The Sabbath and Worship Music
Piccardi bringing to life well-known sacred songs with her powerful and passionate soprano voice. While listening to Cristina this past week, first during the taping on Wednesday evening and then during the formal Sa- cred Concert on Saturday afternoon, I could not help but think about the controversy over music that is causing considerable conflicts and divisions in Adventist churches worldwide.
The prevailing perception seems to be that traditional hymns are dead, because they no longer appeal to the new generation. I wish that those who hold such misconception could see the faces of the young and old riveted on Cristina while she sings with passion and power traditional and classic sacred songs. Many traditional sacred songs have great melo- dies, harmonies, and lyrics that can touch the heart of people of any age. The problem is not the songs that are too old, but that the singing that is lifeless, more suitable for a funerary service than for the celebration of God’s creative and redemptive love.
Churches are often divided over the use of contemporary versus traditional music. But the criterion is not whether a song is old or con- temporary but whether its music, words, and manner of singing, con- form to the biblical principle of worship music. Contrary to prevailing misconceptions, the Bible clearly differentiates between the music used for social entertainment and the music worthy of the worship of God. This vital distinction is brought out in Chapter 7, “Biblical Principles of Music,” of our symposium The Christian and Rock Music: A Study of Biblical Principles of Music, which is the longest and, most likely, the most important chapter of this book.
This essay is largely excerpted from chapters 7 of The Christian and Rock Music: A Study of Biblical Principles of Music. The chapter is entitled “Biblical Principles of Music.” The book is the largest (384 pages) and most expensive book that I have ever published, because I had to pay generous royalties to the six contributors. It is written in a popular style by seven scholars of six different nationalities. With the exception of myself, all the contributors are trained musicians with academic music degrees, and are passionately involved in enriching the worship experience of their congregations.
The book has been reprinted several times and has been well-received both inside and outside our Adventist church. Some college music teachers