By Elizabeth Prata
On July 8, 2012, Pastor Jim Murphy of First Baptist Church of Johnson City, NY
delivered a sermon titled “The Subtlety of Satan“. I can’t believe it’s been almost ten years! I remember the impact of that sermon like it was yesterday. The church synopsized Pr. Murphy’s sermon this way:
"Pastor Jim looked back over the last fifty years of church ministry to suggest the slow, incremental, and subtle changes that have created a theological crisis resulting in a move away from the foundational authority of the Word of God and into an experiential, emotional, and radically individualized form of Christianity. Not only will this review trace the consequences of the "little" erroneous theological conclusions that have defined the current struggle within evangelicalism, it will also define the way back to biblical Christianity."
I wrote about that sermon here. One of the things that caught my attention was the fact that the Pastor repented for not paying attention to some of the other gateway points of encroachment satan uses to enter into the church in order to corrupt it. We all know that elders are charged with guarding the pulpit from satan’s wiles against polluting the word of God. But satan enters in through other points in the church too. He enters in via the church library. Via the women’s ministry. Via the music.
Pastor Joel Webbon of Right Response Ministries interviewed Justin Peters about that very point of entry. Peters called music the “Gateway Drug” to heresy.
Music contains doctrine. It can present good doctrine or poor doctrine or heresy. As the congregation sings good or bad or heretical words, it changes the mind and heart. It’s meant to. Good music points to God and changes one’s affections toward Him and extols His attributes. Bad and heretical music points to ourselves and nudges us away from heavenly affections.
Music is one infiltration point. The music you sing in your church matters. The clip below is 6 minutes. Under the video are some resources about the importance of singing good music in church, and why.
Hymns are wonderful didactic tools, filled with Scripture and sound doctrine, a medium for teaching and admonishing one another, as we are commanded to do in Colossians 3:16… ~John MacArthurThe Master’s Seminary Press
Michelle Lesley: In My Humble Opinion…The One with the Modernized Hymns
Grace Community Church, Generations of Grace-Hymnody: Here, the ministry of John MacArthur’s church through opera singer Phillip Webb presents a short backstory to a hymn, and then he sings the hymn with instrumental backup. You might need to plug in your email to access the 93 hymns.
Here is a handy outline speaking to The Role of Music in Worship with scriptures.
Ligonier discusses worship music.
Truth for Life ministry by Alistair Begg discusses Music and Worship, with Keith Getty, saying,
Music has been a fundamental element of Christian worship from the earliest days of the church. As Keith Getty points out, though, its power is not guaranteed. Singing lyrics with shallow theology or leaving the actual singing to the “professionals” will not help form the body of Christ. Music’s transformative power in worship is only present when the full Gospel is proclaimed and when the congregation sings God’s truth as one body. Tend your fences...because satan is subtle.