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Michael Brown: The Power of Music

Michael L. Brown, The Power of Music: God’s Call to Change The World One Song At A Time (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2019), 224 pages, ISBN 9781629995953.

Dr. Michael Brown is a very well-known author who is quite prolific. He seems to be ever widening the field of topics that he writes about. The Power of Music is unique in that he has not written a book about this subject before. As the title of the book indicates music has power, it has influence, it has the ability to move people. Its influence can be either positive or negative. In this book Dr. Brown looks at both the constructive and destructive power that music can exert.

The book consists of a preface, an introduction, and twelve chapters. In the course of these chapters the author focuses on a variety of topics related to music. For example, chapter 1 is very autobiographical; Brown writes about his own journey and the part that music has played in his life. He was very interested in rock music when he was a teenager, he played it and attended a lot of the concerts put on by the musical celebrities of the day, groups like the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Led Zeppelin. He also writes about how the hymns that were sung in the Pentecostal church he started to attend impacted him. In other chapters, he moves on to describe the impact of music in the wider culture. In chapter 3, Brown cites Daniel J. Levitin who pointed out the pervasiveness of music in our world; it can be heard at weddings, graduations, funerals, sporting events, and in many other settings (page 31). In chapter 5, the author shows how the Communists promoted their message through song. In chapter 6, he writes about the part that music played in the United States during the time of the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War (pages 62-70). Later in the book, Brown highlights the significant place that music occupies in Scripture (pages 142-152). Music is significant in both the secular and spiritual world. It cannot be denied that there is power in music, it engages our minds and moves our hearts and emotions.

Music is significant in both the secular and spiritual world.

There are some interesting bits of information to be found in this volume. In chapter 3, I was surprised to learn that the United States government has used heavy metal music (and other kinds of music) as torture (pages 35-38). Music is played at a very high volume for long periods of time, breaking down prisoners’ mental defenses (pages 36-38). On a very different note, in chapter 4, Brown cites information that shows how music can help in lowering crime rates in public places such as parks and train stations (pages 41-42). Citing a source from England, he tells us that when classical music was played in public the incidents of abuse (both physical and verbal) were lower (page 42). Also in chapter 4, it was interesting to learn about George Frideric Handel and the circumstances surrounding the composition of his work, Messiah. Prior to writing this masterpiece he was highly criticized for putting Scriptural truth to music and was bankrupt (page 45). He composed the music for Messiah in record time (page 46). Many people, even non-Christians, are familiar with this piece of music, especially its very powerful “Hallelujah Chorus.”

Brown urges believers to write songs that will preach Jesus and promote Christian virtues.

The Power of Music was written primarily for Christian songwriters, worship leaders, and musicians, those who are significantly involved in Christian music (page 168). The author has demonstrated that there is power in music. It can move people, it can reach them in ways that other forms of communication cannot. In view of this, Brown urges believers to write songs that will preach Jesus and promote Christian virtues, like kindness, which will be helpful to all of us as we seek to live together in this world (page 160). This music cannot stay inside the church, it needs to go outside into society (page 160). The church has produced some powerful music during the course of its history. May this continue to be true and may it grow. There is a lost and confused world that is in need of the truth of God’s Word. The message can be delivered in many ways, music is one of them. May we as the church, accept Dr. Brown’s challenge, seek the Lord for inspiration, and work toward using music to its maximum potential for God’s glory and His kingdom.

Reviewed by John Lathrop


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Category: Ministry, Summer 2020

About the Author: John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written for a number of publications and is the author of four books Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), The Power and Practice of the Church: God, Discipleship, and Ministry (J. Timothy King, 2010), Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of the book Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013). Amazon Author page. Facebook

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