WOW! OK… so we got some attention with that last post about music. I think we really… wait for it… STRUCK A CHORD.
Here is a link to the previous Music Post: http://www.joshuateis.com/i-love-a-variety-of-christian-music/
There were so many questions and comments on the last post I thought I would post a follow-up. A few things I want to say…
I. The Gracious Response
I was overwhelmed by the amount of positive feedback that I received! Many who would not even agree with my conclusions were so very gracious in their responses. I also noticed how many men and women have traveled the same road I had and come to the same conclusion. I even had several preacher friends contact me in person to show their support and warn me of “those who might be critical.” Honestly, this did not happen. I guess I’ve been hanging with the wrong preachers because even those who might disagree with my conclusions have only been loving and supportive.
Those who know me personally understand that my heart was never to be argumentative nor to undermine anyone’s spiritual authority who would happen to disagree with my last blog. My sole desire was to tell my story in hopes that it might help someone else.
II. It’s OK to Disagree
With that being said, there are those who disagreed with my thoughts on Christian music. And to this fact I say… OK.
Yes, it’s OK to disagree with me on this issue. Believing that Contemporary Christian or Southern Gospel music is appropriate does not make me a liberal nor does believing these are inappropriate make you a legalist. We just disagree on a minor issue. Remember, the core doctrines of our faith are: the trinity, the virgin birth, the Deity of Christ, the blood atonement, salvation by grace through faith, the resurrection of Christ, the inspiration of the Bible, creation, the 2nd coming of Christ, and Heaven & Hell as literal places. These beliefs are what many called The Fundamentals over 100 years ago when true liberalism was creeping into the church. I hope we all can agree that a preference in music style is a minor issue comparatively.
After the 1st blog post I had one of my dearest friends ask me with genuine curiosity, “So… um… do you listen to like… Stryper now?” I could not help but laugh. I’m chuckling right now just thinking about it. I guess the first post left a lot of unanswered questions.
III. Clarifying My Position
“Draw a Line. Tell us where you stand. Is Christian Rap acceptable? How about Christian Death Metal, Christian Reggae or Christian Dubstep?” 🙂
I cannot draw a line for you. It would be against my Biblical position to do so.
Then who draws the line?
I believe that I can only be dogmatic where I see the Scripture is dogmatic. I do not believe music to be one of these dogmatic issues. I know there are those who disagree. I know there are those who believe music to be a core, fundamental issue. I simply disagree. Therefore, where the Bible is silent or vague a Christian ought to come to their position through the leading of the Spirit. I believe that the Christian can still hear from God today.
The Spirit of God dwells in you: I Corinthians 3:16
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
The Spirit of God will guide you to a position: John 16:13
When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.
A true sheep hears from the Shepherd: John 10:27
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
The Holy Spirit of God will be the one who will get specific with you. He will speak to you and let you know what is true and right.
Don’t you believe there is some music that dishonors God?
Of course I believe there is some music that dishonors God. To my knowledge there are 3 passages that speak of music in a negative light. Exodus 32:15-20 gives indication of music that sounded to the ears of Joshua like the sounds of war. In Daniel 3:1-7 Nebuchadnezzar had music that accompanied his idol worship. In Amos 5:21-23 the prophet explains that God hates the singing and sacrifices of Israel when done in empty ritual rather than true worship. The first two passages speak of music being used in idol worship. The third speaks of empty ritualistic worship of the true God without any passion and purity. So, yes, music that leads to false worship or blind ritualistic repetition is ungodly.
Why won’t you give us your line?
It wouldn’t be helpful. Yes, there are some genres of “Christian Music” that I won’t listen to. I have preferences and you have preferences. My goal is not to convince you to listen to the style of Christian music I listen to. My goal is to get you to commune with the Spirit. Pray about it, listen to music and develop your own standards. I’m not training you to be a Christian if I just give you my standard and set you free. That would be too easy. I must teach others to actually develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit and allow the Spirit to guide them into truth. Frankly, there are too many church leaders that are waiting until a certain musician or institution approves a certain song, instrument or sound before they incorporate that into their lives and ministries.
Why did the Holy Spirit lead me to my standard and you to your standard?
The Holy Spirit speaks individually about specific issues. For example, I have a very close friend who was called of God to be a Pastor. I too was called of God to be a Pastor. How did he know that he was to move to Mexico, grow a mustache and preach in Spanish? How did I know I was to move back to Las Vegas, plant a church and start a blog? The answer to both questions is the Holy Spirit. We assume that just because we spoke to the Holy Spirit about a particular issue and felt led to create a particular standard for our lives that everyone that speaks to the Holy Spirit will be led to exactly the same standard. This is false. The Lord may lead you to a more conservative position regarding music because of the culture where you serve, while the same Lord leads me to an entirely different position fitted for the culture in which I am serving. By the way, I believe a culture can be different not only from country to country but also county to county and even church to church within the same city.
Won’t your position on music affect your public worship services?
I hope the answer is yes! I’ve never thought it a good argument that what you use for private worship need not to affect your public worship. To me, this is ridiculous. First, if you have no music in your private worship then something is wrong with your private worship. Second, if you worship privately with only traditional hymns it would make sense that you church would primarily use traditional hymns. Third, if you worship privately with CCM then your church will tend to have CCM in the worship services. This is why at Southern Hills Baptist Church we have a blend of Contemporary Christian Music, Traditional Hymns and Southern Gospel. I believe a church is likely to have the music that their pastor uses in private worship.
Is it legalistic for a church to choose traditional hymns above contemporary worship?
No! Neither is it carnal for a church to choose contemporary worship above traditional hymns. What is legalistic is when a church teaches that God is more pleased with our worship than the worship of the church down the road. This happens from both sides. The traditional church with hymnbooks, choir specials and a baby grand piano could take pride in their choice and accuse the contemporary church of a “worldly sound that displeases God.” The contemporary church with their praise team and band could take pride in their choice and accuse the traditional church of “not being relevant “or” dead and formalistic.” Both attitudes are wrong! Both attitudes are hurtful to the cause of Christ. As a Baptist, I believe in something called the autonomy of the local church. That pastor and that church have been led by the Spirit and know what is right for that community.
As a pastor, aren’t you afraid that your people will choose the wrong music?
As a Baptist, I believe in something called Individual Soul Liberty (Romans 14:12). I desire to teach our people to develop a relationship with God. We teach the people of Southern Hills that God still speaks through His Scripture and His Spirit. The Spirit will never contradict that which the Scripture has clearly established. However, where the Scripture is not specific the Spirit will be specific. I preach Galatians 5:16 which says, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” If they are walking in the Spirit, the Lord will lead them to music that is right for them. And surprisingly, it may not be the same Christian music to which I listen.
I hope this helps. Our church has been working through these issues for the last few years and it has been very good for us. For those who are not part of our church I’m sure there are many more questions. Feel free to ask in the comment section below. If you disagree I welcome your comments as well. I am interested in this dialogue and would love to hear your opinion.
(Disclaimer, I am not speaking to children or teenagers who are bound by Scripture to obey their parents regarding music. I am also not speaking to any staff member of an institution that is bound by their own word to follow the standards established by their leadership.)
Chris ChavezMarch 14, 2013 at 9:04 am
Can you comment on these things in regard to Christian music?
1. “Only use not liberty as an occasion to flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof.” The Scripture teaches we have liberty, clearly. I believe it, I live it, I also preach it. But it also teaches against using liberty as the door for the flesh to get what it wants. I try to believe, live, and preach that too. When you made a post like this (which I am glad at you doing) (and which I noticed you changed your title and am glad you did too) you availed yourself to influence others in music. In these two posts you influence toward liberty strongly, but now it would be helpful to influence toward the Bible’s binding instruction -it’s leash inside of liberty.
2. How can I, can I, and should I ever rebuke in the area of anything labeling itself as Christian music? Or is that an invasion of sole liberty? How do I correct someone, which is part of my role as preacher, not just instruction. I am to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with a longsuffering and doctrine. Is what I rebuke a matter of individual sole liberty as well or is there Scriptural basis to correct a Christian’s Christian music?
3. I agree that Christians will come to different preferences in music (liberty). I travel in Evangelism and see the wide-spectrum of Godly people with different tastes. But the question I have is can we safely say that my, and and any others, music Christian position is always a matter of preference? You said there are some genres of music you won’t listen to because of preference. I’d have to disagree. I’d think you wouldn’t listen to them because of some Scriptural basis and because of the Sprit, not preference, else you would be saying you would be free to listen to them later. I mean by all this, there are elements of music choice that are preferential, but it is first Scriptural. It must be. You said earlier that music is not amoral, so the Bible must speak against sinful music, even in the Christian realm. And I must have some basis Biblically to tell someone why that genre is wrong. If I cannot then music is not amoral and music is never addressed in the Scriptures.
4. ( this one you do not have to address) I want to lastly say, that I agree whole-heartedly with your heart in the issue. And it is an issue, else you wouldn’t have got the uproar :). I see that God has done a work in your heart, and you are glad to share it. And I’m glad you have. I tried to send a DM to you on twitter (but you don’t follow me…h-hmmm) three nights ago that said, “I spent some time in prayer for you tonight. God has granted you favor in influencing others. With that influence comes the need for wisdom, discernment, and prudence. Praying for you in these.”
And as a side note, I have been praying about starting a blog as well. I am now especially glad for your articles, because now I don’t have to be the one to be spotlighted LOL
Thanks, Josh, for your post. Encouraged.
Joshua TeisMarch 14, 2013 at 11:27 am
#1 – Using our liberty as an occasion to the flesh.
I agree that this ought not be done. However, you assume that it is my flesh that desires Contemporary Christian Music. Trust me, it is not my flesh that desires to draw close to God. My flesh wants nothing to do with God. When I hear my favorite Christian song “Who Am I” by Casting Crowns (clearly CCM) and I weep over God’s goodness and His willingness to love a sinner like me, this is not of the flesh. My flesh hates this as much as it hates sitting under a good sermon. However, in a good sermon I might “enjoy” a funny joke or well-told illustration but does that make it fleshly?
The idea that someone is giving into the flesh because they like a musical sound that fits within their cultural setting is silly. The easiest thing for my flesh would have been to stay in the status quo. Ignore the Spirit’s leading. Hold to tradition. This is what my flesh wanted to do.
#2 – How can I correct someone else’s Christian Music?
I leave that one in your hands. I’m not sure I want to personally. You quote II Timothy 3:16 as a Scripture that teaches that all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, instruction, correction, and reproof. I agree that Scripture is there to do these things. Yet, how do we apply that to the realm of Christian music where the Scripture is not specific. My point being, you want me to be specific where the Scripture is not in order to help someone make a decision. I believe the best way to help someone is teach the Bible for what is says, be specific where it is specific and be silent where it is silent and when I have a personal preference state it as such. The best thing to do for a growing Christian is to teach them doctrine and not standards. Teach them pneumatology so they learn to walk int he Spirit then they will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
#3 – Isn’t it wrong to say that music is just a matter of preference?
Yes! – Music is a Scriptural issue – that issue being you should worship the Lord through music. However, the Bible is not clear on genre and neither am I. Through reading Scripture, traveling the world and studying history I have come to believe that Christian Music is all about cultural preferences.
#4 – Thanks for the encouragement. You have always been a good friend. What little influence the Lord has given me I plan to use for the furtherance of His kingdom. What I have written has been on purpose and I stand by it. I hope to influence others. Notwithstanding, I also know I have so much to learn and am still growing as a Christian and pastor. I desperately need your prayers for I am a man as Agur (Prov. 30:2). BTW – corrected the twitter mistake. Trying to find you – what is your twitter handle?
Chris ChavezMarch 14, 2013 at 4:18 pm
#1 – I’m sorry if you misunderstood my statement (or maybe I misunderstood your reply…this is why conversations in person are better). I actually wasn’t insinuating that the flesh necessarily desires CCM. (I tried to not reveal where I stand, cause it is not the issue). I understand the flesh to be sinful in both directions – it can cling to un-Sriptural standards in an attempt to gain righteousness and can run to licentiousness as well under the cloke of grace. It is flesh – it will go opposite of the Spirit. I was just asking for comment on exhorting others to be aware of the flesh’s use of liberty to do things contrary to the Sprit. it serves as the God-designed Biblical balance to say you are free, but remember, you have a conniving flesh, but you are at liberty in Christ, but you have a manipulative flesh. It is a constant rebalancing, reconsidering, and growing.
#2 – On this one, you were very specific and helpful…and please don’t leave it in my hands – I’ll probably drop it :). Your exhortation to teaching doctrine and the ministry of the Spirit is excellent. I was wanting exactly what you said – instruction on how can I as a leader can help those under me to think right on this issue. On the meats offered to idol issues, Paul gives principles, guides, boundaries. The Scripture is what the Holy Spirit uses – He doesn’t work in a vacuum. For example, I can tell a teen “be not conformed to this world” and “singing and making melody to the Lord” as dogmatically as can be, and then trust the Holy Spirit to lead those that are willing to be lead. We don’t have to fear His leadership as we preach His Word. His Word is sufficient in all areas. Some of these issues are difficult for some (not you) because the Bible is not photographs to see or audio tracks to listen to, but it is still sufficient for practice.
#3 – This one, we will agree to disagree. (And trust me, I am for you and others who unwaiveringly hold strong to their doctrine.) I don’t think music is completely a matter of preference “Music is all about cultural preferences.” I believe it has large elements of preference, but it is not preference alone. It can’t be. Music is clearly a matter of worship, and worship is a matter of Spirit and Truth. It is not amoral. It is moral, and thus can be guided by the Moral One, God, or distorted by the a-moral or im-moral ones, flesh, sin, Satan. I have a hard time believing that those three are going to leave worship alone without trying to twist it. I used clothing as an example (not as another topic …believe me, I do not at all want to open the bigger can of worms!) on purpose because clothing has changed over the centuries (glad I don’t wear robes), clothing is different in different cultures, clothing has the taste factor, and so has similar reasonings to music choice. That is some parts are preferential, but not all. So, in music I would suggest that there is room for the tastes, cultures, and changing times of music 1000 years ago, but would not be free to say that it is reserved only to preference. Worship is too crucial.
# 4 – Thanks for yours as well. I’ve been one of those influenced. May the Lord bless your sincere desire to follow Him. Thanks for the follow…let’s see…with my wife…I’m now probably at two. LOL Pray for me as well.
PS And for all those who read this…I like Josh. God has His hand upon Him. I’m not slamming him on here or away from here. LOL
Joshua TeisMarch 14, 2013 at 4:52 pm
#1 – Well Said!
#2 – Your use of Romans 12:2 and Ephesians 5:19 are great. As is your explanation of these passages.
#3 – You make an excellent point here. I will have to contemplate this further. Really well said! Thank you!
For all those who read this – I now hate Chris Chavez. 🙂
Love you brother – thanks for the great conversation
Chris ChavezMarch 14, 2013 at 5:08 pm
You too. Tell Fred and Jason hello for me.
Jonathan BarberOctober 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm
Chris, here is a link to an excellent article that addresses the morality of music. This really gets to the heart of the issue. Make sure to read both part 1 and 2.
Chris ChavezMarch 14, 2013 at 9:24 am
As a post self-analyzing edit to #3 above…when I mentioned that music is not completely a matter of preference, the same is true with clothing. Clothing is not just a cultural preference, but it does contain elements of preference. That is to wear yellow or red would be preference that cannot be corrected, but for a lady to wear tight fitting clothing is a matter of Scripture and must be corrected…granted in the right time, in the right growth, with the right love, and with the right teaching.
Gulp, now I’m getting scared of my soon coming blog. I’ll be editing each post dozens of times. Pray for me. 🙂
Joshua TeisMarch 14, 2013 at 11:29 am
You bring up Clothing. Not a discussion I am ready to jump into. Thanks 🙂
Chris ChavezMarch 14, 2013 at 4:24 pm
Neither am I LOL I did not mean it as another topic. I meant it as an example to show its relationship in thinking through certain issues. Just as the Bible never says thou shaltest notest wearest Nike- est shoes-est, so it never contains a list of songs. The same principles, approach, and guidelines would pertain to both however. Please see above for more.
Alan LaddMarch 14, 2013 at 10:32 am
I have seen Churchs with beautiful orchestra, and bands. Some with just tape set are just a CD. I also seen Churchs here in Vegas with rock & row bands with high volumes that would vibrate you out of the building. I have seen churchs that would give the pastor 15mi. and the rest of the service was there downhome Christian music.
After saying that there is good and bad in everything. but seeking the good is to glorifie God.
Teaching music is a great way to grow a church. But it must be bounced in good faith. I my self prefure the orchestra, or traditional and is a great way to grow a church.
Contemporary, some of it takes time for me to get use to and some is heart warming, but some is questionable.
The bottom line is it is not about me, it is About Christ and how we would like to see our church grow and glorifie God together.
Joshua TeisMarch 14, 2013 at 10:51 am
Great point Alan. I also don’t personally like every kind of worship style.
The thing we must remember about music choice is that it’s not about “growing the church” it’s about connecting people to God in worship. The music is there to glorify God and help the Christian worship his Lord. As a pastor I just desire to find music that connects people to the Lord in worship. Love your comments.
Alan LaddMarch 14, 2013 at 11:16 am
I will remember that, We the people in the Spirit of the Lord.
Steve FrancisMarch 14, 2013 at 1:24 pm
Josh, thank you for your willingness to share. I have been on that same journey that you traveled, though not with the rejecting of all music, stop along the way. I once heard a man say “if you are blessed by a song and it helps you worship God, then who am I to say otherwise “. As the music director for my church I find the biggest difficulty in bringing balance to the song service. I try to emphasize keeping the specials conservative but within each persons realm of preferences as well. While this is not always easy and not always accomplished I want my singers to remember that while I may enjoy a certain group at home or in my car it may not always be appropriate for corporate worship and if my preferences in music are going to distract from the stated goal of preparing hearts for the message then it is best to. keep it conservative. Everyone in the church is not going to be comfortable with every genre of christian music so err on the side of caution and remember its not just about you and really isn’t at all, its about God and we want to lead as many as possible into corporate and individual worship without making things uncomfortable for them in our efforts. Thanks again. Enjoyed the blog!
Joshua TeisMarch 14, 2013 at 3:31 pm
Well said Steve. Especially about trying to bring as many people into the spirit of worship as possible. Thank you for your perspective.
Michael RhoanMarch 14, 2013 at 10:47 pm
Thank you Pastor Teis for your stance on music. It is encouraging to see that you follow Christ and not a man or other people’s options.
Joshua TeisMarch 15, 2013 at 10:12 am
Ben EricksonMarch 15, 2013 at 9:02 am
Well Said! Thank you, Pastor Josh for your willingness to share your insight on the matter of music and worship! BOTH articles were a blessing and an encouragement to read!
Joshua TeisMarch 15, 2013 at 10:13 am
Thanks Ben. Glad they could be a help. I appreciate the feedback
Matt McMorrisMarch 15, 2013 at 9:06 am
Thanks for this follow-up post. I think it does a lot to further explain some of your thoughts mentioned in your original post. I appreciate what you have to say here and thank you for speaking up on the subject.
It’s almost sad to me to think that one might suffer an attack for “breaking rank” a little on a subject that Scripture does not speak to as clearly as some would say. So, I am thrilled that you have had positive feedback.
I’m enjoying your blog! Keep it up!
Joshua TeisMarch 15, 2013 at 10:19 am
Thanks Matt. Truthfully I haven’t really suffered any attacks. Within my circles of influence and friends most either agree with my position or are gracious enough to allow me to have my own position. I really am thankful that the Lord has placed me in the local church he has and given me the ministry connections He has. I know this is not the case in every sphere of Baptists but it has been my experience thus far. God is good!
Matt McMorrisMarch 15, 2013 at 10:27 am
I really believe we are in a positive shift in the Baptist realm. There are a ton of young leaders who are taking appropriate positions on these types of issues or showing grace to those who are different from them.
These are exciting times and I am happy to be a part of this generation!
Joshua TeisMarch 15, 2013 at 10:45 am
Fred MurrayMarch 15, 2013 at 10:37 am
As a staff member at Southern Hills I hope I can say that I have one of the best understandings of Josh’s perspective. Music is a great way to worship Christ and sometimes we decided what is best for everyone. Based on the fact I used to listen to Hip Hop, Rock, Country, and everything else as a teenager I am very limited now in my worship style. Here is what I mean, there are very few songs I hear in every genre of Christian music that go not in some way remind me of the music that I listened to as a teenager. So with every song of every genre I personally have to ask myself if I am being fed spiritually or the flesh is the recipient of satisfaction. There are people out there who never really got involved in the music I did as a teenager so they are not affected like i would be with a more contemporary style. Pastor Josh is not a mind reader that is why he prefers a balanced worship style in the services. Teach someone to love Christ and the Holy Spirit will let them know what they need to get rid of, or add to enhance their walk with Christ.
Joshua TeisMarch 15, 2013 at 10:49 am
Well Said Pastor Fred.
Matthew EhlenMarch 15, 2013 at 5:03 pm
I know I am still very young and and am still learning, but in my short experience and journey similar to yours, Pastor, I’ve learned a good deal about music. Reading your blogs and these many comments has helped me and I would like to share one thought that i think would be a help to others reading this. When discussing music, I often remind people that everything God created is good. As your brother taught me in youth group, I believe that evil is when we take that good thing which God created for us, pervert its purpose, and use it to please our flesh. I often use alcohol as an example. Now is alcohol evil? Of course not! God created it. It is used for so many good medical purposes, included me using it in my mouthwash this morning! But because alcohol is misused and abused by so many and therefore causes so many problems, alcohol is usually associated with evil in the mind of many Christians. When alcohol is used for that good purpose God created it for, that’s great! But when Christians misuse and abuse it for their own pleasure, that’s when it becomes sin. And I believe it’s the same thing with music. I’ve heard many preachers and friends say they believe that anything with a drumbeat or electric guitar makes music evil. I believe that thought pattern comes from the association of those instruments and the sounds they make when they are used in an evil manner to gratify the flesh. It’s much like what Pastor Fred was saying about his circumstance in the previous comment. But I believe that’s what Paul was speaking of in Romans 14. I may be misunderstanding the passage, but from what I understand, many of these Romans would not eat meat and they did not understand why saved Jews had no problem with it. It was because this meat that was being sold was first offered to idols. These saved Jews had no problems with it because most of them never had anything to do with idol worship, but many of these Romans had been deeply involved in idol worship. I’m sure some of them even had offered meat to idols themselves before they got saved! Because of this, every time these newly saved Romans would even look at meat, they would immediately associate it in their minds with idol worship, while most saved Jews made no associate like that in their minds whatsoever. I think that’s exactly what happens with many who were saved from such a lifestyle. They were saved from a rock-n-roll life and now everytime they hear the sound of a drumbeat or electric guitar, they automatically associate it with the rampant rebellion, illegal use of drugs, and sex that goes along with ungodly music. Because of this association, many Christians (especially young Christians learning from their past generation), now consider it a fundamental of Baptist beliefs to be against these sounds. Now I did mention earlier that believe everything God created is good and can be used for a good purpose. I like to use this example: most Christians don’t think twice about it when they are watching a car chase scene in a movie and a some heavier, more intense music comes on. But if that same music were to come on in church, their palms would start getting sweaty. Why? Because the music fits the purpose. If a soft violin and piano duet of amazing grace was played during the car chase scene, it wouldn’t fit! The music is used specifically for the purpose during that time of getting us pumped up into the action of the scene. That is just one example I think of how different sounds can be used the right why without it being sin. When it is used in the right way for a good purpose, I believe it is glorying to God. There’s so much more that could be said on the subject, but I’ve already written way too much! Thanks for letting me share my thoughts. I hope they were a help to anyone reading. I love you Pastor and am praying for you and your ministry always.
Joshua TeisMarch 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm
Hey Matt – Great thoughts! Well written. I’m so glad that you have learned so much in my brother’s youth group over the years. He is a great youth pastor! How many years have you been out of school now?
Matthew EhlenMarch 15, 2013 at 5:42 pm
He’s been a mentor and friend to me no like no other. And I’m actually in my sophomore year of college right now.
James StevensMarch 15, 2013 at 7:19 pm
Just wanted to leave a quick note and thank Pastor Teis for this blog and everyone for their comments. I am and forever will be a growing Christian and I am learning a great deal from this blog!
Joshua teisMarch 16, 2013 at 9:43 am
You are a good and humble man. Thank you James! You and your dear family have been nothing but a blessing since you arrived at southern hills! See you tomorrow!
Chad PhillipsMarch 16, 2013 at 10:09 am
I’m concerned about a particular portion of your previous post that says, ” I understood that I could do nothing more to please God, because Christ had already pleased Him on my behalf.” I mean this as respectfully as I can, so please don’t take me as being harsh. What you said sounds, to many people, so good and spiritually deep, but it is contrary to God’s Word. And that is why I am making this comment. I want to compare the above quoted portion of your post with several New Testament passages- passages that were written to N.T. believers under grace:
1 Thessalonians 4:1- Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
Colossians 1:10- That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
2 Corinthians 5:9-10- Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
These are just a few verses about Christians living in such a way that is pleasing to the Lord, something you have claimed in this blog post can’t be done. Christ is the propitiation for our sins concerning our justification. But concerning our sanctification, it is the personal responsibility of every believer to be filled with the Spirit and live a life that is pleasing to Him. On the other side, a believer can displease God with his life. Consider these verses:
Ephesians 4:30- And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
1 Thessalonians 5:19- Quench not the Spirit.
As God’s child, I can live my life in such a way that is either pleasing or displeasing to my Heavenly Father. That is clearly taught in the New Testament, as I have tried to show.
It is very dangerous to make the statement, ” I understood that I could do nothing more to please God…” First, that statement is in direct contradiction to God’s Word. Secondly, a weak Christian could read this blog and use that line as an excuse to do anything he feels like doing, because, after all, there is nothing he can do to please God, so why concern himself with righteousness? I don’t believe you would condone that kind of response to your blog, but regardless, it has the potential to lead a weak Christian to that conclusion.
Joshua TeisMarch 16, 2013 at 11:06 am
Thank you for your comment. It did not come across harsh in any way. It was well stated and very Biblical. I might surprise you here. I looked back at the original post a realized that you are right. I should not have phrased that point in that way.
What I should have said was, “I understood that I could do nothing to earn God’s love, I could do nothing to make Him like me more than He already does, I could do nothing to gain his favor because I am already loved, liked and highly favored through my relationship with Christ. This allowed me to move past my feeble attempts at religion and focus solely on my relationship with Christ. I was able to move past my focus upon the law and refocus upon my love for Jesus. II Corinthians 5:14”
Thank you for the correction. As you, I do believe you cannot merit your justification through good works, and that after being born again we ought desire to please our Savior with the remainder of our lives.
I believe that a Love relationship with Christ will keep us holy – II Cor. 5:14
I also believe that the Grace of God will lead us to godliness not carnality – Titus 2:11-12
Chad, thank you for your spirit and your help. I will correct the original post.
JessMarch 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm
What bothers me most about this post is not that I disagree with your view of worship music, even though I do completely disagree. What bothers me the most is that you make SO many statements that are not backed up by Scripture.
1. In your point #II. above you call music a “minor issue”. Can you give Scriptural support for the fact that music is a minor issue?? From what I understand by reading your posts and the comments you believe that music is a minor issue, because the Bible is silent on specifics about music. This is simply not true. The Bible mentions music often. The word “musick” is in the Bible 16 times. Hymns are mentioned 4 times. The word “song” is in the Bible 44 times. Singing, sang, sung, and sing are in the Bible 143 times. The Bible even mentions specific styles of music: Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual songs, Ephesians 5:19. The Bible IS specific about music.
2. You say the Scripture is not dogmatic about music. Really? Yet there are nearly 200 references in Scripture SPECIFICALLY about music (I didn’t even count the verses that mention individual musical instruments, so there’s actually alot more than 200 references). That’s a lot of verses for something not to be dogmatic.
There’s a whole lot more the Bible says about music than you seem to be willing to give it credit for.
You give a lot of your opinions and conclusions in this blog post. Perhaps a better post would have been an actual Bible study on music and what the Bible actually says about music from those 200 verses that specifically refer to music, and not about culture, opinion, and preference.
One more thought. Worship is a whole lot more than music.
Joshua TeisMarch 16, 2013 at 2:42 pm
Thank you Jess for your Comments. I can see that you are passionate about this subject and I appreciate your passion.
#1 – I agree that the Bible speaks a great deal about music and does so in a very positive light. Even specific styles, “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.”
#2 – I do believe that we need to be dogmatic regarding music in the Bible. This is my dogmatic statement. I believe that God loves Christian Music!
#3 – I have so much more to learn from the study of Scriptures but what I have learned through my study on music in the Bible can be heard here: http://vimeo.com/58326872 (This is the sermon I preached to our church on the issue.
#4 – I agree that worship includes much more than music. That is a wonderful point.
Matt McMorrisMarch 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm
I noticed from your blog that have a degree in music. Very impressive! That is something we have in common. I mention that to say that I do not mean to seem rude in my response, because I respect that fact that you have studied the subject matter and have formed Biblical opinions.
Also, Pastor Teis has shown that he is both humble and capable in his own responses. However, I thought I would throw a couple of thoughts out.
#1 You criticized him for not using Scripture to prove that the music was a “minor issue.” However, in the context of what he was saying, I understood him to mean that if you were to take the major tenants and doctrines of our faith as major and all other issues as minor, than it would fall into the category of minor. I don’t believe he meant that it was insignificant in general, but minor in comparison.
#2 The Bible actually mentions something related to music in over 500 references. Also, the only thing God the Creator, Earth the creation, and man the created in common is that they are all musical. Interesting, don’t you think? Of course music is important. I doubt he would deny that.
#3 Just because the Bible mentions something often, does not mean it mentions it specifically. Thus, using your argument of “there seems to be a lack of Scriptural support,” might I say that you failed to do so as well?
I could mention my uncle to you over 200 times and you may still know nothing of him. In other words, I would have failed to communicate specifics.
#4 As a musician, and a student of music and worship in Scripture, I understand that it is frustrating when what we have given our lives to is down played. However, it took me diving into Scripture to realize that music is a secondary issue to so many other aspects of Scripture. It’s not unimportant, but it is secondary.
While I am certain that your spirit is in the right place, I am afraid your arguments are not.
While I appreciate the fact that you are concerned about his integrity regarding the issue of music in the Bible, defenders of conservative music must use the same care and not hide behind old arguments and paradigms.
I hope you understand my spirit in this response. It is not intended to be harsh.
Joshua TeisMarch 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm
Thank you for clarifying that I don’t believe music to be a small thing. In fact that is why I wrote these posts int he first place. I believe Christian music to be truly important to the Christian life. This is why I preached to my very own church the importance of daily worship music in the life of the Christian: http://vimeo.com/58326872
The fact that you and Jess have dedicated your lives to this very important part of the Christian life is admirable and praise worthy.
Thank you Jess and Matt for putting up with my limited ability to clearly express my thoughts.
Jim JohnsonMarch 16, 2013 at 6:28 pm
Thank you for your honest, humble, and thoughtful posts. I also have wondered where the “line” was regarding scripture.
One concern I have often had is that in most cases, churches who embrace some of the CCM have slid doctrinally or scripturally in regards to the Baptist Distinctive’s and the King James Bible. Part of my stance on music personally has been because of this concern and not necessarily what “others” have told me what to listen to, though I have had that as well.
I have often feared that road and have tried to abstain from a lot of the CCM music.
That being said, I feel that some arguments against not using CCM music tend to be weak and non Biblical.
My wife doesn’t wear pants, not because they are sinful, because they aren’t. She doesn’t wear them because I believe we are a distinct, called out, peculiar people.
I Peter 2:9, II Corinthians 6:17, Matthew 5:16
That said, I have concluded, for myself and family, that we will try to live distinct, called out, and peculiar lives. Those that know me already know I’m peculiar.
My point is, because my wife does not wear pants, she has a lot of people in our community ask her why. That has always given her an opportunity to share Christ.
She has these opportunities because she is acting in a way that would potentially point lost souls to Christ. She has chosen to abstain from something not necessarily because we believe it to be sinful, but because wearing pants may not point as many to Christ as wearing only skirts or dresses. Let me haste to say that I do not believe women who wear pants aren’t pointing people to Christ because my wife would be the first to tell you there are godlier women who win many more souls to Christ then she does, so please don’t anyone feel I’m saying anything other than this is what my family practices and why, it is no better than anyone else’s stance.
I believe that should be the aim of every Christian, to live in such a way that people know there is a difference and ask why. So I’ve adopted that stance in music myself. I love some of the new CCM music, but in my opinion the way some use the instruments does not come across to me as peculiar or distinct and could often be confused with the world. And I don’t want anyone confusing my lifestyle, or my churches with the world. There should be an obvious difference, and with some christian music, there isn’t and that is the kind that concerns me.
Pastor Teis, what are your thoughts on churches who have adopted some CCM and have slid downhill doctrinally? Is there a way to use CCM and avoid that? These are honest questions I have and pray that as more churches adopt CCM that they will not slide doctrinally or scripturally in regards to the Baptist Distinctive and the King James Bible.
Joshua TeisMarch 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm
thank you for your questions and comments.
1# – Will your CCM lead you to compromise Bible doctrine?
I do not believe so. Jim, someone’s choice of music will only negatively change their doctrine if the music they listen to is doctrinally wrong. We are not talking about the style of music here but the lyrics. Which leads me to a point I must make. I should have clarified this in my post – Some Christian music is BAD, HORRIBLE and dishonoring to God and I will never listen to it… That would be music that teaches false doctrine. We find these songs throughout Southern Gospel, CCM and even in our hymnbooks. Songs that teach corrupted doctrine ought be thrown away. But to answer the real question, no – I do not believe a church that uses contemporary music will change their core, fundamental doctrines. However, they may be accused of doing so because some misunderstand what the core, fundamental doctrines are.
#2 – Don’t you think we ought to be a peculiar people? (I Pet. 2:9)
I do not believe the Christian’s goal is to be peculiar. This is not something we should shoot for. I think it’s wonderful that you and your wife have determined a dress standard for your family that you believe honors God and points people to Christ. And I also appreciate that you feel no obligation to force that standard upon others.
Yet I hope to challenge your thinking on this.
The Amish community is peculiar as well. Are they pointing people to Christ? The FLDS are peculiar yet are only pointing to a religion. The Hasidic Jews have a certain dress but their dress only only pointing the world toward their religion.
I believe that when the Scriptures speak about Christians being a peculiar people it is saying that we are peculiar in the way we praise the Creator (I Pet. 2:9), speak of God’s mercy (2:10), live in holiness (2:10), deal in honesty (2:12), obey our governments (2:13), good works (Tit. 2:14), and most importantly from the mouth of Jesus… love the brethren (John 13:35).
I suppose that it is not the sound of the music that is coming from my car that will point people to Jesus, nor the clothing that I am wearing that will lead them to the gospel. In our american society they may just assume that you are religious.
Being peculiar is not something we have to shoot for, being peculiar is a natural result of following Christ. You will be the weirdo who loves radically, lives Biblically and follows the Spirit completely. Even in Christianity, this is peculiar.
Thank you for you openness and great thoughts. I respect you for sharing here.
Chad PhillipsMarch 19, 2013 at 7:44 am
Thank you for your response, and for understanding where I was coming from in my previous comment. God bless.
Ted SellMarch 21, 2013 at 11:06 am
Been thinking about this for a while and wanted to add my thoughts as I too have wrestled with this for years.
First, Johann Sebastian Bach (a man who obviously knew a thing or two about music) once said, “Music is a spiritual force and should only be used for the glorification of Christ and the edifying of the human mind.” While not scripture, I do believe those words have spriptual backing.
Secondly, I Corinthians 12:3 “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and THAT NO MAN CAN SAY THAT JESUS IS THE LORD, BUT BY THE HOLY GHOST.” (my emphais, obviously)
I was told that CCM cannot be Godly music, but I’ve listened to it and the lyrics usually do call Jesus “LORD”. If the Bible says that no man can say that except it be by the Holy Ghost and these men (and women) are saying it, must it also not then follow that they do so by the power of the Holy Ghost?
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