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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Simple Church Minute 51--choir and boys choir

51—choir and boys choir
My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute
            Ephesians 5 verses 18 and 19 say, “be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Colossians chapter 3 verse 16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
            The early church used singing as a means of worship.  History indicates that they did not use instruments, as they associated them with immorality and idolatry.  Just for note, the early church had the same feelings toward professional athletics, an attitude which did not dissipate from the church until the late 1800’s.  We do, though, see instruments referred to in the Old Testament, and none of the writers in the New Testament say anything about the subject.  All that has to do with music in personal and group worship.
            Where did choirs come from?  Roman paganism had choirs, and this tradition came into the church along with many other Roman pagan traditions.  By 367 AD, choirs had been given a status just below clergy, and congregational singing was banned, with the reason given being to curb heresy.  Instruments entered the church with the organ in the 6th century.  Boys choirs also came from Roman paganism—they had the idea that the voices of young boys had special powers.  Most boys choirs were formed from orphanages.  The lack of accountability with certain persons operating orphanages, boys choirs, monastaries, and other institutions separated from the general public is why some pre-Reformation atrocities became connected to the institution, a bit of which still pops up in the news.  Like oratory, the choir is based on an audience-performer dynamic that calls for a passive audience.
            You can email me at simplechurchminute@gmail.com.  For more info on organic church*, visit http://www.simplechurch.com/ or locally at (local website).
On the recording, at this time, it says, “house churches.”  While that phrasing is OK, to say “organic church” is better.  I comment on that in blip 94.

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