Instrumental Music as Worship - Plato Explains Change Agent
Wineskin merchants as RELIGIOUS CHANGE AGENTS, who WEAR OUT GOD'S PEOPLE, have adopted an old educational concept that you have to upset the equilibrium before you can teach new patterns. This is called "prayerful brinkmanship" which Jesus came to condemn as "anxiety created by religious ritual."
Churches of Christ have always struggled to resist the introduction of any ritual or ceremony which is not required by Christ for many reasons: it shows a disregard for the ability of Christ to define worship and it creates religious division by ejecting from fellowship those who cannot, with a clear conscience, engage in the new-found "mouse trap" to catch souls.
The tiny and divisive number of men and women in churches of Christ who change church music know that they are upsetting and dividing the fellowship and they are, sooner or later, rejected. Therefore, those who would fellowship churches of Christ can rest assured that they can participate in most congregations without deliberately-created divisiveness which, at the same time, is judgmental against the majority which will never participate.
Change Agents and Wineskin merchants or "Holy Spirit Bartenders" have adopted an old educational concept that you have to upset the equilibrium before you can teach new patterns. Destroy all of the old patterns and tell the ignorant that you want to establish a paradigm. This is the change power and those who use it are the change agents. Never mind that the new disciples don't have the slightest clue that the "throw away the old computers" and the Aztec "burn down the old structures" meant that the Aztecs were unable to recognize that the new gods from Spain were there to loot and murder them.
The best way to upset the equilibrium to make the changes posible is to wrench away the traditional role of music which unifies and force a new style. This will make changing the laws or doctrines easier.
Don't I catch a glimps of glee when people boast about introducing musical worship teams or instruments or whatever even if the old folk have to be upset and sacrificed?
You know what you are doing, but you don't have a clue about the hunger and thirst for the word you create (Amos 8; Isa 5) with your Amos-condemned Marzeah which was a "musical feast with and for the dead gods."
This is what you are doing just so you can introduce your new scheme which will fail like all noisy schemes:
"the primary effect of music is to give the listener a feeling of security, for it symbolizes the place where he was born, his earliest childhood satisfaction, and his work, any or all of these personality shaping experiences.
As soon as the familiar sound pattern is established, he is prepared to laugh, to weep, to dance, to fight, to worship, etc... Apparently the character and the variety of the music matters less than its conformity to tradition, which produces a sensation of security.
The work of composers in the folk world is, so far as I have observed, limited by this stylistic security-bringing framework." (Goldschmidt, Walter, Exploring the Ways of Mankind, p. 609, Holt, Rinehart and Winston)
Of course, composers rooted in the religious world are just as likely to insert elements of Rock and even Rap. The patterns and tones are not accidential. The ignorant believe that if you can cause the "audience" to feel a thrill - even if it is destructive - that the induced "joy" means "spiritual." However, the mischief of "prayerful brinkmanship" would never be attempted by a spiritual, Bible-literate person because--
"An art so deeply rooted in the security patterns of the community should not, in theory, be subject to rapid change; and, in fact, this seems to be the case. Musical style appears to be one of the most conservative, if not the most conservative of culture traits.
Religion, language, even many aspects of social structure may change; an entirely new set of tunes or rhythms or harmonic patterns may be introduced; but, in its over-all character, a musical style will remain intact.
Only the most profound social upheavals--the coming of a new population; the acceptance of a new set of mores or migration to a new territory, involving complete acculturation will profoundly transform a musical style, and even then the process takes place very slowly." (Goldschmidt, Walter, Exploring the Ways of Mankind, Holt, p. 609, Rinehart and Winston)
Plato will tell us that when the "traditions" are forced to change by a change agent it is because he intends to change the rules of the religion. Oh, he will tell you that there are no rules but one: we cannot permit you to have a rule. He has his own agenda and if he has lost the love of the Word he is a blind leader of the blind making you think that the jump from the mountain will feel good. Joseph Campbell would say: "And it will feel good, until the mind clicks in."
Anyone who doubts this might take a look at the history of "Rock and Roll and Rap." Rap, in fact, is being adopted by modern "restructure" movements because it fits the hand clapping, stomping and other efforts to find the lost gods and initiate you into pagan, male sects of society. Just remember that when the effeminate king of Tyre turned to prostitute music and wanted to be remembered, the meaning of the Hebrew is that he wanted to be "remembered as a male." Only those who have lost their maleness need to fall into ecstatic fits to remind the watching world that "I am, too, a male."
While most so-called musical worship rituals have wandered from Paul's "fill up and speak out" pattern of teaching unmodified Scripture, we can be certain that any new, forced style of musical worship is a deliberate effort to use melody (Hebrew from "pruning the vine" or "taking your inheritance") as a way to "sit down" or "put out" (ritually murder) the older members and restructure along the lines of the Hebrew Jubilee, the Babylonian New Year's Festival or the Aztec "burn down the old houses" ritual to prop up the sky because the gods seem to be failing. However, Pogo might advise: "We have met the enemy face to face and he is us."
Change of Music Means a Change of the Laws
We can feel the glee "ooze" out of every pore of those who have somehow forced a radical change to the style of worship over the objection of the older members. Remember that the first, liberal change agent forced the first organ into the church at Midway Kentucky over the objection of the elders of the church. Many of the ancient writers saw the value of musical training to help harmonize the nature of its citizens. Even now, certain forms of pure tone can heal or maybe help learning. However, they often ridiculed the performance of music as belonging to the theater and the pagan cults. Along with music went gymnasium training to prepare men for war where music was used against them to create panic:
"According to the misogynist interpretation, the form is and was conservative and kept women in their place.
Plato, the first of the anti-theatrical critics, on the other hand, thought that all imitative poetry was threatening to his ideal state and ought to be outlawed
for encouraging behavior in large part belonging to women and therefore inappropriate to a ruler or any male citizen:
imitation leads to the reality.
From Plato's perspective, theater seems to be a wild zone, a site where inappropriate actions might be represented and volatile emotions aroused. If, as Jack Winkler (1990: 50) argues,
gender was on a continuum for the Greeks, and there was a risk that the normative male could by being softened end up female, the male actor of female roles might be one site of crossover or leakage.
Remember that they tried to effeminate John and Jesus with their musical piping and singing. Jesus asked, accusingly, "Did you expect to find John wearing the soft robes of the king's prostitute males?"
Because it can easily be shown that many "churches" in their present incarnation are more Greek than Biblical, it is interesting that Plato warned that music was a system of "gradualism" used as change agent. In the Republic, Book IV, he understood that those changing the musical forms intended to change the laws. Therefore;
"Music and gymnastic (must) be preserved in their original form, and no innovation made. They must do their utmost to maintain them intact. And when anyone says that mankind must regard...
The newest song which the singers have, (Osyssey)...
they will be afraid that he may be praising, not some new songs, but a new kind of song; and this ought not to be praised, or conceived to be the meaning of the poet;
for any musical innovation is full of danger in the whole State, and ought to be prohibited.
So Damon tells me, and I can quite believe him; he says that when modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the State always change with them..."
"Then," I said, "our guardians must lay the foundations of their fortress in music?"
"Yes," I replied, 'in the form of amusement: and at first sight it always appears harmless'." (The Great Dialogs, Plato, Classic edition, p. 312)
The magicians looking for new devices discovered the educational change agent methods about the same time they discovered grace. Then they assumed that everyone was ignorant about grace because they had never "preached" it before. Any change which does not result from a sober (yes, sober) reading of the Word and a quiet honoring of Christ as Full Deity will have a successful operation but the patient will be dead.