Worshiping God from Classical to Rap

On April 4, 2006, Harold Best, DSM, a mentor and model for musicians, came to Azusa Pacific University to speak about what every Christian needs to know about music; every genre can serve as worship to God. Best was the dean of the Conservatory of Music at Wheaton College for many years. Since then, he has served as president of the National Association of Schools of Music, and has written extensively on matters of curriculum, culture, and education policy issues. With free admission, many faculty members encouraged their students to attend.

One of Best’s platforms focused on Christian faith and what it has to do with how music is viewed, regardless of personal taste. He encourages everyone to enjoy all different types of music for theological reasons. Best stated that he believes that exercising a value system is possible in every kind of music. However, he warned against blanket statements such as, “I like all types of music.” Best felt that with so much music out there, including what has not yet been discovered, these statements cannot be accurate. He felt that different tastes in music among people are as common as the differences between the people themselves. Best stated that discernment and understanding is required when selecting music. One style may not suite someone, yet according to Best, it should be acceptable for it to suite another.

In another point, Best referred to music as the most abstract of all the arts. In and of itself, it does not have a moral value. If this is so, he concluded that there is neither such a thing as a “Holy Spirit rhythm” nor a satanic one. According to Best, there are two logical defenses for the music of every different culture. These defenses lie in the beauty of a God who created two realms of existence: the world of absolutes and free relativity.

Best presented another platform which focused on the value of “classical” music in the eyes of modern Christians. He stated that all music is an offering we give to the Lord whether we like that type of music or not. God receives our praise regardless of someone’s preferred genre of music. Therefore, all genres of music, from classical ranging even to rap, can be worship to God. Best said that people should be careful and aware of the context with which music is associated. The more music is represented in one context and then repeated, the more it will take on the characteristics of the initial context.

Best engaged his audience and spoke from a broad, well-informed viewpoint on the issues regarding music and faith. Those with further interest in these topics should checkout Best’s two published pieces: Music Through the Eyes of Faith, and Unceasing Worship.

(Information for this article provided by Sheree Black, Web operations specialist, Office of University Relations.)