David’s New Song

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Contemporary Church, Entertainment, Music

Rick Warren’s Use of Psalm 40:3 to Endorse “Rock” Worship.

And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:3, KJV

Saddleback Church is known as, “The flock that likes to rock!” On his Pastors.com website Rick Warren addresses the controversial subject of church music as he shares “three thoughts about music in worship,” which are: “Music is powerful”; “You can’t please everyone”; and, “It’s the message, not the music.” [1]

In developing his first thought, Pastor Warren employs Psalm 40:3 to be a biblical endorsement for any type of contemporary Christian music. He writes:

In Psalm 40:3 (NCV) David says, “He put a NEW song in my mouth . . . Many people will see this and worship him. Then they will trust the Lord.” Notice the clear connection between music and evangelism: “Then they will trust the Lord.” [2]

Warren infers that David’s “new song” can refer to rock music and that such a contemporary and culturally relevant music possesses an ability to evangelize people’s hearts in a way that traditional hymns and sermons (i.e., the preached word) cannot. But really, is that the message of Psalm 40? As opposed to singing traditional hymns, did David mean to endorse for the worship of God any “new” musical expression that our culture might invent? Among the many other styles of music in western culture, do rock, reggae, rap, or other cultural varieties equate to David’s “new song”? Let’s look at the Psalm.
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“Into” the Mystery

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Contemporary Church, Music

On Musical Mediatrixes

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us . . . seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus . . . Ephesians 2:4-6

The Matrix: Though defying rational explanation, it is what it is. Foremost, music is spiritual. In whatever venue, whether a rock concert, a national anthem before a sporting event, a funeral, a military parade, or a church worship service, etc.—music delivers powerful experiences to its hearers. Music’s subliminal message can prove mind-altering. One newspaper columnist accounts for its popularity for reason that, “Music is a vehicle that propels [the disc jockey]—and me and so many others—toward the place we might call enlightenment, or God, or the higher consciousness, or Grace.” [1]

But not only is music spiritual, it is also mystical. Like hand in glove, the spiritual and the mystical work together with an interconnectedness that defies rational explanation because however else it might be understood, music is an experience. “Feel the music,” ran an advertisement for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra a few years ago. It may be deduced that the “language” of music is universal because it is neither conceptual nor verbal, but rather experiential and mystical. It’s a language without language. Together. people from different nations and tongues can experience it. Subject to the individual impulses, tastes, and delights of composers and consumers, there is much about music that is ethereal.
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