Volume. XXIII, No. 41
Sunday, 05 April 2009

Is All Music Neutral: Rock Music vs. Spiritual Music - Part 2

What is Spiritual Music? 

What is spiritual music? John 3:6 says, “6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Note that this verse tells us more than just the paramount need for every natural man for a new birth, but it also implies that spiritual people create spiritual music and fleshly people create fleshly music, and Christians should grow in grace only through the help of the former and not the latter. If you are already saved and still enjoy exposing yourself to fleshly music, then you are in fact feeding yourself with spiritual junk and garbage that has no positive contribution whatsoever to your spiritual growth or benefit. Galatians 5:16 says, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” In other words, listening to fleshly music is to feed oneself with the lust of the flesh.

So, what type of music is considered spiritual and suitable for worship service and fellowship groups? John 4:24 says, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him MUST worship him in spirit and in truth.” Again also, this verse tells us more than just worshipping God with our spirits but also tells us that the essence of our worship must be spiritual as well and not physical and fleshly. Logically, the music employed either in church or fellowship group settings must also be spiritual not fleshly and carnal. This applies not just to the lyrics of the song but also to the music and the rhythms of the song. 1 Cor 14:15 says, “….sing with the SPIRIT, and I will sing with the understanding also.” Our music must be spiritual, but what are the characteristics of spiritual music? Ephesians 5:19 says, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and *SPIRITUAL songs (ie. NOT carnal or fleshly songs), singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Colossians 3:1 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in YOU richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and *SPIRITUAL songs (ie. NOT carnal or fleshly songs), singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” In a nutshell, spiritual music is music that should contain biblical lyrics such as Psalms or any hymns that have been composed with biblically and theologically sound wordings and a sweet melody that assists believers to channel their heartfelt worship in order to grow in grace through the worship.   

Why should Christians be so concerned about spiritual aspect of worship over the flesh?  Galatians 5:24 says, “…they that are Christ\'s have crucified the FLESH with the affections and lusts." Also in Galatians 5:16 says, "For the FLESH lusteth against the SPIRIT, and the SPIRIT against the FLESH: and these are contrary the one to the other…." In other words, there is nothing good in our flesh and only our spirit (Christians) which is renewed by the Holy Ghost is enabled to render a Holy worship pleasing and acceptable to Him in contrast to the flesh which is against the spirit and tends to promote what is contrary to the spirit.

Some may still argue, “The Bible did not seem to say anything about Rock music; Is Rock music considered fleshy? Should it ever be adopted by Christians to be used in church?” Before these questions can be answered, first we must understand the characteristics of Rock Music.

What is Rock Music?

Any musician would recognize that music comprises of three components: Melody, Harmony and Rhythm. According to the Grosset Webster Dictionary, melody is defined as “sweetness of sound; music; the chief theme of a musical composition and a tune; song.Harmony, according to the same dictionary above is defined as “agreeable proportion of sound, a succession of chords,” and rhythm as “The pattern of tones with regard to their relative time value.” Joseph Haydn, a famous musician observes, “Melody is the main thing; harmony is useful only to charm the ear." In other words, any piece of music would not make any sense at all without designedly intricate incorporation of melody and harmony. In contrast, what are the characteristics of Rock Music? The following quotations will give you a better idea:

Frank Garlock in “Music in the Balance” p. 32 says, “The Rhythm in Rock is the dominant part of the sound. The heavy emphasis on the BEAT is what distinguishes rock from every other type of music.”

Charles Brown in “The Art of Rock and Roll” p. 42 says, “Perhaps the most important defining quality of rock and roll is the BEAT . . . Rock and roll is different from other music primarily because of the BEAT.

Even from secular musicians’ point of view, no doubt that one dominant characteristic of the Rock music is the BEAT and the BEAT is the rhythm of the music. In other music, the melody and harmony are the main components, but as for Rock Music, the rhythm or the beat literally takes over the music. David Cloud in his article “Why are You opposed to Contemporary Christian Music” argues, “The chief component of the aforementioned types of music is the heavy back beat. It is called the anapestic beat…In music, the anapestic or back beat emphasizes the off beat. The anapestic rock beat goes 1) one-TWO-three-FOUR or 2) one-two-THREE, one-two-THREE…..” Some may argue, “What is wrong with a piece of music that is mainly or dominantly made of rhythmic beats?” We reply, “Because it is the Rhythmic BEATS that make a piece of music fleshy and unspiritual!” Not convinced? Read the following quotations:

Los Angeles Herald-Examiner,” Aug., 8, 1965, p. 9 says, "The big beat is deliberately aimed at exciting the listener. . . There is actually very little MELODY, little sense in the lyrics, ONLY RHYTHM [beat]"

Bill Haley, cited by Charlie Gillett in “The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll,” p. 14 says, “I felt that if I could take a ... tune and drop the first and third beats and accentuate the second and fourth, and add a beat, the listeners could clap to as well as dance this would be what they were after

Malcolm McLaren, punk rock manager, said: “Rock ‘n’ roll is pagan and primitive, and very jungle, and that’s how it should be! The moment it stops being those things, it’s dead … the true meaning of rockis sex, subversion and style.” (Rock, August 1983, p. 60). This cannot be more vividly illustrated none other than so-called the king of pop music, Michael Jackson. When Michael Jackson was asked why he did the filthily-sexual hand gestures on stage, this is his replied: "It\'s the music that COMPELS me to do it. YOU don\'t think about it, it just happens. I\'M A SLAVE TO THE RHYTHM." (The Evening Star, February 11, 1993, p. A10)

Think carefully again Christians: Is there a place for Rock Music in the worship service or fellowship group meetings? Does the Lord desire His people to offer to Him our praises in Rock and Roll Music? Consider what our Lord says in Psalm 29:2, “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” Without a shadow of doubt, Rock and Roll music is far from being beautiful or holy, no matter how one evaluates it.  

Pastor Weng

(Next week is Resurrection/Easter Sunday and this article will be continued on 19 April 2009)

More Lively Hope




Kitchen Rosters - Team Leader: Bro Daniel Volvricht

Any family or individual wishing to invite Rev Dr & Mrs Patrick Tan, and interstate/overseas participants of our Easter Family Bible Conference to breakfast/evening meals please let organizers know ASAP.

Anyone seeking Baptism, Reaffirmation or Transfer of Membership on 31 May 2009, please see Pastor Weng or Elder Michael D. Lee.

Please hand in your Bible Conference Registration form by today to Dn Edwin D’Mello.

RPG and Daily Manna (limited copies) for this quarter available on the literature table.

Basic Bible Knowledge Class commences on 19 April. If interested, please see Pastor Weng or Elder Michael D Lee.


Looking Ahead

Baptism, Transfer of Membership & The Lord’s Supper, 31 May 2009 (Pastor Ki).

23rd Anniversary Thanksgiving Service on 28 June. Speaker: Pastor Ki.


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Ps & Sis Ki (USA); Dn David Yeo (Perth); Bro Joseph Selvanayagam (NZ/Adl); Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson (Yorke Peninsula); Mr & Mrs Fan; Mrs Phoebe & Sis Joy Wong (Adl); Sis Judy Li (Syd/Adl); &  others who have arrived safely.

Church activities: AFG Share & Prayer; BSAG, Joy & Maranatha; Chinese Ministry; Hopefuls’ Fellowshiop (S’pore); Shorter Catechism Class; Spakrs4Christ; & YAF Share & Prayer.

University graduation: Sisters Lydia Fan & Corinne Teng


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Rev John & Mrs Christine McKenzie; Rev Stephen Khoo, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Tommy Brooks, Yew Shing Chan, Colin Creaser, S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam, & Hans Ziegelmann; Mr Swee Liang Ng (Raphael Ng’s father), Mr Yeom; Grandpa Ki; Auntie Oei; Sisters Mabella Booth, Lai Kheng Cheong, Nita Chong, Annie D’Mello, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Fiona Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson; Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden, & others in affliction.

Missions - Cambodia (Bro Surish’s ministry in Laos & Cambodia), Pastors & believers in Laos, Pakistan & India; Kuching Ministry (Teo family).

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Pr H S Lim

Pastor & Sis Ki - ministry in churches in USA (Mar-May); future ministry in New Life BPC, London.

Journey mercies: Ps & Sis Weng & Lizzie (Melb); Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law (Bangkok); Rev & Mrs Patrick Tan; Dn David Yeo, Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson (Adl); Mr & Mrs Fan; Mrs Phoebe & Sis Joy Wong (S’pore); & others who are travelling.

Pastor Weng: ministry & family in Hope BPC. Travelling & ministry in Ebenezer BPC next weekend.

Job - Bro Cong Pham; Sisters Marion Chan, Tabitha Heah, Judy Li & Corinne Teng.

Family Bible Conference next weekend - Rev & Mrs Patrick Tan, organisers & participants.

Sister B-P Churches in Australia: Unity in doctrine & fellowship

God’s care for Mrs Win Hooper (mother of Sisters Kathleen Creaser & Margaret Hooper) in ‘Life Care Aged Care Home’.

Bro Max Opaskiatikul serving the Lord in MV Doulos

Sis Suzane Lim in Acheh, Indonesia - God’s guidance

Sis Corinne Teng - with the Unley Concert Band (national contest) in Sydney (on Good Fri), and ANZAC tour in Europe.



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