Friday, March 04, 2005

Points of Clarification

With regard to the Randy Travis comment. I said and meant nothing negative about Randy's music. My point was simply that just because it is a beautiful and inspiring ballad about a praying Mom (another really good one is "Three Wooden Crosses") that doesn't mean that it is on the same level with, for example a congregation singing "Nothing But The Blood of Jesus". I'll bet that if you asked Randy, he'd agree.
I think I've posted enough information (and provided links) to show the negative influences of CERTAIN KINDS of music. Listening to this music, regardless of your thoughts and intentions, has negative moral, physical, mental and spiritual impact. I neither judged nor criticized anyone's good intentions. I'd rather assume good of someone and be wrong than to assume evil and be wrong. To do the latter and to verbalize it is also called blasphemy. My initial comment was intended to point out that if you listen to certain music too much, your life may be headed for a train wreck, and the engineer is asleep at the switch. Past "mistakes" may be repeated.
The "let it all hang out" or "get rid of all your inhibitions and hang-ups" approach to living is contrary to God's repeated commands in the New Testament to be "sober-minded". Of course, having been a charismatic myself long enough to know well their teachings and practices (I stopped being one when I started taking Bible study seriously) I also understand that I am talking to people who are unfamiliar with a real Bible, hence they are "slow of hearing".
I have seen how things have "worked out" over the years in the lives of my former friends in the charismatic church. Divorces, fornication, adultery, out-of-wedlock pregnancies, drug and alcohol abuse, insanity, total backsliding... and these things were in the lives of people who had been faithful "brothers and sisters in Christ" for years. There but for the grace of God go I. I saw their disregard for the Word of God and decided to get out. It hurt a lot at the time, but I cannot say that I've ever regretted leaving, and neither have my wife and children. I've been in hundreds of charismatic worship services and rock concerts, so don't make the mistake of thinking I'm ignorant of the "blessing" I'm missing. At the time, I thought "This is the real thing, man! Everybody else is missing out!" The atmosphere was a negative moral and spiritual influence on me and my family. THAT IS NOT TO SAY THAT THERE WERE NOT ALSO BENEFITS. All I'm saying is, there's a better way. I'm also aware that there's an extremely low probability of the existence of a thriving, vibrant, growing, fundamental Independent Baptist Church anywhere near where you are. When I left the charismatic church, there wasn't one near me either, but there is now. (There was a Baptist church, but not much was happening there.) Without it, my family would not be what it is today. Thank you Jesus!
You will find, I think, that if you ever take it upon yourself to point out the unscriptural nature of a lot of what goes on in contemporary liberal churches in general and in charismatic/pentecostal churches in particular (in the privacy of your liberal pastor's office, of course) you will be about as popular and welcome as a wart. I was treated to a vivid demonstration of the fact that "the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked". It didn't MATTER what the Bible said, they were going to "follow the money". My wife and I were treated like filth behind closed doors, but as soon as the doors opened, it was all "lovey-dovey" for a show in front of others. What two-faced hypocrites. I was tempted to deck the little punk, but why bother? Let God sort it out. "Vengeance is mine, I will repay saith the Lord."

That music can be used for evil is clear from Scripture. Lucifer was created with a wealth of musical talents, which were evidently to be used for directing the angelic host in the worship of God (Ezek. 28:13 [KJV]). Lucifer's fall (Ezek. 28:11-19) evidently led to the perversion of music, so that its improper use could actually be OFFENSIVE TO GOD (Amos 5:23; 6:5). That music can have a powerful influence on ones emotions, mood, or state of being is clearly taught in Scripture (e.g., I Samuel 16:15-17, 23; II Ki. 3:15).
Amos 5:23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. Amos 6:5 That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent TO THEMSELVES instruments of musick, like David; (READ this one in context. The implication is that David's actions (in inventing these instruments) were NOT pleasing to God)

Further comments on music (quoting):
"Nevertheless, some biblicists continue to say that music is amoral (rather than moral or immoral), and that it can have no power to cause one to sin. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but the scientific research indicates just the opposite to be the case (not to mention the biblical record cited above)." Even Allan Bloom (an unbeliever), in his book The Closing of the American Mind, makes some interesting observations concerning the moral effects of music on people (pp. 68-81):

"Nothing is more singular about this generation than its addiction to music. … Today, a very large portion of young people between the ages of ten and twenty live for music. ... Rock music encourages passions and provides models that have no relation to any life the young people ... can possibly lead. ... I suspect that the rock addiction, particularly in the absence of strong counterattractions, has an effect similar to that of drugs." ( In fact, covert Military Intelligence ops such as MK Ultra conducted in the 1960's and 1970's eventually yielded the finding that the use of drugs was unnecessary in breaking down the human mind... music alone could achieve that result even without its lyrics.)
For millenia, the drumbeats of Africa have been used to summon demonic spirits. A wise man once said, "If you want to know where you're headed, it helps to know where you're from."

The roots and origins of much of contemporary music go a long way toward explaining the "whigger" phenomenon. Wrong direction. There's an interesting parallel in the origins of modern "bibles". Their root texts go back to Alexandria, in Africa. The Authorized King James Bible, on the other hand, traces its lineage through 15 centuries (before 1611) of bible-believing church history to Antioch in Syria, where the believers were first called "christians". "It helps to know whar yer from, Sonny Boy." That's a topic for another day.

Plato had quite a bit to say about the morality of music from a philosopher's standpoint. In the Republic, Plato devotes considerable time to the role of music in political and moral life: "Plato's teaching about music is, put simply, that rhythm and melody, accompanied by dance are the barbarous expression of the soul. BARBAROUS, not animal. Music is the medium of the human soul in its most ecstatic condition of wonder and terror ... Music is the soul's primitive and primary speech and its alogon, without articulate speech or reason. It is not only not reasonable, it is hostile to reason. Even when articulate speech [lyrics] is added, it is utterly subordinate to and determined by the music and the passions it expresses. ... Armed with music, man can damn rational thought. Out of the music emerge the gods that suit it, and they educate men by their example and their commandments." (Emphasis added.)

"To the question, 'Does music affect man's physical body?' modern research applies in the clear affirmative. There is scarcely a single function of the body which cannot be affected by musical tones [score] ... Investigation has shown that music affects digestion, internal secretions, circulation, nutrition and respiration. Even neural networks of the brain have been found to be sensitive to harmonic principles" (p. 136). (Emphasis added.)

(f) "Researchers have discovered that consonant and dissonant chords, different intervals, and other features of music [score] all exert a profound effect upon man's pulse and respiration-upon their rate and upon whether their rhythm is constant, or interrupted and jumpy. Blood pressure is lowered by sustained chords and raised by crisp, repeated ones. [It has also been found that the tension of the larynx is affected by melodies, that sound stimuli can have a negative effect upon the skeletal muscles, that rock rhythms cause the heart beat to lose its perfect rhythm, and that certain rhythms can even cause a rare malady known as "musicogenic epilepsy" (76 documented cases as of 1984), with which some of its victims have been tormented to the point of committing suicide or murder.] ... We can see, then, that music affects the body in two distinct ways: directly, as the effect of sound upon the cells and organs, and indirectly, by affecting the emotions, which then in turn influence numerous bodily processes" (p. 137). (Emphasis added.)

Julius Portnoy has also found that not only can music [score] "change metabolism, affect muscular energy, raise or lower blood pressure, and influence digestion," but "It may be able to do all these things more successfully ... than any other stimulants that produce those changes in our bodies" (p. 138). Musicologist Alice Monsarrat points out that it "is precisely at this point that rock 'n' roll ... becomes potentially dangerous. This is because, to maintain a sense of well-being and integration, it is essential that man is not subjected too much to any rhythms not in accord with his natural bodily rhythms" (p. 199).

(g) Extensive research has also been conducted on the effects of music upon non-human life, both animals and plants. Paradoxical as it may seem, plant experiments concerning the effects of music upon life are even more convincing than human experiments: that music does affect life, including human life. This is because in plant experiments the effect of the mind's subjective preconditioning and subjective reaction to the music, or one's "feeling" for the music, or one's personal tastes in music have obviously all been removed; i.e., if music [score] can be shown to affect plants, then such effects have to be due to the objective influence of the musical tones and rhythms directly upon the cells and processes of the life-form itself. (It is also easier to set-up a valid, scientifically controlled experiment with plant life than with human life.)

The plant research findings are solidly in the traditionalist camp: not only did rock music stunt the growth of a wide variety of plants, but if played long enough, the plants actually died. And even more startling were the findings of Dr. T.C. Singh, head of the Botany Department at Annamalia University, India. His experiments demonstrated that not only did certain forms of music and certain musical insturments (specifically, classical music and the violin) cause plants to grow at twice their normal speed, but that later generations of the seeds of musically stimulated plants carried on the improved traits of greater size, more leaves, etc.! Presumably, the same effect can result in the negative sense, from bad music. The possible significance of Dr. Singh's findings to human life is evident, and should be at least a little disconcerting to rock music fans (pp. 141-145).
For the world, it is impossible to separate from the lure of the pleasures of the flesh; they have no desire to do so nor do they have the power to do so if they did desire. But what reasons do we as Christians have to ignore our Lord's command to come out and be separate? Instead, we adopt the world's music in all its destructive forms [score and character], add Christian lyrics to it, and think we are being pleasing to the Lord and are a testimony of holiness to an unbelieving world.

- More recent medical research (than that cited by Tame) also disputes the notion of the supposed "neutrality" of music:

(a) Dr. John Diamond, a medical doctor, has conducted extensive research on the medical effects of music. He has noted that man is rhythmic in respiration, heartbeat, pulse, speech, and gait, and when the rhythm of music corresponds to the natural body rhythms, it produces feelings of ecstasy, alertness, and peace, and it energizes the mind and body, and facilitates balance and self-control. (These secular medical findings are also supported by Scripture [I Samuel 16:15-17,23]).

(b) Dr. David Nobel, another medical doctor and an authority on music, has done extensive research on the value of music rhythms [score] corresponding to body rhythms. He writes that, "None of these qualities accrue to the rock sound. Instead, rock contains harmonic dissonance and melodic discord while it accents rhythm with a big beat. In fact, the anapestic beat [two short beats, a long beat, then a pause] used by many rock musicians actually is the exact opposite of our heart and arterial rhythms [thereby causing an immediate loss of body strength]."

[Dr. Diamond confirms Dr. Nobel's findings and adds that the stopped anapestic rhythm "heightens stress and anger, reduces output, increases hyperactivity, and weakens muscle strength." (Admittedly, the technological ability to objectively measure stress and anger is problematical at best, while the measurement of muscle strength is quite precise and meets all the requirements of scientific reliability and statistical significance.)]

(h) "Like human nature itself, music cannot possibly be neutral in its spiritual direction ... ultimately all uses of tone [score] and all musical lyrics can be classified according to their spiritual direction, upward or downward. ... To put it plainly, music tends to be of either the darkness or of the light" (p. 187). In his famous work, Laws, Plato lamented the musical revolution of his time and its "unmusical anarchy": "Through foolishness they deceived themselves into thinking that there was no right or wrong in music-that it was to be judged good or bad by the pleasure it gave. By their work and their theories they infected the masses with the presumption to think themselves adequate judges. ... As it was, the criterion was not music, but a reputation for promiscuous cleverness and a spirit of law-breaking" (p. 189).
How does music help? Some studies show it can lower blood pressure, basal-metabolism and respiration rates, thus lessening physiological responses to stress. Other studies suggest music may help increase production of endorphins (natural pain relievers) and S-IgA (Salivary immunoglobulin A). S-IgA speeds healing, reduces the danger of infections, and controls the heart rate. Studies indicate both hemispheres of the brain are involved in processing music. Dr. Sacks explains, "The neurological basis of musical responses is robust and may even survive damage to both hemispheres" ("Music's Surprising Power to Heal," 8/92 Reader's Digest).

"In conclusion, we can say that insofar as the physical body is concerned, the notion that music has no effect upon man, or that all music is harmless, is ABSOLUTELY IN ERROR" (Tame, p. 141). (Emphasis added.) "No longer [can] modern musicians possibly claim that music is a matter of 'taste,' or that the musician should be allowed to perform anything he chooses ... Every moment of music to which we subject ourselves may be enhancing or taking away our … clarity of consciousness, increment by increment " (Tame, p. 144).

In essence, what the medical experts are saying is that today's rock sound (irrespective of the lyrics tacked-on to it in order to classify it as either secular or "Christian") fights against the rhythmic nature of man's creation. In the face of such evidence, it is difficult to understand how anyone can maintain that the music itself is neutral.

- In his 1985 book, Set the Trumpet To Thy Mouth, charismatic David Wilkerson (of Cross & the Switchblade fame) said: "One of the reasons God's Spirit was lifted from the Jesus Movement [not that It was ever there] was their refusal to forsake their old music. They gave up pot, heroin, alcohol, promiscuous sex, and they even gave up perverted life-styles. But they refused to give up their beloved rock. ... Amazing! I say its hold is stronger than drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. It is the biggest mass addiction in the world's history. Rock music, as used and performed in Christian circles, is of the same satanic seed as that which is called punk, heavy metal, and is performed in devilish rock concerts worldwide."

- By attending Christian rock concerts, does not one identify oneself with their false doctrines and become a partaker of their evil deeds? (The Bible clearly teaches a theology of "guilt by association"-see 2 John 10,11.) And since we will all be accountable to the Lord at the Bema Seat for our stewardship with the resources He has entrusted to us while on this earth, how can anyone possibly justify allocating any resources to the support of rock music?

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