The Worship of God - Through Music

From October 31 - November 3 Our family attended "The Worship of God conference" In a lovely scenic conference center in the Mountains. Ridgecrest, to be precise! I met lots of friends, some old, some new. I heard lots of encouraging talks. I sang and sang, and sang some more. Especially on Saturday night when a large group of talented singers bundled into a room with a grand piano and a few violinists to praise God through singing hymns. It is so wonderful to blend one's voice in praise to God with other believers especially when they know how to sing. In fact I personally think it is the closest one can feel to being in heaven while on earth. Even Prayer, though wonderful also, is not quite the same.
 Anyway this was a conference on the worship of God in the meetings of the church especially but also about worshiping God in the family. Guess what I heard a lot of which I'm really eager to share on this blog. Yes, I'm sure you knew first thing what I mean!
Most of the music talks I was able to go to were given by Mr. Jeff Pollard. He gave three almost consecutive talks on music. He said this was because the information he wanted to convey was simply too much to pack into one lecture. He was right! In fact I would have liked to discuss some of the subjects he touched on, more in depth with him. But I didn't get a chance! Yet, still, I learned a lot and came back feeling that until now, I have only had a very basic understanding of what music is and what it means. Also, the post I wrote a while back, titled "The music controversy" that I also posted as an actual page, is, though true, very shallow and I intend to make some changes to it. You may want to check back in a month or two and read it again!
 So, what did he say? My readers anxiously scan the page eager to hear what so radically advanced my knowledge on this subject. Fear not! I am coming to that. I took several pages worth of notes on these three talks and I wish I could post the audio of the entire talks themselves, but that would not be right. So I will give you a short outline in my own words of what I learned from Mr. Pollard's first talk; the others I will share in subsequent posts. Everything that is an actual quote by him, I will Italicize. So here are my rewritten notes to "Does music in worship affect us" By Mr. Pollard.
  Though God commands us to worship Him through music, He does not tell us what kinds of music we should use. But the Scripture is sufficient for music in worship. The book of psalms and the Song of Solomon are both entirely song and from Genesis to Revelation we find people using music to praise God and give thanks.  Music is a means of teaching, speaking, and exhortation. The word Worship is actually derived from the old English term Worth- ship which was a measure of the worth of a person. That is- to give the person that which was his worth or due. So when we worship God we are showing how much we think He is worth. Thus to give God worship is to give God His due which is why we must come to Him on His terms not on ours. The Lutherans believed that, since a way how we must worship was not specifically laid out in Scripture, as long as we worship Him we can do it however we think best. However, this is not what the other reformers taught and this does not seem to be the principle laid out in Scripture. However, that said, I return to music. The definition Mr. Pollard gave for music is sounds ordered in time. And by sounds he means tones not noise. By ordered, he means that there is a pattern to it, as in, if a door is slammed, it makes noise and your ears have no warning as to what will come next, thus it is jarring to our senses, but when the piano is played, the ears hear a pattern, the signals are not coming from all over the place but are distinct and even. "In Time" is pretty clear. All music has a steady beat. whether it is pronounced or not, sometimes it slows for a bit and then speeds up again but the constant beat is always there. Now here is where it gets really interesting. Music is the product of creative intelligence. It is not natural but of human construction. Every single culture, though it may not have a written language or art or even been able to start a fire, has its own music. This is something evolutionists simply can't explain; music is not needed to survive in any way. Yet it still seems to be a fundamental part of every society. And now comes the thrust of the lecture. Music affects us, not physically but emotionally. Music touches a part of us which simple words cannot. Just hearing one song can stir up a flood of foreign emotions, can bring up a host of forgotten memories, can transport us to celestial joy or move us to morbid sorrow, can make us bold or cause us to cower in a long dormant fear. Which is why the view, that as long as the words are good, the music doesn't matter, is simply false. It was said by a rock star (not a sheltered fundementalist sitting in a corner somewhere trying to think up some reason why rock music is bad) That when it comes to influencing people through song, the music matters more than the words. In fact, in some cases, the words don't even matter. The music by itself speaks volumes and can move us to heights or stir up evil passions!  However, music does not control us as do drugs or alcohol. It can be resisted. Though music can influence us to do evil, that is only because the evil was already in our heart to begin with and the music just stirred it up. So we must never say the music made us do it. The music didn't make us do anything. It influenced us but it didn't make us do it.
 So to sum it up; it matters immensely what kind of music we use in worship. Because it affects us. We should not tempt those evil passions in our heart with wrong music. So when you listen to music, turn into words the emotions it brings to you and assess by the scriptures whether those feelings are right. This could solve a lot of the controversy Christians have over music!

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