Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Christian Music Principle (6)

6. Tension is inevitable.
Music's very variety that marks its richness as God's gift, paradoxically creates inevitable tension as people express likes and dislikes.

Perhaps such tension is evident in 1 Cor. 14:15 , 16. Is there fear that “singing praises with the spirit” might preclude singing praise with the mind? Is pagan influence already infiltrating through music? Because of music’s immense emotional power and connections with culture , is the early church already encountering difficulties that some worship music is considered as being seduced by secular music styles? Certainly , church history reveals much conflict over worship ever since. However, dealing with such conflict is much more than satisfying musical tastes. It's not just about music. It goes to the heart of spiritual formation about how community finds ways to unite rather than divide.

As Keith Getty, the contemporary hymn writer, puts it:
Church music fights did not begin twelve months after The Beatles started and the church realized that there was new music. These arguments about what Christians should sing have gone on all of time , from rival monasteries to rival cathedrals. They’re not going to end. And so anybody who prescribes a musical solution is blowing smoke. There’s a reason why the Lord made the church a multigenerational , multiclass , multi-ethnic , diverse group of people. I doubt that everybody in Acts had the same musical tastes , if they were Jews and Greeks , and slaves and free.

Principle 6 gives a reality check to how worshipers belong together. Principles 1 to 5 may sound fine in theory, but in practice working through them to unify people with a diversity of musical tastes calls for immense maturity. I must turn to some of the practicalities soon.


Anonymous said...

Unity calls for rising above our own preferences. This may require leadership with a charismatic element from the pulpit to win over some souls.

Anonymous said...

Scholars have suggested that the kenosis passage of Philippians 2 is actually a hymn that was sung in the early church. If this observation is accurate, wouldn't it be ironic that the spirit needed to crate such maturity might actually be found in the words of an ancient hymn itself?