Are there good and evil forms of music?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Aaron, Jun 27, 2002.

  1. Aaron

    Aaron
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    It is not my purpose in this installment to define good and evil musical tones or instruments, but simply to point out that making a distinction between acceptable and unacceptable styles of music is both historic and Scriptural.

    Are there good and evil forms of music? In a word, yes. That this would even be an issue today shows how far off course the winds of moral relativism have blown the church. Music is not a blank slate waiting for words to give it meaning. Music communicates without words, and just as men can create spiritual or sensual images in other men’s minds with their choices of words, so can they create spiritual or sensual moods with their choices of music.

    Throughout history music has been recognized as a source of wisdom, much less so today than when Saint James wrote of a heavenly wisdom from God, and of an earthly wisdom from the Devil (James 3:14-17). To James’ pagan contemporaries heavenly wisdom descended from the Muses, the daughters of Zeus, whose music soothed men’s passions and elevated their minds to lofty ideals. The music of their rivals, the Sirens, daughters of the river Achelous, and therefore earthly, enslaved men to their lusts and destroyed them.

    Discussions of the effects of different musical styles was also a topic among secular authorities. In Plato’s Republic Socrates and his students contemplate the structure of the perfect society. One discussion focused on which styles of music would foster peace and self-control and which styles would undo them, concluding that "[t]here remain then only the lyre and the harp for use in the city, and the shepherds may have a pipe in the country."

    Seeing that ancient and even pagan societies could recognize the existence of good and evil styles of music, let’s now go to the Scriptures and see how the line of demarcation is drawn there. We'll take Psalm 92:1-3 as an example:

    It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.

    First, notice the detail concerning the types of instruments employed. Instead of a simple, general statement the Holy Spirit names a psaltery, a harp, and an instrument of ten strings. In other places instruments such as trumpets and pipes are described. Instruments are designed to produce certain types of sound, and these produced a solemn sound. Second, notice God's pronouncement that it is good. It was good for Israel not simply to sing or play instruments, but it was good to sing praises and to play these instruments making this kind of sound. This music could be called heavenly, not enticing the lusts of the flesh.

    Let's consider another passage. In Daniel 3:1-5 we're given a description that contrasts the one in the Psalms. Nebuchadnezzar made an idol, then commanded his kingdom:

    . . . that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image . . . .

    Here is a detailed list of musical instruments employed in the worship of an idol. We see the cornet, harp and psaltery just as in the Psalms, but here the flute, sackbut and dulcimer are added, three types of instruments the Scriptures never associate with the worship of God. There can be only one reason for their exclusion. Their sounds were earthly, appealing to the sensual appetites in those who heard them, and, therefore, not acceptable in the worship of Jehovah.

    Notice also the promiscuous indulgence of all kinds of musick, a license the Scriptures never allow in the worship of God, but characteristic of the worship of idols, and, tragically, of the worship in many of our churches today—especially in youth programs—who have forgotten, or maybe never learned, how to put a difference between that which is holy and that which is profane (Eze. 22:26; 2Cor. 6:17; Heb. 5:14).
     
  2. Bro. Curtis

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    I can see a reason why certain types of music can be considered evil. No question about that. But I disagree with instruments. All are made by men, if one is evil, then all are.
     
  3. Revolt

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    flutes arent acceptable to worship God with?

    Ahhhh I hear flute..... :eek: sin lust ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:
     
  4. AdoptedDaughter

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    Well look at that! Not only have I sinned in praising God with the gift that He gave me on the flute, but I did it in front of the senior pastor, the youth pastor, my Sunday school teachers, the associate pastor, my friends, my colleauges, my enemies, elderly people in the church...

    Aaron, are you to say that ALL instruments save those listed in your post are unacceptable? If so, you better not be listening to symphonies or any music for that matter. Almost all music has "man-made" instruments in the background. Besides, aren't you the very one that said, or implied through your post that using the OT for backing up a statement isn't valid? If so, it looks as if your entire post has become invalid!

    In Christ's gracious love,
    Teresa
     
  5. Aaron

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    Please re-read the preface to my post. ;)
     
  6. Brother Adam

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    "There can be only one reason for their exclusion. Their sounds were earthly, appealing to the sensual appetites in those who heard them, and, therefore, not acceptable in the worship of Jehovah"

    Pure opinion and personal bias. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    Bro. Adam
     
  7. Odemus

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    Ok, let's get started.

    More subjective opinion, not a good start.

    There is nothing explicit or implied about the morality of music in James. False start #2.

    So there were legalists who used unscriptural principles in the heathen community as well?I would have thought so.

    Speculating about what various types of music and instruments might facilitate an atmosphere of peace or unrest has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with perception of morality.

    Fantastic, so instruments are excellent for facilitating the worship of God! Most of us here already know that.

    There isn't a thing here that sets the types of instruments used in contrast to something else.There also isn't anything that supports your assertion that certain music can be considered inherently sinful.

    There is nothing either explicit or implied about any of those instruments which make them inherently sinful (or righteous for that matter).There also isn't a contrasting statement of any kind.

    Let me get this straight..the cornet, harp and psaltery are all appropriate for the worship of both God and idols but the flute, sackbut and dulcimer are only appropriate for the worship of an idol which represents a god that doesn't even exist?One set of instruments is evil and can only be used for the worship of idols, but another set isn't always evil, only when played to an idol?

    So the sin of those musicians who were worshiping that idol was not just in their hearts but also the type of instrument they chose to play?was the guy playng the harp sinning less than the guy playing the flute?

    So you have managed to establish that there has been a distinction between acceptable and unacceptable styles of music which is both historic and UNScriptural.

    %50 is still an F

    Look, I am sorry that you can't appreciate or tolerate certain kinds of music but at some point you are going to have to acknowledge that it is an unscriptural bias on your part.

    Yours in Christ,

    Jacob

    The most ironic thing of all is that the human voice is in fact as much of a musical instrument as anything else with the capability of either praising God or sinning against Him. Would you say that the human voice is inherently sinful or righteous?

    [ June 27, 2002, 07:30 PM: Message edited by: Odemus ]
     
  8. Bro. Curtis

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    I think we could probably disagree with Aaron without being disrespectful. Don't you ?
     
  9. DHK

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    Concerning instruments that are acceptable to God in worship, it is interesting to note that the drum is never mentioned in the Bible in reference to the worship of Jehovah. It is only used in the worship of idols.
    DHK
     
  10. Bro. Curtis

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    Cymbals are mentioned.

    But I don't want to argue the point with you. Our church uses only traditional music in our services, & we have included tympani drums, cymbals, bells, & xylophones.

    The piano is a percussive instrument.
     
  11. Ransom

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    DHK said:

    Concerning instruments that are acceptable to God in worship, it is interesting to note that the drum is never mentioned in the Bible in reference to the worship of Jehovah. It is only used in the worship of idols.

    Not so. The "timbrel," or tambourine, is a kind of drum, and it was played before God. See Exod. 15:20, 2 Sam. 6:5, 1 Chron. 13:8, Psa. 68:25, 81:2, 149:3, 150:4.

    [ June 28, 2002, 10:30 AM: Message edited by: Ransom ]
     
  12. DHK

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    Not so. Timbrels and tambourines are not types of drums. They are a kind of percussion instrument just as a piano. We don't ban pianos. Neither would the Jews if they had such things. But drums they did have. And they were never, never used in the worship of Jehovah. Drums were only used in the worship of idols. Search the subject out for yourself. A tambourine is not a drum. I have used one.
    DHK
     
  13. Matticus

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    Actually, a timbrel (or tamborine) would be considered a drum, because it does have a skin on it.

    God Bless
    Matt
     
  14. Ransom

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    DHK said:

    Timbrels and tambourines are not types of drums. They are a kind of percussion instrument just as a piano.

    In fact, the word "tambourine" comes from the French for "small drum."

    Search the subject out for yourself.

    Done.
     
  15. DHK

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    Percussion Instruments:
    The Toph.
    The principal percussion instrument, the toph, is represented in English Versions of the Bible by "tabret" and "timbre," two words of different origin. "Tabret" is derived from Arabic tanbur, the name of a sort of mandolin. "Timbre" comes from Latin-Greek tympanum, through the French timbre, a small tambourine. The Arabs of today possess an instrument called the duf, a name that corresponds to the Hebrew toph. The duf is a circle of thin wood 11 inches in diameter and 2 inches in depth. Over this is tightly stretched a piece of skim, and in the wood are 5 openings in which thin metal disks are hung loosely; these jingle when the duf is struck by the hand. The toph probably resembled the duf.

    Other drums are shown on the Egyptian and Assyrian monuments. In the Kouyunjik bas-relief the second last performer beats with his hands a small, barrel-like drum fixed at his waist. In the Old Testament the drum is used on festive occasions; it is not mentioned in connection with Divine service. It was generally played by women, and marked the time at dances or processions (Ex 15:20; Job 23:4; Ps 24:1; Jer 31:4; Ps 150:4). At banquets (Isa 24:8; 30:32; Job 21:12) and at marriages (1 Macc 9:39) it accompanied the kinnor and nebhel. In solemn processions it was also occasionally played by men. (ISBE)
     
  16. Aaron

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    Bump!

    [ June 29, 2002, 10:46 PM: Message edited by: Aaron ]
     
  17. Odemus

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    Ok, let's get started.

    More subjective opinion, not a good start.

    There is nothing explicit or implied about the morality of music in James. False start #2.

    So there were legalists who used unscriptural principles in the heathen community as well?I would have thought so.

    Speculating about what various types of music and instruments might facilitate an atmosphere of peace or unrest has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with perception of morality.

    Fantastic, so instruments are excellent for facilitating the worship of God! Most of us here already know that.

    There isn't a thing here that sets the types of instruments used in contrast to something else.There also isn't anything that supports your assertion that certain music can be considered inherently sinful.

    There is nothing either explicit or implied about any of those instruments which make them inherently sinful (or righteous for that matter).There also isn't a contrasting statement of any kind.

    Let me get this straight..the cornet, harp and psaltery are all appropriate for the worship of both God and idols but the flute, sackbut and dulcimer are only appropriate for the worship of an idol which represents a god that doesn't even exist?One set of instruments is evil and can only be used for the worship of idols, but another set isn't always evil, only when played to an idol?

    So the sin of those musicians who were worshiping that idol was not just in their hearts but also the type of instrument they chose to play?was the guy playng the harp sinning less than the guy playing the flute?

    So you have managed to establish that there has been a distinction between acceptable and unacceptable styles of music which is both historic and UNScriptural.

    %50 is still an F

    Look, I am sorry that you can't appreciate or tolerate certain kinds of music but at some point you are going to have to acknowledge that it is an unscriptural bias on your part.

    Yours in Christ,

    Jacob

    The most ironic thing of all is that the human voice is in fact as much of a musical instrument as anything else with the capability of either praising God or sinning against Him. Would you say that the human voice is inherently sinful or righteous?
    </font>[/QUOTE]Bump :rolleyes:
     
  18. Ransom

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    DHK said:

    Percussion Instruments:

    etc.

    My mistake DHK, I thought you had said the tambourine/timbrel/toph wasn't a drum.

    [ July 02, 2002, 10:35 AM: Message edited by: Ransom ]
     
  19. Aaron

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    Maybe. Maybe not. Could you offer an alternate explanation?
     
  20. Aaron

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    This means that there is not always a one-to-one correspondence between the instruments mentioned here and our modern versions. However, there is some similarity in many of them.

    Again, the early church used none. Zip, Zero, Zilch. My purpose was to show that the Scriptures draw a line.

    [ July 06, 2002, 06:09 PM: Message edited by: Aaron ]
     

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