Music: the Savior of the World?

Posted on June 17, 2009 at 12:45 am, by Ben

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“I believe in God, Mozart and Beethoven, and likewise their disciples and apostles; I believe in the Holy Spirit and the truth of the one, indivisible Art; I believe that this Art proceeds from God, and lives within the hearts of all illumined men; I believe that he who once has bathed in the sublime delights of this high Art, is consecrate to Her for ever, and never can deny Her; I believe that through Art all men are saved.”Richard Wagner

“I despise a world which does not feel that music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” – Ludwig Van Beethoven

Music does not possess the power to save because music is not our Savior.

Though created by God with specific designs and intentions (a topic for another day), music was not created to be the savior of men or the savior of culture—that claim belongs to Christ. Furthermore, nowhere does scripture indicate that music is the agent God uses to open the eyes of the spiritually blind or to spiritually awaken those who are dead in their sins, but throughout it clearly outlines what is: the grace of God through faith by the hearing of the Word.

But surely, if we could just show an unbeliever the evidence of Creation—perhaps through a really beautiful and emotional piece of music—and tell him how reasonable it is to believe in God… that would be enough to convince him of his error and prick his heart unto repentance, right? No, because human unbelief is not due to a lack of earthly evidence, but a complete inability to properly understand the created things of God because we are spiritually dead and blind in our natural state. Fallen man requires Christ as his savior because he is in desperate need of the eye-opening saving grace that no amount of evidence, emotional stimulation, or even music (however beautiful), can provide. Scripture portrays a crystal-clear dichotomy between the spiritually dead and the spiritually alive in Christ. The notion that the dead can make himself live is ridiculous, and the suggestion that the blind can see for himself the way of light is utterly absurd… So why do we even pretend to believe that a spiritually blind, dead man can discern the salvation of Christ through the hearing of music when we are clearly told that Christ saves through the hearing of His Word?

Most theological blunders are birthed when we conform the Word of God to our individual lifestyles and not our lifestyles to the Word. If saving faith was triggered merely by an emotional jolt souls could be saved by the music we write and play, seemingly eliminating the need to stand up in times of intense persecution to proclaim, preach, teach and uphold the Word of God or evangelize to the lost (Mat 28:18-20, Col 1:28, Rom 10:14). God forbid that we ever replace His mandates and commissions with ones of our own construction.

I praise God that He has opened my eyes to behold a revelation higher even than music, and that I can stand in confident opposition to the teachings of Wagner and proclaim with joy that the salvation of mankind lies not in art or music but in Christ, the only true Savior.

6 Comments

  • I really enjoyed this post, Ben! I think artists (or art-appreciators) can easily fall into the trap you mentioned. It makes me think of Romans 1:18-22. Even when people do perceive the beauty of creation, the spiritually dead are more apt to praise the creation itself than the Creator.

    I so appreciate the encouragement and instruction provided in your articles!

    Posted by Jasmine on June 17th, 2009 at 8:30 pm
  • Wow! Great article, as usual. I cannot believe that first quotation. I love music VERY much. It has been a central part of my life since as long as I can remember, and yet I would NEVER worship it. I choose instead to worship THROUGH it. Music is an undeniably something I am very passionate about, but I would drop every form of music (humming and whistling included) if it meant giving up my relationship with a God that is real, and who has manifested himself in my life more than I can recount.
    Anyway, I do love music. As a matter of fact, I just finished my weekly piano lesson. It’s retaining all I’ve learned that is the hard part. 😉
    Kay Morris

    Posted by Kay Morris on June 18th, 2009 at 12:35 pm
  • Praise the Lord, Ben. This post is clear and critical. Well done!

    These men, Wagner and Beethoven (and many others in history), left behind a legacy of immorality, bitterness, mysticism, and some of the most beautiful music ever written. How tragic this is, and yet there is hope. For we are redeemed and have been created for good works (Eph. 2:10). May we, who know the Creator of music, go forward by His grace and leave behind a legacy of deliberate devotion, both in our music and our lives.

    Posted by Audri Vernier on June 19th, 2009 at 8:50 am
  • Thank you for another instructive article! It’s been very refreshing to read about music (and associated arts) from a God glorifying perspective. Keep up the good work!

    Posted by Samalah Gray on June 22nd, 2009 at 4:04 am
  • Wonderful post Ben. Thank you as a musician and Christian artist for constantly putting everything in proper perspective and for glorifying our Lord Jesus Christ by stating unequivocally the position He alone holds as our Saviour. Men whose eyes are blind to truth will stumble and grasp after anything to save them except Him. None other but Christ alone has the strength to bear away our sin, and lead us into light, truth, and eternal glory.

    Posted by Paul Munger on June 25th, 2009 at 8:46 am
  • Amen!

    Posted by Gabriel H on August 18th, 2009 at 8:49 pm