Tag Archives: Articles on Music

“Not all preferences are autonomous and selfish.”

“Not all preferences are autonomous and selfish.”

Mark Snoeberger helpfully explains here why some preferences are bad reasons to leave a church, while other preferences may rightfully lead someone to change membership. This can include preference concerning preaching, baptism, communion, and music. He concludes, Of course, there will always be occasions in which believers, after careful study, disagree about what the Scriptures teach… Continue Reading

Should Music Be Culturally Relevant?

Should Music Be Culturally Relevant?

Why does today’s western art music strive so conspicuously for cultural relevance? Why are many of our university music faculties more concerned with cultural theory than with applied music? Why have we lost confidence in historical and applied models of musicology, and moreover in the tonal tradition that forms the basis of the greatest musical heritage… Continue Reading

Samwise Gamgee understands the power of poetry and music

Samwise Gamgee understands the power of poetry and music

I have spoken many times about the power of poetry and music to express what words alone cannot. Yesterday evening, as I was reading The Two Towers with my son, I came across this passage where Sam is asked about the beauty of Galadriel: “The Lady of Lorien! Galadriel!” cried Sam. “You should see her, indeed… Continue Reading

More on pastors and musical training

More on pastors and musical training

There has been a profitable discussion happening in the comments of my recent observations about the need for pastors to be trained in worship and music if they are going to (rightly) reclaim their role as those primarily responsible for worship music choices. A commenter asked for a fuller explanation for why I believe this… Continue Reading

Harold Best vs. Ken Myers on Musical Meaning

Harold Best vs. Ken Myers on Musical Meaning

This is an excellent illustration of where Evangelicalism is on issues related to music and worship. I’m thankful to 9Marks for doing this. It’s very instructive. The folks at 9Marks asked three questions to two individuals who have written and spoken on the subject of musical meaning: Can God employ any musical form for redemptive… Continue Reading

Why can’t Christians admit that music has meaning?

Why can’t Christians admit that music has meaning?

There has been a growing consensus among philosophers of music that, contrary to the skeptical claims of [Edward] Hanslick, it makes perfect sense to describe music in expressive terms, and that, again contrary to Hanslick’s skeptical claims, there is more or less general agreement, among qualified listeners, as to what the music is expressive of,… Continue Reading

The terrifying sound of silence

The terrifying sound of silence

We live in a world that’s constantly trying to drown out silence. We always have music around us. When we shop, when we drive, at the gym, at the office… It’s like we’ve set life to a soundtrack, hoping that it will make the day-to-day a little more interesting. Or perhaps it’s just an attempt… Continue Reading

Doug Wilson against musical relativism in worship

Doug Wilson against musical relativism in worship

One objection to the exhortation to cultivate a “biblical” approach to music is that we don’t have musical notation from biblical times. We have the lyrics of the psalms, but not the music. Here, in brief, are my staccato responses. First, there is a good argument that we do have an idea of what the… Continue Reading

What music does

What music does

In my last post, I had shared a brief argument that, at least for me, undergirds my conservatism in worship, without forsaking the principle of sola scriptura. I noted in the post that it originated as a letter to a friend of mine, so I was taken aback a bit when some of the comments said… Continue Reading

Another Beautiful Journey, Another Wrong Destination

Another Beautiful Journey, Another Wrong Destination

Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts by Harold M. Best. 2003, InterVarsity Press. I had just finished my review of Best’s first book, Music through the Eyes of Faith, when I decided to go ahead and pick up his next book. Unceasing Worship is a logical continuation of his work, expanding it into the area of worship.… Continue Reading

Musing About Music

Musing About Music

Mark Snoeberger writes an interesting piece about the Christian and music. Some excerpts: Ironically, the historically central idea of “music” (fr. the Grk. μοῦσα, to muse, think, remember, or reflect) has been transformed in the last century into its own etymological opposite—an occasion, whether active or passive, for not “musing,” or, supplying the alpha privative,… Continue Reading

As men grew carnal

As men grew carnal

In his Nature and Causes of Apostasy from the Gospel (contained in vol. 7 of the Banner Works), John Owen (1616-1683) spends a chapter briefly discussing the “apostasy from evangelical worship.” Owen is quite broad in this chapter, seeking, as he says, to discuss “only . . . such things as the generality of Christians,… Continue Reading