God wove music into the fabric of His creation. We read that He did, "with the general rejoicing of the morning stars (in the English Bible - "the singing of the morning stars." - Approx. Translator), when all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 38:7). The book of Revelation portrays heaven to us as a place where endless praise is heard, where everyone sings a song of praise to God and the Lamb (Rev. 4:9-11, 5:9-13, 7:10-12, 12:10-12, 14: 1-3, 15:2-4, 19:1-8).
God created man in His own image, and therefore we, like all of His creation, love and appreciate music. Indeed, music can touch our hearts, it can act in us with a power far greater than any words or other form of communication. With its purity and majesty, music leads us into the very presence of God, to the place where holy angels and beings from unfallen worlds worship Him in song.
But sin had a destructive effect on creation. The divine image has faded and almost blotted out; in all its manifestations, this world and the talents given to us by God are a mixture of good and evil. Music, which is able to direct us to the most sublime, can also be used by the prince of darkness in order to humiliate and devalue the best in us, to evoke lust, passion, despair, anger and hatred.
God's messenger, Ellen White, constantly reminds us to pay more attention to music. “Music is a great blessing when it is not abused; but if it is used for other purposes, this is a terrible curse ”(Evidence, vol. 1, p. 497).
Here is what she writes about the power of singing: “It is one of the most effective means of influencing spiritual truths on the human heart. How often, when the soul is heavy and despair seizes the heart, verses from the Bible or a long-forgotten song of childhood come to mind, and then temptations lose their strength, life regains meaning and purpose, a desire is born to encourage and please others ...
As part of religious service, singing is an integral part of worship, as is prayer. Many songs are essentially prayers...
When our Redeemer brings us to the threshold of eternity, then, filled with the glory of God, we will hear the words of praise and thanksgiving from the heavenly choir surrounding the throne. As angelic songs echo in our earthly homes, our hearts will unite with the heavenly singers. Heavenly fellowship begins on earth. Here we recognize the leitmotif of the praise of the sky” (Education, p.168).
As Seventh-day Adventists, we believe and preach that Jesus Christ is coming soon. In our proclamation to the whole world of the three angels' messages of Revelation 14:6-12, we call upon all nations to embrace the everlasting gospel and prepare to meet the Lord soon. We exhort them to choose good and not evil, so that, “having rejected ungodliness and worldly lusts, they may live chastely, righteously, and godly in this present age, looking forward to the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12). -13).
We believe that the gospel affects every area of our lives. Therefore, we understand that we cannot treat music with indifference, knowing its huge potential to do good and evil. Recognizing that the musical tastes of individual individuals can vary greatly and that each individual must approach the choice of music, we believe that the Scriptures and works of Ellen White offer us principles for shaping our choice. Therefore, we offer the following principles as a guide—not a guide—for the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Fundamental Principles for Christians
We find the basic principle in 1 Cor. 10:31 "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God." This means that all music that Christians listen to, spiritual or profane, should glorify God. Anything that does not meet this high standard weakens our relationship with Him.
The second main principle follows from the first: “Finally, my brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is glorious, whatever is virtue and praise, consider these things” (Philippians 4:8). As followers of Jesus Christ and with the hope and desire to join the heavenly choir, we view life on this earth as a preparation and foretaste of the life to come.
On these two foundations - the glorification of God in all matters and the choice in favor of the best and sublime - the rest of the principles listed below are built.
Christian music nurtures our spiritual, psychological and social receptivity and stimulates intellectual growth. It is characterized by quality, balance, relevance and authenticity.
Christian music is holistic (holistic), appealing to both the mind and emotions and influencing the body in a positive way.
Christian music allows you to reveal creativity, creation, and not monotony and repetition.
Christian music is made up of quality melodies; harmonies expressed in an interesting and artistic way; and the rhythm that complements them.
Christian music uses lyrics that positively stimulate our brains, emotions, and willpower. Good lyrics are creative, rich in content, of high quality in writing; it focuses on the positive and reflects moral values, it teaches and elevates; it is consistent with sound biblical theology.
In Christian music, elements of lyric and melodies work together to influence thinking and behavior in harmony with biblical values.
Christian music eschews theatricality and pride in performance.
Christian music maintains a reasonable balance between the spiritual, mental and emotional elements, so that the verses are not drowned out by the loudness of the accompanying instruments.
Christian music recognizes and appreciates the contributions of different cultures to the service of the Lord. In the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist family, musical forms and instruments can vary widely, and music from one culture may sound strange to people from another culture. As members of a worldwide family, we respect the music of our brothers and sisters from other countries who sincerely praise God through musical forms that are conditioned by their culture.
Christian music does not make a clear distinction between "spiritual" and "worldly". In no case do we renounce the title of sons and daughters of God, who strive to glorify Him in everything and choose only the best. Music that does not directly glorify or praise God—so-called "secular" music—has a rightful place in our Christian life. It comes from our being, expressing the reaction of the human soul to life, love, to the world in which the Lord has settled us. Much of the music today belongs to this realm, and it is in this realm that it is subject to the destructive influence of sin. Christians should approach such music judiciously, prayerfully, paying attention to the words and to what effect - sublime or destructive - it has on a person's personality.
Foundation of Faith No. 21 (Christian Way of Life) defines the entirety of Christian behavior recognized by the Church. This app contains suggestions, illustrations, and examples showing how the 12 principles of Christian music find expression in the lives of members of the Church.
When we come together to praise the Lord, music should be performed in the best possible way. All members of the church should take part in the performance. Careful planning is essential. The pastor should take a deep interest in improving the quality of church music. Any attempt to organize a live worship service just to evoke pleasant feelings, to entertain oneself or others, will not achieve the goals of true worship. Worship is focused on God, not on us.
We must plan a balance between hymns addressed to God and psalms containing petitions, exhortations, teachings, testimonies, exhortations and encouragements (as in the Psalter).
We encourage churches to create a choir, quartet or other vocal group. Preference should be given to works with texts from the Scriptures. The words must be consistent with sound biblical theology. When using a foreign language, translation into the native language must be provided.
The score must correspond to the level of preparedness of the performers.
The church may establish a committee responsible for scheduling regular worship.
The church should support the musical education of children in order to prepare future leaders in the music ministry.
Personal tastes and experience, habits and culture are not a sufficient basis for the choice of music, especially the one that will be played in worship. At the same time, the demand to "keep up with the times" is also an unfounded argument. On the other hand, using only the hymns and music of the pioneers of our Church is not enough, since God Himself repeatedly calls us to the creative use of the "new song" (Ps. 96:1).
Musicians must personally know the God to whom they sing and compose music.
Musical works must be prepared, rehearsed and planned.
Music is important in Christian homes, and children should learn early to appreciate and learn from music. Parents should be encouraged to know good music and be able to distinguish it by quality.
Parents should talk to their children about great music and listen to good music with them. Particular attention should be paid to what kind of music we listen to unconsciously, as a background. A music library with wisely selected pieces of music can be of great benefit.
Adventist education in schools, churches, and homes should be open to a wide variety of good music—classical and folk. Adventist children and youth should be encouraged to learn to play musical instruments, read music, sing in choirs and groups, and participate in musical numbers at various services.
Music performances in all Adventist schools must be consistent with the founding principles of the Church. This includes local talent, touring artists and bands, and officially funded entertainment events.
Christians shun certain styles of music and any secular music like and related to rock music that opens the mind to impure thoughts, leads to evil behavior, or destroys the understanding of what is pure and holy.
Seventh-day Adventists are called to educate and learn the art of music itself, as well as cultivate good taste in music.
We live in a controversial but significant time in which people and society are increasingly expressing religious sentiments without clear Christian and biblical guidance. Music has become a serious subject requiring spiritual insight and firmness. Therefore, in order to make the right choice of musical means, we must ask ourselves the following important questions:
Does the piece of music we listen to or perform, both words and music, have a moral basis and depth?
What is the deep meaning of this piece of music? Does it carry a positive or negative idea? When we listen to music, do we find it to meet the criteria Paul expressed in 1 Cor. 10:31 and Phil. 4:8?
Is the idea of the piece of music effectively conveyed? Does the performer convey an atmosphere of reverence? Do words say one thing while music conveys another?
Do we seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in choosing both secular and sacred music?
The musical creativity of Seventh-day Adventists is a choice of all the best, but above all, it is an approach to the Creator and Lord and glorification of Him.