An Old Testament View of the Ministry of Music -- By: Milo Thompson

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 03:1 (Spring 1999)
Article: An Old Testament View of the Ministry of Music
Author: Milo Thompson

An Old Testament View of the Ministry of Music

Milo Thompson

President, Baptist Bible College And Seminary
Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania

God created music for His praise and man’s enjoyment. Unfortunately, music is one of the most emotionally charged and divisive issues facing the evangelical Church in America today. Pastors, worship leaders, trained musicians, and believers in general face new and powerful forces of change. These forces promote renewal in some churches and provoke schism in others. Most find it difficult to sidestep the heated debate over whether the church should sing only hymns of the faith or praise choruses. Christians disagree about what instruments should be used in the church service. Some want only the piano and organ. Others would like to have someone play a guitar or keyboard.

One cause for this controversy is a lack of understanding of what the Bible teaches about music. Christians have not thought through the biblical theology and principles pertaining to the matter of music. As a result, they base their beliefs and practice on personal preference, taste, and cultural traditions. Christians need to diligently study the Scriptures—the authority for all we believe and practice—to gain a biblical view of music. Anything we believe or practice beyond the theology of the biblical text must be properly labeled as human preference or cultural tradition. Personal preferences or cultural traditions may not necessarily be opposed to Scripture. These personal choices, however, must not be imposed as authoritative upon others. Christians can agree on the fundamental doctrines of the faith and differ on their views on music and still work together in a local church or Christian college to build up the Body of Christ. God’s goal for the Church is that we all come to unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God (Eph 4:11–16).

This article is the first in a series on the ministry of music in the Scriptures. This article will focus on an Old Testament view of the ministry of music. The next article will be on a New Testament view of the ministry of music. The final article will provide biblical guidelines for evaluating music.

Music Should Creatively Reflect God’s Design

God created ex nihilo, out of nothing. He spoke, and the world came into existence (Gen 1:1; Heb 11:3). God’s creation is not the mere rearrangement of finite elements. He brought these elements into existence.

Man, on the other hand, cannot create ex n...

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