Tag Archives: Articles on Music

Form and Content in Music

Form and Content in Music

This is good from Greg Wilbur: Too often music is thought about as if the notes are the form and the lyrics are the content. In actuality, the lyrics have form and content, the music has form and content, and the marriage of text and notes have another layer of form and content. For example,… Continue Reading

Why equating culture with ethnicity is inherently racist

Why equating culture with ethnicity is inherently racist

Despite my many protestations (including a whole book addressing the topic), it is still quite common within Evangelical circles to equate culture and ethnicity. I was recently reminded of this when a popular evangelical leader argued in a well-publicized conference that in order to repair what he believes to be systemic racial divides within evangelicalism,… Continue Reading

The Unproven Premise Strikes Again

The Unproven Premise Strikes Again

The Gospel Coalition recently published an excerpt from a new book by Brett McCracken in which he makes a very common argument about music in worship that may sound pious at first glance, yet has a fatal flaw. Here is the core premise of McCracken’s argument summarized in two pull quotes from the post: “We… Continue Reading

Worship and Music During Christendom

Worship and Music During Christendom

In his book, Wiser Than Despair: The Evolution of Ideas in the Relationship of Music and the Christian Church, Quentin Faulkner provides a helpful description of how the domination of the Church during the Middle Ages affected worship and music, for good and for ill: Financial support for the church was from taxes; therefore “in no way,… Continue Reading

Music and Emotion in the Image of God

Music and Emotion in the Image of God

The relationship between music and emotions gains greater stability when the source of all human feelings and emotions is exposed. Human personality and emotions are imprints of the Divine, derived miniatures of the unsearchable personhood of the Trinity, rather than self-generated or the social adaptations of a developing species. Therefore, it is not enough to… Continue Reading

Using Song to Shape Hearts of Repentence

Using Song to Shape Hearts of Repentence

This entry is part 11 of 13 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Up to this point in our study of Psalm 130, we have talked only about the poetic part of a song, but Psalm 130 wasn’t read; Psalm 130 was sung. So I’d like to address the music side of things. Clearly the music—the melody, the harmony, and the rhythm—doesn’t make a clear statement like words… Continue Reading

Pastors – Become Literate in Christian Culture

Pastors – Become Literate in Christian Culture

When the topic of music and worship comes up, a favorite slap-down argument against thoughtful discrimination of music is that pastors need not study music to be faithful pastors. It is beside the point to say that pastors need not become art critics. If their vocation is that of shepherding the flock, it is manifestly… Continue Reading

The Bible speaks to everything

The Bible speaks to everything

Mark Ward opens his blog post about how to do a biblical study on the topic of abortion with the following assertion: The Bible speaks in some way to anything you can think of, but it doesn’t speak explicitly to everything you can think of. He’s right. As I mentioned, his post is specifically about… Continue Reading

Fittingness

Fittingness

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Biblical Authority and the Aesthetics of Scripture You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I argued that if we believe in verbal-plenary inspiration, then the meaning of the aesthetic forms we employ in our contemporary worship must accurately correspond to the meaning Scripture’s aesthetic forms had in their original context. What we need to concern ourselves with is what both Kevin Vanhoozer and Nicholas Wolterstorff call “fittingness.”1 Wolterstorff defines fittingness… Continue Reading

The Sound of Metaphysics

The Sound of Metaphysics

This is a really interesting look at how changes in musical form represent, not simply just “change,” but rather changes in the underlying metaphysical grasp of reality. The introduction: Despite the popular Romantic conception of creative artists as inspired madmen, composers are not idiots savants, distilling their musical inspiration from the ether. Rather, in their… Continue Reading

Hillsong’s God

Hillsong’s God

At the Grace to You blog, Cameron Buettell and Jeremiah Johnson report on a recent visit to a Hillsong church: During our recent visits to Hillsong Los Angeles, we’ve seen that trend played out in vivid detail. Worse still, we’ve identified some unbiblical characteristics that Hillsong routinely attribute to God. They describe what Hillsong’s music… Continue Reading

Loud Clanging Cymbals

Loud Clanging Cymbals

In the last issue, I wrote about a speaker who deviated from his topic to deliver certain remarks—apparently extemporaneously—in defense of contemporized worship. I am not interested in indicting the speaker, but I am interested in evaluating the soundbites that found their way into his address. Last issue I discussed his suggestion that we are… Continue Reading

A New Song?

A New Song?

It is possible to disagree with people whom we respect. I had that experience earlier this year when I heard a speaker try to defend several aspects of contemporized Christianity. His name doesn’t matter, but what he said does. While I genuinely appreciate some of the leadership that this speaker has shown, his remarks in… Continue Reading

Calvin Johansson’s Foreword to Measuring the Music

Calvin Johansson’s Foreword to Measuring the Music

As I write this foreword we are halfway through the last year of the last century of the second millennium A.D. Far from being a warmed-over cyclical version of previous epochs, this century of centuries birthed much that was genuinely new: unparalleled advances in science, technology, computer systems, and powerful media cartels for both the… Continue Reading

Why music should be central in your homeschool

Why music should be central in your homeschool

My goal in this essay is to convince you that it is important that music be a part of your homeschool. My goal is to persuade you that music is essential to your children’s educational development. For you this may not be necessary — you recognize the benefits of music in the lives of your children. But perhaps you view music… Continue Reading

Do origins matter?

Do origins matter?

One common argument used today in defense of using pop music styles for Christian purposes is that origins and associations don’t matter. Christians can redeem something that comes out of a sinful lifestyle and instead use it for good. I do agree that the sinful origins, roots, sources, or associations of something do not automatically… Continue Reading

The Culture of Humanity

The Culture of Humanity

One of the cornerstones of arguments in favor of musical relativism is that musical interpretation is culturally conditioned and therefore subjective—one may not expect someone else with different cultural conditioning to interpret music the same way. So, the reason I interpret a particular musical form in a certain way is only because I have been culturally conditioned… Continue Reading

How Music Naturally Carries Meaning

How Music Naturally Carries Meaning

It is important in any discussions about music to understand how music carries meaning naturally. I highly recommend Stephen Davies’ Musical Meaning and Expression, which clearly articulates where the most basic meaning does and does not lie: It is not a system of conventional symbols, like a language. It is not depictive, like representational paintings. It is… Continue Reading

What is Holy Music?

What is Holy Music?

I am often asked the question, “Can a particular style of music be sinful? How do you know?” I certainly have thoughts that answer that question, and I am happy to discuss it when I have a chance. However, I think it’s actually the wrong question to ask. Scripture never insists that we “prove” that… Continue Reading