1 Corinthians 14:1-40
12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church…26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up…40 But all things should be done decently and in order.
Does a passage that has to do with Spiritual Gifts have anything to do with music? Yes. In 14:26 Paul lists “hymns” (songs) among those things that are to be (1) orderly performed and (2) set their goal in building up the church. Since music is listed here among the goals of spiritual gifts, it follows that what one would do for prophesying or tongues would also apply to music.
What are the criteria of good church songs?
1 Corinthians 14 teaches us two important things about the application of music in the service: First, we are to “strive to excel in building up the church” (vs. 12) Second, “all things should be done decently and in order” (vs. 40). It is the goal, therefore, of Grace Christian Fellowship to choose songs that bring glory to God, teach, correct and encourage. Music chosen for a service must always meet these criteria without being false in teaching and meaningless to the benefit of the Church.
- Songs that bring glory to God must acknowledge and not contradict the teachings of the sovereignty of God and the exclusivity of salvation through Christ.
- Songs must teach Christ and the involvement of the Triune God, focusing on their ministry which creates an object for faith to cling to.
- Songs that do not lead to Christ as the object of faith do not benefit the church.
- Songs must correct false teachings and solidify believers in truth without being unclear or failing to take a clear stand on doctrines essential to faith in Christ.
- Songs must also encourage believers to stand secure in the hope of the gift of salvation, the certainty of their adoption, the forgiveness of sins and the permanency of the promises of God.
- We also believe that songs that take stands on disputable matters should usually be avoided as they may encourage divisions in the fellowship of believers.
Songs that fail to follow these criteria should be avoided by the church.
What about music style?
The bible does not command or contradict any particular instrument in the performance of songs. In fact, passages that mention instruments (especially Psalms 150) imply that we are to use any and all instruments at our disposal. Music of all kinds should find its end in the praise of God. Although Grace Christian Fellowship currently only performs traditional hymns and psalms, it is our position that those churches that use “bands” with electric guitars and drums are equally obedient to the mandate of Psalms 150 as are those churches that use organs and choirs. Provided that songs follow the criteria listed above, we believe that God finds delight in the use of all instruments and music styles that find their ultimate goal in the praise and worship of God.