SECTION ONE: LAYING THE FOUNDATION
Chapter One: Biblical Authority in Matters of Faith and Practice
Many Christians insist that because the Bible says nothing explicitly regarding the kind of music that pleases God, God must not care what we listen to. This chapter dispels that idea by demonstrating theologically, from church history, and from the Scriptures themselves that God expects us to apply the Bible’s principles to every area of our lives, including music.
Chapter Two: What is Worship?
Worship is not limited only to Sunday morning. This chapter examines the biblical idea of worship, and demonstrates that worship should characterize all of life with every decision we make being one of spiritual response to biblical truth.
Chapter Three: Understanding Sanctification
This chapter demonstrates the biblical concept of progressive sanctification as an active pursuit of holiness for every believer. This emphasis insists that believers choose only those things for their lives that will aid them in their progress toward holiness, including the music that they choose.
Chapter Four: Affections — the Missing Link
Most Christians emphasize orthodox theology and proper morals, but few realize the biblical importance of the affections. This chapter reveals this “missing link” as the core essence of true religion, an important principle since music primarily targets the affections.
Chapter Five: Pop Goes the Music — Music, Culture, and the Church
This chapter seeks to dispel many of the misunderstandings regarding the connection between culture and religion, including addressing issues such as Luther’s use of bar tunes, the creation of pop culture, the difference between pop culture and folk culture, and the adoption of pop culture by the Church.
SECTION TWO: MUSIC IN LIFESTYLE WORSHIP
Chapter Six: What Does Music Mean?
This chapter explores how music can express emotion. Music does so universally by mimicking common emotional behaviors that characterize all humans. It then gives the reader tools by which he can determine what particular music means.
Chapter Seven: Beauty and Glory
This chapter argues that God’s glory is essentially His beauty. Therefore all earthly forms of beauty, including those in music, find their source in Him. A right appreciation of such beauty glorifies Him, while an ignorance of true beauty is displeasing to Him. It is the believer’s responsibility, therefore, to love only those things that are objectively beautiful.
Chapter Eight: Sanctifying the Emotions
Since all men are born depraved, we all have sinful tastes. Therefore, we are responsible to sanctify our tastes just like we sanctify other areas of our lives. This chapter explores how good music can actually sanctify our emotions.
Chapter Nine: Making Musical Choices
This chapter concludes Section Two with very practical tips for evaluating what kind of music pleases the Lord. Believers should evaluate every layer of the music: the textual content, poetic form, associations, and intrinsic meaning.
SECTION THREE: MUSIC IN ASSEMBLED WORSHIP
Chapter Ten: Worshiping God in the Assembly
While all of life is worship, God has a special place in His heart for assembled worship. Since this worship is more narrowed, the music used for such occasions must also be more narrow. This chapter explores the Scripture for principles that should characterize congregational worship and music used in church services.
Chapter Eleven: Why Do We Have Music in the Church?
This chapter answers the question, why do we have music in the church at all? Wrong answers to this question lead to the use of inappropriate music. The unique function of music in the church is to help mature Christian’s emotions.
Chapter Twelve: Congregational Worship Music — God-Oriented
This chapter explains practical applications to the principle that all church music should be God-oriented. This means that He should be the audience and the subject of all congregational worship music.
Chapter Thirteen: Congregational Worship Music — Doctrine-Oriented
This chapter specifically interacts with other writers who insist that worship music should contain very little doctrine in order that the worshiper can meditate better on the truth. It argues instead, that worship cannot take place unless church music contain significant doctrine, and uses examples of Psalms and hymns from the Bible to prove the point.
Chapter Fourteen: Congregational Worship Music — Affection-Oriented
This chapter applies principles from Chapter Four specifically to sacred music. In particular, it argues against sentimentalism in sacred music, something prevalent in many gospel songs, praise choruses, and even some hymns.
Chapter Fifteen: Congregational Worship Music — Congregation-Oriented
This chapter argues that church music should apply to the whole congregation and not be personal, experiential, subjective, or individualistic.
Chapter Sixteen: Making Sacred Musical Choices
This chapter presents very practical principles by which a Christian can evaluate whether certain music is acceptable for use in congregational worship. It compares and contrasts different kinds of emotions and illustrates how some are inappropriate for worship.
Chapter Seventeen: Preparation and Participation in the Worship Service
Many church leaders put little or not thought into their methodology of congregational worship. This chapter presents practical advice on how to plan worship services in order that they best encourage biblical congregational worship.