Encouraging a higher standard for Christian music

Archive for the ‘hymns’ Category

O Little Town Of Bethlehem

HymnPod: O Little Town Of Bethlehem


 

O Little Town Of Bethlehem

reblogged from: hymnpod

Blessed Christmas! Do join my free Basic Piano Hymn Playing Course if you wish: https://www.udemy.com/basic-piano-hymn-playing/

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Lyrics: Phillips Brooks
Music: Lewis H. Redner

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!

How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

Where children pure and happy pray to the blessèd Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

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George Beverly Shea 1909 – 2013

A young George Beverly Shea, as he started his singing career.

A young George Beverly Shea, as he started his
singing career.

George Beverly Shea, 104, of Montreat, North Carolina, soloist of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), died  (April 16, 2013) Tuesday evening following a brief illness.

Since George Beverly Shea first sang for Graham in 1943 on the Chicago radio hymn program, “Songs in the Night,” Shea has faithfully carried the Gospel in song to every continent and every state in the Union. Graham’s senior by ten years, Shea devotedly preceded the evangelist in song in nearly every Crusade over the span of more than one-half century.

THE BELOVED GOSPEL SINGER TEAMED WITH EVANGELIST FOR MORE THAN 60 YEARS.

 

“When I see you in the glory land, if God permits me to be there with you, I just want to go over and sit down for a thousand years with each one of you and talk. Won’t that be wonderful, sit down, by the Tree of Life? And you know we’ll be entertained by all the great singers. There’ll be Sankey, and Beverly Shea, and all of them, over on the hill over there, just a singing the praises of God. We’ll be sitting down by the Tree of Life, where the waters are coming out from under the throne. Won’t that be marvelous? I just long for the day. What does it matter to a Christian that’s really anchored in Christ, for just as soon as this old earthly tabernacle is taken away, we move right into another one, it’s right there. My, isn’t that marvelous? Think, sick, and weary, and broke down, and heartbroken, everything going wrong, the world all in a turmoil, and think well, “Come, Lord Jesus.” The first thing you know, this old shaky body, begins to wither away, and you feel the pains a moving to it, the chilly death moving up the sleeve. Then look standing yonder; there’s a brand new body, standing right there. Just move out of this one, right into that one.” 

~ William Branham, March 2nd, 1955 The Curtain Of Time

 

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I’d Rather Have Jesus – The Lyrics
I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand.

Than to be a king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway,
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame,
I’d rather be true to His holy name.

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out of the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs,
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.

Video

I’d Rather Have Jesus – The History
I’d Rather Have Jesus is a song written by Rhea F. Miller with the tune written by George Beverly Shea. This poem, written in 1922, was left on a piano in the Shea home by Bev Shea who wanted her son to find it and change the course of his life.

The words, I’d rather have Jesus, moved George so much and spoke to him about his own aims and ambitions in life. He sat down at the piano and began singing them with a tune that seemed to fit the words. Shea’s mom heard him singing it and asked him to sing it at church the next day.

George’s life direction did change. He was offered a popular music career with NBC, but a few years later chose to become associated with evangelist Billy Graham and sang this hymn around the world.

I’d Rather Have Jesus – The Bible’s Support

This hymn is about dedication and commitment. To follow after Jesus is costly. Matthew 16:24-26 says: “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?’” I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold. . .

Philippians 1:21 reminds us: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead. . .

Philippians 3:8 says, “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame, I’d rather be true to His holy name. . .

Praise God for the words of Rhea Miller and the caring of Bev Shea. Because of them, George followed after Jesus and we are blessed with the fruit.

Godly Music

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Here is another excellent article on Christian music written by Bob Jennings:

click link for PDF of this article: by Bob Jennings on 2013-01-12

Music is big in our world, both sacred and secular. It is big in importance; it is big in industry. We have a very musical world.

Music is a marvel often taken for granted. Cows can’t make music. Frogs and birds come closer. But man is musical.

Angels are musical, as it is written,

  • Job 38:7 The morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy.

In Duncan Campbell’s account of the 1949 Hebrides Revival in the north of Scotland, there were two angelic visitations – singing. And the devil, the top angel, is musical, as it is written,

  • Isa 14:11 (NAS) Your pomp and the music of your harps have been brought down to Sheol, and,
  • Eze28:13 (KJV), Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God … the workmanship of thy tamborines and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

The Lord Jesus is musical, as it is written,

  • Heb 2:12 in the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise, and
  • Mat 26:30 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

God Himself is musical, as it is written,

  • Zep 3:17 He will joy over you with singing.

He is the origin of music. There would be no music if not for the Creator. It is a marvelous gift.

But not all music is good. We should not be surprised, for, if angels can inspire doctrines (1Tim 4:1), surely they can inspire music. The devil takes what is good from God, and corrupts it. So, what makes good music?

I –Words are a very important element in good music

Words are important in God’s economy. One of the names of the Son of God is “the Word.” God has given us a book filled with words. God has chosen preaching, and what is it but words?

Understandability

If musicians could only understand that their words must be understood. It is rare to hear a soloist that can be understood. Most music on the radio, whether secular or sacred, cannot be easily understood. I’ve been to concerts where I could not understand 90% of the singing or preaching. It is barbarianism, as it is written,

  • 1Cor 14:11 If then I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be to the one who speaks a barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a barbarian to me.

The point of music is not that you have music and you want to adorn it with words, but rather that you have a message and want to adorn it with music. If the musician can’t get his message across by turning the music down or voice up, then how will the church be edified? How will another say “amen”, as it is written,

  • 1Cor 14:16 … how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying?

Blurriness in speech is likely a mark of the spiritual condition of the nation. Mushy theology produces mushy speech, and much of our music is slurry, wimpy, and whiny rather than bright, cheerful, bold, and straight-forward. But it is not humble to mumble. Rather clarity is a service to the listener.

Content

The content of the words makes for good music. Often Christian music is experience-centered, man-centered, and self-centered – ‘give me, give me’. The content is inferior, lacking sublimity, magnificence, glory, weight, beauty, skill, and theology. The word of Christ is not “rich” in many songs, as it is written,

  • Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly … singing.

What makes good music? Words. Words that are understandable, and words that are rich in truth.

II –The music itself, the tune can make for good music

Is there such a thing as a good tune? That is, apart from the words, apart from the listener’s connotative associations and memories, apart from the musician’s spiritual state, can a given tune be good or bad?

First, let’s forget the good or bad aspect and try to demonstrate that music can communicate, that is, it can give off a message. The Lord Jesus teaches this in

  • Mat 11:17 We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.

A given tune was expected to produce a certain effect.

There are three elements that determine the quality of a piece of music – the notes, the rhythm, and the volume.

Notes

Granted individual notes are neutral. Like bullets, notes are neutral in themselves; it is only a matter of what is done with them. Or, like letters of the alphabet, they are neutral; it is only a matter of how they are put together. Play the chord CEG on the piano. Now move one finger and play CEF. It is quite a different effect, a different mood. The first is resolution and rest. The second is tension. The first is pleasant and the second is discord. You don’t need to know a thing about music to feel that. There is an inherent message in the sound. An ambulance siren does not need an interpreter. When watching a movie, it is easy to tell by the music that danger is approaching before ever it is seen on the screen. The point? Music by itself communicates by way of the notation.

Rhythm

The beat, that is, how long notes are played makes music speak. Take two hymns, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, and, My Faith Has Found a Resting Place. They are similar in content, but due to the different rhythms, one is lively, and even lends itself to clapping, whereas the second calls for resignation. The composer uses staccato for a reason. Even accent in our speech gives out a message. One might say, “I can tell by the way you said that, you are angry.” Tribal musicians work warriors into a murderous frenzy with drums alone. The drums of a marching band can make the hair stand up on the back of your head with a sense of foreboding power and aggression. Someone observed, beat is needed, but, like heart beat, too much means trouble.

Volume

How loudly notes are played makes music speak. Composers put crescendos in there for a reason. Seventy-six blaring trombones give off quite a different effect than just one playing the same thing softly. Contrast the delicacy of an instrumental quartet with the swelling tide of a philharmonic orchestra or the scream of a rock band. Musicians know volume communicates and they use that plaintive softness or threatening loudness.

A Powerful Medium

Musicians know music is a powerful medium and intend to communicate by music. You would insult a musician if you told him after the concert that his music did not move you. Dr. Max Schoen in his Psychology of Music says,

“Music is the most powerful stimulus known among the perceptive senses.”

Saxophonist Clarence Clemons summed up his new instrumental CD, Peacemaker, this way, “I said what I wanted to say.” Instrumental! The high school pep band expects (obvious by the name) to give off a different message than the chamber band at baccalaureate. The US military used music to drive Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega out of his stronghold. Advertising companies spend big money researching the effects of music. A tune can make words stick in the mind for days. What was so great about the Beatles’ I Wanna Hold Your Hand? It was not the words. Texas barrelhouse piano player Robert Shaw boasted he could throw his hands on the keyboard and make the audience move the way he wanted. In 1913 Igor Stravinsky produced a classical instrumental, The Rite of Spring, specifically to create chaos. At the first concert a mass riot occurred and the theater seats were torn up. My wife and I both witnessed our oldest two children each at age two go into the appropriate dance when a piece of music came on the radio. They could not have learned the dance; moreover they had never seen it.

Jimi Hendrix said,

“Atmospheres are going to come through music, because music is a spiritual thing of its own.”

He boasted he could hypnotize people with music. Another rock star says, “Don’t listen to the words; it’s the music that has its own message … I’ve been stoned on the music many times.”
The preacher Martyn Lloyd-Jones said,

“We can become drunk on music. There’s no question about that. It can create emotional state in which the mind no longer functions as it should be and no longer discriminates. I have known people to sing themselves into a state of intoxication without realizing what they were doing.”

The medical, psychological and other evidence for the non-neutrality of music is so overwhelming, that it is amazing that anyone would seriously say otherwise. Music is never neutral. Words say more, but in varying degrees it will speak.

If music then does give off a message, it easily follows that a given piece of music can be good or bad. That is, music can indeed communicate a message that fits Christianity or does not. It can minister an attitude, stir a mood, create an atmosphere, and make an effect that will express a worldview – either Christian or not. Just as words can rightly or wrongly represent Christianity, so also does music.

Underlying Principles for Discerning

How can we judge music? Here are some Biblical guidelines, some underlying principles that can be applied.

Is the music proper; is it fitting? Certain things are fitting among the saints. Some things are appropriate; some are not.

  • Eph 5:3 as is proper (fitting) among saints.
  • Php 1:27 conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Just as a suit and tie is not fitting for digging ditches, so we should analyze what conduct is fitting for saints (holy ones). Does this piece of music fit a Christian worldview? One Christian artist says, “Here’s a sound your parents will hate.

Is the music peaceful and restful?

  • 1Cor 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.

Lively music is fine, but screaming, harsh, driving, pounding music is another thing.
Dave Roberts, a columnist for the CCM magazine Buzz says,

“Heavy rock is body music designed to by-pass the brain and with unrelenting brutality induce a frenzied state among the audience.”

Is the music humble?

  • Mat 11:28 I am meek and lowly of heart.

Does the music minister submission to the King of kings or does it speak aggression and rebellion? Does it call for surrender to the Majesty on high or is it pushy, daring, and lawless? Does it make you feel like a tough-guy? It is unseemly to have a singer snarl out a commitment to Christ.

Is the music melodious?

  • Eph 5:18 singing and making melody in your hearts.

Is the music melodious, bright, cheerful, hopeful, and bold, or is it wimpy, whiny, slurry, and lacking resolution after tension? David made sweet music (2Sam 23:1). The music of heaven is sweet, like harps (Rev 14:2). The harsh, strident, distorted, nasty music does not fit Christianity. Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones says, “It’s a noise we make. That’s all. You could be kind and call it music.”

Is music ordered?

1Cor 14:40 all things be done decently and in order.

Is the music ordered or is it chaotic? Some is so unordered that it does not make for congregational singing. It does not fit among the saints.

Is the music sensual or is it spiritual?

  • James 3:15 this wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

Does the music tempt me to move my body in sensual way or does it remind me I am not a debtor to the flesh, to live after the flesh (Rom 8:12)?

Is there such a thing as a sensual song? We could cite many men of God who would affirm it, but maybe they are biased, old-fashioned, and narrow-minded. If we won’t receive the counsel of godly, then listen to the ungodly. What do the rock stars themselves say?

  • Sex and Rock go together like wheels on a car.
  • Rock music is sex and you have to hit teens in the face with it.
  • The purpose of rhythm is to get into an orgiastic state of losing yourself.

And their bold testimonies continue …

  • Rock has always been the devil’s music and you can’t convince me that it isn’t.
  • Rock and Roll doesn’t glorify God. I was one of the pioneers of that music, one of the builders. I know what the blocks are made of because I built them.
  • Rock is the perfect primal method of releasing our violent instincts. He calls his music Combat Rock and speaks of raping his audience.
  • We communicate aggression and frustration to an audience, musically and visually.
  • Rock and Roll brings out violent emotions.
  • I am sorry that I was involved in the beginnings of Rock and Roll. It has helped to destroy untold millions of young people the world over.
  • If I told you what our music is really about, we’d probably all get arrested.
  • When performing I don’t know who I am. If someone walked on the stage I’d probably kill. We wanted to blow their minds with our music.


III –The Musicians Themselves Should be Considered

Ironically and admittedly good people can make bad music and conversely, bad people can make good music. But God is nevertheless concerned about who is carrying the ark (2Sam 6:3f). He does not need a demonized girl to preach even if she is preaching truth (Acts 16:16).

The Bible is replete with warnings against false leaders, hypocrites: Mat 7, Acts 20, Rom 16, Gal 1, Eph 4, Php 3, 2Cor 11, 1Tim 4, 2Tim 3, 2Pet 2, 1Jn 4, and Jude. False leaders are many, as it is written,

  • 2Cor 2:17 For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.

We are to beware of evil workers (Php 3:2). We don’t want to endorse an unregenerate piper, pastor, music leader, or piano player.

False ministers are peddlers of the word.

  • 2Cor 2:17 For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.

They are merchandisers, concert-hopping, money-loving, fame-promoting, compromising entertainers. It is a modern manifestation of the sins of Jeroboam (1Kg 12:30, 14:16) – do anything to get the people. They are crowd manipulators, skilled at working the crowd up into a high –high places that should be torn down.

  • 2Chr 15:17 the high places were not taken away.

The world does it better. Let them do it. Was the past not enough for us?

They are not sincere, but are show-offs.

  • 2Cor 2:17 For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.

They are not worship leaders but performers, pretending some sensual ecstasy with their eyes closed, breathing out their breathy lyrics with the mic at their mouth. Are they servants or stars? Are they gathering followers for Christ or fans for themselves? As someone observed, they are not saying, “Behold the Lamb”, but they are saying, “Behold me saying, ‘Behold the Lamb.’” Some admit they intend to entertain. Some get the girls to scream at them. It is a fair show in the flesh. It is strange fire (Lev 10:1). And there is this continual attempt to say it ‘cool’, to be a ‘character’, to be cute, clever, and even goofy. But buffoonery and cleverness nullify the cross, as it is written,

  • 1Cor 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.

One band, speaking of the resurrection of Christ, says, “You can’t keep a good man down.” It is cheap blasphemy. What happened to simple sobriety and sincerity? How different these men are from the gravity characterizing men of God. How different from the fearful atmosphere of the great revivals when God was present in a manifest way? How different from Paul the apostle, as it is written,

  • 1Cor 2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
  • Acts 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Paul’s ministry was in the sight of God.

  • 2Cor 2:17 For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.

He was God-centered, God-fearing. They are afraid to be different from the world and are ashamed of Christ. One Christian artist mentions the name of the Lord Jesus once in nine songs. Some musicians are so vague that it is not possible to distinguish if they are singing about some lover or about Christ. No wonder they are sponsored by beer companies.

Now, it must be admitted that there are gray areas in music. It is an art, not a hard science like math, though God has more math in it than most realize. Each song must be analyzed. And, as we go on in the Christian walk, our tastes and choices are purified. We grow. This is the way of grace. There is much to learn.

  • Psa 119:7 I will give thanks to You with uprightness of heart when I learn Your righteous judgments.
  • Php 1:9, 10 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.

Again, behold the power of good music. When Paul and Silas sang, the earth shook and the jail rattled (Acts 16). When Jehoshaphat went out to battle, he put the singers in front of the army and God set up ambushments (2Chr 20:22). David’s harp drove off evil spirits (1Sam 16:23). When Elisha called for the minstrel, it invoked the hand of God and a spirit of prophecy (2Kg 3:15). Good music pleases God, as it is written,

  • Psa 69:30 I will praise the name of God with a song … it shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that has horns and hoofs.

Godly Sorrow

But when it comes right down to putting what you say you believe into practice, and willing to confess the wrong, they don’t do it. It just isn’t there. They don’t have it. Well, that’s real conviction. That’s what we need. We’ve long left that, a long time ago, and swapped it. Prayer, and–and confession, and conviction, we swapped it for emotion, a shaking, or a jerking, or a jumping up-and-down. That’s the reason there is no holding tight, ’cause there is nothing there to hold them, until you come upon the basis of God’s Word, of godly sorrow, ready to repent and make anything right, and do what’s right, ready to live right. I don’t care what the people say, or anything else, you live for yours, for Jesus Christ and what He said. Then you take a church like that, coming back, there is a possibility of it coming. -William Branham JUST.ONCE.MORE.LORD 12.01.63

 

 


Godly Sorrow

1. Once my sorrow was for the pain of all I stood to lose

And yet my sin remained.

This sorrow, born of my pain,

Kept my heart from turning back to Him again.

 

Chorus 1&2

Sorrow for my sin brings my soul such pain.

Yet this pain I know can lead my soul back to him again.

 

2. Now my sorrow is for the sin that gives offense to God

And stains my soul within.

This sorrow of godly pain hopes

I never give offense to Him again.

 

3. Godly sorrow became the start of the path

That led to a mighty change of heart.

This sorrow out of love helps me find the way back to Him again

Chorus 3

Sorrow for my sin brings my soul such pain.

I know can lead my soul Godly back to Him.

Text:  Steven K. Jones

Music:  Sam Cardon

Artist:  Felicia Sorensen

Charles Wesley

{reblogged from: http://www.challies.com/}

Charles Wesley

  • Charles WesleyYesterday, Thursday 29MARCH was the  224th anniversary of the death of Charles Wesley, one of history’s most well-known and best-loved hymn writers. His contributions to the English-speaking church are remarkable, which becomes apparent when you read the introduction to his brief biography at ChristianHistory.net:

He was said to have averaged 10 poetic lines a day for 50 years. He wrote 8,989 hymns, 10 times the volume composed by the only other candidate (Isaac Watts) who could conceivably claim to be the world’s greatest hymn writer.

Of these nearly 9,000 hymns, you’ll likely recognize “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” “Jesus, Lover of My Soul,” and “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” along with many others.

Duke Divinity School has done the hard work of putting together an organized collection that provides a “standard for scholarly study and citation.” The collection is organized by date of publication in PDFs that seek to match the original published resources. Each PDF also includes an editorial introduction about the resource.

Another online source for Charles Wesley hymns is, of course, CyberHymnal.org. Though this site only lists 265 of his hymns, each page gives you the option of playing a MIDI file of the tune, which is nice if you’ve forgotten (or want to learn) the melody. Once you’ve done that, you may want to search iTunes or Amazon to find a better version of the song.

If you’d like to learn more about his life and work, last year I read (and would recommend) the biography by John Tyson, entitled Assist Me to Proclaim. One thing that struck me in particular was the account of Charles’ humility, which is remarkable considering how talented and prolific his writing was.

I’ve also written a review of a video dramatization of his life and hymns, performed by John Jackman, which I enjoyed and benefited from.

And finally, let me list my favorite Wesley hymns. I find it remarkable and interesting that though Wesley wrote nearly 9,000 hymns, there are only a few that I know and love today. The march of time sifts through the multitude of hymns and allows the very best of them to float to the top. Here are my favorites (in order, even):

  1. And Can It Be
  2. O for a Thousand Tongues
  3. Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
  4. Jesus, the Name High Over All
  5. Rejoice, the Lord Is King
  6. Jesus, Lover of My Soul
  7. Tis Finished! The Messiah Dies
  8. Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

Tell Me His Name Again

 Thank you, Brother Neville. As I said this morning, it’s always good to 
come to the house of the Lord. I was kind of in the notion of calling the 
little misses here tonight to sing a song that I heard her singing in my 
house the other day. I believe we still got time for it if she isn’t too 
backward. Miss Jeffries, what do you think about that, that little song 
that you sang over there; I come in, and heard it being sung, and I liked 
it real well. And I hope I’m not embarrassing you to ask you to sing it 
again. “Tell Me His Name,” or something like that. Is that it? I’d like 
to hear it again. I know you’ll all enjoy it. 

  → [click to listen as Sister Jeffries sings “Tell Me His Name Again.”]

  TELL ME HIS NAME AGAIN

(George Bennard)

They tell me of love’s sweet old story.
They tell me of a wonderful name.
It thrills my soul with its glory.
It burns in my heart like a flame.
They say He’s the one that so loved me,
That in Heaven He could not remain;
He came down to seek and to save me.
Oh, tell me His name again.

CHORUS:

Oh, tell me His name again
And sing me the sweet refrain
Of Him who in love, came down from above
To die on the cross in shame.
This story my heart has been stirred,
The sweetest I’ve ever heard,
It banishes fear; it brings hope and cheer,
Oh tell me His name again

They say He was born in a manger,
That there was no room in the inn;
And in His own world was a stranger,
But loved us in spite of our sins;
They said that His path led to Calvary,
And one day He died there in shame.
He gave His great life a ransom.
Oh, tell me His name again.

They call Him the sweet Rose of Sharon.
They call Him the lily so fair.
They call Him the great rock of ages.
They call Him the bright morning star.
He’s a prophet, a priest, and redeemer,
The king of all kings He now reigns.
He’s coming in power and glory.
Oh, tell me His name again.

Oh, I just love that. I love His name. You know what caused me to think 
that, to have that little lady to sing it? She’s a little school chum to 
my little girl, Rebekah. I was back the other morning doing something in 
the room, and I heard that singing, and I thought, “Well, I will just 
have her to sing that at church sometime.” On the road down, I’d taken 
the children to school, and I spoke to her about the singing. And she 
said, “I just raised up some. . . .” I might not say it in the same 
words. But she said, “I raised up the other night, and was in the bed, 
and was thinking of that song. And I got such a blessing.” Well, I 
thought that’s outstanding for a teen-age girl, talk about the Holy 
Spirit blessing them, especially in this community, in this city. 
We need more teen-age girls like that. We do. And this other little girl 
that just sang, too, here a few minutes ago (I don’t know her name) but 
enjoying those children, little teen-aged girls singing. You know, the 
walk that we make makes an example for others. It really is.

What Does Thou Here? | A sermon preached March 1st, 1959 
in Jeffersonville, Indiana, USA by William Branham

 


~ 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]

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