Monday, December 09, 2013

Proving the Music Issue in the Worship War: Is there Holy Hip Hop? pt. 5

Parts One, Two, Three, Four

I started some instruction on how to argue the music issue.  Here are my first points.

One, we are to prove all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
Two, music has meaning.
Three, as an addendum to two -- since music is a means of communication, it can communicate moral or immoral.
Four, we determine what is moral, sacred music by applying biblical principle.

I want to continue with number four, but before I do, a few observations.  Most arguments are not matters of knowledge.  Scripture says people know, but they suppress the truth (see Romans 1:18-25).  If it is a knowledge situation, they'll respond well to it, and keep believing.  They won't behave like a scorner.

When you attempt to take away someone's music, his music, he'll behave like his dog when you take its food away.  People are different with music, because it is emotional, and, therefore, physical.  They are drawn away of their own lusts, and they'll behave far more angry then if you talk about a doctrinal difference.  I've seen men come to fisticuffs more than once arguing over music.  People will also say the most nasty things over this issue.

Continuing with number four, I want to get a little more specific with biblical application, especially when it comes to aesthetics.  Consider 1 Timothy 5:1, "Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father."  Rebuking an elder is stylistic.  Entreating is stylistic.  The verse doesn't tell you exactly what it is.  You are to intreat an elder "as" a father.  Some might call this practical teaching.  You can disrespect an older man when you approach him like a younger man.  The verse assumes application and assumes that you can know and should know what it is.  We do know what it is.  What is ironic is that the style or aesthetic of intreating an elder is often more respectful than what is offered to God in an approach to Him.  If you've got to intreat an elder, what should you be doing with God?

Consider, "Honour thy father and mother" (Eph 6:2).  A son can disrespect his father.  Honour is not the same thing as obedience.  Consider Proverbs 30:17, "The eye that mocketh at his father. . . . the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it."  A certain look can mock his father.  The Bible doesn't tell what it is.  I want to make this number five, even though it is more of a corollary to number four.

Five, applying scripture requires an understanding of truth in the real world.

There must be certain truths in the world, that are not in the Bible, that are correlative to the truth of scripture.  I've already mentioned one, "the attire of a harlot."  There is the attire of a harlot, and we are not told what it is, because we are assumed to know what it is.  We are also assumed to know what that look is that disrespects the father, using the eyes.  There are other ways a parent might not be honored by a look or an attitude.

As we move this to music, there is music that doesn't respect God.  It is not worthy of God.  God won't be respected by it.  It is not fitting of his nature.

When I direct my conversation toward one of my students in class, I expect him to look at me.  There isn't a command in scripture to look at a teacher, but it's probably universal that it is disrespectful of a student not to look at a teacher when the teacher is addressing him.  Since I have taught young people for 25 years, I know that they still do it all the time, and they like doing it.  It makes them feel good and it is more comfortable for them.  There are all sorts of ways that a person can show disrespect toward another person, and yet the one showing the disrespect enjoys the behavior.  Many of these ways are spelled out in scripture, but they are under the general category of disrespect or dishonor.

Five here is a corollary to four.  To use that second term, that minor premise, we are assumed in many instances, if not most, to understand truth in the real world.  God made us in His image, we have a conscience, there is prevenient grace in the world of a loving and merciful God, and we have the law written in our hearts.  We are required to judge in these matters.

If someone does not intreat an elder as a father, has he sinned?  If he disrespects God, has he sinned?  Is the only way to dishonor God, to disobey scripture, or is there an aesthetic aspect in look and attitude or mood, that can disrespect God?

There are so many ways we can disrespect human beings, and we can name many of them, and none of them are in the Bible, and yet they are all wrong.  Are there not these ways that will also disrespect God?  Of course there are.  And people know this.

I want to go just a little further than this.  Another man might talk to my wife, but he can't talk to my wife with the same style I do.  I can talk to a coworker in a way I can't talk to my boss.  Philippians 2:12 commands us to work out our salvation "with fear and trembling."  Perhaps that might seem subjective, but we are assumed to be able to judge what it is to be trembling.  Servants (employees) are to also obey their masters (employers) with that same attitude (Eph 6:5).  I know what that's like and I've been that way.  I've also seen it where it's not fear and trembling, and knew it when I saw it.

All of this can be tough to argue today, because our culture is attempting to remove these behaviors.  Leadership is being instructed to put themselves on the same level as those under them.  There is even theological justification.  I've heard the term "incarnational," where Jesus is said to be the example of this type of egalitarianism.  A lot of disrespect of God stems from this wrong philosophy or even wrong theology.

Nelson Mandela died last week.  I noticed Tiger Woods shot a 62 in a tournament in Southern California today.  I saw a picture of Tiger Woods when he met Mandela.  Mandela was wearing an open collared shirt.  Tiger knew to wear a tie and a sport coat.  Someone might ask, "What's up with that?"  Is there a point when someone's actions are sinful in their lack of respect?  It must be, because the Bible says it is.  Are aesthetics one of the ways this occurs?  Of course.  Is it a sin not to change the sheets for someone who is staying at your house, to leave for them whatever stuff from your body that has gathered over a period of time?  Yes.  And yet the Bible says nothing about changing the sheets for guests.

A lesser to greater argument exists here.  Since God is greater, He deserves a greater estimation and value than everything else.  Whatever we understand about respect of man should be greater for God.  God does expect us to know based upon truth in the real world what that respect, what valuing Him more highly is.  And this isn't reduced to words, but also an approach, an attitude, a style.  People know this.  You don't talk about the latest deaths in the war on terror with Ronald McDonald hopping behind the screen.  You don't have Barney leading "Holy, Holy, Holy."  You don't preach behind a pulpit that looks like a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.  These may seem obvious.  More seems obvious than just these.

Six, Music as Praise or Worship is Directed to God and the Gospel Is Preached.

More to Come

1 comment:

George Calvas said...

Good stuff, Kent. What I call "common sense" truths are not so common anymore when even the conscience of society has degraded to the filthy level it has today. Christian carnality and the "works of the flesh" follow closely behind.

Example:

When I was younger, neither I nor my friends (none of us were saved) ever cursed an elder. We were preaching two weeks ago just after the football game in Ann Arbor, MI, while I was standing just handing out tracts, five young men (under the age of 16!) began to curse the preacher (across the street) and then turned their filthy and profain cursing towards me! To say the least, I did not let them get away with that behaviour without dealing with it, but it did not phase them one bit!

Do not expect to much of a Christianity that is willfully ignorant of truth and common sense, that desire to please themselves, in the lust of their flesh, sensual, not having the Spirit.