Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pagan Christianity 8: Ministers of Music

It's just going to be two posts on Viola today. This is the second.

The previous reviews of Pagan Christianity were:

1. Viola's Preface
2. Barna's Introduction
3. The Church Building
4. The Order of Worship
5. The Sermon
6. The Pastor
7. Sunday Go to Meeting Clothes

Now for another short one, chapter 8, "Ministers of Music: Clergy Set to Music."

Same pattern:

1) The New Testament church had open participatory music.

2) Everyone who doesn't have open participatory music traces their worship forms back to something pagan.

3) We should have open participatory music.

4) Do you really mean we cannot have set music and worship leaders? Normally he says, "Not at all." But this time he really does stick mostly to his guns. Choirs and worship teams contradict Scripture (168). "If one has never seena group of Christians choosing and leading their own songs spontaneously under Christ's headship, it is difficult to grasp what this would look like."

Well, actually, coming from fairly old fashioned revivalist roots, I have experienced spontaneous song leading from the congregation during services. What often happens is that the same basic people are the ones that have a tendency to sing out a song and it is sometimes a predictable song.

"We are not part of the Levitical priesthood; we are priests after the order of Melchizedek" (169). Well, not really. That would be Jesus alone, "without father, without mother, without genealogy, neither having beginning of days nor end of life, he remains a priest forever" (Heb. 7:3).

Again, the question of history does not necessarily negate use today. Mind you, I don't enjoy worship bands or special songs. It does very often seem very shallow to me. But I make myself affirm those who I think are in the majority who I think do worship God through these forms. In my opinion, there is no single God ordained way to do music or worship in terms of forms.

When Viola says, "In the early church, worship and singing were in the hands of all of God's people" (158), I suppose he's right. But then again, we don't really have enough evidence to say. Awefully flimsy basis to stake so much on. "Every one of you hath a psalm" (1 Cor. 14:26). A description, not a prescription--and that of a church whose problematic worship Paul is trying to correct!

WOW! 1 Corinthians validates the kind of worship Viola wants to have. Go for it. But it does not invalidate everyone else's worship...

3 comments:

Angie Van De Merwe said...

What about those (Church of Christ, Quakers) that don't believe in musical instruments at all? What a pale worship form, at least to me...

I'm afraid that "spirit" is useful language for what one wants to 'sanctify". Why not just speak of man's "spirit", or is man's spirit something that is "not holy"?

Bill said...

Go for it. But it does not invalidate everyone else's worship...

Amen. :)

What often happens is that the same basic people are the ones that have a tendency to sing out a song and it is sometimes a predictable song.

We experienced some of this in my house church experience, but not too much, honestly. I think the difference is having someone come visit from time to time who coaches the over- and under- functioners in how to share functioning. Of course, that gets back to my view of the fivefold ministry working themselves out of a job...

Keith Drury said...

Viola-Barna come across in your writing as narrow-minded methodological bigots. Oh well, perhaps we need more worship bigots--but as for me, I've seen enough.