Saturday, July 13, 2024

The Importance of Having Standards In Music

by Dr. R.B. Ouellette

It seems to me that we have by and large lost the battle for music in fundamentalism. I hear music in good, sound churches that is far  beyond what the Beatles brought to America when I was a child. Yet, every Fundamental pastor preached against the music of the Beatles.

We seem to have no anchor, because music is difficult to define and explain, particularly when we seek to do so from the Bible. People simply choose what they like and what appeals to them. It is difficult for us mortals to always discern between that which appeals to the carnal flesh and that which appeals to the godly spirit.

There seems to be no consistency in the matter of music. Two welltrained, godly musicians will differ as to what is right and wrong. In fact, each of them will do songs to which the other objects, but with which they individually find no fault.

We must establish a standard. Any standard will be arbitrary. So are other standards. I cannot prove to you that it is sinful for a man’s hair to touch the top of his ear, or to be onesixteenth or one-eighth of an inch over the top of his ear. I can only prove to you that the Bible says it is a shame for a man to have long hair. I then establish an arbitrary standard which helps us keep the Bible principle.

So it is too, in music. I cannot prove, nor do I need to be able to prove to all those in my church that a particular beat is sinful, a particular rhythm is wrong, a particular style is unscriptural. I merely need to say that as the Pastor, it is my responsibility to establish a standard, that I believe that the standard is safe and will keep us from trouble, and that I urge their cooperation in holding to the standard. Because a pastor cannot prove from Scripture that vocal sliding is sinful does not mean he may not have a standard against it. The Pastor is responsible to God for what goes on in the church.

Praise the Lord for godly pastors! “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13:17

by Dr. R.B. Ouellette


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  1. Having seen the DECLINE of the independent Baptist movemenmt over the last 30 years, my conclusions are these:
    – “We” have allowed pastors to be RULERS over the flock or allowed them to excersize undue authority over our OWN consciences;
    – Repeatedly tried to turn grey areas into absolutes and vice-versa;
    – Made clearly CULTURAL choices into commandments;
    – Despised that greatest of the Baptist distinctives, soul liberty;

    All these things are obvious to those who value TRUTH above religion. “We” – through either our acceptance of this kind of dogma, our our failure to RESIST it – have made much of “IFB world” into just another one of the “Christian religions’… and even added the flavor of “cult” to it.
    I don’t need yet ANOTHER of man’s opinions inserted into my life, i NMEED the Scriptures. If we can’t make a STRONG Biblical case for it, maybe we should leave it to the INDIVIDUAL.

  2. If we teach arbitrary standards, we please ourselves, not God. For the Bible says “Preach the word,” not man’s word, but God’s word (2 Timothy 4:2). It says, “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” The key word here is doctrine.

    In regards to music, the Bible does not condemn its form, but we can certainly build a case against a song’s message, for the Bible teaches that what defiles is what comes from man’s heart.

    This is a sign of spiritual maturity, to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us according to the truth we understand from God’s word. So if you teach God’s word, He will use it to speak to the heart of your congregation.

    In my life, here is what I have tested: the closer I walk with God, the easier it is for me to discern the will of the Spirit.

    And in regard to submitting to those that have the rule over us, I think that the extent of their rule is to be our examples, and to teach God’s word. That’s it. I don’t think they have the right to impose their subjective standards on us.

  3. The problem with standards like this is that the standards are worshiped and used as judgment against others who don’t have the same (in other words, “lower”) standards. You wear open-toed shoes? What a hussy. You don’t wear a suit and tie to church? What a hippie. Have personal ideals but don’t force them on anyone and pretend that it’s a Bible thing.

  4. When I was growing up, it was in a home torn by divorce. After my salvation, it seemed that the more I matured in Christ, the less my mother liked it. One of her favorite barbs to use on me was calling me a “legalist”. I now know that today’s concept of a “legalist” is one whose standards are higher than yours.Let me clear something up. Legalism says,”Live right so you can be saved”. Those who preach Biblical standards say, “Live right because you are saved”. A Christian should act like one,and look like one. If we blend in with the world, then what will the unsaved see in us that they will want to have? We don’t need any more “chameleon Christians”! We should stand out like a sore thumb. Here in the South(Alabama), the natives want everyone to like them,no matter what. Too often, truth is sacrificed in order to “get along” My brethren,we are commanded to wear the breastplate of righteousness. It protects your heart.

    • I want to criticize this comment: “A Christian should act like one, and look like one…. We should stand out like a sore thumb.” I can agree with this statement if taken in isolation (although I do not like the negative connotation of a sore thumb), but I cannot agree with it within the context of this discussion.
      Look at Romans 14. There, Paul rebukes Christians with “higher” standards (Christians who are weak in faith) for judging the other Christians who did not share their views. The Christians with “higher” standards were trying to impose their standards on the rest, and Paul tells them not to do that.
      Did they stick out like sore thumbs? Yes, they did—that’s why all the other Christians were annoyed with them. They weren’t eating meat, they weren’t drinking wine, and they weren’t celebrating holidays. They were just being different for the sake of being different.
      So who was right? The other Christians were right. It was fine to drink wine, it was fine to eat meat, and it was fine to celebrate holidays. It was actually the Christians that were sticking out like sore thumbs that were wrong! Their judgmental attitude only led to doubtful disputations and to destroying the work of God.
      Christ did not call his disciples to stick out like sore thumbs, but to be lights of the world. And I hope that Independent Fundamentalist KJV Only Baptists, who are brothers in the faith (though they often act like legalists), will come to understand the difference, so they start building up the church rather than causing divisions within the church.

      • to love one another as Christ loves us. Judge righteously….. witch means if it’s true and you make a just judgement it is not sin. In the last days there will be a great falling away witch in my own opinion is a result of our own lusts, and desires. (Paraphrase…. drawn away with our own lusts and enticed, and when lust is conceived it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished bringeth forth death……) We have to decrease so Christ can increase in us, at the same time we must be long suffering towards those around us and pray for each other. If you truly want to know the truth about music in church talk to our Savior JESUS CHRIST. If our relationship with HIM is second to anything we have to search this out, (myself included ). We have to hold on to CHRIST, not to the guitar, the piano, the drums, or the church we meet in. Love one another as I have loved you.

  5. “what will the unsaved see in us that they will want to have?”

    The unsaved will never see anything they WANT to have, precisely because they are unsaved. Don’t fool yourself into thinking they will. Unless their hearts are changed by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the gospel they will not desire spiritual things. Romans 8:5-8

  6. It was Jesus who has the divine POWER who gave ALL things pertaining life and godliness 11 Peter 1:3. It’s never the will of men. I think it’s ok have rules and principal for the church. To call the grey area’s standards because of tradition, I feel like it takes away from the Grace of God

  7. I have a simple standard…if God is for it then I am for it and if God is against it then I am against it and He shows us these things in His Word. Everything else is left to “freedom under grace”, I believe a pastor should set a standard for his church, but not claim that standard as Scripture. Every institution will have to have rules or it cannot function, but the body within that institution should have a clear distinction presented to it of which is God’s law and which is the instiution’s rule. Otherwise we are no different than the Pharisees.

  8. 1 Corinthians 1:21 KJV [ For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.] Music today is still just as important as it was in the days of old ,to sing praises unto a Holy and Righteous God . However some Churches today seem to place more emphasis on the music rather than the Preaching and that to me is wrong! To say that we will loose people in our congregation if we don’t have them same upbeat music as the other Church down the street is to me Focusing on “SELF” and what Self can do to build the Church . Matthew 16:18 And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. When God saved me out of the world and things of the world ,why would I want to listen to something that resembles ANY part of it?? Every Church is different and that is a good thing but God’s word is the same today as it was yesterday and shall be forever. Do we still see God as he really is ,Do we have the proper Fear of God that we should? Do we have the Understanding of what that means or has it been sugar coated by LAX worship because of the Main Emphasis of the Preaching of the word of God has been substituted by the need for a FEELING by beats and rhythm? When we Keep the Main thing (Preaching) the Main thing ,then will we see lives Changed and Souls Saved! I don’t attend Church for a Show or a Musical,I attend Church to Worship God and to hear the Man of God Preach from the Word of God that which he has Laboured in Prayer over and begging and pleading for God to use him to deliver”what thus Saith the Lord” that I might Leave different than I came and that’s Closer to him by Holy Ghost Conviction!! May we get our Priorities in order and a True understanding of who God is and let the Holy Spirit’s Conviction’s guide us the rest of the way!! ( For the record I prefer Traditional music that honors and lifts up God and not Man)

  9. Ezekiel 28 gives us a glimpse into our adversary’s creation as a beautiful and musical (vs. 13) being before his fall. Knowing this, one must be extremely careful in how you decide your musical standards as a Christian. The deception and music we see in too many modern churches today is all about performances, pride, and worldly likeness, not Godly worship. It is also another reason God sent the Spirit to indwell us at salvation so we can learn through the Spirit’s leading as well as the Word. A New Testament verse that lends greatly in understanding a fundamental aspect of worldly and too much of modern church music today is James 3:15. Note three key words in this verse, earthly, sensual, devilish.
    “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” Though the context is on envy and strife, what I also take away is that these three words have no spiritual value together or standing on their own. With this in mind, one would have to conclude that most of what today’s modern music is comprised of is rooted in sensuality. It is therefore indelibly linked to both the earthly and ultimately devilish as well. Sadly, much of what is called Christian music today borrows from its sensual, earthly, devilish sibling.
    Jude 1:19 [Context]
    16. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.
    17. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;
    18. How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
    19. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
    20. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
    21. Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
    22. And of some have compassion, making a difference:

    A great INDEPTH article on music can be found here:


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