International Symposium of Sacred Music

The representatives of the units mentioned below of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement General Conference, met together with members of the GC Council and Music Committee at the 1st International Symposium of Sacred Music, held from November 3-9, 2014, in Itu – Sao Paolo, Brazil, and, after careful study, VOTED UPON AND APPROVED THE FOLLOWING CONCLUSIONS:

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

1. We must praise God in the beauty of His holiness. He is on an infinitely superior level compared to created beings (Habakkuk 2:20). But at the same time, God is also accessible because of His closeness to humanity through Christ (Galatians 4:6). Therefore sacred music must always be reverent and cheerful yet solemn (James 5:13; Ev. 508).

2. Music is considered sacred that is specifically dedicated to God, has a message consistent with the present truth, and has musical characteristics that are in accordance with the principles of true worship. Sacred music possesses “beauty, pathos, and power” (Ev. 505) and is presented in a way that is “dignified, solemn, and impressive” (3 SM 333). Only sacred music is appropriate for the worship of God.

3. Music is considered secular that is not specifically produced for the worship of God, but is not offensive to Christian principles. Such music, if of wholesome quality, contributes to the development of good habits for a good musical education (1 Thessalonians 5:21; CG 171; Ed. 212-213).

4. Music is considered profane that disrespects sacred things or treats them with irreverence. Profane music is offensive to God and contributes to the formation of an uncouth musical taste and should not be heard.

5. Due to the origin as well as the rhythmic and sonic characteristics, the musical genres derived from profane contexts, such as rock, blues, jazz and pop (with all their variations) as well as those associated with pagan rituals, are considered profane and are unsuitable for worship.

6. Musical genres used by religious denominations based on musical styles associated with profane music are not appropriate for worship.

CONCLUSIONS ABOUT MUSIC AND CULTURE

Introductory notes:

The sacrifice of Christ makes salvation accessible to all peoples of the earth, and this draws all souls from all cultures to an adoration of the One who is worthy to be praised (Romans 10:12).

The Word of God does not authorize the affirmation of superiority of one culture in relation to another. In the new dispensation the people of God are dispersed throughout various nations and cultures.

7. Considering that all human beings are God’s creatures and possess equal value in His eyes, independent of their peculiar characteristics, cultural diversities are acceptable in the music of worship when they are in accordance with God’s Word.

8. Sacred music in the context of cultural diversity must reveal a Christian world view in accordance with the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.

9. Not all cultural manifestations can be accepted in the worship of God. The biblical history reveals that the acceptance of the Christian doctrine was accompanied by the renunciation of certain cultural customs. When converted to Christ, the Gentiles had to renounce those habits that were culturally rooted in the worship of false gods.

10. The music based on the cultural traditions of a people is not itself considered inappropriate if it is in accordance with the principles that direct the worship of God.

11. The values of the European culture dominant in western civilization are based on Christian roots, and this is reflected in the good quality of its traditional hymnology. However, this does not mean that only those musical productions from determined historical periods and with European origin are appropriate for worship.

CONCLUSIONS ABOUT MUSIC AND INSTRUMENTATION

12. In general, the use of musical instruments is acceptable in the worship of God, and their use should be encouraged (9T 144).

13. In the presentation of music in worship, accompanying instruments should not overpower the human voice.

14. Musical instruments should be played with ability, with a good tone, correct intonation and expression, in such a way to make the worship of God beautiful (Psalm 33:3).

15. The human voice should be educated in order to render better praise unto God (Ed. 63).

16. It is preferable to use melodious and harmonious instruments in the worship of God.

17. The predominance of melody and harmony over rhythm is a basic principle in the structure of music in worship. The instruments must respect this principle, stressing the melody and harmony and not the rhythmic pattern.

18. The drum set and any other instruments acoustic or electronic that reproduce its sound are not appropriate for worship music due to its strong association with profane musical genres.

19. Besides that, the drum set is also inappropriate because of its constant use in opposition to the principle that the melody and harmony should have preeminence in relation to the rhythm, as it continually repeats the rhythmic pattern of the music.

20. Electronic amplification should only reach a sufficient volume for the voice and instruments to be heard. Excessive amplification is disagreeable and damaging to the human ear.

21. In the presentation of music in worship, accompanying instruments should not overpower the human voice.

22. In music for worship, there is no place for vocal or instrumental presentations with the purpose to exhibit oneself or to attract the attention to the human being. (20MR 187).

23. The distortion effects related to rock music found in the electric guitar or other instruments should not be used in worship.

24. As an element of musical language, syncopation of itself is not inappropriate. However, when syncopation is used frequently in the music it is rendered inappropriate for worship.

25. Music for worship must not be based on a repetitive rhythmic pattern that accents the off-beats (weak beats). The excessive repetition of such rhythmic patterns tends to cause a hypnotic state that diminishes the capacity of mental discernment. The same harmful effects happen when the music is performed at a slow tempo or at a low sound intensity. The use of such music is not recommended even when outside of the context of worship.

Davi P. Silva – GC Council – President Ionita Radu – GC Council
Liviu Tudoroiu – GC Council
Rômulo Borges – GC Council
Marcos Pedrazas – GC Music Committee – Chairman Barbara Montrose – GC Music Committee
Djordje Bosanac – GC Music Committee
Isaac Terceros – GC Music Committee
Vili Popovic – GC Music Commitee
Ádám Tóth – Hungarian Field
Adriana Blanco – Central American Union Andrés Linares – Bolivian Union
Barbu Corneliu – Romanian Union
Brajovic Jasmina – German Field
David Zic – Western US Union
Elias Devai – South American Southern Union Evanilson Luz – South Brazilian Union
Helen Vukotic – East Canadian Field Conference Homero Paredes – South East US Field
Inna Auzeac – British Mission
Israel Baez – Ecuadorian Union
Javier Bizama – Chilean Union
Jean Bosco – Rwuanda Union Mission
Joel A. da Silva – South Brazilian Union
Jose Antonio Cachipupu – Angola Union
Josias Almeida – North Brazilian Union
Mariceanu Anatoliev – Moldavian Union
Maxym Kalinin – East European Union
Nathan Tyler – Australasian Union
Orlando Estevez – Eastern US Field
Otoniel León – Peruvian Union
Oz Demis – Romanian Union
Pawel Zajac – Polish Field
Sandro Ribeiro – North Brazilian Union

 

Click here to view a copy of the official document stating the conclusions from the International Symposium of Sacred Music!

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