some idiot things.  In the same way, out of hundreds of men who have been professors at BJU, you're going to get some idiot things there, too.  But we don't cast aside the whole enterprise because of an endorsement of segregation, a prohibition of interracial dating, or the suggestion that all modern music, especially African-American music, derives from, and continues to be influenced by, voodoo and demons.  We don't impugn the entire school of theology because someone takes verses wildly out of context and inserts concepts that clearly aren't there.

Again, Rajesh, you want guilt by association, game on and sauce for the goose.   I don't think you'll like where it goes, though.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

LGCarpenter wrote:

 

I've been observing this discussion from the sidelines and found this statement by Rajesh interesting:

I am not going to waste my time talking about such things that the Bible does not talk about directly.

  That statement seems contrary to his entire argument.

 

 

Anybody can pull a single sentence out of its context and try to make a point with it. 

But it's a valid point considering the context of the whole thread. 

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

LGCarpenter wrote:

 

I've been observing this discussion from the sidelines and found this statement by Rajesh interesting:

I am not going to waste my time talking about such things that the Bible does not talk about directly.

  That statement seems contrary to his entire argument.

 

 

Anybody can pull a single sentence out of its context and try to make a point with it. 

 

But it's a valid point considering the context of the whole thread. 

No, it is not.

Jay's picture

Can someone please let me know when Angus Young, David Lee Roth, John McGlaughlin, or Little Richard play worship music in a church?  I'd like to know when it happens.

Thanks!

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

AndyE's picture

Jay wrote:
Can someone please let me know when Angus Young, David Lee Roth, John McGlaughlin, or Little Richard play worship music in a church?  I'd like to know when it happens.

Thanks!

At Andy Stanley's Northpoint Community Church, just about 15 minutes from where I live, they opened a service with a dedication to Boy Bands of the 1990's.  The "worshippers" there that day were treated to lyrics that included, "Love the way you turn me on" and "You got the right stuff, baby."  This would have been a disgrace even without the lyrics.

RajeshG's picture

A careful examination of the following comments is merited:

"Well, yes, Rajesh, someone who (Young) makes his money playing guitar for songs like "Highway to Hell" and "Hells Bells" could be expected to say that.  In the same way, track #1 of Van Halen's first album is "Runnin' with the Devil."  Roth was key in steering the Van Halen brothers to be more of a party band than a serious rock & roll band.

And sure, out of the thousands of people who have played rock & roll, you're going to get a few that say some idiot things." 

The writer of these comments apparently deems himself as being an authority on whose testimonies of supernatural experiences are authentic and whose are not.

He asserts that some of these people were just saying these things for monetary gain, as if saying that somehow automatically invalidates anything a person says that is connected to what they do to make money. He also at least implicitly asserts that being a member of "a party band" somehow makes one incapable of validly testifying to one's own experiences with supernatural evil.

We know from Scripture, however, that evil people with evil motives still validly can and have testified to authentic spiritual realities.

Furthermore, the writer of these comments in effect fallaciously implies that all such testimonies are merely people saying "idiot things," but are not authentic testimonies. Such a claim requires an infallible ability to scrutinize all aspects of the testimonies, including the ability to have supernatural discernment of spirits to know whether these people actually had authentic encounters with evil spirits.

Careful Christians should reject these invalid attempts to discredit these testimonies that fearfully point to the grave spiritual dangers of conformity to the wicked practices of the world and borrowing evil things from the wicked.

Bert Perry's picture

Rajesh, you want to stand up and defend the ban on interracial dating, or BJ2's endorsement of segregation?  I would at least hope that even you would concede those were idiotic.

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

In other words, it's a fact that your "exegesis" is completely lacking here.  Shame on you for not even looking up the Hebrew word before starting this nonsense.  Shame on you as well for ignoring the clear implications of 1 Cor. 10:25-27, and its permission for early believers to "touch the unclean thing" by eating anything sold in the meat market (almost all of it would have been temple sacrifices) without raising questions of conscience.  In other words, the radical separation based on built by association is simply rejected in Scripture.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

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