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Title: Some Biblical Considerations Regarding Music – how sin and worldliness affects us and our

musical tastes.
Music is a creation of God.
Music is a combination of sounds composed in such a way as to produce beauty in and of melody,
harmony, rhythm, and timbre (character or quality of sound). It is further described as several other

“A universal language.”
“The most functional of the arts.”
“An expression of emotion (or the soul).”
“A powerful stimulus known among the senses.”

Music comes from the word muse, which means “to think, remember, to reflect, to be absorbed in
thought.” This is exactly opposite of New Age Music (late 1960’s).
In the priority of things it should be noted that music (like everything else) is part of the creation of God.
1. “God that made the world and all things therein,…” (Acts 17:24b)
2. “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of
the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:” (Eph. 3:9)
3. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and
invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were
created by him, and for him:” (Col. 3:16)
4. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all
things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Rev. 4:11)
These Bible verses teach us that music is part of God’s creation. All of creation is to trace our attention
towards God, all of the goodness and greatness of creation is a faint expression of what exists essentially
in God as the Creator. All of creation reflects in some degree or another a measure of God’s wisdom,
goodness, and power, and music ought to be nothing short of this.
Nothing created (man, or music, or nature, or anything) is worthy of worship. Only God is worthy of
worship. This also reveals to us the overall purpose of music: “for him”, “for thy pleasure they are and
were created.” Music then is created at the will or pleasure of God, and exists to bring pleasure to God.
The primary audience of our music is God. 16X in the Bible we read the phrase “sing unto the Lord.” The
musical expression “make a joyful noise to the Lord” (7X) in the Bible. The two classic New Testament
references to music teaches us that God is the audience of our music. Eph. 5:19 “Speaking to yourselves
in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” Col. 3:16
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms
and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
So much of today’s musical offerings are not even directed toward God. In fact, they are offered to God
as “strange fire.” And God rejects this. God doesn’t just accept anything that is offered to Him (ex. Cain &
Abel; and Nadab & Adihu).

Creation is tainted by sin.
Creation is extensively damaged by sin.
“And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the
tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in
sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;” (Gen. 3:17)
“(v.20) For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected
the same in hope, (21) Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption
into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (22) For we know that the whole creation groaneth and
travaileth in pain together until now.” (Rom. 8:20-22).
We are personally affected by sin.
A. Our physical life expectancy is affected by sin. Ps. 90:9-10 “For all our days are passed away
in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. (10) The days of our years are threescore
years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour
and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”
B. Our knowledge of God is affected by sin. Rom. 1:21 “Because that, when they knew God, they
glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and
their foolish heart was darkened.” (That is their minds, or reasoning, were obscured – this is
part of God’s judgment upon sinful man). Because of this, it is possible to like (preferences,
and/or tastes) something that is sinful. Eph. 4:17-18 “This I say therefore, and testify in the
Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having
the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that
is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:”
C. We do not possess the innocence that Adam was created with. Rom. 5:12 “Wherefore, as by
one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for
that all have sinned:” We lost our communion with God.
D. We are depraved. Rom. 7:8 “But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me
all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.” – Sin produced in me, in a
powerful way all manner of inordinate affections, and unlawful or irregular desires or
inclinations, or desires or enjoyments.
- Sin defiled us in all of our faculties (spirit, soul, and body).
-This is perhaps why dealing with issues of music is difficult. It is precisely that we are
going against our naturally sinful selves. (The greatest enemy is self).
E. We are naturally selfish (self-focused; self-centered). Rom. 8:5a “For they that are after the
flesh do mind the things of the flesh;…”
1. The Lord Jesus taught us that our sin comes from our hearts. Matt. 15:18-20 “But
those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they
defile the man. (19) For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,
fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: (20) These are the things which defile
a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”

2. The flesh (sinful nature; not the literal/biological soft tissues or human body)
produces desires that are contrary to the Spirit. Gal. 5:19-21 calls it, “the works of the
flesh.” “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery,
fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (20) Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance,
emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, (21) Envyings, murders, drunkenness,
revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time
past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
3. We are inclined to do evil. We have a bent, a proclivity towards sinfulness.
4. Even though we are saved, we still have “the old man” (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9).
The flesh (or the sinful nature; Matt. 26:41; Gal. 5:16). Our progressive sanctification
is imperfect in this life. And so there is a need to grow in grace (2 Pet. 3:18 “But grow
in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory
both now and for ever. Amen.”). There is a need to perfect holiness in the fear of God
(2 Cor. 7:1 “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves
from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”) (1 Jn.
3:3 “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”)
Music (as part of creation) is also tainted by sin.
Naturally, CCM proponents disagree.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all music was created equal, that no instrument or style of
music is in itself evil – that the diversity of musical expression which flows froth from man is but one
evidence of the boundless creativity of our Heavenly Father.” [The Christian Rocker’s Creed, CCM
Magazine, 1988. Pg. 12]
Harold Best (Dean Emeritus of Music at Wheaton College) “There is nothing un-Christian or anti-Christian
about any kind of music.” [Music Through the Eyes of Faith, 1993. Pg. 52]
He adds, in pg. 59, “The Christian is free from the moral nothingness of music.”
Al Menconi (Evangelical, Non-denominational, speaker) “Which style [of music] is best: mellow, spicy
(upbeat, contemporary, rock), or somewhere in between? Again, the answer is that one is no more correct
than another. Each style of music is simply different. A person’s choice of music depends on his cultural
background, maturity and age, the music he grew up listening to, and his personal tastes.” [Staying in
Tune, 1996. Pg. 161].
Charlie Peacock (American singer, songwriter, pianist, record producer, CCMer, Dove Award winner, and
Grammy nominee) “We must respect all forms of musical and lyrical artistry, recognizing that God delights
in and makes intelligent use of the diversity of His creation.” [At The Crossroads, 1999. Pg. 202].
“I’m often asked what I would do differently if I could start Saddleback over. My answer is this: From the
first day of the new church I’d put more energy and money into a first-class music ministry that matched

our target. In the first years of Saddleback, I made the mistake of underestimating the power of
music…(pg. 279)…Churches also need to admit that no particular style of music is “sacred.” What makes
a song sacred is its message. Music is nothing more than an arrangement of notes and rhythms; it’s the
words that make a song spiritual. There is no such thing as “Christian music,” only Christian lyrics. (pg.
281)…The sacred message of a song may be communicated in a wide variety of musical styles. What we
discovered is that 96 percent of our people said they listen to middle-of-the-road adult contemporary
music….for the first time in history, there exists a universal music style that can be heard in every country
of the world. It is called contemporary pop/rock….After surveying who we were reaching, we made the
strategic decision to stop singing hymns in our seeker services. Within a year of deciding what would be
“our sound,” Saddleback exploded with growth. I will admit that we have lost hundreds of potential
members because of the style of music Saddleback uses. On the other hand, we have attracted thousands
more because of our music.” (pg. 285). – Rick Warren, Senior Pastor of Saddleback Valley Community
Church, Orange County, CA. (The Purpose Driven Church, Zondervan, 1995)

The Bible recognizes that music communicates, and it also identifies & distinguishes between good
and bad music.
A. 1 Cor. 14:7 “And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give
a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? {sounds: or, tunes} (8)
For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?”
The music or sound produced by the instruments (instrumentation) must be intelligible
or understandable so that through the medium of music instructions can be given to
charge or to retreat.
B. Exo. 32:17-18 “(17) And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said
unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. (18) And he said, It is not the voice of them that
shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of
them that sing do I hear.” Moses was able to determine the kind of song they were singing, just
by the nature of the sound.
C. Judges 5:1-2 “Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying, (2) Praise
ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves.” (the Bible
reveals to us songs of victory like that of Deborah and Barak).
D. Isa. 23:15 “And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years,
according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot.”
(…the song of an harlot, or a lascivious or seductive song). The Bible identified lascivious music.
E. Ezek. 33:32 “And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice,
and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.” (here we see
the Bible recognizing a lovely song, a pleasant voice, a skillful player (cf. 2 Chr. 34:12 talk about
the Levites that had skill of instruments of musick).
There is a contrast between the “new song” and the old song. The word “song” implies words, music,
instrumentation, or a tune. (New song passages are numerous: Ps. 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1;
Isa. 42:10; Rev. 5:9; 14:3). The idea of the word new is not in relationship to time, but rather in quality of

life. In essence the believer’s song reflects the newness of life. His life has been changed, it is different
from this world system in quality and essence. (cf. Eph. 2:11-22; 1 Pet. 2:9-10).
There is a contrast between spiritual songs and carnal songs.
Notice the classifications in the Bible about godly music. “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and
spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” (Eph. 5:19). Add to this the twin
passage in Col. 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing
one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” The
Bible distinctly tells us about “spiritual songs.” This is referring to songs that are opposed to carnal, sensual
or worldy songs.
The music itself (apart from lyrics or words) carries a message.
Music is either good or bad. Like all moral issues there’s no ambiguity. It is either right or wrong. Light or
darkness. No admixture. 2 Cor. 6:15a posits a good question: “And what concord hath Christ with
Belial?...” The word concord is a musical term. It is where we get the word “symphony” from. The question
begs a negative response. Is there a symphony or accordance between Christ and Belial? No. But
proponents of CCM say, “yes.” They are wrong.
Howard Marshall Mcluhan (A Canadian educator, and literary critic) pithily said: “The medium is the
message.” There is an inherent message in our choice of music. In other words, the message is resides in
the music. And when it comes distinguishing the message of a song, or an instrumental, or music, the
music itself apart from the lyrics presides.
Ex. I love you! vs. I love you?
How the words are pronounced or said or mentioned carries the message. And in music, how a song is
sung, or played carries the message. This is a major clue when determining good and bad music.
The music in and of itself is the vehicle of communication, and has the ability to add to the lyrics, reenforce the lyrics, or actually contradict the lyrics.
The music has the capacity to influence and even transform: mood, behaviour, a church’s historic &
doctrinal positions, and it can even change people’s perception of who God is (Rom. 1:23).
Rick Warren was wrong when he said this: "I'm never going to deny what I believe, but I've got to say it in
a way that makes sense to the MTV generation in a postmodern world. Traditional churches think I'm
changing the message, but all I'm doing is changing the method." (Rick Warren, "A look at pastor and
author Rev. Rick Warren," Dateline Alabama, March 25, 2005).
If you change the music, you change the message.

Contemporary Christian Music – it’s corrupting influences:
Contemporary Christian Music (or CCM—and occasionally "inspirational music") is a genre of modern
popular music which is lyrically focused on matters concerned with the Christian faith. It formed as those
affected by the 1960s Jesus movement revival began to express themselves in a more contemporary style
of music than the hymns, Gospel and Southern Gospel music that was prevalent in the church at the time.
Today, the term is typically used to refer to pop, rock, or praise & worship styles.
The growing popularity in the styles of Rock 'n 'Roll music in the 1950s was initially dismissed by the church
because it was believed to encourage sinfulness. Yet as evangelical churches adapted to appeal to more
people, the musical styles used in worship changed as well by adopting the sounds of this popular style.
The roots of CCM is Rock ‘n Roll music, and the roots of R&R Music is rebellion, & immorality. The attempt
to wed Christian lyrics to worldly music results in CCM. CCM leads to Contemporary worship music (CWM).
CWM is a loosely defined genre of Christian music used in contemporary worship. It has developed over
the past sixty years and is stylistically similar to pop music. The songs are frequently referred to as "praise
songs" or "worship songs" and are typically led by a "worship band" or "praise team", with either a
guitarist or pianist leading. It is becoming a common genre of music sung in Western churches, particularly
in Pentecostal churches, both denominational and nondenominational. Also many non-Charismatic
Protestant Churches use this type of music. Some do so exclusively. Others have services that are just
traditional along with services that are just contemporary. Others simply mix this type of music in with
traditional. Some Protestant churches avoid this music and remain traditional. Also, Roman Catholic
churches are using this type of music in some parishes. Some mix it in with more traditional music; others
have certain masses with just contemporary worship music along with traditional masses; others only use
contemporary; many others steer clear of contemporary worship and stick with traditional.
Calvin Johansson in his book Music and Ministry makes a powerful point regarding the characteristic
qualities of pop music in contrast to the Gospel message. If the medium is the message, then what is the
message of Rock Music (and all its various derivative forms; Wikipedia lists 222 various genres of Rock
Music) in comparison to the message of the Gospel?
Rock Music is sensual; The Gospel is sacrificial.
Rock Music is rebellion; The Gospel is submission.
Rock Music is idolatry (promotes self); The Gospel exalts God (promotes God).
Rock Music expresses sin; The Gospel reveals the righteousness of God.
Rock Music is commercial (money making); The Gospel is free.
Rock Music is performed; The Gospel is to be ministered to.
Rock Music is worldly; The Gospel is Heavenly.
Judging by these considerations, Rock music is not a fitting or appropriate vessel for the Gospel
message. The message of Rock, and the message of the Gospel are contradictory.

The Problem with CCM is worldliness, and the Bible teaches us a lot about worldliness:
A. Rom. 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your
bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (v.2) “And
be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may
prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
B. 1 Cor. 6:18 “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that
committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”
C. 2 Cor. 7:1 “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all
filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
D. 2 Tim. 2:22 “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them
that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
E. 1 Pet. 1:14 “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in
your ignorance:”
F. 1 Jn. 2:15-16 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the
world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh,
and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
Among the error of CCM, is that the world is sanitized, or made acceptable. The “anti-world” Bible texts
are explained away. Current mainstream evangelical Christianity interprets these verses in a narrow
sense, and then opens up a myriad of comfortable, or lesser or seemingly excusable liberties.
1 Jn. 5:19 “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” (the world =
institution, or society). “lieth” means made or under the power, “in wickedness” – Satan orchestrates the
culture of the world, the anti-God philosophy, false doctrines.
What is worldliness? The promotion of sin, and sinful practices, and behaviour, sinful philosophy.
Worldliness is friendship with the world as it promotes godlessness. The world is a carefully crafted
institution that tempts or entices you to sin, in a gentle way, or subtle way. The world surrounds us with
temptation to sin. The idea is that the world culture and entertainments and music will slowly infiltrate
you, little by little, and then before you know it, you are trapped, or ensnared. The world is an organized
system organized by Satan to bring people to sin.
A. 2 Cor. 4:3 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (4) In whom the god of this
world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of
Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
B. Rev. 12:9 “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan,
which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out
with him.”
Our responsibility is to watch out for the snares of the world as designed by Satan.

We cannot borrow from the world-system without being affected by worldliness. Worldy music and
vocal manipulation or techniques which are utilized in performances do not belong in ministry.
C. Jn. 17:9 “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for
they are thine.” (v. 14) “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because
they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (v.15) “I pray not that thou shouldest
take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” (v.16) “They are
not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”
D. Gal. 1:4 “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world,
according to the will of God and our Father:”
E. Eph. 2:2-3 “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to
the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
(3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling
the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
F. James 4:4 “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is
enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
What do you think God thinks about people who are friends with a system or society
that is against God?
How can God bless you when you are shaking hands with the world-system?
Many professing Christians have a hard time distinguishing the kingdom of God, and the world-system.
But to be sure, worldliness is using any element of the world-system that is against God, and opposed to
The Bible asserts that sinful communications (including bad music) corrupts.
A. 1 Cor. 15:33 “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” There is such a
thing as “evil communications.” There is a result that takes place when we don’t get rid of evil
communications – the corrupt.
B. Eph. 4:29 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good
to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” The Bible assumes that we
can identify corrupt communication.
If there are good words, and bad words, then it goes without saying that there are good songs, and bad
songs. There is then such a thing as good music and bad music.
Music has the power to color or reinforce the words or lyrics, or it can contradict them. When it comes to
a head, the music over takes the lyrics or in other words, the music presides. The lyrics lose their influence
against the power of the music. The message of the music drowns out the poetry or words however sound
or good or truthful the doctrines are conveyed.

The Bible warns us about worldy entertainment:
A. James 4:3 “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your
B. 2 Tim. 3:1-4 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2) For men shall
be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents,
unthankful, unholy, (3) Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent,
fierce, despisers of those that are good, (4) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more
than lovers of God;
1. The prevailing thought behind CCM/CW is that anything we offer to the Lord is acceptable to Him.
(Any musical offering or style is okay). This isn’t true. Many examples could be furnished: Cain and
Abel, Nadab and Abihu, etc.
2. There’s a lot of talk of His grace and glory but it isn’t matched by a commensurate practice and
gracious nor glorious behaviour.
3. When worldliness is excused, and utilized, it dulls our discernment, and it pollutes our offerings.
4. There is a great sin of presumption when a musical style that is on purpose promoting filthiness
of the flesh and of the spirit is thought to be sanitized, and then presented to God as worship, this
is sin.
A. Do we listen to this kind of music?
B. Are we fans of these performers?
C. Are we addicted to bad music?
5. We want to be vigilant in this area.
A. Do we engender commitment upon those who we seek to disciple?
B. And if we are committed, are we committed for what we could gain for ourselves?
6. We want to encourage those who are gifted in the area of music to draw closer to God, and be
godly so that they can encourage us to become godly, too, and as they aid us in our worship of
7. We want to bring offerings and sacrifices of praise unto God that is unpolluted by the world.
8. We want to praise God in a manner that reflects God’s holiness.
9. We want God to bless us and strengthen us as we seek to worship Him.
10. We desire music that will bless the Lord, and build us up in our most holy faith.

Book recommendations on the music issue:
Aniol, Scott. Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World. Forth Worth, TX.
Religious Affections Ministries, 2010.
Aniol, Scott. Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship. Winona Lake, IN.
BMH Books, 2009.
Blanchard, John. Pop Goes the Gospel. Reading, England. Evangelical Press, 1992.
Brandenburg, Kent. Sound Music or Sounding Brass: The Issue of Biblically Godly Music. Bloomington, IN.
Xlibris Corp, 2001.
Cloud, David. Baptist Music Wars. Port Huron, MI. Way of Life Publishers, 2014.
Cloud, David. Directory of Contemporary Worship Musicians. Port Huron, MI. Way of Life Publishers, 2015.
Fisher, Tim. Harmony At Home: Straight Answers to Help You Build Healthy Music Standards. Greenville,
SC. SMS Publishers, 1999.
Fisher, Tim. The Battle for Christian Music, Second Edition. Greenville, SC. SMS Publishers, 1992.
Garlock, Frank and Kurt Woetzel. Music In the Balance. Greenville, SC. Majesty Music, 1992.
Johansson, Calvin. Music and Ministry: A Biblical Counterpoint. Peabody, MA. Hendrickson Publishers, 2nd
Edition, June 1998.
Lucarini, Dan. It’s Not About the Music: A Journey into Worship. Wyoming, MI. Evangelical Press, 2010.
Lucarini, Dan. Why I Left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement: Confessions of a Former Worship
Leader. Wyoming, MI. Evangelical Press, 2002.
Makujina, John. Measuring the Music: Another Look at the Contemporary Christian Music Debate. Willow
Street, PA. Old Paths Publishers, 2002.
Smith, Kimberly. Let Those Who Have Ears to Hear: If They Took the Music Away, Would You Still Follow
Jesus? Enumclaw, WA. Capella Books, 2001.
Smith, Kimberly and Lee Smith. Oh Be Careful Little Ears: Contemporary Christian Music, Is That In the
Bible? Enumclaw, WA. Wine Press Publishing, 3rd Printing, 2004.