"Classical" music in church

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by tenor, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. tenor

    tenor
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    This question has been bugging me for years.

    Why is it that at Christmas many people will accept "classical" music (this is being used in the generic form) (Messiah, The Nutcracker, etc.) and not at any other time of year - either as part of worship or as a concert venue?

    Inquiring minds wnat to know.
     
  2. Johnv

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    Because people are inconsistent hypocrites. They decry some genres of music for no reason other than their own dislike for it, and try to impose that by claiming that certain genres are somehow unbiblical.
     
  3. tenor

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    Pretty close to my thoughts JohnV.

    I want to wish you and your family a very wonderful and joyous Christmas!
     
  4. Pastor Larry

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    John,

    Many people "decry some genres of music" for reasons other than their own dislike. The discussion of genre is a difficult one because of a lack of musical knowledge and a lack of careful biblical thinking.

    To come in here slinging mud as you have done, making harsh accusations, is simply inappropriate.

    As to the question, The Messiah is a distinctively Christian composition. Its genre is classical. It is really not a Christmas piece so much as an Easter piece though.

    I am not aware of any church using the Nutcracker, but there are some who perhaps do. AS a general rule, the church is not the place for classical music per se. It is a place for sacred music, and some classical certainly fits that.
     
  5. Debby in Philly

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    Yes, and along with that goes that usually, when a musical style gets "old enough" (read - no longer popular in current media), that it somehow gets "sanctified"! Some of our praise and worship music styles date back to the sixties, but that's OK now. My mother used to say that when she was young, some people thought singing "choruses" in church was bad because it sounded like "popular music." Those "choruses" are now in our hymnals. So that process has never really changed.
     
  6. bapmom

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    I think its alot more basic than some idea that people are hypocrites other times of the year! That was a totally unfair characterisation.

    Its just a fact that at Christmas time we have special services.....we put on Christmas plays, and have special Christmas concerts that are unlike what goes on on a weekly basis during the rest of the year. This is not hypocritical :rolleyes: its just a fact of life that we cannot keep doing huge productions each week ALL year long, so we do something extra special and different at certain specific times of the year.

    Have you ever been in a choir that performed the Messiah?? I have been in several, and it is not a "one-practice-you're-through type thing. It takes weeks of preparation for choirs who meet every day, not to mention the average church choir which meets once a week for an hour or two.

    May I add also, most classical music is not easily performed, and very rarely does it have words. So why would we have regular times of classical music performances when "displays of our musical prowess" are NOT the main purpose of a church service?

    An education in classical music is an integral part of every Christian music education course Ive ever been a part of. If you can play classical, you can play just about anything....as a general rule.
     
  7. gb93433

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    Classical music by itself does not have lyrics.
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    Some of it does.
     
  9. Johnv

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    Oh, come now. It's self evident by the multiple posts, threads, and discussions on the topic of CCM that most people who denounce it in the name of scripture haven't a scriptural leg to stand on. The hypocrisy is abundant when the topic is discussed, and if calling it what it is comes off as harsh, then I am guilty.
    That is a manmade general rule, not a scriptural general rule. A church is certainly at autonomous liberty to make such rules for itself, but, as with the topic of CCM, when a church requires other churches to adhere to its own set standard, it violates the autonomous liberty of other churches.
     
  10. tenor

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    There has been much vocal and choral literature written - both sacred and secular.
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    What's the chance that you are one described in Heb 5:11ff as not able to handle the meat of hte word because your sense have not been trained to discern good and evil? Perhaps that is why you are insensitive to music that doesn't honor God.

    The truth is that most people who denounce CCM do not have a scriptural leg to stand on. But that doesn't mean there are no scriptural legs. But that is not the point of this thread, at least if we judge by the OP.

    To bring CCM and classical music into the same discussion as equivalents reveals an ingorance of music theory, history, and philosophy. Classical music and pop music are two entirely different animals. They have no part in the same conversation except in comparison and contrast.

    That is a manmade general rule, not a scriptural general rule.</font>[/QUOTE]No, actually it is a scriptural general rule. Music in the church is to be about God for hte purpose of worship and edification (Eph 5:17; Col 3:16). Classical music generally does not have that quality being as that most of it has no words to teach about God or to worship God with. Classical music appeals to the mind and the senses through non-verbal communication. Classical music in church (like traditional offeratories) are usually about showmanship which has no place in church either since it is not about God. Some classical music, such as the Messiah or some of Bach's works, are appropriate for church because they are about God and both worship Him as well as teach.

    Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3 teach very clearly that church is not the place for classical music since classical music doesn't fit the purpose of music in teh church.

    That doesn't make classical music wrong. There is plenty of music that is fine outside of church but not in church.

    Well, this is a different discussion than the one here. And I agree. I don't know of any church who doesn't, though perhaps there are some. But you need to be careful about distinctions here. I doubt that any church has tried to "require another to adhere to its own set standard." How would they? A church philosophy is set by its leadership, not by someone else.

    Another church or pastor may speak out about the issue of music, and they certainly are welcome to do that. I hope you would agree.

    But the truth is that your hypocrite line really didn't have anything to do with this conversation since this discussion was not about CCM. I have no idea why you brought it into this discussion.
     
  12. Johnv

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    Being a sacred music minor, and having been blessed with the spiritual gift of discernment, I think you're ill-equipped for a showdown on this topic. Neither do I desire one.

    The issue is not one of music that does not honor God (if music dishonors God, then the church should refrain from it). The issue is of some people deciding for themselves that an entire genre dishonors God, despite the fact that the arguements used to condemn an entire genre completely falls apart when searching for scriptural support. In the very least, it lies in the "let each be convinved in his own mind" category, which also requires the convincee to allow others the sovereign privilege of being convinced in their own minds as well.
    Again, being a sacred music minor, and having been blessed with the spiritual gift of discernment, I could not disagree with you more.
    Scripture does not require that music must have lyrics in order to be performed in the church. For you to imply this for all christians, you must add to scripture.
    I guess all handbell choirs are hellbound. Do you not see how scripturally offbase you sound. Clearly you do not.
    You must be referring only to the parts of Handel's Messiah that has lyrics.
    That's the clearest case of scriptural perversion and manmade doctrine I have see on this board in a while.
    The abundant hypocrisy that is demonstrated by those in the CCM threads becomes more apparrant when compared to this topic. You yourself said that cmparison of CCM and classical music is permissible.
     
  13. bapmom

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    Johnv,

    but NO ONE said that classical is wrong! No one is here claiming that it is an "unGodly" genre.

    Granted, the OP seems to presuppose that there is such an attitude, but I have yet to see it anywhere. Its unfair to characterize everyone as having this supposed attitude just because they don't perform classical sonatas every week in their church services!
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    How do you know you have the gift of discernment? Is that a little presumptuous? And I certainly wouldn't presume that you have more music training than I do. I highly doubt it. But that's not the point here.

    So, if CCM dishonors God, will you agree that the church should refrain from it?

    I agree to some extent. And I think most here do. But I might remind you that that is not the topic of this thread.

    Again, being a sacred music minor, and having been blessed with the spiritual gift of discernment, I could not disagree with you more.</font>[/QUOTE]Then you should turn in your degree and repent for overestimating your discernment. They are so different it is unreal that you could think otherwise. If you really believe this, then we have to doubt your claim about being a music minor. I like some of pop music. I like classical. I am a classically trained musician. The difference is real and it is clear. They are not the same.

    I didn't say it Scripture required lyrics. I pointed out that Scripture says music it to "teach one another" and to "make melody to the Lord." How do you teach one another without words? What are you teaching? What are you praising God for without words?

    BTW, this is one of those areas where the modern church is very poorly taught. Many do not know how to understand teh text of Scripture and apply it to life.

    Can you, John, give one instance of music in teh NT that did not have words? Can you explain how we teach one another in song without words?

    I guess all handbell choirs are hellbound. Do you not see how scripturally offbase you sound. Clearly you do not.</font>[/QUOTE]Who said anything about hellbound? I didn't. You brought that up, and then attack me for being scriptually off base. I have supported what I have said with Scripture. I have not consigned anyone to hell, or questioned their spirituality.

    There are very few parts that don't, as you should know being a sacred music minor.

    That's the clearest case of scriptural perversion and manmade doctrine I have see on this board in a while.</font>[/QUOTE]Please explain how you arrived at this conclusion.

    John, remember what the topic here is: Classical music in church. It is not CCM. If you want to talk CCM, do it somewhere else. I have no interest in that discussion. But what I said about CCM and classical is comparison and contrast. You left out the whole statement for some reason.

    This thread is about the appropriateness of classical music in church, and you apparently labeled everyone who disagrees with you a hypocrite. Why won't you let someone hold a differing opinion without calling names? Isn't that hypocritical on your part? You have blasted those who try to require everyone else agree with them, and then you turn around and insist on that very thing.

    John, please do better than this kind of attacking post. And try to keep this thread on topic.
     
  15. bapmom

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    Directly to the OP,

    I don't see churches as not "accepting" classical music. They just mostly don't use it during the year. If as the music director in your church you want to start performing classical music, I would think it would be best to use pieces that have lyrics written for them.....

    but my saying that does not mean that I don't "agree" with instrumental music. So just because most churches don't use classical alot does not mean that they think classical is wrong.

    I don't bring my knitting to church and sit there and click away with my needles while the preacher is preaching....but that doesnt mean Im making a statement against knitting.....!
     
  16. TaterTot

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    Fellas, fellas. Lets not quarrel. Many of us are educated musicians here and it doesnt really matter who has what education.
    Now in the genre of "classical" music, lets not forget the historical role of some of these wonderful works. Oratorios such as "Messiah", "Elijah", "Jephtha", etc. all have been wonderful musical events that glorified God, both in the day of their composition and beyond. Sacred music surely has a role in CHristianity, or else it wouldnt be "sacred" music. Lets not make tastes and opinions as the plumb line for whats glorifying to God and whats not.
     
  17. tenor

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    That was not my intention. If this was inferred, I truly apologize for the miscommunication.

    My question was - WHy is it acceptable at Christmas and not the rest of the year?

    My answer - TRADITION! There are warm fuzzies related to much music of Christmas (both in worship and concerts of a secular nature). There is good quality in all musical styles and there is poor quality in all musical styles.

    I know as many, if not more, country gospel music (or CCM or trad hymn) snobs in the church than classical snobs.

    I use a variety of musical style through out the year. I do use things that are theologically and musically sound.

    For example, a very popular choir anthem is a piece entitled "He never failed me, yet." The piece is fun to sing but the text is weak in its theology.

    I find it interesting that we accept a "style" at one time of the year and not at others. The "Christmas Portion" of "Messiah" is only a third of the work. The other two parts are rarley performed with the exception of "The Hallelujah Chorus" Which should actually be performed at Easter rather than CHristmas. When was the last time it was performed at Easter? It would be performed every Easter if my could handle it (pun not intended).

    For example, Mozart's "Praise the Lord Our God Forever" is a wonderful song of praise that I use periodically.

    AS I've said before I draw from a wide variety of styles and to quote Harold best from his book "Music Through the Eyes of Faith" I have chosen "not to limit my choice of musical expression."
     
  18. tenor

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    Another clarifying point - I was primarily referring to choral and vocal literature and not necessarily purely instrumental music.

    Sorry for the missed communication again.
     
  19. Johnv

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    Has it now become presumptuous for a believer to be aware of one's Spiritual gifts?

    If, then yes. But as genre by defintion neither honors nor dishonors God. A specific selection within that genre will or won't but a genre as a whole does not meet the criteria.

    That's quite presumptuous, especially for a person who claims to be a pastor.

    So do I. So do I. So am I. No they're not. But my use of such in this thread is relevant to the OP, whether you agree or not.

    You have decided for yourself that the only way music can "teach" is of it has words, and then attempted to trounce that upon others. I guess you would have us be convinced to your mind.

    You are clearly no exception.

    No. Music in the NT is scarcely touched upon. Your comparison is poor. It's ike insisting that it's inappropriate to wear shoes in church, because there is no example of shoes being worn in the NT church.

    If you were really a trained musician, you'd know the answer to that. That's most definitely an "each being convinced in his own mind" issue. One can listen to Holt's "The Planets" and learn about each of the planets the composer had in mind. So it is with many Beethoven and Mozart works as well.

    It's called sarcasm, my friend. Lighten up a bit. In the very least, you're telling all those folks on the baord who are members of handbell choirs that their music is inapproprate for the church. That's ridiculous, not to mentioned not sciripturaly supportable.

    No, you have cited scriputee and added your own manmade qualifications via personal imterpretation.

    And you would have those few places omittd from Handel's Messiah when performed in church.

    Your adding to scripture via interpretation at this point is self-evident.

    My posts touch on the attitude of those who hypocritically denounce CCM. That is relevant to the topic.

    No, only those who uphold classical but denounce CCM. I don't think your view is hypocritical. It is scripturally unfounded, but not hypocritical.

    I have no problem with differing opinions. I have a proplen when someone such as you implies that your opinion is the sole acceptible standard for all churches.

    Nope, I have no problem if someone else hates a certain genre of music. When someone condemns a genre, and then requires all to adhere to the same, as you have done, that I have a problem with.
     
  20. Johnv

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    Pastor Larry has decided that performing classical that does not contain lyrics is wrong for all of us.
    I don't. If a church never uses any classical music, that's perfectly fine. But if a church never does, and then implies that those who do guilty of some biblical violation, then that needs to be addressed.
     

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