Musical Worship Teams Introduction
Instrumental musical worship teams in the worship of pagan gods has a long, dark and abrasive link to ancient superstitious natual religions. The Bible agrees by deriving all musical terms from words associated with prostitution, stealing ones inheritance or pruning your vines to supply their new wineskins.
The Jews "fired" God so that they could worship like the nations. Before this, the will of God had no room for a "team" effort to worship Him. Therefore, there is no authority for a "praise team" except from paganism where a sense of lostness and legalism sought help from the "gods" through "praise" which in the Hebrew, halal, meant to "make yourself vile" because the gods would not punish the insane. From the Britannica Members Online we find that:
The function of the temple, as of all of the other sacred places in ancient Mesopotamia, was primarily to ensure the god's presence and to provide a place where he could be approached. The providing of housing, food, and service for the god achieved the first of these purposes. His presence was also assured by a suitable embodiment--the cult statue, and, for certain rites, the body of the ruler.
To achieve the second purpose, greeting gifts, praise hymns as introduction to petitions, and other actions were used to induce the god to receive the petitioner and to listen to, and accept, his prayers.
Jesus died so that Paul could say to us:
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Heb.4:16
There simply is not role for Musical Worship Teams because only the worshiper and God will fit in the holy place at one time. Furthermore, musicians under the Law of Moses who intruded into the holy place or "the presence of God" would be instantly killed.
The Levitical "musical worship team" was to provide a loud, crasing noise during the horrors of animal sacrifice. The common people were always excluded from these rituals which were exclusively for the king, clergy and civil representatives.
Consequently, the synagogue (church) was the place where ordinary Jews came to "school" but there was no praise service in the synagogues.
Musical worship teams or praise teams gain their authority by men who deliberately pervert the revealed Words of God to defend what they have already decided to do. For instance, just look up the word "team" in the concordance. If you find it then you do your little professional proof-text dance and claim that even "teamed" horses or oxen being punished by God for their musical idolatry is now proof for modern musical worship teams doing what the Levites were punished for doing. You may want to look at these links to get an introduction:
First, it was commonly believed that music was the magical "music of the heavenly spheres." Therefore, it had supernatural power over the heavenly population. This god-control was done vocally until singing was aided by musical instruments. It was believed that the gods lived in the instrument. Therefore, harps and flutes spoke for the bull gods. Trumpets with their copper-red throats hissed out the sounds of the serpent gods. Habbakuk warns against tring to get the idols to speak for them and Paul warns against lifeless or carnal instruments. The Babylonian ministry team of priest, soothsayer and musican used the musical worship team to keep the people in slavery by making them think they spoke for God. As usual, they were self-appointed and self promoted.
Second, people have always believed that the feeling produced by music made them ethically and morally improved. The feeling is induced by "endorphins" or "morphine within." That means that the "thrill" or "goosbump" quotient is a drug high. However, if it can appease the often-angry gods then it must surely help confuse the enemy, which, according to Pogo may be "us." The musical worship team was used to panic the enemy. And that "thrill" comes only after "panic" even though the rush feels pleasant although it is destructive.
Third, those bent on exploiting people have always known--ask any Rock musician--that music can create drugs in the mind to control the paying masses. The low notes can nail you to the seat of the pew while the high feminine or effeminate sounds can frazzle your nerves and make you want to run for your life even if it does, for the second, scratch some deep-seated, feel-good-but-painful itch. In the ancient world the musical worship team thought that they were being worshiped but the sentiment was often resentment over being manipulated. This "feeling" teams are inducing produces the response of "fight, flight or sex."
Call it "get em back alive Sunday night, dead or alive." One "pastor" quipped that it would be easier to slip LSD into the communion juice than to organize all of those self-help programs and sensitive musical teams!
It seems that Scripture opens up when we "turn to the Lord" without trying to find that just-right, smooth stone to sling at the enemy. If this article seems spring - loaded against musical manipulation it is because the evidence--never found by the "gopher-wood-gurus"-- cries out against any form of mind altering in the name of worship. This can be done with or without instruments, with or without a tune.
Thoughtful observers have always known that opening up the worship service to "the idolatry of talent" opens the gate wide to sophisticated but destructive "show and tell." The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that after instrumental performance made an important move in the fifteenth century it was not until the invention of new instruments and the notion of harmony in the sixteenth century that the teaching role of singing (chanting) was drowned in what the Old Testament prophets called "noise" and Albert Barnes called "soulless versifying."
"The present trend is, however, decidedly away from the instrumental idea and back to the purely vocal style. And it is recognized, and in many places acted upon, that the new version of the liturgical chant, proposed to the Catholic world by Pius X, gains its full beauty and effectiveness only when sung without instrumental accompaniment of any kind." Catholic Encyclopedia
But, we are quick to note, that as long as our "music" is purely vocal then we are still "legal" and it doesn't matter much about the content. However, complex harmony in worship rituals was a deliberate attempt to do an "end run" around the law. Quartets or even larger groups sound so good because of complex harmony. For instance, four voices can sound like sixteen. Making this into an act of worship is based on the belief, perhaps, that melody means harmony. Harmonic singing, in fact, was called organum or "after the organ." When this goes too far it destroys Pauls' goal.
"In spite of the early objection to the playing of musical instruments in church the organ became widely accepted in western Europe once it had been imported from the east... It is possible that this composite sound encouraged singers to imitate it: in any case octaves would result from the combined singing of boys and men. Support is given to this view by the fact that the combined singing, suitable for voices of high, low and medium range, was popularly known as organum... The earliest surviving written examples of such duplication of plainsong melody in parallel lines occur in a theoretical tretise of the late 9th or early 10th century. (Brittanica, Music, p. 1067)
This form of singing was called a cappella but it intended to provide the Pope and high authorities the fun of the organ presentation while still obeying the law "against" instruments. The singers were often castrados to provide the high, feminine voice and still be legal.
Melody does not mean harmony and is not related to it. The pipe and reed organ came first. This taught composers that they could imitate the pipe organ with many human voices. However, modern melody speaks more of "unison and unity." Indeed, the context of Paul's message to Ephesus, Rome and Corinth is that unity is necessary and is improved by collective singing. Melody means--
"The organization of successive musical sounds in respect of pitch... without the aid of harmony which removes it into another category.
"Melody as 'tunefulness' belongs to the 19th century and depends on symmetries of harmony and rhythm which seldom occurs in music written before the 16th century...
By the beginning of the 20th century a melody was considered to be the surface line in a series of harmonies. Harmonic rationality and symmetrical rhythm thus combined to produce a tuneful melody that helped to generate the sonata form." (Brittanica, Melody) (A sonata is: "a major work, a symphony or concert music."
Because, according to Jesus, the purpose of the professional clergy in Judaism was to "take away the key to knowledge." In contemporary literature their occupation, their sole reason for being was to be the "restrainsers of the water" Jesus poured forth in Jerusalem. The weapon or device of these evil people was always the musical worship team acting in a clergy or overseeing (stand up) role.
There is not a remote hint in the New Testament or early church history that "praise" was a collective ritual. Therefore, there has never been a role for musical worship teams in the church Christ died to give us free of the "burden" which was "spiritual anxiety created by religious rituals." Therefore, if you are part of a musical worship team you are blotting out the benefit Christ died to provide.
Musical worship teams and dance teams come to believe that they are "mediators between God and man." That is, they usurp the role of Lord Jesus Christ. This is a fatal heresy which must be repented of.