Why should the devil have all the best music?

I was reading yesterday’s devotion from The One Year Devotions for Men, by Stuart Briscoe. It was a good ‘short-study’, and I’m going to paraphrase and quote liberally, to weave the story together, as dropping in pieces will be disruptive to the storyline.

He’s talking about William Booth, who burst on the church scene in the nineteenth century. William Booth founded the Salvation Army. No stranger to controversy, he adopted secular tunes to evangelistic and worship uses.

Yeah, that’s right; General William Booth was the first guy to do so. If you ever wonder how the trend got started, now you know. If not for William Booth, there would have been no outreach to underpriveleged people who didn’t care to hear stodgy old hymns sung in grand edifices to grand and glorious pipe organs.

And you can only imagine the incredible amount of flak he took as a result. Imagine all the people throwing rocks, in the name of claiming to know the mind of God.

William Booth had a great response to all the controversy about the music, too: “Why should the devil have all the best tunes?”

Briscoe goes on to tell about David having a similar time after he composed Psalm 29 – that it was originally used in the worship of Baal (one of the false gods in ancient Palestine). Briscoe reminds us that the Baal worshippers attributed to Baal attributes that belonged exclusively to the Lord. The Lord was (IS!) God of creation and Baal was not. So David exhorted worshippers to recognize that “the voice of the Lord echoes above the sea. The God of Glory thunders” (Ps. 29:3).

Briscoe goes on: Reverent souls recognize that the Lord’s hand is to be seen in all his handiwork, and his voice is to be heard in (both) the mighty and the subtle sounds of nature. Such should have no difficulty turning their hearts to worship.

In David’s case, he encouraged the angels to join him in giving “honor to the Lord for his glory and strength,” and he called on both angels and mortal beings to “worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness” (Ps. 29:2)

Well, I don’t know if you’ve ever watched the program “Glee” (on Fox), but I haven’t had so much fun watching a program in a long time. It’s uplifiting and the music is GREAT. The arrangements they build are inspiring. So many times I’ve said to myself, “Why don’t Christian music writers take some pages from these people’s songbooks and arrangements?” There are a number of times I turn on the radio and it’s all guitars and drums… I get the message and the spirit in which it’s given, but I guess I’m showing my age in wishing they could include some depth in orchestration.

Let me quote Briscoe verbatim:

We need more people who, resenting “other gods” being honored with the honor due only to the Lord will unabashedly give him glory and will insist that others join in the worship. Why should the devil have all the best tunes – and why should false gods get all the glory?

If you’re a composer of Christian music, and you can build an arrangement to equal those heard on Glee, and you’re reading this, consider this your confirmation!

There are people who need to hear your work!

And God needs you to write it. If you’re currently composing Christian music, consider this a call to do more than just write: build a real arrangement, and DON’T let the devil have all the best music!


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