Over the past few years the Lord has led me on a journey that brought great growth to my personal relationship with Jesus. Sadly, I had developed some poor theology relating to music that left me in bondage to tradition. Christian music became a duty not a delight because I lived in fear of inadvertently displeasing God with a wrong selection. So I set a “high standard” for what I would listen to and allow in our church. How did I arrive at such high standards? Instead of doing the proper research, I willingly abdicated my responsibility and found it easier to appropriate the preferences of those in denominational leadership. Furthermore, I grew impatient with those who dared to differ from my adopted high standards. Yet God graciously led me out of this trap and set me free to see and experience the great beauty of praising and worshiping Him through music.
My journey included an exhaustive study of worship music in the Bible, dozens of books relating to the subject, and countless conversations with godly ministers and lifelong Christians. As a child of God I was seeking the truth, I was seeking God’s will on the matter, and I believe He led me as I was faithful to understand His written Word. Oh, how many hours I could I have saved by having the fantastic resource recently written and produced by Robert Bakss. For in one volume Bakss is able to compile and deliver what took me years of research to understand. This book is a gift to the Independent Baptist movement for several reasons:
1. This Book is Biblically Sound
Rarely have I read a book about music that contains so much Scripture. Check it out for yourself! The discussion on worship music typically consists of psychological arguments (2nd and 4th beat), sociological arguments (the decay of tradition), or subjective arguments (it sounds “worldly”). Here we see a book deeply rooted in the whole counsel of God and expertly exegeted in proper context. From beginning to end this book is a Bible study in the topic of worship music.
2. This Book is Historically Relevant
I cannot say with any credibility that I am a great student of history. However, I do love to study the past so that I may better understand the present. The Civil War lasted for four years. World War II lasted seven. The Iraq War dragged on for eight years. Even the Hundred Years War between the English and the French ended after 118 years! Yet the “Worship Wars” have been going on for centuries. Innovators vs. traditionalists have argued over Exclusive Psalmody, the use of musical instruments, and the introduction of the pipe organ. Many may be surprised to know that the beloved gospel songs of Ira Sankey were mercilessly ridiculed by the high church traditionalists of the day. Understanding that this is not a new battle will shed much light on the current discussion of our day.
3. This Book is Graciously Delivered
The caustic tone that can develop during this discussion is the reason many good men stay away from the topic all together. You are labeled a legalist if you simply choose to have a more conservative position. You are labeled a liberal if you feel led to have a more progressive position. This kind of name-calling must stop! I would not recommend this book if Bakss fell into this divisive trap. I have friends, much more godly than I, who are deeply conservative with their musical selections for private and public worship. I have friends, much more godly that I, who allow music in their home and church that I would not. Yet we are all friends! More so, we are brothers in Christ, advancing the Kingdom of God and fighting back the true enemy. We don’t need another shrill sermon, angry blog, or bitter book. (Lord knows that I’ve been guilty of the first two.) What we need is the work that Robert Bakss has provided us. His thesis is graciously argued with the spirit and love of Christ.
4. This Book is Needed by the Next Generation
There are political reasons that many will not be able to publically agree with this book. It will matter very little that the arguments are Biblical, rational, or historical. There are pastors who would lose 50% of their congregation if they were to reverse their position on music. There are missionaries who would lose 90% of their support if they were to express a differing view. There are evangelists who would receive multiple cancelations. Ministry leaders who need denominational support will watch their institutions undergo attacks by petty & divisive men who are more interested in overseeing the harvest fields of others than actually getting in the whitening fields themselves. Don’t misunderstand, some will disagree with the contents of this book out of genuine conviction, sadly others will have to disagree because to do otherwise would be politically damaging.
Regardless, this book is needed by the next generation of leaders within the Independent Baptist movement. We must learn how to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the 21st century without being unnecessarily shackled to the methods of the 20th (or 19th) century. We can be world-changers not simply care-takers if we remember what is key to our movement: Biblical authority, local church autonomy, personal liberty, innovative ministry, and evangelistic intensity.
5. This Book is a Humble Confession
What I probably love most about this book is the genuine life story it tells. Bakss was a lawyer who received Christ as Savior. He was reached, discipled, and trained by the Independent Baptist movement who gave him a great heritage of faith as well as several unnecessary but mandatory traditions. We are able to watch as the author systematically addresses the Biblical concepts of worship music with the curiosity and proficiency of an attorney. He simply weighs the evidence and comes to a conclusion. What he discovers will surprise you. What he does will inspire you!
Questions? Comments? Queries? Complaints? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below:
 Matthew 15:9
 Matthew 23:4
 Acts 17:11
 2 Timothy 2:15
 Ecclesiastes 1:9
 1 Corinthians 3:3
 Ephesians 6:12
 Jude 1:12
 Galatians 2:4
 Romans 14:3-4