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Brother Stafford

Musical Discernment

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I just finished adding a section on my blog about musical discernment.  Basically, it's links to teaching videos by Brother David Cloud and Pastors Graham and James West.  There are also links to good, clean, godly songs and hymns.  They do wonderful teachings that illustrate how to draw a clear line between godly music and worldly music.

I would like to hear some opinions about the subject.  I do not know one person in my life who feels as strongly as I do on the subject.  

*Update*

I have removed this section from my blog.  You can still view the videos via their original sources:

Musical Discernment Videos by Pastors Graham and James West at Tamworth Bible Baptist Church in New South Wales.

Ungodly Music Warning Videos by Brother David Cloud at the Way of Life Literature website.

Edited by Brother Stafford
Updating of links

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Most of us have beat this horse dead a number of times here over the years.  

It is wrong to Christianize worldly music that does not follow the Lord's constructs of music.

It is wrong to adapt CCM pop/rock into Christ-honoring music for even the associations themselves should be shunned.

Because Pensacola Christian College and Lancaster Baptist College have and are using adapted CCM songs in their services, it has caused grief in my household.

Brother Chappell has been a blessing to my family and wish he would stop this practice in his ministry.

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Another very good book on the subject is "Why I Left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement" by Dan Lucarini, a former 'worship leader' who left the whole mess after making a personal Bible study on the issue of 'worship'. A short, but insightful read from someone who was on the inside.   He wrote a follow-up book called "It's Not All About the Music" in 2010, which I recently bought and read. Another very good book, EXCEPT, for his tendency to use multiple Bible versions. Also, he has a few things toward the end that I disagree with, particularly concerning his understanding of the Nadab and Abihu debacle. But his overall point with them is correct, in offering to God what God did not want nor require, and our responsibility to offer God the worship HE wants, not what WE want. So if you can get your Bible out and use it for the references, and, well maybe some of us may disagree on particulars on the Nadab and Abihu story, so deal with that as you need, the overall thrust of the book is excellent, on what worship is and isn't.

 I'd like to get hold of him and talk with him about the Bible version issue-it is sad, because while he has no time for Rick Warren and his purpose books, he misses that Warren can only make the points he makes from the Bible by bouncing from version to version, to find one that says what he is looking for. So maybe if I can find him at some point, a way to contact him, I would like to do that.

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8 hours ago, swathdiver said:

Most of us have beat this horse dead a number of times here over the years.  

It is wrong to Christianize worldly music that does not follow the Lord's constructs of music.

It is wrong to adapt CCM pop/rock into Christ-honoring music for even the associations themselves should be shunned.

Because Pensacola Christian College and Lancaster Baptist College have and are using adapted CCM songs in their services, it has caused grief in my household.

Brother Chappell has been a blessing to my family and wish he would stop this practice in his ministry.

I don't know how far it has gone, but Lighthouse Baptist in San Diego has begun to adapt them, as well. At least they have in a couple cases at one of their conferences in 2015, I believe. Found them on You Tube. Sad.

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I knew Graham West and respect him, but his son (and he before he died) has placed so much emphasis on music that it has overtaken all else in that ministry.

I respect his teaching on music, but when a ministry becomes unbalanced it becomes unprofitable (spiritually of course, not talking about monetary profit....)

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51 minutes ago, DaveW said:

I knew Graham West and respect him, but his son (and he before he died) has placed so much emphasis on music that it has overtaken all else in that ministry.

I respect his teaching on music, but when a ministry becomes unbalanced it becomes unprofitable (spiritually of course, not talking about monetary profit....)

Are they Australians? The name sounds familiar...perhaps from some videos I viewed a couple of years ago.

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2 hours ago, DaveW said:

I knew Graham West and respect him, but his son (and he before he died) has placed so much emphasis on music that it has overtaken all else in that ministry.

I respect his teaching on music, but when a ministry becomes unbalanced it becomes unprofitable (spiritually of course, not talking about monetary profit....)

If the focus on music is interfering with the Gospel, then I could see it being a problem.  However, if there is no such interference, I can understand a heavy focus on the subject of music because ungodly music is so omnipresent and has saturated the majority of our culture.

1 hour ago, No Nicolaitans said:

Are they Australians? The name sounds familiar...perhaps from some videos I viewed a couple of years ago.

If you click on the link I provided in the original post and click on either of their names, it will provide you with their location and a brief introduction of them.

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Yes they are Australian.

I have met and spoken with Brother Graham on several occasions and my sister knew him and his wife very well. I know his son James by correspondence only.

I don't feel it is beneficial to discuss the matter in detail, but the warning in general is legitimate, and is applicable to any subject.

I have Brother Graham's videos.

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Sadly, even in churches where the CCM has not begun to creep in, and the music is still 'good' music, it can often become overblown and too much. A morning service, with a choir intro, 2 hymns, announcements, 2 hymns, a choir special, a couple special music songs, maybe an orchestral song, another hymn, the sermon, then an invitational hymns, repeated as many time as necessary, ad infiniteum. Even with good songs and hymns, it is just too much, I believe. Of course each church must do as they feel right before the Lord and I don't judge them, but in our church, we have a hymn to start, (all verses sung), prayer, announcements, Psalm reading, another hymn, all verses, prayer requests and prayer, and the sermon. And we STILL go pretty long. It just seems to me, going from really how little music is mentioned in the New Testament, and even less in relation to the assembly, that we put a huge emphasis on it. Again, not saying any church is wrong in that, since we don;t have a specific guide so we apparently have some freedom in who much or little we use it, just seems like so much to me. But that's me. As long as a good word is preached and not neglected for the sake of the music, it is probably fine.

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And then there is the other extreme bro. Mike. A service where there is only one hymn and only the first and last verse sung. It just seems like that avenue makes it seem like hymns are not all that important. I find the song service very uplifting, but do agree that it can go overboard with too much of it.

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I also believe that too much emphasis is placed upon music; even, as Brother Michael said, in churches where "good" music is played/sung.  Personally, I think, perhaps, two songs in the beginning and, perhaps, one song at the end is plenty.

I am also not a fan of instruments being used in church services for several reasons.  

Firstly, it is just my personal preference.  

Secondly, a gigantic pet peeve of mine is when, at the end of a service, the pastor finishes his sermon and says, "Let's pray," the musicians all get up and start fidgeting around with their instruments; getting ready to play their songs.  It's as if "Let's pray" does not apply to them and they hear those words as, "The service is over.  You may now ignore the entire church praying to God and you may now focus on fiddling around with your instruments."

Thirdly, it is my opinion that singing praises to God should be a focus solely upon Him.  Being an ex-musician myself, I know that singling one or a few people out, and placing them in front of the group, can very easily lead to admiration of those people from the group, and pride in one's self as the "performer."  Also, featuring solo singers or even having a choir, that is separate from the rest of the church, is something with which I strongly disagree.

 

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17 minutes ago, Brother Stafford said:

I also believe that too much emphasis is placed upon music; even, as Brother Michael said, in churches where "good" music is played/sung.  Personally, I think, perhaps, two songs in the beginning and, perhaps, one song at the end is plenty.

I am also not a fan of instruments being used in church services for several reasons.  

Firstly, it is just my personal preference.  

Secondly, a gigantic pet peeve of mine is when, at the end of a service, the pastor finishes his sermon and says, "Let's pray," the musicians all get up and start fidgeting around with their instruments; getting ready to play their songs.  It's as if "Let's pray" does not apply to them and they hear those words as, "The service is over.  You may now ignore the entire church praying to God and you may now focus on fiddling around with your instruments."

Thirdly, it is my opinion that singing praises to God should be a focus solely upon Him.  Being an ex-musician myself, I know that singling one or a few people out, and placing them in front of the group, can very easily lead to admiration of those people from the group, and pride in one's self as the "performer."  Also, featuring solo singers or even having a choir, that is separate from the rest of the church, is something with which I strongly disagree.

 

While I do agree with the sentiments regarding instruments, I do take exception with your last statement about solo singers bro. Stafford.

God gives us each gifts that are peculiar to each person. If God has given the gift of vocal expression in song, I think it should be used of our churches. I, for one, have been spiritually uplifted by special music performed by someone that God has given that special gift to.

I do however have a strong dislike for the congregation clapping at the end of a vocal special. To me applause is for performers, not those singing in praise and worship of their God. I refuse to clap and instead try to encourage a simple "amen". To me this shows appreciation for the gift given to the singer and their willingness to exercise it, as well as recognition that God has given a special gift to the singer.

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Since we don't have a pianist, nor a piano, for that matter, our morning hymns are accompanied by music from a computer-there are lots of sites out there with very good piano and even organ music, if that's what you like, that will do all the verses. I don't like them all-some are way too slow, and some are too fast, and personally I don't prefer the loss of that control, but we get what we can and are appreciative of it. 

In evening services I accompany the music on the ukulele. Back when we were a little bigger, a friend and I used to sing together with the uke for the occasional special song. But that's about as far as it goes. I'm not against instruments, but they should not be, as bro. Staffaord says above, figeted with, using prayer time as an opportunity to get ready. We don't need an orchestra, as it were, to seem to magically appear after prayer, lol. It isn't a performance, we don't need to be worried about 'optics' so much. If that's such a concern, let them stay in their seats during the service, as well.

I do understand the issue of pride in the performer. Having grown up in a musical family, with professionally trained parents, and all of us sang, covering all the parts, there was a point where I found myself, rather than being edified by a singer or group, instead critiquing them as they sang. My heart was pricked and consequently I stopped singing at all, outside of congregational hymns, completely for years. My wife still thinks I should sing more than I do, but even now I find myself not wanting to feel like the center of attention in a church setting. Now, hand me my uke in a room of people at a secualr event and I can bust out the tunes, but that IS performing, I know the difference.

We used to attend a 'fifth-Sunday sing' with some other churches from our general area, but I no longer do for a few reasons. Particularly, two: 1-they stopped being congregational hymn singing with an occasional special number, to a lot of special numbers with an occasional congregational hymn, and 2-they stopped being hymns and went to contemporary junk and 'body worship'. I used to enjoy playing with their little gospel bluegrass group, and even they were used less and less.

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Regarding the speed of online music.  If you download Audacity you can load your music files in and speed them up or slow them down without altering the pitch. Or you can alter the pitch without altering the speed.    If you do downloawd becareful from which site as some can have malicious software with them.

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God loves music played on instruments in worship of Him, and he loves it when people sing before the congregation in worship of Him.

Psa 33:2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. 

Psa 68:25 The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels.

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3 hours ago, Invicta said:

Regarding the speed of online music.  If you download Audacity you can load your music files in and speed them up or slow them down without altering the pitch. Or you can alter the pitch without altering the speed.    If you do downloawd becareful from which site as some can have malicious software with them.

I use Audacity, but I have found that it can distort the music when the speed is changed.

We only use a couple sites, that we have had good history with. One is an IFB pastor who plays their entire hymnal, and I think they must have the same as ours because he includes some that I don;t see anywhere else.

17 minutes ago, DaveW said:

God loves music played on instruments in worship of Him, and he loves it when people sing before the congregation in worship of Him.

Psa 33:2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. 

Psa 68:25 The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels.

True, however, when we seek to use the temple worship as our example, we must consider that only very few select people could be involved, ALL of them had to be Levites, and only a few specific instruments were allowed. It was really nothing like what churches do today. We work according to the New Testament model, not the Old Testament temple worship-very different things.

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2 hours ago, Ukulelemike said:

 

True, however, when we seek to use the temple worship as our example, we must consider that only very few select people could be involved, ALL of them had to be Levites, and only a few specific instruments were allowed. It was really nothing like what churches do today. We work according to the New Testament model, not the Old Testament temple worship-very different things.

I wasn't trying to apply the law to any church or Christian, only pointing out that verses like this indicate that God loves music when used in worship of him, both with instruments and also with dedicated singers.

Those people who say instruments should not be used and choirs should not be used are ignoring clear Biblical principle.

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In our local church, the members sing 2 hymns at the beginning of service followed by announcements and a special or two and a final hymn by the congregation.  For each service on the Lord's Day, the choir is seated and sings along with the congregation but they open the service with a short song before the church joins in.  

At the end of service, during the invitation, the congregations sings a line or two or three from "Jesus Paid It All" for example.  

Ours is blessed with many pianists and organ players and many beautiful voices all lead by our beloved music director.

 

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15 hours ago, Ukulelemike said:

I use Audacity, but I have found that it can distort the music when the speed is changed.

We only use a couple sites, that we have had good history with. One is an IFB pastor who plays their entire hymnal, and I think they must have the same as ours because he includes some that I don;t see anywhere else.

 

I have not changed the speed often but it seemed OK when I did. Not sure if I used it on music, but may have only used it once or twice to slaw a preacher down who spoke too fast to catch all he said.  May have used it on music but I can't remember.

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13 hours ago, swathdiver said:

In our local church, the members sing 2 hymns at the beginning of service followed by announcements and a special or two and a final hymn by the congregation.  For each service on the Lord's Day, the choir is seated and sings along with the congregation but they open the service with a short song before the church joins in.  

At the end of service, during the invitation, the congregations sings a line or two or three from "Jesus Paid It All" for example.  

Ours is blessed with many pianists and organ players and many beautiful voices all lead by our beloved music director.

 

Sounds very nice. In our church I am also the music director. Sadly, with one past exception while I have been the pastor, (and except for my wife, who can sing well but doesn't believe me) no one else can carry a tune in a bucket. So for 14 years I've been the music director.

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4 hours ago, Ukulelemike said:

Sounds very nice. In our church I am also the music director. Sadly, with one past exception while I have been the pastor, (and except for my wife, who can sing well but doesn't believe me) no one else can carry a tune in a bucket. So for 14 years I've been the music director.

In our church we have a grand piano and a pianist. We have four people who can play the piano.  For various reasons up to three may not be available.Their ability varies.  We are only a small church but in the evening service we only have about 10 attend but the singing is better than one church I once visited with about 100 attendees. We don't have a band, choir or music director, and especially not a" worship leader".

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16 hours ago, Invicta said:

In our church we have a grand piano and a pianist. We have four people who can play the piano.  For various reasons up to three may not be available.Their ability varies.  We are only a small church but in the evening service we only have about 10 attend but the singing is better than one church I once visited with about 100 attendees. We don't have a band, choir or music director, and especially not a" worship leader".

Last Sunday we had three kids from the neighborhood, 8-10, attend. None of them knew the music, but I noticed that at least one of them picked it up quick and followed the tune very well. The singing was noticably enhanced, but one child, at least. Hoping we can keep them in. They claim to have been saved, but of course at that age we don't take it for granted, but would like to be able to foster the talent. I am afraid that no one is hardly taught music as kids anymore, hence they grow up with no ability to keep time or hear the notes. When I was a kid they taught us the basics of music early on, including rythym. I remember as far back as fifth grade having to play the triangle and the various tapping things, which taught rythym and beat, and singing in choirs. Now so many schools are removing music as unnecessary. And most churches anymore just blare lousy rock and roll and never teach people to use hymnals and to follow music. It is mostly performance, not participation. 

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*Update*

I have removed this section from my blog.  You can still view the videos via their original sources:

Musical Discernment Videos by Pastors Graham and James West at Tamworth Bible Baptist Church in New South Wales.

Ungodly Music Warning Videos by Brother David Cloud at the Way of Life Literature website.

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23 hours ago, Brother Stafford said:

*Update*

I have removed this section from my blog.  You can still view the videos via their original sources:

Musical Discernment Videos by Pastors Graham and James West at Tamworth Bible Baptist Church in New South Wales.

Ungodly Music Warning Videos by Brother David Cloud at the Way of Life Literature website.

You haven't gone CCM and worldly on us, have you brother? lol

 

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