- What do you think is more important in church music: the lyrics or the rhythm? Why?
- Is the purpose of music in church to appeal to emotions/feelings or to cause reflection? Why?
- Are there specific instruments that should or shouldn’t be played in a church service? Why?
- Do you think it is important to “modernize” the rhythm of the songs played in the church services? Do you think it is important to “modernize” the lyrics too? Why?
- Which songs do you usually sing in the church where you come from? What kind of instruments are played there?
- How important is culture/tradition when choosing music, lyrics, or instruments to be played in church services?
Principles to Guide the Christian
The music that Christians enjoy should be regulated by the following principles:
- All music the Christian listens to, performs or composes, whether sacred or secular, will glorify God: "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."--1 Corinthians 10:31 This is the over-riding biblical principle. Anything that cannot meet this high standard will weaken our experience with the Lord.
- All music the Christian listens to, performs or composes, whether sacred or secular, should be the noblest and the best: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is right, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."--Phil 4:8 As followers of Jesus Christ who hope and expect to join the heavenly choirs, we view life on this earth as a preparation for, and foretaste of, the life to come.
- On these two foundations--glorifying God in all things and choosing the noblest and the best--depend the other principles listed below for the selection of music by Christians.
- It is characterized by quality, balance, appropriateness, and authenticity. Music fosters our spiritual, psychological, and social sensitivity, and our intellectual growth.
- It appeals to both the intellect and the emotions and impacts the body in a positive way. It is wholistic.
- Music reveals creativity in that it draws from quality melodies. If harmonized, it uses harmonies in an interesting and artistic way, and employs rhythm that complements them.
- Vocal music employs lyrics that positively stimulate intellectual abilities as well as our emotions and our will power. Good lyrics are creative, rich in content, and of good composition. They focus on the positive and reflect moral values; they educate and uplift; and they correspond with sound biblical theology.
- Musical and lyrical elements should work together harmoniously to influence thinking and behavior in harmony with biblical values.
- It maintains a judicious balance of spiritual, intellectual, and emotional elements.
- We should recognize and acknowledge the contribution of different cultures in worshiping God. Musical forms and instruments vary greatly in the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist family, and music drawn from one culture may sound strange to someone from a different culture.
Seventh-day Adventist music-making means to choose the best and above all to draw close to our Creator and Lord and glorify Him. Let us rise to the challenge of a viable alternative musical vision and, as part of our wholistic and prophetic message, make a unique Adventist musical contribution as a witness to the world regarding a people awaiting Christ's soon coming.
These guidelines were approved and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Annual Council on October 13, 2004.