Paz referred me to a site the other day about which I would like to make some comments. The site is Dial-the-Truth Ministries. When I first saw the URL - AV1611.org, and read the top of the homepage, I knew that I would have problems with the site. You see, this site does not stand on the sole authority of the Bible. No, it stands "on the sole authority of the King James Bible (AV 1611)." In short, this "King James Only" view is contrary to both history and logic. For more info, see this article and this site. Despite this erroneous view, I was (and still am) willing to consider their writings on other topics when the arguments stand alone.
What interested me most about the site was their wholesale and rigorous attack on Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). In their article Bible Guidelines for Christian Music, they claim that at least 95% of CCM does not "pass [Biblical] guidelines." While they spend a lot of time attacking the content of CCM based upon their apparant belief that all music should be explicitly Christian worship music, I was more interested in their attack on the musical form of CCM or, as they put it, "rock music." They define "rock music" as music in which "the rhythm or the beat literally takes over the music" or "music in which the bass drum carries the melody." Since scripture speaks of making "melody" when it talks about music, they argue that melody should dominate. And since CCM often emphasizes the rhythm over the melody, it is therefore "noise" not music. Next, they point out that even though the drum was a common instrument in Biblical times (a fact they never really prove but I'm willing to accept), the drum is never mentioned in the Bible. So, they conclude, "one simple guideline for Christian music is NO DRUMS!"
Of course, I fundamentally disagree with their complete rejection of rock music. I certainly think that this style can be misused, but when performed skillfully it can reflect God's beauty in form and therefore be glorifying to God. And just because drums are not mentioned in the Bible doesn't mean they shouldn't be used. Last time I checked, tamborines don't contribute much to the melody, but instead are primarily rhythmic instruments just like drums. I think the key error in their thinking on musical form is their contention that God "refers to music as - MELODY." While the word "melody" does appear in the KJV, I looked up the original Hebrew and Greek words and they don't really mean the primary line of notes. The word translated melody in Eph 5:19 for example, actually means "to pluck off, to pull out" or "to cause to vibrate by touching" clearly referring to stringed instruments. If this word was meant to specifically require a particular music style, wouldn't that mean we should only use stringed instruments? Too bad all you flute, clarinet, and trumpet players! Obviously, by using the Greek word "psallo" when advocating the use of music in worship, the Apostle Paul did not mean to prescribe a particular style or particular instruments in that music. Rather, he was using what was probably the common word for "music" at the time. Is a fugue less "Christian" because it emphasizes the harmony of two or more melodic lines interwoven together? Certainly not. Musical style is important, but it's hard to make a case for the inherent godliness of one over the other.
In the past, I have leaned towards the view that rock music (especially harder forms of rock such as heavy metal) is inherently flawed, and am still not convinced that it cannot damage the brain. However, I do not see a biblical reason to reject it entirely and I recognize a bias in my thinking caused by my general distaste for it.
I do enjoy much of CCM, on the other hand, and believe that whether it is explicitly worshipping God or just communicating truth, music can glorify God. I do not listen to a lot of music done by non-Christians, however I do not discount their ability to reflect God's truth and His beauty even while personally rejecting Him. I acknowledge that if skillfully done, a non-Christian musician could theoretically produce music that is more glorifying to God in it's form than the mediocre music of a Christian who uses all the right words.
There seems to me to be two sides to the issue. On the one hand, you have the work of the musician and whether it glorifies God. On the other hand, you have the heart of the listener and whether it glorifies God. Both are important, but I'm more concerned with the latter right now. I want to be a consumer of good art, but even if I listen to mediocre stuff I can glorify God with my heart. Certainly, both should be emphasized.
Anyway, I found the Dial-the-Truth Ministries site to be full of straw-man arguments, hasty generalizations, context-ignoring (there has to be a better way to say that), and many other logical fallacies. Furthermore, the constant use of capitalizations, exclaimation points, and large colorful fonts hurt my eyes. It did get me thinking about music, however, and I don't expect this posting to be my last on this topic.