Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christianity and Culture

I spent most of the day yesterday listening to Handel's Messiah. As I listened, I couldn't help but be amazed. Not only is the music exquisite, but the words are amazing as well. In fact, if you were to look at the text, you would find that the majority of it is Scripture.  As I listened, I was challenged as well as encouraged. Here was a man who not only knew his Bible thoroughly, but who spent his whole life cultivating and using his gifts to glorify God. And he is not the only one. Other musicians such as Bach and Haydn also come to mind.

"The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. If heed is not paid to this, it is not true music but a diabolical bawling and twanging."
   Johann Sebastian Bach

"When I think of my God, my heart dances within me for joy, and then my music has to dance, too."
Franz Joseph Haydn

All three of these men were a product of the ideas and doctrine of the Reformation. It was their faith that formed the basis for their music.  Jane Stuart Smith and Betty Carlson, authors of The Gift of Music wrote,

" It can be said that if there had not been a Luther, there would not have been a Bach. The focus of Bach's Spiritual life was in Christianity and in the service of religion through music. It is easy to pass over the previous statement and not realize the truth of the fact that Bach's Christian faith and his music are inseparably united."
The Gift of Music pg. 32

The cultural changes birthed out of the Reformation were not limited to music only. Art, literature, and politics were just some of the areas affected by it. Men such as John Milton, John Bunyan, William Shakespeare, Rembrant, George Washington and Samuel Rutherford represent a few of the men whose Christianity permeated their works.
   In consideration of this, I think we modern day Christians need to seriously rethink the way we look at the world. Too often it seems, we tend to separate our religion from the rest of  life. We need to be reminded that "Whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, do all to the glory of God."


  1. How beautifully put! Thanks *so* much for writing this :) It encouraged my heart!

  2. This is a great bunch of quotes and its so true that music can't be very heartfelt or have much many without love for Christ! I love to use music to worship Him! I am glad to have found your blog. I just started my own in november.