everybody sing!

Back in May, Scott Aniol posted Leading Music at the Conference on the Church for God’s Glory on his site, Religious Affections.

In the article, he commented on the music at the Together for the Gospel conference he had attended earlier in the year. Among other things he said this:

Although every hymn choice for that conference was in and of itself conservative, and although the accompaniment was simple in theory, a completely different underlying philosophy bled through. The leader of the singing, who led from the piano, was a master at emotional manipulation stimulation. How he accompanied the hymns moved and swayed the audience in certain emotional directions. He constantly shouted out unintelligible exclamations that further roused the audience. And the audience did respond. Hands waving in the air, enthusiastic shouting, vigorous singing, and even some jumping around.

I would recommend you read Scott’s entire article. There is some discussion following, but the article is the main thing. Now, I don’t have the time, the $$$, nor the interest to attend such conferences. I didn’t really have a full picture of what Scott was describing, but I had an idea what it was like. Now you can get a sense of exactly what Scott is describing…

Yes, Together for the Gospel Live! is about to be released. You can listen to clips of some of the singing at the conference. You can even download three of the songs free. That should be more than enough to understand the scene Scott describes here, and analyzes further on his blog.

A few comments from me… not a musician, but a pastor with a desire to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

I think the musician who lead the music in this conference is a sincere Christian man, but badly misguided by false theology (charismatism) and a worldly philosophy of music. (To examine his musical philosophy further, simply check out some of the other Sovereign Grace offerings.)

I think Scott’s word ‘manipulation’ is the correct assessment here. (He has it as a ‘strikethrough’ font on his blog, I can’t seem to produce that on mine…. I underlined it for you.) There seems to be something of emotional self-indulgence in the musical style… both in the piano accompaniment and the ‘unintelligible shouting’ as Scott describes it. There also seems to be a disconnect between the actual tunes sung by the congregation and the accompaniment – a little dissonance for a real pomo feel, eh? It seems that the instrumental accompaniment does not match what the men (mostly men it sounds like) are singing, especially on the more familiar and older pieces.

Speaking of disconnects… What is it with Fundamentalists making a regular practice of attending these meetings? How does this really further their own ministries and the cause of Christ? Should we affirm the goals of the ‘Togetherness Boys’ as fundamentalists? Is the music of SG ministries the direction we want our people heading? If we consistently support ‘Togetherness Gatherings’ won’t our people be open to the musical offerings produced? Is this really where we want to head?

See my earlier articles on Bauder’s lectures. If there is a significant difference between us and the Conservative Evangelicals, shouldn’t there also be a significant distance?

Perhaps the difference isn’t as significant as some would have us believe? Or is it?

It’s all very confusing.

don_sig2

Comments

  1. Many Evangelical churches & conferences have good preaching and lousy music. That tension cannot exist—one will have to change. And it won’t be the music.

  2. T. Pennock says:

    Interesting. If you whip up the crowed with fiery oratory, or if you emotionally plead with sinners to be saved, it’s called Finneyizing the congregation. Yet, if you whip up the sheep with manipulating musical techniques, it’s called Together for the Gospel. Humm.

  3. I think it is obvious that the TG4 “worship” leadership tries to imitate the rhythmic and melodic patterns of the secular entertainers, who make money feeding the sinful natures of unbelievers.

    None of it is acceptable to God because it isn’t HOLY. It is common and therefore profane.

    On top of it is the accurate observation here of T. Pennock, who nails the contradiction of TG4 criticisms of manipulative, Finneyesque preaching with their manipulative, Finneyesque music.

    Something else obvious is that they want to make the Charismatics feel welcome in the TG4—the adulterous, evil generation that seeks after signs—got to make them feel a part too.

    This group talks about discernment and they wipe it out with these kinds of contradictions. I think they see their compromise as strategic for pulling more people into the fold. It isn’t the grace of God but worldly and fleshly lust.

  4. Good comments!

    I, too, agree with Tracy. It is singular how men are quite willing to call anyone who gives an invitation “Finneyesque” yet will give these men a pass.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  5. Don,

    A sign that your blog is being read.

    http://www.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=8795

  6. not sure about that… didn’t catch a reference directly there.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  7. People aren’t going to make a direct reference to your blog. That is an agreed-upon distinctive of SharperIron. They’ll post and link almost exclusively left leaning relative to fundamentalism. The places where they depart on that are things about homosexuality and the like.

  8. T. Pennock says:

    Kent,

    Perhaps I’m mistaken, but it appears SI is moving away from the T4G mentality. Over the past several months, and especially since the advent of the new leadership at the site, I’ve noticed an absence of references to T4G gang and the conspicuous silence of their cheerleaders. In fact, I’ve noticed a number of bloggers who once appeared regularly on the Blog Aggregator have all but vanished. And it appears the new poster boy for the site is Kevin Bauder.

    Perhaps things are changing at SI. Perhaps the new leadership is returning to a Fundamentalism worth saving.

  9. T. Pennock,

    Kevin Bauder was always on the site, T. I’d be happy to think that what you are saying is true. As the ownership changed hands, the number of participants, at least visible, has dipped greatly. I don’t want to send this thread down this path any further, so I’m not going to attempt to give evidence otherwise. Thanks though!

  10. The age old proverb, “How are we going to get alone in Heaven, if we can’t down on earth?”

    “Fundamentalism worth saving?” What is worth saving? The Gospel or Fundamentalism?

    I am not going to feel guilty or sinful because I like T4G, and John MacArthur, and at the same time like David Jeremiah, and Charles Stanley.

    Music : Kent said: “I think it is obvious that the TG4 “worship” leadership tries to imitate the rhythmic and melodic patterns of the secular entertainers, who make money feeding the sinful natures of unbelievers.” Of course that is not true. Pure subjective rather than objective.

    Kent you say too: “This group talks about discernment and they wipe it out with these kinds of contradictions. I think they see their compromise as strategic for pulling more people into the fold. It isn’t the grace of God but worldly and fleshly lust. Again I can say this is totally false. The gospel they preached is clearer than many Fundamentalist.

    Music and Preaching are two means of reaching people. I admit that music is emotional and preaching is cognitive. And people need to understand the method of use of both music and preaching.

    Ox you say: “What is it with Fundamentalists making a regular practice of attending these meetings? How does this really further their own ministries and the cause of Christ?” Pure Subjective thinking which is based on someone opinions or feelings rather than on facts or evidence. Of course, that’s only my subjective.
    impression. My answer is yes. You can further the cause of Christ by learning to grow in the knowledge of Christ.

    But I really enjoy you Kent and OX. Really.

  11. Hi Charles,

    I’ll let Kent answer as he sees fit. The issue here is not about getting along. If I were in a social gathering with any of the men I criticise, I would hope to display the Christian graces of polite social deportment.

    However, we have other burdens and other objectives than simply getting along. We are called to be discerning, to guard our flocks, to expose error and so on. We must do these things if we are going to be faithful shepherds.

    So when it comes to these kinds of gatherings, I am not totally opposed to attending them, but I am concerned about

    1. The discernment of those who claim to be Fundamentalists, but make attendance a regular habit

    2. The direction such regular attendance would lead those who follow such regular attendees

    3. The dependability of such attendees as allies in fundamentalist cooperation

    You see, if someone is enamored of evangelical philosophy, we are going to have difficulty working together in many ways. I can’t depend on them to be reliable partners. I also want to be careful who I would recommend my young men to follow, or which seminaries they should attend, or whose writings they can confidently and completely rely on.

    So when I see fundamentalists touting or supporting events that seem contrary to fundamentalist philosophy and principles, I think it is right to ask questions or issue warnings as the case might be. Others can disagree, but if no one asks questions, error can easily creep in.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  12. Don,
    The more I read your opinions the more I appreciate what you are doing for fundamental Christianity. How could anyone who has a heart for fundamental, separated, biblical Christianity disagree with your last paragraph:
    “So when I see fundamentalists touting or supporting events that seem contrary to fundamentalist philosophy and principles, I think it is right to ask questions or issue warnings as the case might be. Others can disagree, but if no one asks questions, error can easily creep in.”
    Anyone willing to agree at least on the last point? I am not holding my breath!

  13. T. Pennock says:

    Bro. Whisnant,

    Gee. I don’t think the choice is between Fundamentalism and the gospel, per se. Perhaps I’m wrong here, but I think the question is, Is fundamentalism (as a movement) a better vehicle for bearing the gospel and its doctrines than conservative evangelicalism?

    Personally, I think it is.

    However, I say that with this caveat: Fundamentalism (as a movement) has wandered from its original course and has let widespread cronyism and institutional politics cripple it and run it into the hinterlands of hypocrisy, arrogance, kingdom-building, and hyper-separatism.

    Even so, with that being said, I still think a damaged fundamentalism is a better vehicle for gospel refection than even the best that conservative evangelicalism has to offer. I’m an old-line fundamentalist and believe fundamentalism’s original convictions are key to its success.

    Fundamentalism may be straightened at present, but I think its main supports, especially those of primary separation, are solid, something not true of conservative evangelicalism, especially in its failure to separate itself from unbelief and certain cultural depravities.

    Have a good one.

  14. Charles,

    Thanks for your comment.

    The point of the gospel is worship. God seeks for true worshipers. God connects worship with the gospel—2 Cor 6:14-18. The gospel is more than just the words, but the meaning of those words. When the gospel is coupled with fleshly and sensual, choreographed (in other words, worship that is not “in spirit”) worship, then the meaning of the gospel changes to those hearing it. It profanes the message. God isn’t worldly or unholy. God also saved us as love gift to His Son (John 10:28-29). We are saved to glorify the Lord, not gratify themselves.

    You say my evaluation is subjective. I believe there are objective terms to what they did with the music—the scooping and sliding and the relentless syncopation. These are method invented by the world to communicate something secular and sensual. The piano accompaniment often is of a honky-tonk style that fits with the bar room. Charles, do you understand holiness? That which is offered to God must be holy to be acceptable to Him.

    They destroy discernment by preaching what might be the right words but paralleling them with the worldly music style. It says you get to have Jesus and keep your worldliness too. This clashes with repentance. When it says worship is about self, it also makes the gospel about self. And this is where the point of mixing all of these Charismatics with this crowd comes in. They look to their experiences as a means of discernment in the Charismatic movement.

    I challenge you to show me one place in Scripture that says that music is for the purpose of reaching people. And this is very much within my point. They shouldn’t be thinking about unbelievers at all with the music. What they’ve done is geared the music for a fleshly crowd, which is by nature unsaved (Romans 8). And to use music as a method contradicts 1 Corinthians 2.

  15. Thanks, all, for good comments.

    The church is in a mess. The saints of the Lord must seek discernment and be faithful. May the Lord grant us all wisdom.

    (And, for Kent, just substitute ‘alleged church’ or whatever for the vast amorphous visible group of professing Christians for the word ‘church’ above… just to fit in with your views, ya know!)

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  16. Don,

    I love the singular, generic use of the singular noun “church.” I use it all the time. After all, there is only one church.

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