Music is a vital component of our worship as believers. At First Baptist Church, congregational singing is our most important musical worship. Six main principles guide our musical selection for our congregational singing:
1. The Bible teaches us all we need to know to discern what is right and wrong, and is therefore our rule of practice when making decisions about music (1 Timothy 1:3-7). Making manmade teaching a test of orthodoxy and a ground for separation is exceedingly dangerous, even when our intentions are noble. It adds to the Word of God, it binds and blinds the conscience, and it distorts the gospel. True worship is neither mindless ecstasy nor dull repetitions. Corporate worship ought to engage all our beings – our minds, emotions, wills, actions – rendering to Him the love He deserves with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
2. Because both the Old and New Testament place music as part of the preaching and teaching ministry of the church, music is a vital extension of our church’s teaching ministry (Ephesians 5; Colossians 3). Just as the Divine Hymnbook, the Psalms, cover every major doctrine, our songs should have real teaching in them that is accurate and powerful. Uniting truth to a tune plants it in our hearts so that we can live out the truth. As we strive to present a balanced diet of Scripture in preaching, so we strive to present a balanced range of doctrine in our singing.
3. The Scriptures call for both old and new songs, so we strive to sing songs that are both ancient and modern (Psalm 40:3; Revelation 3). The Psalm collection exemplifies this, with Psalms written by Moses, David, Asaph, and psalmists after the exile. We are committed to providing doctrinally rich, singable songs that are ancient and modern.
4. Because the entirety of our worship matters to God, text, tune, and style matter to us. The text must be doctrinally accurate, the tune must be accessible and suitable for the text, and the style must reflect what to us is godly if we are to sing it to God.
5. We believe that whatever acceptability tests we apply to one song must be applied to all. A person or group may differ with us on some doctrinal position, but if a particular song is doctrinally accurate we may choose to use it if we think it wise and beneficial to do so.
6. We will strive to love God and to love our brothers and sisters in Christ more than we love our personal views on music. While we know we cannot match the musical preferences of every person, we do our best to do music in a way that will edify as many people as possible. Individuals customize their choices, but the unity and health of the church body limits ours.