Every American evangelical and fundamentalist ought to be forced to recite this paragraph by John Calvin every morning:

“We know from experience that song has great force and vigor to arouse and inflame the hearts of men to invoke and praise God with a more vehement and ardent zeal. . . . Wherefore that much more ought we to take care not to abuse it, for fear of fouling and contaminating it, coverting it to our condemnation, when it was dedicated to our profit and welfare. If there were no other consideration than this alone, it ought indeed to move us to moderate the use of music, to make it serve everything virtuous, and that it ought not to give occasion for our giving free reign to licentiousness, or for our making ourselves effeminate in disorderly delights, and that it ought not to become an instrument of dissipation or of any obscenity.”*

Sigh. It probably wouldn’t do much. After all, John Calvin isn’t Scripture, is he?

*John Calvin, Epistle to the Reader (quoted in: Charles Garside, Jr. The Origin of Calvin’s Theology of Music, 1536-1543. (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1979, p. 33; quoted in D. G. Hart and John R. Muether, With Reverence and Awe (Phillipsburg, PA: P&R, 2002), 161-162.

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