Drinking Deeply

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 at 5:54 PM


What is the value of music in Christianity?

For me, the value of music lies within its words. Music leads us to God only so far as the lyrics lead us to God. We do have a lot of examples in the OT of music being sung and so on, but the only thing that God deemed necessary to pass onto us was in the form of words and prepositions. I don’t think we can ever have biblical justification of something outside of statements and prepositions that can lead us to God because the Bible is composed of statements and prepositions.

Thus any sort of knowledge that comes from something outside of propositions (if such a knowledge were even possible), must come from outside of Scripture, and that seems to be an implicit denial of the sufficiency of Scripture.

I’m not condemning music or art, in fact, I think there is a deep need for Christian musicians and Christian artists to be lights into this world. This is not to say that every song has to be about Jesus and grace, and every painting be that of a biblical story, but that everything note, every drop of paint, should flow out of a desire for God’s glory and an expression of their clearly Christian worldview.

There is also something that can be said for the hymns that are so packed with theological truths that sometimes they put the sermon to shame. Some examples:

'Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear,
And Grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

What a beautiful depiction of God’s sovereignty in opening eyes to point to their own sinfulness, and then in pointing to the cross.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

A simple confession of how much the sinfulness of man has consumed our author, and a confession of dependence upon God to seal the heart, and keep it.

Now, I’m not saying that we should do our theology from our songs, because that would be undermining the whole point of the “Scripture Alone,” but what I am saying is that we can (and should!) find music that is packed with theological truths. Even something as simple as:

Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Why do we know that Jesus loves us? Because the Bible tells us! It doesn’t get any easier than that.

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