“Five Marks of Excellence That Could End the Worship Wars” (in your church)

The following contain excerpts of an article written by Dr. Donald T Williams , PhD, is Professor of English and Director of the School of Arts and Sciences at Toccoa Falls College in Georgia. You can read the full writing on http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=22-06-019-v

“we cannot find, encourage, and preserve the best contemporary music without knowing those marks of excellence that made the best of the past stand out and survive so long.

What are those marks? There are at least five: (1) biblical truth; (2) theological profundity; (3) poetic richness; (4) musical beauty; and (5) the fitting of music to text in ways that enhance, rather than obscure or distort, its meaning.”

Please check out the full article..I particularly found the following to be true in many cases in today’s contemporary “gospel” or so-called “Christian” musicians and singers, and it reads:

“Fitness: A good fit between the words and their musical setting is essential to great worship music even when text and tune are both excellent in themselves. The most egregious violation of this principle may be A. B. Simpson’s “A Missionary Cry”: “A hundred thousand souls a day / Are marching one by one away. / They’re passing to their doom; / They’re passing to their doom.” If ever there was content demanding a minor key and a mournful, dirge-like tempo, this is it. But this song is set to a completely inappropriate snappy march tune, as if we were happy about the damnation of the unsaved!

Examples of a good fit between message and music are the quietly meditative, plainsong-derived melodies of Picardy in the contemplative “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” and Divinum Mysterium in “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” or the sprightly and joyous rhythms of Ariel in “Oh, Could I Speak the Matchless Worth.” A contemporary song with a good fit is Don Francisco’s ballad, “I’ve Got to Tell Somebody.” Michael Card is especially good not only at writing worthwhile texts but also at giving them appropriate settings”.

For many of today’s American churches, Sunday services are a complete train-wreck when these marks of excellence are not recognized. Most do not feel the need to examine the process by which we follow. Tradition trumps scripture and the Holy Spirit is ignored. The result is performance and entertainment, which is idolatry.

Let’s tighten it up people and clean it up.

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Music Review: Mali Is….(Mali Music)……A DIVIDED LOVE…MUSIC VS. GOD

MaliMusic_MaliIs

 (By the way…He is now a secular artist)

First the good news:

“Mali Is” is Mali’s Music’s long awaited second completed project ( The 2econd Coming was his first project released in 2009). This project was well worth the wait for those of us that like his music; and a great introduction to those that may have never heard of him. Mali’s very unique sound and positive lyrics will continue to grow his audience and expose this generation to quality music artistry and composition. What I have always loved about Mali’s work is that he’s very thoughtful about what he wants to communicate. It resembles a secret agent that speaks in code, yet everyone has the capability to understand if they are truly listening. I would only ask my brother to consider adding more instrumentation (horns, strings, banjos, woodwinds etc.) and start moving away from the “cookie cutter” beats and samples. Learning the art with God’s intent will yield a higher return. This rule is not Kingdom specific.  This will also challenge you to grow as an artist, build relationships, and appreciate the skill of musicianship.

For the lyric heads, he doesn’t disappoint. Tracks “Ready Aim” and “Heavy Love” grab the listener’s ear. Excellent lyricism and bangin’ mixes automatically prompts one to crank up these tracks at a level that will definitely annoy the person in the next car or in the upstairs apartment..lol. In the piece titled “Make it”, I wasn’t sure if he was trying to compel his audience to think about eternal salvation or not; but I liked the construction of the song. It’s “catchy” refrain is universal. We may hear it in a commercial someday. This project definitely had more positives than negatives. I was disappointed to hear a “familiar spirit” (Nina Simone) in the piece “Little Lady”. What may not be understood (or may be indeed) is that her voice overshadowed the message; which in turn detracted from the intent to save or raise awareness, hence the earlier exhortation to move away from sampling. Mali’s more popular single “Beautiful” will be a commercial success and will “minister” to many. “Beautiful” is well written, well mixed and well produced. Overall, the project is worth supporting from an industry perspective. Unsaved associates and friends will love the project, but they will not be compelled to turn away from sin. They will feel positive and uplifted. If this was the intent…he will have succeeded.

………………….FROM A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW (with as much love I can muster)…………………………………..

I AM SICK AND TIRED OF so-called “Christian” musicians, artists, actors, or whatever skills (not gifts) you have; using the Lord’s status and His people as a platform to launch their careers.

The pattern is always the same. Early projects have scripture in the music and God is glorified. Once “someone important” notices them, they loose their flippin’ mind!

One of the hallmarks of compromise is that the so-called Christian artist will gradually remove the words “Christ”, the name of Jesus, and scripture from their music. With every completed project…you’ll hear it less. Therein lies the conflict and a divided love is evident. Many musicians within the body of Christ have his battle as well as homosexuality. Most will not openly admit and those in the church continue to ignore it. When the “church” fails to address these issues individually, as well as the sin issue, the skill becomes the idol. You may notice that I address this as a skill not a gift because the bible does not specify that any artistic ability is a gift. The only two gifts mentioned in the Bible are Salvation through Christ and the Holy Spirit. From those two gifts the Lord allows us to steward our skills for His glory.

So the conflict continues. If the “artist” desires to be mature, than he will come to understand that Jesus calls us to bear fruit…(John 15) You cannot bear fruit while trying  to “influence” a culture that is set in their heart to do evil. Moreover, when the skill and/or the music becomes your god, You’ll loose (For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”(Mark 8:36-38 ESV)..  The question I have for these artists…..Is the contract worth the risk?

Please examine your motives and be mindful of the enemy from within. For it is written:

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin (which is rebellion), and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

My prayer for these artists:

Heavenly Father, you who are great, and unmatched in beauty, majesty, and wisdom. I ask that you forgive us of our thoughtless actions that take you and your gift of salvation for granted. Please reveal the sin of pride in our hearts so we may turn back and worship you…and only you. Lord, I would ask that you continue to protect those you have called that may have walked away from the our Shepherd, in heart and in action. Lastly, I pray that your Holy Spirit reveals motives, tricks, and loopholes in contracts that your children are asked to sign. Please share your wisdom with them and thwart any plan of destruction to them. In Jesus name…Amen