The Silly War: Kyle Matthews, a Review
The Conflict Over Music in Worship by Kyle Matthews: The Silly War is silly because there is NO MUSIC word ever used in connection with spiritual worship in the Bible. On the contrary, MUSIC always says to God: "we will not listen to YOUR words." It is self evident.
Kyle Matthews home page Kyle Matthews is an award-winning singer-songwriter and popular speaker endeavoring to share insights and encouragement for people interested in following Jesus. Here you'll find his recording, booking information, helpful articles and links to other great resources.
Kyle's quotations are in RED, my comments in BLACK and other quotations in BLUE.
"Worship War 'Silly,' Harmful"
Christian musical artist Kyle Matthews says the battle over praise and worship raging in local churches is a "silly war," with dire consequences, according to an Associated Baptist Press report. Speaking at a seminar during the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly this past summer, Matthews said the war is unnecessary and damaging. "If anybody wins, we all lose."
For example, he said, defenders of traditional worship can be guilty of failing to reach out to a non-churched culture. At the same time, however, advocates for contemporary worship might ignore the value of tradition and lessons of church history.
Matthews, who often leads worship in as many as three churches in a weekend, said too many churches are being torn apart over worship style and that the war is "unwinnable." He cited religion researcher George Barna, who has said that culture "reinvents itself" every three to five years. That means that by the time a church or worship leader decides that a particular style is best or most effective, it is already on the way to being out of date, Matthews said.
Kyle Matthews is a professional musician. It is "logical" that he would defend MUSIC even when the MUSIC word was never used in the Bible in connection with spiritual worship. In fact, for the synagogue (Qahal) or church in the wilderness, instruments and "making a joyful noise before the Lord" was outlawed. This is because both the synagogue and church were not like pagan worship centers. Rather, of the church assembly, Paul used a form of the word synagogue. And "there was no praise service in the synagogue."
In the Greek world, a guitar player was a kitherIST. When PLAYERS are intended the word IST is always used. There are no ISTS in the Bible in the approved sense.
The Musical Worship Team attending the girl Jesus would raise were musicians, minstrels or fluteISTS. Jesus CAST THEM OUT more or less violently using a word meaning "as one ejects dung."
skubal-on , to, dung, excrement, Plu.2.352d, Alex.Aphr.Pr.1.18: pl., s. leuka kai argilôdea Aret.SD1.15 , cf. Str.14.1.37, J.BJ5.13.7, etc.; manure, PFay.119.7 (i/ii A.D.).
2. refuse, offal, Ep.Phil.3.8, Jul.Or.5.179c; apodeipnidion s. AP6.302 (Leon.); andra, poluklauton nautiliês s. ib.7.276 (Hegesipp.); tephrês loipon eti s. ib.382 (Phil.); opp. to chrêsimon, Ath.Med. ap. Orib.1.2.8; s. tou sêsamou PCair.Zen. 494.16 (iii B.C.); s . chortou PSI3.184.7 (pl., iii A.D.): pl., deipnon apo skubalôn AP6.303 (Aristo); s. anthrôpou LXX Si.27.4 .
Skubalon (g4657) skoo'-bal-on; neut. of a presumed der. of 1519 and 2965 and 906; what is thrown to the dogs, i.e. refuse (ordure): - dung.
Kuon (g2965) koo'-ohn; a prim. word; a dog ["hound"] (lit. or fig.): - dog.
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. Mt.7:6
Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. Ph.3:2
But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. 2 Pe.2:22
For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. Re.22:15
L. These then are the matters administered by the Council. Also ten men are elected by lot as Restorers of Temples, who draw 30 minae1 from the Receivers and repair the temples that most require it; and ten City Controllers, 
five of whom hold office in Peiraeus and five in the city;
it is they who supervise the flute-girls and harp-girls and lyre-girls to prevent their receiving fees of more than two drachmas,
and if several persons want to take the same girl these officials cast lots between them and hire her out to the winner.
And they keep watch to prevent any scavenger from depositing ordure (dung) within a mile and a quarter of the wall;
and they prevent the construction of buildings encroaching on and balconies overhanging the roads, of overhead conduits with an overflow into the road, and of windows opening outward on to the road;
and they remove for burial the bodies of persons who die on the roads, having public slaves for this service.
See Aristot. Ath. Pol. 7.3. A drachma (say 9 1/2d. or 1 franc) was a hundredth part of a mina (say 4 pounds.)
The Hypocrites were a SECT of the Jews who were grouped with the Pharisees and Scribes or other PROFESSIONAL religionists.
hupo-kritikos , ê, on, belonging to hupokrisis 11 , skilled therein, esti phuseôs to hu. einai having a good delivery, Arist.Rh.1404a15 .
2. suited for speaking or delivery, (sc. technê) the art of delivery, (but, the actor's art, .
3. metaph., acting a part, pretending to
I. to reply, make answer, answer, Hom., Hdt.
2. to expound, interpret, explain, Od., Ar.:--the attic word in this sense is apo-krinomai.
II. of actors, to answer on the stage: hence to play a part, be an actor
2. to represent dramatically: hence to exaggerate
3. metaph. to play a part, to feign, pretend, c. inf., id=Dem.
Of those who would DIVERT a non-instrumental church into being an instrumental church and taking pay for it as rhetorician or Sophist, the Greek had a word for it.
parasi-tus , i, m., = parasitos, lit. one who eats with another; hence,
I. In gen., a guest (pure Lat. conviva): parasiti Jovis, the gods, Varr. ap. Aug. Civ. Dei, 6, 7; App. M. 10, p. 246, 35.--Hence, parasitus Phoebi, a player, actor, Mart. 9, 29, 9.--
II. In partic., in a bad sense, one who, by flattery and buffoonery, manages to live at another's expense, a sponger, toad-eater, parasite
These were all identified as PARASITES because they claimed the office of the PRIESTS ASSISTANTS at animal sacrifices. For instance, there is always a connection between instrumentalists and PARASITES.
parasitor . a-ri, v. dep. [id.] , to play the parasite, to sponge: parasitarier, Plaut. Stich. 4, 2, 54 : parasitando pascere ventres suos, id. Pers. 1, 2, 3
Same meaning in Latin
cithari-zo , a-re, v n., = kitharizô, to play on or strike the cithara, Nep. Epam. 2, 1; Vulg. Apoc. 14, 2..
In the Apostolic Constitutions, the group calling itself the church of Christ in about the year 205 insisted:
(1) come, whether it be man or woman, or charioteer, or dueller, or racer, or player of prizes, or Olympic gamester, or one that plays on the pipe, on the lute, or on the harp at those games, or a dancing-master or an huckster,
(2) either let them leave off their employments, or let them be rejected. If a soldier come, let him be taught to "do no injustice, to accuse no man falsely, and to be content with his allotted wages:"
(3) if he submit to those rules, let him be received; but if he refuse them, let him be rejected. He that is guilty of sins not to be named, a sodomite, an effeminate person, a magician, an enchanter (chanter), an astrologer, a diviner, an user of magic verses, a juggler, a mountebank, one that makes amulets, a charmer, a soothsayer, a fortune-teller, an observer of palmistry; he that, when he meets you, observes defects in the eyes or feet of the birds or cats, or noises, or symbolical sounds:
let these be proved for some time, for this sort of wickedness is hard to be washed away; and if they leave off those practices, let them be received; but if they will not agree to that, let them be rejected. Let a concubine, who is slave to an unbeliever, and confines herself to her master alone, be received;
These people think that THEIR SONGS are superior to God's songs which are prescribed for the church assembly:
thespesios divinely uttered or uttering (thespesiêi, 'by DIVINE decree,' Il. 2.367), divine; aoidê, Il. 2.600; Seirênes, 'heavenlysinging,' Od. 12.158 ; bêlos, 'of heaven,' Il. 1.591; then of anything prodigious, vast, wondrous, mighty, a storm, clamor, panic, etc.--Adv., thespesiôs, Il. 15.637. [p. 138]
aoidos ( [aeidô] ) singer, minstrel, bard,
2. fem., SONGSTRESS, poluïdris a. Id.15.97 ; of the nightingale, Hes.Op.208; of the Sphinx, S.OT36, E.Ph.1507 (lyr.); aoidos MOUSA (muses of Revelation 18)
II. as Adj., tuneful, musical, aoidotatan ornitha E.Hel.1109 (lyr.), cf. Theoc.12.7, Call.Del.252, IG12(2).443.
The OPHIS serpent or enchanter is Satan in the book of Revelation. He is REALLY a Sophist or public speaker who claims more power than the Word of God: The Sorcerers are the rhetorical poisioners and MUSICIANS
pharmak-eus , eôs, ho, poisoner, sorcerer, S.Tr.1140, Pl.Smp.203d, etc.; gnêsioi sophistai kai ph. Jul.Or.6.197d .
II. druggist, apothecary, Aret.CD2.12.
sophis-tês , ou, ho, master of one's craft, adept, expert, of diviners, Hdt.2.49; of poets, meletan sophistais prosbalon Pi.I.5(4).28 , cf. Cratin.2; of musicians, sophistês
Kyle Matthews: There is a quiet, costly battle being fought today in ministries and religious institutions of every shape, size and stripe over the style of music they want to use in worship. This is a shame because while style may be the conflict, it is not the real crisis.
The real crisis is that followers of Jesus Christ have allowed something as ephemeral, and superficial as style threaten our identity, divide us,
and distract us from our core beliefs about worship.
We are secretly jealous of anyone who can play an instrument. However, as Kyle notes, CCM may not be suitable for worship. Our review is not to condemn but to add our own notes to the warning against secular music in church.
Our core belief, gleaned from a 100% negative record, is that "music" is not a "worship" term and instrumental music along with new wine in new wineskins was the uinversal symbol of man rejecting God's Word and God pouring out His wrath. That is CORE and freedom from the demand to WORK at our worship with talent, training, showmaship and silly praise hymns is the best part of GOSPEL.
Once you cut yourself free of the Biblical "core" teachings about worship and begin to add human compositions and even instruments to that core the entirity of history proves that you have begun a noisy battle over style and your "boots walk all over Jesus."
Music is not a religious term either in the New Testament or the Greek world uless you were involved in pagan rituals. Music and external singing are secular terms while "speaking to yourselves" is a religious activity.
The Theologial Dictionary of the New Testament notes that:
"In the NT there is still no precise differentiation between ode, psalmos, and humnos. e.g., in Col.3:16 or Eph.5:19, in contrast to a later time, when ode (canticum) came to be used only for biblical songs (apart from the Psalms) used in liturgy. From the NT passages we may gather the following elements in the concept or the Christian ode as also confirmed from other sources.
(Our note: Sing in Ephesians 5:19 is Ode (g5603) o-day'; from 103; a chant or "ode" the gen. term for any words sung)
"a. Odai are the cultic songs of the community. They are not sung by the individual, out by the community gathered for worship...
Of a piece with this is the anonymity or the early authors, as also the attachment to OT tradition. Only in the 2nd century are the authors sometimes mentioned. In the Didascalia, 2, p..5.29, we can still read: 'It thou desirest hymns, thou hast the Psalms of David."'
"b. The ode is inspired. This is shown by the epithet pneumatikos, though it does indicate more generally its religious character. . . . With the inspiration or hymns is linked their improvisation, e.g., in I C. 14:26 (cr. Acts 4:24); Tert. adv. Marc., 5,b; Apolog. 39,18." (Note: and condemned, we might add).
In Acts 1:20 psalmos is the book of Psalms and in Rom. 15: sing is psallo.
- "Psallo is best translated by chant,
- not sing.
- The Greeks sharply distinguish chanting (psalmodia)
- from singing (tragoudi).
- The first is a sacred activity;
- the second, a secular one.
"In English, unfortunately, the distinction is not sharp, and the word singing is frequently employed to refer to the sacred activity of chanting.
A Greek would never, never say tragoudo (I sing), instead of psallo; the two terms have connotations and associations which are worlds apart -
- the first is related to the earthly realm,
- the second to the heavenly." Constantine Cavarnos
Our children and grandchildren prove that the impulse to play or dance is part of their physical nature but the word "music" has no connection with Christian worship. If we could grasp this fact there would be no conflict between secular and church activities.
Speaking or teaching the Biblicial text to another is not remotely related to the word "music" as we will show. Therefore, as a parallel in church history, the only way to remove the divisive issue of idolatry is to, like the Calvinists, tear down the idols or paint them over and melt down the pewter organ pipes as the world's oldest "speaking" idols. Most remained in churches and were used for secular concerts.
Kyle Matthews: When I was growing up, this issue was considered to be just one of many symptoms of "the generation gap" but in the church I now attend, the folks who nearly come to blows over music are often from the same generation. So, this debate not new.
I remember being taught about a time when the organ was called "offensive",
a time when both Frances of Assisi and Martin Luther were said to have done more damage with their music than they ever did with their theology.
The official Catholic view was decidedly anti-instruments. The Catholic Encyclopedia shows that instruments were added to attract people to pay off the oft-competing Cathedrals but admits that the Bible does not endorse instruments.
It is a fact that armed with the Catholic history of using secular tunes, secular sentiment, secular profesionals and secular results, Martin Luther too the unlawful liberty of replacing the Word of God with his own hymns. However, he did not bring "the ensign of Baal" into the protestant churches.
Martin Luther simply followed the New Testament rather than the Law of Moses and therefore there was no reason for instruments. Consistent with all of the church fathers he also recognized that organs are indeed the world's most creative idols when used as part of Christian worship:
"The organ in the worship Is the insignia of Baal" The Roman Catholic borrowed it from the Jews." (Martin Luther, Mcclintock & Strong's Encyclopedia Volume VI, page 762)
And if you know the history of Old Testament and Babylonian musical worship you will understand that this is the total truth.
The fallacy of the reformers was in believing that they could compose their own hymns. However, this was a divisive battle already fought out over the introduction of human texts into the songs and condemned by early church councils. Some even thought that they could write their own Bible. However, Luther and all of the early non-catholics rejected instrumental music because they knew that it was not Biblical and that it was destructive.
It was only in the 19th centuries that most protestants added instruments in order to attract customers to their commercial religions.
Basil develops the idea by asking:
"Who can consider as an enemy one with whom he has sung God's praises with one voice? Hence singing the psalms imparts the highest good, love for it uses communal singing, so to speak, as a bond of unity, and it harmoniously draws people to the symphony of one choir." (Quasten, p. 70)
"Like most religious reformers, Calvin relied on song by the people, and discourages musical instruments which he compared to childish toys which ought to be put away in manhood. So deeply did his teaching sink into the Genevans, that three years after his death they melted down the pipes of the organ in his church, to form flagons for the communion. And his principle were adopted widely in Britain." (W. T. Whitley, Congregational Hymn-Singing (London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1933, p. 58).
Then Calvin notes what the Catholics confess: that it was not really a borrowing from the sacrificial system but from the world of entertainment from all pagans which had developed in Judaism:
From this it appears that the Papists, as I shall have occasion to show elsewhere, in employing instrumental music
cannot be said so much to imitate the practice of God's ancient people
as to ape it in a senseless and absurd manner,
exhibiting a silly delight
in that worship of the Old Testament which was figurative and terminated with the gospel." (Psalm 92:1)
Like Clement Out of Church: For even now, if believers choose to cheer themselves with musical instruments, they should, I think, make it their object not to dissever their cheerfulness from the praises of God.
Like Clement in Church: But when they frequent their sacred assemblies, musical instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting up of lamps, and the restoration of the other shadows of the law.
The Papists, therefore, have foolishly borrowed this, as well as many other things, from the Jews.
The Catholic Encyclopedia: We need not shrink from admitting that candles, like incense and lustral water, were commonly employed in pagan worship and in the rites paid to the dead.
But the Church from a very early period took them into her service, just as she adopted many other things indifferent in themselves, which seemed proper to enhance the splendour of religious ceremonial. We must not forget that most of these adjuncts to worship, like music, lights, perfumes, ablutions, floral decorations, canopies, fans, screens, bells, vestments, etc.
were not identified with any idolatrous cult in particular;
they were common to almost all cults.
The burden Jesus died to give us as "Gospel" was "spiritual anxiety from religious ceremonial." The Catholics used it because "anxiety" was their primary weapon for extorting money from the poor.
Men who are fond of outward pomp may delight in that noise;
but the simplicity which God recommends to us by the apostle is far more pleasing to him. Paul allows us to bless God in the public assembly of the saints only in a known tongue, (1 Corinthians 14:16.)
The voice of man, although not understood by the generality,
assuredly excels all inanimate instruments of music; and yet we see what St Paul determines concerning speaking in an unknown tongue. [Paul uses the terms lifeless instruments or carnal weapons].
Of the king of Tyre as the change agent of Lucifer:
All your pomp has been brought down to the grave, along with the noise of your harps; maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you. Isa 14:11
Kyle Matthews: I agree with those who say that the classical works are musically superior and that
the object of our worship deserves our best.
Studies have shown that classical music is much less abrading than many forms of music including "church" music which has been refined to have an emotional impact upon the mind. However, this gets close to the word "symphony" which is the only true music term in the New Testament.
However, if it is the works of men's hands or composing or theatrical performance skills the best is still like filthy rags to God. That is why the Synagogue worship was "come in, sit down, shut up and listen to the reading of the word." The best we have will just get us burned by offering strange fire. The best that we can do is truly worship Him by honoring His Word as He speaks to us. Then we are free to be involved in music if we are lucky enough to have any talent.
The best comes out of the spirit or mind and not out of the glands.
Kyle Matthews: But even people who concede that resist a steady diet of this music because it doesn't "speak to them." Why doesn't it?
If we followed the biblical pattern we wouldn't focus on the non-spiritual word "music" and there would not be a problem with wearing people out. The work of medicine and musicologists show that many forms of music work because it produces a "high." This was known by many early writers. Therefore, it might be enjoyable and recreational to listen to "inspiring" music but not true "worship" which is in spirit or in mind.
Kyle Matthews: Because no one ever taught them the language. Were music itself the only concern, churches could simply agree to become musical preservation societies and serve a useful purpose.
Paul in 1 Cor 13 and chapter 14 compares musical instruments and self-composed songs to speaking in tongues. It was just "speaking into the air." Music is an unknown tongue and if you don't tell me what the flute is saying then I cannot understand. Why imposed the nead for a language translator between God and His people? Surely He understands english prose. Surely!
Kyle Matthews: But clearly, that alone is not the heart of worship. On the other extreme, as one working within the contemporary Christian music industry, I can assure you that while we may find some of the material useful-- even inspiring--
we cannot trust a commercial industry to tell the church what it needs or to educate our children about the value of tradition.
"Christian music industry" may be placing the "logo" of Christ on a product when in fact it is just a meaningful song. "Christian" is reserved for that which Christ taught. For instance, the term "Pauline" can only be pasted onto something which Paul taught. A thing may be Paul-like but not Pauline. It may have Christ as its theme but not be "Christian." Someone may place the label "Kyle Matthews" on a CD and sell it but Kyle Matthews will sic his attorney on them jiffy quick as, indeed, he should do. Hope he doesn't get napped by Napster!
Kyle Matthews: The only real criterion for "what is appropriate" in a commercial industry is "whatever people want." No commodity market will ever lead us to the heart of worship.
To those who find the heart of worship best expressed by a style -- any one style-- I ask them only to observe what crises are facing churches that have made their style a chief concern.
There is no musical style associated with Christian worship. We have slowly acclimated ourselves to the term like a frog boiled in slowly-warming water. There really needs to be another term. Therefore, Kyle's warning is appropriate.
Kyle Matthews: Attrition is only one factor forcing us to re-examine our way of doing worship. George Barna, foremost statistician for religious life in America, says the pace of social change has sped up to the point that our culture reinvents itself every three to five years.
I have noticed that the more the church tries to be theatrical the more the "attrition shows up disguised as empty pews." You simply cannot compete with CDs stolen over the internet! As far as people trying to serve as mediators between the "audience" and God, preachers and singers seem to lack credibility when they wave their hands in front of your eyes and tell you that you want you to see Jesus. We confess that we are more involved in comparing styles. Nevertheless, they chant:
- Don't look at me, don't look at me
- I am God's window, don't you see.
- Grab hold I'll lift you to the sky,
- There see God and get that "Pie."
- But more a door than window thee
- It is thy talent that I see.
- Christ Mediator had to die
- To be that Window to the sky.
- Now, go I pray thee,
- Die to self
- Sit down, shut up,
- God needs no help.
Kyle Matthews: Add to that the explosion of multi-cultural influences and entertainment models and two things become very clear.
Judaism lasted for about 2500 years without a change to the Law of Moses. Therefore, God's message does not grow stale. Christianity is not multi-cultural: it is counter-cultural. When you get culture injected into Christianity it ceases to be real. Reading the Word works in any culture. Music cannot be cross cultural and not be divisive.
Nevertheless, it is tempting to try to hang Christian worship onto culture rather than make culture hang on the teachings of Christ which are eternal.
Kyle Matthews: We cannot expect our traditional music to ever again have the influence it once had and
we are foolish to expend our energies trying to ape the latest trends of a popular culture.
Music is not a spiritual worship term. It is a secular or even pagan term. Speaking the inspired Biblical text to one another is not music.
Perhaps this is the time to give up trying to get God and the audience to "feel" and restore the Ancient Order which was the Synagogue (Hebrew) or church (Greek). It was never worship center and there was no music and no praise service in the synagogue or early church.
It was more school and community center than pagan-like temple.
The "traditional" music which deviated from Psalms opened themselve up to as much erroneous teachings and "contemporary" songs.
Kyle Matthews: The question for those of us in leadership is this:
why involve ourselves in the endless debate over style instead of raising the level of discourse to that of substance, which would cultivate
an entirely new set of issues and results?
The word "preach" is often better translated "teach" or "read the Word." Dialog was the common method of the early church and not even those who claimed to be inspired escaped being challenged.
But the Word of God is still there and worship is not related to the word "music" in any style. So, as long as we continue to keep jabbing our secular skills into the simple worship of God there can be no substance, and style is about the only test for an "authentic" church these days.
Kyle Matthews: Only a discussion of substance will reveal to people on every side of the issue that we all have golden calves we need to burn.
This is a great point. The "because of transgression" which brought down the Law of Moses upon the heads of idolaters and took away the covenant was the musical worship of Apis the golden calf as the image of the real-life bull as the incarnation of Osiris. Burning the golden calf therefore was punishment for restoring musical worship which is recognized as idolatry. Miriam could sing, play and dance with the women as part of her culture but the God of the bible is counter-cultural to all forms of worship at the time. His scheme had no praise service and songs were "recited" to be learned and repeated to "teach and admonish" one another.
As punishment: the golden calf was burned, the law was imposed, the Levites stood between the symbolic presence of God at the tabernacle and the people who were now "strangers" unable to come boldly before the throne of grace.
"The Jews sang in the type of the Egyptian threnodies (elegies for the dead):
"Thus they made a golden bull, the image of an animal that was held to be the most sacred in that land; they offered unholy sacrifices, performed impious dances and sang hymns which differed in no way from the pagan mourning songs. Philo, De specialibus legibus
"This reference probably indicates the use of songs from the cult of Osiris... it can hardly be denied that Egyptian influence on Jewish musical practices was quite significant. This would stand to reason because of the high quality of Egyptian cultic music. The tambourine or timbrel, a hoop of bells over which a white skin was stretched, came from Egypt. Miriam used this instrument to accompany the singing and dancing on the shores of the Red Sea (Ex. 15). (Quasten, Music & Worship, p. 65)
"The trumpet... was the signaling instrument of the Egyptian army. The name of the Sistrum (2 Sam 6:5) was mena'ane'im. It was the Egyptian kemken used in the cult of Isis.
The music during the transferring the Ark to Sion (David separated the Ark from the Tabernacle by "rising up to play")
and the dances of the women at the Shiloh (Judges 21:21), were similar to the Egyptian liturgy and parades.
"The triumphal hymn of Moses had unquestionably a religious character about it; but the employment of music in religious services, though idolatrous, is more distinctly marked in the festivities which attended the erection of the golden calf." (Smith's Bible Dictionary, Music, p. 589).
Kyle Matthews: Jesus warned us about looking upon the outward appearance, pointed us to the heart of the matter and commanded us to be discerning. To me that means being primarily concerned with what the music says and always mindful of the fact that all styles really will pass away.
I've been in the middle of this debate all of my life, yet I can count on one hand the number of times I've heard people debate the content of a song rather than its style. If there is anything about music worth getting angry about, surely that is the temple Jesus would have us clean first.
The temple was the seat of collection plates and a "giant fertility ritual" which the Jewish clergy confused with religion. Music was a grand feature of the temple but not of the synagogue where the people met to study the word and pray. Jesus cleansed the temple and then had it taken down and burned with an everlasting fire (the effects still last) like the "golden calf" which it had become.
The temple of God is the human mind and you cannot get in that secret place with me and God because it is equivalent to the most holy place where music was not allowed. "No man knows the thoughts of man but the spirit of the man."
Kyle Matthews: We cannot afford the time and energy necessary to get involved in fight that will never be won and will never go away.
Better to try our best to steer the conflict to a higher level
and redirect the issue to matters of timeless importance.
I apply this test to almost every worship experience I am a part of: who does this worship service reveal us to be and what does it say about our image of God? I have also set these goals for my worship:
1) whatever standards we may try to set, we must be willing to lower them anytime we are in danger of sending the message that people are less important than style.
2) Within the context of a trusting relationship, we have the obligation to expose people to the best music we have found with which to worship and the reasons for our opinion.
We must actively discuss concepts like reverance, tradition, inclusion, ritual, and the importance of all the elements of worship: praise,
Because music was an external thing there was no praise service for the people under the Law. This was at the temple to which the congregation never came to sing and play instruments as an overt act of worship. The people were specificially put "outside the camp" or gates when the music sounded as a warning and to "make noise" during animal sacrifices.
It is significant that when the music sounded (noise, not music) at the dedication of the temple, it was filled with a great darkness and the priests could not minister. However, the congregation now outside the camp or gates prayed to God individually and God heard from heaven.
There was no praise in the syngaogue because it was "school" and not worship center.
There was no "praise service" in the New Testament church. None. The act was "teaching," the resource was the Word of God and the internal heart-singing was directed to God.
As Kyle notes, it is the inward heart and not the external which counts. One confesses to the one whom he has offended and the assembly is the place to restore broken relationship without ritual.
It is impossible to meditate during a "now let's meditate ritual" or when someone is playing an instrument. The church would be well served if it, like the Quakers, spent more time understanding that one comes into God's presence in silence.
In the synagogue and church the job was to be a "school" and not a worship center. The early example is that preaching was really reading the Word and explaining difficult passages.
One may pray anywhere but Jesus said do it in the closet or private place. You can pray on my behalf but you cannot pray for me.
Kyle Matthews: We should understand our role as educators.
3) Finally, we must not be afraid to call upon one another to examine our tastes and our motives to see if we are internally consisitent with who we claim to be.
This is a way of asking people to bring their best to God in worship.
But only after including people and exposing them to our best have we earned the right to do this and in so doing, reframe the debate.
The "role of educator" always seemed to fail and the people "hungered and thirsted for the Word but could not find it." It is interesting that music was always the easiest way to sidestep the role of educator of God's Word.
The Word Music or Musick
Of Israel's religious festivals which were "feasts of and with the dead," Amos pronounced woes against those:
That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; Amos 6:4
That chant (somewhat like tongues in Corinth) to the sound of the viol, and invent (improvize upon) to themselves instruments of musick, like David; Amos 6:5
Shiyr (h7892) sheer; from 7891; a song; abstr. singing: - musical (-ick), * sing (-er, -ing), son
The operative idea is "instruments of singing." In other words, the instruments did their singing. In the church fathers the particular problem for Christians was that pagans added their voice to the sound of a machine. Everyone knew that chanting was one thing and intended to communicate. Music was not intended to communicate but made the singing less understandable.
Again, this was not against musicians as an occupation but against replacing the Word with music.
Musick appears only once in the KJV New Testament and that in a secular sense:
Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. Luke 15:25
Sumphonia (g4858) soom-fo-nee'-ah; from 4859; unison of sound ("symphony"), i.e. a concert of instruments (harmonious note): - music.
Choros (g5525) khor-os'; of uncert. der.; a ring, i.e. round dance ("choir"): - dancing.
When the Jews attempted to force Jesus into this it was mocking Him playing a concert of instruments and trying to get him to lament for Bacchus and dance.
"Music with the Greeks, therefore, included, besides
- vocal and instrumental music,
- choral dancing,
- rhythmic motions,
- and various modes of harmony expressed in action,
perhaps most particularly that part of education which we should now classify as a striving for harmony (Kosmos unity) in life
combined with aesthetic (art and human creativity),
in contrast with intellectual and physical branches of study and development.
It was culture of the essential person, the ego or soul,
whereas the other two divisions care for and supply the needs of the mind and of the body.
Musicians or the concert of instruments again appears in the end-time Babylonian whore worship:
And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; Rev 18:22
These are the SOPHISTS or professionals who claim that they have ENCHANTING POWER. However, in the Greek world they all were part of the Hypocrite Sect and were identified as PARASITS and the OPHIS serpents.
As Kyle warns that great secular music does not mean "Christian" music, the end-time conflict and debate will undoubtedly increase as spiritual worship abandons itself more and more to the marriage of religion, music and secular interests.
It is commendable that Kyle has the talent but understands that bending to the culture just means unceasing change and conflict.