Encouraging a higher standard for Christian music

Posts tagged ‘branham’

What Is Mercy?

I read something the other day which stopped me in my tracks. 

“In Psalm 103 we learn that God does not deal with us according to our sins. Try to maintain an imbalance of mercy and judgment–God is extremely imbalanced in this regard…1000 to 4! His mercy is to a thousand generations and his judgment to the third and fourth generations… Remember also that God’s compassions are new every morning. Make sure yours are likewise.” –MH

It put me on a trail of thought… something I had been thinking about for a few days after a discussion with someone I highly respect. We were talking about a situation where certain christians seem quite adamant to prove a backslider was wrong, and seem almost hell-bent on pushing this person lower and refuse to offer forgiveness. I commented that they are determined to be her judge in everything she does. Do believers really know how to express Mercy? We claim to have received Mercy, and many of us have. But do we readily extend mercy to others? Oftentimes we are too quick to judge others. I have witnessed occasions where Christians are quick to judge and castigate those who have fallen or backslidden and very slow to forgive or show mercy. I do not believe we are called to pass judgement on others. We are not called to judge, yet. Unto him who much is given, much is required. Are we truly living for Christ and living AS Christ would, if we are judging the sinner and backslider and condemning rather than extending a helping hand to pull someone out of the deep miry clay of sin and this dreadful world? God help us all!

I wonder what you think about this topic? Feel free to comment.

Why can’t we help other’s by pointing them in the right direction rather than pointing out all their faults?

HE BROUGHT ME OUT!

My heart was distressed ’neath Jehovah’s dread frown,
And low in the pit where my sins dragged me down;
I cried to the Lord from the deep miry clay,
Who tenderly brought me out to golden day.

Refrain

He brought me out of the miry clay,
He set my feet on the Rock to stay;
He puts a song in my soul today,
A song of praise, hallelujah!

He placed me upon the strong Rock by His side,
My steps were established and here I’ll abide;
No danger of falling while here I remain,
But stand by His grace until the crown I gain.

Refrain

He gave me a song, ’twas a new song of praise;
By day and by night its sweet notes I will raise;
My heart’s overflowing, I’m happy and free.
I’ll praise my Redeemer, who has rescued me.

Refrain

I’ll sing of His wonderful mercy to me,
I’ll praise Him till all men His goodness shall see;
I’ll sing of salvation at home and abroad,
Till many shall hear the truth and trust in God.

 

Trust And Obey

“I think it’s very important for us to be slow with the trigger. Very important for us to be slow to speak; quick to hear. And you know, If somebody’s got a heart against God, let God deal with that person. Let God deal with that. Our role, our job description does not include judging people who we feel are guilty. That is not our place to do that. God is the avenger of all such; God is the one who will sort it all out in the end. What He wants you to do is obey His Word. And when you make mistakes we can come back to God and ask Him for His mercy and say, ‘Lord forgive me for what I’ve done wrong, forgive me for what I’ve done in error. Lord forgive me for what I’ve done here. That’s not my heart. My heart is to get over this. My heart is to be an over-comer.” – my pastor

Trust And Obey

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Refrain

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Refrain

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

Refrain

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Refrain

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Refrain

“Christian” Bands

Claiming Musicians as One of Us

“I heard that the lead singer’s dad was a missionary….”

“I think the bass player has “Jesus” tattooed in Hebrew on his side.“

“I’m pretty sure they were a worship band for a church somewhere in Tennessee. Or maybe it was California?”

“Yeah, man. I’m positive. The band is Christian…. “

“Oh really,” you respond. Sitting a little taller in your coffee shop chair, excitedly playing with the idea along with the rims of your thick black-rimmed glasses. “This it it,” you think to yourself, we’ve got someone on the inside, someone successful, someone who can prove that someone can be Christian and talented.

The idea produces more goose bumps than the night you sang “Amazing Grace” holding hands around the campfire.

So you order some songs on iTunes and start listening. I mean really listening. For the Spirit-infused lyrics. For the biblical illusions. The love-songs-that-are-really-about-Jesus that you somehow missed before.

Oh yes, you hear it now. They’re not just talented. They’re anointed.

It’s high school all over again, and the cool senior with the tattoos just walked into Wednesday morning prayer. We Christians have finally made it.

Notable Secular-Christian, Christian Musicians.

Jon Acuff already wrote about arguing about the faith of U2, but the list of Secular-Christian, Christian musicians is longer than the Levitical laws.  Such reputable artists include Collective Soul, OneRepublic, Justin Bieber, Jessica Simpson, Regina Spektor, The Fray, Miley Cyrus, Jewel – the list holds no prejudice to genre or style. If Google says they’re Christian, then it must be so.

Creed was driving the train for years with star-struck Christians climbing aboard — Five Iron Frenzy t-shirts quickly being replaced by Scott Stapp looking pensively towards the sky with arms wide open.

Mumford and Sons was the main addition to the list from 2011. Songs like “Awake My Soul” and “Sigh No More” leading countless people to the Lord, of this we are sure. Sure “Little Lion Man” and its chorus of F-bombs confused the equation a bit. But those F-bombs were nothing more than explosions of authentic-emotional-truth. Nothing more. And when in doubt, we’ll just turn that song down in the office. Problem solved.

But why? Why is it so tempting for us to throw the Christian label on musicians who have purposely tried to avoid it?

Three Reasons We Quickly Claim Secular Musicians as One of Us

1. Evangelism Made Easy
No longer do we have to coax friends to church or a Christian music festival to be touched by the spirit. No, now we can just slip on that Regina Spektor CD, sit back, and watch the conversion-magic happen.

“Do you hear it?”

“Hear what?”

“Oh, you’ll know.”

“Know what?”

“Just keep listening…”

2. Guilt-Free Music
The days of giving away all our “secular” CDs after coming back convicted from camp are over. Now we can listen to our favorites, as they are merely undercover agents for the Lord. Buying a CD is like giving money to the ministry smuggling Bibles into a communist country. We can support their secret mission with every $9.95.

3. Cool Christianity
All the angry bearded men with megaphones and signs about hell. All the do’s and don’ts, lest you be judged. All the “Christian” music. All the strikes against us can be demolished with just one Mumford and Sons chorus at the proper volume.

It’s the best of both worlds: Good music and great God. The only thing that can throw a monkeywrench into the whole thing is when one of the bands we’ve claimed makes a point of saying, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. We are not Christian.” They go beyond the traditional faith disclaimer of “We’re not a Christian band. We’re a band of Christians” and actually say, “We are decidedly not down with the king.” At that point, well, we’ll take our albums and go home.

Content that we still haven’t found what we’re looking for.

http://www.jonacuff.com/stuffchristianslike/2012/04/claiming-musicians-as-one-of-us/#more-7061

Merry Christmas

May the great Christmas Present, the first one, the original and the only one there is, Jesus Christ, be afresh in your heart…

May the Holy Spirit come to you and bring you ministering gifts and things from God… a gift that you might live a better life.

That’s what I want.

I would rather have the Life of Christ in me to live sweet and victorious than I would all the gifts of healing, the gifts of prophecies, all the other gifts,

just give me Jesus.

Let me live the Life, the Life is what I want to live.

I want to live so others will know.

That’s my desire at Christmas, and I pray that’s your desire.

And I pray that God will give us His desire.

~William Branham | December 22, 1963 God’s Gifts Always Find Their Places

Lord God, I’m asking the Bride, tonight, the ones that I feel have pulled away and waiting.

May they separate themselves from everything in the world.

They must lay in the Presence of the warm Son Light of the Son of God,

bathing in His Word,

in His Love.

Grant it, dear God.

~ William Branham | November 25, 1965 The Invisible Union Of The Bride of Christ

 

 

DOWN FROM HIS GLORY

Down from His glory,
Ever living story,
My God and Savior came,
And Jesus was His Name.
Born in a manger,
To His own a stranger,
A Man of sorrows, tears and agony.

Refrain:
O how I love Him! How I adore Him!
My breath, my sunshine, my all in all.
The great Creator became my Savior,
And all God’s fullness dwelleth in Him.
What condescension,
Bringing us redemption;
That in the dead of night,
Not one faint hope in sight,
God, gracious, tender,
Laid aside His splendor,
Stooping to woo, to win, to save my soul

Refrain

Without reluctance,
Flesh and blood His substance,
He took the form of man,
Revealed the hidden plan,
O glorious myst’ry
Sacrifice of Calv’ry,
And now I know Thou art the great ‘I Am’

Refrain

[He] took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7)

The Secret is Christ in Me | Day by Day and With Each Passing Moment

God came down and lived in this same world as a man. He showed us how to live in this world, subject to its vicissitudes and necessities, that we might be changed-not into an angel or a storybook princess, not wafted into another world, but changed into saints in this world. The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances. – Elisabeth Elliot

He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.
–Lina Sandell, Swedish

 Day by Day

Lina Sandell Berg, 1832–1903
Translated by Andrew L. Skoog, 1856–1934

Blott en dag (Swedish)

“Day by Day” was written by a young Swedish woman who learned early in life the all-important lesson of living each day with the conscious presence and strength of her Lord. Lina Sandell has often been called the “Fanny Crosby of Sweden” for her many contributions to gospel hymnody. From her pen flowed approximately 650 hymns which strongly influenced the waves of revival that swept the Scandinavian countries during the latter half of the nineteenth century.

At the age of twenty-six Lina had an experience that greatly influenced her life. She was accompanying her father aboard ship to the city of Gothenburg, Sweden, across Lake Vattern. The ship gave a sudden lurch and Lina’s father, a Lutheran minister, fell overboard and drowned before the eyes of his devoted daughter. Although Lina had written many hymn texts prior to this tragic experience, now more than ever poetic thoughts that expressed a tender, child-like trust in her Lord began to flow freely from her broken heart. — http://www.scriptureandmusic.com

◊†◊

A Quiet Heart

Jesus slept on a pillow in the midst of a raging storm. How could He? The terrified disciples, sure that the next wave would send them straight to the bottom, shook Him awake with rebuke. How could He be so careless of their fate?

He could because He slept in the calm assurance that His Father was in control. His was a quiet heart. We see Him move serenely through all the events of His life–when He was reviled, He did not revile in return. When He knew that He would suffer many things and be killed in Jerusalem, He never deviated from His course. He had set His face like flint. He sat at supper with one who would deny Him and another who would betray Him, yet He was able to eat with them, willing even to wash their feet. Jesus in the unbroken intimacy of His Father’s love, kept a quiet heart.

None of us possesses a heart so perfectly at rest, for none lives in such divine unity, but we can learn a little more each day of what Jesus knew–what one writer called the negligence of that trust which carries God with it. Who would think of using the word negligence in regard to our Lord Jesus? To be negligent is to omit to do what a reasonable man would do. Would Jesus omit that? Yes, on occasion, when faith pierced beyond reason.

This “negligent” trust–is it careless, inattentive, indolent? No, not in His case. Jesus, because His will was one with His Father’s, could be free from care. He had the blessed assurance of knowing that His Father would do the caring, would be attentive to His Son’s need. Was Jesus indolent? No, never lazy, sluggish, or slothful, but He knew when to take action and when to leave things up to His Father. He taught us to work and watch but never to worry, to do gladly whatever we are given to do, and to leave all else with God.

Purity of heart, said Kierkegaard, is to will one thing. The Son willed only one thing: the will of His Father. That’s what He came to earth to do. Nothing else. One whose aim is as pure as that can have a completely quiet heart, knowing what the psalmist knew: “Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure” (Psalm 16:5 NIV). I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Does the intellect balk at that? Can we say that there are things which happen to us which do not belong to our lovingly assigned “portion” (This belongs to it, that does not”)? Are some things, then, out of the control of the Almighty?

Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are cancelled. Decisions become much easier, directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter.

What do we really want in life? Sometimes I have the chance to ask this question of high school or college students. I am surprised at how few have a ready answer. Oh, they could come up with quite a long list of things, but is there one thing above all others that they desire? “One thing have I desired of the Lord,” said David, “this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life…” (Psalm 27:4 KJV). To the rich young man who wanted eternal life Jesus said, “One thing you lack. Go, sell everything” (Mark 10:21 NIV). In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus tells us that the seed which is choked by thorns has fallen into a heart full of the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things. The apostle Paul said, “One thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14 NIV).

A quiet heart is content with what God gives. It is enough. All is grace. One morning my computer simply would not obey me. What a nuisance. I had my work laid out, my timing figured, my mind all set. My work was delayed, my timing thrown off, my thinking interrupted. Then I remembered. It was not for nothing. This was part of the Plan (not mine, His). “Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup.”

Now if the interruption had been a human being instead of an infuriating mechanism, it would not have been so hard to see it as the most important part of the work of the day. But all is under my Father’s control: yes, recalcitrant computers, faulty transmissions, drawbridges which happen to be up when one is in a hurry. My portion. My cup. My lot is secure. My heart can be at peace. My Father is in charge. How simple!

My assignment entails my willing acceptance of my portion-in matters far beyond comparison with the trivialities just mentioned, such as the death of a precious baby. A mother wrote to me of losing her son when he was just one month old. A widow writes of the long agony of watching her husband die. The number of years given them in marriage seemed too few. We can only know that Eternal Love is wiser than we, and we bow in adoration of that loving wisdom.

Response is what matters. Remember that our forefathers were all guided by the pillar of cloud, all passed through the sea, all ate and drank the same spiritual food and drink, but God was not pleased with most of them. Their response was all wrong. Bitter about the portions allotted they indulged in idolatry, gluttony, and sexual sin. And God killed them by snakes and by a destroying angel.

The same almighty God apportioned their experience. All events serve His will. Some responded in faith. Most did not.

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV).

Think of that promise and keep a quiet heart! Our enemy delights in disquieting us. Our Savior and Helper delights in quieting us. “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” is His promise (Is 66:13, NIV). The choice is ours. It depends on our willingness to see everything in God, receive all from His hand, accept with gratitude just the portion and the cup He offers. Shall I charge Him with a mistake in His measurements or with misjudging the sphere in which I can best learn to trust Him? Has He misplaced me? Is He ignorant of things or people which,in my view, hinder my doing His will?

God came down and lived in this same world as a man. He showed us how to live in this world, subject to its vicissitudes and necessities, that we might be changed-not into an angel or a storybook princess, not wafted into another world, but changed into saints in this world. The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.

He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.
–Lina Sandell, Swedish

-A Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot

◊†◊

Day By Day (English Version sung in the video by the Antrim Mennonite Choir, from the album ‘Amazing Grace’)

1. Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

2. Every day the Lord Himself is near me,
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counsellor and Pow’r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.

3. Help me then, in every tribulation,
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation,
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E’er to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till with Christ the Lord I stand.

Source: http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/713#ixzz1YPRAGg1G

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

He Hideth My Soul – 1890

So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. ~ Exodus 33:32

Bouncing back — that is a quality to be cultivated because life is full of struggles. How do we become resilient? Unsinkable? Joyful amid the blows and burdens of life? This hymn tells us:

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, He taketh my burden away; He holdeth me up, and I shall not be moved, He giveth me strenth as my day.

This hymn by Fanny Crosby explains the author’s life. During her ninety-five years, Fanny faced three incredible hardships. The first was her blindness, caused by a careless doctor when she was only six weeks of age.

The second was a less-than-ideal marriage. Fanny was teaching at the New York Institute for the Blind when a young musician named Alexander Van Alstyne joined the faculty. Fanny later recalled, “After hearing several of my poems, he became deeply interested in my work; and I after listening to his sweet strains of music became interested in him. Thus we soon grew to be very much concerned for each other…Love met love, and all the world was changed. We were no longer blind, for the light of love showed us where the lilies bloomed.” The two were married on March 5, 1858. No one knows what happened, but years later the two drifted apart and in the end occupied separate addresses.

Fanny’s deepest blow was the loss of her child. To this day, no one knows if it was a boy or a girl. Fanny seldom spoke of the infant. The child’s death seems to have devastated her, and she privately bore the sadness all her life.

Yet all who knew Fanny Crosby spoke of her energy, her zest for life, her joy. One biographer said, “Even in extreme old age, she would tire out people twenty or thirty years her junior.”

She said, “How long am I going to travel and lecture? Always! There is nothing that could induce me to abandon my work. It means nothing to be eighty-four years of age because I am still young! What is the use of growing old? People grow old because they are not cheerful, and cheerfulness is one of the greatest accomplishments in the world!”

Fanny Crosby lived out her song every day of her life: “He hideth my soul in the depths of His love, and covers me there with His hand.”

_Then Sings My Soul (Special Edition) by Robert J. Morgan  

◊♦◊

 

 http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/334

My Father

Heavenly Father, I appreciate You 
Heavenly Father, I appreciate You. 
I love You, adore You, 
I bow down before You. 
Heavenly Father, I appreciate You. 

The Lord’s Prayer – Mormon Tabernacle Choir with Andrea Bocelli

click below to listen as Sister Ruth Byskal sings this old hymn:

My_Heavenly_Father

I trust in God wherever I may be,
Upon the land or on the rolling sea,
For, come what may, from day to day,
My heav’nly Father watches over me.

Chorus
I trust in God, I know He cares for me,
On mountain bleak or on the stormy sea;
Tho’ billows roll, He keeps my soul,
My heavn’ly Father watches over me. 

He makes the rose an object of His care,
He guides the eagle thru the pathless air,
And surely He remembers me,
My heav’nly Father watches over me.

I trust in God, for in the the lion’s den,
On battlefield, or in the prison pen,
Thru praise or blame, thru flood or flame,
My heav’nly Father watches over me.

The valley may be dark, the shadows deep
But O, The Shepherd guards His lonely sheep;
And thru the gloom, He’ll lead me home
My heav’nly Father watches over me.

Everybody’s Favorite Hymns?

Everybody’s Favorites:


Hymns That Last <—– click here for list


Based on a survey of 28 mainline Protestant hymnals, from the late 1800s through the 20th century.

M a r c h 2 0 1 1 | C H R I S T I AN I T Y TO D AY

 

The Hymns That Keep on Going
The 27 worship songs that have made the hymnal cut time and again.
Robert T. Coote | posted 3/07/2011

Hymns That Keep on Going – An article from CT. “There are many ways to identify the most lasting or best loved hymns among American Protestants. But what would we find by looking at all 28 hymnals published by mainline Protestant denominations from the late 1800s to the present? Out of almost 5,000 hymns, how many would appear in all 28 hymnals?”

Frankly this list surprised me. Interestingly enough, Amazing Grace is not on the list. Please share your thoughts about this article and which hymns you were surprised not to find listed. Why do you think Amazing Grace (among other hymns) is not on this list? How many songs on this list do you know or sing in your church?

~ 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]

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.

 

 

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