Thursday, February 25, 2010

Christ's Music or Satan's Music?

Oftentimes, we are asked, "What is music?" These videos are an interesting look at this topic; a quote from which is placed below:
So many folks say, "This is just a matter of personal preference. You like your kind of music. I like my kind of music. Who's to say one's right and one's wrong?" I hope before we get through today in these three messages you'll realize that that is a worldly philosophy that does not belong in Christian circles.

There are principles that God has laid down for us in every area of life and one of those areas is music. But because folks have not proven what is acceptable to God, they come up with the idea that music is amoral...This I think is the root of the problem in so much so-called Christian music today because what they are saying is that there is no good or bad music. Incidentally, no generation has believed that until this one.

When one chooses a musical style today, one is making a statement about whom one identifies with, what one's values are, and ultimately who one is.
Many people have a false understanding that music is neutral. They have asserted, "You cannot call all of a certain style of music unGodly." If you have ever thought that, you should watch this video series.

The only caveat I would add about this series is that the speaker, Dr. Frank Garlock, doesn't go into or perhaps is not aware of the spiritual realities behind the music. It is not that music is just good or bad. It is not that music is addictive. It is that music is spiritual and carries spirits. That at its core is why a Christians ought to be concerned not only about what type of music they listen to, but what type of music is acceptable to God. Admittedly, the series doesn't go into this area, but it lays an interesting foundation about music and sound.

Does God care about what music we listen to? What is music? Who created it? What is its purpose and power?



It has been noticed that the above presentation seems to leave some things unanswered. If music is NOT neutral, but is either good or bad, then how does one define the difference? There is an audio message from Dr. Frank Garlock which goes into this.

As he describes in the video series, Dr. Garlock speaks of how the pattern for Godly music is seen throughout creation. On example of this is in the chord structure being a reflection of the Trinity, illustrating how the three come together in agreement and harmony to make one sound.
Chord: a combination of usually three or more musical tones sounded simultaneously. To be in accord; agree
He goes on to say that in building on this relationship in the chord, the melody has to be at the heart of God's music to reflect His holy character (Isaiah 23:16; Isaiah 51:3; Amos 5:23; Ephesians 5:19). God's music is melodious and in harmony.
Harmony: the simultaneous combination of tones, esp. when blended into chords pleasing to the ear; chordal structure.

Melody: musical sounds in agreeable succession or arrangement.
Dr. Garlock shares that the word rhythm comes from the Greek word rheō which means "to pulse or flow". He equates creation as being reflective of this concept. Just as with man, all music has a rhythm/pulse or it is essentially dead. However, the pulse (like the pulse in the body) should be steady, consistent, and not overpowering. Basically, he is talking about syncopation and how that alters the flow of the rhythm; which is a predominate theme in pop music.
Syncopate: to displace the beats or accents in (music or a rhythm) so that strong beats become weak and vice versa.

Backbeat: a secondary or supplementary beat, as by a jazz drummer
The following is a breakdown of how these elements appear within harmonious versus syncopated music from the book Notes on Music by Carl and Louis Torres:

Musical Elements
Element
Harmonic Use
Disharmonic Use
Melody
Can stand alone
Contains little or no melody and needs help
Timbre
Pleasant; clear
Harsh; forceful
Harmony
Clean, harmonious chords; correct intonation
Cluttered; lots of dissonant chords; incorrect intonation
Rhythm
Clustered about and fully sympathetic to the main beat; variety
Frequent or perpetual syncopation or polyrhythms; monotonous
Tempo
Between sixty and 120 (mostly seventy to eighty) beats per minute; phrased
Either too slow or too fast

  

The minister in the video series quotes Wynton Marsalis as saying to "stay away from the backbeat" because it makes the mind atrophy. In other words, Mr. Marsalis said that continuous exposure to a backbeat in music makes the capabilities of the mind degenerate.

I found it interesting to consider Marsalis' thoughts on the subject in this NPR interview [emphasis added by me]:
Mr. MARSALIS: OK. The difference in what's known as contemporary jazz is the rhythm is different. Contemporary jazz is based on a back beat. Pum che ah bum bum che ah. It's like around that central beat which come from how R&B, our rock music, it's what we call a back beat. Pum bah Pum bah pum bah pum bah. Now that beat comes from jazz. So, jazz musicians used to play a shuffle. Tik tik tik de dock de tik de dock de tick de dock. So, what you do, you take the top rhythm off. Dik de dik de dik de dik. And you make it straight, straight. Dik dik dik de dum de ded de pah de dum de dah. And you put whatever music around that.
Now, the jazz is based on a swing rhythm, and the back beat is not as pronounced most of the time. It's ding ding ding ding ding ding ding. When you pronounce a back beat, when a back beat is very pronounced, it interrupts the flow of the rhythm every two beats. Normally, that was used only at the climax of a piece of jazz. We called that - what you called the back beat. Two-colored chopping wood.. Du dah du dah. Sam Woodyard, the great drummer, with Duke Ellington used to do that. But jazz is, the swing rhythm is designed to flow, like you said like water. It goes up and down, it allows you to create this little stories and develop those stories as the rhythm flows with you.

CONAN:
It's dance music.
Mr. MARSALIS: Right. But when you play on the back beat it roots the rhythm a lot more, it makes it a different type if dance. But it makes it less friendly to the up and down of the improvisation, and that would be the basic difference between the two. I'm not going to get into the use of electronic instruments, all of other different things because the instruments don't make that much of a difference. It's just the identity of the central rhythm is different.
VALERIE: Oh, OK. Because you see, I tried to get into the contemporary. I do listen to some of it, but it's like it just does not to me have that kick or that flow, that old school or that swing, and it - I guess, when I listen to that rhythm, to that back beat, that's what really gets me.
Mr. MARSALIS: Right. The back beat is more in the contemporary jazz. Contemporary jazz is mislabeled. It's actually instrumental pop music, which is, you take the sound of just basic American pop music and play it on instruments.
Mr. Marsalis is discussing music from a purely artistic perspective; not a Biblical view at all. However, he makes some interesting notations about the back beat. In a very literal sense, this type of syncopation changes and interrupts the flow of the rhythm, which he says should normally flow like water.

Consider Mr. Marsalis' comments in light of what was presented in these videos. Dr. Garlock shared that the word rhythm comes from the Greek word rheō which means "to pulse or flow".

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow [rheō] rivers of living water." John 7:37-38

In this text, the rivers of living waters is a reference to the Holy Spirit. As we see, the root for the word rhythm is applied in Scripture for how the Holy Spirit is to flow from the church, Christ's Body. This is a spiritual reflection of why rhythm - and the consistent flow of rhythm - is so important in terms of understanding the type of music which glorifies God.

Dr. Garlock builds further on how God's rhythm (harmonious melodies) is reflected in creation as seen in the pulse of mankind (who is created in God's image). Medical science will tell you that a person's pulse should be steady and consistent; it should reflect how the blood (the life of the flesh) is flowing. If it does not flow steadily and consistently, it is considered a medical disorder called an Arrhythmia. Science itself attests to the fact that it is unnatural, and potentially deadly, to have an inconsistent, jerky, syncopated rhythm (or pulse) in the body.

Science has even shown how these types of syncopated beats alter the balance of the body and mind. In the book, The Secret Life of Plants, scientists found how music with syncopated beats caused plants to grow abnormally with small leaves or remain stunted before all of them eventually died.

The exposure to this type of music also affected the health of the root system itself which provides life to the plant. Conversely, music based on harmonies caused the same type of plants to flourish and flower, developing strong healthy roots. Other studies in animals showed that syncopated beats caused decreased IQ, made the heart beat erratic, affected cognitive skills, and increased violence (The Destructive Potential of Music, Perception and Production of Syncopated Rhythms, and Music, Mice, Mazes).

Interestingly enough, my pastor casually stated his own observations about music a few weeks ago which coincide perfectly with this. He said, (and I paraphrase) "I have noticed that the music that God loves flows. Worldly music doesn't flow. It goes & stops; it is jerky." This again deals with the off-beat or syncopated rhythm. This I believe is what Dr. Frank Garlock is getting at in his message.

This is not a call for everyone to become musical scholars in trying to understand when rhythm is syncopated or not. It is an attempt to get people to realize that music itself is not neutral, but spiritual. Music is not some innocent medium whereby we simply choose what we like most. It is not about what you like, what you do, or how it makes you feel. Like everything else, it is about Christ and what truly exalts Him.

I urge each of you reading this to seek spiritual discernment in the matter of what music you allow to minister to you. The pattern of God's Spirit in Scripture, the reflection of life moving within man, the very law of music and the science of human physiology themselves all converge to illustrate the optimal, natural outcome is for rhythm to flow consistently without interruption. When this doesn't happen, the outcome is abnormal at best or deadly at worse.

This is not by happenstance, but it is a testament to the Creator of all things, Jesus Christ Himself. His stamp is on His creation (Romans 1:20), and it gives us an illustration of the type of rhythm His Spirit inspires.

The type of music which glorifies God will reflect His nature and His Spirit; it will work with the consistent flow of the Spirit, not against it.

Listen to this video's breakdown as he breaks down these key principles of music as it relates to hip hop music.



Understanding how music itself (not simply lyrics) affects the mind, one company (by the name of I-Doser) is even selling what they call "digital drugs" which is essentially music that uses beats to so alter the brain patterns, it produces a "high" akin to illicit drug usage.  An article about this and the binaural beats used to modify the moods of listeners may be found here.

45 comments:

  1. Where's the rest of the message? This is very interesting. I get what he's saying: that music is bad and good and not just the lyrics. What I want to know is: how specific keys or the combination of them make the music bad or good. He mentioned rock music having sensual overtones etc. I'm really frustrated with this message - it isn't complete and he hasn't given me solid proof into HOW certain music is bad or good.

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  2. Hi Neal,

    I get it. :-) I too felt like there was more of the message which should have been told, addressing questions you raised and more. However, I posted it anyway because it provided some good information about music that I thought would be helpful.

    I don't know if there was more to this presentation as this is all the Youtube poster has made available.

    However, I have found another message by him which starts to address what you have raised.

    Basically, he says the melody has to be at the heart of God's music and reflect His holy character (Isaiah 23:16; Isaiah 51:3; Amos 5:23; Ephesians 5:19).

    He goes on to say that the word rhythm comes from the Greek word rheō which means to pulse or flow (John 7:38). That all music has a rhythm/pulse or it is essentially dead. But that the pulse (like the pulse in the body) should be steady, consistent, and not overpowering. Basically, it seems he is talking about syncopation not being Godly. It has been studied scientifically how syncopated beats alter the balance of the body/mind. Interestingly enough, my pastor casually stated his own observations about music a few weeks ago which coincide perfectly with this. He said, (and I paraphrase) "Music that God loves flows. Worldly music doesn't flow. It goes & stops and is jerky." This again deals with the off-beat or syncopated rhythm. This I believe is what this speaker is getting at the the audio address below.

    http://playmp3.sa-media.com/media/31801203558/31801203558.mp3

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  3. My comment:

    All Music is made of melody, harmony, and rhythym.

    In some music the Melody is strong or weak, complicated or simple. In other pieces of music the Harmony could be stronger or weaker, simpler or complex. In other music the Rhythym could be stronger or weaker, simpler or more complex.

    Melody is spiritual. I (personally) believe that melodies come from spiritual inspiration. The gifts and callings of God are without repentance, so even sinners could receive melodies. Harmonies excite the soul (mind, will, and emotions). Skilled musicians understand harmonies. Rhythyms are physical, they make the body want to move, depending on the style rhythym.

    What mix of melody, harmony, and rhythym that the music has all depends on the purpose of the music.

    Calling a certain music unGodly is not biblical... This argument don't have any scriptural foundation.

    I've seen racist comments about African drums being demonic, and therefore all rhythymic (i.e. African) music being inherently evil. All these arguments are foolish: that's why they can't support it with scripture, or solid logic.

    If only a steady beat is Godly... then is techno Godly? Is techno Godly and reggae evil because of the different syncopations of the beats?

    Of course nobody is saying the only music you can listen to is beat heavy music. Classical, hip hop, rock, or whatever... music conveys emotion. Different emotions can be expressed at different times. When I listen to Lecrae or some Christian hip hop I may feel emboldened to go preach the gospel in a city that is hostile to the gospel. When I am studying and reading I may put on some Classical music that calms my mind. When I am worshipping the Lord He might give me a brand new melody that I've never heard before!

    Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says there is a time for everything... There is a time for every emotion (you can even be angry and sin not). Since music conveys emotion, there is a proper time for every music style.

    Proverbs 30:5 says "Every Word of God is pure, he is a shield to those that put their trust in HIM!

    DON'T ADD to his words, lest you be reproved and found a liar."

    The Scriptures are the final authority for everything, and they are also sufficient enough to prove whether a piece of music is Godly or unGodly. Jesus is the Truth, so His music is full of Truth of the Word of God. Satan is the father of lies. He concieves and fathers lies, so his music has lyrics based on his lies. Opinions of men can be either the truth or a lie, even the opinions of pastors.

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    Replies
    1. not bad at all
      after listening to the sermon illustrated i still am not able to determine what music is bad or good considering i do not know to read music i did not quite grasp all the illustrations

      Delete
    2. Hi Anonymous,

      I believe we need to lean upon the Holy Spirit for that understanding. The basic point to know is that music is not spiritually neutral. It can either be inspired by the Holy Spirit or unclean spirits.

      Delete
  4. Hi Esosa,

    I am going to give you my honest impression. Your comments scream of conviction.

    No one has questioned your music and I personally have no idea what type of music you create. We don't even know each other.

    I have no idea why this article would compel you to post with the need to justify your music, unless it is guilt or conviction.

    I am assuming that you didn't watch the video series. If you had, then many of your points would have been addressed.

    If you have any affiliation with music, then what was posted should be quite clear regarding the impact of music on the body and mind. Entire genres of music have adverse affects because the syncopation works to disrupt the balance of the body and mind.

    Yet, even more importantly, music is given by God for a specific purpose and reason. In all things one must seek what HE likes - if one considers themselves a Christian. Nothing else matters.

    The major point examined in this series is that music is not simply an innocent medium which is shaped by the lyrics. If you do not understand that, then I don't know what else can be said.

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  5. Hi Esosa,

    Let me say one more thing. I am not asking anyone to agree with everything said in this article or even said by that preacher.

    However, it is one thing to say, "Hey, I don't agree with xyz because..." or "I see something else in Scripture than what this man outlined." With that type of feedback, there can be dialogue.

    However, you don't even address the information presented. You only offer your personal beliefs about what music is and why your music is Godly. Then you say not to add to God's word while twisting the Scriptures in Ecclesiastes to support your beliefs?

    I present information because I believe it has something of value for the Body of Christ. That does not mean that I always agree with the statements of every featured.

    I assume that God is more than able to help people take any truth that may be therein.

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    Replies
    1. latter days you are doing a good job however i must say in your responses to persons feedback you seem annoyed or little contentious you must remember every one will still have their own views do not be intolerable if some persons disagree with your edifying info.

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    2. Hi Anonymous,

      Thank you for the reminder about not being intolerant or contentious towards others. We certainly must be on the lookout for the flesh rising up in us instead of us being led by the Spirit.

      Remember though that there is a difference between being direct and being annoyed. Many times when you speak the truth plainly, people assume that you are angry. This is often not an accurate assumption.

      Nonetheless, I appreciate the comments. God Bless!

      Delete
  6. The link you posted, for some reason, takes me to blank screen.

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  7. this is neat...
    this must play a role in Numbers chapter 25 after Israel played around with the Midianite women.

    14
    Now the name of the Israelite that was slain, [even] that was slain with the Midianitish woman, [was] Zimri, the son of Salu, a prince of a chief house among the Simeonites.

    15
    And the name of the Midianitish woman that was slain [was] Cozbi, the daughter of Zur; he [was] head over a people, [and] of a chief house in Midian.

    ..because Zimri means musical, which root is zamar strongs 2167, which what the pastor mentioned in the 3rd part. ..about plucking with fingers,
    and his dad's name was the root strongs 5541 calah-to hang up, weigh, which is the same root as 5542
    celah
    from 'calah' (5541); suspension (of music), i.e. pause:--Selah..from the psalms.

    but Cozbi means false, to lie decieve and Zur means rock.

    maybe cozbi and zur are like a false christ (rock) that causes musicians like zimri to fall pray to false worship (in this case, the baal-peor)...or something like that...
    chris

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  8. Hello Chris,

    I am speechless. That is an excellent insight and I appreciate your sharing those observations. I definitely agree that there is significance to those texts.

    Thank you for contributing this as it certainly has helped with my own personal study and I am sure will help edify others.

    God Bless!

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  9. Some are claiming that music is defined solely or even primarily by the lyrics. But this is just not upheld by the nature of music itself.

    THE NATURE OF MUSIC
    In Daniel 3 we see that instrumental music was key to causing the worship of false idols. We also see that instrumental music was key to getting unclean spirits to flee from Saul. Music carries spirits all by itself; and that is why the lyrics applied to the music do not change the spirit of the music. Music has a spirit all its own.

    THE INFLUENCE OF MUSIC
    The assertion that music is defined solely by the lyrics is refuted by most of those listening to the music. They are not paying attention to the words at all and most aren't even aware of what the words are saying.

    In the world, sometimes we listened to the most vile of songs, but the resounding chorus that anyone would say when questioned was, "I don't listen to the words, I listen to the beats."

    There is a very real reason for this and it is due to the structure of the music itself.

    THE STRUCTURE OF MUSIC
    The focus/emphasis/volume in most popular music is on the rhythm and the beat; NOT the words. That is why the instinctive reaction to such songs is to start moving to the beat versus being drawn into contemplative meditation on the words.

    In fact, in many ways - because of this focus on the beat - you cannot even really HEAR the words. They are almost drowned out by the beats because the music competes against the words. You have to consciously try to ignore the music even to allow yourself to focus on the words.

    This is why harmony being the main principle in the music is so important. It allows the melody and the lyrics to be the main focus. The instinctive reaction then is to be drawn into contemplation of the things of God and not to simply be enjoying the beats. When the main attraction in a song is the beat, it is a soulish endeavor.

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  10. You said: "This is why harmony being the main principle in the music is so important.... When the main attraction in a song is the beat, it is a soulish endeavor."

    So, do you know of some christian songs that have the melody and lyrics in harmony?

    I'd like some examples.

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  11. Hi Neal,

    As I believe your question may be one that others have, I have modified the article to address some of your comments.

    I think the minister in the video series gives some very good examples of what this difference actually sounds like in manifestation. So, I would highly recommend taking a another look at that if it was missed.

    However, understanding this difference is not an intellectual exercise based in musical knowledge. It is a matter of spiritual discernment.

    All of the info on the structure of the music, the data on how certain beats are harmful to the brain and body, the fact that satan uses music in particular to deceive, the reflection of how the rhythm/flow of the Holy Spirit is consistent...it all boils down to being aware of how the life of God is (or is NOT) manifest in music.

    Again, such is not a mental exercise but a spiritual one. If we seek what is pleasing to Him (and not just what we personally like), then He will show us that.

    The main point is that music is not simply a matter of personal style preference. It is a reflection of the life of the Creator, and it is in our best interest as Christians to prove what is acceptable to Him in all aspects of our lives.

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  12. I agree with this article 100% I use to produce in the "holy hip hop" industry and am very familiar with that culture. I can attest both musically and culturally that I do not believe "hip hop" can be holy or used of god in its present form. Here is an excerpt I wrote for the book "Can Hip Hop Be Holy".

    http://www.facebook.com/djuan.coleon?v=app_2347471856#!/notes/djuan-coleon/can-hip-hop-be-holy/302845203188

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  13. Hi, I'm just wondering..what gives the music a spirit of it's own? Is it the soul intent of the musician for the song that determines whether it's a good or a bad spirit? But I think you pointed out something very good, which was that you can understand the difference when you find yourself listening to either the beat or the lyrics instead of listening to both. I don't think harmonical songs would make it difficult for you to ignore one or the other. I rather think that evil songs intentionally make you ignore one or the other so you will be confused. But we all know God is not an author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

    God bless you all!

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  14. this is VERY interesting and I will admit that before watching the video I was a bit skeptical but Dr. Garlock made some very good points. As others have mentioned I too have quite a few questions.

    Over the past year and a half I stopped listening to Gospel music and have turned to Contemporary Christian Music (not for the sound) but for the content of the the lyrics. As I continued to listen my ear garnered an intense liking to the sound that I began to look for the sound as well as the lyrics.

    Before hearing this message, maybe about the past 3 or 4 months, I have been riding around in my car (which is where I listen to music most of the time and not so much in my home) in silence. I prefer not to listen to anything at the moment. Even when I ride with my husband I request that we ride with no music. I cannot say why all of a sudden I felt this way because I sing and actually like music quite a lot....but it seems as though the substance of the songs/music (CCM, gospel and the like) still leaves me wanting. I stopped listening to the gospel artists because I felt it was feeding my flesh more than my spirit. Now it seems as though the Contemporary Christian Music is doing the same.

    Its hard to find music out there that really minsiters to God and edifies us. I am concerned with both.

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  15. Hi Tika,

    I too found the video very interesting. In terms of understanding where music comes from and how it manifests in Scripture, this certainly brought up some info that I had not considered before.

    As in all things, I think we just need to seek to be led by the Lord. Be aware that music is like any other transmitting medium and is never neutral.

    As for silence, it is GOLDEN! LOL I love silence too and that is sometimes needed just to settle our minds. Praying is not just about speaking to God but also listening for Him.

    God Bless!

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  16. He Who OvercomesMarch 3, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    Excellent post, LDB, and some very worthy comments here as well.

    This is very simple though: "If your right hand cause you to sin, cut it off: better to enter the Kingdom with one hand, than be thrown into hell with all your members." (King of Kings, Mark 19:43, Matthew 5:30).

    If you are in Christ, you will cast away any and all ungodly, self-centered music, even if it is in the form of so called "gospel music" (ie Kirk Franklin, Mary, Mary, Be Be Winans the latter two who say "we are the world" out of their own mouths).
    If you are not of God through His Most Holy Christ Jesus, you will not cast away one ungodly, indulging piece of music/clothing/lifestyle from you. Simple.

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  17. Hi Chuma,

    Just wanted you to know that I have not ignored your question, but am addressing it in another article as I believe it needs a bit more discussion than what I can provide in this comments section.

    The name of that article is, "The Beauty of the Living Word" so that you can find it once it is complete and posted.

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  18. Hi Anonymous,

    Thank you for forwarding the article you found. I had seen it before and actually found it to be without any Scriptural merit. So much so, that I could not in good faith link to the article here via your comment.

    There is no quicker way to strip an argument of validity than to resort to ad hominem. The truth stands on its own and doesn't need to debase others to build itself up. Yet, the whole article is based on personal attacks against the presenter.

    Such a tone typically comes from a place of pride and conviction. Since the person cannot dispute what is said, they attempt to malign the one presenting the information. This is a work of the flesh and indicates that the Spirit of God is not in operation.

    Blinded by his own defensiveness, he never addresses the main point of the video series: that we should seek to understand the type of music which is pleasing to God.

    Instead, the article promotes a carnal perspective many are espousing these days by placing man at the center of worship instead of God. It becomes all about what man likes, what man responds to, and how we need to "speak the language" of the world. This is an anti-Christ message and is a lie.

    It is satan's attempt to merge the world into the church. Notice, I am NOT talking about music specifically now. I am dealing with whether it is Scriptural to define what is acceptable to God based upon what is acceptable to man. Doing so is a worldly message that comes from a false gospel.

    In confirmation, the article describes how those "saved" by such approaches look just like the world...as if this is a good thing. They look just like the world because the message is OF the world.

    It is the Spirit of God that draws man unto Himself. The same Spirit that has been drawing men since Jesus came to the earth. As soon as we start thinking that it is our efforts which is the draw (whether trying to be like the world or trying not to be), then the message has no saving power.

    As long as people continue to define the things of God by what appeals to the things of man, then the result will always be carnal.

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  19. For those who have asked for a further breakdown of how these musical principles apply to holy hip hop, I have added a new video at the end of the article where a brother discusses how these things apply to that form of music.

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  20. HALLELU YAH, LDM!!!

    Finally, another brother that sees this truth. I too have been fought tooth and nail over this one, especially by "our people". Keep on standing, brother. Keep on standing!

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  21. I felt the stomping on the CD's at the end of the video was wrong. The issue of whether holy hip hop follows the 'perfect' expression of music aside, many people currently trapped in the flesh need this music (and the God's Word within it) in order to grow into music that's more 'spiritually edifying.' Growth in Christ is a daily process, and God works on each of us in different ways over the course of our lives... whether it's the best music or not, it's here, and that means God has a use for it, for even things Satan purposes for evil, God takes it & uses it for His Good... it's okay to have a general knowledge of 'proper' Godly music, but don't turn that into a judgment, for God is indeed using it to wrest souls from the enemy...

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  22. Hi Anonymous,

    It is not about which music being "perfect" but which music is Godly.

    "it's here, and that means God has a use for it"?? That is truly a very unScriptural basis upon which to support anything. Porn is here too; does that mean God has a use for that?

    I have no knowledge that this music is drawing people into true faith in God. In fact, by your description of how much people "need" this music, I would say such is likely not so. Sounds like an idol. A true Christian doesn't need anything to come to or stay in Christ beyond Christ Himself.

    The purpose of this is not to tell you which music is Godly, but to remind us that if we seek God first and foremost, He will guide us in all things, including our choice of music.

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  23. I noticed a pattern in a lot of the pop music that you hear on the radio these days. At around the same time, I learned that many music artists are involved in sorcery...audio sorcery perhaps. I then became aware of a 3-1-2-1 beat that I believed is derived from sorcery. Such artists as Timberlake, Madonna, and Prince may practice such things.

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  24. I'm waiting for a response.....of my comments... : )

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  25. Hello Lrizarry,

    I mean no disrespect, but I really have no response for your comments. First, it was pretty hard to follow all 6 of your comments as you often repeated the same things. Two, it doesn't matter to me what music people listen to, so I have no interest in debating it.

    I will however make one point. You made the following statements in your comments:

    "The reason I came to church was because I saw that christianity had very good ROCK MUSIC because when I was lost in the world I was ROCK GIRL and my style of music NEVER CHANGE and never is going to change."

    "Let me tell you that when I hear slow music it makes me DEPRESSED...when I hear rock like...this music ALWAYS inspires me to THINK IN GOD AND WORSHIP HIM."


    Friend, God is not about what music you like. Further, He doesn't care what music we likes. He desires for us to seek what HE likes. If you came to God only because of a certain music or is you can only worship God with certain types of music, then music is your god.

    I pray that you continue to seek the truth and reality of who God is, and not just who we want Him to be in order to please our fleshly desires. Until you can come to Him for who He is in spite of how it makes you feel, then you will miss the essence of being in a true relationship of salvation with Him.

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  26. First I would like to say that your videos are really helpful and are the few ones that have biblical references.
    I would like to sugest
    you to do a video talking about Aaliyah the singer that you probably heard about.
    She has a lot of influence in music although she died in 2001 still people talk about her and do all types of tributes.
    But I know that her death has something really spiritually suspicious.
    Since now I thank you and even if you dont take my sugestion I ask you to never stop because people really need to hear the truth.
    God Bless you!

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  27. So basically, any song with a dominant beat/base is bad music? And does this mean that no one can be led or drawn to Christ rap music? And does this mean that all Christian rap is bad?

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  28. Hello Anonymous,

    It is not about "good" or "bad" music. The article and videos address how the basic structure of music either reflects the flow of God's Spirit or goes against it.

    Everyone who is drawn to Christ is done so by God's Spirit. Anything that is not of God's Spirit cannot draw men to Him.

    The most important thing you can get from this is understanding that music is not neutral. Its very core structure either reflects that which of God or that which promotes chaos/confusion.

    My advise would be that one not simply accept all music, but seek God for understanding about the music He finds pleasing. It is not about what we personally like or dislike.

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  29. When I said bad, what I meant was non Christian/ungodly music. And what I should've asked was, that according to this article and its videos, we cannot find Christ in Christian rap? SN: I don't mean to sound dumb or anything but this article confused the mess out of me.

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  30. Hi Anonymous,

    I don't think you sounded dumb at all. People define what is "good" or "bad" in many ways, so I thought I would cut to the chase by pointing out that it is the spirit of music which the article addresses.

    There are many things God can use to help us recognize the need for Christ in our lives. In the example of the prodigal son, God used a harsh taskmaster and pigs in the mire to create a desire in his heart to submit to the authority of his father.

    There are even messages and ministers that I listened to when I first got saved, which I have since left behind as God has grown me up from those things.

    I am not being evasive here. I am trying to show that something being used to help us "find Christ" is not the same as saying that thing is holy.

    The crux of rap music is the beat; it appeals to the flesh because that is what draws you. Remember, God does not interact with us primarily through the flesh, but through the Spirit. This is why many folks don't even know the words and will readily admit that they just "like the beat".

    Can something which is worldly be "used" by God? Perhaps. But that doesn't make it Godly. One way to see the spirit behind something is to see how it "inspires" the people who hear it. Does it inspire a humble heart of praise and worship towards God or does it inspire the pride of life by putting the flesh on display like in a club scene? It is the same with "Christian rock" and others types of CCM music.

    I am not saying that those who listen to certain types of music are not saved. However, as with all things, I do believe that the more God transforms us to be in His image, the more we will like what He likes and the less we become like the world.

    This article may also help shed light on this topic: http://thelatterdays.blogspot.com/2009/01/getting-crunk-for-christ.html

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  31. Hello, I just want to leave a note to you that this article is very helpful. It is good to know that music is not neutral (I have had my suspicions...) Some people mentioned that it is hard to find godly music these days... that is true but I have a collection of songs which I listen to and cannot find fault with. They are godly and melodious and do flow like water as said in the article. I listen to them and their inspire my thoughts to holiness and the character of Jesus. I would be happy to share them if anyone is interested. My email is esthersoc@gmail.com. Send me an email and I will send them to you.

    Also want to say that I find that the care that you take in your responses to the comments is commendable. Please be encouraged to keep it going.

    Pam

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  32. Just FYI, Dr. Garlock received his doctoral degree in music from Juiliard. He has faithfully taught music in churches around the globe for many years. He actually has a whole video series concerning this subject called "The Language of Music"

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  33. This was very, very interesting. Did not realize the back drop or back beat but now it makes perfect sense. Worldly music tends to get you crunk and sounds like a bunch of bashing and crashing to be honest. Not all of it, but most pop and soft rock and even r&b songs are just noise, not melodic or harmonious.

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  34. Thankfully I discovered through a bit of research starting several years ago, that music in itself is made with a specific inspiration and intent, not just what the people are singing about. However, I'm still trying to understand how some music can't be 'neutral', for example, I assist at a mums and toddlers group and we do nursery rhymes. There are some very simple songs that when played with a piano just have a simple melody with no negative/weird feel, but they are not 'gospel', so if there is no 'neutral' music, how would one define a nursery rhyme, e.g 'twinkle twinkle little star', would you say the writer of it must have received the melody from God? I just use that as a kind of example.

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  35. In determining whether or not to listen to secular music, there are three primary factors to consider: 1) the purpose of music,
    2) the style of music, and
    3) the content of the lyrics

    1) The purpose of music. Is music designed solely for worship, or did God also intend music to be soothing and/or entertaining? The most famous musician in the Bible, King David, primarily used music for the purpose of worshipping God (see Psalm 4:1; 6:1, 5455, 61:1; 67:1; 76:1). However, when King Saul was tormented by evil spirits, he would call on David to play the harp in order to soothe him (1 Samuel 16:14-23).

    So, while the primary purpose of music does seem to be worship, the Bible definitely allows for other uses of music.

    2) The style of music. Sadly, the issue of music styles can be very divisive among Christians. The Bible nowhere condemns any particular style of music. The Bible nowhere declares any particular musical instrument to be ungodly. Nearly all of the forms of modern music are variations and/or combinations of the same types of musical instruments, played at different speeds or with heightened emphasis. There is no biblical basis to declare any particular style of music to be ungodly or outside of God’s will.

    3) The content of the lyrics. Since neither the purpose of music nor the style of music determines whether a Christian should listen to secular music, the content of the lyrics must be considered. While not specifically speaking of music, Philippians 4:8 is an excellent guide for musical lyrics: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

    There is nothing inherently wrong with any particular style of music. It is the lyrics that determine whether a song is “acceptable” for a Christian to listen to. If anything leads you to think about or get involved in something that does not glorify God, it should be avoided.

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  36. Hello Anonymous,

    There are some issues with your comments.

    1). You list style of music as one of the "primary" factors in determining what music in which to listen. Yet then you say that there is nothing "inherently wrong with any particular style of music."

    Which is it? Is style of music a primary factor in determining what music is Godly, or is it not a factor at all because there is nothing inherently wrong with any style of music?

    2). We are not addressing secular vs. Christian music here, but music in general.

    3). As many people do, you seem to determine what is acceptable to God based on what man thinks, intends, or believes. This is false. Unless a work (music or any other) is birthed by God's Spirit, then it is not of Him. God only receives that which He inspires.

    Take That God

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  37. I think it's interesting that during Europe's Medieval era, its church leaders' attitude towards harmony in music was very negative. The use of harmony in music was highly discouraged and even forbidden in some cases--the concern being that the use of harmony in liturgical music would appeal to the flesh, causing listeners to focus on and indulge in the aesthetically pleasing sound of the music rather than focus on God for whom the music was created. For that same reason, the use of several instruments in liturgical music was a controversial issue--not to mention a lot of instruments of the time were associated with pagan rituals. Even to this day, alot of popular Christian music we may listen to now (e.g. Richard Smallwood's "Holy Thou Art God") would be considered unacceptable in some church communities.

    Then we have the blog here, which offers the same concerns as the Midieval church community as far as not creating music that appeals to the flesh. Yet, somehow this article stands on the other side of the spectrum in terms of what makes Godly music. In this case, harmony actually reflects God's Character and is a core component of Godly music--that it is not harmony that quickens the flesh, but rather syncopated rhythm. Interesting! Intersting! Interesting!

    There seems to be a pattern over time among church communities when it comes to the issue of "What is Godly Music?"--and I can't quite put my finger on what that pattern is. I even think about times when I hear elderly church members talk about how the church needs to go back to singing the "old-time" church songs and that contemporary "Gospel" music is too wordly. But when I think about it, a lot of those beloved "old time" songs were considered too wordly at one point in "Gospel" music history. When Mahilia Jackson was the contemporary gospel singer of her time, a lot of her music wasn't aloud in the churches. This isn't my defense or criticism of anything; it's just an observation.

    So who's right and who's wrong? Is it 1 Cor 10:31 situation, where Paul says, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God?" Can we depend on science and math to help give us insight into what Godly music really is? I really don't know. These are definately questions for which I'll have to wait on God to answer for me directly.

    I do believe music to be spritual, though (lyrics or no lyrics). I believe the structure of a musical composition can affect people in a mysterious and mind-blowing way, yet I'm not sure where I stand on the issue of syncopation. One thing I am confident of--the spirit in which a music piece is written and composed can be transferred into that song, and that music will be a reflection of that spirit.

    Matthew 7:17 "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit."


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    Replies
    1. Hi Tiffanie,

      Thank you for your thoughtful post here. You say:

      "These are definately questions for which I'll have to wait on God to answer for me directly."

      All I can say to that is, "AMEN!!" That is the way it should be and I would that more people would take so earnestly their search for truth. God is more than faithful to show us what is true if we ask Him sincerely.

      Nothing said on this blog is done with the intent for people to believe "me" or stand behind what "I" post. It is only presented in the hopes of encouraging others to seek the Lord themselves for the truth in any matter. I am so grateful that you realize this.

      I'll just say this. The standard for what is of God is not church history or even the practices of the church. The standard is the word of God. If in fact the spirit in which music is written can transfer to the song itself (which is true), then clearly this is not a I Cor.10:31 issue for God would not want us to have fellowship with unclean spirits.

      The answer lies only in what you have stated: seek the Lord and let Him lead you in terms of what He wants to hear and receive from us (which is not always the same as what our flesh may find appealing).

      I'll also share the following with you:

      Take That God

      It's All Good

      May God continue bless you with understanding in all areas and continually fill you with His Spirit as He directs your path.

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    2. Thank you for your response and I truly appreciate the two links you included--they really added to my understanding of some things.

      More blessing to you!

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  38. Hmmm..yes. Garlocks arguments remind me uncannily of this:

    http://www.marxists.org/subject/china/peking-review/1974/PR1974-09d.htm

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    Replies
    1. Hi Roman Shoehorn,

      I don't see why. He never comments that music should be used to blur societal classes or that it should be only nondescript or instrumental.

      His point is that music is not neutral; it does not exist apart from God. It is so much more significant than simply a vehicle for cultural expression in that it is created foremost by God and for His purposes. If we do not recognize that music was inspired by God for His glory - as are all things - then we will not understand how Satan attempts to pervert it. The beauty and melody found in music which glorifies God is a reflection of the symmetry found in His word.

      Delete

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