Musical Worship Teams - Performance Worship - Pastoral Musicians Kenneth L. Sublett
Because some churches of Christ promote the Willow Creek performance model of musical worship teams, we will look at their need for someone to facilitate worship. We will look at some of the scholarly comments which connect musical facilitation to ancient and modern beliefs that one can move the many into the presence of God. This means that we should give second thoughts to adopting destructive "paradigms" just to triumph over the old "patterns."
All musical terms and names of instruments are rooted in Satan, warfare, prostitutes or sacrificial systems.
There is NO hint that music can be used in the church which is a synagogue or school of the Bible.
Paul defines the assembly in terms of the synagogue and 'there was no praise service' in the synagogue. As the Qahal or "church in the wilderness" Numbers 10 outlaws it.
On the contrary, all of the contemporaneous literature, the Babylonian tablets, the classics and all churc fathers repudiates music and associates it with perverted religionism.
If you are interested in how the God of the Universe has His Words mutilated in order to justify musical praise teams, you may want to look at these two:
As the new pastor person to facilitate the God connection is contrary to the will of Christ the old dominant pastor scheme usurps the role of the one another ministry as one of the things for which Christ died:
And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. Ro 15:14
Nothing is more insulting and debilitating than the growing theology that the Clergy Musical Worship Team must facilitate or perform the worship for the congregation. This leads to a total weakening of the body as a one another teaching ministry. It also restores the "burden" laded on the backs of the spirit-poor in need of instructions for whom Jesus Christ died. Therefore, any new method of worship not defined by Scripture but being promoted into churches of Christ should be thouroughly researched to determine whether the change will do more harm than good. While we do not attempt to judge, it is clear that our non-celebrative churches are condemned as unfit and even destructive for the twentieth century. However destructive many of our churches may be because of failure to teach, true scholarship knows that music was always suspect as a means to call the worshipers into the presence of God because as-
Karen Armstrong said so perfectly of 1 Kings 19,
"Unlike the pagan deities, Yahweh was not in any of the forces of nature but in a real apart. He is experienced in the scarcely perceptible timbre of a tiny breeze in the paradox of a voiced silence." (Armstrong, Karen A History of God, p. 27) (I love that)
There is a continuous "regrinding" of these notes to eleminate sharp or judgmental edges. The goal is not to convict or convert; it is to expose the independant reader to historical perspectives which warn against a restoration movement which goes past Christ and back to ancient history for its "new" patterns. As Revelation 18 warns, if we have completed the cycle and Jubilee 1998, 1999 or 2000 is the final Jubilee then we might expect that ancient Babylonian paradigms of commerce and music will become appealing and overwhelming.
It was prophesied that Jesus would never cry out or call assemblies for the watching world. When He went into temple or synagogue it was to denounce the clergy whom He identified as "children playing the musical fertility dramas of wedding and funeral." This was why they could not identify God-Incarnate, their Messiah, when He "attended their church services." Their purpose was to force God Incarnate to perform the Dionysos choral dance and lament to the tune of the flute which was to pollute. This would have marked Him as just plain human and as gender-deficient. Click here for the details of the feminization of worship (male and female) being pushed to the detriment of the masculine (male and female) model of the deep study of God's Word. That is where the Bereans searched for Him.
"MOST CHRISTIANS TODAY call the main Sunday morning hour "the worship service." This is dead wrong for several reasons! Though worship is part of what the congregation should do together, "teaching" is to be the driving activity of the Local Church. Too, and I must be careful here, though worship is for all -- male and female -- the way it's carried out today, often
it's a FEMININIZATION of the church service.
Whereas, teaching is VIRILE and MEATY and speaks head-on to males.
"God changes us through His Word not first through worship or even "preaching." (And I'm using the term PREACHING here in reference to the emotional shouting, yelling, pulpiteering show biz seen in many churches!) Worship is a RESPONSE to TEACHING. And PREACHING, it can be proved, means "the proclamation of the truth," as in Evangelism. Pastors should first see themselves as "teachers" not "preachers." REMEMBER: "Pastors indeed Teachers," (Eph 4:11). (or Pastor-Teacher) Click for more.
If the Corinthian "disunity in diversity" would give up their singing and speaking in tongues, the unchurched could find God in their "filling up with the Words of Christ or spirit and then speaking to one another" in God's revealed words.
Programmed Worship as Virtual Reality Parable
When the masses called God in Jesus Christ to their mass assembly He spoke to them in parables because "seeing they do not see and hearing they do not hear." Therefore, His message was coded so that only those who come aside for instruction can hear Him. Scholars trined in theatrical production know that their customers are not interested in truth.
If "wine is fine" then "likker is quicker." When people dress, perform and create the expectation that something mystical is about to happen then it happens. That is, it is facilitated. Have you noticed that everyone falls madly in love with the dirty, skinny, ignorant, drug-empowered rock musician who cannot carry a tune? This happens with both sexes because the emphasis is on movement and sound or noise. The promotion of the expectation that something special is going to happens helps facilitate the thing by deliberately manipulating the minds of the weak-willed.
However, experts note another element of magic: people are enchanted because they know that it is all an act. You might sing "at the cross, at the cross" with sixteen, beautiful, talented people but the magic comes from squeeky-clean, well-rehearsed theatrical performers actually celebrating at the foot of the cross! The ancient mysteries work because we know that, as with the crucifix, no literal sweat, dirt and blood is going to drip on us. Our research continues:
"This paper is about live dramatic performance as distinct from the technology-based phenomenon known as virtual reality (not in fact or name), which is the logical extension of film and computer technology and which promises to enable us to 'perform' in dramas of our own devising. I would argue that live dramatic performances are themselves models of a kind of virtual reality. That is, in keeping with the etymology of the word, they are virtual in the sense of 'resulting in the effect but not in fact' of something. Live theater also presents a kind of virtual reality in another sense of the word; it is virtual because it exists in the mind, in the imagination...
"The excitement of the stage relies on the very fact that
we know that what is on stage is not true,
that we know these are actually actors, and that the actors know we know it. As Wendy Lesser has written in an attempt to distinguish between theater and film: 'The central fact about theater is that it places us in the presence of fictional characters. In that element of fiction, it differs from reality; and in that element of presence, it differs from film.
In church celebrations we know that it is not the whole truth. If truth counted for anything then we would speak to one another with the once-revealed Words of Christ which He said are "Spirit and Truth" (Jn 6:63). Jesus speak to the gathered masses in virtual sermons. His parables were performances to give the effect but hid the facts from those blind and deaf.
A Mixed Signal about Women
In the ancient circuses and theaters, the slave gladiator might be wined and dined and held in honor for a time. Then, he was put into the arena with other men or lions and fought for his life and usually died. The same thing happened to tens of thousands in the Aztec model. The sacrificial victims became kings and queens for the year. Then they were ritually murdered to supply the blood to fuel the kingdom for another year or for 52 years. That is, the
Because the Aztec model is used for church renewal through slash and burn techniques, it is interesting that the Aztecs depended upon taking other people's lands and crops. When they came into Mexico, part of the band was captured. However, one Aztec warrior was honored for his bravery even as part of the invasive attack and was offered a gift of his choice. He choose the beautiful daughter of the king of the invaded tribes. Then, he sacrificed the woman, flayed her skin, clothed himself in her old "wineskin" and invited the invaded king to a celebration--a jubilee if you will. When the king returned for his daughter (like a million talents of gold), he saw that she had been sacrificed to make a beautiful, feminine garment for the invader so that he could absorb the power of the beautiful, rich and powerful feminine principle. You see, the woman was given equality and honor only because she was being sacrificed to put honor like a garment around the invader.
History knows that performance was a way to give women "virtual" but not life-changing reality power. That is, if the women can be funneled into spending time sewing magical garments, rehearsing song and drama and being false prophesiers to "capture the souls of men in their new garment" then they have been deprived of the reality power of a Phoebe. History knows that this was the misogynist's way of depriving women of real spiritual power.
However, in the pagan contrast, it was not real power because nothing happened to change the nation, tribe or congregation. Yet, the talented were given honor, performed their thing on stage, were admired (and more) and were retired to "head up the worship committee" at the local temple of Diana. This allowed the women to be in charge during the dramatic play which counted for nothing while leaving the men in charge in the financial sense.
On the other hand, the women of the Bible were not, according to Paul, to be put on token display as fertility symbols. They had the real power exemplified by numerous women such as Dorcas or Phoebe but their power was not exercised "in church" as a form of tokenism where no performance was allowed by men or women. In fact, the week has 168 hours and women and men are to come together in "assembly" for the Lord's Supper and to be "equipped for the ministry" which cannot really happen during that one hour. Afterward, the 167 hours projects the "worship" out into the watching world where women are the majority "ministers" and teachers of others.
Did you ever hear a beautiful, talented lady knocking on doors and singing Handel to the person desperately in need of Christ?
The tokenism on Sunday may, in fact, neutralize both men and women for the rest of the week if we equate excitement to bringing people into God's presence. After all, if God is found only under the facilitated influence of the skilled musical and drama team then why should I look for the literal presence of the literal Christ disguised as the poor, hungry and thirsty? He may have once recited a Passover hymn. However, in His pure Spirit form "in Whom we live, move and have our being" what if Christ cannot carry a tune?
In the following linked site, a progression is made from total male dominance, to men acting in the performing roles of women, to men and women performing the same roles, and finally, as Plato feared, women acting alone with total authority. This would mean women "standing up" or "standing over" the congregation as its musical pastor person. To keep things safe, the men dressed up in gowns like women to restrain the power of the women by distributing and diluting the feminine power. Plato also warned that the one hour imitation or virtual worship may lead to the reality before the watching world where religion is parked at the church doors while we "do that book deal" on Monday.
It is the musical churches who may be the most "conservative" in the sense of passifying the celebrative half of us to hold the rational part of us which is "slowly slipping away." Remember that Jesus chided the childish clergy and their followers by asking if they were looking for John the Baptist because he wore soft clothing. The implication is that they were looking for a male prostitute of the king's court:
"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.
Plato called this "the second incarnation." He meant that men who refuse to act like men will, at their second incarnation, be literally females. Leakage seems likely in drama for some reason.
Because both male and female have a male and female component to the brain. However, the crossover or leakage is a scientific fact and has value. Science knows that the rational part of both male and female brain is "put to sleep" so the ritual message can leak by into the purely emotional mind without arousing our thinking. Our witness on Monday, therefore, is plagued with little tokenisms rather than our primary task of teaching and serving.
Turning "church" into performance theater has always been a way to facilitate the changing of the minds of the opponents of the group. By the use of music and drama, "our team" is predisposed to see our side of the conflict between the theatrical paradigm of church and the old, conservative, destructive pattern of understanding. In bypassing the rational mind with music and drama, our side of the story seems much more powerful that those dull sermons and Bible classes. In the end, our team in the contrived conflict wins for a while as our "attendance count" is bigger than your "count." However, in the end, it has to fall away to give room for the next gladiators.
In the meantime, it is impossible that our worship attention get beyond the highly visible "in your face" team performing music and drama! The true teacher is transparent. We cannot see him as he directs our gaze away from him and toward Christ. However, when he performs the rituals of speech patterns, pacing, arm waving and shouting, the goal is to direct attention to himself and we have our mind shut down and cannot see Christ. In the end, the goal and effect is that we worship the performance team:
"Evidence from Plato, Aristotle and Aristophanes suggests that the common belief was that the poets attempted to create lifelike imitations, thus invoking Rabinowitz's narrative audience. But tragedy was also a highly conventionalized form, with
masks, chorus, elevated language, musical accompaniment and connection to ritual,
all of which would draw attention to the play as a work of art
and to the authorial (the composer, arranger, facilitator) level of audience response.
"Our contemporary western immersion in a realist aesthetic, where emotional response is not only crucial but also based on individualistic psychology,
predisposes us to see a conflict between the imitative
and the conventional ways of viewing tragedy.
The two levels readily coexist, however, if with Aristotle (Poetics 15; 1454a) we take the characters as types not individuals. Thus, a slave, a barbarian, a woman were kinds of beings with appropriate behavior (conventions) to be imitated, signs to be adopted.
In Romanticism we are assured that the music did not bring people into God's presence. Rather, the secular mind worshiped the music and the musician. Therefore, while we all yearn for true meaning found only in God, the pragmatic expedient for religionists is to appease the crowd and give them easy, but empty, meaning. The facilitator under the head facilitator misdirects the minds of the potential "old degenerates" still in the audience by reincarnating art and theater into pseudo-spiritual roles. This may be a subconscious need to keep control in a spinning-out-of control pattern. In reality, it is mystical slight-of-hand:
"The artistic enterprise was elevated to an exalted spiritual role, whether as poetic epiphany or aesthetic rapture, as divine afflatus or revelation of ethernal realities, as creative quest, imaginative discipline, devotion to the Muses, existential imperative, or liberating transcendence from the world of suffering.
The most secular of moderns could yet worship the artistic imagination, hold sacred the humanistic tradition of art and culture, the critics and essayists its high priests.
"In art, the disenchanted modern psyche could yet find a ground for meaning and value, a hallowed context for its spiritual yearnings, a world open to profundity and mystery." (Tarnas, Richard, The Passion of the Western Mind, p. 273).
Parable explained: "You cannot make lions and tigers into vegetarians by feeding them raw meat on Wednesday night."
Back to Reality - A Second Incarnation
Perhaps responding to performance pressure in a performance town, and to conform to the Willow Creek searcher pattern, Woodmont Hills Church as one example seeks a Worship Facilitation Minister as a surrogate who can lead the musical worship team to perform the worship for the body. We should be aware that performing worship for the watching audience violates clear Biblical principles which stand opposed to the performance worship of the Gentiles.
Provide leadership which increases the congregational awareness of a growing theology of worship in the life of Christians.
Assume the primary role for organizing and directing the worship programs of the church.
Work with the worship planning committee, the preaching minister and worship presentation groups (music, drama and technical) to facilitate group worship experiences which will help bring worshipers into the presence of God. (Wow!)
Rehearse presentation groups and work with volunteer directors to improve the musical, dramatic and technical excellence of our group worship experiences.
Assist volunteer leadership in the periodic planning and presentation of musical and dramatic productions which support the worship goals of the church.
This pastor person needs a:
Minimum of Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience in performing arts (music, drama, directing, theatrical programming).
Affinity (fondness, attachment, affection) for wide range of musical a capella styles (classical to contemporary).
Note: musical a capella in the Biblical sense is an oxymoron. Musical means: "for the creation, production, or performance of music. Theatrical or film production, often elaborately costumed and staged, with dialog developing the story line and an integrated musical score."
Contrary to the exhilaration created by wine, Paul demanded that we fill up with the Words of Christ which He defined as "spirit" (Jn 6:63) and then speak to one another. For the pagan parallel Click Here.
As we will see in other fragments, these goals are identical to those of the Levitical Worship teams under the king and commanders of the army. They are also identical to ancient and modern schemes to call the god into the presence of the worshiper or the worshiper into the presence of the god. The problem with these goals is that they will not make the performance watchers any more spiritual than the old participants, and the "dose" will have to be increased and finally prescribed for Sunday. The danger new paradigms is that they are usually repackaged old pattern:
"But perhaps nothing was more characteristic of the mystery religions than what they called ecstasy. Believers in the mystery religions sought to cultivate a magical, sensuous communion with the divine. They would do almost anything to get themselves into a semiconscious, hallucinatory, hypnotic, or orgiastic spell in which they believed they were sensually in contact with deity. Some used wine to assist in the euphoric experience, as Paul implied in Ephesians 5:18. Whether from literal intoxication or emotional exhilaration, when worshipers fell into a state of euphoria, it was as if they had been drugged. They assumed they were in contact with God. (MacArthur, John, Charismatic Chaos, p. 164. Zondervan)
Of the Feast of Tabernacles to which Jesus refused to go until the performance was over:
"Today, this music and dance festival is understood as the one remnant of the old Canaanite fertility rituals, which, in the monotheistic pseudomorphosis of the temple ceremonies, was to ensure an abundant crop of plants, animals, and even human beings." (Bigger crowds on Sunday night)
"This was perhaps the only occasion where popular (contemporary) music-making was allowed to mix with the otherwise sternly guarded prerogative of Levitical music. Consequently, secular, superstitious, even popular licentious elements were here introduced in the performance of the temple's liturgical music." (Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, p. 460, Abingdon).
The goal for "worship experiences which will help bring worshipers into the presence of God" may be a gnostic search. Not gnosticism in the sense of knowing from learning but knowing from the experience of wine and music. However, the search for the lost god has always been the only true and fated legalism:
"When a high value is placed on personal experiences or revelations, Scriptures are then unscrupulously twisted and misquoted. We find those who believe the feelings of a congregation must be hyped up in order to "feel" the Presence of the Lord or else the church is thought to be "dead". Instead of music being used to worship and glorify God, it is used as a means of "connecting" or "feeling" the Presence of God. If the "location" (or a feeling within) of God is not aroused and sensed, the Spirit is said to be either absent or bound. To counter this passive situation, worship is intensified, the devil is "bound" and certain forms of excitement are encouraged until "God's Presence" is "felt". Many times music is used as the conduit for the "feeling". A popular slogan to advertise a certain music company is: "Feel the Presence of the Lord". The church has been taken down this primrose path for so long that they equate the Presence of God with a certain feeling that they obtain by doing certain things. The "goose bumps" or the "warm fuzzies" or tears of comfort, is their way of "knowing" that God is present. So what this thinking boils down to is simply: "To know God's Presence you must feel Him." In actuality this is pure Gnosticism. (My Note: these goose bumps are the result of injecting the morphine-like endorphins. Click to read more).
"Worship is an integral part of the Christian faith. Sometimes feelings of ecstasy are experienced. The Presence of God is rightly acknowledged by true worship. However,
when emotional feelings become the doctrine of God's Presence, then God has been reduced to a "gnosis" form of Presence.
For many, the doctrine of "knowing the Presence of God" is sought in a subjective experience. An emotional experience, especially a repetitive one during a worship service, if not kept in proper perspective or check,
can lead to an altered state of consciousness in which the capacity for rational reasoning is greatly reduced.
At this point the congregation is open to delusion and can be easily led astray. In many charismatic groups an altered state of mind is explained as "getting into the Spirit" or as a manifestation of the presence of God. Uncontrolled spiritual feelings transcend sound scriptural rationalism and give rise to the doctrine of "the Presence of God" built on an experience. Travers and Jewel van der Merwe
Because the new models of worship appeal to old computers and the Aztecs, it is interesting to see that they, too, used musical worship teams to facilitate the demise of the old and the promotion of the new. Because ritual dance is part of the seeker model we should note that music and dance go together:
"The dance with music was to seduce the gods; the fundamental, the raison d'etre, of the dance, to the dancers as well as the watchers was 'mystic communion,' the fusion which made them one with the god they hoped would hear their call.
Drumming was of supreme importance: it soothed the soul and made the gods amenable.
Drumming also exerted a real mystical influence; it acted upon the disposition of the unseen as it acted upon the spectator, so that from the 'mystic point of view
the drum was an indispensable part of the magico-propitiatory apparatus."
Identical to much of David's self-boast or praise (halal), the Aztec professional singer gave out this to the national Aztec god:
- I am Humming bird Wizard, the warrior,
- no one is equal to myself,
- Not in vain have I donned my robe of yellow feathers;
- for me the sun has arisen.
Now, hear David:
The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. 2S 22:21
For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 2S 22:22
For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. 2S 22:23
I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity. 2S 22:24
Therefore the Lord hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight. 2S 22:25
"The same movements repeated without number, the volumes of sound, the ornaments and masks, all had one aim, one religious aim--emotional paroxysms in which all present were robbed of their self-possession and thus believed that their wish to secure the favor of the gods had been attained." (Von Hagen, Victory, The Aztec Man and Tribe, p. 97-99, Mentor)
Gender-Bending rather than worship was the ancient power
In many cultures the necromancers, soothsayers and diviners were women. Their most powerful device was their self-composed songs which they claimed to be inspired. These became the magical incantations which were enhanced with sound or musical instruments. The witch of Endor called up Samuel (she thought) by the use of the owb or the empty wineskin which she sold as a familiar spirit or a facilitator who had a god-connection. This was, in fact, a musical instrument perhaps placed over a hole in the ground. Up to the time of the "prophets" from the high places and David, music was the arena of young girls and women and only men like Jubal engaged in what is clearly magical incantations.
These "Old Women" continued among the Babylonians, the Hittites and the Hebrews right there in the temple. Ishtar tried to arouse Tammuz and thus the women in Ezekiel 8 lamented for him while the men held their "sun-rise service" or "Easter" (Ishtar) looking East.
"Certain members of a tribe, marked out either by unusual skills or by some emotional abnormality, ususally became particularly adept at these operations, and gradually assumed specialized functions. Released from the duty of hunting, and concentrating on the practice of magic, the shaman, sorcerer, or medicine man was the world's first professional." (H. B. Parkes, Men and Gods, p. 29).
To attempt to facilitate or manipulate a paying group into the presence of the god is the task of the shaman, soothsayer or necromancer. As such s/he will have to be trained in the manipulative skills of the theater to program the team to program the initiants seeking to grasp a view of the gods through the smoke and mirrors of Greek theater at the pagan temples often flanked by asherah poles or columns:
Of the Tower of Babel: "The Hebrews "interpreted the episode as marking the origin of different languages--the confusion of tongues--so that the builders were compelled to cease work because they could no longer communicate with one another. Then their defiant enterprise fell into ruins. The great ziggurats, of which the tower (free-standing columns or steeples) is a reminiscence, were the bond of union between earth and sky and were meant to assure communication between heaven and earth. They were the first cathedrals... To maintain communication with God is essential but man cannot reach him by and through material structures." (Myers, Jacob M., Invitation to the Old Testament, p. 21, Doubleday, 1966).
- (1) I prayed to my goddess, but she raised not her head.
- The Seer by his oracle did not discern the future;
- Nor did the enchanter with a libation illuminate my case;
- I consulted the necromancer, but he opened not my understanding.
- The conjurer with its charms did not remove my ban.
- (2) The day of honoring the gods was the joy of my heart,
- The day of following the goddess was my acquisition of wealth;
- The prayer of the king,--that was my delight
- And his music,--for my pleasure was its sound.
- (3) To honor the name of the goddess I taught my people
- Reverence for the king I greatly exalted
- And respect for the palace I taught the people;
- For I knew that with god these things are in favor.
- (4) What is innocent of itself, to god is evil!
- What in one's heart is contemptible, to one's god is good!
- Who can understand the thoughts of the gods in heaven?
- The counsel of god is full of destruction; who can understand?
- Where may human beings learn the ways of god?
- (5) He who lives at evening is dead in the morning;
- Quickly he is troubled; all at once he is oppressed;
- At one moment he sings and plays;
- In the twinkling of an eye he howls like a funeral-mourner.
- Like sunshine and cloud their thoughts change;
- (6) They are hungry and like a corpse;
- They are filled and rival their god!
- In prosperity they speak of climbing to Heaven;
- Trouble overtakes them and they speak of going down to Sheol."
- --Barton, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p. 491-2
Will this, as the Willow Creek model promises, bring in 4 times as many customers as brand X? You betcha! And, in the end--
Nothing is clearer in history than the adoption by successful rebels of the methods they were accustomed to condemn in the forces they deposed. --Will and Ariel Durant
The Musical Worship Team Defined
It might be helpful to look at the words for musical worship team:
First: Musical means ""for the creation, production, or performance of music. Theatrical or film production, often elaborately costumed and staged, with dialog developing the story line and an integrated musical score." Translate: "entertainment." Or overseeing the flock
Second: "Worship or reverence for a Deity." God is worshipped in the "voice of a whispered silence" according to Karen Armstrong in A History of God. He is in His Holy Temple--me--and I don't need you to speak or sing while I am trying to listen to Christ in His Holy Temple.
Third: The word team is totally consistent with the oppressive nature of loud music. A team is "a pair of draft animals." It is associated with a "bridle" or a "yoke "It is a brood of young animals, especially ducks of pigs. A group of people constituting one side in a contest or competition." (Webster) Antiphonal singing was denounced because it developed into competition between groups--even to the point of murderous internecine warfare which is a hallmark of all revivalism. Levitical oversight teams have been called "menial worshipers."
Ezekiel, Edersheim and Josephus prove that these Levitical Musical Worship Teams really never performed the "worship" but they were nevertheless outlawed. Outside of paganism, there is no "pattern" for singing with drama and instruments as a way to bring people into the presence of the True God. When Israel adopted Canaanite forms of worship music was used at first only for sacrificial rituals:
"There is ample evidence, both in scriptural and in rabbinical sources, that the art of singing was diligently cultivated, especially in the temple. I Chr. 25 not only relates the initial organization of the temple singers, but uses in its terminology the words 'trained in song' and 'skillful." The Talmud even hints that lack of correct singing annuled the value of the sacrifice (B. 'Arak. 11a). The musical training of a Levitical singer took at least five years of intensive preparation (B. Hullin 24a). (Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, p. 460, Abingdon).
If you need help surviving the new worship "inventions" Click Here where the writer notes that churches not designed for performance worship can actually "do more harm than good." Confusion and a lack of communication is almost guaranteed without some redesign. The writer notes that:
"The worship space has clearly evolved over the ages from the intimate synagogues predating the dawn of Christianity to the grandiose edifices of the medieval cathedrals, to present day Protestant, evangelical and electronic ministries, which utilize acoustic / electronic contemporary music, dynamic preaching and the audio/video media.
"In addition to changing musical performance requirements, the nature and size of the congregation has changed. Many modern worship spaces have incorporated aspects of the sound stage, video and audio recording studio, theatre, and concert hall. Fusing all of these new techniques into the worship space is a formidable task.
"A poor acoustical environment makes it difficult for choir or band members to hear themselves and other performers, leading to pitch problems and a poor sense of ensemble. It may be a problem for the choir to synchronize with the organ or other musical accompaniment. This is usually caused by time delay problems resulting from poor positioning of the performers and/or disproportionate sound levels.
"Poor intelligibility of your presentation may be caused by slap echoes of the sound system reflecting off the rear wall of the sanctuary. This is usually aggravated by a focusing or curved rear wall. Poor sound projection into the sanctuary results in an inadequate musical support level which discourages congregational participation.
There is a better word. The word is "worship has devolved" back to Greek paganism where the new Christian church gave mercinary men trained in the Greek theater the job opportunities to make a better living from "seeing godliness as a means of financial gain."
From ancient history to yesterday's news the performance worship attracted gender-searching people so that in the temples the most important facilitators of worship were female or male prostitutes. When they tried to get John and Jesus involved He question whether they went looking for John thinking that he might be soft.
Jesus came preaching a gospel of "spirit and truth" or mind and facts but the musical clergy wanted emotion. This was clearly a conflict between the new, emotional approach to getting the people to buy sick lambs and the old, factual method of "going into all the world and preaching the gospel." This was the Greek influence in the Jewish nation:
"One of the greatest of all Greek dramas, The Bacchae powerfully dramatizes the conflict between the emotional and rational sides of the human psyche. When the people of Thebes deny the existence of the god Dionysos, he punishes them by unleashing the full force of female sexuality, thereby destroying social order and driving them to certain tragedy.
When Jesus refused to perform the ritual, choral dance of Dionysos under the powerful influence of the children's musical team, they murdered Him. When those seeking a wholesale change to the nature of the church see themselves failing, the only resort is to create such excitement that everyone will see the superiority of the new paradigm over the old patterns. The conflict with Jesus and with us is between the emotional nature and the rational (spiritual or mental) nature. Therefore, to defeat the rational nature of the old church, the full force of female sexuality is unleashed but it is a sign of the end.
During war, the religious musicians were like the Highland Bagpipers. They could create enough instrumental music to panic the enemy. Doesn't the hair stand up on the back of your neck when you hear them? Of course, the Bible treats this as just noise when used to extort money or service out of people in a religious sense. No warrior would go into the valley of death without being tranquilized with the instrumental music drug. And, unfortunately, a lot of those big efforts to, like Nimrod, corral everyone in one big "pin" often resort to musical entertainment to pay the bills. David added his Levitical musical worship team under the commanders of the army to defeat Israel as he had defeated the enemy. This is the only way a king can hold power and this is why it was against God's will.
Prozac and its relatives now solve the problems of an overwhelming number who have been overburdened by men whose job it is to create anxiety. This, they believe, is a way to make the largely Biblical illiterate members feel that they have been in the presence of God.
Jesus came to eliminate Sabbaths or rituals which believers must serve. The burden laden upon the back by the ancient and modern "Doctor of the Law" was:
Phortizo (g5412) for-tid'-zo; to load up (as a vessel or animal), figurative: to overburden with ceremony or spiritual anxiety: - lade, be heavy laden.
Jesus came to take that musical worship burden off our backs and give us a yoke which is easy to bear. To take our ease comes from a word meaning just the invoke for the load which the modern, oppressive pastor system seeks to load on the back of the "pack mules." When the "images no longer work" it is tempting, in Joseph Campbell's words, to invent new affect images with more magic. However, music as an instrument of control is not new:
"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. They are, in fact, part of the natural language of mystical expression, and such things belong quite as much to secular ceremonial as they do to religion (The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 246, art. "Candles.")
Under a different heading we will see that musical worship is being subverted to put the rational mind to sleep so that new theology can be fed into the minds of the congregation. However, if science is right about church and some other forms, musical worship can be destructive when it becomes the instrument of mind control rather than for teaching the word.
by Karen Armstrong At Amazon.com through this not-for-profit site.
A History of God : The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam Softcover by Karen Armstrong
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