The theology of bluegrass lyrics

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Psalm 95, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. Psalm 95

    Psalm 95
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    I listen to bluegrass gospel every day and I have a friend at work that both listens to and plays bluegrass.

    A few days we discussed the theology of bluegrass.

    The tone and attitude of bluegrass lyrics is very different from the Swedish State Lutheran church my friend grew up in.

    For me as born again and baptist I really like bluegrass gospel and think the lyrics are good and builds faith and sanctification besides being nice listening to.

    My question to you that live in the U.S.A. the home of bluegrass:

    1. Are artists that plays bluegrass often Baptists?

    2. Is the theology of the Scofield Reference Bible a good approximation of bluegrass theology?

    3. Do you have any other thoughts on the theology and faith of bluegrass lyrics?
     
  2. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    Hey Psalm 95, glad to hear there are some bluegrass fans over across the sea there. I live in an area where bluegrass music has a strong tradition and we get to hear a lot of it. Some of it good, most of it pretty bad.

    Now I am a huge bluegrass fan, I love it. I have probably dragged my kids to too many festivals and concerts and they hate it. The first thing my teenager asks now is, “Will there be a bunch of old men there playing the banjo?” Of course the answer is usually, “Yes.” It is a real shame because he was taking guitar from a real genius of a picker but now he doesn’t want to play bluegrass anymore.

    To answer your questions:

    • Sometimes, but musicians come from all different denominations. Even the Baptist denomination in the United States can cover a lot of theological ground. I know bluegrass musicians that are southern Baptist, independent Baptist, missionary Baptist, freewill Baptist, Church of God and Pentecostal. You have to be careful about the artists. Often as soon as our American country stars start to see their record sales drop they put out a gospel album and start talking about their faith. No matter what venue of music you will find many musicians who will play anything for a dollar.

    • No I would not go along with that. Within bluegrass music you will find lots of different theological views. The old Scofield Bible was a standard for years (and I preached out of one this last Sunday) but the theology behind Scofield’s notes represents a fairly narrow view of dispensationalism that I don’t always agree with. When you say “Bluegrass” you are covering a large venue of secular and religious music that represents many different people. Most bluegrass music is secular although most artists and albums will include some gospel songs.

    • Yes, I have thoughts. As far as lyrics go you can get into dangerous ground there my friend. Don’t ever try to get your theology from song lyrics, I don’t care what style of music. Many of our favorite old hymns you can find in the church hymnals teach horrible theology. That being said some bluegrass lyrics are incredibly good. Here are some of my favorites:

    A Voice From On High:
    Don’t Put Off ‘til Tomorrow:
    Just a Little Talk with Jesus:

    Now those are some good lyrics, but there are a lot of bad ones also. Probably my favorite Christmas song is “Star of Bethlehem” and it talks about the wise men going to Bethlehem. And a lot of songs teach the popular theological myth that if you just live good you’ll be alright.

    Who are you listening to over in Sweden Psalm 95? I have some good tracks from local groups you may not have heard of we can swap out.
     
  3. blackbird

    blackbird
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    I have a cousin down in Louisiana who plays "Christian" Bluegrass---if its not Christian---he doesn't play it

    He's about as Southern Baptist as I am---and I'm a pretty good Southern Baptist if I say so myself!!!
     
  4. Psalm 95

    Psalm 95
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    I am quite a newcomer to Bluegrass, I listen to:

    1. Blue Highway, favorite song: Two coats

    2. Downhill Bluegrass Band - they are Swedish

    3. Everything on the Gospel Grass webradio station
     
  5. Psalm 95

    Psalm 95
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    I do not build theology on lyrics. I am member of a good chrurch and knows how to read the Bible and also how to get good advice.

    But, I am really interested in the fact that in quite secular Sweden bluegrass songs are giving a quite strong witness to people that would never enter our church or listen swedish christian music.

    I also recognises lyrics like, sin, calvary, Lazarus, Jonah and resurection instead of what I often hear by swedish christian performers.

    So in many ways I find the lyrics both close to the Bible and, very important, talks the language of hard working men with jobs like farmer or foundry worker.

    Therefore I see a way of wittness that I did not expect.
     
  6. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill
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    I'm glad you enjoy the music,I like bluegrass gospel and southern gospel(mostly quartet). I do however keep in mind these folks are musicians and not theologins.:godisgood:
     
  7. Linda64

    Linda64
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    I love bluegrass gospel music--I also love some regular bluegrass music (i.e. Rocky Top and Foggy Mountain Breakdown).

    I have never heard of the "theology of bluegrass lyrics". Not all bluegrass gospel lyrics are in agreement with the Word of God. Bluegrass is a genre/class of music, which has nothing to do with theology. There are different styles in that particular genre/class of music. If there is a "theology", it would definitely be in the lyrics, not the genre of bluegrass itself.

    As far as the artists who play and sing bluegrass gospel, many are not even born again. There are many secular country singers who sing gospel music who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ.

    My favorite bluegrass gospel groups are The Primitive Quartet and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver.
     
    #7 Linda64, Nov 28, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2007
  8. Dale-c

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    Well said, Linda, we must not confuse style with theology in music.
    Many do and will throw out a good song because they don't like the style but will accept a theologically bad song just because they like the tune.
    I struggle with this myself. I am a song leader at church and I find myself wanting to choose on style rather than on doctrine. I am working on that! :)

    Oh, I do like bluegrass though. Not sure it has a place in a worship service but I play a lot of it on my gospel radio show.

    I like Alison Krauss and Union station as well as the Seldom Scene.
    I am familiar with Doyle Lawson but I have not hear much of their music, though a frind of mine is friends with one of the bandmembers. She is a talented fiddler in her own right.
     

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