CCM and Sensual Worship

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by DanielFive, Mar 17, 2003.

  1. DanielFive

    DanielFive
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    I just wanted to provide a link to an excellent article I have recently read in 'The Sword & Trowel' Magazine.

    The article by Dr Peter Masters deals with the basic principles of worship and how these have been broken and rejected by many today.

    I'll quote a small section here which I hope will entice you to read the complete article.

    Please click on the link below, feel free to share any thoughts you may have on the article.
    Happy reading.

    Throwing Out the Principles
     
  2. Ruth

    Ruth
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    Well, I will tell you what that article did for me. I don't even like CCM, and it wouldn't bother me a bit if I never heard any of it again - but this article did not only denigrate a particular style of music but also any music performed in a skilled manner.

    As one of a handful of soloists who provide "special music" in my church, I take my responsibilities very seriously, and have worked very hard to adequately prepare for the times I sing. I look upon what I do as not only my testimony to and for God, but also to prepare the congregation for the upcoming message from our preacher. But the message I am getting from this article is that what I am doing is sinful simply because I have a good voice (which He gave me!), and practice my music so I can give my best to the Lord in praise.

    As for "emotionalism" in music....well, let me put it this way. I gave the special music on the Sunday before last. When I finished, not only did I feel the emotion in the congregation, I was close to tears myself from what I had sung. The song? Couldn't get any farther from CCM than this one, folks - I sang the Malotte solo version of The Lord's Prayer.

    Up until this point, I felt that I had done something right. Now I feel like never singing again (not really, but articles like this tend to make me depressed).

    Ruth
     
  3. LAWC

    LAWC
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    Ruth,
    don't feel bad about your music and talents that the Lord gave you. Though eloquently written, that article has absolutely no scriptural backing. Through poor hermanuetics and personal opinions on church history, it attempts to condemn an issue that scripture is silent on. Look to the Bible for your beliefs not articles that attempt to twist scripture to conform to legalistic lies.
     
  4. Eric B

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    Once again, grains of truth with a whole cultural/generational agenda built on top of it.
    As I said elsewhere, you can take this logic and build up a totally cerebral worship totally devoid of "the spirit". And linking modern worship with "medieval Catholic practice"? Here's a whole new argument! What the early Reformation did was take the medieval prectices and make them even more medieval. All this is doing is trying to justify somber funeral worship, and believe it or not, there can be just as much "flesh" behind this (The vice of pride— we're more spiritual than those {wordlings, barbarians, ...fill in whatever else}. And yet Masters turns right around and elsewhere praises the great pipe organ. The sound and look of it is the centerpiece of "asthetics" in many churches.
    So the "offense of the Cross" is that those favoring 16th-19th century style worship must have their way, and the Church is only for them. Never mind that this style was once new or "contemporary" and used in the world by ungodly people, and the churches before comdemned it as anti-God and tried to "separate" from it. Tell me, what's the "offense" for old-liners? It seems this is all about them and their ways; biblical separation is just trading one human culture or generation for another. One of them got it completely right, and we can define God's ways by it.
    But you're defining it by the way a particular culture and generation did things. rejecting the modern is always about sticking with this particular style of worship and music.
    It is true that many today are doing so much wrong, usign music wrong, and are more interested in a feeling than truly worshipping God. But modern style is not the problem and sticking with centuries old style is not the answer. No, we should not use music to "generate" joy, but if our joy comes from our understanding, why must it be accompanied with somber music?
     
  5. DanielFive

    DanielFive
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    Thanks for taking the time to read the article and I appreciate the points you are all making.

    Eric I've enjoyed reading your postings on the other threads and value your opinions in these things. Would you be kind enough to tell me what you think of the 'Worship in the Spirit'/'Worship in the Flesh' argument.

    Don't you think that if we bring contemporary music into the church (given that most of us enjoyed this type of music before we were converted) that we are liable to become guilty of worshiping in the flesh? Would our enjoyment of the music not distract us from the words of the hymns.

    Added to this as regards solo performances in the church is it not tempting to sit where watching the performance thinking how great the singer/musician is rather than directing our thoughts toward God which is what we do when we are joining in the singing. When we join in the singing our eyes are on the Hymnbook when we watch other people singing our eyes or on them.

    As far as the performers themselves are concerned, whilst obviously they mean well and in their eyes they are serving God by using the talents He has given them, are they not in effect stealing the glory from God, and would they not be tempted to feel pride in their talents?

    Please don't assume that I am strongly against solo performances in Church, I attend a Church which has solo singers at the Gospel service, and I enjoy this. I have two Christian friends who sat under Dr Masters ministry for a number of years and until meeting them it never occured to me that there might by reasons for not including solo performances/instruments in Church worship.

    I am now considering my position and value other peoples opinions, but Dr Masters is not a man I would dismiss lightly given how his ministry has been richly blessed over the years.

    Finally, would you really consider that a talent for singing or playing an instrument would be 'a gift' in any way comparable to spiritual gifts. The Lord has blessed each of us with various talents, I myself am a painter. The question is wheather these talents should be used at worship services, I feel that there are many other avenues whereby we can use these gifts for God's glory without the need for us to put ourselves up on pedestals during worship.


    In Christ,

    Enda
     
  6. Nimrod

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    I first would like to commend you on your preparation. All Church musicians should prepare. Continue to do so.

    Nothing wrong with using your talent. It is when you use the talent that focuses on yourself and not on God. It is nice to har a great voice in service. Once I was at Calvary Chapel, and the long hair(another topic) guitar player did a solo that sounded liek Eddie Van Halen. After the song, one of the other band members said to the congregation "I wish I could play like him". Notice everyone heard his solo and was focused on him. Not God. We came to Church to worship God and God alone.
     
  7. Aaron

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    enda,

    Excellent article! Thank you. I also agree whole-heartedly with your position as stated thus far.
     
  8. TheOliveBranch

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    I supposed that if his line of thinking were followed, we'd have no debate between what is right or wrong for music in a service because, there wouldn't be music for contention.
    This seems to be the belief of the Primitive Baptists. They don't have any problems with what is being performed at their services. They know that all that is sung is going to be for the Lord, not personal gratification.
     
  9. Ruth

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    Enda: I would like to address a couple of the points you brought up in your reply.

    As a solo performer, I will readily admit that I struggle with trying to get people to listen to the message of my song and not just get "carried away" in my voice. My whole life I have dealt with people telling me "You have such a beautiful voice." It took me literally YEARS to finally come up with a response that was gracious but conveyed what I felt. I now tell people thank you, but it is not my voice - it is God's. And then ask them if they understood the message in the song - the first time I ask this of someone, I normally get a blank stare. So I proceed to tell them what the song was saying, and what I wanted them to hear! I have finally managed to train our congregation that if they want to compliment me, they better have some idea what I was singing about. [​IMG]

    Do I think my talent as a singer is comparable to the spiritual gifts listed in the Bible? Absolutely not. Anyone can be a talented singer - only those who live in Christ can have those precious gifts, according to I Corinthians 12. There is no comparison between the two. But, to be clear on this, nowhere does it say that spiritual gifts are to be used only in worship services, or talents only outside of them. Am I not robbing God of his due by not using the talent He gave me to glorify and praise Him in worship? If we were to accept the conclusions drawn in the article you linked, no one with a talent would ever sing; no one with the talent of speaking would ever preach; and our worship would be the lesser for it. We have these talents for a reason, and He expects us to use them. To do otherwise would be arrogance of the highest sort, believing that we know better than God what we should do with His talents.

    Ruth
     
  10. TheOliveBranch

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    The article was clear to me, but Ruth, I don't follow your conclusions. Are you offended if someone didn't praise you after you sang? Probably not. Because you have not followed Masters line of reasoning. But too many are following it. They look forward to the songs you sing because they like the sound of your voice. By this, they have chosen to take what was meant for God to be pleasure for their ears. The performance was meant for God, but the audience uses it for their emotions.

    I would look at solos as being done in a matter of degrees. Some actually want to give God the glory, but in doing so, are we causing many to pull away from that, inadvertantly? There are many churches, using CCM to bring in the people. They are entertained in the process, feeding their flesh and giving them that "warm all over" feeling. Too many perform for this reason. And then there are the ones that fall in between, some only saying they do it for the Lord, but also pleased with the sounds they make, and the compliments they receive.
     
  11. DanielFive

    DanielFive
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    Ruth, Thanks for your reply and I appreciate that you have strong feelings about this subject. From your postings I can see that you are sincere in what you are saying but I feel that you are sincerely wrong.

    I have no doubt that when you sing you are worshipping God in spirit and in truth. The problem is not with you, the problem is with the majority of those who are listening to you.

    I'll give you my opinion on a few of the points you have made :

    This is the problem, you can see it for yourself.

    I don't know what you mean here, are you saying that because you can sing well (as can many non-christians) that you sing with God's voice. It is your voice just as my bad singing voice is my voice, both are God given.

    Should I, as an artist ask my Pastor to set time aside during our next worship service to allow me to go up onto a platform and paint a picture.
    Would this be pleasing to God, that I should use up time that could be spent preaching and expounding scripture?

    You have wrongly compared your talent for singing with the spiritual gift of preaching ( using the gifts of wisdom and knowledge). There are many talented public speakers in the world, his doesn't mean that they are called to use this talent in Church.

    In fact I would think that anyone who has heard Dr Masters preaching would readilly admit that he is not particularly gifted at public speaking, nevertheless he does have the spiritual gifts which make him an excellent preacher and expounder of Gods word.

    You are right, God does not want us to waste our talents. This doesn't mean that they should therefore be used in worship. There are many other ways that you could use your talent to glorify God. eg. you could give others singing lessons, you could take Sunday School classes and lead the children in their singing. You could record a CD of your favorite Hymns, and even use this as an opportunity to speak about the meaning behind the words.

    Yours In Christ,

    Enda
     
  12. Ruth

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    And this is precisely my point. Are we to not use our talents for the glory of God because "someone" might take or use it in an emotional manner? This is what Dr. Masters is saying. I do not agree with his reasoning or conclusions. I personally could not care less if I receive compliments or not - but for those who do say something, it provides me an ideal opportunity to give my witness.

    If I was to take to heart his line of reasoning, I would refuse to sing in church because it could be a source of "emotional" worship to some listeners. I also know some wonderful preachers who would have to quit preaching - because they do reach the audiences' emotions, and are very talented public speakers. They don't reach people with tear-jerker stories or cute little anecdotes, but with the Gospel preached from the heart! And that is how I sing - from my heart.

    Actually, we recently had someone at one of our services who did something similar. She was a chalk artist, and did sketches while a background cd was playing scripture readings accompanied by music. It was wonderful, and a real witness to her love for God.

    Actually, that is just exactly what I am saying. God gave me this voice, just like he gave you what talents you have. And this gives me a opportunity to tell people about His best gift to us - Christ! - and the difference He has made in my life.

    On this, I suppose we are going to need to "agree to disagree." I do not believe that what I am doing is against the will of God; rather I feel that by doing this, I am giving Him the praise and glory for my existence.

    Ruth
     
  13. DanielFive

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    Ruth,

    I take you point in that we are probably going to have to agree to disagree on this subject.

    I just wanted to say something which I've already mentioned that you don't seem to have picked up on.

    You said :

    Please note I am not criticising Preachers who are talented public speakers, far from it. But I would question why you keep comparing preaching and singing. You already stated in a previous post that your gift is in no way comparable with the spiritual gifts.
    Obviously there are some wonderful preachers who are able to reach the listeners emotions, I am not criticising that, but the preachers are preaching sermons which first of all appeals to the intellect of the listener before it brings about conviction in the heart.
    When hymns are sung by talented solo singers, accompanied by gifted musicians, sometimes playing appealing tunes, they appeal directly to the emotions without going through the intellect this leads to professions based solely on emotional feeling rather than on intellectual belief which comes through regeneration.

    This can lead to people thinking they are saved when in actual fact they are not, I'm sure you'd agree that this leaves these people in a worse condition than they were prior to making false professions based solely on feelings.

    You have said that you 'prepare the congregation for the upcoming message from the preacher'. How are you preparing them, are you bringing them to a high state of emotion, this would be dangerous in my opinion. Solo singing is just as likely to be a distraction to many people and it would be a worry to me if people left the meeting talking about the performance of the singer rather than the message of the Preacher.

    This is a serious matter which I think we all need to think about and I appreciate that you are doing that much and have taken the time to read the article in question.

    Yours in Christ

    Enda
     
  14. Johnv

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    I think the word "sensual" is oft misassociated with the word "sexual".

    Music, by nature, is sensual: It appeals to the senses. Most hymns in my Baptist hymnal are sensual.
     
  15. Ruth

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    Enda:

    To answer your question:
    I am comparing the two because of the following statement in the article you linked:

    As you can see, this is equally applicable to either a skilled singer OR a skilled speaker. A skilled speaker is able to command attention when delivering his message; not so for someone with no talent for public speaking. A talented speaker will make a connection emotionally with the audience, just like a talented singer. And we disagree again on one more point - I do not believe that vocal music reaches directly to the emotions of the audience - otherwise, as singers we would not work so hard to make our words understood! We want to reach the intellect AND the spirit - again, just like a talented speaker. Dr. Master's article makes it plain that he feels this is not acceptable for worship.

    No, I do not aim for a highly emotional state. None of the singers in our church try for that, to the best of my knowledge. What we do is basically bring the congregation to a point where they are attentive, quieted and ready to listen to God's word. We have tried several different orders of service at our church - and at least for us, the preacher's message seems to be received more readily after "special music" than if the congregational singing is continued through until time for the sermon. When we tried using all congregational music (we use primarily a standard hymnal), there was an obvious restlessness on the part of the members during the sermon. I believe that this is simply because they had no time before his message to become contemplative and receptive to God's word because they were actively participating in the service right up to the moment of the message.

    Thank you for your courtesy, even though we disagree. May God bless you.

    Ruth
     
  16. DanielFive

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    Ruth,

    Forgive me for asking another question about the singer/preacher comparison.

    When a preacher enters the pulpit to preach the Word of God he does so as a man who has been called by God to serve in this way. Wheather or not he is a good speaker is irrelevant as some of the most succesful preachers in the past have been men that have not been talented in this way.

    I don't think that someone who has been given a good singing voice could say that this automatically means that they are called by God to use this in a special way during worship. Do you feel that you have a calling, in the same way as a preacher is called, if you do could you tell me what you are basing this on. Surely, it would have to be based on more than your ability to sing.

    Thanks to you also Ruth for being courteous in your responses, I have no wish to offend you as it is so clear that your heart is in what you are doing.

    God Bless

    Enda
     
  17. Eric B

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    I certainly don't deny that these are legitimate dangers, but this has nothing to do with style or old vs. new (the primary debate here), because the danger exists on both sides, and both ways can be used right in truly worshipping God. I really don't jave much of an opinion on soloing. I go to a more contemporary church, and I, as someone more intellectually oriented often do find myself questioning many of the things they do. Sometimes it does seem like just a "performance" or "show" (and this even slips out of people's mouths sometimes), but people say God is touching them through it, and while this could be false, I can't be so quick to deny their testimonies unless I see them really lacking in some fruit. I see no church as perfect, and all of them will have one problem or another.
    But there are a lot of people teaching wrong things who seem "blessed" for now. He and others may bring up some legitimate points, but then they start getting into a "those cultural elements are "worldly" and these (which we are accustomed to) are "spiritual", then they show their ignorance, expecially when gross contradictions come up. Like the praise of the pipe organ as "spiritual" and "not too emotional or aesthetical" ignoring how it was originally viewed by those favoring older forms of music, and that it does evoke emotion/sentiment and aestetics in those who like that style. (Calvin Johanssen is a similar writer who also makes this mistake)
     
  18. DanielFive

    DanielFive
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    Eric

    For the benefit of those who have not read the article I will quote the section where Dr Masters deals with the Pipe Organ:

    I would refer you back to a point you made in both of your posts thus far:

    I would ask you to reconsider this statement in the light of the actual quote from Dr Masters. Surely you can acknowledge that you have misrepresnted the man in your postings.

    Dr Masters says "we know very well that in spiritual terms it can contribute NOTHING" ,

    You say he PRAISES the pipe organ as spiritual

    Please explain ???

    Icidentally Eric, if you are interested in Spurgeons views on music in the church heres a link to short article.

    FEEDING SHEEP OR AMUSING GOATS : CH SPURGEON

    [ March 18, 2003, 09:55 PM: Message edited by: enda ]
     
  19. Eric B

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    That's not the statement I was thinking of when I said that. He said elsewhere something in favor of the organ, and I may have mixed him up with things Johansson said. But still I found his acceptance of the organ ironic considering how it was viewed in the past, and how he similarly views the contemporary styles today.

    The Spurgeon article doesn't discuss music per-se, but I am not advocating "entertainment" in the church anyway. I guess where I go has something like that, but I don't need it, and I can understand the criticisms people from Spurgeon on down are making.
     
  20. DanielFive

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    Dare I say, you are being a bit vague here Eric, if you ever find a quote where Dr Masters praises the pipe organ as spiritual, could you let me know.

    I would agree that he is showing a slight inconsistency by the use of the organ in his church but I don't think we should use this as a means to dismiss his article.

    I have attended the Metropolitan Tabernacle and can assure you that the music is kept very much in the background.

    In Christ,

    Enda
     

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