Rethinking Convictions – Part 2 of 3

Last time, I wrote about a journey of mine as convictions were changing, especially in regard to music. Last time was quite specific as I wrote about rap, and left off saying how next time I’d post some principles I’ve found helpful in looking at music on a case-by-case basis.
That said, consider the content – do the words glorify God? Is it excellent music? Think about Philippians 4:8 – that’s our standard for what we think about (and don’t you dare say you don’t think about the words or styles of the music you listen to, because you do, even if you don’t realize it). Are the words forefront and understandable, or just jumble in the background?
Consider the context – how does the performer behave on stage? Do they draw attention to themselves or God? Do they act in an ungodly manner? Does it remind you (or a weaker brother) of something bad, or stir up wrong emotions – for example, rock is often spoken of as bringing angst. That’s not good, but then there are people who listen to it without having angst being brought up, and if the lyrics are solid, it can be a form of running to God for support. Is the music way too loud – that’s not loving yourself or your neighbor?
And consider culture – Are the words and the performer self-exalting and temporal, or do they draw attention to God instead? (This isn’t to say you can’t listen to nonChristian artists – but you do need to be careful with that in the same way you are with Christian music).
To quote an article/blog series I’ve found really helpful,
“ We hate the idea of high hats and guitars because of what we associate with high hats and guitars: women disobeying God’s call to modesty (1 Timothy 2:9), men disobeying God’s teaching that long hair is a shame for a man (1 Corinthians 11:14), piercings and tattoos looking frighteningly like those “cuttings” and “marks” the children of Israel weren’t supposed to make in their flesh (Leviticus 19:28).
We see this as a total package, and for many of us, it’s a package we want nothing to do with. It’s all wrapped up in the filthy, rotting sin of the secular music world: drugs, promiscuity, immodesty, foul language… idolatrous worship of god-like rock stars. It isn’t really the music itself that so deeply offends the conservative spirit but what the music reminds us of.
It is absolutely true that many of these instruments, beat patterns, and chord progressions have been used by the world in recent times expressly for the purpose of communicating rebellion and sensuality. Music is a language. It does have the power to convey emotions, and I hope to get into this in a lot more depth in Part 3. My purpose here is simply to point out that when we recoil in disgust from this type of music, we are doing so because of the sinfulness that our culture has paired with it, not because there is anything in the Bible that specifically forbids any of the musical elements themselves.”
(you can read the rest of the article here)
She also comments on the instruments used in the Bible, and how a lot of it may have been more like rock band (tambourine and lyre and drums ) than organ. Also note how the same instruments used in Daniel when worshiping the golden image (horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe) are almost all mentioned in Psalm 150 (trumpet, lute, harp, tambourine, strings, pipe, cymbals). Instruments can be used for good or evil, as can music – and the same song can be used for good or evil, depending on the state of our hearts. I like what Mr. Kauflin said in “Worldliness.” “Depending on the state of our hearts, any song we hear is a potential carrier of worldly values and perspectives.”

So those are some principles. What it means yet for say, hard rock, I don’t know (I do know I don’t like to listen to it, but what would I tell another Christian? Would I marry someone who listened to hard rock? If there’s no stopping at hard rock, what does that mean for metal?). This doesn’t mean I’m suddenly going to scour the CD rack for all sorts of new music – I really don’t need more music right now.
There are lots of questions that I keep wrestling with. Lots of humility in somewhat ‘joining’ the other side of the argument.
And lots of good thoughts (and even music) to be found in “The Attributes of God.”
And remember, this is important: whether we realize it or not, this is what we fill our mind with. And what we fill ourselves with should spur us on to God and be wise, not foolish – “he who walks with the wise will be wise, and the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Also see Proverbs 1:33 – “Whoever listens to [wisdom] will dwell secure.” I want to dwell secure, and I want to listen to wisdom – and that applies for the lyrical, rhythmic, and melodic content (or lack thereof) in a song. Also remembering, that while all things are lawful for us – not all things are helpful. If the music isn’t building me and others up to be more like Christ, then it should go.

“If you’ve tasted and seen – then you know what I mean, He’s Good
In His nature is love – everything that he does, He’s Good
Even when it gets tough – yes the Lord is enough, He’s Good
Yes God makes it plain through the Lamb that was slain, He’s Good!”

{taste and see}

“It’s only by God’s power you exist
Now you declare war on the LORD
When before you were born, He formed you in the uterus?
Look- Our God is in the heavens and He does all that He pleases
He’s established His King in Zion and His name is Jesus!”
{our God is in the heavens}

“It’s seen in the stars
Seen in the galaxies, Seen in quasars
Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto and Jupiter,
Mercury, Saturn and Venus and mars
Back to the earth, it shows in the trees
Each of the leaves blows in the breeze
Locusts and bees, oceans and seas
All the result of Jehovah’s decrees
Observe the way his word creates
Preserves and shapes, determines fates
Reverberates at urgent rates
The earth it shakes with fervent quakes

Imagine it
I can’t explain the half of it
Our brains can’t even fathom it
And language is inadequate
To characterize the Lord on the throne
With spiritual eyes his story is known
From Him & Through Him & To Him is everything
Surely to God be the glory alone
From Him & Through Him & To Him is everything
Surely to God be the glory alone.”
{The Glory of God}

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