Who Writes the Music of Your Life?
Monday, January 26, 2009
Philosophically, I am a Bible-believer; that is, I have made a conscious choice to accept the teachings of the Bible as truth. I accept what the Bible says at face value. In other words, as I read the Scriptures, I simply take things that I read as truth. Poetry is understood as poetry. History is taken as history. Scientific observations are taken as scientific observations.
I have lived long enough to understand that there are as many opinions about what is truth as there are people in the world. Both sides of any issue can be argued passionately and persuasively. I understand that people can and will oppose what I believe and what the Bible teaches. However, I have decided to take my stand with the Bible. It presents a reasonable, workable, and believable framework from which to evaluate any teaching or opinion. Personal observation and experience confirms that Bible principles, when followed, produce the promised results. Faith, in reality, is not blind: faith works!
With that in mind, I believe that the music we allow as part of our lives should be evaluated in light of Scripture. One often overlooked principle of Scripture is that the men and women who produce the music that we allow into our life, ought to meet a certain level of holiness and godliness. We need to evaluate singers, songwriters, instrumentalists, music teachers and music directors by the following criteria:
- Godliness -- Asaph (2 Chr. 29:30), Heman (1 Chr. 25:5), Jeduthun (2 Chr. 35:15), and Jahaziah (2 Chr. 20:14), all influential Bible musicians were "seers," or "prophets." A prophet was simply someone whom God used to communicate His message to the people of their day. They received special revelation from God. They knew God on a personal level, and walked with Him. In today's understanding, we could say they were godly preachers. How about other songwriters, such as Moses and David, godly leaders who had a special relationship with God.
- Excellence -- Chenaniah "instructed about the song, because he was skillful" (1 Chr. 15:22). David was "cunning in playing" (1 Sam. 16:18). Two hundred eighty-eight music teachers were described as "cunning" (1 Chr. 25:7).
- Holiness -- Old testament musicians were all Levites; that is, they were from the tribe of Levi and were set apart as priests. They were required to meet certain standards of behavior in order to serve as priests. You'll recall the stories of priests who failed to meet those standards and were killed by God, such as Nadab and Abihu, who offered "strange fire" before the Lord (Lev. 10:1); the sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, who were immoral (1 Sam. 4:11); Uzzah, a Levite who touched the ark, which should have been carried by the staves (2 Sam. 6:7).
- Bible knowledge (Col. 3:16) -- Christian musicians should have a thorough knowledge of the Bible and it's teachings and should live in adherence to Bible principles.
- Spirit filled (Eph. 5:18) -- Christian musicians should exhibit the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
- Harlots (Isa. 23:16)
- Fools (Ecc. 7:5)
- Idol Worshipers (Ex. 32:17, 18; Daniel 3)
Curtis holds a bachelor's degree in Bible with a music minor, as well as a master's degree in Sacred Music, having studied under Dr. Frank Garlock, president of Majesty Music, and Ray and Ann Gibbs, well-known Christian singers. He has served as music director and jr. high/high school supervisor at Grace Baptist Church of Mankato, Minnesota; school music director at the Franklin Road Christian School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; media engineer for the Sword of the Lord in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; and, full-time music director at Second Baptist Church and Twin City Christian Academy in Festus, Missouri. He is currently self-employed and serves in the music ministry of the Berean Baptist Church in Rockford, IL. Curtis is co-founder and President of the Asaph Music Co. He regularly sings bass with the Bible Truth Chorale on recordings produced by Bible Truth Music at Faith Music Missions.