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.