Tag Archives: Articles on Music

Calvin Johansson’s Foreword to Measuring the Music

Calvin Johansson’s Foreword to Measuring the Music

As I write this foreword we are halfway through the last year of the last century of the second millennium A.D. Far from being a warmed-over cyclical version of previous epochs, this century of centuries birthed much that was genuinely new: unparalleled advances in science, technology, computer systems, and powerful media cartels for both the… Continue Reading

Why music should be central in your homeschool

Why music should be central in your homeschool

My goal in this essay is to convince you that it is important that music be a part of your homeschool. My goal is to persuade you that music is essential to your children’s educational development. For you this may not be necessary — you recognize the benefits of music in the lives of your children. But perhaps you view music… Continue Reading

Do origins matter?

Do origins matter?

One common argument used today in defense of using pop music styles for Christian purposes is that origins and associations don’t matter. Christians can redeem something that comes out of a sinful lifestyle and instead use it for good. I do agree that the sinful origins, roots, sources, or associations of something do not automatically… Continue Reading

The Culture of Humanity

The Culture of Humanity

One of the cornerstones of arguments in favor of musical relativism is that musical interpretation is culturally conditioned and therefore subjective—one may not expect someone else with different cultural conditioning to interpret music the same way. So, the reason I interpret a particular musical form in a certain way is only because I have been culturally conditioned… Continue Reading

How Music Naturally Carries Meaning

How Music Naturally Carries Meaning

It is important in any discussions about music to understand how music carries meaning naturally. I highly recommend Stephen Davies’ Musical Meaning and Expression, which clearly articulates where the most basic meaning does and does not lie: It is not a system of conventional symbols, like a language. It is not depictive, like representational paintings. It is… Continue Reading

What is Holy Music?

What is Holy Music?

I am often asked the question, “Can a particular style of music be sinful? How do you know?” I certainly have thoughts that answer that question, and I am happy to discuss it when I have a chance. However, I think it’s actually the wrong question to ask. Scripture never insists that we “prove” that… Continue Reading

Is music a neutral “thing”?

Is music a neutral “thing”?

One argument I regularly hear in defense of the notion that music is neutral is that it is just a “thing,” and “things” are neutral. A few thoughts in response: First, saying music is a “thing” is like saying tone of voice is a “thing.” They’re not; they are human communication, and human communication is… Continue Reading

Biblical authority and musical communication

Biblical authority and musical communication

I am teaching right now in my philosophy class on meaning in music. When beginning any discussion like this, I always find that it is important to address how the authority of Scripture factors in. I begin with 1 Timothy 3:16-17: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for… Continue Reading

This is the Truth Sent from Above

This is the Truth Sent from Above

The carol “This is the Truth Sent from Above” is a traditional carol whose text originates from words that first appeared in the 19th century. It is regrettable that many choirs leave many of the verses out (although it is impractical to sing all 16 verses that have been discovered). Still, the carol needs several stanzas… Continue Reading

The Unproven Premise

The Unproven Premise

I’ve heard the argument many times; it goes something like this: We shouldn’t divide over mere preferences; therefore, we shouldn’t divide over music. It’s admittedly a clever argument. Who would disagree with the first premise? Who would defend dividing over mere preferences? No one would. So, the argument gets the listen to immediately agree–of course… Continue Reading

New Facebook Group for Sharing Family Resources

New Facebook Group for Sharing Family Resources

We’ve started a brand new Facebook community, Religious Affections Family Resources, for Christian families to share and discuss the best in books, music, and educational resources for cultivating beauty and imagination in our children! In this group, we plan to share carefully selected resources from around the web (and print media), link to resource sales… Continue Reading

The Power of Beauty to Educate the Emotions

The Power of Beauty to Educate the Emotions

Sanctification is a lifelong process for a believer. Although a Christian is freed from the power and penalty of sin, he still must deal with the presence of sin around and within him. If, as stated in 1 Corinthians 10:31, man’s chief end is to glorify God, then the essence of sin is failing to… Continue Reading

“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