But help me to understand the Biblical rationale for this condemnation of CWM. I have two concerns:
1. All I seem to hear is "the music sounds worldly." Isn't this a matter of individual taste rather than a matter of Scripture? What in America is called "classic" may also "sound worldly" in my African context. Who judges what sounds worldly and what sounds godly?
Lichawa, this subject of music has been discussed here on the board over many years. If you do a search for "music", for example, I'm sure you will find many interesting and helpful discussions.
The author of this series of articles on the "New Calvinism" has also addressed this issue of music in the church and "hip-hop" specifically. I think he deserves a hearing and his reasons evaluated from Scripture. You can read his expose on "Holy Hip-Hop" HERE
Also, on The Highway's main website there are several excellent articles which address this matter of godly music vs. ungodly (worldly) music. Here are a few for your perusal:"A Reason to Sing"
- Dr. P.J. Janson "Congregational Singing and the Ministry of the Word"
- Leonard Payton "Is it a Prelude or a Quaalude"
- Leonard Payton "Glossary of Church Growth & Contemporary Christian Music"
- Leonard Payton "Evangelicals on the Durham Trail"
- Darryl Hart "Evaluating Music for Christian Worship and Enjoyment"
- Leonard J. Seidel "Rock 'n' Roll, the Bible, and the Mind"
- Tom Allen
As you will find in the several threads here on the board that deal with this subject of music and worldliness, I have tried to layout in clear biblical terms the principles by which the Church and its individual members should discern what is acceptable music for the Church and their individual lives.
I think one of the basic principles that professing Christians are to adhere tenaciously to and apply with all prudence and wisdom is:
Philippians 4:8 (ASV) "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
Even more basic is that all that one does is to be done as stated by the apostle Paul:
1 Corinthians 10:31 (ASV) "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
Notice carefully, that Paul didn't write that we should do all FOR
the glory of God, but rather TO
the glory of God. It was the Lord Christ who exemplified this principle in His entire life; thought, word and deed. Isaiah prophesied by the Spirit of God, "and the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it.
" (Isa 40:5) Similarly, John wrote, "we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
" (Jh 1:14) The apostle Paul expressed this same thought with, "For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in him should all the fulness dwell;
" (Col 1:19) And, the inspired writer of the book of Hebrews directs us to the essence of the Lord Christ and His glory this way, "who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance,...
" (Heb 1:3)
If we are cognizant of what the Spirit was speaking through these prophets and disciples of Christ, we will come to see that what they were all conveying was that the Lord Jesus Christ exhibited and was in Himself the display of all that God is; the sum total and more of God's attributes. Thus, to "glorify God" we are to strive to be holy as God is holy is everything. We are to reflect holiness in our hearts, our minds, our very souls God. As one put it, we are to be 'analogs' of God. This is not only the goal of every true believer, but it is being infallibly accomplished to one degree or another in every one of Christ's precious sheep (cf. 1Jh 3:2).
2 Peter 1:2-9 (ASV) "Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue; whereby he hath granted unto us his precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in that world by lust. Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in [your] virtue knowledge; and in [your] knowledge self-control; and in [your] self-control patience; and in [your] patience godliness; and in [your] godliness brotherly kindness; and in [your] brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful unto the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he that lacketh these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins.
Thus, these biblical principles must guide us in evaluating all things (Rom 12:2).
Music is NOT "a-moral", but rather music is the product, the expression of one's cosmology, philosophy and epistemology. And, every composer has a purpose, an intent which he desires to achieve through the music. In simple terms, all music effects the emotive side of man. And those who write the various forms of music realize this truth which has been incontrovertibly documented through myriad scientific and psychological studies. God created the basis for music, but man arranges those 'notes' to create something which is in accord with his philosophy and for his intended purpose. The world is under the power of the Devil and its citizens are at enmity with God; they hate God and all that is good. But on the contrary, they love evil and sin (Gen 6:5 8:21, 1Jh 2:16; 5:19; et al). Therefore, it is only inevitable that the world's music will be against God and His Church.
Lastly, and very briefly, "good" music, music that glorifies God will be excellent, harmonic, beautiful, and not entice the natural lusts which reside in the hearts of all mankind by nature. But this could easily be another topic of discussion, i.e., the standards of musicology.
2. I think that we are shooting ourselves in the leg when we condemn CWM. This is so because we planted its seeds by abandoning the historic Reformed position of non-instrumental music in worship. It is only the non-instrumental position which is truly a Biblical bulwark against CWM. Other arguments seem to me to be cultural preferences with no Biblical support.
1. You would have to prove that the "historic Reformed position" was non-instrumental music. I do not find that this was the case at all.
2. Abandoning musical accompaniment completely so as to prevent the use of instruments used in modern "Rock Music", in all its various forms, is not a valid argument. Abstention of anything because of its actual or potential abuse would prove too much. For example, all the historic doctrines of the true Church have been assailed, distorted and even denied, e.g., the doctrine of the Divine Trinity, the deity of Christ, etc. Should we therefore dispense with those doctrines because they have been and continue to be "abused"?