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#8863 - Fri Dec 12, 2003 7:05 PM Choirs and Singing  
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ReformedThinker Offline
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In the Hands of God
For a long time, my pastor and I have had a running debate over whether choirs in a service are OK or not. He dislikes them because it discourages congregational participation. I say, that if he is that worried about limiting congregational participation, he should stop preaching sermons, stop leading prayers, and we should all just become Charismaniacs (they represent the epitome of audience participation [img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/nuts.gif" alt="nuts" title="nuts[/img]!). I think that choral music's proper place is in the service. I believe it is a valid means of worshipping God. I can't tell you how many times I've listened to Gregorio Allegri's Miserere Mei and thought, "Surely this must glorify God." Does anyone else think the same way I do, or do you side with my pastor?


In the midst of your sadness and woe, when you are tormented and afflicted, have comfort! God's will is done.
#8864 - Fri Dec 12, 2003 8:09 PM Re: Choirs and Singing [Re: ReformedThinker]  
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Well,<br><br>Your pastor has a point but I also relate to where you are coming from. I think there can be room for both congregational and choir singing, and even for both together!<br><br>I often find it beneficial to listen to a choir singing because it trains my ears to listen and my heart to be still and meditate on the words. Obviously, our minds are not to be turned off while singing but I think sometimes it is easier to truly meditate on what we sing if we are sitting and listening. I actually would like more time in the service to be still and know He is God!<br><br>On the other hand, I have seen people talk about the choir singing as though they were entertainment. I don't see the choir time as a "filler" or time for congregants to fill out their offering envelopes. I personally think the reaction to a choir should not be applause but "Amen." I asked one of my church leaders what he thought about applause in worship, and he said "I quite honestly do not like it. I pray God's children would grow out of it." Also, an acquaintance of mine told me she was going to a Christian concert to hear "someone glorify God with their voice in a way I cannot." Why not go to glorify God yourself? Pray and meditate on the words, sing the words to God in your heart. <br><br>That reminds me of the story of Henry Ward Beecher's congregation. One day, Beecher had his brother Thomas preach for him. When the congregants realized Beecher was not going to be preaching, some of them got up to leave. Thomas said that all those who came to worship Henry Ward Beecher could leave but all those who came to worship God should stay.


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
#8865 - Fri Dec 12, 2003 8:58 PM Re: Choirs and Singing [Re: ReformedThinker]  
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I guess I would being by asking you whether or not God Himself has indicated that this is a way that we should worship Him. I think the easiest way to break this down is:<br><br>1. Would the choir be an element of worship in distinction by itself?<br><br>2. Is the choir merely a circumstance of congregational singing (i.e., "one way" in which we can sing)?<br><br>To put it another way, the choir must either be a separate entity that has divine prescription or it must be a peculiar form of an already acceptable element of worship. Which way would you justify it?<br><br>Sincerely in Christ,<br><br>~Jason<br>

#8866 - Fri Dec 12, 2003 9:10 PM Re: Choirs and Singing [Re: Jason1646]  
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Jason,<br><br>I'm not sure what you mean by "a separate entity that has divine prescription". Are you suggesting, perhaps, that it has to be laid out in the Bible that there be a choir in the services before we can have one? Or something else, entirely?


In the midst of your sadness and woe, when you are tormented and afflicted, have comfort! God's will is done.
#8867 - Fri Dec 12, 2003 9:31 PM Re: Choirs and Singing [Re: ReformedThinker]  
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Well, I affirm the Westminster Standard's statement, "the acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshiped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture. So, for me, I have to ask whether or not the choir is something instituted by God Himself, as discovered through good and necessary consequence from Scripture, or whether the choir is simply a particular form of the congregational singing that is clearly instituted by God.<br><br>Does that help?<br><br>Sincerely in Christ,<br><br>~Jason<br>

#8868 - Sat Dec 13, 2003 11:28 AM Re: Choirs and Singing [Re: Jason1646]  
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I think that a choir is merely talented (and sometimes not so talented) members of the congregation who are worshipping the Lord with songs. <br><br><blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]1Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!<br>2 Serve the Lord with gladness!<br>Come into his presence with singing!<br><br>Psalm 100:1-2, ESV</font><hr></blockquote><p><br><br>Obviously, God prescribes singing as a valid form of worship. Is not a choir singing?<br><br><blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]"Then I brought the leaders of Judah up onto the wall and appointed two great choirs that gave thanks. One went to the south on the wall to the Dung Gate." --Nehemiah 12:31, ESV</font><hr></blockquote><p><br><br>So the Bible specifically mentions a choir as Him-glorifying. I don't know if that answers your question, Jason, but I hope it does.


In the midst of your sadness and woe, when you are tormented and afflicted, have comfort! God's will is done.
#8869 - Sat Dec 13, 2003 6:17 PM Re: Choirs and Singing [Re: ReformedThinker]  
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<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]I think that a choir is merely talented (and sometimes not so talented) members of the congregation who are worshipping the Lord with songs.</font><hr></blockquote><p><br>The fact that some are better at singing is not, in itself, justification for restricting the rest of the congregation to worship along with them in song.<br><br><blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]Obviously, God prescribes singing as a valid form of worship. Is not a choir singing?</font><hr></blockquote><p><br>God enjoins all of His people to sing praises to His name. Are you suggesting that the choir is just one particular form in which this takes place?<br><br><blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]So the Bible specifically mentions a choir as Him-glorifying. I don't know if that answers your question.</font><hr></blockquote><p><br>Well, the problem with going this route, is that if you begin citing texts concerning the Levitical choir as the basis for legitimacy for choirs in the New Covenant, then you have to argue that choirs should be an indispensible part of worship, not merely an optional form of congregational singing. The Levitical choir was not merely a voluntary group of singers who liked to sing and were good at it. It was a particular Levitical duty commanded through David, and they sang around the clock as their full-time service. It would have been a sin for the choir to cease performing their functions, a position that I doubt any proponent of choirs would adopt today (i.e., that it would be a sin not to have a choir). The fact that the choir was countenanced by God during the age of Levitical temple worship does not indicate that this is the manner in which we should worship today. I think you can appreciate that point without me elaborating on it.<br><br>So, I guess I would summarize my responses as follows:<br><br>1. Would it be a sin for a church not to have a choir?<br><br>2. Is the vicarious singing of the choir simply one acceptable form of congregational singing?<br><br>Sincerely in Christ,<br><br>~Jason<br>

#8870 - Sat Dec 13, 2003 10:33 PM Re: Choirs and Singing [Re: Jason1646]  
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I wouldn't say its a sin for a church not to have a choir, I'm not going to venture into the territory. And, yes, I think the vicarious singing of the choir is simply one acceptable form of congregational singing.<br>


In the midst of your sadness and woe, when you are tormented and afflicted, have comfort! God's will is done.
#8871 - Sun Dec 14, 2003 6:34 AM What Saith the Scripture? [Re: ReformedThinker]  
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Let me redirect this thread slightly. I have seen MANY opinions here (and some Scripture), but what does the Scripture say (proper interpretation of) say on the fact(s)? Have you read Worship in the Melting Pot?

Last edited by Joe; Sun Dec 14, 2003 11:44 AM.

Reformed and Always Reforming,
#8872 - Sun Dec 14, 2003 7:00 AM Re: Choirs and Singing [Re: ReformedThinker]  
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<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]I wouldn't say its a sin for a church not to have a choir, I'm not going to venture into the territory. And, yes, I think the vicarious singing of the choir is simply one acceptable form of congregational singing.</font><hr></blockquote><p><br><br>Well, if the vicarious singing of the choir is simply one acceptable form of congregational singing, does this mean that the choir could sing every song for the congregation, and yet, those who are not part of the choir would still be faithful to the command to sing? For instance, for those who believe that singing with musical accompaniment is a circumstance of singing, they could decide to sing a song with or without musical accompaniment, and they could do it one particular way all of the time without undermining the act of worship. However, can the same thing be said of the choir? Can we choose this "one acceptable method" everytime and still be faithful to the command? I don't see how that can be, and I think this point brings out what we understand intuitively, namely, that only part of the congregation is singing and the rest are watching and listening to them worship.<br><br>By the way, for what it's worth, I actually don't object to "a choir" per se, but what I do think is objectionable is the manner in which 99% of them operate, which is to perform for the congregation. If the function of the choir was to assist people in singing, then I believe it could be made to work.<br><br>Sincerely in Christ,<br><br>~Jason<br><br>

#8873 - Sun Dec 14, 2003 11:31 AM Re: What Sayeth the Scripture? [Re: J_Edwards]  
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Joe,<br><br>Isn't it "saith"? [img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/tongue.gif" alt="tongue" title="tongue[/img]


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
#8874 - Sun Dec 14, 2003 11:43 AM Re: What Saith the Scripture? [Re: CovenantInBlood]  
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Yep, it it thanks for catching that. I will change it.


Reformed and Always Reforming,

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