THE PURPOSE OF MUSIC
By Francis Fawkes
Music in today’s secular society is divorced from God’s original purpose. It was really meant to glorify its creator, and magnify His name in praise and worship. In the world, we see the complete reversal of purpose of everything that God created. And this is especially so with music. It is used for the glorification of man and the magnification of his name.
In Colossians 1:16, it states that, “…all things were created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible - whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers – and all things were created by Him and for Him.” God gave us these gifts, so let us give them back to Him. Do not rob God of His glory.
We in the secular society see nothing wrong with this humanistic approach of attributing all innate artistic ingenuity, and excellence to man. Artistic excellence, without God in the equation - really degenerates into petty nit-picking. It only caters to man’s vanity. We do not realize that we are not totally responsible for the greatest of giftings. Whether these giftings are in music, languages, mathematics or the visual arts - they sometimes baffle or mystify the possessor. A mathematical or musical prodigy may be at a total loss as to how he can perform feats of mind with little or no training. Neither does he know how the gifts came about. The best thing to do is to give glory to God for their possession, rather than taking the glory for it. Do not rob God of His glory.
Again, some church performers think that their relationship with Christ consist of an artistic performance; I have sensed that the Lord is displeased with this particular attitude. There are some church musicians who may not even be saved!! The musician who has consecrated his music to the Lord should have a corresponding Christian lifestyle. He should be a vessel of honour with a renewed mind. He should not don the attitudes and philosophies of so many of the musicians in the performing arts. With a renewed mind, he should realize that the word of God takes priority over - and gives direction over his music. This is so because: “God even honours His word above Himself” – and most certainly above music. In the field of the classics, music is above all else and fanaticism is the norm. This can result in musical idolatry that is so pervasive in the performing arts.
THE RELEVANCE OF DIFFERENT MUSICAL STYLES IN THE
Here again it is a question of calling. It is my belief that the preference for different artistic styles is inborn. If you find that you have a strong preference for classical music as opposed to popular music, contemporary Christian music or other styles, it may not have as much to do with your environment as you thought. However, it may have everything to do with what God predestined for you before the foundations of the earth were laid.
God first conceived a purpose in the earth and then created a liking for the thing you were supposed to do. Your personal style is related to your purpose. Do not let anyone force you to change your style. It could seriously hinder your purpose. You may not minister to the people within your calling. You may play other styles but always come back to your calling. Remember the story of the prophet in Jeremiah 1: 5. God ordained him as prophet to the nations before he was born. If he did something else, he would not have reached the nations.
Thus, your culture did not create or shape you entirely; you created your own culture according to what God already birthed in you. God then is not a God of uniformity, but a God of diversity. He then created the different styles to express his versatility. I have noticed that the predominant style in this Bahamian society is indigenous music or Junkanoo music. That also is God’s doing. However, this does not mean that everybody is called to do this type of music. There are also a few classicists like myself as well.
All these tastes are legitimate and
relevant to God’s purpose as far as He is concerned. Your brain was
neurologically wired for your artistic taste. I also suspect that there is a
genetic basis for strong rhythms shown in peoples of African or
WHAT ABOUT FRANCIS FAWKES?
Many people know about my liking for
classical music. As far as I can recall, I was exposed to popular music which I
liked before classical music. Then
my father, Sir Randol Fawkes, purchased for me a classical series called Music Masters. This dealt with the lives and music
of the great composers. Since my father was constantly traveling overseas, I
eventually accumulated an impressive collection of recordings and music books
So overwhelming and so profound was the experience of listening to great classics, that it became the predominant factor in my taste. It has not changed since. My liking for the classics was intense and immediate. I did not have to learn to appreciate this art form. It was as though I was always familiar with it (sorry no allusions to reincarnation intended). When people come up to me and say I had to learn to appreciate classical music, I cannot relate to what they were saying.
Later on, I discovered that this art-form was part of my calling. I remembered asking God what was my purpose on this earth. He replied to me in a dream: “I have placed you on this earth to do my work.” In 1987, I received the anointing for my music by the laying on of hands. But revelation is progressive. I am not only anointed to play the Classics but to preach the Gospel as well!
It is interesting to note that before I learnt of my purpose, I never suspected I was called to Christian ministry work through music and the Word! I only flowed in the direction of my strengths.
MINISTERING THROUGH THE CLASSICS
I know that it is God’s mandate to reach the world with our callings. This is certainly true of the musicians in the arena of the classical performing arts. Most of them however, are spiritually indifferent. The field of the performing arts is one of the unreached mission-fields. Prophet Kim Clement, a former prize winning classical pianist, said that God was going to touch this area in the latter times.
In all of my years of experience with classical music, I have only heard of one or two European musicians with a clear-cut Christian testimony. One of them happens to be concert pianist Van Cliburn!
Situations like this led a music
scholar Patrick Kavanaugh to form the “Christian Performing Artist’s Fellowship”- (CPAF). His goal is to help fulfill the great
commission, to go and make disciples of all nations. It is his contention that
you do not have to go to
I have often wondered what happened to the souls of the great performers in the classical arena – especially concert pianists. If they have Christian testimonies - surely it is the world’s best kept secret. All I hear about them is gossip! I am very thankful that these artists are beginning to consecrate and use their gifts for the Kingdom. This is what all musicians should be doing – bringing souls to Christ and impacting lives for the Kingdom.
When I win a soul to the Master, I feel the surge of God’s power at its strongest. This is because you touch the heart of God every time a soul is won. I have been doing this for over 20 years, especially among Bahamian musicians - as well as those involved in other aspects of the performing and visual arts. It is a source of great satisfaction and relief when they pass on later; to know that you have contributed to their life in eternity with Jesus Christ.