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Brother Stafford

Musical Discernment

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I came from a church that had the "rock concert" at the beginning of the service...3-4 "worship" songs, loud, rock type songs. Now...it's not that I have anything against loud music, I did grow up in the late 70's...BUT...there's a huge difference between a concert and church. The church itself was like a concert hall...but...it's not what my soul and spirit was crying for...Our church now has a choir hymn, a congregational hymn, announcements, prayer and the teaching. The hymns point to Christ, the music is neither loud nor overpowering, and it stirs my soul and spirit to focus on Christ. 

Even at home, I no longer really feel the need to blast music (I could never listen to CCM...I was a semi-professional musician from a long line of professional musicians) i prefer either sermons or something quiet now. The Lord has done a work in my soul and spirit. 

Pray for me as I go forward for baptism tomorrow...thanks!

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On 1/3/2017 at 0:04 PM, Ukulelemike said:

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

Thems are fightin' werds, pardner.  I cannot begin to describe how much I now loathe all of the music that I used to love; especially CCM.

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I think the key to this post is in the topic name. A lot of the musical set up of the services is according to the discernment of the pastor. It varies according to the members of the church and the people providing the music. If you have quite a few people that are doing specials for show, it might be in the pastor's interest to not have special music. If you have a piano player or organ player that has a "you couldn't do this without me" mentality, maybe the pastor should make it an acapella church. True there are definite rights and wrongs in music, but there is much that is just left to discernment of the pastor. As with any area of the Church, learn the principles and then use discernment in your situation, staying within the principles.

Remember that music is one of the most powerful influences in a person's life (I stress that I said ONE of the most). It is just as wrong to have a song service out of balance or not holding to truth, as it is the preaching. The pastor needs to make it clear that there are certain songs that are unscriptural and will not be sung in church. The pastor needs to study up on what music is right or wrong and needs to make sure that the music in his church complies. In short, the pastor needs to have discernment, and he doesn't need to take the attitude, "well I don't know that much about music so I just leave it up to so-in-so to keep an eye on things". No Pastor, that is your job. Study, pray, take an interest in the well being of your church. The songs that your people hear in church, they will go home, look it up on YouTube, and listen to it throughout the week. So your song service, like it or not, is reflecting what you believe is right and wrong.

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I am of the opinion that specials, solo vocalists or even choirs, are not appropriate in a church setting.  I believe that music is to be used as a collective worship of God.  What would be the point of a congregation sitting quietly as one person sings while standing in front of all of them?  This would seem like a performance instead of collective worship, which is one of the main purposes for congregating, is it not?

I may be a bit biased.  I was a professional musician for twenty years.  Having left that about 5 years ago, and have had a chance to step back and look at that, and it is all about the performer.  At the heart of it, a performer is essentially saying, "You all stop what you're doing, be quiet, sit there and look at me.  Then, when I am done, please give me applause."  

It is also my opinion that, if there is musical accompaniment, the musician(s) should be off to the side or somewhere where they will not be focused upon.

Even selecting part of the congregation to stand in front of the rest, as in a choir, is not something that makes sense to me.  All voices that sing praises to God are beautiful and every congregant should be a part of such a thing.

Edited by Brother Stafford

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We only have congregational singing to a piano.  

Incidentally the person who is sometime refererred to as the father of congregational singing is John Mason died 1694.  A bit of a strange character, even a false prophet.  

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Brother Stafford:

Although I understand where you're coming from, I cannot reconcile myself to agree with you. If it is wrong for the whole congregation to sit quietly while one person sings, wouldn't it be wrong for them to sit quietly while one person prays, or even preaches. Also, testimonies would be out of the question. We see individual worship in the church in 1 Corinthians 14:26-33, "How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." Now when we read these verses we generally go straight to prophesy and tongues, because that's what it expounds on; but it starts with psalms and doctrine. Now he didn't say that any of these things were wrong, just the way that they were doing them. Therefore if it is wrong for ONE to have a psalm, it is wrong for ONE to have a doctrine.
I too am a musician, and although I have never played professionally, I do possess the necessary skills to do so. I say that to say, I do understand where you're coming from. I just also understand that there is a ditch on both sides of the road. There truly are people out there that want to use their talents for God's glory, not their own glory. I can't help but wonder if squelching that is truly right in the eyes of God.

(it wouldn't let me quote you)

Edited by Musician4God1611

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27 minutes ago, Musician4God1611 said:

Brother Stafford:

Although I understand where you're coming from, I cannot reconcile myself to agree with you.

I can understand that.  That is why I said that it is my opinion that possibly stems from bias from personal experience.  It is not something about which I am dogmatic.

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I understand. I lean very heavily toward not liking special music in church. Although I do specials for church, and have ever since I was young; I see so many people that really shouldn't be doing them. But that ultimately is a decision the pastor has to make.

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As to special music, you can very quickly tell if someone is singing for their own glory or for the Lord's.

I would rather hear an imperfect voice singing for the Lord than a perfect voice singing for themselves.

And whilst I understand your position, the Bible disagrees:

2 Chronicles 29

27  And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel.

 28  And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. 

And note that I am not "looking back to the Law" but seeing a principle clearly displayed, nor am I trying to get you to go against your own conscience - with your background as described, you need to walk more carefully in this matter.

 

As to congregational singing, I think it may have been around a little earlier than 1694:

Psa 149:1 Praise ye the LORD. Singunto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.

(And verses following).

Edited by DaveW
Book and chapter of first reference

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2 minutes ago, DaveW said:

As to special music, you can very quickly tell if someone is singing for their own glory or for the Lord's.

I would rather hear an imperfect voice singing for the Lord than a perfect voice singing for themselves.

And whilst I understand your position, the Bible disagrees:

27  And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel. notenote

 28  And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. 

And note that I am not "looking back to the Law" but seeing a principle clearly displayed, nor am I trying to get you to go against your own conscience - with your background as described, you need to walk more carefully in this matter.

 

As to congregational singing, I think it may have been around a little earlier than 1694:

Psa 149:1 Praise ye the LORD. Singunto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.

(And verses following).

Agreed! There is no way you can say the Bible is against it. However, I don't know that you can say its wrong not to have it either.

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We have a couple of men who cannot get anyware near the tune.  I am not all that good myself, but I do enjoy siging the hymns.  Unfortunately most of the hymns are pitched far too high me.  

Someone said "God made the crow as well as the nightingale, and loves to hear them both.

I didn't say I agreed with what was said about John Mason, Obviously the scriptue in the OT has singers, And I thinks theat Paul mentions singing Psalms and spirirual songs.

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I admit to liking special music, probably because I grew up in a family of singers and so from a relatively young age, did special music. However, it really needs to be just that: special, as in, not 3 songs in a standard service of just specials-make them special, once in a while. I miss doing the occasional special-a friend and I used to sing once in a while in my church I am in but since I am the pastor, I generally don't do them because it feels like it becomes "The Pastor Mike Show!" My wife disagrees, but she's my wife and likes to hear me sing, lol.

Now, special meetings, confrences, and such, hey, special music is great but don't overdo it even there-I went to see a speaker last summer at a church and he had four sessions with breaks between, but before and after they had a group sing three songs, so out of like 1-1/2 hour sessions, he got to teach for like 20-25 minutes-we missed a lot.

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A few years ago, our church received invitations from another church some way away, not one we were familiar with, for "An Evening of Worship with Graham Kendrick"  1000 tickets available at £12 per head.  On a forum I was on at the time, now defunct, I asked the question "Since when have we been charging for worship?"  The answer I received from one member was "It should be called a concert, Kendrick is a professional musician"  so why call it worship? I am sure that hymn writers in the past would not have charged royalties for reproducing their hymns or from teacing them to us.  How about David?  "I have just written a great new Psalm if you give me a few $$ each, I will sing it to you."  I don't think so somehow.  

Edited by Invicta

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On 9/17/2016 at 11:57 PM, Brother Stafford said:

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.

I have noticed that in our IFBC's that they are using watered down contemporary music. No drums or electric guitars; but toned down to use the piano, and the words to that song. Very Sad!

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