Christian musician and Bible scholar Michael Card has a great post on his website that is as succinct and instructive as anything I've read about about the nature and purpose of music. I've had countless conversations with friends over the years about this very thing and Card's comments captured much of our collective thoughts.
I appreciated the fact that Card took a stab at the musician-worship cult that has been in the secular music industry for years and, sadly, has come into the "Christian music" scene with force since the early 80's:
Music can cause us to drop our best guard; it can
unlock a door into our soul and it can transport us to
another place; it can rob of us the ability to listen to the
words. Music also has the power of shaping our lives and
value systems. By this I mean music can be so powerful and
consuming a force that we can give our lives to it. This I've
seen too many times in my experience as a musician. A
person’s language, dress, style of living and values, all
dictated by a style of music. Once, while I way paying for
some gasoline, the teller asked, "You're a musician aren't
To which I replied in horror, "How did you know?"
"You just looked like one," he said with a smile not
knowing he had just ruined my whole day!
While he makes the point that music is a tool that can work to effect good or evil depending upon the one wielding it, Card made certain that you understand that its ultimate purpose is in the service of Jesus.
So what are we to do with this power, this dynamite
that can be used both to destroy lives as well as blast away
stubborn mountains that may stand in our way? Once again,
as with any important question, we turn to the life of Jesus
for the answer. The Word tells us that everything must be
brought under submission to Christ, and this especially
applies to the power of music.