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Music Through the Eyes of Faith

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"Christian musicians know of the obligation to make music as agents of God's grace. They make music graciously, whatever its kind or style, as ambassadors of Christ, showing love, humility, servanthood, meekness, victory, and good example . . . Music is freely made, by faith, as an act of worship, in direct response to the overflowing grace of God in Christ Jesus." Co-spons "Christian musicians know of the obligation to make music as agents of God's grace. They make music graciously, whatever its kind or style, as ambassadors of Christ, showing love, humility, servanthood, meekness, victory, and good example . . . Music is freely made, by faith, as an act of worship, in direct response to the overflowing grace of God in Christ Jesus." Co-sponsored by the Christian College Coalition, this thought-provoking study of music-as-worship leads both students and experienced musicians to a better understanding of the connections between music making and Christian faith. "Christian music makers have to risk new ways of praising God. Their faith must convince them that however strange a new offering may be, it cannot out-reach, out-imagine, or overwhelm God. God remains God, ready to swoop down in the most wonderful way, amidst all of the flurry and mystery of newness and repetition, to touch souls and hearts, all because faith has been exercised and Christ's ways have been imitated. Meanwhile, a thousand tongues will never be enough." Best relates musical practice to a larger theology of creation and creativity, and explores new concepts of musical quality and excellence, musical unity, and the incorporation of music from other cultures into today's music.


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"Christian musicians know of the obligation to make music as agents of God's grace. They make music graciously, whatever its kind or style, as ambassadors of Christ, showing love, humility, servanthood, meekness, victory, and good example . . . Music is freely made, by faith, as an act of worship, in direct response to the overflowing grace of God in Christ Jesus." Co-spons "Christian musicians know of the obligation to make music as agents of God's grace. They make music graciously, whatever its kind or style, as ambassadors of Christ, showing love, humility, servanthood, meekness, victory, and good example . . . Music is freely made, by faith, as an act of worship, in direct response to the overflowing grace of God in Christ Jesus." Co-sponsored by the Christian College Coalition, this thought-provoking study of music-as-worship leads both students and experienced musicians to a better understanding of the connections between music making and Christian faith. "Christian music makers have to risk new ways of praising God. Their faith must convince them that however strange a new offering may be, it cannot out-reach, out-imagine, or overwhelm God. God remains God, ready to swoop down in the most wonderful way, amidst all of the flurry and mystery of newness and repetition, to touch souls and hearts, all because faith has been exercised and Christ's ways have been imitated. Meanwhile, a thousand tongues will never be enough." Best relates musical practice to a larger theology of creation and creativity, and explores new concepts of musical quality and excellence, musical unity, and the incorporation of music from other cultures into today's music.

30 review for Music Through the Eyes of Faith

  1. 5 out of 5

    Baal Of

    I try to read one book a year that is from a perspective directly counter to my own, either religious, political, mystical, etc. and this one, obtained from the great book giveaway at work a couple years back, was next on my queue. This book is directed at believers, and not at all intended for non-believers, so it lacks the Christian Apologetics approach of some of the other books I've read by Christians, and definitely avoids the outright hostile approach of many books by conservative pundits. I try to read one book a year that is from a perspective directly counter to my own, either religious, political, mystical, etc. and this one, obtained from the great book giveaway at work a couple years back, was next on my queue. This book is directed at believers, and not at all intended for non-believers, so it lacks the Christian Apologetics approach of some of the other books I've read by Christians, and definitely avoids the outright hostile approach of many books by conservative pundits. For that alone, it gained an extra star. Given it's target audience, the discussions in this book make hundreds of assumptions, and also the basic assumption that the Bible is the word of god, and that god is real. Given I do not buy into those basic assumptions, I also don't buy into the hundreds of other follow-on assumptions made in this book, so it would be difficult to go through with any detail, but I can at least give a couple examples. From page 20 "God is the first abstract, nonrepresentational imaginer, because what God first imagined and crafted did not represent or imitate anything." To accept this statement requires several unstated assumptions, which are not proven, starting with the existence of god, and continuing with the various qualities of this thing called god. Next it assumes that the claimant gets to to jump from saying "everything we humans know are representations of something else" to then saying that god doesn't abide by that same claim. No proof, just by definition. Needless to say, this is only convincing to someone who already believes. From page 15 "music making is neither a means nor an end but an offering; therefore an act of worship. All music makers everywhere understand this and proceed accordingly." Here we have an example of the unintentional (I think) arrogance of this kind of belief, declaring something so abstract and broad to be universally true, and continuing on, without any evidence, as if the claim were established and true. But this kind of hubris is rampant throughout this book, and in fact the language in general is exactly the kind of stuff I grew up with. One thing that I did like about Best is that he argues for musical pluralism, i.e. embracing many different kinds of music, which is nice contrast to the anti-secular music attitudes that shot through my parents' church when I was a kid. As much as he talks about the varieties of music that he does enjoy, his taste is rather mainstream, and he leaves out vast realms of music, especially anything electronic, experimental, or on the fringes of rock, for example psy-trance, industrial, shoegaze, IDM, prog rock, psychedelic, goth, dub, trip-hop, etc. Probably that's just his age showing, but it is still interesting that he adheres to what I would say is adult-safe music. So did I actually get anything useful out of reading this book? Perhaps the reminder that religion in general, and Christianity specifically is still just as meaningless to me as it was when I finished rejecting it about 25 years ago, and I am a much happier and better adjusted person without it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Keith Willis

    One of the most thought provoking books I have ever read. Harold Best’s ideas will break your categories of art, especially music, while helping the Christian better understand the role the arts have in worship and the world. I especially was challenged in Best’s explaining and urging the need for plurality and authenticity in music. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the arts or interested in how Christian art collides with culture.

  3. 4 out of 5

    David Meiklejohn

    Hmm, I expected a critique of music in churches, but we get a fairly long description first of what is worship, why musical diversity matters, and why excellence in music is so important. There is a bit of interesting stuff in the final chapters relating to musical worship in church, but I'm not sure I agree with a lot of what the writer says. He seems a bit snobbish in requiring high musical standards for his worship music, and in the amount of training he thinks the congregation should get in Hmm, I expected a critique of music in churches, but we get a fairly long description first of what is worship, why musical diversity matters, and why excellence in music is so important. There is a bit of interesting stuff in the final chapters relating to musical worship in church, but I'm not sure I agree with a lot of what the writer says. He seems a bit snobbish in requiring high musical standards for his worship music, and in the amount of training he thinks the congregation should get in singing. Maybe I should get a few lessons myself, right enough.

  4. 5 out of 5

    J.D.K. Elliott

    This book is one of the deepest, most theologically engaging books I've read in a while. It has inspired me to add another of Best's books to my list. It came entirely as a surprise, this old textbook from university that I had entirely forgotten suddenly blowing me off my feet. It's also done what no living breathing person ever has: led me to consider listening to country music. This book is one of the deepest, most theologically engaging books I've read in a while. It has inspired me to add another of Best's books to my list. It came entirely as a surprise, this old textbook from university that I had entirely forgotten suddenly blowing me off my feet. It's also done what no living breathing person ever has: led me to consider listening to country music.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jason Comely

    I struggled with this and eventually gave up mid-way. I consider Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns by T. David Gordon to be a better book, although it seems to take the opposite view, a view I don't agree with. It may just be me though, as my interest in this topic has petered out. At least for now. I struggled with this and eventually gave up mid-way. I consider Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns by T. David Gordon to be a better book, although it seems to take the opposite view, a view I don't agree with. It may just be me though, as my interest in this topic has petered out. At least for now.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cameron Schroeder

    A fantastically challenging for anyone who works with church music. Take the generational context of this book into account, and then glean all the nuggets of wisdom from it you can- there are plenty to be had.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kingsley Layton

    'through the eyes of the Christian faith' would have been a better title. That said, some superb evaluations: particularly high and low music and also the concept of re-presentation in art as opposed to imitation. Some real spiritual lucidity in these regards. 'through the eyes of the Christian faith' would have been a better title. That said, some superb evaluations: particularly high and low music and also the concept of re-presentation in art as opposed to imitation. Some real spiritual lucidity in these regards.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dan Disselkamp

    Excellent ideas and concepts. Can be a little long and dry.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Coram Deo Church

    Music Through the Eyes of Faith is not currently available at local libraries.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jane Ellen

    Dr. Best was the dean when I was at Wheaton. He is a brilliant man, talented musician, and deeply spiritual soul. This has been one of the most influential books on my shelf over the past 20 years because it challenges me to critically think about my music as an offering of worship. There are no "right" answers, only questions that lead to a deeper understanding of the role of music in my relationship with God. This book is not for the faint of heart nor the tired mind; however, it is worth the Dr. Best was the dean when I was at Wheaton. He is a brilliant man, talented musician, and deeply spiritual soul. This has been one of the most influential books on my shelf over the past 20 years because it challenges me to critically think about my music as an offering of worship. There are no "right" answers, only questions that lead to a deeper understanding of the role of music in my relationship with God. This book is not for the faint of heart nor the tired mind; however, it is worth the time and effort it takes to read it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Micah Loggins

    Raises a lot of great questions, but doesn't provide the same amount of answers. However, the answers it does provide are well worth the price of the book and the remaining questions are worth pondering. Raises a lot of great questions, but doesn't provide the same amount of answers. However, the answers it does provide are well worth the price of the book and the remaining questions are worth pondering.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    The first half of the book was very helpful for me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Seth Miller

    This is a fantastic and insightful view into how music making is to be done from a Christian worldview.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Wright

    An utterly beautiful and passionate book. I felt like I had been waiting to read it for years.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karla Goforth Abreu

    so-so nothing new, nothing I necessarily disagreed with, just so-so.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Devin

    Best does a great job engaging modern music biblically. If you've never considered how to think Christianly about music, check this one out. Best does a great job engaging modern music biblically. If you've never considered how to think Christianly about music, check this one out.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Porr

  18. 5 out of 5

    Javier Contesse

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anna Smoll

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin

  21. 4 out of 5

    David

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  23. 4 out of 5

    Charlane Leslie

  24. 5 out of 5

    Josh Berrus

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kaycee B.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Howan

  27. 5 out of 5

    Daunavan Buyer

  28. 5 out of 5

    Zachary

  29. 4 out of 5

    David L. Haven, Jr.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Garrett

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