Encouraging a higher standard for Christian music

Archive for the ‘William Branham’ Category

May He Bring Peace in 2013

OSEH SHALOM
He who makes peace in His high places,
May He bring peace upon us
And upon all Israel,
And say ye Amen.

May He bring peace, may He bring peace,
Peace upon us and on all of Israel.

(this video was recorded in 1984)
(The following quote, taken from the message entitled, Shalom, by William Branham on January 19, 1964 in Phoenix, Arizona was edited for clarity)
Shalom,
to you who have the Word down in your heart,
chosen before the foundation of the world
to hear the Word for this day.
If you don’t, it’s a bad year ahead for you.
If you are, it’s a great world ahead for you,
a great day,
great year coming.
New Year.
Not to turn a new page—a lot of people try to turn a new page on New Years; then turn it back the next day.
Like a little story I was reading the other morning.  A woman hollered in to her husband, who got up early
and went out and got the morning paper, and was reading it.
She said, “Is there anything new in the news?
 He said, “No, just the same thing, only different people.”
That’s about the way it is today, same thing. We have new organizations; same old doctrine.  Just pat it around,
somebody has a little phase of it going this way, or that way.
This is a new day!
Hallelujah!
This is a day that we should rise and shine in the power of Jesus Christ.
Gross darkness is settling upon the earth.
There should be a new day for us.
Yes, indeed, doing it just the way He does it.
But turn to His Word and see the promise that’s promised for this day,
and you’ll know whether you’re living in daylight or not.
Changing the calendar doesn’t change the time.
It only changes the calendar.
Now, closely listen.  Do as David did.
Put your future in His hands.
How?
What am I . . . know what to do, Brother Branham?”
Put your future in His hands.
No matter what comes or goes,
trust Him.
He is the Word.
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Now, David said, “His time is in my hands.  Trust in Him all the time.  Always trust in Him.”  He knew who held
the future.  That’s the reason he could say this.  There’s only One who holds the future.  That’s God.
Instead of you trying to hold the future, let Him hold you.
 Some  people  said,  “But  Brother  Branham,  I  have  tried,  and  I  have  tried. . . .”
Isaiah 40:31

Isaiah 40:31

But wait a minute,
patience is virtue.
Patience is Holy Spirit virtue.
“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.”
 You say, “How can I wait any longer?”
  
Ephesians 6:13

Ephesians 6:13

Just keep on waiting.  When you’ve done all you can do to stand, then stand, see.
Just stand.
“How am I going to do it?”
Stand.
He said, “It’s the truth,” and it’s the truth.
He said, “It’ll happen.”  How, I don’t know, but it’ll happen.
He said so.  He promised it.
If He promised it, it’s going to happen.  That’s all.  They can’t wait.
So now, just remember God took thousands of years to fulfill His promise of a coming Saviour. God took four thousand
years to fulfill that promise.  But He knew from the beginning just when it was going to happen.
He knew.
No one else did.
He just said it would happen.
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Glory

GLORY IS A SPECIAL WORD IN SCRIPTURE—
a word infused with the essence of God himself. It appears (along with its cognates) over 500 times in Scripture. One verse in particular is of great significance to us:

Psalm 66:2:

Sing out to the honor of his name;

make his praise glorious

In this verse, the psalmist (King David) exclaims with strength and power, “Sing out to the honor of His name“. The psalmist then follows this declamatory proclamation with an even stronger assertion:

Make His praise glorious!

There is to be nothing ordinary about this praise, it is to be of the highest order and of the greatest magnitude.
To create a powerful platform for praise, God inspired King David to marshal a corps of 4,000 professional musicians who were spiritually prepared, skillfully trained, highly organized and spent their lives giving praise to God.
The musicians were organized under three men of God (Levites) who carefully crafted their worship in a musically and theologically acceptable manner. (See 1 Chronicles 23 and 25.) David and his musicians would take no chances that their musical sacrifice of praise would be presented in a frivolous or careless way. This was music that was to exalt “the honor of His name and make His praise glorious!”

The result:

a spiritual environment

that brought this high worship of God

to the Israelites

in a way that united the best of music and poetry.

In Scripture, it’s important to note that glory is not only an attribute, it is an actual place: Glory…heaven, the dwelling place of God.
In looking forward to “glory”, Jonathan Edwards made this observation:

“If praising God in song is very much the employment of heaven…let all be exhorted to the work and duty of praising God [here on earth.]
(See: “Thankgsgiving Sermon”, 1734)

Note the reformer’s words regarding the use of music as a “work” and a “duty”. Like David’s original musical organization, music in heaven will be a joyous fulltime occupation infused with His glory, majesty and greatness!
For twenty-first century Christians this must all seem strange, having been persuaded by their culture that music:

a. exists for their own personal pleasure.
b. is all good–style is relative!
c. can be utilized for any purpose.

Today, begin your preparation for glory right now — forget popular culture and sing in the great tradition of King David and his spectacular choir of Levite musicians. Sing — and then memorize — a great hymn of the faith! You’ll be glad you did! To God be the Glory!

–Center for Church Music

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

 


12 Keys in Our Choice of Music

Music choice is important. But how are we to evaluate the music in our lives? Here are twelve major principles, based on the Word of God, which can help us, as Christians, to do so. They can be applied to any music, but they are worth considering in relation to the music we use in the services of the church, both what is presented from the platform, and what is sung by the congregation.

1. HUMILITY. In the complexities of understanding and evaluating music, none of us has all the answers (cf. Rom. 12:3, 10; 14:1).

2.UNIQUENESS. We are each different as to the music in our lives, and with respect to how it affects us (cf. Rom. 12:3-6a; I Cor. 12:14, 27).

3. INTEGRATION. Earthly things can have a valid place in our Christian lives, as we assess them biblically and use them wisely (cf. I Cor. 7:31; I Tim. 6:17b).

4. ORIGIN. The source of a piece of music can affect it in significant ways (cf. Prov. 15:2, 28; Lk. 6:45).

5. TRADITION. The wise person appreciates the heritage of the past and will continue to employ it and be enriched by it (cf. Deut. 32:7; Jer. 6:16; contrast Acts 17:21).

6. PURPOSE. The purpose of the musician and of his music will influence how it is used, and therefore how it affects us (cf. I Cor. 9:25; 10:31; contrast Phil. 3:18-19).

7. BALANCE. Music with its various elements in balance reflects the nature of God and accomplishes the purposes of God (cf. I Cor. 14:33, 40; Tit. 1:5a).

Such elements include: melody, harmony, rhythm, tempo, and dynamics. If there are lyrics, the music should serve as an appropriate vehicle to enhance their message.

8. SEPARATION. We must not, with our music, encourage or glorify that attachment to this sinful world that God hates (cf. II Cor. 6:14-17; I Jn. 2:15-17).

9. ASSOCIATION. Communication problems arise if the music accompanying a Christian message is associated in the mind of the hearer with a corrupt and sinful lifestyle (cf. I Cor. 8:4, 7; 14:8; 15:33).

10. EFFECT. Music is a medium of expression (in a sense, a language) which can communicate with powerful effect (cf. I Sam. 16:23; Col. 3:16; and see Gal. 6:7).

11. MESSAGE. The message a song delivers depends upon several components working effectively together:

Words + Music + Performance + Musician’s known lifestyle + Social context = the Total Message of a Song (cf. Ps. 139:15-16; I Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:16).

12. RESPONSIBILITY. Music is a stewardship from God that we are responsible to use according to His will and purpose (cf. Deut. 12:29-31; Lk. 16:15; and see Est. 4:14; Acts 13:36).

Editor’s note – This article was written and originally published by Robert Cottrill the editor of http://www.wordwisehymns.com.

~ 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 4 ~ 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 O U R

SPIRITUAL ROOTS

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:19

For three centuries, a flood of humanity poured into the New World. The willing came from Europe; the unwilling came from Africa. They were master and slave, and nothing has ever exacted such a heavy price on the conscience of a nation as the institution of slavery in America. But from the agony and suffering of the black captives was generated a heroic faith that, over the years, was given a voice that would echo across the land for all generations to come. To the slaves they were known as  ‘sorrow songs,’ or ‘anthems,’  but within white communities they came to be called  ‘spirituals,’  and in them America found its truest, most original, and most influential musical expression.

In the plantation states of the south, newly arriving slaves were expected to learn English and to adopt the professed religion of their owners. But the emotional and mystical ways of heathen, tribal worship could never be replaced by the bone-dry traditions of European faith. And neither could the rhythms, chants, and tribal stomps of the African culture be confined by the structured singing of psalms and hymns . “The spirit will not descend without a song,” was a saying the slaves carried with them from the motherland, and it was in music that the brutalized Negro found a means of liberation.

The enslaved people found much within the Judeo-Christian tradition to identify with and anchor their hope: The Hebrews’  four centuries of bondage in Egypt; the Israelites’ captivity in Babylon; Daniel in the lions’ den; and Elijah ’s journey to Heaven in a fiery chariot. They learned the hymns of their white masters then rewove them with the remnants of their African history to produce expressions of freedom through song that became the focus of both their spiritual and social life.

The majority of the slaves worked under the overseer’s lash, cultivating the cotton and rice that were the mainstay of southern industry. Often they were forbidden to speak to one another while working in the fields, but since their fieldwork required unified effort, they were allowed to utilize the African tradition of worksongs to coordinate their activities. These creative leader-and-chorus rounds were sung with so much musical mastery that they defied notation. Often the song was fashioned by combining verses from the Bible with portions of hymns, sermons or prayers they had heard in church. But in the fields there was also every opportunity to invent new songs and tunes, drawing from their new found faith in a Christian God who could not only break their bonds of sin and suffering, but offered Heaven as a homeland. Best of all, He wasn’t confined to a white church, nor did He negate the humanity of the black man. They heard a promise of freedom, and they made it the theme of their songs.

God told Moses, o’Lord!

Go down into Egypt, o’Lord!

Tell ol’ Pharaoh, o’Lord!

Loose my people, o’Lord!

In 1735 an English clergyman by the name of John Wesley sailed for the New World to proselytize the heathen Indians in the colony of Georgia. After three years, he acknowledged his failure as a missionary and returned to London, determined to find the missing element in his spiritual walk. Then one day, as he listened to a reading of Martin Luther’s preface to Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, he felt that his “heart was strangely warmed,” and a new dispensation of the church was ushered in.

Nowhere did they embrace the new tenets of a faith that was being called ‘Methodism’ more rapidly than they did in the colonies of the New World. Wesley’s teaching of a Second Blessing (also termed Christian Perfection or Sanctification) was “the fuse that set off a keg of repressed religious ecstasy throughout America.”14 Stoking the fires of the revival that came to be known as The Great Awakening was Methodist evangelist George Whitefield and other circuit-riding preachers who traveled endlessly throughout the colonies expounding the doctrine of absolute holiness and attainable perfection. Their preaching style was bold and dramatic, which gave them limited access to the pulpits of the more traditional churches, so they resorted to preaching outdoors. Camp meetings (or bush meetings, as they were sometimes called) changed the structure of worship services for most rural churches in the young nation.  ‘Fire and damnation’ preaching encouraged a new freedom of expression for the believers. They shouted, they prayed, they danced, and they sang like never before.

Once again, religious revival was accompanied by a stirring of the musical waters. Like Luther, Wesley was a songwriter and publisher. His first hymnal, The Charleston Collection of Psalms and Hymns, published in 1735, was the first hymnbook ever published in North America. Wesley’s greatest concern was that singing should be both spiritual and have good musical quality. His instructions to the congregation included admonishments to “ Sing All, Sing Lustily, Sing Modestly, Sing in Time and above all, Sing Spiritually.”15 And it was in the unstructured style of the frontier camp meeting that spiritual singing came of age.

Long before blacks themselves were admitted to white society, they shared a lively, if somewhat uncomfortable, coexistence that was brought about through the cohesive forces of shared religion and music. Along with the increasing number of traditional hymns which were being penned by proficient songwriters such as Charles Wesley and Isaac Watts, Negro spirituals were becoming a major part of the huge revivals and camp meetings of the 1800s. Here the spirit and personality of the black world was not segregated from the white culture. Although white and black worshippers were normally kept separate, “their voices and music could mix, echoing from camp to camp, feeding a musical union whose product would sweep the world.”16 One observer at an early camp meeting wrote:  “As the excitement increases, all order is forgotten, all unison of parts repudiated, each sings his own tune, each dances his own dance, as he leaps, shouts and exults with exceeding great joy.”

They had found something real, and it was a revelation inspired by a new understanding of Scriptural truth. And that, in turn, generated a new brotherhood of holiness and sanctified churches – forerunners of the twentieth century Pentecostal Revival that was to explode on Azusa Street in 1906.

But not every abused and humiliated black man found solace in Christianity. There was just too much magic in the  ‘old ways’  that wasn’t compatible with the new-found faith, so the old faith endured, hidden until the late nineteenth century and the period of Reconstruction that followed the Civil War. Then, a new branch appeared on music’s family tree, and it was called ‘The Blues.’

Although it descended directly from the emotional fervor of the spirituals, the only thing the blues had in common with its spirit-pleasing parent was its ancient roots. Every type of carnal indulgence became the theme of the blues singer: Crime, adultery, prostitution, gambling, alcohol, and imprisonment. Ties with the African elements of syncopation and rhythmic momentum were renewed, taught, and performed by both black men and white men who had listened and learned from this new musical voice. “It is here that the blend of cultures once again began to generate something permanent and prophetic, a rhythmic vitality and melodic gift that would eventually produce ragtime and jazz.”1

Coinciding with the beginnings of blues, ragtime, and jazz, religious music was also undergoing a metamorphosis. In 1875, songwriter Ira Sankey published a hymnbook entitled Gospel Hymns and Sacred Songs and the term ‘gospel music’ was born. Sankey and his partner, the revivalist Dwight Lyman Moody, intended for their songs  “to implant the gospel in the hearts of the people”18 by suppressing emotional outbursts and passionate singing.

But, while Sankey and Moody were able to influence their initial development, gospel songs soon developed a character of their own, and this time it was  “a coolly calculated commercial endeavor designed to capitalize on the enormous appeal of the Negro spiritual stylings.”19

In 1921, a young blues and jazz piano player by the name of Thomas Dorsey attended the National Baptist Convention and was overwhelmed by the force of the music he heard being performed. For “Barrelhouse Tom,” it was the handwriting on the wall. He would write religious music, and he would call his songs ‘Gospel.’

Dorsey wrote over a thousand tunes, including  “Peace In The Valley”, “Search Me Lord,” and “Precious Lord Take My Hand.”  “It was music that not only reflected the preaching and testifying heard in black Baptist and Methodist churches as well as the growing number of  ‘sanctified’ congregations across the country. It also made brilliant and liberal use of the melodies, harmonies, and rhythms of Dorsey’s blues and jazz background.”20

Touring the Midwest and South in the late 1920s, he performed his music and sold the sheet music for a few pennies apiece. But Dorsey’s voice lacked the conviction and excitement that was necessary for gospel singing, and he knew that if he was going to succeed he needed a new sales technique. He created the first female gospel quartet in history, and soon became a promoter of gospel performers as well as a publisher of black gospel music. He was well on his way to earning for himself the title “Father of Gospel Music.”

By the mid-thirties, several styles of gospel music were being popularized on the church and revival concert circuit. One of the most enduring was the gospel quartet – four or five singers who established their identity through vocal stylizing (such as a featured bass or falsetto) or through dress (porter’s uniforms, white tuxedos, etc). There was also the ‘gospel chorus’ of all-female hand clappers, dressed in choir robes and backed by a thundering piano or organ. And soon the professional gospel artists, such as Mahalia Jackson and Rosetta Tharpe began to make a name for themselves.

By the beginning of  World War II, the careful repackaging of slave spirituals was complete. This new image of  ’gospel music’  had been sprinkled liberally with the glitter of  Hollywood and parlayed into a powerful and wealthy musical empire.

Editors 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]

~ 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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