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Resources against musical relativism

Someone emailed me recently asking for a list of articles that refuted musical relativism. Here is my reply:

Really, I think the issue comes down to whether there is any universal meaning at all in music and whether any of that meaning is inappropriate for Christians.
Of course, my two books both deal with the subject extensively, and Appendix C in John Makujina’s book does an excellent job dealing with it as well.
I’ve dealt with the subject from various angles in some articles:
  • I deal with the issue in my series on Christian rap.
  • I presented this paper at BJU Seminary for several years.
  • In this article, “Musical Relativism in Pelagian,” I like to the lecture series given by Makujina at DBTS and then give an argument myself (which may be somewhat of a repeat of the argument in the Christian rap series). I’d recommend Makujina’s lecture series as well, of course.
  • Speaking of Makujina, he presented this paper at a regional ETS that deals with the issue from a similar perspective.
  • I presented this paper (audio) at the Preserving the Truth Conference a few years back, in which I deal with the issue tangentially.
  • This paper (audio) on form in hymnody deals with the issue of meaning in music.
  • I deal with the issue from a multiculturalism perspective in this article. That whole series is worth reading in this regard.
Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Department 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.

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