Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wayne Grudem's Old Earth Views Refuted

Grudem's Systematic Theology is a wonderful and extremely helpful resource for any Christian. In fact, I would be in agreement with the majority of what is written in it. However, when it comes to the topics of the age of the earth and the global flood, Grudem clearly misses it.

Quite frankly, his views are inconsistent, illogical at times, fallacious (some of his arguments), and even unbiblical. I honestly expected better from a scholar.

Below, Answers in Genesis reviews a section of his disappointing chapter about Creation.

See entire article here:

Views of Wayne Grudem
Systematic Theology,
Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994

Wayne Grudem’s theology text is immensely influential, having been translated into at least eight major languages. On the positive side, Grudem affirms ex nihilo creation and the direct supernatural creation of Adam and Eve (Grudem 1994, pp. 262–266). He has a helpful discussion of the biblical view of God’s relation to creation compared to the views of deists, atheists, pantheists, and others (Grudem 1994, pp. 266–270). He rejects biological evolution and presents good reasons for rejecting theistic evolution, the framework hypothesis, and the gap theory (Grudem 1994, pp. 279–286 (biological evolution), pp. 276–279 (theistic evolution), pp. 300–304 (framework hypothesis) and pp. 287–289 (gap theory). He also affirms belief in a global Flood (Grudem 1994, p. 306). In the bibliography at the end of his chapter on creation, Grudem refers to a number of young-earth books dealing with the age of the earth (most of which he identifies with “young earth view” after the citation). In this he is far more up-to-date and fair in his treatment of the young-earth view than Erickson and Lewis/Demarest are. But his old-earth arguments fail at many points.

Inconsistencies in rejecting some old-earth views

For example, he affirms that an atheistic form of the big bang theory is inconsistent with Scripture, but his qualified wording does not rule out a theistic big bang theory (Grudem 1994, p. 275).45 Since he is open to the evolutionary timescale as advocated by old-earth proponents who are astrophysicists and do accept the big bang as fact,46 he must, to be consistent, be open to the big bang order of events which contradict the order in Genesis (with the earth created before the stars and sun), even though he rejects theistic evolution. In rejecting the framework hypothesis, he says that the strongest argument against it is that “the implication of chronological sequence in the [Genesis 1] narrative is almost inescapable” (Grudem 1994, p. 303.) But if the days are sequential, then the events that occurred on each day must be sequential also (unless the text explicitly tells us otherwise, which in the case of the sun, moon, and stars, it does not). So any theistic version of the big bang theory is also inconsistent with Scripture. But Grudem does not clearly say so.
Three of his arguments against the gap theory also count against all other old-earth views, including Grudem’s tentatively-held day-age view. First, Grudem correctly says there is no verse explicitly speaking of a previous creation before this one. But likewise there is not a single verse in the Bible that explicitly speaks of or supports the idea of millions of years of time in Genesis 1. Second, he explains that if the gap theory is correct, then God calls the creation “very good” as He looks at an earth “full of the results of rebellion, conflict and terrible divine judgment” (Grudem 1994, p. 288). But in accepting the millions of years, Grudem is implying that God looked at the fossil record of death and disease, the destructive results of supernova explosions and asteroids bombarding the earth and other planets, and the other evidence of His apparently clumsy attempts at creation over millions of years, and then He called it all “very good.” Third, Grudem rightly reasons that the theistic evolution theory
must assume that all of the fossils of animals from millions of years ago that resemble very closely animals from today indicate that God’s first creation of the animal and plant kingdom [sic] resulted in a failure (Grudem 1994, p. 289).
But the same indictment can be made of all old-earth theories, for they would concur with theistic evolution on this point. Only the young-earth view reflects the wisdom and power and creative success of our Creator, because in that view all the death and suffering is post-Fall.
As noted, Grudem rejects theistic evolution. But his first two reasons for doing so also stand against all other old-earth views. First, he says that the “purposefulness in God’s work in creation seems incompatible with the randomness demanded by evolutionary theory” (referring to the millions of random mutations that the theory requires) (Grudem 1994, p. 276). But this counts equally against the blind, random, millions-of-years process of star and galaxy evolution in the big bang theory and the randomness of the millions-of-years formation of the earth and its strata to become our current habitable planet. If Scripture speaks of God’s intelligent design of living creatures, as Grudem rightly understands, it equally clearly speaks of His intelligent design of the stars and the earth, which were made for His glory and by His wisdom and have always operated according to His righteous ordinances.47 Grudem holds to a “straightforward biblical account of creation” to oppose theistic evolution (Grudem 1994, p. 276) and insists that the account of the Fall of Adam and Eve is a “straightforward narrative history” (Grudem 1994, p. 493). But the same straightforward exegetical approach to all of Genesis 1–11 requires the rejection of all old-earth theories.
Second, Grudem quotes Psalm 33:6–9 and says that we should reject theistic evolution because “Scripture pictures God’s creative word as bringing an immediate response” (Grudem 1994, p. 277). He rightly says that these verses seem incompatible with the idea that “after millions of years and millions of random mutations in living things” the creation was what God called for. But the verses are equally incompatible with the theory of slow gradual, millions-of-years evolution of nonliving things such as the stars, galaxies, and the earth. In fact, these verses specifically mention the heavenly bodies, but not living creatures. So, Grudem has missed the explicit teaching of the passage. God did not need and God did not take billions of years to make the earth and the heavenly objects. As the psalmist says, God spoke and it was done. He spoke and there was light. He spoke and dry land appeared. He spoke and the sun, moon, and stars came into existence. He did not have to wait millions of years for things to happen in response to His commands.
Since Grudem accepts the Creation account as straightforward history and the chronological sequence of events in Genesis 1, and since he believes the divine acts of creation were instantaneous, then by accepting millions of years he must necessarily believe that the divine creative acts were separated by millions of years. There is no other place to put the time. But where is the wisdom or even purpose of God in creating plants instantly and then waiting millions of years to create the sun, or in creating the sea and flying creatures instantly and then waiting millions of years to create land animals and man?

The importance of the age of the earth

Before entering into a discussion of the age of the earth, Grudem says that the topic “is really much less important than the[se] doctrines:” (1) God created the universe out of nothing; (2) creation is distinct from God, yet always dependent on God; (3) God created the universe to show His glory; (4) the universe God created was very good; (5) there will be no final conflict between Scripture and science; and (6) secular theories that deny God as Creator, including Darwinian evolution, are clearly incompatible with belief in the Bible. Grudem then says that the age of the earth is much less important than two additional subjects to be treated later in his text: (7) the creation of the angelic world, and (8) the creation of man in the image of God (Grudem 1994, p. 289).
But this statement about what is most important is simply an assertion. He gives no arguments or biblical evidence to support it. In response, we should note that his first point is not explicitly stated in Scripture, although it is a sound theological conclusion based on Scripture. Contrast that to the many explicit statements about the days of creation (in Genesis and other Bible passages) and the time since creation in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 and the other chronological statements in Scripture covering the period from Abraham to Christ. Also, as I previously explained, points 3 and 4 affect our conclusions about the age of the earth and are consistent only with the young-earth view. The age of the earth is directly related to point 5 as well.
Furthermore, judging from how much God says about the age of the creation (as presented earlier in this essay) compared to how much He says about most of these other matters that Grudem mentions, the age of the earth is far more important. And the age of the earth strikes at the heart of the question of the authority of Scripture. Whether secular scientific theories (based on antibiblical, philosophical presuppositions) should be the controlling judge in the exegesis of Scripture (the hermeneutic of the old-earth views) or whether Scripture truth should be determined by comparing Scripture with Scripture and careful attention to the text and context (as young-earth proponents insist) is vitally important.
Grudem is correct that secular theories which deny God as Creator, including Darwinian evolution, are clearly incompatible with belief in the Bible. But we can only say they are incompatible with the Bible, if we interpret literally the Genesis account about the creation of the first plants, animals, and people, where ten times God emphasizes that He made these creatures as distinct “kinds” in mature form ready to reproduce “after their kind” (rather than to change from one kind into a different kind). If this be the case, then why not take Genesis literally about the date and duration of creation week and the order of creation events? Why not reject the big bang cosmology completely because Genesis says that God created the plants before the sun, moon, and stars? And why not assume that the global, world-destroying Flood would have produced a massive amount of lasting geological evidence (for example, sediment layers, erosional features, lava deposits, and fossils), instead of following Davis Young’s tranquil flood view, as Grudem appears to do? Furthermore, the evolutionary theories for the origin of the universe and the earth over millions of years equally deny God as Creator and so are just as incompatible with belief in the Bible.

The age of the earth

Turning to arguments regarding the age of the earth, Grudem begins with a discussion of the Genesis genealogies (Grudem 1994, pp. 290–291). Earlier in his text he had said that no evangelical scholar today holds to Bishop Ussher’s date for creation (Grudem 1994, p. 273). But this statement probably was incorrect when he wrote it in 1994 and is demonstrably incorrect now, as several scholars have contended for no gaps in the Genesis 5 and 11 genealogies (Freeman 1998, 2008; Jones 2005; Pierce 2006.48) I and other scholars think their arguments are compelling as well. Grudem’s argument for gaps, which he takes from Francis Schaeffer,49 is weak. The fact that Matthew 1 has missing names does not mean that Luke 3, or 1 Chronicles 1, or Genesis 5 and 11 do also.50 The other verses Grudem uses are not genealogies but rather verses where (as he rightly shows) the verbal pattern “son of” does not mean a literal father-son relationship. However, Genesis 5 and 11 do not use this “son of” language but rather say that one man “begat” (ילדyālad) another. This construction always means a literal parent-child relationship (Ham and Pierce 2006).51 In any case, these verses cited by Grudem are irrelevant to the question of Genesis for the same reason that Matthew is—unlike these verses cited by Grudem, the Genesis genealogies give detailed chronological information and other personal details. Grudem says “it seems only fair to conclude that the genealogies of Scripture have some gaps in them” (Grudem 1994, p. 291). Actually, it is only fair, or rather faithful to all the biblical data, to say that some of the genealogical statements in Scripture have gaps. Neither Grudem nor his cited references have demonstrated that Genesis 5 and 11 have gaps.
Aware of the young-earth theodicy, Grudem devotes a mere two paragraphs to the issue of animal death before the Fall (Grudem 1994, pp. 292–293). Earlier he had affirmed that the initial creation was called “very good.” But he added that, in spite of sin, the material world is presently good, citing 1 Timothy 4:4–5. However, in the context of the preceding verse, Paul is talking about food, not everything in the material world. Furthermore, Paul’s statement here must be interpreted in light of his Romans 8:20–23 teaching about the nonhuman creation’s bondage to corruption and longing for redemption. The present creation is not all good. It is a fallen, cursed creation with remnants of goodness from the original creation.
In the section on animal death, he says that “there was no doubt death in the plant world” before the Fall (Grudem 1994, p. 292), but his comments reveal a need for further study of the creationist view on this point. He cites Romans 8:20–23, but does not discuss this very relevant text. His objection that Genesis 2:17 indicates that Adam’s disobedience would only affect man is an argument from silence, which is invalid, given all the texts I discussed on this point earlier. I would agree with him that Romans 5:12 is irrelevant to this question (though it has often been mistakenly used this way by many creationists) because context shows that the verse is only referring to Adam and his descendants. But Grudem has not refuted the young-earth argument about no pre-Fall animal death. And as we have seen, some of his own statements weigh heavily against the acceptance of millions of years of death, disease, and extinction of animals before the Fall, including the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, which Grudem leans toward accepting (Grudem 1994, p. 293). In a footnote, he admits that having all that fossil evidence of death in a very good creation is a “difficulty” for old-earth views and “perhaps” favors young-earth Flood geology, but he asserts that “this is not a decisive objection” (Grudem 1994, p. 305, footnote 75.) Why not? God’s description of the pre-Fall creation, the impact of the Fall and the cosmic consequences of the full redemptive work of Christ is not decisive for a Bible-believing Christian?
In his later chapter on the Fall of man he does not discuss the impact of the Fall on the nonhuman creation. But in his chapter on the glorification of the believer he affirms that God cursed the ground because of Adam’s sin, “so that it brought forth thorns and thistles and would only yield food useful for mankind by painful toil” (Grudem 1994, p. 835). He quotes Romans 8:19–23 to say that the creation will be set free from corruption when Christians receive their resurrection bodies. He says,
In this renewed creation, there will be no more thorns or thistles, no more floods or droughts, no more deserts or uninhabitable jungles, no more earthquakes or tornadoes, no more poisonous snakes or bees that sting or mushrooms that kill (Grudem 1994, p. 836).
But he apparently does not realize that in accepting millions of years, he is accepting that the thorns and thistles and all those other things were part of the pre-Fall “very good” creation. So, none of those things could be part of the curse of Genesis 3, as he previously said. Like Erickson, he has not carefully considered the implications of his belief in the cosmic impact of the Fall.
Grudem acknowledges that young-earth biblical arguments about death have “some force” (Grudem 1994, pp. 295, 296 and 297). But he does not present those arguments very thoroughly, which significantly diminishes their force on the minds of his readers.

Science and the Flood

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Sounds of Acceptable Worship: Part 6—If Music Were REALLY Neutral…

Before I begin my brief study of scriptural principles of godly worship, I feel I need to deliver just one more blow (at least for now) at the unbiblical, unscientific, illogical philosophy that music is “neutral”.

In one debate I had a while back with a brother and proponent of the neutrality of music, he made a curious statement. He asserted that we are not to judge a musician by his music. Rather, we are to judge the musician by the lyrics of his songs and the fruits produced in his life. His point, of course, was that the style of music one uses is irrelevant because musical sounds are subjective to one’s tastes and preferences, and communicate different things to different people. Therefore, it is not valid to say that one type of  music is any more wrong than another, or that any artist is wrong based on his music style.

I have no doubt whatsoever that having God-glorifying lyrics in a song are crucial and bearing good fruit in one’s life and ministry is essential. But let’s examine this brother’s logic for a moment. His statement seems right and reasonable at first glance, but if we actually stop to think, we will come to realize that this philosophy doesn't work in the slightest bit.

By his rationale, if the evil death metal band Cannibal Corpse gets saved, they can continue to perform life shows together and make albums. They would have to change the utterly wicked and abominable lyrics of their songs and substitute them with God-glorifying lyrics, but they could keep every other aspect of their music the same. As long as they simply changed their lyrics, they could present their frenzied, maniacal sounds and growling screams as a fragrant offering of worship to a holy God.

Next case in point: Voodoo priests are converted. They continue partaking in their demon-invoking voodoo ceremonies, dancing to the rhythms and beats of loud pounding drums—but in their chants, they substitute the name of the various spiritual entities usually called forth with “Jesus” and quote Scripture verses. According to the aforementioned brother’s point of view, this would be perfectly acceptable.

Or take this hypothetical situation: members of the Church of Satan receive Christ. They abandon their sins, but seemingly continue to perform Luciferian rituals. Only now, Satan is not the object of their worship—the Lord is. Rather than draw an upside-down pentagram on the ground, they draw a cross inside a circle. Then they begin to sing and chant along to the exact same dark tunes that they used as Satanists, but now their chants and songs are jam-packed with amazingly theological “Reformed” lyrics. All of this is heavenly worship and a pleasing aroma to the Lord, if music is really neutral and the only thing that matters are the lyrics of a song.

Finally, please watch the following video of The Doors’ vocalist Jim Morrison. Watch beginning at 7:37 minutes, where Morrison, while performing live, begins speaking in different voices, whilst eerie sounds are coming from the keyboard and guitar. He is apparently demonized. How, I ask, could it possibly be okay to praise the Lord with such demonic and strange melodies? How could simply changing the words he says possibly make this evil song good?

Was not the slave girl with the spirit of divination preaching truth? (Acts 16:16-18). And yet she grieved and annoyed the apostle Paul. She was declaring something completely true ("These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation."), and yet she was doing it in a way that was offensive and blasphemous. She was of a different spirit. So, applying this to music, we see that lyrical content alone is not the standard for what is pleasing to God. One can sing about deep theological truths, but sing in such an irreverent manner as to make a mockery of those truths, and of Christ.

If you profess to be a Christian, and all of the above information still can’t convince you of the non-neutrality of music, and you insist that I’m wrong and that only changing the lyrics to death metal, voodoo rituals, Satanic ceremonies, and the songs of demoniacs will “redeem” the music and make it perfectly appropriate for the worship of God…then I would have to say, in all honesty, that I seriously question whether you are really even saved.

If you are relentlessly propounding the point of view that I am refuting, and in complete disagreement with everything I've said, you need to examine yourself.  Examine yourself as to the motives of why you are irrationally defending an indefensible and unreasonable point of view. Are you unwilling to give up a certain lifestyle and/or music preference? Are you unwilling to surrender it to Christ? Does it have a special place in your heart, a firm hold on your affections? If so, and you are not willing to give it up for the sake of the Gospel and the glory of God, then it is an idol in your life. You are an idolater. You are loving something more than the Lord Himself. You must repent of your idolatry.

Examine yourself as to your profession of faith. Is it genuine? How do you know you are truly saved?  I would refer you to the following sermon:

Does my position on music sound radical yet? To someone steeped in, and desensitized by, modern Western worldly culture, it might. However, my position is not any more radical than the Word of God. In the next post we will take a look at how God desires for us to approach Him through worship. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Sounds of Acceptable Worship: Part 5—The Spiritual Nature and Power of Music

Does the Bible affirm, like so many people today, that musical sounds, apart from any lyrics, are neutral and harmless? Let’s explore some biblical passages that describe the astounding impact that music can have on the human soul…and even on the spiritual realm. 

1 Samuel 16:14-23.
Disobedient and rebellious Saul was rejected by God as king of Israel. As a result, “the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the LORD tormented him” (v.14). When Saul’s servants realized this, they suggested to their king: “Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well” (v.16). With his permission, they went and fetched David, a young shepherd who was famed among the servants for being “skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the LORD is with him” (v.18). Upon coming into Saul’s service, he found favor in the king’s sight; and the last verse of this chapter reads, “And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him” (v.23).

David was the ideal example of the Lord’s musician: a God fearing, humble and blameless young man of excellent reputation—and as an added benefit, he was also a highly skilled instrumentalist. And most important of all, the Lord was with Him. All these traits made him a powerful musician. Notice that in order to drive away the demonic spirit from Saul, David merely played his instrument. There is no mention whatsoever in this passage of any singing on his part. The melodious sounds of David’s music were powerful enough to drive out demons!

2 Kings 3:15-19
The king of Moab rebelled against Jehoram, the king of Israel, refusing to pay him tribute. In hopes of recapturing this rebel nation and once again subjecting them under the rule of his kingdom, Jehoram rallied up all the warriors in Israel. The king of Edom and Jehoshaphat, the righteous king of Judah, also joined him. In a dire circumstance, Jehoshaphat desired to inquire of a prophet of the Lord for guidance. They came to Elisha the prophet.  His instructions: “‘bring me a musician.’ And when the musician played, the hand of the LORD came upon him” (v.15). He then declared to them the Lord’s words.  

Amazingly, the Lord came upon Elisha only after “the musician played”. Worshipful tunes called down the presence of the Lord!

Although divine prophecy did not always occur this way, in the Old Testament there is an apparent connection between music and prophetic utterances. In Israel, the prophetic ministry involved the use of music, and the worship ministry was prophetic by nature. Some other examples of this:

-1 Samuel 10:5-6 (Samuel’s prophecy to Saul after anointing him as king):
“After that you shall come to Gibeath-elohim, where there is a garrison of the Philistines. And there, as soon as you come to the city, you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre before them, prophesying. Then the Spirit of the LORD will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.”  

-1 Chronicles 25:1-7 (King David’s prophetic “worship team”):
“David and the chiefs of the service also set apart for the service the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who prophesied with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals. The list of those who did the work and of their duties was: Of the sons of Asaph: Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah, and Asharelah, sons of Asaph, under the direction of Asaph, who prophesied under the direction of the king. Of Jeduthun, the sons of Jeduthun: Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the direction of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied with the lyre in thanksgiving and praise to the LORD. Of Heman, the sons of Heman: Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel and Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, and Romamti-ezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, Mahazioth. All these were the sons of Heman the king's seer, according to the promise of God to exalt him, for God had given Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. They were all under the direction of their father in the music in the house of the LORD with cymbals, harps, and lyres for the service of the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman were under the order of the king. The number of them along with their brothers, who were trained in singing to the LORD, all who were skillful, was 288.”

Godly people were not the only ones in the Bible who used music for spiritual purposes, however. In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar used music as a tool to condition the people of his kingdom to worship an enormous golden image he had made:

“ And the herald proclaimed aloud, ‘You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up’” (vv.4-5).

As the aforementioned passages clearly demonstrate, instruments were used by both the Israelites and the pagan nations for religious purposes.

The undeniable link between music and the spiritual realm is not limited to Scripture, however. Numerous extra-biblical records throughout history also demonstrate that musical arrangements were used by peoples, nations, kingdoms and empires the world over to attempt to channel into the world of the “divine”. Across time and just about in every culture without exception, songs, tunes, melodies, symphonies and compositions have been used as a spiritual exercise.

And as such, music is an immensely powerful tool—capable of ushering in the presence of the Holy Spirit at times (God permitting, of course) …but also, inversely, having even the power to invoke demonic spirits.

A myriad number of musicians seem to agree that music is spiritual in nature. Take, for instance, the following quotes by well-known artists:

“Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.”  
-Ludwig van Beethoven 

“When the Siberian shaman gets ready to go into his trance, all the villagers get together... and play whatever instruments they have to send him off [into a trance state and possession]. … It was the same way with The Doors when we played in concert... I think that our drug experience let us get into it... [the trance state] quicker.... It was like Jim was an electric shaman and we were the electric shaman’s band, pounding away behind him. Sometimes he wouldn’t feel like getting into the state, but the band would keep on pounding and pounding, and little by little it would take him over. …I could send an electric shock through him with the organ. John could do it with his drumbeats.”  
–Ray Manzarek, keyboardist for The Doors, speaking of Jim Morrison (No One Here Gets Out Alive, pp. 158-60)

“I’ve always considered that there was some way where we were able to channel energy, and that energy was able to be, from another source, if you like, like a higher power or something, that was actually doing the work. I’ve often thought of us just being actually just the earthly beings that played the music because it was uncanny. Some of this music came out extremely uncanny” 
Bill Ward, drummer for Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath: An Oral History, p. 7).

“We receive our songs by inspiration, like at a séance”  
-Keith Richards, guitarist for The Rolling Stones (Rolling Stone, May 5, 1977, p. 55).

“They [The Beatles] were like mediums. They weren’t conscious of all they were saying, but it was coming through them”  
-Yoko Ono (The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Berkeley, 1982, p. 106.).

“It’s amazing that it [the tune to ‘In My Life’] just came to me in a dream. That’s why I don’t profess to know anything. I think music is very mystical.”  
-John Lennon (“The Beatles Come Together,” Reader’s Digest, March 2001).

“’s like I’m on automatic pilot. By the time we’re halfway through the first number someone else is steering me. I’m just along for the ride. I become possessed when I get on stage.”  
Angus Young, lead guitarist for AC-DC (Hit Parader, July 1985, p. 60).

And here is an interesting quote about music and religion by a neuroscientist:

"As I've written before in books and blogs, I am an atheist and yet I have an empathy for religion. Intellectually, I do not think there is a literal God. Emotionally, I am not anti-religious. One of the reasons why I feel an emotional empathy for religion is that it reminds me of my attitude toward music. 
Many of the moral generalizations that have been applied to religion apply just as well to music. Music is a cultural phenomenon. It intensifies emotions. It helps cement communities. It can range from the terroristic to the sublime. The Nazis after all had nationalistic Nazi music to fire up their citizens, and in more recent decades we've seen cop killer music. On the other end of the spectrum, the rousing music of the civil rights movement advocated for equality, and Beethoven's Ninth was a politically and socially radical statement about the joy of human solidarity. 
Yet something else harder to put into words, something that goes beyond cultural impact, unites music and religion. When I am listening to certain pieces of music I feel a reverence creeping over me, an awe that has a spiritual quality. For myself, classical music does it. For others, of course, different styles of music trigger the same reverential reaction." 
- Dr. Michael Graziano, "Why is Music a Religious Experience?" (article) 

The list of quotes could go on and on.

Given all the clear evidence already mentioned in this series, it would be an utterly foolish and futile attempt for anyone to continue to insist that musical sounds are in any way, shape or form “neutral”.  

Well, then, having gotten all this information out of the way, I will next address a question that you, dear reader, may be asking: “If this is all true, THEN WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO LISTEN TO?”  

If music is not neutral and therefore not all music is appropriate—what kind of music is appropriate to bring to God in worship? 

In the next several entries of this series, I will first present some general biblical principles for godly worship. Then, I will tackle some of the modern subcultures and genres of our day (rock, hip hop, metal, etc), and we will together discover if they fit the Christian worldview and are appropriate as worship before a holy God. Afterwards, I will take on some objections by proponents of the styles of music mentioned above.