The Prophets and Music

By | October 3, 2013

I wish to thank and congratulate Rachel Keehner for her wonderful organ concert last Friday evening (September 27) on the Trinity Concert Series. As our annual celebration of the Reformation approaches, it is good to know that God is preparing a new generation of musicians to carry forward the proclamation of His Word through music. In a letter to the composer Ludwig Senfl, the Dr. Martin Luther discusses the strong connection between music and the proclamation of God’s Word. Note particularly the last sentence in the quote below.

For we know that music, too, is odious and unbearable to the demons. Indeed I plainly judge, and do not hesitate to affirm, that except for theology there is no art that could be put on the same level with music, since except for theology [music] alone produces what otherwise only theology can do, namely a calm and joyful disposition. Manifest proof [of this is the fact] that the devil, the creator of saddening cares and disquieting worries, takes flight at the sound of music almost as he takes flight at the word of theology. This is the reason why the prophets did not make use of any art except music; when setting forth their theology they did it not as geometry, not as arithmetic, not as astronomy, but as music, so that they held theology and music most tightly connected, and proclaimed truth through Psalms and songs.

Let us thank God for the prophets and the music that carries forth the proclamation of God’s Word and always join heartily in their eternal song.

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