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What is Worship?

This video illustrates some very important points about worship, and what we perceive worship to be. Someone could close their eyes, half-heartedly listen to the words and “feel” the “spirit”..

We must be very careful that our worship is not just some kind of feel-good manifestation of the flesh or even our human spirit, but rather our whole being yielded to Christ for His Glory.

Sometimes when we worship, we don’t really mean it. What would it look like if we were to sing what we really meant? This was an illustration from a sermon about worship at First Orlando Worship, and it struck a chord.

 

GOD WANTS TO BE EDIFIED HIMSELF. AND WE’RE TO NOT SEEK SELF-EDIFICATION, BUT TO EDIFY GOD WITH ALL WE DO. SO IF YOU SEE A PERSON WITH A GREAT GIFT, TRYING TO DO SOMETHING TO GLORIFY THEMSELVES, YOUR OWN DISCERNMENT OF THE SPIRIT TELLS YOU THAT’S WRONG.                                 ~ WILLIAM BRANHAM

 

“Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose—all this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable.” - William Temple

~ Chapter 5 ~ Music – The Sound and the Unsound

“A THOUGHT-PROVOKING LOOK AT HUMANITY’S MOST INFLUENTIAL FORM OF EXPRESSION, MUSIC  - THE SOUND AND THE UNSOUND

MUSIC

THE SOUND

AND THE

UNSOUND

C H A P T E R  F I V E

THE MUSIC OF LAODICEA

“…that first little dirty song that slipped out on the radio without being censored, that ‘roll ’em girlies, roll ’em down and show your pretty knees,’  that was the first slip-up right there.”21

The year was 1925. William Jennings Bryant and Clarence Darrow battled in a Tennessee courtroom over the issue of evolution;  in Germany, an ex-prisoner by the name of Adolf Hitler published his memoirs which he titled Mein Kampf;  a new dance craze called the Charleston kept arms and legs flying in 4/4 time;  and across America, radio became a major source of family entertainment, ushering in what came to be known as the Golden Age of Broadcasting.

Undoubtedly, the most revolutionary advancement of the early 1900s was the recording of sound. Man had at last discovered for himself an earthly, if somewhat fragile, immortality, and the force of its influence transformed our world and dominated our lives. It was good: No longer did we have to rely on memory or evoke imagination to recall the voice of a loved one, the performance of the musician, or the intonations of the orator. It was bad: It opened doors into darkened sanctums, and with our minds we walked through those doors and into places we would never have allowed our feet to take us.

Music now occupied the center stage of the world, a feat unthought-of before the arrival of phonograph and radio. And its unique abilities to attract, entertain, teach, cajole, and influence its listeners was not overlooked by the smut-peddlers of the day.

Listen girls, listen girls

I’ve a word for you,

Just because you’re up to date

And do the things you do,

Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t act nice,

You’re as sweet as Grandma was

So take my advice.

Roll ’em girls, roll ’em

Go ahead and roll ’em

Roll’em down and show your pretty knees,

Roll ’em girls roll ’em, everybody roll ’em

Roll ’em high or low just as you please.

Don’t let people tell you that it’s shocking,

Paint your sweetie’s picture on your stocking,

Laugh at Ma, laugh at Pa,

Give them all the ha! ha!

Roll ’em girlies, roll ’em, roll your own.

Roll ’Em Girls by Marr, Heath, and Fletcher

Copyright 1925, Joe Mords Music Co.

Selfish, provocative, and defiant, “Roll ’em Girls” opened fire on old time religion in a new, teasing way. Uncensored, it slipped its  subtle  message of  immorality onto the airwaves and into the subconscious of an unwary public. A pathway had been cleared through the field of broadcasting for an army of musical goblins that was fast advancing on the horizon.

Gospel music continued to contribute its share to the musical stew. In 1929, the Graves Brothers recorded what they called “rockin’ and reelin’ spirituals” for Paramount Records – based loosely on the kind of congregational singing that was being heard in Holiness and Pentecostal churches throughout the South.  In 1934 a live recording was made in a backwoods church that proclaimed:

“Oh, my Lord! Oh, my Lordy! Well, well, well! I’ve gotta rock! You gotta rock!”22

At the onset of the 40s, it was estimated that fully half of all Pentecostal Christians lived below the Mason-Dixon line, and most of that half were hillbillys – dirt-poor farmers and sharecroppers. In the North, member churches thrived principally in lower-class neighborhoods, and by 1945, four fifths of the 500 black churches in Chicago were of the Pentecostal variety. Pianos and organs were beyond the financial reach of most of these ‘holy roller’ congregations, but with guitar, drums, and horns they supplied the rhythm for the dancing feet and swaying bodies that were now an integral part of the Pentecostal church service.

As they struggled for position on the ladder to stardom, it was inevitable that those musicians who had been raised in church would begin to combine that familiar gospel fervor with the worldly lyrics and vocal characteristics of the pop(popular) and country (hillbilly) music of the day. But, for the general population of the 1940s, music was still as much segregated between blacks and whites, as were all other aspects of social life. This newest musical offering was simply too ‘racy’ for the mainstream music market. Outraged parents protested when radio DJs tried to introduce white youth to the ‘jungle beat’ of  ‘race’ music.

In 1947 a new term was coined: “Teenager.” And what teenagers wanted to listen to was something that moved them. They wanted to clap, sing, and dance. They wanted to “Shake, Rattle, and Roll.”  The alliance of youth, rebellion, and sexuality (albeit as old as time) was explosive. It didn’t take record producers long to realize that if they could just find a white man who could sing with the style, energy, and passion of a black singer, they could both satisfy the teenage lusts, soothe parental concerns, and take control of the music industry in one fell swoop.

At the same time, it was unmistakably clear that American music was once again experiencing birth pains. Blues, jazz, ragtime, boogie-woogie, pop, country – all the driving energy and carnality that a generation eager to put the war behind it could muster – had come to term. And the evidence suggested that this offspring would be the most noisy that music had ever produced – a noisy, rebellious, American brat to grab the attention of the entire world. Its name was Rock’ n ’roll.

In 1954, a young truck driver named Elvis Presley recorded an old blues number titled “That’s All Right Mama” at Sam Phillip’s studio in Memphis, Tennessee, and by 1956 the phenomenon dubbed Presley mania had the entire music industry all shook up. They knew they had found their man.

“Pentecostalism was folded into the substance of Elvis’s music, like eggs folded into pancake batter…”23 but in the process, the eggshell that had separated inspiration from exploitation, wholesome from unwholesome, had been cracked. The very definition of music was being blurred, and willingly America listened, as all of hell broke loose.

Editor’s note:
Taken from the magazine ONLY BELIEVE (no longer in publication). The regression of music amongst our churches is a cancer which, if not properly dealt with, will suck the true Life out of The Church. This downward spiral is caused by a lack of discernment and a general lowering of standards by a generation wanting something new and different rather than stand fast, and hold to what is tried and true, proven, and right. Many have failed to heed the warning expressed in this article. Innumerable groups, bands, and various musical artists spawned forth since Brother and Sister Smith published this article in December 1991, [Vol. 4, No 3].  No doubt the Christian artists she names here gave birth to groups like: MercyMe,KutlessNewSongSidewalk prophets The David Crowder band,Casting CrownsJeremy Camp, and Third Day to name a few. If Brother Branham called people like Pat Boone, modern day Judases, obviously these are too. What kind of person feeds off these groups, and promotes their demonic inspired lyrics and music within our churches? I pray this article will help someone. (the pictures are mine) – [DM - discerningMusic editor]

~ Chapter 3 ~ Music – The Sound and the Unsound


“A thought-provoking look at humanity’s most influential form of expression, MUSIC  - The Sound and the Unsound

Music

THE SOUND

AND THE

UNSOUND

 

C H A P T E R  T H R E E

MUSIC AND RELIGION THROUGH THE AGES

“As soon as they went out from the Presence of the Lord, they started building cities, they started making instruments, they started in science – making brass and iron, and they started playing music. Where did it come from? Who went out? Cain, the serpent’s seed. “9

Within man there exists an inherent impulse to worship. God even provisioned our physical beings with an instrument through which we can declare our devotion – the human voice. When we choose to vary  the  melody  and rhythm of our vocal sounds, the result is music, and nothing characterizes the very essence of worship like the unornamented songs of man.

The Bible gives us very few written clues concerning the first music  produced by man, but our oldest existent vocal traditions, such as that of the Jewish cantor, the Moslem muezzin calling the faithful to prayer, or even the chanting of the North American Indian, indicate that mankind’s first musical expressions were likely a part of his religious experience. As man’s musical skills developed, he began to fashion instruments from what he found in nature – bones, horns, willow bark, animal skin and gut – and he adapted these materials to suit his personal needs. Jubal, the great-great-great-great grandson of Cain, was “the father of all such as handle the harp and organ, ” (instrumental music) Genesis 4:21, reflecting the love of beauty and the arts, which was his birthright.

In time, as men developed their artistic abilities, music began to take on many forms and serve many functions, both sacred and profane. From generation to generation, musical expression played such a vital part in cultural development that the religious morals and social values of a given community reflected in the quality of the music that they produced.

Most music produced by the people of the Bible never developed beyond simple homogeneous songs and chants with basic accompaniment of harps, trumpets, and cymbals. Much of the Hebrew music was consecrated to the service of the Temple worship, but throughout the Scriptures there are numerous accounts of secular use also: songs of triumph after victory, songs at marriage celebrations and festivals, songs for shepherds and for kings.

In the great temples of ancient Egypt, the priests trained choirs in the singing of ritual music to pagan gods. Their songs were complemented by the clapping together of sticks and disks.

At the same time, in other parts of the world, more primitive societies evoked their deities in a wild abandon of religious fervor and emotional ecstasy, accompanied by the pounding of syncopated rhythms on a hollow log.

Music has always left behind evidence of its effect upon a given society. One can even trace the rise and fall of civilizations by making a parallel study of the types of music listened to during the corresponding era.10 Four hundred years before the birth of Christ, the Greek philosopher Plato said, “When modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the state change with them. Through foolishness they deceived themselves into thinking that there was no right or wrong in music, that it was to be judged good or bad by the pleasure it gave.”

At the time of Christ, both vocal and instrumental music were flourishing. Jesus and His followers participated in the traditional Jewish synagogue music, and undoubtedly this directly influenced early Christian songs. The ornamented cantonal melodies were adapted to the new teachings of Christ and absorbed into the fledgling Christian faith. It was common practice for a cantor to serve a synagogue on Friday evening and then place his skills at the disposal of the Christians on Sunday.11

Instrumental music played no part in the life of the early Christian church. Instruments had too many associations with the debauched life of Rome, and only the voice was considered to have the purity and nobility worthy of God’s ear. Cantorial chant evolved gradually into a slow-moving, unison singing called plainsong (later known as Gregorian chant), which dominated Christian worship for a thousand years. During the  Middle Ages, there was an attempt by the church-world to gain widespread control of music by deeming certain chords to be un-harmonious and therefore blasphemous and unworthy to reflect the glory of God. The church denounced all music that was unsanctified by a sacred text.

In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the church at Wittenberg (accusing the Roman Catholic church of corruption) and the Reformation was born. Luther, an accomplished musician, threw out much of the old church music and wrote new hymns, bringing the language of the people (rather than Latin) into use for sacred songs. He declared, “ Nothing on earth is more powerful than noble music in making the sad joyful, the arrogant discreet, the despondent valiant; in charming the haughty to humility, and in mitigating envy and hatred.” Luther believed that music in the church served as a resounding sermon,12 and he is accredited with saying that he didn’t care who preached, as long as he wrote the song. By acknowledging the staying power of music in the worship experience, Luther single-handedly established congregational singing as an important part of the Christian church service. Elements of harmony, which had been reserved previously for highly trained musicians of the church, were now being mastered and sung by the common people. Music and religious worship became bonded into one, inseparable experience. It seemed that the fellowship of a common faith could be expressed through song far more effectively than through a formalized cannon, dogma, or ritual of the church.

In secular use, music was becoming a melting pot of sounds. The clash of cultures, which had been launched by the Crusades in 1096, brought many different musical traditions together, and increasingly these new harmonies and rhythms found their way into the music of Europe. Near the end of the sixteenth century, new printing methods and a newly developed system of musical notation made possible the duplication of every kind of music and placed it on the open market. It was the dawning of a new day for both the composer and the performer. Music was on its way to becoming a universal language.

With the passing of the centuries, there was also a darker, more sinister form of music finding expression and establishing its place within the musical brotherhood of mankind. This music involved a complex primitive theology embracing fetishes, totems, and magic. It was born in the sacrificial incantations to a river god, nurtured by the unimaginable horrors of slavery, and released upon the New World to wage war with the God of Christianity. It was called  ‘voodoo,’ and its throbbing beat prophesied of the evil fruit it would yield.

By the early 1600s, the Western colonization of other lands was a growing concern. Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the New World and Africa were already well established, and an armada of ships operated by slave traders plied the waters from Western Europe to the coast of Africa. After picking up their human cargo, they would continue their voyage across the southern Atlantic to Brazil, Central America, the West Indies, and the New World. And wherever they were sent, the slaves took their music with them – an agonized inspiration that would become the cornerstone for virtually every American musical expression to follow.13

By the time the New World was being recognized as a blossoming mission field by the various progeny of Luther’s reformation movement, the rhythm and melody of Africa had already joined with the harmonies of European music, which the church had so carefully nurtured, and a powerful new musical form was born.

Taken from the magazine ONLY BELIEVE (no longer in publication). The regression of music amongst our churches is a cancer which, if not properly dealt with, will suck the true Life out of The Church. This downward spiral is caused by a lack of discernment and a general lowering of standards by a generation wanting something new and different rather than stand fast, and hold to what is tried and true, proven, and right. Many have failed to heed the warning expressed in this article. Innumerable groups, bands, and various musical artists spawned forth since Brother and Sister Smith published this article in December 1991, [Vol. 4, No 3].  No doubt the Christian artists she names here gave birth to groups like: MercyMe,KutlessNewSongSidewalk prophets The David Crowder band,Casting CrownsJeremy Camp, and Third Day to name a few. If Brother Branham called people like Pat Boone, modern day Judases, obviously these are too. What kind of person feeds off these groups, and promotes their demonic inspired lyrics and music within our churches? I pray this article will help someone. (the pictures are mine) – [DM - discerningMusic editor]

~ Chapter 2 ~ Music – The Sound and the Unsound


“A thought-provoking look at humanity’s most influential form of expression, MUSIC  - The Sound and the Unsound

Music

THE SOUND

AND THE

UNSOUND

 

C H A P T E R  T W O

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES US ABOUT MUSIC

“A human has to worship. You have to worship something. It’s just in you to worship.” 6

The Bible tells us that the Lord finds pleasure in the praises of His people. There are over 500 specific references in the Bible to music and musical instruments7 – evidence that this is not a subject that God treats lightly. As a matter of fact, the lengthiest book in the Bible is a song book, and it is here that God demonstrates His concern for the kind of music that His children enjoy and perform by providing this example for us to follow:  The Book of Psalms.

The collection of 150 poems that make up the Book of Psalms mirrors the ideals of religious piety and communion with God. They were written by David, Moses (Psalm 90), Solomon,Asaph (David’s choir leader), the sons of Korah (a family of official musicians), and others, for the express purpose of being set to music for worship. They even include musical notations to indicate when key changes are to be made. For example, the instruction selah, meaning “to modulate to the next key,” appears 71 times in the Book of Psalms and is not normally articulated when Scripture is being read aloud.

From the Hebrew language, Psalms translates as “Book of Praise.”  This was the prayer book that our Lord Jesus used in the synagogue service, and it was His hymn book at the Temple  festival. He used it in His teaching, met temptation with it, sang the Hallel (Psalms 115-118) from it after the Last Supper, quoted from it as He hung on the cross, and died with it on His lips.8 The Book of Psalms remains the national hymn book of Israel today.

Far from advocating a single style, Psalms range from the classical presentations, written for the temple musicians, to the simple but expressive ballads, which David composed while tending his sheep. In the Book of Psalms you will find rally songs, marching songs, victory songs, and teaching songs; there are songs of repentance, lamentation, petition, praise, renewal, and thanksgiving; there are songs for saints and songs for sinners.

The Book of Psalms has been called the door into the temple of praise and prayer, and in all ages and in more than a thousand languages, the church has found through the Psalter a means of access to God.

The Bible also shows us that man has long been aware of the effect of music upon our daily existence and its power to influence people both physically and emotionally.

In I Samuel 16:14-23, Scriptures relate an example of how a man was made well – body, soul, and spirit – through the music of a young shepherd boy.

“And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed[physical], and was well[mental], and the evil spirit departed from him[spiritual].”

In II Kings 3:15 we learn that the prophet Elisha once used music to create an atmosphere so that he could “inquire of the Lord” for the kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom.

“But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.”

As the tribes of Israel were set to war against their enemies, II Chronicles 20:21-22tells us that they put a choir and musical instruments in front of the army.

“…he[Jehoshaphat] appointed singers unto the Lord, that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever.

And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.”

In the New Testament Book of Acts, chapter 16, we find the account of two early Christian leaders, Paul and Silas, who were cast into prison for preaching the Gospel. They used the opportunity to minister, through song, and glorify God.

“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed,and sang praises unto God: the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. ”

Now, let’s review what we have just learned from these Biblical passages:

  1. In both the Old and the New Testament, music was vital to the life of the believer, both as an expression of joy and as an act of obedience unto God;
  2. God has given us instruction (by way of examples) as to the kinds of music that He wants His people to have;
  3. Far from being merely a neutral recreation, music has the power to influence us mentally, physically, and spiritually;
  4. There are certain types of music which can make demons feel very uncomfortable; and
  5. Music can create an atmosphere wherein God can work miracles.

Taken from the magazine ONLY BELIEVE (no longer in publication). The regression of music amongst our churches is a cancer which, if not properly dealt with, will suck the true Life out of The Church. This downward spiral is caused by a lack of discernment and a general lowering of standards by a generation wanting something new and different rather than stand fast, and hold to what is tried and true, proven, and right. Many have failed to heed the warning expressed in this article. Innumerable groups, bands, and various musical artists spawned forth since Brother and Sister Smith published this article in December 1991, [Vol. 4, No 3].  No doubt the Christian artists she names here gave birth to groups like: MercyMe,KutlessNewSongSidewalk prophets The David Crowder band,Casting CrownsJeremy Camp, and Third Day to name a few. If Brother Branham called people like Pat Boone, modern day Judases, obviously these are too. What kind of person feeds off these groups, and promotes their demonic inspired lyrics and music within our churches? I pray this article will help someone. (the pictures are mine) – [DM- Editor discerningMusic]

~ Chapter 1 ~ Music – The Sound and the Unsound


“A thought-provoking look at humanity’s most influential form of expression, MUSIC  - The Sound and the Unsound

Music

THE SOUND

AND THE

UNSOUND

C H A P T E R  O N E

ORIGINS

“One night I was standing with Brother Wood and Brother Sothmann, and I was looking up towards the skies. A great awe came over me, and I said, “Just look at all that great heavenly host, and everything is perfectly in harmony!“3

Harmony belongs to Jehovah, for in it He reveals both His nature (character) and relationship with His creation. As the Eternal One, He established the boundaries of a harmonious universe, joining the stars and the spheres in perfect concord with the voices of all heavenly beings. He blended the melodies of life and the rhythms of nature into an echoing chorus. Upon witnessing His handiwork, “… the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Job 38:7.  His overture was being played; the Creator was worshipped by His creation, and worship brought God on the scene.

To praise God is the highest function that any creature can perform. Every living thing is enjoined to rejoice in God’s works, to make a joyful noise, sing, and perform music, which glorifies the Almighty. In eternity past, heavenly music was a duty of the anointed cherub, a being with expressed musical ability from the day of his creation (Ezekiel 28:13.15). He was perfect in all his ways, and possessed both beauty and wisdom, attributes which, by his own reasoning, made him equal to God. Thus, he desired to be worshiped equally with God – a false ambition that brought iniquity into God’s abode – and for this he was cast from Heaven’s holy mountain.

“The first battle that was ever fought began in Heaven when Michael and his Angels fought against Lucifer[Satan] and his angels. Sin did not originate on earth, it originated in Heaven, and then it was thrown down from Heaven – cast out of Heaven to the earth – and fell on human beings.”4

From his earthly refuge, this fallen angel designed a subtle yet clever plan to corrupt God’s paradise and establish his own kingdom in its place. He could not create, but he could pervert. “ What God had created for Himself, Satan came to destroy. Then the battle began here on earth, and it began in us. And it’s been raging ever since.”5

With great skill Satan began to flaunt sensuality as a substitute for spirituality; he elevated knowledge above revelation; he equated holiness with physical beauty.  Every ability he possessed he applied to one purpose and for one goal – the seduction of human souls. What were the tools of his trade?  Melody and rhythm, for Satan was a gifted musician.

Taken from the magazine ONLY BELIEVE (no longer in publication). The regression of music amongst our churches is a cancer which, if not properly dealt with, will suck the true Life out of The Church. This downward spiral is caused by a lack of discernment and a general lowering of standards by a generation wanting something new and different rather than stand fast, and hold to what is tried and true, proven, and right. Many have failed to heed the warning expressed in this article. Innumerable groups, bands, and various musical artists spawned forth since Brother and Sister Smith published this article in December 1991, [Vol. 4, No 3].  No doubt the Christian artists she names here gave birth to groups like: MercyMe,KutlessNewSongSidewalk prophets The David Crowder band,Casting CrownsJeremy Camp, and Third Day to name a few. If Brother Branham called people like Pat Boone, modern day Judases, obviously these are too. What kind of person feeds off these groups, and promotes their demonic inspired lyrics and music within our churches? I pray this article will help someone. (the pictures are mine) – [DM - editor discerningMusic]

Cross-Centered Worship

My friends over at Not For Itching Ears have some very interesting posts and discussions about worship in the church today. Below is an excerpt from one recent article. I am curious to know your thoughts about the linked song. It speaks in its simplicity. We could take example from it! – DM

We have noticed a disturbing trend in the corporate worship songs of the church.  Perhaps you have too? It seems that we sing very little about the main point of Christianity. This is largely because the church wants to be more “sensitive” to those who are not Christians. With the best research in hand, we are told that non-Christians don’t really want to hear about sin and guilt and being accountable to a holy God. They also don’t want to hear about a Savior dying on a bloody cross for their sins.   To reach them, we are confidently told, we must eliminate these topics from our sermons and our songs.  Sadly, much of the Evangelical church has mistakenly signed on to this approach.

We could not disagree more strongly!  The message of a crucified and risen Savior and the reconciliation that this can bring is the only message the church has!  It is the one and only message the church has been entrusted with and that the lost so desperately needs to hear.

As one who has been responsible for leading corporate singing for years, I can attest to how frustrating it has become to find songs that are worth singing!  There are many out there, but it takes time to find them.  Today, we are starting a new feature at Not For Itching Ears.  Each week, we will post one worthy (at least in our opinion) worship song for you to listen to.  We will post the lyrics as well as the Mp3 along with a chord chart when possible.

We will start off with a song I discovered a few years ago.  It is called “The Gospel Song”, written by Drew Jones and Bob Kauflin of Sovereign Grace Ministries.  It is one of the simplest, most concise wording of the gospel in song form that I know of.  Let us know if you like it by taking the poll or leaving a comment.

 

The Gospel Song

Holy God, in love became
Perfect man to bear my blame
On the cross He took my sin
By His death I live again

The Gospel Song

Click to Listen

Or you may listen to the entire song by clicking: here

You can find a free guitar chord chart by following this link to Sovereign Grace Ministries.

 

 

Worse and worse

This is a repost of an article from Mr. Cottrills site linked at the end of this article.

POPULAR MUSIC TODAY

(A Flood of Degrading Music)

These comments relate to a blog posted by my son Jim, in which he discussed the immoral nature of much of the pop music being listened to in Mexico, where he and his wife Shari serve as missionaries. It was a revealing analysis. And from my awareness of the United States and Canada, I’d say that our popular music is at least as bad, possibly worse. Day by day it seems to reach new lows in vulgarity and the glorification of immorality.

Being an old guy, I can remember the early days of television in the 1950′s. I vividly recall a performer being caught be surprise–a sudden fright–and using (I think) the words “O my God!”–then, apologizing to the viewing audience for her improper language! Now…! (Need I say more?)

And I can remember the fuss made about Elvis Presley. On television, on at least one occasion, only his face and upper body were allowed on camera, because his sensual wiggle was considered indecent. Now, many laugh at how “narrow” we were in those days, and how harmless it all was. But, of course, it wasn’t.

The Bible says, “In the last days perilous times will come. For men [i.e. human beings] will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God….Evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:1-4, 13). I could hardly come up with a better description of today’s pop music scene!

The Greek for “worse and worse” is, literally, advance in the direction of worse! And this continuing degradation of sinners in the last days will be accompanied by self deception. “Professing themselves to be wise, they [become] fools” (Rom. 1:22). And they will deceive many others with their cunning arguments, leading them further astray.

There is a fallacious argument you perhaps have heard: that history is cyclical, rather than linear. That similar things keep happening again and again. That is true to some extent, but with important reservations. If something was condemned as bad a century ago, and it’s now considered acceptable, does that mean that something condemned ten years ago and now accepted is precisely the same thing? No, it doesn’t.

We are reminded that, in the nineteenth century, many felt that waltzes were immoral. Now, hardly anyone thinks that. In the mid-twentieth century, Elvis and his ilk were labeled the same way. Now, they’re fine with most folks. Today, some make a fuss about contemporary pop music, but soon it too will be broadly accepted. Supposedly, it’s all the same, round and round. The problem with that argument is that it’s not true.

History does not simply repeat itself over and over. The “worse and worse” of Paul’s warning to Timothy is coming to pass. If there is a repetitious cycle at work, it can more accurately be described as a downward spiral. That is how the world, the flesh and the devil conspire to drive society ever downward (cf. Jer. 26; 16:12; Ezek. 16:47; Hos. 13:2).

In practical terms, something happened in the 1950′s with the early rockers that had never happened before. The new music was marketed to teens as uniquely their own music. Before that, popular music was much more cross-generational. But for the past 60 years young people have been fed a most seductive line of propaganda: “This is yours; you need this. Don’t let the adults take it away from you. They don’t really understand you.”

There are echoes here of the devil’s lie in Eden (Gen. 3:4-5). It has been his argument from the beginning that somehow the Lord is holding out on us. That He could have been more generous to us. But if we’ll but seize what is our “right,” we’ll become like gods ourselves, captains of our own destiny. And the lie’s corrosion is eating away at the souls of our youth. It will doom many to eternal destruction.

How we need, as parents, and as leaders in local churches, to teach our children and young people to be discerning in this area, and teach them to have an appreciation for the best music.

–Robert Cottrill–http://www.wordwise-bible-studies.com/popular-music-today.html

 

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