Some may wonder why I’ve chosen “Religious Affections Ministries” as the name of this ministry. Here are some of the reasons:
1. Because the religious affections are important.
We have been influenced by Modernism more than we like to admit. Prior to the Age of Reason, Christians readily recognized the importance of the affections in the Christian life. In fact, the religious affections were considered the heart of Christian, for didn’t Christ Himself say that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord? Jonathan Edwards wrote an entire treatise concerning the religious affections in which he argued that the difference between true religion and false religion did not lie primarily in belief (although it is necessary for true religion) or action (although it will inevitably accompany true religion), but in the affections.
The Enlightenment, and especially later Evolution, considered man to be merely an animal composed of mind, will, and emotions. For the rationalist that last category subsumed all feeling – affections, passions, etc. Edwards and all other believers prior to the Enlightenment distinguished between the affections (the inclination of the will) and the passions (mere chemical responses or “feelings”).
Unfortunately, that distinction has been all but lost. I aim to help recover this important biblical distinction because since music is the language of emotion, it is important that we understand what we mean by “emotion” when we discuss meaning in music.
2. Because misunderstandings about the affections lie at the root of the music/worship debate.
Because the necessary biblical distinction between the affections (splankna) and passions (koilia) has been lost in Christian thought today, great misunderstandings about the nature of emotion and how music affects emotion has lead to misunderstandings concerning what makes good music.
Along with distinguishing between the affections and passions, believers prior to the Enlightenment also distinguished between music that targets the affections (Apollonian) and music that merely creates a physical, chemical response of the passions (Dionysian). That distinction, too, has been lost in our day, even among Christians.
I truly believe that among other important considerations, this lack of distinction between the affections and passions and Apollonian (modest) music and Dionysian (immodest) lies at the heart of the music/worship debate.
3. Becase it made you ask!
Because I believe the affections are so important and that a proper distinction between the affections and passions must be recovered if we are going to think rightly about music and worship, I chose to call this ministry “Religious Affections Ministries.” If anything, it has caused people to ask about the name and has given me a chance to address these important matters!