Spurgeon: “Christianity Has Been Hindered by the Musical…Never Advantaged by [Music], No, Not a Jot”

6 03 2008
I’ve had this one saved for a while, and can’t remember where I found it. Since I’ve posted a few things on worship, it seemed fitting to post this one too. What do you think?

Our Savior did not use any means which might enlist man’s lower nature on his side.

When I have heard of large congregations gathered together by the music of a fine choir, I have remembered that the same thing is done at the opera house and the music-hall, and I have felt no joy. When we have heard of crowds enchanted by the sublime music of the pealing organ, I have seen in the fact rather a glorification of St. Cecilia than of Jesus Christ.

Our Lord trusted in no measure or degree to the charms of music for the establishing his throne. He has not given to his disciples the slightest intimation that they are to employ the attractions of the concert room to promote the kingdom of heaven. I find no rubric in Scripture commanding Paul to clothe himself in robes of blue, scarlet, or violet; neither do I find Peter commanded to wear a surplice, an alb, or a chasuble. The Holy Spirit has not cared even to hint at a surpliced choir, or at banners, processions, and processional hymns.

Now, if our Lord had arranged a religion of fine shows, and pompous ceremonies, and gorgeous architecture, and enchanting, music, and bewitching incense, and the like, we could have comprehended its growth; but he is “a root out of a dry ground”, for he owes nothing to any of these.

Christianity has been infinitely hindered by the musical, the aesthetic, and the ceremonial devices of men, but it has never been advantaged by them, no, not a jot.

The sensuous delights of sound and sight have always been enlisted on the side of error, but Christ has employed nobler and more spiritual agencies. Things which fascinate the senses are left to be the chosen instruments of Antichrist, but the gospel, disdaining Saul’s armor, goes forth in the natural simplicity of its own might, like David, with sling and stone. Our holy religion owes nothing whatever to any carnal means; so far as they are concerned, it is “a root out of a dry ground”.




3 responses

8 03 2008
Jason Pratt

Spurgeon lights it up and hits it straight on as usual. As much as I love the music and “entertainment” (which means to grab the attention of) of the songs and instruments in a service we must always be cautious of to what or whom our attention is directed. More often that not we applaud a singer or musician but do we truly first consider and praise our Lord? Granted when we arrive in Heaven we will sing and worship for eternity but we ain’t there yet. Thank you for that quote. To God be the glory!

9 03 2008
matthew woodside

Thanks for providing this helpful citation of Spurgeon. With all the attention given to music in our worship services, I am reminded of something MacArthur said. He asked, if people would still come to our services if we just had preaching and no music, or just a cappela music? I’ve wondered the same thing.

Keep preaching the word and glorifying Christ in downtown Memphis


19 03 2008
Bruce Shaver

Thank you.

What an excellent reminder!

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