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).