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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RajeshG's picture

Prior to salvation, all people are under the power of darkness (Col. 1:13), that is, they are under the power of Satan (Acts 26:18). Satan energizes all such people to disobey God (Eph. 2:2).

People who choose to consume in a worship context things that have been offered to an idol sin presumptuously against God by offering sacrifices to demons (1 Cor. 10:20). Such people partner with demons in doing so, give the devil a place in their lives, and thereby fall into the snare of the devil.

Unless God mercifully intervenes, such unrepentant sinners are captives of Satan to do his will and will remain in that state (2 Tim. 2:26). Such people do not have any ability to deliver themselves from that demonic captivity by their own efforts.

The people in the GCI sinned with a high hand against God by making an idol, worshiping it, offering sacrifices to it, consuming idolatroulsy what was sacrificed, and playing idolatrously. The people that did so certainly fell into the snare of the devil and were taken captive by him.

The people who played idolatrously in the GCI did so under the controlling influence of demons that people experience when they fall into the snare of the devil. The record of their perverse activities in Exodus 32 is an inspired record of demonically influenced playing of musical instruments, singing, and dancing.

Dan Miller's picture

I have not kept up with this thread, but I do observe that you guys are attacking one another.  You’re clearly frustrating one another. 

Prior to salvation, all people are under the power of darkness (Col. 1:13), that is, they are under the power of Satan (Acts 26:18). Satan energizes all such people to disobey God (Eph. 2:2).

Rajesh, are you claiming that every instance of unbelief is demon possession?

Jay's picture

It is entirely possible, as I have seen in a study bible or commentary, that the first half of Isaiah 14 refers to the King of Babylon and then the chapter transitions to the power behind his throne - Satan.  The notes in the MacArthur ESV Study Bible (pg. 957, I think) also mention that it could be a reference to Antichrist or to Satan.  For whatever it's worth, I could go either way, but it being a mockery of a deposed/dead king makes more sense but the similarity between this passage and Ezekiel 28 cannot be denied. 

As for the "music of his viols" - that's descriptive of the life that the king in Isaiah 14 lived.  It isn't a statement that everything he did was demonically empowered or subject to condemnation.  All of our works will be judged by the Lord, for sure, but it's a pretty far jump to assume that just because something will be judged/has been judged means that it's empowered by the demonic.

"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

Dan Miller wrote:

I have not kept up with this thread, but I do observe that you guys are attacking one another.  You’re clearly frustrating one another. 

Prior to salvation, all people are under the power of darkness (Col. 1:13), that is, they are under the power of Satan (Acts 26:18). Satan energizes all such people to disobey God (Eph. 2:2).

Rajesh, are you claiming that every instance of unbelief is demon possession?

No, of course, I am not claiming that. I have made that clear in numerous comments earlier in this thread. People do not have to be possessed to be controlled by the devil to do his will as his captives.

Dan Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

No, of course, I am not claiming that. I have made that clear in numerous comments earlier in this thread. People do not have to be possessed to be controlled by the devil to do his will as his captives.

ok, are you claiming that every instance of unbelief is demon captivity and control?

RajeshG's picture

Dan Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

No, of course, I am not claiming that. I have made that clear in numerous comments earlier in this thread. People do not have to be possessed to be controlled by the devil to do his will as his captives.

 

 

ok, are you claiming that every instance of unbelief is demon captivity and control?

I have made no claims about every instance of unbelief. The statements that I have made are based on direct statements of the Bible about the various activities of the devil in relation to humans who sin.

The Bible directly says that every unbeliever (a person who is not saved, who does not have his sins forgiven, who is not justified, etc.) is energized by Satan in his disobeying God:

Ephesians 2:2 ἐν αἷς ποτε περιεπατήσατε κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, κατὰ τὸν ἄρχοντα τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος, τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ νῦν ἐνεργοῦντος ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας· 3  ἐν οἷς καὶ ἡμεῖς πάντες ἀνεστράφημέν ποτε ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις τῆς σαρκὸς ἡμῶν ποιοῦντες τὰ θελήματα τῆς σαρκὸς καὶ τῶν διανοιῶν, καὶ ἤμεθα τέκνα φύσει ὀργῆς ὡς καὶ οἱ λοιποί· (Eph. 2:2 BGT) 

Similarly, the other statements that I have made are from direct statements of the Bible. In any case, this thread is about what happens to people who in a worship context consume what has been sacrificed to idols and how that illumines what happened in the GCI (Ex. 32; other passages). That is the specific focus of this thread.

RajeshG's picture

Indisputably, 1 Cor. 10:7 teaches us that the idolatry in the GCI included the people's eating and drinking and their rising up to play:

Exodus 32:6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

BGT Exodus 32:6 καὶ ὀρθρίσας τῇ ἐπαύριον ἀνεβίβασεν ὁλοκαυτώματα καὶ προσήνεγκεν θυσίαν σωτηρίου καὶ ἐκάθισεν ὁ λαὸς φαγεῖν καὶ πιεῖν καὶ ἀνέστησαν παίζειν

1 Corinthians 10:7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

BGT 1 Corinthians 10:7 μηδὲ εἰδωλολάτραι γίνεσθε καθώς τινες αὐτῶν, ὥσπερ γέγραπται· ἐκάθισεν ὁ λαὸς φαγεῖν καὶ πεῖν καὶ ἀνέστησαν παίζειν.

Because the NT tells us that their eating and drinking of what was sacrificed was idolatrous, we know with certainty that 1 Cor. 10:20 applies to what happened to them when they idolatrously ate and drank those things.

RajeshG's picture

Jay wrote:

As for the "music of his viols" - that's descriptive of the life that the king in Isaiah 14 lived.  It isn't a statement that everything he did was demonically empowered or subject to condemnation.  All of our works will be judged by the Lord, for sure, but it's a pretty far jump to assume that just because something will be judged/has been judged means that it's empowered by the demonic.

I made no claims about his music being demonic much less that everything that he did was demonically empowered or subject to condemnation. God specifies that "the noise of his viols" was brought down to the grave. That statement is not merely descriptive of his life; his "pomp" already covers that. This is a specific statement about the music produced by those instruments and it singles out that aspect as being specifically judged.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

So let's talk about a particular example of when godly heavenly beings were making music. Job 38:6-7 talks about the creation of the world. "On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?" The mornings stars are typically understood as a reference to angels and we see here that they were singing. The verse doesn't mention instruments, but even the singing alone without lyrics would have been in some sort of style. I'm sure we can agree that it would have been a godly style that expressed joy.

 

So here's my question. When one third of the angles fell, what would have prevented them from adding wicked lyrics to this "style that expressed joy" and using it to express joy at Satan's wickedness? Satan wanted to be like God, after all, so it seems logical that he would want the same styles of praise and joy directed to him as had been previously directed to God.

 

 

By their very nature, demons are not going to want anything done in ways that are inherently godly. If it is possible to corrupt something, they will seek to corrupt it.

You didn't specifically answer what I directly asked you twice in my post. I asked "what would have prevented them [the demons] from adding wicked lyrics to this "style that expressed joy" and using it to express joy at Satan's wickedness?"

I noticed, in just the last page or so, that I had assumed something you had meant when you gave an answer, and I was wrong. So I see I need to be really specific to catch your point, Are you saying that the "nature" of demons would prevent them from taking the "godly style of praise and joy' and adding wicked lyrics to it to make an ungodly composite sound? I know that adding wicked lyrics to songs is something that humans do all the time. We can take a godly style, such as hymns of praise (or even a lullaby, for that matter), and add terribly offensive lyrics to it. Does the nature of humans allow us to do that, but the nature of demons means that demons cannot? If that is the case, then you are presenting a scenario in which humans have more power to produce wicked composite sounds that what demons have.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

By their very nature, demons are not going to want anything done in ways that are inherently godly. If it is possible to corrupt something, they will seek to corrupt it.

So I see I need to be really specific to catch your point, Are you saying that the "nature" of demons would prevent them from taking the "godly style of praise and joy' and adding wicked lyrics to it to make an ungodly composite sound? I know that adding wicked lyrics to songs is something that humans do all the time. We can take a godly style, such as hymns of praise (or even a lullaby, for that matter), and add terribly offensive lyrics to it. Does the nature of humans allow us to do that, but the nature of demons means that demons cannot? If that is the case, then you are presenting a scenario in which humans have more power to produce wicked composite sounds that what demons have.

No, I did not make any comment about what demons are incapable of doing. What I said was about what the demons would want to do.

Demons hate God and want to do whatever they can to displease and offend and spite Him, etc. They want to deny Him the glory that is due Him as much as they possibly can.

Now, I have some questions for you.

First, is a song played and sung in godly styles but with ungodly lyrics less sinful than the same song played and sung in ungodly styles but with the same ungodly lyrics or are both ways of producing that music equally sinful?

Or, to put it differently, are the following equally sinful or is one more sinful than the other:

1. Ungodly lyrics sung in a godly style and accompanied with music played in a godly style

2. The same ungodly lyrics sung in an ungodly style and accompanied with music played in an ungodly style

Second, are the following equally sinful or is one more sinful than the other:

1. A woman who is fully clothed and dancing in a vulgar, sensual way

2. The same woman who is almost completely unclothed and dancing in the same vulgar, sensual way

Jay's picture

Both examples can be sinful because they are actually indeed sinful, not just because someone claims they are. What one person deems as “vulgar” and “sensual” may be entirely appropriate in the right context.  It is silly to argue over whether or not one form of ungodliness is more ungodly than another, especially since there is no description of what the “ungodliness” actually is other than “both are ungodly”.

I don’t think we need to cloud the debate by saying “both of these examples are bad - explain why they aren’t”, but that is typically how these arguments are made.

"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:

Both examples can be sinful because they are actually indeed sinful, not just because someone claims they are. What one person deems as “vulgar” and “sensual” may be entirely appropriate in the right context.  It is silly to argue over whether or not one form of ungodliness is more ungodly than another, especially since there is no description of what the “ungodliness” actually is other than “both are ungodly”.

I don’t think we need to cloud the debate by saying “both of these examples are bad - explain why they aren’t”, but that is typically how these arguments are made.

God talks about things that are more abominable than others things. What you deem to be "silly" is not in line with what Scripture reveals. In any case, this is a valid question that has an important point.

 

Jay's picture

God talks about things that are more abominable than others things.

Yes, He does, but He's the one that sets the criteria for what is more or less abominable.  That's my point - I can't say that X is more offensive to God than Y is.  I'm just told not to do things that are offensive to God as best I'm able and to confess/forsake it when needed.

"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:

God talks about things that are more abominable than others things.

Yes, He does, but He's the one that sets the criteria for what is more or less abominable.  That's my point - I can't say that X is more offensive to God than Y is.  I'm just told not to do things that are offensive to God as best I'm able and to confess/forsake it when needed.

One of several objectives that I have for this thread is to bring out information that provides us with important understanding about what things are offensive to God.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

 

By their very nature, demons are not going to want anything done in ways that are inherently godly. If it is possible to corrupt something, they will seek to corrupt it.

So I see I need to be really specific to catch your point, Are you saying that the "nature" of demons would prevent them from taking the "godly style of praise and joy' and adding wicked lyrics to it to make an ungodly composite sound? I know that adding wicked lyrics to songs is something that humans do all the time. We can take a godly style, such as hymns of praise (or even a lullaby, for that matter), and add terribly offensive lyrics to it. Does the nature of humans allow us to do that, but the nature of demons means that demons cannot? If that is the case, then you are presenting a scenario in which humans have more power to produce wicked composite sounds that what demons have.

 

 

No, I did not make any comment about what demons are incapable of doing. What I said was about what the demons would want to do.

Demons hate God and want to do whatever they can to displease and offend and spite Him, etc. They want to deny Him the glory that is due Him as much as they possibly can.

Now, I have some questions for you.

First, is a song played and sung in godly styles but with ungodly lyrics less sinful than the same song played and sung in ungodly styles but with the same ungodly lyrics or are both ways of producing that music equally sinful?

Or, to put it differently, are the following equally sinful or is one more sinful than the other:

1. Ungodly lyrics sung in a godly style and accompanied with music played in a godly style

2. The same ungodly lyrics sung in an ungodly style and accompanied with music played in an ungodly style

Second, are the following equally sinful or is one more sinful than the other:

1. A woman who is fully clothed and dancing in a vulgar, sensual way

2. The same woman who is almost completely unclothed and dancing in the same vulgar, sensual way

I see you're still not responding to the specific question I asked. Why would you respond about what demons would want to do when I asked you if anything prevented them from doing something? Demons want to make ungodly composite sounds, don't they? Does something prevent them from using godly music with wicked lyrics to spite God? Asking me a bunch of questions about "equal" or "less" sinfulness does not give me the information I need to understand your position. I've made no claims about equal or less sinfulness.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

I see you're still not responding to the specific question I asked. Why would you respond about what demons would want to do when I asked you if anything prevented them from doing something? Demons want to make ungodly composite sounds, don't they? Does something prevent them from using godly music with wicked lyrics to spite God? Asking me a bunch of questions about "equal" or "less" sinfulness does not give me the information I need to understand your position. I've made no claims about equal or less sinfulness.

It is not that they are incapable of doing so, which is something that I have already at least implied in two previous responses--in theory, they could do so. I have been saying that because of their nature and unlimited hatred of God and desire to offend Him, they would not do so (unless they could not do so), especially on an occasion of such importance as the GCI was.

Now, it's your turn to answer some questions. If there is more than one way for demons to defile human worship and one is more sinful than another, why would demons choose not to defile it in the worst way possible? 

Or, are you asserting that demons are incapable of defiling human instrumental music? If so, what is your basis for holding that position?

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

RajeshG wrote:

Or, are you asserting that demons are incapable of defiling human instrumental music? If so, what is your basis for holding that position?

I can't speak for Kevin, but I think this conversation is confusing a thing with the misuse of a thing making a new product.

As an example, we know God has created relations between the sexes as an "intrinsically good" thing.  Now the product of that thing can be defiled in it's misuse/abuse, but there is no way that demons can make the thing itself intrinsically evil, and the product will always be good when used as God intended, but can be evil when misused.

Obviously, we have no idea what music was used in the GCI incident, since none of us were there, and it wasn't recorded for us.  However, *if* good music was used with evil lyrics, or even sung with the original lyrics but to an idol (after all, they were celebrating a "feast to the Lord"), then the product will be evil without the thing itself being intrinsically evil.

I don't believe that demons can actually corrupt a thing that is intrinsically good, even though there are myriad ways that misuse/abuse can corrupt the product.  Of course, it's a different question whether humans, being evil, can create music that is "intrinsically" good, or if they can only make music that is good in a right context.  Clearly, any music created by God would be intrinsically good, but could result in an evil product when misused by demons.  Since that's the case, I don't believe the GCI incident can tell us anything about the music itself that was present there.  It can only tell us about how humans (and demons) can corrupt the product of anything by misusing it.

Dave Barnhart

RajeshG's picture

dcbii wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Or, are you asserting that demons are incapable of defiling human instrumental music? If so, what is your basis for holding that position?

 

 

Obviously, we have no idea what music was used in the GCI incident, since none of us were there, and it wasn't recorded for us.  However, *if* good music was used with evil lyrics, or even sung with the original lyrics but to an idol (after all, they were celebrating a "feast to the Lord"), then the product will be evil without the thing itself being intrinsically evil.

But not being there and not having it recorded for us are not the only ways to know what music was used. As we will see later in this discussion, God has provided us with indicators about the nature of the music.

dcbii wrote:

I don't believe that demons can actually corrupt a thing that is intrinsically good, even though there are myriad ways that misuse/abuse can corrupt the product.

 

Very true. Establishing what things actually are intrinsically good and what things are not are key points. 

dcbii wrote:

Of course, it's a different question whether humans, being evil, can create music that is "intrinsically" good, or if they can only make music that is good in a right context.

This is another vital point that pertains to this thread. I hope to discuss this later, when it is most pertinent.

dcbii wrote:

Clearly, any music created by God would be intrinsically good, but could result in an evil product when misused by demons.  Since that's the case, I don't believe the GCI incident can tell us anything about the music itself that was present there.  It can only tell us about how humans (and demons) can corrupt the product of anything by misusing it.

Again, these are key evaluations of the available data, but whether they will stand up to further scrutiny remains to be seen.

On a broader note, I am appreciative of having additional interaction that is directly pertaining to the topic rather than ad hominem, etc.

 

 

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

Are you saying that the "nature" of demons would prevent them from taking the "godly style of praise and joy' and adding wicked lyrics to it to make an ungodly composite sound? 

What evidence is there that using a godly style of playing instruments and a godly style of singing with ungodly lyrics will produce an ungodly composite sound?

Especially, if the one hearing that sound is far enough away that the lyrics cannot be (distinctly) heard (as in the GCI for Joshua and Moses) and/or understood or if the lyrics are sung in a language that is unknown to the hearer, will whether the lyrics are godly or ungodly determine whether the nature of the composite sound is godly or ungodly?

 

Bert Perry's picture

....is precisely how we can determine from Scripture whether a particular instrument, genre of music, or singing style is Godly or otherwise.  We know that Scripture affirms, and even commands, (Psalms 149 and 150, elsewhere) the use of string, wind, and percussive instruments, and that the New Testament names three genre (Psalms, hymns, spiritual songs) that will be profitable for believers.  We also know that in the Old Testament, God's people were told to praise Him in dance, indicating music with a danceable beat.

And that's about it.  We know that there was some music in pagan temples, but Scripture gives us no indication as to whether, or how, that music might have differed--apart from the listing of instruments regarding Nebuchadnezzar's shrine to himself and the prophets' mocking of the pagans.  And the conclusion from that?  The pagans were, not surprisingly, using about the same instruments that the believers would have used.  

Apart from that, we're basically left with guilt by association (fallacious) arguments, arguments that, if applied consistently to deal with sins of the composers and performers, would silence God's command to praise Him in song.  It's a dead end, rhetorically and spiritually. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

pvawter's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

....is precisely how we can determine from Scripture whether a particular instrument, genre of music, or singing style is Godly or otherwise.  We know that Scripture affirms, and even commands, (Psalms 149 and 150, elsewhere) the use of string, wind, and percussive instruments, and that the New Testament names three genre (Psalms, hymns, spiritual songs) that will be profitable for believers.  We also know that in the Old Testament, God's people were told to praise Him in dance, indicating music with a danceable beat.

And that's about it.  We know that there was some music in pagan temples, but Scripture gives us no indication as to whether, or how, that music might have differed--apart from the listing of instruments regarding Nebuchadnezzar's shrine to himself and the prophets' mocking of the pagans.  And the conclusion from that?  The pagans were, not surprisingly, using about the same instruments that the believers would have used.  

Apart from that, we're basically left with guilt by association (fallacious) arguments, arguments that, if applied consistently to deal with sins of the composers and performers, would silence God's command to praise Him in song.  It's a dead end, rhetorically and spiritually. 

No, Bert. We are way too early in this discussion to draw such conclusions. Rajesh has promised to share insights at the appropriate time as the thread runs its course. My advice is to be patient and await further instruction. 

RajeshG's picture

In order to focus now on the music of the GCI, I am posting again key remarks that I made earlier in this thread. The following is foundational to what I am going to argue in the rest of this thread:
 

Divine wisdom is from above, but earthly, sensual, and devilish wisdom is not (James 3:15). This reality applies to all areas of our understanding about all things.

In the perfect wisdom of God, He has provided to us vital revelation about the things that comprised the idolatrous worship in the GCI. Because that revelation includes information about the music on that occasion, we know that information about the music is vital information for what we believe about ungodly worship music versus godly worship music.

Furthermore, because that music was produced by people who partnered with demons in their idolatrous playing on that occasion, we know that their music was demonically influenced music. Concerning such music that is demonically influenced, the only inerrant, infallible information that we have is what God has provided to us in His Word. What God has revealed to us is the perfect information that we need to know about demonically influenced music that is not acceptable to Him in corporate worship.

The Spirit has provided us two verses that pertain directly to the music in the GCI:

Exodus 32:17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp.

18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.

Neither Moses nor Joshua could hear any of the lyrics of what the people were singing. We are to learn from this that whether the lyrics are godly or ungodly is not the deciding criterion for whether worship music is pleasing to God or not.

What they could hear was the composite sound emanating from the camp. This fact teaches us that whether music is acceptable to God or not ultimately is determined by the nature of the composite sound of whatever sounds are being produced.

Jay's picture

My advice is to be patient and await further instruction. 

We're eight pages into this thread (almost 9), and there are more than a dozen threads, including two specifically dedicated to the Golden Calf Incident (as it is called - see here and here) started along these lines.  The first of those two threads I just linked to is ten plus pages long before the mods mercifully locked it.

I understand instruction, but that's a little ridiculous, isn't it?  Do we need to have fifty pages of discussion on this topic, particularly when so many are struggling to understand Rajesh's point/teaching? 

"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

pvawter's picture

Jay wrote:

My advice is to be patient and await further instruction. 

We're eight pages into this thread (almost 9), and there are more than a dozen threads, including two specifically dedicated to the Golden Calf Incident (as it is called - see here and here) started along these lines.  The first of those two threads I just linked to is ten plus pages long before the mods mercifully locked it.

I understand instruction, but that's a little ridiculous, isn't it?  Do we need to have fifty pages of discussion on this topic, particularly when so many are struggling to understand Rajesh's point/teaching? 

Forgot the sarcasm font again. Sorry. 

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Now, it's your turn to answer some questions. If there is more than one way for demons to defile human worship and one is more sinful than another, why would demons choose not to defile it in the worst way possible?

I think it would be much worse to take something intended for God's glory and direct it to Satan than it would be to come up with brand new sounds that had never been heard before and direct them to Satan. The first situation would be a real slap in the face to God, which is exactly the kind of evil thing demons would WANT to do.

Quote:
Or, are you asserting that demons are incapable of defiling human instrumental music? If so, what is your basis for holding that position?

I've repeated said that I'm open to all sorts of possibilities. I thought you were the one who is opposed to the idea. When I asked you a question on the very first page of this thread about style or genres being defiled, you got after me for even suggesting it. I used the word "tainted" instead of "defiled," but the idea of making something sinful is present in both words. You said to me "To speak of a style or genre as becoming tainted through its use in false worship is to presume that all styles or genres start out as inherently untainted. That presumption simply does not have any Bible to support it."

I can't support the idea that demons can defile music and I can't support the idea that demons are incapable of defiling music. The Bible doesn't clearly give us any basis for holding either position. I can hold an opinion, but I don't hold it strongly, since I wouldn't be able to use Bible verses to clearly support it.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

What evidence is there that using a godly style of playing instruments and a godly style of singing with ungodly lyrics will produce an ungodly composite sound?

First off, if it was just the sound, it wouldn't be a "composite" sound. I was speaking strictly of the composite sound. There is no way I would claim that using ungodly lyrics with a godly style of playing would produce a godly composite sound. Would you? So it has to be an ungodly composite sound.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

In order to focus now on the music of the GCI, I am posting again key remarks that I made earlier in this thread. The following is foundational to what I am going to argue in the rest of this thread:
 

Divine wisdom is from above, but earthly, sensual, and devilish wisdom is not (James 3:15). This reality applies to all areas of our understanding about all things.

In the perfect wisdom of God, He has provided to us vital revelation about the things that comprised the idolatrous worship in the GCI. Because that revelation includes information about the music on that occasion, we know that information about the music is vital information for what we believe about ungodly worship music versus godly worship music.

Furthermore, because that music was produced by people who partnered with demons in their idolatrous playing on that occasion, we know that their music was demonically influenced music. Concerning such music that is demonically influenced, the only inerrant, infallible information that we have is what God has provided to us in His Word. What God has revealed to us is the perfect information that we need to know about demonically influenced music that is not acceptable to Him in corporate worship.

The Spirit has provided us two verses that pertain directly to the music in the GCI:

Exodus 32:17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp.

18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.

Neither Moses nor Joshua could hear any of the lyrics of what the people were singing. We are to learn from this that whether the lyrics are godly or ungodly is not the deciding criterion for whether worship music is pleasing to God or not.

What they could hear was the composite sound emanating from the camp. This fact teaches us that whether music is acceptable to God or not ultimately is determined by the nature of the composite sound of whatever sounds are being produced.

Repeating your "key remarks" over and over again are not going to make them any more true. You insist that "because that music was produced by people who partnered with demons in their idolatrous playing on that occasion, we know that their music was demonically influenced music." We really don't know any scuh thing because we haven't clearly established what "demonically influenced music" is. We know that people can be demonically influenced. We have disagreed on the relative level of this influence, but we both agree that influence exists on people, either causing people to do things (control) or encouraging people to do things (strong temptation).

But what is demonically influenced music? Music doesn't commit sin, so it can't be encouraged to commit sin or controlled to commit sin. You've talked about supernatural evil sounds, but you haven't actually proven that such sounds exist, since demons could be using good sounds they already knew and directing them wickedly. You've spoken of composers who've attributed their compositions to Satan, but those would be the works of those individual composers, and you can't judge an entire style by what a few composers claim as their inspiration. You can't even use that argument in regards to the GCI, since we don't have record of who composed the GCI music, or even what style it was. The only thing we even know about the sound was that it sounded like "war" from a distance, and we have no idea which characteristics made it sound like "war." We can have opinions, but those opinions would not be clearly supported by Scripture.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

What evidence is there that using a godly style of playing instruments and a godly style of singing with ungodly lyrics will produce an ungodly composite sound?

 

First off, if it was just the sound, it wouldn't be a "composite" sound. I was speaking strictly of the composite sound. There is no way I would claim that using ungodly lyrics with a godly style of playing would produce a godly composite sound. Would you? So it has to be an ungodly composite sound.

Of course, it would be a composite sound. Moses said that what they were hearing from a distance was singing, but they were far enough away that they could not hear the words to know what the words were that were being sung. What was emanating from the camp was the mix of all the sounds that were being produced, including the playing of the instruments and the singing.

If people are singing ungodly lyrics but the godly music is so loud that the words cannot be understood, then the sound is still going to be a mix of the two. I see no reason why ungodly lyrics in such a situation are going to overpower or color the total sound so as to make it an ungodly composite sound.

Similarly, if people are singing ungodly lyrics in a language totally unknown to the hearer and singing those lyrics to godly music, on what basis are you going to say that the hearers will still say that the composite sound that they are hearing is ungodly?

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

I think it would be much worse to take something intended for God's glory and direct it to Satan than it would be to come up with brand new sounds that had never been heard before and direct them to Satan. The first situation would be a real slap in the face to God, which is exactly the kind of evil thing demons would WANT to do.

Who says that the sounds had to have been brand new sounds that had never been heard before? The people in the GCI had come out of Egypt. They demanded that an idol be made for them, then worshiped it. In their hearts, they turned back to Egypt (Acts 7:39), which implies that they had previous exposure to the idolatry that they had known and (for at least all the mixed multitude) practiced in Egypt. They rejoiced in the works of their own hands (Acts 7:41). They were not rejoicing in the true God who had delivered them from Egypt, yet you would have us believe that they still for some inexplicable reason chose under demonic influence to use music that is acceptable to Him.
 

Kevin Miller wrote:

I've repeated said that I'm open to all sorts of possibilities. I thought you were the one who is opposed to the idea. When I asked you a question on the very first page of this thread about style or genres being defiled, you got after me for even suggesting it. I used the word "tainted" instead of "defiled," but the idea of making something sinful is present in both words. You said to me "To speak of a style or genre as becoming tainted through its use in false worship is to presume that all styles or genres start out as inherently untainted. That presumption simply does not have any Bible to support it."

I can't support the idea that demons can defile music and I can't support the idea that demons are incapable of defiling music. The Bible doesn't clearly give us any basis for holding either position. I can hold an opinion, but I don't hold it strongly, since I wouldn't be able to use Bible verses to clearly support it.

Scripture says that demons can fill human hearts to engage in ungodly actions. A human who is playing music reflects what is going on in his heart. Demons can influence people who produce music so that the music that they produce is corrupt. There is no biblical reason to think that music is some kind of incorruptible realm that is the sole exception to the reality that every other created thing in the universe is able to be corrupted.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

Repeating your "key remarks" over and over again are not going to make them any more true. You insist that "because that music was produced by people who partnered with demons in their idolatrous playing on that occasion, we know that their music was demonically influenced music." We really don't know any scuh thing because we haven't clearly established what "demonically influenced music" is. We know that people can be demonically influenced. We have disagreed on the relative level of this influence, but we both agree that influence exists on people, either causing people to do things (control) or encouraging people to do things (strong temptation).

You seem to have misunderstood my purpose in repeating those remarks. I repeated those remarks because I do not want to have to cover the same ground again in focusing at this time on the music of the GCI.

Kevin Miller wrote:

But what is demonically influenced music? Music doesn't commit sin, so it can't be encouraged to commit sin or controlled to commit sin. You've talked about supernatural evil sounds, but you haven't actually proven that such sounds exist, since demons could be using good sounds they already knew and directing them wickedly. You've spoken of composers who've attributed their compositions to Satan, but those would be the works of those individual composers, and you can't judge an entire style by what a few composers claim as their inspiration. You can't even use that argument in regards to the GCI, since we don't have record of who composed the GCI music, or even what style it was. The only thing we even know about the sound was that it sounded like "war" from a distance, and we have no idea which characteristics made it sound like "war." We can have opinions, but those opinions would not be clearly supported by Scripture.

I'm not sure where I have talked about composers, etc. in this thread. In any case, we do not have to know who "composed" the music of the people in the GCI, if it is even valid to speak of their music as having been composed. People hear music of various styles and can mimic those styles without having "composed" their music.

Knowing that Joshua said that the sound that he heard from a distance was the sound of war is only one of several things we know about the music on this occasion.

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