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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Music in worship: Some thoughts from the Bible

There are more than two opinions on what (if any) music should be part of worship. But a lot of opinion seems to be in two camps. Some people believe strongly that such music should be celebratory, and that the only way to be celebratory is to make a lot of noise, and otherwise exert yourself. Some people believe that such music should be contemplative, and that the only way to be contemplative is to be restrained, and that boisterousness interferes with proper worship. Both, of course, are right:

Revelation 8:1 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. (all scriptures ESV)

Psalm 150:3 Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
5 Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

See also other examples of boisterousness in worship: Exodus 15:20, 2 Samuel 6

See also other examples of quiet contemplation in worship: Psalm 46:10, Habakkuk 2:20

That settles it! There is Biblical justification for quiet worship, and Biblical justification for noisy worship. No one should be dogmatic about either of these alternatives (or anything in between) solely on the amount of motion and noise used (or not).

I expect to say more about this matter soon, musing about a number of topics related to church music, on the effect of music on the body, and on worldliness in church music (which probably won't be on what you might think).

Thanks for reading.

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