Music In Worship - Adrian Ebens (1996)
Music and worship have increasingly become the sources of hot debate and controversy. A number of SDA churches have already split over the issue and many others are struggling with it. A generation is emerging calling for change and relevance. Many in the debate are uncompromising in their position which is often developed upon personal taste and preference. Problems are especially apparent in the area of guidelines and principles. What guidelines should be used in the area of music and worship? Should we have guidelines at all? Such is the problem addressed in this paper. To facilitate the task of finding a solution to this problem, there are two questions which need to be addressed by this paper. Are there moral implications involved with music? Secondly, if we answer yes then what sources should inform the guidelines to be used by the church. It is the purpose of this paper to investigate both of these questions and suggest answers that can provide a workable model for music and worship in the local church.
There are a number of assumptions which need to be stated from the outset so that the reader may be aware of the direction from which the arguments of the paper have come and are going. Firstly, this paper is not working from an initial hypothesis. An initial hypothesis would lead to an apology rather than an investigation. This paper will follow an inductive methodology that will seek to find answers to the questions raised by the purpose of this paper, by the synthesis of a data relevant to the topic. Secondly, this paper is written within the framework of a Seventh-day Adventist Christian world view. Such a world view sees the responsibility of humanity to God and the Bible as a vital source in any investigation. With any research there must be limitations and this study is no exception. Firstly, as part of my research, a survey will be conducted. The survey has been limited to urban churches due to time and accessibility factors. Another area that will be addressed in this study is the history of the use of music in the church. This investigation will be limited to the period from the reformation till the twentieth century as this time period bears the most significance to an SDA context. Within the purposes and presuppositions of this paper it is the intention of the author to discuss the issue of morality in relation to music. This will be done briefly in the second section. The next four sections will comprise the sources that will provide the basis for suggested music and worship guidelines. These sources will be Scripture, reason, experience and tradition as derived from the “Wesleyan quadrilateral”1, there will then be a brief concluding chapter. We begin our investigation by looking at the relationship between humanity and the arts.