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The Sabbath and Worship Music


For many people, nothing is sacred anymore. Marriage is viewed a civil contract that can be easily terminated through the legal process rather than a sacred covenant witnessed and guaranteed by God Himself. The church is treated as a social center for entertainment, rather than a sacred place for worship. The preaching draws its inspiration from social issues rather than the Sacred Word. By the same token, church music is often influenced by the secular rock beat, rather than by the sacred Scriptures.

Cultural Relativism. The adoption of modified versions of rock music for church worship is symptomatic of a larger problem, namely, the loss of the sense of the sacred in our society. The process of secularization, which has reached new heights in our time, has gradually blurred the distinction between sacred and secular, right and wrong, good and bad. “All values and value systems, regardless of their conflicting perspectives, are equally valid. Right and wrong are reduced to mere opinion, one is as good as the other. Truth is not fixed but changeable, relative to the whims which define it.”10

The cultural relativism of our time has influenced the church especially in the field of aesthetics, such as music, which has become but a matter of personal preference. “I like rock, you like classical—so what?” One is supposed to be as good as the other. For many, there is no longer a distinction between sacred and secular music. It is simply a matter of taste and culture.

The subjectivism in the field of aestetic stands in stark contrast to the objective, non-negotiable doctrinal beliefs which are passionately defended by evangelical Christians. Dale Jorgensen correctly observes that “The same preacher who believes that he is obligated to preach objective righteousness in morality, often implies that ‘anything goes’ in the music of the church. This is one area where naturalistic humanists find, perhaps with good reason, a wide crack in the Christian door.”11

The Sabbath challenges believers to close the door to the humanistic pressure of cultural relativism by reminding them that the distinction between the sacred and the secular extends to all the facets of Christian life, including church music and worship. Using secular music for the church service on the Sabbath is to treat the Sabbath as a secular day and the church as a secular place. Ultimately, no real worship is offered to God, because true worship entails recognizing the boundaries between what is sacred for God’s use and what is secular for our personal use.

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