Series: Missions and Music

Missions and Music

Missions and Music

This entry is part 1 of 16 in the series Missions and Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

One of missionaries most challenging issues is what kind of music to use as they plant indigenous churches. Two extremes exist: on the one hand are missionaries who simply impose American musical forms on the foreign church; on the other hand are those who indiscriminately adopt the forms of the native culture in their worship.… Continue Reading

Paul and Cultural Critique: Titus 1:12-13

Paul and Cultural Critique: Titus 1:12-13

This entry is part 2 of 16 in the series Missions and Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In relation to critiquing other cultures in an age of cultural relativism, Titus 1:12-13 caught my eye a couple of years ago as I was working through this passage, in particular, Paul’s quotation in 1:12, and his estimation of it in 1:13. The quotation which Paul gave is from a Cretan poet, Epimenides: “Cretans are… Continue Reading

A Humble Request and Prolegomena

A Humble Request and Prolegomena

This entry is part 3 of 16 in the series Missions and Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In my handful of posts this month, I want to give some anecdotes from church history to inform us as to how missionaries, attempting to plant indigenous church, should approach the issue of music in the culture in which they minister. My posts will not always touch on music per se, but instead explore the… Continue Reading

Differences and Universals in Music Across Cultures

Differences and Universals in Music Across Cultures

This entry is part 4 of 16 in the series Missions and Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

A missionary cannot properly evaluate the differences among cultural expressions until he has understood their universals. At the root of the most thoughtful defenses of contemporary worship today is an appeal based on a missions philosophy that stresses indigenous ministry. If, as the International Missionary Council asserted as far back 1938, an indigenous church is… Continue Reading

Finding common ground in the missions debate

Finding common ground in the missions debate

This entry is part 5 of 16 in the series Missions and Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Here’s the reality: those of us blogging here fully realize that our positions are not popular. Not popular, I suppose, greatly underestimates the matter: for many Christians today, our positions are not even fathomable—it is impossible for them to believe that anyone could hold a position as outlandish, and even as offensive, as ours. And… Continue Reading

Multiculturalism: You Might Be Surprised

Multiculturalism: You Might Be Surprised

This entry is part 6 of 16 in the series Missions and Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

South Africa has more official languages than any other country: English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele, Tswana, Sotho, Pedi, Venda, Tsonga and Swazi. These languages represent a slice of the various people-groups in South Africa, to say nothing of the Malay and Chinese populations, the various European groups, and the mixed populations that have developed their… Continue Reading

Edwards on Indians, Language, and Missions

Edwards on Indians, Language, and Missions

This entry is part 7 of 16 in the series Missions and Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Jonathan Edwards very much wanted to see the American Indians believe the gospel. His famous grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, had published in 1723 a sermon asking Whether God is not angry with the country for doing so little towards the conversion of the Indians? After being ousted at Northampton over the communion controversy in 1750, his… Continue Reading

Missions and the antithesis

Missions and the antithesis

This entry is part 8 of 16 in the series Missions and Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week, I spoke at the Preserving the Truth Conference in Troy, MI. Of the three points that I made in my presentation (notes, audio), one is especially relevant to the discussion of missions. The antithesis, then, presents us a goal: to explore and articulate a Christianity that is Christian all the way down. The… Continue Reading

Multiculturalism and Contextualization

Multiculturalism and Contextualization

This entry is part 9 of 16 in the series Missions and Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In a recent interview, mission leader C. Douglas McConnell was asked to name the greatest challenge facing the global evangelical missions movement today. He responded, “There is a critical need for frontier mission types to develop an ecclesiology. We are church planters but in some cases we do not understand what a church is theologically… Continue Reading

To harmonize the affections

To harmonize the affections

This entry is part 10 of 16 in the series Missions and Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

And all would serve, the more speedily and effectually, to change the taste of Indians, and to bring them off from their barbarism and brutality, to a relish for those things, which belong to civilization and refinement. Another thing, which properly belongs to a Christian education, and which would be unusually popular with them, and… Continue Reading

Multiculturalism and Judging Culture

Multiculturalism and Judging Culture

This entry is part 11 of 16 in the series Missions and Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

One of thorniest issues facing Christian missions is the propriety and possibility of judging other cultures. Since all cultures are affected by both human depravity and common grace, and since God’s redeeming grace and revealed truth have come to some cultures, it is possible to make judgments regarding cultures. We cannot judge the idea of… Continue Reading

The Purpose of Music in Missions

The Purpose of Music in Missions

This entry is part 12 of 16 in the series Missions and Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The purpose of culture is not to reach the lost or give authentic expression for Christians; it is to express and cultivate right worship. In my last article I addressed the argument for using contemporary music forms based on a missions philosophy that stresses indigenous ministry. I suggested that such an argument is based upon… Continue Reading

All Things to All Men

All Things to All Men

This entry is part 14 of 16 in the series Missions and Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Few passages of Scripture are more popular among contemporary Christians than 1 Corinthians 9:19‐23. Especially fashionable is Paul’s line in verse 22 about becoming “all things to all men.” This passage is commonly taken to mean that effective e van gelism requires Christians to imitate the people around them. Many evangelicals cannot even imagine this… Continue Reading

Does contextualization heighten the likelihood of a positive response to the gospel?

Does contextualization heighten the likelihood of a positive response to the gospel?

This entry is part 15 of 16 in the series Missions and Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Conversations about missions and music often revolve around an insistence that in order to reach unbelievers in a target culture, we need to contextualize the message into their language, be it spoken, acted, or sung. Here are some helpful words from an excellent journal article by Mark Snoeberger that I think get to the heart of… Continue Reading

A Distinctly Christian Culture

A Distinctly Christian Culture

This entry is part 16 of 16 in the series Missions and Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

So is there a distinctly Christian culture? Is there a distinctly Christian music? Yes, there is—it is culture and music that expresses Christian values. In discussions of missions and music, understanding the idea of culture is critical. What is it? Shouldn’t the music of a church reflect the indigenous culture around it? The Standard Evangelical… Continue Reading

Multiculturalism and Cultural Prejudice

Multiculturalism and Cultural Prejudice

This entry is part 17 of 16 in the series Missions and Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The act of judging a foreign culture for meaning and moral value is attacked by post-modern critics as an example of bigotry. After all, what standard are we using to judge another culture? Does the Bible present a cultural norm to which all cultures must conform? If not, who are we to use the Christianity… Continue Reading