A Treatise on Music & Worship

From a series of posts on the Amazon Discussion boards between David C. Coleman and another contributor:

Contributing Member says:

The purpose of music is to worship God. In my honest opinion there is no such thing as Christian-Rock or Christian-Rap, etc. I know it exists but where is the worship (is it for us or Him?) Music is one of satan’s greatest devices. When he was an angel of God he was music and he was beautiful. Just because they put Christian in front of Rock or Rap it’s still just that and it is of the world! The Word of God says in II Corinthians 6:17 (Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you.) Hope that helps.

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David C. Coleman says:

Respectfully, I believe that to be nonsense. Where in scripture does it indicate that the purpose of music is to worship God? If you can produce such a scripture, I will humbly receive it. But, even if such a scripture exists, who is to decide what is “acceptable” music in the eyes of the Lord? Do you not think that, at one point or another, music with piano and organ was considered to be “spiritual subterfuge?” In addition, are you actually contending that whatever you deem to be “safe” Christian music was in no way influenced by the world?

In my opinion, these types of assertions are not based in fact but, rather, opinion. In addition, I believe this type of perspective to be based in fear. The truth is that ALL things belong to the Lord. The devil takes what is good and perverts it. But, on the other hand, God can take what is perverse and redeem it. The kind of rationalization you’re using works to condemn something you have a bias against. But how many “unclean” things do you “touch” on a daily basis? Do you watch television? Are you not working amongst the heathen? Are you not profiting from a corrupt, worldly system? We’re all intertwined with the world.

The truth is that God has never created an evil chord. God can be worshiped in and through our very lives regardless of how we present that worship. I respectfully disagree with your fundamental premise, although I do agree that music is one of Satan’s greatest devices. But the device is not embedded in the chord structure or the rhythm. The device is buried in the heart of the man/woman who delivers the message.

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Contributing Member says:


Forgive me, I am not very eloquent, so I’ll be plain. First off I never made any mention of any chord–fear or conviction? Doth not nature itself teach you… God himself needs nothing yet He made the angels for His glory, that He may be magnified through worship. Lucifer was music. Music was made to worship God. We also were made to worship Him. But this time around he wanted it to be our choice. Hence, He is seeking them that will freely worship Him. Ask yourself this, does God get the glory when you listen to your music?

We each have our own walk with God and yes we are to exhalt each other to good works but are you sure the person on the other side of the mic is a true Christian with Godly convictions? No I do not watch TV. Can I, yes I can but I choose not to set any wicked thing before my eyes. Some things we cannot control, but those we can we must. I do not believe that “God can be worshiped in and through our very lives regardless of how we present that worship.” There are acceptable and unacceptable worship, just like sacrifice. Are you meaning the “Homosexual Christian Artist’s” worship is acceptable to God.

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism! I do Fear God. And I stand by the convictions He has given me. Just trying to give Stephanie another point of view. David was a man after God’s own heart and he used music to worship the Lord! You think it’s a good thing to have a fence?

Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

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David C. Coleman says:

Once again, please provide the scripture reference for “Doth not nature itself teach you…God himself needs nothing yet He made the angels for His glory…” I looked up different variations of this text and couldn’t locate an exact passage. I’m particularly interested to know where scripture indicates that “Lucifer was music.” I’ve heard this type of sentiment many times but have had a hard time locating the passage which clearly indicates this assumption. The only scripture I can find specifically regarding Lucifer and music is found in Ezekial 28:12-19 in which “timbrels” (tambourines) and “pipes” are mentioned. But this is certainly not a clear-cut definition of Lucifer as “music.” I hear this all the time, but I believe it to be a precept minimally rooted in actual, tangible, scriptural evidence/truth. I deem it to be more conjecture than anything else based on the scripture I’ve unearthed. What I am able to interpret from “the workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created” is that Lucifer was created a skilled musician. (Edit: but the bible clearly states that all the angels also worship through song, so Lucifer is not the only musician. Of course, it’s possible that he was the chief musician. But there’s no clear-cut evidence of this theory that I’ve been able to uncover.)

I do understand that Lucifer was one of three archangels and was given dominion over “worship.” But what is worship? Is worship a song? Is worship music? Or is worship something much deeper than that? From my understanding, worship is more about obedience than anything else. Worship equates to service and sacrifice, not specifically music. Music is just one vehicle through which we verbally express these acts. Thus, the angels (including Lucifer) were created to be obedient through service and sacrifice, and often expressed their reverence for God through song. Lucifer was destroyed by his own pride. So it is not MUSIC that is dangerous to the believer but, rather, a lack of obedience, service, sacrifice and reverence. This holds true for ALL humanity from all giftings and walks of life.

I agree that humanity was created to worship God. But “worship” is not confined to music. A Christian doctor is worshiping God as s/he goes about his daily routine helping others. A Christian plumber is worshiping God as s/he fixes people’s pipes. A Christian painter/artist is worshiping God as s/he creates a magnificent work of art. And a Christian musician is worshiping God as s/he creates music in a language that speaks to those s/he is trying to reach. THIS is what I meant by stating “God can be worshiped in and through our very lives regardless of how we present that worship.” In other words, our very LIVES, in their entirety, are WORSHIP to a loving God. Worship is not only expressed through song, a devotional or bible study. Everything we do, if we give glory to God (and work “as unto Him”), is an act of worship. In reference to your remark “are you meaning the Homosexual Christian Artist’s worship is acceptable to God,” I am in no way implying that we ALL should not be striving for a life of holiness (including anyone who struggles with homosexuality). If you, lsanchez, harbor bitterness, hatred, anger or any secret sin, what makes you any different from a Christian who STRUGGLES with homosexuality (or ANY other sin)? One sinful act brings judgment. As Christians, we’re all sinners saved by grace, and a struggle with homosexuality is not a sin which automatically excludes someone from sanctification and salvation. It’s only WILLFUL disobedience against God (i.e. a lack of repentance) that condemns one to an eternal life apart from God. You and I will likely struggle with some sort of sin until our last breath, but that doesn’t preclude us from being included in the book of life. Furthermore, you state “are you sure the person on the other side of the mic is a true Christian with Godly convictions?” Quite frankly, I’m not certain half of the PASTORS out there are true Christians with Godly convictions. We can only do the best we can in discerning these things. Ask YOURSELF this: “do you hold yourself to the same standards you impose on others?” I attempt to do that in my life, as I expect to be held to the same standards I set for others. I’m sure you do as well.

You stated, “Ask yourself this, does God get the glory when you listen to your music?” When I’m listening to music that glorifies God through the lyrics, God undoubtedly gets the glory. But are you trying to state that music can’t also be something to be enjoyed for its visceral qualities alone? If this is true, why would someone have a painting of a city scene on their wall (for art of this nature is SOLELY about aesthetics)? How is God being glorified in that? Is God being glorified as a fisherman sits in his boat awaiting the next strike? Is God being glorified as the quarterback completes his next pass? Is God being glorified when you bowl your next strike? Why does it seem that the Christian community singles out music as some inherently evil art form or activity? As enjoyable as it can be to sit on a quiet stream waiting for “the big one”; as pleasurable as it can be to revel in the beauty of a Renoir; it is equally as enjoyable for some to be enraptured by the beauty of a musical passage. In fact, when I listen to a symphony, I am often able to sense the magnificence of God in and through the music. The music speaks of beauty, harmony, order and unity. I agree that some music needs to be purged from our lives. In fact, a great deal of the music being promoted in our culture needs to be filtered out. But it’s not due to style. It’s due to content.

Ultimately, I would EXPECT you to remain true to the convictions God has given you. But I DO know that God doesn’t give all Christians the same convictions. He gives us convictions appropriate to our own lives. What is sin for one Christian might not be sin for another. For instance, one Christian might be able to drink a glass of wine with dinner as a “beverage,” while another Christian would not be able to limit him/herself to one glass due to addiction, thus turning an innocuous action into a sinful action. (I didn’t state that to create another topic of dissension, though. I know that’s a touchy subject.) I appreciate your point of view on music and think you make many valid points. I just don’t agree with the underlying premise. That same premise expressed to a 15 year old kid drove me away from church and God for 18 years. I was told that “any music with a beat is Satanic.” Yet I was a guy with an instinctual gift for rhythm and drums. At 15, my whole world revolved around becoming a drummer. I loved God, but also loved the gift He had given me as well. Whether there were contributing factors to me straying or not, the perspective you embrace is not healthy when dealing with children and teenagers…nor do I feel that it is firmly rooted in black & white scripture. Once again, I firmly contend that this concept has been inferred from scripture rather than pulled from “black & white” text. Sure, we should teach our kids to discern the good from the bad.

Lastly, I will clearly state that not every activity we engage is “for the Lord.” Refer back to my illustrations regarding fishing, etc. We all engage activities which bring joy to us PERSONALLY – whether it be jogging, fishing, knitting, mountain biking, vacationing, or creating art, etc. It’s nonsensical to insinuate a love for music is necessarily anything different than these other examples. If you proclaim a love for music is selfish and/or evil, you must also proclaim these other activities intrinsically selfish and/or evil. No, nature doth not teach me that music is intrinsically evil if it is not specifically worship-oriented any more than it teaches me that attending a sporting event or a bake sale is equally as treacherous. I love God’s laws, but I do not have affection for dogmatic views and/or perceived laws which don’t specifically exist in scripture.