Music and Spirituality :: By Edward Allen Dedloff

I’ve been involved in praise and worship at church since I began going to church nearly ten years ago. I play bass guitar and drums at two services in two churches on Sunday and a service on Wednesday nights. Since I came to the Lord, throughout these years I’ve seen the positive and negative effects from Christians who I see and talk with, and get varying opinions and ideas on what should be or what shouldn’t be acceptable in church service and in our daily lives.

I would like to address this from my point of view, and speak from my own heart. I’m not intending to change anyone’s view on music — but rather just give a perspective of it as I’ve observed ,and a bit of biblical perspective as well. It may sound as if I am gearing this reading more toward Christian musicians but it is for anyone, really.

At times, it is difficult to touch on the subject of music. Most all of us have different levels and different tastes when it comes to music and how it has influenced us and our journey through life leaving everyone with a unique perspective of their own. For many of us our tastes have varied, changed, transformed, or evolved over time with our age. Today, the Christian music scene is no exception.

The first thing I would like to say is that if the music is edifying and helps to bring people closer to the Lord, then it is good. Secondly, if you feel that if it is offensive to the Lord then it probably is, if you know consciously that it does not lift the Lord in praise and bring glory to him. What you need to realize that not just select styles of music are acceptable and non-offensive to the Lord.

Remember it is the intent of the heart that a song is written regardless of the style or genre and this is especially true when it comes to the lyrical content. What you say in a song lyrically can have profound impacts on people. It may be good but it can also be bad.

James 3:9: “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.”

I want to touch on the barriers that have come about as our times, and music has changed. There are those who feel that Christian music has begun to stray too much away from traditional style of hymnals and gospel, and have been overtaken by more of the contemporary style of music. It has also led us toward Christian rock, country, easy listening, hip hop, rap, metal, and variations in between.

Many feel that this growing trend has paved way to allow sexual promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, and youthful rebellion. I hear the term, “devil’s music” come up in conversation from time to time. True, there can be bad influences but to set the record straight, it goes back to where as I mentioned before where the intent of the heart is. I know some will disagree with me if I simply say, “It’s all good,” so let me start with my own musical background.

Personally, I’ve been through every type of music starting from cutting my teeth on the Beatles nearly fifty years ago when I was as young as five years old. I grew up as a die hard rock and roll fan and have been to the extremes with it. I also have delved in many other types of music because, as a musician, I have always been curious and interested to learn and know.

Our very own limitations have created barriers in bringing people to come to know and be closer to God through music. To an extent, you have to learn to be versatile and open in order to reach people. In music, this takes an approach of being able to identify with young and older people alike. You will not get much interest in most young people to sit and listen to the Blackwood Brothers or the Gaither Vocal Band any more than you would get the older crowd to sit and listen to Skillet or Thousand Foot Krutch.

Music is a very important part of our spirituality and our relationship with God. I can’t grasp the magnificence of heaven because I’m not sure what heaven will be like but something tells me if one thinks that heaven is going to be all about being quiet and reserved, I’m not so sure I agree. I have a feeling there will be much singing and praise with voices and instruments alike. If Psalms do not give us enough clues about the importance of music in our walk with God and our worship, then I don’t know what does. Many references to music abound in the Bible.

In Psalms 95:2 it states: “Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise.”

In our churches it becomes important to know in our music that we have to understand that there is an age category from young to old. In a large non-denominational church like I am a member of; we strive to keep a happy medium and take into consideration music choices for both young and old alike but it is hard to please all the people all the time. That’s why it is nice to have a good youth ministry in music so that the younger people can have their time as well.

Still, all too often I hear of those who say, “The music is too loud” or “It isn’t loud enough” or they don’t care for the singing. Many don’t like the way some of the praise and worship musicians dress. I’ve heard complaints about wearing “too much black” on stage. On that note I understand that too much is too much. Please note that I know of the reference of black and its relation to darkness but know that darker colors are not all bad, either. You wouldn’t want to cause too much distraction away from the music by standing out as a brightly colored beacon in flamboyant colors, either. Neutral colors are better, perhaps.

The main thing is that we use our music to worship our Father in heaven and our King the Lord Jesus Christ in the most honest and pure of heart way. I believe God has brought us all from different backgrounds and our taste in music reflects our personalities. We are commanded to spread the news of the gospel for His kingdom and that may mean reaching out and meeting people where they are regardless of the music they listen to. Try to embrace the music tastes of those who are expressing themselves for his glory in an edifying manner young and old alike.

For His Glory,

Edward Allen