Contemporary Christian Music and Seventh-day Adventist Church


Contemporary Christian Music and Seventh-day Adventist Church

by Rutherona Jae Ballenas[1]

A friendly dialogue between  Rutherona Jae Ballenas and Mc Raven regarding the cotemporary music inside the Adventist Church. 

Bakit ang Seventh-day Adventist ngayon parang born again na ang type of worship? Its like, rock and roll inside the church. Go to MAMC college church.

Its because of TIME. As time changes, people change too. That is how our styles of music, from ancient to modern,change. A fact that can’t be denied and is taking place too, not only in the SDA church but also in other religions.

hands raised: church worship background

hands raised: church worship background (Photo credit: Brian A Petersen)

So you think its right? Should we just go on the flow on what is happening today? What if the doctrine will soon be change? Will it be alright? We should be firm on our first belief, it is written that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. So just imagine if you will ask Jesus regarding the changes today if its alright, will your reasons be acceptable for him? Think brethren. We should not compromise our faith.

With all due respect to you brother Mc Raven, this is what I privately think.

I can’t say whether its right or wrong, for style of music is morally neutral, depending on the cultural context. As our SDA Guideline puts it: “We should recognize and acknowledge the contribution of different cultures in worshiping God. Musical forms and instruments vary greatly in the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist family, and music drawn from one culture may sound strange to someone from a different culture.” So, we can’t judge them easily without knowing their reasons why. Judging them right away might lead to division and non-profitable thinking of other brethren against them. Understanding them is a must.

Another thing is that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been going on with the flow of change in the years since the time it was founded. Here are the number of instances where we joyfully adapt the style of other religions: Usage of piano, usage of violins, singing CCMs as special number, singing gospel songs, songs of Sally Deford, using minus one, etc. All of these are results of time itself. Year 1849, publication of our 1st SDA Hymnal, mostly imitated from the Millerite’s Movement Hymnal. (Companion on to the SDA Hymnal, p. 12). But before that, hymns have been a great trend in other churches especially in Lutheran Church. Accompaniments are greatly denied too before especially the organ. (The Story of Christian Music, pp. 76-77) What is amusing here is that all of these were denied as a style of worship, but today they are accepted style of worship. We should be firm with our “faith”, but we should be flexible to our form of “practice”.

Now, I concur to your argument that God is same yesterday today and tomorrow, unfortunately; we are humans, not God. In addition to that, we must be very careful on taking this text out of context, for the immediate context of Hebrews 13:8, admonishes us to remember our leaders by imitating their faith, and it has nothing to do with the style of worship.

Regarding to your reflective question: “So just imagine if you will ask Jesus regarding the changes today if its alright, will your reasons be acceptable for him?”

This is the response of Paul: “To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.”

Contextualization (adapting to change) without compromising his faith is the missionary style of Paul. Thus, perhaps, he would agree to this beautiful saying: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

Please check the Philosophy of Seventh-day Adventist in Music.


[1] Edited by Jaymark Molo

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