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Thomas Clay – “The Role of Music in the Church” – 2011 True Church Conference

Breakout Session 2 – Thomas Clay – “The Role of Music in the Church”


1. What it is not.

a. It is not a showcase for talent. Character is what is important, then gifting.

b. It is not synonymous with worship. All aspects of worship are worship, not just the music.

c. It is not about singing about praise and worship. The song is not about the worshiper, it is about God, the object of our worship.

d. It is not primary. Preaching is primary.

e. It is not style-driven. The descriptive term is not to be the foundation. It is to be truth-driven.

f. It is not a meritorious work to usher us into God’s presence. Jesus Christ is the only one who can usher us into God’s presence.

g. It is not dependent on imagery. It is dependent on the word.

h. It is not individual driven (soloist, music minister, choir). It is congregation driven.


2. It is obedience. We are commanded to worship through singing. Both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament (Ephesians 5:18-20).


3. It is for corporate edification. It is not to be an individual ecstatic experience. And it is not to be an individual stoic experience. See Colossians 3:16-17 to back up this outline.

a. Music is to be gospel-centered. Based on the word of Christ. Faith comes from the gospel.

b. Music is to be experienced richly. Music should express the gospel richly, deeply. Instead of trying to please everybody we should be seeking to edify everybody.

c. Music is to teach and admonish. What a church is singing is what they believe. Theology can be developed through singing. Or, on the other hand, a gospel-centered pulpit can be torpedoed by shallow, worldly music.

d. Music is to be done with wisdom. Move toward reforming your church in this area.

e. Music is for one another. It is not just to God. It is also to one another. It should be edifying. It is just as wrong to be stone-faced in singing as it is to be jumping off the stage. The minister must be stylistically-sensitive. The body is to be edified (Philippians 2:3-4). And individuals in the congregation should also consider one another and not be offended.

f. Music is to God. Specifically in thankfulness to God. It must be with reverence and awe.


4. The pastor/music minister relationship.

a. The music minister must be a servant. See Genesis 39:4-6. The music minister should be a “Joseph” for his pastor. Serve the pastor.

b. The music minister must not have his own agenda.  There must be a protected relationship.

c. The music minister must have a high view of biblical and pastoral authority. We should not attack authority.

 


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“How Can I Keep From Singing” by Thomas Clay

This is another favorite song from the True Church Conference.

How Can I Keep From Singing

My soul was dead, fast-bound and cold
With no desire to serve Him
But to my prison cell He came
In no way to deserve Him
I saw His wounds, His cross, His love
With full salvation bringing
And now His blood flows through my veins
How can I keep from singing?

I’m now an heir secure in Him
In covenantal favor
In debt to grace which pardoned me
Through Christ my Kingly Savior
Each day is fresh with newness filled
While to the cross I’m clinging
To spend my only life for Him
How can I keep from singing?

What if my joys and comforts die
I know that Truth is living
What though the darkness ‘round me close?
Still Truth its light is giving!
The peace from love makes fresh my heart
A song of hope is springing
All things are mine, since Truth I’ve found
How can I keep from singing?

One day I’ll stand before His throne
My life on earth completed
No need to fear, alive in Christ
No condemnation needed
And then for age and age to come
His praises will be ringing
To know He’s waiting there for me
How can I keep from singing?

Music and 3rd Verse—Traditional Shaker Hymn
Text to 1st, 2nd, and 4th Verses—Thomas G. Clay
© 2006 GraceAnne Music

Video of Song

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“God of Grace God of Love” by Thomas Clay

This was one of my favorite hymns sung at the True Church Conference.

GOD OF GRACE GOD OF LOVE

Show pity, Lord, O Lord, forgive,
Let a repenting rebel live:
Are not Thy mercies large and free?
May not a sinner trust in Thee?

My crimes are great, but don’t surpass
The power and glory of Thy grace:
Great God, Thy nature hath no bound,
So let Thy pardoning love be found.

God of grace! God of love!
O have mercy on a wand’ring heart like mine
Son of Man! Son of God!
Keep me turning to Thy finished work divine

Should sudden vengeance seize my breath,
I must pronounce Thee just in death;
And if my soul were sent to hell,
Thy righteous law approves it well.

My lips with shame my sins confess
Against Thy law, against Thy grace:
Lord, should Thy judgment grow severe,
I am condemned, but Thou art clear.

O depth of mercy!
Can it be that mercy’s still reserved for me?
Ah, can my God His wrath forbear
And me the chief of sinners spare?

Written and Arranged by Thomas G. Clay © 2009 GraceAnne Music

Video of Song

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True Church Conference 2009 – Music

On Friday night of the True Church Conference, after Voddie Baucham’s sermon, there was a time of questions and answers with him and with Thomas Clay about music. Thomas Clay is Grace Life’s music minister.  There was a packed room of people to hear the questions and answers about music in the church.

There was no way that I could make notes because there wasn’t even elbow room. 🙂  We sat in the floor of the room. But Voddie Baucham told about his reasons for taking piano lessons so that he could lead in his family’s worship. He also told about how when he visited a pastor in Africa, he questioned why they didn’t use drums in their worship service. The African pastor pointed out that many false, pagan religions in their country use drums as an integral part of their worship. Thus, his church did not use drums so as to not be offensive to the sensibilities of those who have been drawn from the false worship of idols.

Thomas Clay has posted the songs that were sung during the conference on his website, Doxology.

2009 True Church Conference Pt. 1

2009 True Church Conference Pt. 2

2009 True Church Conference Pt. 3

I have to admit that when I saw the number of worship sessions just prior to each sermon I wasn’t thrilled. Hymns and singing are very enjoyable, but most large group conferences tend to have very contemporary and loud music. My thoughts were that we might just skip the worship times after the first service. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised. The music was not too loud and the words of the songs were very good. I specifically enjoyed Thomas Clay’s song God of Grace God of Love, especially since we had been singing this song with a much older and harder tune at a church we have been visiting. My husband and I attended each worship session and it was very interesting to hear the depth of singing produced by 1000 people, most of which were pastors.

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