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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Music in Church

February 16, 2023
Austin Price

Focusing on What Praising God Reverently Means

Austin Price

What kind of music people believe is appropriate for church varies widely among many Christian denominations, including Seventh-day Adventism. In the Adventist church, many believe there are principles to maintain when listening to music in general, and especially when listening to music that praises God. 

When trying to decide what music to listen to, we should consider what has to say about the three angels’ message: 

As Seventh-day Adventists, we believe and preach that Jesus is coming again soon. In our worldwide proclamation of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-12 we call all peoples to accept the everlasting gospel, to worship God the Creator, and to prepare to meet our soon-returning Lord. We challenge all to choose the good and not the bad, to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”–Titus 2:12, 13 [1] 

Adventists developed principles in approach to music using biblical texts. The two principles laid out on are: 

  1. All music the Christian listens to, performs or composes, whether sacred or secular, will glorify God: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”–1 Corinthians 10:31 
  1. All music the Christian listens to, performs or composes, whether sacred or secular, should be the noblest and the best: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is right, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” –Phil 4:8 [2] 

Holding the values of a Christian is a constant challenge when listening to any music. But simply keep in mind, as the second principle stated, a focus on thinking about what you're listening to.  

One often debated part of Christian music is whether or not the use of drums is appropriate inside of the church in a worship setting. The drum kit we are familiar with was created largely in the 1900s. The Adventist church was founded in 1863. [3-4] People having the drums we have now in church was not possible when Adventism was initially created. 

Furthermore, a quote from said, “To some, drums may represent a former lifestyle filled with wicked actions accompanied by a heavy rock sound. For them, a worshipful atmosphere may require the absence of such sounds. The drums are not wrong in themselves. It is the person’s mental association of drums with negative experiences that causes the problem. Those who may stumble in their faith because of drums should stay away from services that have drums (1 Corinthians 8:7–8). At the same time, they should recognize that drums may help increase a congregation’s focus on the wonder of our great God and that they can be pleasing to the Lord. (1 Corinthians 10:31)” [4] 

Another example of the focus on God being the most important thing, not the music, not the idols, not anything but God, came from writer Paul James-Griffith, who wrote for, and said this: 

When considering music and the church today it would be good to look at the example of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue. King Nebuchadnezzar had a huge idol of himself built so that at certain times of the day people would worship him through his statue. All sorts of instruments were used for this purpose. Daniel lists horns, flutes, harps, lyres and psalteries in symphony with all kinds of music (Daniel 3:5,7,15). Was it the musical instruments that were evil? Or the different styles of music? Or was it that God did not like symphonies? Surely not! It was the object of worship, Nebuchadnezzar’s idol that was the cause of God’s anger, not the music. [5] 

Don’t worry too much about listening to the right music or wrong music, more importantly as a Christian, focus on praising God in many different environments. An explanation from interpreted the reverence that is in music: 

Reverence is not necessarily being still or somber. Neither is it being exuberant and joyful. It is not a matter of worship style or building décor. Reverence has everything to do with the attitude and bent of our hearts. Reverence is the heartfelt acknowledgement of God’s grace and the humble response of being in God’s presence. The psalms model a humble reverence in worship. Psalm 95 begins with a call to worship: 

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! (Psalm 95:1-2)” [6] 



  1. A Seventh-day Adventist philosophy of music. (n.d.). Seventh-day Adventist Church.  
  2. Ibid. 
  3. A historic look at the Seventh-day Adventist church. (n.d.). Seventh-day Adventist Church.  
  4. Is it wrong to have drums in church? (n.d.). Got Questions.  
  5. James-Griffiths, P. (2016). Since the twentieth century & conclusion. Christian Heritage Edinburgh.  
  6. Puls, K. (n.d.). Participating in gathered worship: Worship in humble reverence. Founders Ministries.  
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