I do not like this newer music.
1. It is too new; like an unknown language
2. It is not as melodious as the more established style.
3. There are so many songs that it is impossible to learn them all.
4. It creates disturbances and causes people to act in an indecent and disorderly manner.
5. It places too much emphasis on instrumental music rather than on godly lyrics.
6. The lyrics are often worldly, even blasphemous.
7. It is not needed, since preceding generations have gone to heaven without it
8. It monopolizes the Christian’s time and encourages them to stay out late
9. These new musicians are young upstarts, and some of them are lewd and loose persons.
The only problem is, the above comments were said 288 years ago (1723) in an attack against the hymns that many love today.
Wait, there’s more…
The first monk who experimented with multi part harmonies was excommunicated.
J.S. Bach almost lost his job as a church musician because some thought that his music was just plain “unsuitable” for church.
The organ was introduced to the churches of England and Scotland in the thirteenth century. It was dubbed “the devil’s bagpipe” and by the fifteenth century nearly all were destroyed.
“Why should Dr. (Isaac) Watts, or any other hymn-maker, not only take precedence over the Holy Ghost, but also thrust him (the Holy Ghost) utterly out of the church?” – noted theologian Thomas Bradbury
“We need one instrument, the peaceful word of adoration, not harps or drums or pipes or trumpets.” – St. Clement of Alexandria around 200 A.D.
St. Augustine (354-430 A.D.) viewed tambourines and harps merely as instruments of crucifixion for the poor animals whose skin and gut were used to produce them.
“Mindless words, bad theology, and emotional tunes.” – 1719; said about Watts hymn “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.”
The Catholic Church’s Council of Laodicea in 367 A.D. prohibited the participation of the congregation and the use of instruments in the church service. It further provided that only the Scriptures (in Latin) could be used for singing.
In 1324 A.D. Pope John issued an edict banning all forms of polyphony (multi part singing) within the church.
I do not believe that one finds this type of bickering over music in scripture which covers over 4,000 years of history. In fact, it appears to be the opposite. Music is a beautiful thing. It soothes the soul. It is a gift of God where differences are encouraged (Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs). The people used every instrument they could get their hands on – trumpets, cymbals, tambourines, harps, lyres, and horns. Music is meant to be used as a vehicle to direct our praise toward God.
Rest assured there are a few heroes. Consider Martin Luther. He used music to shake the world. He wanted everyone to sing God’s praises – not just clergy. He wanted everyone to understand what they were singing; so he translated the songs from Latin into his people’s common language. And some theologians dispute this, but it’s possible that Luther wrote a few hymns using popular tunes of his day; again to be familiar to the common people. Furthermore, if Luther wrote a song in the year 1520, and his church sang it in 1521; then it would have been considered “contemporary music” in that day. It’s the same as us singing a song today that was written in 2010. Stated differently, all music was once contemporary.
I suppose that this bickering and pandering and judging and discord and gossiping will never cease. It is after all, part of the sinful world that we live in. I am in fact part of this mess, what Paul would call “a chief of sinners” as I definitely have my favorite style and as much as I try not to, I’m sure that I have besmirched other styles on occasion, probably even at this website. But Heaven awaits. I wonder what type of music we will sing there?
No multi part harmonies?
Only in Latin?
Only chanting allowed?
Re-written pop tunes?
No devil’s bagpipes?
No singing at all?
No Bach music?
No Watts music?
No drums or guitars allowed?
No contemporary music (which means that no new music can be written in heaven)?
Could there have been a few mistakes made through the centuries? How many precious souls have been run out of church over such things? Whose enthusiasm towards their Lord has been crushed? Why have we continually stripped the church of its rich diversity of musical and worship expressions?
I have been blessed because there are many good pastors in my denomination that know that adherence to God’s word in our music trumps style, instrumentation, or any of the above mentioned nonsense – hand’s down. For this I am grateful.