Titus 1:12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
This passage, along with Acts 17:28, subtly introduces a concept that ought to cause alarm if not great caution in many a “worship” ministry: messages are enhanced by the status of a poet/entertainer.
The Cretans really suffered from a bad reputation. A poet/prophet of theirs, Epimenedes, author of Cretica, is credited with the two references by Paul in which Zeus is addressed as being immortal, even though the Cretans claimed Crete to be the birth and burial place of Zeus1:
- Τύμβον ἐτεκτήναντο σέθεν, κύδιστε μέγιστε,
Κρῆτες, ἀεὶ ψευδεῖς, κακὰ θηρία, γαστέρες ἀργαί.
Ἀλλὰ σὺ γ᾽ οὐ θνῇσκεις, ἕστηκας γὰρ ζοὸς αίεί,
Ἐν γὰρ σοὶ ζῶμεν καὶ κινύμεθ᾽ ἠδὲ καὶ ἐσμέν.
- They fashioned a tomb for thee, O holy and high one—
The Cretans, always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies!
But thou art not dead: thou livest and abidest forever,
For in thee we live and move and have our being.
Isn’t it interesting that poets and bards are given the respect of the prophets? Children are taught according to music, many pop musicians are given prophet status (as in the ’60s), they are even looked upon as modern day prophets. It is a shame that a skilfull artist can have the respect paid to his artistic skills be transfered to his message. Even actors are called upon to be spokespeople, even though they make their living by pretending to be something they are not. Politicians want to have actors on their side because their fantasy makes the politician more credible.
This is not to suggest that musicians and such should be relegated to a low position in the ministry of the church. Notice how Elisha worked with the minstral in 2 Kings 3:14-15:
14And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.
15But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.
Christians might not require as much theological and ministry training of their musicians as they do their pastors, but they should take the role of the music minister much more seriously than they do. Anyone who got their training in a garage band can become as esteemed as a man of God who has had to spend countless hours over the years dissecting and parsing the word of God and being able to deliver it to a crowd of hurting people who want to change their lives to serve God. By all means, have great music ministry, but make sure it is a great music mininstry, not just great music ministry (where the greatness of the music is the main attraction). Church leaders should hold music ministers to high standards of ministry in the Word and make sure that they remain within stricter boundaries of speaking authoritatively. Just as preachers must have greater study put behind their bolder statements, the study of the music minister should match peoples likely esteem of him. He should have much more trembling accompany his rejoicing, knowing that people are holding him in higher esteem than they likely know he deserves.
1Wikipedia article on Epimendes