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Unread 08-07-2016, 08:48 PM   #1
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Two articles on theology & music

This is presented for discussion. I would like to hear others input, opinions, experiences and insights.
Of course any experience related should still be judged against scripture.

I'll hold off on my opinions, insights, etc for now for a variety of reasons, but I am interested to read what others think of these articles (Which overlap but don't completely agree.)

As most of us here are musicians and most would profess to be Christians I hope there is sufficient interest for a healthy discussion.

And if you are not a musicians or a professed Christian, please identify that in your first post in this thread, otherwise I will assume you are both.


Here are the articles:
Why Theology Matters to Musicians
The theology and place of music in worship

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Unread 08-08-2016, 07:30 AM   #2
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Not really a musician (I can play drums, but have never owned a kit), and most of both articles were pretty legit. I'm sympathetic to both.

If I were to write an article on this, I would have emphasized more that the songs have an important pedagogical role. Sure, the lyrics should be consistent with Scripture and the standards of the church (Westminster confession of faith and larger and shorter catechisms, Heidelberg Catechism, London Baptist Confession, etc.), but the lyrics need to be excellent (to reflect the subject matter) and ideally clearly expressing or drawing from Biblical themes. Like, a song that expresses how to deal with pain and shame as God would have is a great model or life's struggles; a song that walks the person through the anticipation of incarnation, obedience and passion, death and resurrection, and anticipation of glorification is highly instructive; a song that clearly expresses --without even a subtle error-- our need out of sin and how we have been reconciled with God is a testimony to believers and unbelievers in the congregation. A musician may not need to know theology to do their music well, but if they lead the congregation they should want to lead them in Spirit and truth, which requires drawing from Revelation more than imagination.

I would hesitate to say that everyone is a theologian. Not everyone is a scientist who enjoys the benefits of science or has an interest in understanding how the world works. Not all who study life are biologists. Likewise with thelogy: the congregation and musicians especially should have a view on life that is clarified by and faithfully expressing the whole counsel of God (in a way that is coherent even if not systematic), but much of that theology is merely received by others -- pastors, evangelists, theologians. That's the tradition and catechism of the church, not just what anyone who studies does. Nitpick? Maybe
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Unread 08-08-2016, 02:58 PM   #3

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It sounds like the author is rediscovering the wisdom of the Orthodox Christian musical tradition!

(Choral singing, hymnography with a catechetical purpose...)

Take, for example, the two main hymns of the Feast we just celebrated in the Church: the Transfiguration of Christ,


When, O Christ our God, You were transfigured on the mountain,
You did reveal Your glory to Your disciples in proportion as they could bear it,
So now for us sinners also let this same eternal light shine forth!
Through the intercessions of the Theotokos, O bestower of Light
Glory to You!

You were transfigured on the mountain O Christ our God!
Showing Your disciples as much of Your glory as they could bear!
So that when they see You crucified they will know that You suffered freely!
And they will tell all the world that You are truly the radiance of the Father!

Even the Koinonikon (communion hymn) we sang was based on Psalm 89:15-16, about walking in the light of God's countenance.

The Hymnography for the major feasts goes through pretty much all of salvation history. The hymns for Nativity focus on the coming of the long-awaited Christ and repeatedly ask the question, "How can He whom the universe cannot contain dwell in a virgin's womb!?". The hymns for Pascha go through all of the prophecies and types of Christ's death and resurrection in Scripture.
Glory to God for all things...
~ Ryan

In the flesh You fell asleep as a mortal man, O King and Lord,
You arose on the third day, freeing Adam from corruption and destroying death!
O Pascha of incorruption! The salvation of the world...

Exapostilarion of Pascha

Last edited by Homer Simpson; 08-08-2016 at 03:54 PM.
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Unread 08-23-2016, 10:42 PM   #4
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There is a wide range of traditions that can back up those articles--but I believe the overall point can be made to more than just music for corporate worship--but music in all of life.

In one sense since Christians are to live a life of worship you could build a case that all music is worship music of some sort.
But we often tend to create artificial categories--whether sacred or secular.

there are songs I find very moving and consider wonderful music that I would never use in corporate worship, but could consider them as worship in some sense.
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