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12/04/2004

This Week in Church History 

December 5, 633.

A church council was convened in Seville, Spain, ordered by Archbishop Isidore of Seville. The council ruled on a anumber of important issues -- some of which we should pay attention to today. They affirmed the unity of God, while also affirming the Trinity. The ruled that Christians should not force Jews to convert. They also ruled that once a person became a monk, it was for life. They even got a little political, backing the newly-crowned King Sisenand even thogh he had deposed the old king. In exchange for their support, the King freed the clergy from any mandatory state service, and made the Church tax-exempt.

They also ruled on a controversial new form of music -- hymns. Prior to this time, most of the songs sung in church were Biblical passages set to music, but recently some Christians were writing their own praises to God. This caused a huge stir in the church, as people wondered whether these works of mere men were suitable for use in the church of God.

In the end, it wasn't much of a conflict. The council ruled that the hymns written by holy men, such as bishops Ambrose and Hilary, could be considered fit for use in holy services. When we read some of these hymns, it's clear that the content of the songs are scriptural, the music was the same style as had been used before, and the character of the writer was unquestioned. The music was fit for use in the Church.

We face a similar "controversy" today -- the feud over "praise music" and "contemporary worship" in churches. The songs are the same, the message is the same, but the fight is over the style. Can "modern music" praise God?

It always has in the past. God doesn't give us a formula in Scripture about what kind of music He likes, and what kind He doesn't. Christians are commanded to "do all for the glory of God" -- that includes our music, no matter what we listen to. I'm amused at the ammount of time we spend fighting about this issue -- a church can have a growing ministry, a tremendous outreach, and fantastic expository preaching, but if they have a praise band and play CCM, we want to lump them in with the apostates who deny the Gospel, the Bible, and every teaching of Scripture! This is self-defeating. We have more important work before us, and we should be worrying about that, not what style of music God likes.

We need to remember that this fight has always gone on, and has always been regarded later in history as a petty debate. We need to get over it, and get about more important work.



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