Dr. Sam publishes music book

BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich.--Seven scholars of six nationalities have written a new book, The Christian and Rock Music: A Study on Biblical Principles of Music, which left the press April 26.

The 384-page volume takes a calm, balanced and biblical look at the popular music used for worship and evangelism, announced the editor, Seventh-day Adventist scholar Samuele Bacchiocchi.

Six of the seven contributors are musicians with academic degrees and are passionately involved, says Dr. Bacchiocchi, in enriching the worship experience of their congregations through music.

The book, says the professor of religion at SDA-sponsored Andrews University here, has two major objectives:

"The first is to help people understand the true nature of the various styles of rock music popular today. Special consideration is given to the problems arising from transforming rock music into a medium for Christian worship and evangelism.

"The second objective is to define those biblical principles that should guide Christians in making good musical choices."

Dr. Bacchiocchi notes that "Christian rock" is fast replacing traditional church music and instruments across denominational churches.

"This is true also in an increasing number of Sabbatarian churches," he said, "where praise bands have replaced the choir, overheads have replaced the hymnbooks, pop music has replaced hymns, synthesizers have replaced organs, and drums and guitars have taken their place in the repertoire of church-music instrumentation."

Changes in church music, he says, are spawning controversies and divisions in congregations. Some see the new music as the melodies of Babylon while others as the prophetic "new song" to reach and satisfy the baby-boomers' need for rock.

"Often the arguments generate more heat than light, reflecting personal taste or culture rather than a grasp of the biblical principles of music," he said.

In researching music in the Bible, Dr. Bacchiocchi says he found that, contrary to prevailing misconceptions, the Bible differentiates between the secular music used for social entertainment and the sacred music worthy of the worship of God.

The music and instruments associated with social entertainment were not allowed in the worship service of the temple, synagogue or early church.

Most of the first printing of 10,000 copies of The Christian and Rock Music was already sold before the book came off the press in April.

"We never anticipated," he said, "receiving thousands of orders from all over the world. It is evident that the use of pop music in the worship service is becoming a very divisive issue in many congregations.

"Many are seeking for biblical guidance on this matter. And this is what the book is designed to provide."

The Christian and Rock Music can be purchased at an introductory price of $15 postage paid by writing or Biblical Perspectives, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Mich. 49103, U.S.A.

Several chapters of the book are available free of charge at

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