THE PHILOSOPHY AND PURPOSE OF MUSIC IN WORSHIP
Music has a significant role and place in our worship of God. God created music in order to glorify Himself (Rom 11:36). Music existed before creation (Job 38:7) and will exist into eternity future as a means of worshiping God (Rev 5:9; 15:3).
God authorized instruments in worship (Ps 150), also God prescribed choirs/vocalists separate from the congregation for the nation of Israel’s worship (1 Chron 15; 2 Chron 5; Neh 7:1, 12:27-47).
The Bible records various music styles in the worship of God (e.g. loud and joyful [Ps 95:1, 98:4, 150:5] or quiet and thoughtful [2 Chron 32:25]).
Not only do we learn that different styles are acceptable, but we learn different types of songs God has permitted to be used in worship of him through music. Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 speaks of “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” Psalms describe the Psalter found in the Old Testament. Hymns describe songs that set forth sound biblical doctrine. Spiritual songs speak about other songs which are neither psalms nor hymns but still portray a biblical theme.
There are numerous opinions on church music and style. At Grace Hill, we seek to have a style of music which God has providentially provided. We do not strive toward a specific “style,” but we use the particular gifting of the musicians which God has placed in our congregation. We do not strive to be something we are not.
The biblical instruction for those who lead our music is that they would “play skillfully” as not to distract from worship. This means our musicians train, practice, and rehearse so they may not distract from the purpose of music in church, the worship of God. As Paul speaks of not using lofty speech in his sermons that would have been common in Greek rhetoric, similarly, our musicians seek to jettison a performance mindset. The goal of our music and our musicians is to play and sing in an excellent manner that provides undistracting music which would draw the listeners’ mind and attention to Jesus Christ and His gospel. Therefore, we seek to play skillfully and simply in order to worship God through music.
Martin Luther said of music in the church:
“The riches of music are so excellent and so precious that words fail me whenever I attempt to discuss and describe them…. In summa, next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world…. This precious gift has been given to man alone that he might thereby remind himself that God has created man for the express purpose of praising and extolling God.”
The strongest biblical example of music used in this way in corporate worship is 2 Chronicles 5:11-14:
“When the priests came forth from the holy place and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the LORD saying, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.”
Check out some sample of our music below: