Music in Review: Part Two

Once again, Gospel Light welcomed Pastor Jim Donath and his wife Lois to GLBBC. Traveling from their home in Buffalo, their visit this past Sunday evening (May 16) began with the duo singing three beautiful melodies. Their voices harmonized in the most ear-pleasing way, the guitar was played expertly, but most important was the praise in their songs for our Lord in Heaven. I do feel bad for those at GLBBC who continue to miss the opportunity to see this couple perform. Pastor Donath cited Dr. Frank Garlock of Majesty Music as the source of much of what he taught during the evening, and we are happy to cite Majesty Music here.

The very first music issue that Pastor Donath wished to deal with was the need for a submissive attitude by children. Regarding the use of instruments in King David’s house, “All these were under the hands of their father…for the service of the house of God.” 1 Chron 25:6 If the bible is the final authority on church issues, the principles put forth by David should still be in affect today. Even as children must be “under the hands of their father”, so also must the church congregation be under the authority of a pastor. We must stay correctable. Also, music continues to be for the “service” of God. As he did in last month’s visit, Pastor Donath, reminded us that “music is a very controversial subject.”, so it is important to “have unity in the church music program” with someone to draw the line.

When assessing music, we were urged to look at what the music is saying. Despite what people of various cultures may say about their musical traditions, the biblical principles still apply. Having no regard of culture, it is the bible that should change cultures and bring them in line with God’s will. Pastor Donath said, “Don’t fall for the culture reason.” Christianity dictates culture and music, not the other way around.

Going back to Pastor Donath’s point about pastoral authority, he mentioned that the principle of a shepherd and his sheep is the principle of what a church is to be. Heb 13:17 says, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief:” It is our pastors that must ultimately give an account to God for the church; “the burden is on the pastor.”

The question, “Is music moral?”, was asked. “The world knows yes”, said Pastor Donath. Music is not neutral, but many Christians are in denial in order to justify their “style” of music. Some styles of music are designed to be sexy or affect a man’s body. Churches use various seductive music styles in spite of the fact that scriptural principles apply to music. We were shown that “music is the language of emotions.” Music is directly comparable to language in all their characteristics. Since music is an emotional language, and some emotions are wrong for the child of God, then some music is wrong for the Christian.

Pastor Donath presented numerous examples and testimonials illustrating how musicians knowingly use music to control and change people and to undermine authority. They lure you in with beats that command your physical response and with sexuality. Musicians have learned to be sensual with microphone technique and using a sensual, wispery voice. With regard to contemporary christian music, some Christians will say, “I get a blessing out of it.” When the believers consider “right vs wrong”, then blessings are irrelevant. “Its in our churches and it came from the world, not our fathers”, warned Pastor Donath, and its “not coming from Christian heritage.”

As musicians, we need to: 1.) identify if the back beat is present, 2.) identify different styles of music (e.g. jazz, celtic, blues, old style country and western, etc.), and 3.) identify if rock, R&B, or jazz is present.

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