Martin Luther once said “I have no use for cranks who despise music, because it is a gift of God. Music drives away the Devil and makes people gay; they forget thereby all wrath, unchastity, arrogance, and the like. Next After theology, I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor.”
A great quote for sure; but it may be controversial for some; nonetheless I would like to agree with Martin Luther to the fullest extent. However, due to sin’s entrance in the world, this statement can be quite faulty, if not analyzed in detail. Since I am just going by this one quote, obviously, I would not say any and all music, for we know that the enemy has perverted God’s gift of music.
Martin Luther’s first assertion is that music is a gift from God. There are countless places in the Bible where music is used. It would be hard to deny its great placement, importance and use in expressing the Lord’s majestic works in our lives and in the lives of many as recorded in the Bible. For instance Jubal, being the father of all who play the flute and harp in Genesis 4, was given this honorable position as a musician. Furthermore, if we look at who was commanded to give God praise, we’ll see that praise was required of everyone and everything; from the angels, the heavens, the waters, the priests and the people of Israel. All living things, including the sun and moon, are to give God praise as it says in Psalms 148. Therefore, there is no denying the significance of music and the purpose of music either in heaven or on earth. Ultimately it is to Give God praise.
As we look further into Luther’s statement, he says that “Music drives away the Devil and makes people gay (joyful); they forget thereby all wrath, unchastity, arrogance, and the like”. This is a clear reflection or illustration of how King Saul would use David to drive away evil spirits from his presence in times of trouble. In 1 Samuel 16:23, David would play his harp and evil spirits would flee and Saul would be all right and free from his tormentors. Another instance in the Bible, where music was used in times of trouble, was in Acts 16, when Paul and Silas in prison began to pray and sing, and a great earthquake shook the prison breaking the doors allowing the jailer to see God’s power and to seek salvation (see also 2Chronicles 20:20-25). Clearly throughout Scriptures and in our current time, we can see that music has been and continues to be used to usher in God’s great power causing the enemy to be defeated and to flee, bringing about calm, peace and joy as believers glorify God through the playing of instruments, singing of hymns and giving worship to the Lord.
Martin Luther’s final comment is that he puts music at the highest place right after theology. From the beginning of time we know that praise was meant to magnify the Lord in all his glory and power; and thanksgiving, praise and worship were all due to him. Music definitely is on a pedestal to achieve such; however we know that unfortunately the devil has tainted such a gift. Perverting this precious divine ability giving to man, Satan has successfully use music to glorify his kingdom. Currently, people are listening to music that praises the works of the Lord’s enemy, and exalting what the devil is about. Music is used in the occult, in all false religions, in voodoo rituals, in spiritism and sorcery. The music industry of the world today uses musicians and singers’ talents to praise money, perverted sex, violence, pride, immorality, evil men such as murderers, dictators and tyrants, as well as selfish political leaders, foolish ideals and philosophies, and the list goes on and on.
The fact is the enemy has tricked people of all nations and manipulated music to benefit his kingdom, even in some churches, music is being used improperly. People are dancing in whatever way they please, creating disorder in the church. Worldly beats, rhythms and lyrics, normally used to call evils spirits and reserved for unclean matters, are brought into the church, stimulating sensuality, carnality and even idolatry and witchcraft. Therefore, as powerful as God intended music to be, while it still is, the enemy has tainted and manipulated the art form to bring glory to his own person and kingdom.
In conclusion, I do not blame “the cranks” that despise music, because the devil has been so cunning in polluting something so glorious, that some have become so apprehensive of its effects on God’s people, they have cast it out entirely. Nevertheless, I have to agree with Martin Luther, for in the final analysis, if music is used in the fullness of God’s initial intent, it is of high virtue and of the greatest honor.
Jerry Pierre-Louis a student of CCA Ministry School