Principles to Guide the Christian
The music that Christians enjoy should be regulated by the following principles:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. It is characterized by quality, balance, appropriateness, and authenticity. Music fosters our spiritual, psychological, and social sensitivity, and our intellectual growth.
4. It appeals to both the intellect and the emotions and impacts the body in a positive way. It is wholistic.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Musical and lyrical elements should work together harmoniously to influence thinking and behavior in harmony with biblical values.
8. It maintains a judicious balance of spiritual, intellectual, and emotional elements.
9. 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.
"It [music] is one of the most effective means of impressing the heart with spiritual truth" (Education, p. 168).
Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 497. She also states that in the future, " just before the close of probation," 'there will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time" (II SM 36).
Education, p. 167.
Education, p. 168.
We acknowledge that in some cultures harmonies are not as important as in other cultures.