ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 206

“THE MINISTRY OF MUSIC IN THE BIBLE”

Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.,

Retired Professor of Theology and Church History,

Andrews University

 

INDEX OF TOPICS OF THIS NEWSLETTER

 

* POPULAR BELIEFS: ARE THEY BIBLICAL?

         An Update on the Amazing Impact of this Book

              

* “THE MINISTRY OF MUSIC IN THE BIBLE”

       This is the essay of this newsletter

 

* UPCOMING SEMINARS for the month of July

 

* FIRST TIME OFFER: PACKAGE OF 14  DVD/CD ALBUMS,

         containing 41 video, live lectures by Prof. Bacchiocchi,

         Prof. Jon Paulien, Prof. Graeme Bradford, Prof. Roy Gane

         and sacred songs by Soprano Cristina Piccardi. The Special

         Offer is only $150.00, instead of $1400.00.

 

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POPULAR BELIEFS: ARE THEY BIBLICAL?

An Update on the Amazing Impact of this Best-selling Book!

 

When Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical? came off the press few weeks ago on April 25, 2008, I never anticipated that the book would be so popular and influential.  The first printing of 10,000 copies was sold out in less than a month and half of the second printing has already been mailed out.

 

I believe that a major factor that explains the overwhelming demand for Popular Beliefs,  is the urgent need felt by many Adventists for a compelling witnessing book they can give with confidence to people inquiring about our faith. Many Adventists have emailed me messages saying that they have waited for years for a book like Popular Beliefs that shows why the most popular Catholic and Protestant popular beliefs are unbiblical, while the less-popular Adventist beliefs are biblically correct.

 

The Influence of Popular Beliefs: Are the Biblical?

 

Though Popular Beliefs  came out less than three months ago, I received already a significant number of positive responses from church leaders, editors, and scholars of different denominations. An Evangelical Pastor called me on the Fourth of July to inform me that my book The Sabbath Under Crossfire helped his congregation to accept the Sabbath. Now he was eager to order a case of Popular Beliefs because he feels that the book will help his congregation to accept other vital Bible truths.

 

An editor of an Evangelical magazine ordered a case of 30 copies of Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical?  After reading it, he sent in for another 30 copies and encouraged their book store manager to place an order for 100 copies which we have already sent. A Professor of business came to visit me at home to discuss some points of the book and took along with him a case. An Adventist sister gave a copy of Popular Beliefs to her daughter who had left the church. She told me that her daughter the book is helping her daughter to appreciate our Adventist beliefs.

 

While getting ready to send out this newsletter, I received a message from a learned Anglican minister, with a Doctorate in Philosophy and Theology, living in Lucerne, Switzerland. He wrote: “I was given a copy of Popular Beliefs from an Adventist friend. I am reading the book with great interest. Your thoroughness reminds me of St. Thomas of Aquinas [a foremost Catholic Theologian].

 

I hope to meet you some days.  If you travel to Switzerland, please let me know. It would be a pleasure for me to meet you.

 

In Christ

.........................................

 

Popular Beliefs Expresses my Gratitude to God for His Healing

 

When I read these encouraging messages, I can only say: Thank you God for extending me life and giving me wisdom and grace to research and write Popular Beliefs.  When I was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer on February 2007, one of my deep regrets was the inability to complete this important project during the remaining few months I was expected to live. I promised to the Lord that if He would extend my life, I would put forth my best efforts to complete Popular Beliefs, to express my gratitude to Him for His providential healing.

 

The Lord has answered my prayer in an unexpected way. He led me to Cancer Research Center in Goshen, Indiana, which is only one hour away from Andrews University where we live.  The Center is a pioneer in the field of nuclear oncology and treated my liver cancer with a combined strategy of chemotherapy and microsphere embolization — a treatment available only in few cancer centers. Within two months my cancer was reduced by 95%. Grateful to God for a new lease on life, I fulfilled my promise by devoting every spare moment of this past year to complete Popular Beliefs, designed to call many truth-seekers to “come out of her my people” (Rev 18:4)

 

When Popular Beliefs came off the press on April 25, I was overwhelmed by a deep sense of gratitude to God for restoring my health and for enabling me to complete this important research project. I felt that an appropriate way to express my gratitude to God, was to plan for a dedication service for the book. In a special way the service was a re-dedication  of my life to His service. About 30 fellow believers, including three medical doctors and a few teachers, attended the dedication service at our home.

 

 My Legacy to our Adventist Church

 

In many ways  Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? represents for me my legacy to our Seventh-day Adventist Church.  This may be my last and hopefully my most important contribution to the mission of our Adventist church. All my previous 17 books are making a contribution by helping truth-seekers to understand and accept fundamental Bible teachings held by our church.  But the impact of Popular Beliefs is already proving to be greater than any of my previous books, because it examines, not one, but 10 popular beliefs, which are biblically wrong. 

 

A Most Effective Witnessing Publication

 

Popular Beliefs  is a much needed witnessing book that you can give with confidence to friends who want to know why their popular beliefs are unbiblical and the Adventist beliefs are biblical correct. Each of the 10 popular beliefs is traced historically and examined biblically. The ultimate goal is to lead people to appreciate the validity and value of our Adventist beliefs.

 

 My Sincere Hope

 

I have written this book with the earnest desire to help Christians of all persuasions to re-examine their popular beliefs in the light of the normative authority of the Bible. At a time when most Christians still hold to popular beliefs that derive from human traditions rather than from biblical revelation, it is imperative to recover those biblical truths that God has revealed for our eternal salvation.

                          

It is my fervent hope that this book, fruit of many months of dedicated research, will help Christians of all persuasions to “come out” of the Babylonian confusion of popular but unbiblical beliefs, and accept  God’s glorious plan for our present life and our future destiny.

 

NEW SPECIAL OFFER ON

POPULAR BELIEFS: ARE THEY BIBLICAL?

 

To facilitate a massive circulation of Popular Beliefs, I have decided to continue to offer the book at the following substantially discounted prices:

 

         1 copy of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? at the regular  price of $30.00 per copy. Mailing expenses are included for the USA.  Add $10.00 for  AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.

 

         10 copies of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? at $10.00 per copy, postage paid, instead of the regular price of $30.00 ($100.00 for 10 copies). Mailing expenses are included for the USA. Add $50.00 for AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.

 

         30 copies (one case) of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? at $6.65 per copy ($200.00 for 30 copies).  Mailing expenses are included for the USA. Add $100.00 for AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.

 

           100 copies of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? at $5.00 per copy, postage paid. ($500.00 for 100 copies). Mailing expenses are included for the USA. Add $300.00 for AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination. 

 

NOTE: We can ship by sea-freight 500 copies or more of Popular Beliefs (up to a cubit meter) to any foreign destinations for only $500.00. This reduces the cost of mailing to only $1.00 per book.  Fee free to contact me for further details.

 

HOW TO ORDER POPULAR BELIEFS: ARE THEY BIBLICAL?

 

        You can order Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? in four different ways:

 

(1)  ONLINE: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/index.php?cPath=26_35

 

(2)  PHONE:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

 

(3)  EMAIL:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date. 

  

(4) REGULAR MAIL: By mailing a check to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, USA. We guarantee to process your order as soon as we receive it.

 

 

WOULD YOU LIKE US TO PRESENT AT YOUR CHURCH OUR POPULAR  SEMINARS WITH WORDS AND SONGS ?

 

Would you like us to present at your church one of our popular seminars on the SABBATH or SECOND ADVENT or CHRISTIAN LIFE with Words and Songs? These seminars have been greatly enhanced by the participation of Cristina Piccardi, an outstanding soprano from Brazil who joined my ministry eight months ago. She sings several times before and after each of my lectures. She also gives a sacred concert on Sabbath afternoon. Her powerful and passionate singing touches the hearts of people everywhere. Her singing has almost double the attendance at the seminars.

 

Our 2008 calendar is already filled for the next few months, but we still have a few openings in the latter part of the year. We will be glad to email you the date of the few open weekends for your church board to consider.

 

To make it possible for many churches to benefit from our seminars, we keep the cost of the seminar down by asking only for the refund of two airline tickets and two nights for two rooms in a reasonable hotel. We do not ask for any honorarium. Instead, we trust in the Lord to meet our financial obligations through the sale of our publications and recordings on Saturday night.

 

If your church board wishes to preview one of our seminars, we will gladly mail you free of charge the DVD album with our SABBATH SEMINARS with Words and Songs, that was recorded in Loma Linda. The album contains 3 DVDs with 6 hours of live recording of my lectures and Cristina’s singing.

 

Feel free to contact us by email <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com> or by phone (269) 471-2915.  We will gladly supply you with any additional information and reserve a weekend for your church

 

EDITORIAL COMMENTS

 

The Fourth of July for our Family

 

The Fourth of July has a special meaning for our family.  First, because we first landed in the USA on July 4th, 1974, that is, 34 years ago. Second, for the first time this Fourth of July all our family members consisting of three children and five grandchildren, celebrated independence day as American citizens (though I do not sound yet as a yankee).

 

Truly we can say that the Lord has blessed us beyond our fondest expectations.  We landed on US soil with a few suitcases. Today it would take a few trucks to move the belonging of our four families to different locations.

 

The greatest blessing has been the opportunity to give to our three children a Christian education that has prepared them to witness for Christ in the workplace. Each of them is very successful in his/her profession. Loretta is serving a Professor of Nursing at the Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences; Daniel is a gifted architect and a successful developer; Gianluca is a corporate lawyer in a legal firm with about 1500 attorneys. In a few years he became a partner and now he is San Paulo, Brasil, developing a branch legal office for his firm.

 

For me personally the greatest blessings has been the opportunity to develop a ministry of research, writing, and lecturing that has  touched the lives of countless thousands around the world.  None of this would have happened had we remained in Italy or Europe for that matter. The reason is that our church administrators in Western European countries generally oppose independent ministries like mine. In most cases, pastors are expected to be caretakers of slowly dying churches.

 

This is evident at the General Conference Session. Of the over 500 booths set up in the exhibition hall, 90% or more of them are manned by American independent ministries. Very few booths represent independent ministries overseas.

 

Truly, America is still the land of opportunities, giving the chance to people of all cultures and races to become what God has called them to be. In my country in Italy, advancement is determined not by who you are, but by whom you know. In America, what counts is what you can do. Skills, talents, and academic achievements open the doors of opportunity to anyone willing to work hard. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

 

Response to Comments About the Last Newsletter

 

The previous newsletter on “The Importance of Music in the Bible,” generated many positive responsive as well as a few negative ones. Those who responded positively feel that the raging controversy over music in Adventist Churches, calls for a study of the biblical guiding principles on the distinction between Sacred and Secular music. They welcomed the essay on “The Importance of Music in the Bible,” because it provides a valuable basis for a dispassionate discussion of this divisive subject.  They are looking forward to gain more information from this and the following essay, dealing specifically the ministry and morality of music in the Bible.

 

Those who responded negatively argue that seeking for moral guidance in the Bible on worship music is a worthless effort, because music is morally neutral.  It reflects the musical preferences and expression of a given culture that changes over the years. They reason that what was secular music at one time becomes sacred music at another time.

 

Is Music Morally Neutral?

 

The view that music is morally neutral is promoted by those who use “Christian” rock music for worship and evangelism, because they maintain that music is void of moral qualities for either good or bad. Consequently,  nothing is wrong in adopting rock music by changing its lyrics, because the message is not in the music but in the words.

 

This view is frequently expressed not only in Contemporary Music Literature, but sometimes also in Adventist literature. For example, in an article entitled  “Contemporary Music Is Christian Music” (Ministry, September 1996), Michael Tomlinson states:  “I believe music itself is without moral qualities, either for good or evil.  The question has more to do with what the music is employed to say or to do than with the music per se” He goes so far as to say: “Do some church leaders denounce Christian ‘rock’ because they do not understand it or perhaps because they are blinded by the generational prejudice or personal preference?” Tomlinson’s view is clear.  Music is morally neutral. Those church leaders who denounce “Christian” rock are either ignorant about it or prejudiced against it. Is this true? 

 

A Response to the Alleged Neutrality of Music

          

A compelling response to the alleged neutrality of music is found in Chapter 13, of The Christian and Rock Music: A Study on Biblical Principles of Music. As explained in the previous newsletter, I wrote the first half of the book, dealing mostly with music in the Bible, and other six contributors  from five different countries, contributed chapters to the second half of the book. Each of the contributor is eminently qualified in the field of music, in terms of academic training and/or professional experience. 

 

More important still, all the contributors are passionately involved in enriching the worship experience of their congregations. If you do not have a copy of this best-selling book, feel free to call us at 269-471-2915.  We will be glad to take your order by phone and mail you a copy immediately. If you prefer to order online, click at this link http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/music

 

I would urge you to read chapter 13 entitled “Music and Morality,” by Wolfgang H. M. Stefani, Ph. D. an Australian musician, scholar, pastor, who has earned graduate degrees in music, and  a  Ph. D. in Religious Education at Andrews University in 1993. His dissertation was on “The Concept of God and Sacred Music Style.” He taught worship music at the Andrews University SDA Theological Seminary.

 

A Summary of Prof. Stephani’s Chapter

 

Simply stated, Stefani presents four major arguments that discredit the claim that music is morally neutral.  The first argument is historical. For the past two and half millennia, music has been considered to be such a potent and influential force in society that leading philosophers and politicians advocated its control by their nation’s constitution. Thus, historically, music and morality have been intimately connected.

 

The second argument is theological. In a sin-infested world, every human creation reflects a degree of moral involvement. The notion that creative arts, like music, were not touched by the Fall was developed during the Middle Ages when the Catholic Church controlled artistic productions.

          

When the Catholic church lost its hold and society became secular, the notion that aesthetic arts are not subject to moral accountability continued. The result has been that “rock, rap, thrash metal, classical, jazz, Country and Western, soul, and a host of other musics, each with their own individual aesthetic standards, have inevitably become acceptable forms of musical expression, even in worship contexts.”

            

Stefani notes that this popular view ignores the radical distortion that sin has wrought in every field of human endeavor, including music.  Christians are called to examine music, not only to determine if it is beautiful, but also to establish if it is morally compatible with biblical teachings.

 

The third argument is based on the scientific research of the past several decades which has shown that music “dictates feelings.”  “For example, incorporating music on a film sound track takes for granted that music impacts all people similarly.  Indeed, if this were not the case a music sound track would be pointless.”  “A body of research now exists that demonstrates that music does communicate meaningfully in a way that can and ought to be evaluated for appropriateness, and even rightness or wrongness in a given context.”

 

The fourth argument is philosophical and yet very practically stated: “What rules the heart, forms the art.” Stefani shows with compelling logic that musical styles are not neutral, but value-laden. “They are veritable embodiment of beliefs.”  In his dissertation he traces with compelling clarity the correlation between the evolution in the understanding of God and the development of new musical styles during the course of Christian history.

 

The Battle Over Music Reflects Different Understandings of God

 

I found this to be an important concept that I have explored in Chapter 2 of The Christian and Rock Music,  because it shows that ultimately the battle over music styles is a theological battle over our understanding of God. Rock music today, both in its secular and “Christian” version, reflects an immanent “God within us” perception. This view of God promotes a strong physical and emotionally stimulating music by means of repetitive rhythms in order to achieve a direct contact with or experience of the divine.

 

Ultimately, what is at stake in the battle over music is the understanding of the very nature of God being worshipped. The question is:  Does the church music serve to worship the holy and transcendent God of biblical revelation or a casual, personal-lover type of Being created by human imagination?  The debate over this question is intense and will not go away because, intuitively, people sense that their music stands for the God whom they want to worship.

 

The non-neutrality of music is clearly recognized by musicians themselves. For example, Howard Hanson, famous composer and former head of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, said: “Music is made up of many ingredients and, according to the proportion of these components, it can be soothing or invigorating, ennobling or vulgarizing, philosophical or orgiastic. It has power for evil as well as good.”

 

The Power of Music

 

Businesses know that certain kinds of music can increase sales while other kinds of music can actually reduce sales. The Musak Corporation, which distributes music for businesses, advertises its services saying: “The science of stimulus progression employs the inherent power of music in a controlled pattern to achieve predetermined psychological and physiological effects on people. Leading companies and commercial establishments now employ the Musak concept to improve environment, attitudes, and performance.”

 

The Bible itself discredits the notion of the neutrality of music through the story of David, who was called to soothe King Saul whenever troubled by an evil spirit. “Whenever the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hands; so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him” (1 Sam 16:23). Note that Saul was affected physically, emotionally, and spiritually, not by the singing of David, but purely by the instrumental music.

 

The notion that music is neutral apart from its words  is discredited by Scripture, science, and common sense. Yet it still remains  a popular deception used to justify the acceptance in Christian homes and churches of the pop music that stimulates people physically rather than elevating them spiritually.

 

This essay on “The Ministry of Music in the Bible,”  shows how the choice worship music in the Bible was not based on culture or preferences, but on clear principles which are still relevant to us today.

 

“THE MINISTRY OF MUSIC IN THE BIBLE”

Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.,

Retired Professor of Theology and Church History,

Andrews University

 

In the previous newsletter we examined the importance of music in the Bible.  Our focus was primarily on the role of singing in the personal and spiritual experience of God’s people. Very little has been said of the ministry of music conducted first in the Temple, and then in the synagogue, and finally in the early church. A brief examination of the public ministry of music during Bible times, offers significant lessons for church music today.

 

The Music Ministry in the Temple

 

Many of those involved in contemporary music ministry, appeal to the different styles of music of the Old Testament for “doing their own thing.” They believe that music produced by percussion instruments and accompanied by dancing was common in religious services. Consequently, they maintain that some styles of rock music and dancing are appropriate for the church today.

 

A careful study of the function of music in the Old Testament reveals otherwise. For example, in the Temple musicians belonged to the professional clergy, played only on limited and special occasions, and used only few specific music instruments. There was no possibility to turn the Temple service into music festival where any Jewish band could play the pop music of the time. Music was rigidly controlled in the Temple. What is true of the Temple was later true also of the synagogue and the early church. This survey will help us to see that in music, like in all other areas of life, God does not give us the license to “do our own thing.”

 

The Institution of the Music Ministry

 

The transition from the unsettled, nomadic life in the desert, to a permanent life-style in Palestine under the monarchy, afforded the opportunity for developing a music ministry that would meet the needs of the worshipping congregation at the Temple. Prior to this time the references to music are primarily in conjunction with women singing and dancing to celebrate special events. Miriam led a group of women in singing and dancing to celebrate the overthrow of the Egyptians (Ex 15:1-21). Women played and danced for the conquering David (1 Sam 18:6-7). Jephthat’s daughter met her father with timbrels and dance upon his return from battle (Judg 11:34).

 

With the establishment by David of a professional music ministry of Levites, music making was restricted to men. Why women were excluded from serving as musicians in the Temple, is an important question that has baffled scholars. We shall comment upon it shortly. Women did continue making music in the social life of the people.

 

The book of Chronicles describes with considerable details how David organized the music ministry of the Levites. An insightful analysis of how David accomplished this organization, is provided by the doctoral dissertation of John Kleinig, published under the tile, The Lord’s Song: The Basis, Function and Significance of Choral Music in Chronicles. For the purpose of our study we limit ourselves to a brief summary of those features that are relevant for the ministry of music today.

 

The Role of David in Establishing the Music Ministry

 

According to the first book of Chronicles, David organized the music ministry in three stages. In the first stage, he ordered the heads of the Levitical families to appoint an orchestra and a choir to accompany the transportation of the ark to its tent at Jerusalem (1 Chron 15:16-24).

 

The second stage occurred after the ark had been safely placed in its tent in his palace (2 Chron 8:11). David arranged for the regular performance of choral music at the time of the daily burn offerings with choirs in two different places (1 Chron 16:4-6, 37-42). One choir performed under the leadership of Asaph before the ark in Jerusalem (1 Chron 16:37), and the other under the leadership of Herman and Jeduthun before the altar in Gibeon (1 Chron 16:39-42).

 

The third stage in David’s organization of the ministry of music occurred at the end of David’s reign when the king planned for the more elaborate music service that would be conducted at the temple that Solomon was to build (1 Chron 23:2 to 26:32). David established a pool of 4000 Levites as potential performers (1 Chron 15:16; 23:5). They accounted for more than ten per cent of the 38,000 Levites. “Some kind of examination was probably necessary for the process of selection, since musical ability is not always inherited.”

 

David himself was involved together with his officials in the appointment of 24 leaders of the watches, each of which had 12 musicians for a total of 288 musicians (1 Chron 25:1-7). These in turn were responsible for the rest of the selection of the musicians.

 

The Ministry of the Musicians

 

To ensure that there would be no confusion or conflict between the sacrificial ministry of the priests and the music ministry of the Levites, David carefully delineated the position, rank, and the scope of the ministry of the musicians (1 Chron 23:25-31). The performance of the ministry of music they were subordinate to the priests (1 Chron 23:28).

 

The nature of the ministry of the musicians is graphically described: “They shall stand every morning, thanking and praising the Lord, and likewise at evening, and whenever burn offerings are offered to the Lord on Sabbath, new moons and feast days, according to the number required of them, continually before the Lord” (1 Chron 23:30-31).

 

The context suggests that the musicians stood somewhere in front of the altar, since their music performance coincided with the presentation of the burnt offering. The purpose of their ministry was to thank and praise the Lord. They announced the Lord’s presence to His assembled people (1 Chron 16:4), reassuring them of His favorable disposition toward them.

 

In 1 Chronicles 16:8-34 we find a remarkable hymn of praise that was sang by the Temple choir. “This song consists of portions of Psalms 105, 96 and 106, which were reworked and recombined to produce this remarkable liturgical text. The song itself begins and ends with a call to thanksgiving. A concluding petition and doxology are appended in 1 Chronicles 16:35-36. We thus have in 1 Chronicles 16:8-34 a carefully crafted composition which has been placed there to demonstrate the basic pattern of thanksgiving which David instituted for performance by the singers in Jerusalem.”

 

Successful Music Ministry

 

The music ministry at the Temple was successful for several reasons which are relevant for our church music today. First, the Levite musicians were mature and musically trained. We read in 1 Chronicles 15:22 that “Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at it” (NIV). He became director of music because he was an accomplished musician able to instruct others. The concept of musical skill is mentioned several times in the Bible (1 Sam 16:18; 1 Chron 25:7; 2 Chron 34:12; Ps 137:5). Paul also alludes to it when he says: “I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind” (1 Cor 14:15; NIV).

 

The choir consisted of a minimum of twelve adult male singers who served between the ages of thirty and fifty (1 Chron 23:3-5).  Rabbinical sources report that the musical training of a Levitical singer took at least five years of intensive preparation.  The biblical principle is that music leaders must be mature with an understanding of music, especially today as we live in a highly educated society.

 

Second, the music ministry at the Temple was successful because its musicians were prepared spiritually. They were set aside and ordained for their ministry like the rest of the priests. Speaking to the leaders of the Levites musicians, David said: “Sanctify yourselves, you and your brethren . . . So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves” (1 Chron 15:12, 14). The Levites musicians were given a sacred trust to minister continually before the Lord (1 Chron 16:37).

 

Third, the Levite musicians were full-time workers. 1 Chronicles 9:33 states: “Now these are the singers, the heads of father’s houses of Levites, dwelling in the chambers of the temple free from other service, for they were on duty day and night.” Apparently the Levites’ ministry of music entailed considerable preparation, because we read that “David left Asaph and his brethren there before the ark of the covenant of the Lord to minister continually before the ark as each day required” (1 Chron 16:37). The biblical lesson is that ministers of music must be willing to work diligently in preparing the music need for the worship service.

 

Lastly, the Levites musicians were not singing artist invited to entertain the people at the Temple. They were ministers of music. “These are the men whom David put in charge of the service of song in the house of the Lord, after the ark rested there. They ministered with song before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting” (1 Chron 6:31-32). Through their musical service the Levites “ministered” to the people. They are five other instances in the Old Testament were the Levites are said to minister to the people through their music (1 Chron 16:4, 37; 2 Chron 8:14; 23:6; 31:2).

 

The ministry of the Levites musicians is well defines in 1 Chronicles 16:4: “Moreover he appointed certain of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel.” The three verbs used in this text, “to invoke, to thank, and to praise,” suggest that the music ministry was a vital part of the worship experience of God’s people.

 

An indication of the importance of the music ministry can be seen in the fact that the Levites musicians were paid out of the same tithes given for the support of the priesthood (Num 18:24-26; Neh 12:44-47; 13:5, 10-12). The biblical principle is that the work of a minister of music should not be “a labor of love,” but a ministry supported by the tithe income of the church. It stands to reason that if a lay person volunteers to help in the music program of the church, such service does not need to be remunerated.

 

Conclusion

 

Summing up, the music ministry at the Temple was conducted by experienced and mature Levites who were trained musically, prepared spiritually, supported financially, and served pastorally. As Kenneth Osbeck observes: “To minister musically in the Old Testament was a great privilege and a most responsible service. This is still true of a church music-ministry today. In a very real sense we are New Testament Levites. Therefore these principles established by God for the Levitical priesthood should be noted as valid guidelines for music leaders in a New Testament church.”

 

 

The Levitical Choir and the Sacrificial Ritual

 

The book of Chronicles presents the musical ministry of the Levites as part of the presentation of the daily offering at the Temple. The ritual consisted of two parts. First came the blood ritual which was designed to atone for the sins of the people through the transference of the blood of the sacrifice to the Holy Place (2 Chron 29:21-24). This service created the ritual purity necessary for God’s acceptance of His people and the manifestation of His blessing upon the congregation. During this ritual no songs were sung.

 

Once the rite of atonement was completed, the burn offering was presented upon the altar. This ritual signalled God’s acceptance of His people and the manifestation of His presence. John Kleinig explains that “As the sacrifices were being burnt upon the altar, the trumpets, which announced the Lord’s presence, called for the prostration of the congregation in His presence, and the song of the Lord was sung by the musicians [2 Chron 29:25-30]. . .  Thus the choral service came after the rite of atonement had been completed. It did not attempt to secure a favorable response from the Lord but presupposed such a response as something already given. The musicians proclaimed the Lord’s name during the presentation of the sacrifices, so that he would come to His people and bless them, as He had promised in Exodus 20:24 and demonstrated in 2 Chronicles 7:1-3.”

 

The function of the music during the sacrificial ritual was not to overshadow or replace the sacrifice itself, but to enlist the involvement of the congregation at certain designated moments during the service. In other words, the Israelites did not go to the Temple to hear the Levite bands performing in sacred concert. Instead, they went to the Temple to witness and experience God’s atonement for their sins. The music that accompanied the atoning sacrifice invited them to accept and celebrate God’s gracious provision of salvation.

 

At a time when many Christians choose their churches in accordance with the musical style of worship, we need to remember that in the Bible the music was never an end to itself. In the Temple the music served enhanced the sacrificial service by enlisting the participation of the congregation at certain specific moments. In the synagogue and the early church, music reinforced the teaching and proclamation of the Word of God. This means that to be true to the biblical witness, our church music must support the teaching and preaching of God’s Word.

 

The Musical Instruments of the Temple

 

David instituted not only the times, place, and words for the performance of the Levitical choir, but he also “made” the musical instruments to be used for their ministry (1 Chron 23:5; 2 Chron 7:6). This is why they are called “the instruments of David” (2 Chron 29:26-27).

 

To the trumpets which the Lord had ordained through Moses, David added the cymbals, lyres, and harp (1 Chron 15:16; 16:5-6). The importance of this combination as divinely ordained, is indicated by the fact it was respected for many centuries until the destruction of the Temple. For example, in 715 B. C., king Hezekiah “stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, harps, and lyres, according to commandment of David and of Gad the king’s seer and of Nathan the prophet; for the commandment was from the Lord through his prophets” (2 Chron 29:25).

 

The trumpets were played by the priests and their number ranged from two in the daily worship (1 Chron 16:6; Num 10:2), to seven or more on special occasions (1 Chron 15:24; Neh 12:33-35; 2 Chron 5:12). “In worship at the Temple the trumpets gave the signal for the prostration of the congregation during the presentation of the burn offering and the performance of the choral service (2 Chron 29:27-28). . . . While the Levitical musicians faced the altar, the trumpeters stood facing them in front of the altar (2 Chron 5:12; 7:6).” This arrangement highlighted the responsibility of the trumpeters to give the signal for the congregation to prostrate and for the choir to sing.

 

The cymbals consisted of two metal plates with reflexed rims about 10-15 inches wide. When struck together vertically, they produced a ringing, tinkling sound. Some appeal to the use of cymbals to argue that Temple music had a rhythmic beat like rock music today, consequently the Bible does not forbid percussion instruments and rock music in the church today. Such an argument ignores, as Kleinig explains, that “the cymbals were not used by the precantor to conduct the singing by beating out the rhythm of the song, but rather to announce the beginning of the song or a stanza in the song. Since they were used to introduce the song, they were wielded by the head of choir on ordinary occasions (1 Chron 16:5) or by the three heads of the guilds on extraordinary occasions (1 Chron 15:19). . . . Since the trumpets and the cymbals were played together to announce the beginning of the song, the players of both are called the ‘sounders’ in 1 Chronicles 16:42).”

 

In his book Jewish Music in its Historical Development, A. Z. Idelsohn notes that in the worship of the Temple only one pair of cymbals were used and that by the leader himself. “The percussive instruments were reduced to one cymbals, which was not employed in the music proper, but merely to mark pauses and intermissions.” The term “Selah” which occurs in some Psalms to mark the end of a stanza, may indicate the place where the cymbals were struck.

 

The third group of musical instruments were two string instruments, the lyres and the harps, which were called “the instruments of song” (2 Chron 5:13) or “the instruments of God’s song” (1 Chron 16:42). As indicated by their descriptive name, their function was to accompany the songs of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord (1 Chron 23:5; 2 Chron 5:13). The musicians who played the harps and the lyres would themselves sing the song to their own accompaniment (1 Chron 9:33; 15:16, 19, 27; 2 Chron 5:12-13; 20:21).

 

In his book The Music of the Bible in Christian Perspective, Garen Wolf explains that “String instruments were used extensively to accompany singing since they would not cover up the voice or the ‘Word of Jehovah’ which was being sung.” Great care was taken to ensure that the vocal praise of the Levitical choir would not be overshadowed by the sound of the instruments.

 

Restriction on Musical Instruments

 

Some scholars argue that instruments like drums, timbrel (which was a tambourine), flutes, and dulcimers were kept out of the Temple because they were associated with pagan worship and culture, or because they were customarily played by women for entertainment. This could well be the case, but it only goes to show that there was a distinction between the sacred music played inside the Temple, and the secular music played outside.

 

God limited the musical instruments which were appropriate for worship, prohibiting a number of instruments which were allowed outside the Temple for national festivities and social pleasure. A restriction was placed on the musical instruments and art expression to be used in the House of God. The reason is not that certain percussion instruments were evil per se. The sounds produced by any musical instrument are neutral like the letter of the alphabet. Rather, the reason is that these instruments were commonly used to produce entertainment type of music which was inappropriate for worship in God’s House. By prohibiting instruments and music styles, like dancing, associated with secular entertainment, the Lord taught His people the sacred nature of the worship at His Holy Temple.

 

The restriction on the use of instruments was meant to be a binding rule for future generations because when King Hezekiah revived the Temple worship in 715 B. C., he meticulously followed the instructions given by David. We read that the king “stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, harps, and lyres, according to the commandment of David . . . for the commandment was from the Lord through his prophets” (2 Chron 29:25).

 

Two and a half centuries later when the Temple was rebuilt under Ezra and Nehemiah, the same restrictions were applied again. No percussion instruments were allowed to accompany the Levitical choir or to play as an orchestra at the Temple (Ezra 3:10; Neh 12:27, 36). This confirms that the rule was clear and binding over many centuries. The singing and the instrumental music of the Temple was to be different from the ones used in the social life of the people.

 

Lessons from the Temple Music

 

What lessons can we learn from the music of the Temple? A first lesson is taught us by the absence of percussion musical instruments and of dancing bands in the music of the Temple. This fact indicates, as noted earlier, that a distinction must be made between the secular music used for social entertainment and the sacred music performed for the worship service in God’s House.

 

There were no “Jewish Rock Bands” at the Temple to entertain the people with loud rhythmic music, because the Temple was a place of worship and not of entertainment. Percussion instruments like drums, tambourines, timbrels or tabrets, which were commonly used for making entertainment music, were absent in the Temple music. Only the cymbals were used, but in a limited way. They marked the end of a stanza and the cessation of the singing.

 

The lesson for us today is evident. Church music should be different from secular music, because the church, like the ancient Temple, is God’s House in which we gather to worship the Lord, and not to be entertained. Percussion instruments which stimulate people physically through a loud and relentless beat, are inappropriate for church music today as they were for the Temple music of ancient Israel.

 

A second lesson from the Temple music is that the musical instruments used to accompany the choir or the singing of the congregation, should not cover up the voice. Like the string instruments used in the Temple, musical instruments used in the church today should support the singing. Musical instruments should serve as a hand-maiden to the Word of God which is sung and proclaimed. This means, for example, that an organist should not pull out all the stops and cause the organ music to drown the voice of the congregation.

 

On numerous occasions I have been in churches equipped with powerful electronic organs that are played so loud that the voice of the congregation cannot not be heard. In such cases the organist needs to learn the biblical principle that the function of the organ music is to support the singing of the congregation, and not to cover it up. This principle applies not only to the organ, but to any other instrument or orchestra that accompanies a choir or a singing congregation.

 

Some would argue that if we are to follow the example of the Temple, then we would need to eliminate in the church such instruments like the piano, the organ, because they are not string instruments. The problem with such an argument is the failure to distinguish between a biblical principle and its cultural application.

 

The biblical principle is that instrumental music that accompanies the singing, should aid the vocal response to God and not drown it. In Bible times this was best accomplished by the use of string instruments. Note that trumpets and cymbals were used in the Temple, but not to accompany the Levitical choir. There was nothing wrong with these instruments. They simply were not seen as suitable to accompany the singing, presumably because they do not blend well with the human voice, besides supplanting it.

 

Another point to note is that instruments like the organ or the piano were unknown in Bible times. Were we to exclude from our life today all what the Bible does not explicitly mention, then we should not eat pizza, apple pie, or ice cream, since they are not mentioned in the Bible.

 

The important biblical principle to remember is that in God’s House, music, both instrumental and vocal, must respect and reflect the sacredness of the place of worship. When instruments are used to accompany the singing, they should support the human voice, without supplanting it.

 

The Music Ministry in the Synagogue

 

The function of music in the synagogue differed from that of the Temple, primarily because the two institutions had different purposes. The Temple was primarily the place where the sacrifices were offered on behalf of the whole nation and of individual believers. The synagogue, on the other hand, emerged most likely during the Babylonian exile as the place where prayers were offered and the Scripture was read and taught. While there was only one Temple for the whole nation, according to the Talmud there were 394 synagogues in Jerusalem alone in Jesus’ time.

 

The Difference Between the Temple and Synagogue

 

The difference in function between the Temple and the synagogue is reflected in the different role that music played in these two institutions. While the music of the Temple was predominantly vocal, with string instruments aiding the singing, the music of the synagogue was exclusively vocal, without any instrument. The only exception was the shofar–the ram-horn that served as a signal instrument.

 

In the Temple the ministry of music was in the hands of professional musicians. Their choral music was an accessory to the sacrificial ritual. We might say that the music was “sacrifice-centered.” The participation of the congregation was limited to affirmative responses as “Amen,” or “Hallelujah.” By contrast, in the synagogue all the service, including the music, was in the hands of lay persons and their music was, as Curt Sachs call it, “logenic,”  that is, “Word-centered.”

 

There is little evidence to suggest that musical instruments were ever used in the synagogue service. We know for sure that after the A. D. 70 destruction of the Temple, the only instrument used in the synagogue service was the shofar. The reason, as Eric Werner explains, was “partly because of the hostility of the Pharisees to instrumental music, and partly because of the deep mourning for the Temple and the land, and the disappearance of the Levitical functions, including the provision of music for the sanctuary. . . . The exclusion of instruments from Jewish worship remained in force generally for many centuries; only at the loss of political power by the rabbis in the nineteenth century Emancipation, did instrumental music once again appear in the (liberal) synagogue, and the exclusion still remains in force where, as in modern Israel, orthodox rabbis retain some power.”

 

Blurring of Music and Speech

 

The distinction between music and public speech was blurred in the synagogue, because the word-centered worship migrated back and forth between speech and song. The musical ambiguity of the synagogue service was caused by the fact that much of the service consisted of prayers and the public reading of Scripture, which often took the form of chanting, known as “cantillation.”

 

“The concept that the entire Old Testament was originally intended to be chanted (sung) is a new concept to church musicians and pastors, but it is a long established fact among scholars of Bible music. The reason that it is such a well-kept secret is that we tend to ignore what we do not understand.”

 

“The intonations or cantillations, mentioned as far back as the first century, were cast into a system of modes or formulae, one for each of the books of the Bible intended to be publicly read. . . . Little is known about when the transition from declamatory to musical reading was first evidenced, except that the Psalms were sung in temple worship. Idelsohon and Werner both believe that the chanting of Scripture, in one form or another, went back perhaps as far back as Ezra (fifth century B. C.), and that its eventual complexity and organization was the result of hundreds of years of crystallization.”

 

One of the surprising discoveries of recent years is that the biblical accents of the Masoretic Hebrew Text are musical notations. This made it possible for Suzanne Haik-Vantoura to decipher the ancient music of the Bible, which was found to consists of a seven note diatonic scale, strikingly similar to our modern diatonic scale.

 

Relevance of Synagogue Music for Today

 

What lessons can we learn from the ministry of music at the synagogue? Are we required to chant the Scripture today as the Jews have historically done in the synagogue? No, there is nothing in the Bible that command us to sing the Scriptures. This does not exclude the possibility of learning the Scripture by means of “Scripture-song” and “Psalm-singing.” In fact, considerable efforts have been done in recent times to set to music numerous Psalms and Bible passages.

 

The most striking lesson that we can learn from the music of the synagogue is that church music should be “Word-centered.” We have seen that the ministry of music at the synagogue was largely a ministry of the Word. The Jews came together to the synagogue in a rather informal setting to pray, read and sing the Scripture. For them music was not an end to itself, but a means to praise the Lord by chanting His Word and thus learning His revealed will.

 

At a time when much of Contemporary Music is deficient in Scriptural content, and Christian singing artists often draw the attention of the people to their singing abilities, rather than to the teachings of God’s Word, it is good to remember that the music of the synagogue, which Jesus Himself sang, was “Word-centered”–it was designed to teach and proclaim the great truths of Scripture.

 

The question we need to ask is: Does our church music help us to hear the Word of God clearly? Remember that “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Rom 10:17; NIV). Church music should help us hear the Word of God though its sound, the character of the composition, and its lyrics.

 

The Music Ministry in the New Testament

 

To speak about a music ministry in the New Testament may seem completely out of place. First, because the New Testament is silent about any “musical” office in the church. Second, because outside the book of Revelation, in which music is part of a rich eschatological drama, there are only a dozen of passage that refer to music.

 

None of the music passages, however, gives us a clear picture of the role that music played in church services during New Testament times. This is not surprising, because New Testament believers did not see their worship gatherings as being much different from those of the synagogue. Both were conducted in an informal setting, with lay people leading out in the prayer, reading, singing and exhortation. This means that the New Testament references to worship gatherings, reflect to a large extent the worship service of the synagogue, as scholarly studies have established. The fundamental difference between the two was the messianic proclamation, which was present in the Christian worship but absent in that of the synagogue.

 

Of the twelve references to music in the New Testament, five of them refer to it metaphorically (Matt 6:2; 11:17; Luke 7:32; 1 Cor 13:1; 14:7-8) and consequently they are not relevant to our study. The remaining seven shed important light, especially when they are seen within the broader context of the synagogue worship, which was known and practiced by the Christians.

 

Four references to music are found in the Gospels. Two mention instrumental music and dancing in conjunction with the mourning for the death of a girl (Matt 9:23) and the celebration upon the return of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:25). Two passages are parallel and mention Christ singing a hymn with His disciples at the conclusion of the Last Supper (Matt 26:30; Mark 14:26). Most likely this was the second portion of the Jewish Hallel sang at the completion of the Passover meal. It consisted of Psalms 113 to 118.

 

One text refers to Paul and Silas singing while in jail (Acts 16:25). We have no way to know whether they sang psalms or newly composed Christian hymns. The above examples tell us that music accompanied various activities in the social and religious life of the people, but they do not inform us about the role of music in the church.

 

Instructions Regarding Music

 

Few instructions regarding church music are found in the Epistles. James states that if a person is cheerful “Let him sing praise” (James 5:13). The implication is that singing should springs from a cheerful heart. Presumably the singing of praises occurred not only privately at home, but also publicly in the church. Other texts suggest that the singing of hymns of praise was a feature of the church service.

 

More specific information comes to us from Paul who provides us with some insights into the role of music in the New Testament worship services. In the context of his admonitions regarding ecstatic manifestations at the Corinthian church, Paul calls for a balance in music making by urging that singing be done with the mind as well as the spirit: “I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also” (1 Cor 14:15). Apparently some sung ecstatically without engaging their mind. Senseless singing is like senseless speech. Both dishonor God, because, as Paul says: “God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Cor 14:33).

 

Paul’s admonition to sing with the mind or with understanding, is relevant for us today, when the singing done in some charismatic churches consists of emotional outburst of ecstatic shouting which no one can understand. Our singing must be with understanding because God expects from His intelligent creatures “a rational worship” (Rom 12:2–logike, that is, “logical” in the Greek).

 

The purpose of singing should be for spiritual edification and not for physical stimulation. Paul says: “When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification” (1 Cor 14:26). This text suggests that the church service was rather informal like that of the synagogue. Each one contributed something to the worship experience.

 

Some members contributed a hymn to the service. Most likely a hymn was a newly composed song of praise directed to Christ. Bible scholars have identified several Christ-centered hymns in the New Testament. The important point to observe here is that the singing, like all the parts of the church service, was to edify the congregation. The biblical principle then is that church music should contribute to the spiritual edification of the believers.

 

Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

 

The two remaining Pauline texts (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16) are the most informative about music in the New Testament. Paul encourages the Ephesians to “be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart” (Eph 5:18-19). On a similar vein the apostle admonishes the Colossians saying: “Let the word of God dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col 3:16).

 

Both passages provide the earliest indication of how the apostolic church differentiated between the various tunes of songs: “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” It is hard to draw hard-and-fast distinctions between these terms. Most scholars agree that the three terms loosely refer to the various forms of musical compositions used in the worship service.

 

The Psalms most likely are those of the Old Testament, though there could have been some Christian additions. The Hymns would be newly composed songs of praise directed to Christ. There is some evidence for specimen of these Christ-centered hymns in the New Testament itself (Eph 5:14; 1 Tim 3:16; Phil 2:6-11; Col 1:15-20; Heb 1:3). The Spiritual songs probably refers to spontaneous praise songs which the inspiring Spirit placed on the lips of the enraptured worshipper (1 Cor 14:15).

 

The phrase “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” suggests that the singing was interactive. Presumably some of the singing was responsorial, with the congregation responding to the song leader. The singing was to be done with “thankfulness” and “with all your heart.” Through their singing Christians expressed their wholehearted gratitude “to the Lord,” for His marvelous provision of salvation.

 

Christ-Centered Hymns

 

While in the synagogue the singing was “word-centered,” that is, designed to praise God by chanting His Word, in the New Testament church the singing was “Christ-centered,” that is, designed to extol Christ’s redemptive accomplishments.

 

A good example of a “Christ-centered” hymn is found in 1 Timothy 3:16, which consists of an introductory sentence (“Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion”), which is followed by six lines:

 

“He was manifested in the flesh,

Vindicated in the Spirit

Seen by angels,

Preached among the nations,

Believed in the world,

Taken up in glory.”

 

This hymn embodies in a cryptic way the fundamental truths of the Gospel message. As Ralph Martin explains, “By a series of antithetical couplets in which a second line complements the thought of the first line, the Gospel message . . . is set forth. It treats of the two world orders, the divine and human; and shows how Christ has brought together the two spheres by His coming from the glory of the Father’s presence into this world (‘revealed in the flesh’: cf. John 1:14; Rom 8:3) and by His lifting up of humanity back again into the divine realm. Thus heaven and earth are joined, and God and man reconciled.”

 

The celebration of Christ’s redemption is the basic theme of other New Testament hymns (Phil 2:6-8; Col 1:15-20; Heb 1:3), especially in the book of Revelation. We noted in the previous chapter that the angelic choir around God’s Throne, sings a new song saying: “Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God, from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and has made them a kingdom of priests to our God” (Rev 5:9). The “Christ-centered” singing done by the church on earth, reflects the “Lamb-centered” singing done by the living creatures in heaven.

 

A Pagan Witness

 

One of the most telling evidence of the “Christ-centered” singing by the early church, is found in the private correspondence between the Roman Governor Pliny and the Emperor Trajan. In a letter dated  in A. D. 112, Pliny reported to the emperor that he tortured some young Christian deaconesses in order to find out what possible crimes were committed by Christians in their religious gatherings.

 

To his surprise Pliny found that “The sum total of their guilt or error amounted to no more than this. They had met regularly before dawn on a fixed day to chant verses alternately among themselves in honor of Christ as if to a god, and also to bind themselves by oath, not for criminal purpose, but to abstain from theft, robbery and adultery, to commit no breach of trust and not to deny a deposit when called upon to restore it.”

 

What an inspiring pagan testimony about the early Christian worship? Christians became known for singing to “Christ as if to a god,” and for binding themselves to follow His example in their life-style of purity and honesty. It is evident that the main theme of their songs was Christ. They witnessed for the Lord by singing about Him and living godly lives in His honor.

 

The witness of the New Testament singing is relevant for us today. Is our singing today “Christ-centered” like that of the apostolic church? Does our church music praises the Savior for His past, present, and future redemptive accomplishments? Does our church music gives us a greater appreciation for Christ’s creative and redemptive love?

 

If you are tempted to listen to rock music, ask yourself: Do the beat, rhythm, and lyric of this music, help me to appreciate the purity, majesty, and holiness of Christ? Does it magnify His character? Does it have appropriate words, a pure tone, and a lovely melody? Music about Christ should be like Christ, reflecting the purity and loveliness of His character.

 

No Instrumental Music in the Early Church

 

None of the New Testament references to music examined above, make any allusion to musical instruments used by New Testament Christians to accompany the singing. The reason seems to be that Christians followed the tradition of the synagogue in prohibiting the use of musical instruments in their church services because of their pagan association.

 

Undoubtedly Paul understood that music could be an effective resource to help the church fulfill the overwhelming tasks of evangelizing the Gentiles. He knew what would work in attracting people. He says: “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom” (1 Cor 1:22). But he chose not to use Gentile or Jewish idioms to proclaim the Gospel. Why? Because he wanted to reach people, not by giving them what they wanted, but by proclaiming to them what they needed. “But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:23-24).

 

The outright condemnation of musical instruments, sometimes even of the harp and the lyre, is present in the writings of numerous early Christian authors. In his dissertation on Musical Aspects of the New Testament, William Smith concludes his survey of the critical attitude of church leaders toward the use of musical instruments, by listing several reasons. The first three reasons given are:

 

“(a) Most important of all, at least ostensibly, seems to be the association of instruments with the worship of heathen cults.

 

(b) The employment of instruments at secular excesses as the theater and the circus.

 

(c) The sensuality of instrumental music and its aesthetic effects.”

 

Contrary to the current philosophy that rock music can be adopted and adapted to reach the secular society, the early Christians distanced themselves, not only from secular songs, but also from the musical instruments used for secular entertainment and pagan worship. In his book The Sacred Bridge, Eric Werner concludes his study of music in the early church saying: “Up to the third century, the Christian sources reflect almost the same attitude toward Hellenistic music as contemporary Judaism. The very same distrust of instrumental accompaniment in religious ceremonies, the same horror of flute, tympanon, [drum], and cymbal, the accessories of the orgiastic mysteries are here in evidence.”

 

We cannot approve the early Christians’ radical rejection of all musical instruments for church service, simply because they were used by the pagans in their social and religious life. Yet we must commend them for recognizing the danger of bringing into the church the music and instruments which were associated with a pagan life-style.

 

The early church understood the fundamental truth that adopting pagan music, and the instruments used to produce it, could eventually corrupt the Christian message, identity, and witness, besides tempting people to fall back into their pagan lifestyle. Eventually this is what happened. Beginning from the fourth century when Christianity became the religion of the empire, the church tried to reach the pagans by adopting some of their practices, including their music. The result has been the gradual secularization of Christianity, a process that is still continuing today. The lesson of history is clear. To evangelize people with their secular idioms, ultimately results in the secularization of the church itself.

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS OF SERVICES AND PRODUCTS

 

UPCOMING SEMINARS FOR THE MONTH OF JULY

 

           As a service to our subscribers, I am listing the seminars scheduled for the month of July 2008.  We wish to extend a warm welcome to those of you who live close to the location of our seminars. Our new seminars with Words and Songs will touch your heart and expand your mind.

 

JULY 11-12 PORTUGUESE CAMPMEETING OF THE SOUTH ENGLAND CONFERENCE

Location: Atlantic Union College, South Lancaster, MA.

My partner, Soprano Cristina Piccardi will sing many times throughout the campmeeting

For directions and information call Pastor Neor Mucciuti at (978) 368-8205.

 

JULY 18-19: ANN ARBOR MICHIGAN SDA CHURCH

Location: 2796 Packard Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

For directions and information call Pastor Daniel Velex at (734) 461-6107

 

JULY 25-26:BALTIMORE, MIRACLE TEMPLE SDA CHURCH

Location: 100 S. Rock Glen Road, Baltimore, Mariland 21229.

For directions and information call Pastor Frederick Russell at (410) 368-9294 or (443) 257-2317.

 

 

FIRST TIME INCREDIBLE OFFER!!!

THE COMPLETE PACKAGE OF 14 DVD/CD ALBUMS FOR ONLY $150.00,  INSTEAD OF THE REGULAR ONLINE PRICE OF $1400.00.  

 

This offer may sound too good to be true. At this time we are offering together as a package all the 14 DVD/CD albums which contains 41 live, video lectures for only $150.00, instead of $1400.00.

 

This package contains 41 professionally recorded live, video lectures with all the lectures of Prof. Bacchiocchi, Prof. Jon Paulien, Prof. Roy Gane, Prof. Graeme Bradford, and Soprano Cristina Piccardi.

 

Until now these recordings were sold separately, costing considerably more.  But to make it possible for many to benefit from all these timely messages, we offer them together as a package for only $150.00, instead of the regular price of $1400.00. 

 

You can view the picture of all the 14 ALBUMS and read a detailed description of them, just by clicking at this link:http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=26&products_id=101

 

The Package Includes the Following 14 Albums:

 

1)  PROF. BACCHIOCCHI AND CRISTINA PICCARDI’S DVD Album with Sabbath Seminar with Words and Songs recorded at the Loma Linda SDA church. The album contains three DVD disks with 6 hours of lectures and sacred songs.

 

2) PROF. BACCHIOCCHI’S newly recorded DVD ALBUM called ABUNDANT LIFE SEMINAR.  The album contains 2 video powerpoint lectures: The Christian and Alcoholic Beverages and How to Build a Happy and Lasting Marriage. These two lectures summarize the highlights of Bacchiocchi’s two books Wine in the Bible and The Marriage Covenant. Two separate files with 225 powerpoint slides are included.

 

3) PROF. BACCHIOCCHI’S DVD ALBUM containing 10 video powerpoint lectures on the SABBATH/ADVENT SEMINAR.  Some of the lectures show the documents Prof. Bacchiocchi found in Vatican libraries on the role of the papacy in changing the Sabbath to Sunday. This album contains the popular powerpoint SABBATH/ADVENT seminars Prof. Bacchiocchi presents in many countries.

 

3) PROF. BACCHIOCCHI’S DVD ALBUM on CRACKING THE DA VINCI CODE. The album contains a two hours video lecture, professionally taped with a virtual studio as a background. A separate file with 200 powerpoint slides is included. The two video lectures reveal the prophetic significance of Dan Brown’s neo-pagan false worship promoted through his book and film. The two hours video lectures will  help you appreciate the role that The Da Vinci Code plays in the prophetic endtime battle between true and false worship.

 

4) PROF. BACCHIOCCHI’S DVD ALBUM on THE MARK AND NUMBER OF THE BEAST. The album contains two hours professionally recorded video lecture and a separate powerpoint file with the 200 slides used for the lecture. The project was commissioned  by Prof. Jon Paulien and Prof. Ranko Stefanovich, who are the foremost authorities on the book of Revelation. With the help of 200 beautiful slides the video lecture shows the origin and historical use of 666.  You will see stunning pictures of papal tiaras, including disputed one with the pope’s tittle Vicarius Filii Dei.

 

5) PROF. BACCHIOCCHI’S CD ALBUM with all his BOOKS AND POWERPOINT LECTURES. The album consists of two disks. The first disk has all his 20 books and over 200 articles. The second disk has the 2000 slides and script of 25 of Prof. Bacchiocchi’s popular PowerPoint presentations.

 

6) PROF. BACCHIOCCHI’S DVD ALBUM on THE PASSION OF CHRIST.  The album contains the 2 hours live interview conducted by 3ABN on Prof. Bacchiocchi’s book The Passion of Christ in Scripture and History. The live video interview show that that this movie is a strict Catholic film that in a subtle and deceptive way promotes fundamental Catholic heresies.

 

7) PROF. BACCHIOCCHI’S  MP3 AUDIO ALBUM which contains 2 disks with 22 AUDIO LECTURES on  on Marriage, Music, Temperance, Dress, Sabbath, Second Advent, State of the Dead, and others. You can enjoy these lectures while driving, working, or relaxing. Ideal for listening in your car while driving.

 

8) PROF. JON PAULIEN’S newly released DVD ALBUM video seminar on Simply Revelation.  The four live video lectures focus on the essential messages of Revelation and their relevance for today. This mini Revelation Seminar will offer you and your congregation fresh insights into the Book of Revelation. Currently, Prof. Paulien is preparaing a new Revelation Seminar at the requst of the General Conference

 

9) PROF. JON PAULIEN’S CD ALBUM with a dozen of his books, and all his articles. You will find in this collection a priceless resource to enrich your understanding and experience of biblical truths. Prof. Paulien examines fundamental biblical beliefs in a profound and yet popular way.  He is a recognized expert on the book of Revelation. Several of his books will help you to unlock the secrets of Revelation.

 

10) PROF. GRAEME BRADFORD’S DVD ALBUM with a two hours video lecture on Ellen White. He shares the highlights of his book More than a Prophet. The album contains also Prof. Bradford’s the publications and articles. A searchable data base enables you to access  Prof. Graeme Bradford’s published and unpublished writings, including his the latest book More than a Prophet.

 

11) CRISTINA PICCARDI’S CD ALBUM REJOICE IN THE LORD. The album consists of 11 sacred songs recorded with Marcelo Caceres, Professor of piano at Andrews University.  The CD Album includes Gospel songs like How Great Thou Art, He Shall Feed His Flock, Softly and Tenderly, The Holy City, etc. You can play this audio recording in your car CD player, or on any CD or DVD players you have in your home.

 

12) CRISTINA PICCARDI’S DVD ALBUM SING UNTO THE LORD. This DVD Album contains 12  sacred familiar songs that were recorded during a live sacred concert presented at Andrews University Pioneer Memorial Church. This is a video recording that you can enjoy in your living room and play in your church.

 

13) CRISTINA PICCARDI’S DVD ALBUM BY HIS GRACE.  This DVD album consists of 16 sacred songs recorded in Loma Linda with four high-definition cameras.  The songs cover the major themes of God’s creative and redemptive love. Her marvellous singing will touch your heart and inspire you to devote your life more fully to the Savior.

 

14) PROF. ROY GANE’S NEW DVD ALTAR CALL: SACRIFICE, SANCTUARY, AND SALVATION. The DVD contains four live video lectures on the relevance of the message of the sanctuary for today.You will learn how to get in touch with Jesus in the Heavenly Sanctuary where He is working to bring to completion His redemptive mission.  Prof. Gane is righly recognized an Adventist authority on the sanctuary which he currently teaches at Andrews University Theological Seminary.

 

FOUR DIFFERENT WAYS TO ORDER THE 14 ALBUMS PACAGE

 

You can order the complete package of 14 DVD/CD Albums, which contain 41 live video lectures and powerful soprano singing, for only $150.00,  instead of the regular online price of $1400.00, in four different ways:

 

(1)  ONLINE: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=26&products_id=101

 

(2)  PHONE:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

 

(3)  EMAIL:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date. For security reasons, you can email your credit card number in two separate messages.  In the first message you email me the first 8 digits and in the second message the last 8 digits, plus the expiration date.   Be sure to include your postal address.      

 

(4) REGULAR MAIL: By mailing a check for $150.00 to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990  Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 4990, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.

 

 

HOW TO CONTACT THE CENTER FOR CANCER CARE

IN GOSHEN, INDIANA THAT TREATED MY CANCER

 

Two days following my 69th birthday, I learned that I had advanced-stage colon cancer requiring immediate surgery. Later I was told that the cancer had spread to the liver, infesting 90% of the organ and making its prognosis bleak. Several oncologists that I consulted, confirmed that I had Stage 4 terminal liver cancer, with only a few months to live. All what they could do was to prolong my life with chemotherapy for a few months or a year at best. No Cancer Center, including Loma Linda Cancer Center, had a clinical trial program for liver cancer. The impression I received is that nothing could be done to heal my cancer: I was doomed to die in a few months, at most a year.

 

Driven by my faith in God and optimistic attitude, I sought another opinion at the Center for Cancer Care in Goshen, Indiana, which is located only one hour away from Andrews University, where I live. Following a two-hour consultation with Dr. Seza Gulec (see the picture at my website by clicking http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/goshen), a pioneer in the field of nuclear oncology, I learned that my cancer was terminal but treatable with a combined strategy of chemotherapy and microsphere embolization - a treatment unavailable at most cancer centers. Within one month, the innovative treatment reduced the presence of liver cancer by almost 80% and decreased total tumor volume from 2435cc to 680cc. Within two months, two more treatments reduced my cancer by 95%.

 

Today I feel like a new man with a new lease on life. I feel like an old car with a decent looking body and a brand new motor. I have more energy than I have had earlier in my life. I can only thank God for His providential leading to the right place and for using the latest research to restore my health.

 

Click here to see the pictures of the various stages of my cancer: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/goshen

 

The Goshen Center for Cancer Care is one of the few treatment facilities in the world to offer this breakthrough technology primarily due to the commitment of Dr. Gulec. A world-renowned physician, Dr. Gulec has dedicated years to research and develop the combination therapy, which greatly increases survival rates in those with advanced types of cancer. He has also authored landmark publications in lymphatic mapping, sentinel node biopsy, radioguided surgery and radionuclide therapy. Dr. Gulec currently leads the endocrine surgery, hepatic oncology, molecular imaging and positron emission tomography programs at the Goshen Center for Cancer Care.  To learn more about Dr. Seza Gulec click:  http://www.cancermidwest.com/main.asp?id=217

 

Truly I can say that I believe that the Lord providentially placed me in contact with Dr. Gulec, who has done for me what appeared to be impossible.  The Lord has used Dr. Gulec to give me a new lease on life. He is so proud of my recovery that he uses me as a show case at international nuclear oncological conferences. Now I feel like a new man energized to serve the Lord in a greater way in the sunset years of my life.  Somehow I feel that I have more energy now than I had at 25 years of age.

 

You can contact the CENTER FOR CANCER CARE in Goshen, Indiana in the following ways:

 

1) PHONE: (888) 491-4673

 

2) EMAIL: sgulec@goshenhealth.com

 

3) WEBSITES: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/goshen  or  http://www.cancermidwest.com/

 

INCREDIBLE NEW OFFERS ON HITACHI PROJECTORS

 

HITACHI has released the new CP-X401 3000 lumens projector, which  has an impressive high resolution, low fan noise, and a wealth of connectivity options. The most impressive feature of this projector is the incredible price of only $1395.00 to help especially our churches and schools in developing countries. The price includes a carrying case, a remote, DVD and VIDEO cables, and a three years replacement warranty.

 

To receive detail information about this projector as well as on other models offered to us by HITACHI at a substantially discounted price, feel free to call us at (269) 471-2915.

 

 

THE SMALLEST & MOST POWERFUL REMOTE PRESENTER

 

If you are looking for an outstanding REMOTE for your PowerPoint presentations, you will be pleased to know HONEYWELL has come out with the smallest and most powerful remote in the market.

 

The size of the transmitter is smaller than a credit card. You can stick it inside the palm of your hand and nobody can see it. I tested the remote in an open environment, and the radio signal can go up to 400 feet of distance. IT IS INCREDIBLE! The transmitter has three button: forward, backward, and laser.

 

You can order online the new POWERPOINT  PRESENTER simply by clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=27&products_id=67

 

If you have a problem ordering online, simply call us at (269) 471-2915.  We will take your order by phone. You can also email us your order at <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>, giving us your address, credit card number, and expiration date.

 

DOES YOUR CHURCH OR SCHOOL NEED A SCREEN?

 

If your church/school is looking for a screen, the DA-LITE SCREEN COMPANY, the largest manufacture of screens in the world, has agreed to offer their line of screens to our Adventist churches and schools at about 30% discount.

 

The procedure is very simple. Visit the DA-LITE SCREEN COMPANY website at http://www.da-lite.com. You will see hundreds of models of screens with their respective prices. Once you find the screen that best suits your church, give us the model number by phone (269) 471-2915 or email your request <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com> We will forward your order immediately to DA-LITE that will ship the screen directly to your address. You will receive the screen at about 30% discount.

 

BED & BREAKFAST FACILITIES IN LONDON, ENGLAND

 

            If your travel plans call for a stop in London, you will be pleased to learn about a most gracious Adventist couple that offer the best accommodation and breakfast I have ever enjoyed. It has become my home away from home when in London.  See details at: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/Promotions/BED&BREAKFAST.htm   Their new home phone numbers are: 020 8429-3140 or 020 8819-5708