Should Church Music Sound Different from Secular Music? : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Dear Internet Church Family,

I have seen several gospel singers on "Show Time at the Apollo" and I have noticed that the rhythm and beat of their gospel music is just like popular music. The only distinguishing features of their music are the lyrics. This music reminds me of the music that I used to jam to when I was in college. Quite frankly, this music makes you want to dance. Now, I realize that God is too big for me to know everything about Him and especially whether or not an individual can worship him in Spirit and in truth while listening to this type of music. Should church music be different than the world's music?


-- Anonymous, July 16, 2001


Very good question. I don't pose an answer just yet, but wanted to share an observation. I went to visit the church of one of my former pastors last evening. This minister left our denomination after his tenure at my church and started a non-denominational ministry. The choir sang a couple of up-tempo numbers during the praise and worship portion of the service and I happened to see a member of the congregation dancing to the music. Literally, "shaking his groove thing," as they used to say back in the 70's. I was dismayed.

A phrase that I often hear among pentecostals and non- denominationalists is "We didn't stop dancing, we just changed partners." I can buy that, but only to a point. I believe that a very important part of living a Christian life is the renewing of the mind, which dictates that if your mind is renewed as a result of your faith and your ingesting the word of God, then your actions should follow suit. And those things that appealed to you before accepting Jesus would not be so appealing as your mind becomes renewed. Personally, I prefer a clear distinction between sacred and secular music during the Sunday morning worship experience. However, while I'm in the car or doing work around the house, I'll enjoy more contemporary gospels and inspirationals as opposed to hymns and anthems.

-- Anonymous, July 16, 2001

Yes, I think that there should be a difference. Have you observed the choirs doing the "Bankhead Bounce" and a version of the "Electric Slide"? During watchnight service of 1999, a local preacher sung a version of Prince's Song "Party like it is 1999." Or the lady singing the song about the "69" code on her beeper. Now, I know what 69 means...and it doesn't mean be on time.

I don't think that it takes all that to get people to our Supreme...How does this music help me cope with life? Does it improve Our relationship with IAM? I also heard that G-d moves in silence and chaos breeds in NOISE!

-- Anonymous, July 16, 2001

A more pointed question is whether or not music of itself is intrinsically sacred or secular?

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2001

I would have to say that music cannot be defined in the manner in which Rev. Greene posed. Where is the distinction made between sacred and secular, and who makes that distinction? What is sacred to one person may be secular to another. There are old songs that my grandmother finds spiritually rich and I find spiritually lacking. These were songs that were sung when she was my age, and they have become a part of religious tradition, but they have very little foundation in scripture. But I would never say that her song is less sacred than something that a Donnie McClurkin or a Fred Hammond may sing today.

If we were to take our cues from scripture, I would be inclined to say that we could not call music intrinsically sacred or intrinsically secular. I know of no scripture that lends itself to such a conclusion. If there is, I invite any reader to enlighten me.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2001

Does it appeal to the flesh or to the spirit? That which appeals to the flesh is flesh; that which appeals to the spirit is spirit.

Blessings Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2001

Worship IS about God.

Unfortunately much of what we do in public worship too often tends to be of and about something or someone else. Too often I find the focus to be on "feeling good" rather than the Good News of Jesus Christ which may and ought to convict and bring to repentance. That is to say, a complete change of hearts, minds, and wills to that which is consistent with the Purpose and Will of God. The distinctive mark of this change Christ said is PEACE--not as the world give, but rather in the words of Saint Paul, "Peace which passeth all (human) understanding." If music or any other act of worship fails to meet this criterion, I think we miss the mark.

-- Anonymous, July 27, 2001

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