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Correcting Categories, Part 10 – Conclusion

If the Church today is going to be able to rightly apply biblical principles to music and worship, it must recover important categories that are either assumed and implied or explicitly taught by biblical authors.

  1. Music communicates by means of emotional metaphor.
  2. Spiritual response of the affections is fundamentally distinct from and may exist apart from physical feeling.
  3. Dionysian forms of art target the physical feelings through emotional manipulation, while Appolonian forms communicate true spiritual affection.

The conclusion, then, for someone wanting to rightly express and teach pure, religious affections in worship should be the following:

  1. Refuse to define spiritual experience in terms of physical response.
  2. Strive to discern between music that modestly supports biblical truth with noble Christian affections and music that artificially stimulates physical feelings, and reject the manipulative music.
  3. Encourage true spiritual worship through the use of simple, rich hymns with strong texts and modest music.

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is director of doctoral worship studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.