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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Temple idols...
temple idolThere are not many of us who would look upon a temple idol in India and desire to bring it back with us and set it up in the building where our congregation meets.

Some might argue that there is nothing inherently evil or sinful about the idol as long as it isn't worshipped - and sincer there is nothing wrong with it, it makes a fine ornament in any local church building. They might even argue that having such an idol displayed prominently on the church grounds may help to draw in the local Indian community.

Some however might object to bringing in an actual idol. They would argue that using a real idol would be wrong, but it would be okay to make our own version of the idol - a facsimile that having never actually been worshipped in a temple would be okay. This Christianized idol, because it was made by good Christian idol smiths and not by the heathen variety, would therefore be sanctified and even holy.

Most of us are still sensitive enough to the Spirit of God to instinctively reject either idea. We have no personal bias to protect, no cherished opinion that might be bruised if we jump on the "no idols" band wagon. And because it is a black and white example so far removed from anything we might associate with it - we might agree in principle immediately that it is not the best idea to bring an idol or even a facsimile into our church property.

Now lets apply the same principle to "Christian Music™."

Can we juxtapose Christian lyrics over the vocal track of Marilyn Manson's "Antichrist Superstar" and thereby sanctify it? What aboutwritingg our own music that only emulates Manson's music - if we use Christian lyrics isn't that good enough?

Likewise, can we not apply the same principle to church growth? Or are the two already so intertwined that they can no longer be separated?
posted by Daniel @ 8:47 AM  
  • At 3:08 PM, October 18, 2005, Blogger CSB said…

    Dan, interesting points here. I am always kind of suprised when people say its only the lyrics that makes a song bad. The music sets the mood and conveys the emotions.

  • At 3:09 PM, October 18, 2005, Blogger CSB said…

    CSB, you are a reactionary. Big time.

  • At 9:05 PM, October 18, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ouch...careful! You are messing with the sacred cow!

    Very succinct approach to a most sticky and hot button topic in today's "modern" christianity.

    I would like to see more unravelling along this vein of logic and thought.


  • At 8:22 AM, October 19, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jim - Sacred cow indeed! :-D

    My previous church used to have a band - and the attendence on the days when the band played was about 30% more than on days the band wasn't playing. It was clearly a "draw"

    The Pastor realized that on those days especially, many in the congregation weren't even singing - they were just standing up and listening. So the pastor cancelled all the "praise & worship" teams and replaced them with a single song leader and a piano.

    The congregation polarized on the issue - those who loved the music (the great majority) were against the pastor's decision, and those who understood what the pastor was doing (teaching the congregation the difference between "being an audience" and "edifying one another while praising God in song") and rallied to the pastor.

    It didn't help that the pastor had no love for drums, as he was therefore painted as simply enforcing his own personal music preference on the congregation.

    I mention it because I expect a similar response any time anyone discusses music. There are always going to be some people who paint what you say so that it lines up with their preconceived bias.

    In this case, I am not saying that drums and guitars are "evil," nor am I saying that "volume" is evil, or that one style is to be shunned over another. Nevertheless, those who are predisposed to protect their turf, will surely read more into this post that I put into it.

    The bottom line for me is that when we yoke lyrics that are influenced by our faith with music that is influenced by worldly trends, we are yoking an ox with an ass and should not expect to plow a straight line because of it.

    Having said all that, I will be the first to admit that it is impossible to draw a hard line here.

    I only draw attention to this one variety of "christian musician" - the market driven variety - the one who looks for what is selling in the temple of the world, and wants to sell it in the church.

  • At 8:36 AM, October 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Excellent article here! May more of your kind of thinking rise up...wish I had hope for the church to become what she ought, as a whole...but I guess I think we are too far into Revelation for that...but do what you can to save as many as you can!

    Surely the stories of missionaries who came home after 4 or 5 years on the mission field, allowed their kids to bring back current music and the reaction there, is a story most have heard. The natives asking why they allowed their kids to listen to the music that held them in bondage to the spirits...

    Part of the lack of understanding about the power of such things is due in part I think to so much ignorance today about music in general. The majority no longer can read or play music. The church is where we got most of our training in reading music actually, as well as encouragement to play instruments. In choirs as well as in congregational singing from a hymnal. I always enjoyed the challenge of singing parts myself...hubby as well. But I come from a musical family too. I also think those who cannot really sing, because they have no ear or voice, sometimes do not understand the power of music either. It seems not to mean the same things to them as to us who breathe music.

    Another thing hubby and I noticed is that today rarely do you see music in the church produce a move of the Holy Spirit in a service. We have seen, in some years past, when the choir sang or a soloist...or sometimes even just the organ prelude time...produce a move toward the altar and repentance...completely foregoing a message from the pastor or need of one that day. While some current music is worshipful...most of it is sadly not inspired at all, in my opinion...certainly much much simpler music as to the melodies, etc. than in centuries past. The repetiveness nearly drives me batty at times as well as the loudness, especially unshielded drums in small buildings!!

    I remember especially in choirs or small groups that the whole focus was to be on singing in such a way that NO ONE stood out louder than another...we were taught to blend our voices with those on either side and to try to sing the same loudness or softness. It took some time to practice each week, but I still think it was time well spent. On 2 occasions in my life, signing with a trio both times (one time was accapella even), the acustics in the building, the humidity etc. were so perfect that a 4th part was heard... How can something so special happen when the LOUDNESS of today's music is going on??

    Our Bible study leader mentioned recently that in the worship of Molech during Bible days...they used the drums to drown out the cries of the babies being sacrificed on those altars. Well, as Jim above says...this is the sacred cow today...so best leave it at that.

  • At 3:46 PM, October 19, 2005, Blogger dogpreacher said…

    Excellent post!

    I am a former CCM drummer, who was not saved at the time I was. This meant that I also played Rock & Country (Musicians Union....if the money was good...). Then in between sets in a large nightclub, God's amazing grace quickened me so that I saw my sin...my state...my plight. I fought this immediately...figured I needed another snort or shot, but He was truly irresistable, and I cried out much like the publican in scripture did, "Please have mercy on this sinner & save me".

    I ONLY wanted my SONG (music) to praise & glorify Him from that moment forward.....

    just a thought.

  • At 8:06 AM, October 20, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    Awesome Testimony DogPreacher!

    Thanks for sharing.

  • At 12:56 PM, October 20, 2005, Blogger dumbutdeep said…

    I'm not on the cutting edge of Christian music. What are you talking about? Did someone actually use a Manson tune and change the words or are you speaking in hyperlative?

  • At 1:15 PM, October 20, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    DBD - hyperlative. The song was chosen for the post only because of its title.

    While we all recognize (or should recognize) that erecting a genuine temple idol in our congregational building would not be "right" - and that constructing a replica of it, or even a pseudo replica of it - is just as "wrong" - some are quick to accept other things that are worshipped in the world into the church. It's music, it's marketing schemes (build a bigger church!) etc.

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