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The Place of Music in the Church and in Society

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Music is an unavoidable part of our humanity. Like religion, music too is a universal phenomenon because human beings were created with aesthetic aspect. In the Bible, the Lord is not only the God of truth but also of beauty. Through music, we can extend our appreciation of the beauty of God’s creation. Yet, on the other side after creation came the fall with all the ugly consequences of sin. Christian aesthetic realism, therefore, should deal not only with the beautiful but also with the ugly.

Many people think that the choice of music in the church and in society is a matter of individual taste and preference. This booklet shows that every music reflects a certain concept of beauty (or ugliness) both in its form and content.

The place of music in the church strongly relates to the church’s theology of worship. The biblical principles of beauty should permeate the aesthetics of sacred music. With regard to society, we can observe its needs and fallenness through its musical products while at the same time offering alternatives from the Christian perspective.  

About the Author 

Billy Kristanto is the Academic Dean of International Reformed Evangelical Seminary Jakarta and was a part time lecturer at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. As musician, he is responsible for the music ministry in the Reformed Evangelical Church of Indonesia (GRII) and regularly conducts at Aula Simfonia Jakarta. As pastor, he serves and preaches regularly at GRII in Jakarta and Perth. As theologian, he is a member of Gesellschaft für die Geschichte des reformierten Protestantismus and has presented his research at international conferences. His musicological dissertation on Musical Settings of Psalm 51 at Heidelberg University is available online while his systematic theological dissertation on Calvin is published by Peter Lang. Currently he is working on a theological anthropology.
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