Overview and Purpose
This chapter is designed to BIBLICALLY defend Christian music (particularly rock) as well as set a biblical standard for music of any kind. This is NOT copyrighted and is designed as a resource for research or something to be used in debates or as handouts. So feel free to print it out.
I have come to the conclusion that full fledged Christian rock would not be appropriate for worship in a church setting but do feel that certain contemporary Christian music is appropriate. Please see other chapters for more information regarding that issue.
However, I believe there is a time and a place for everything including Christian rock music. There can be a striking difference between what one worships to or what one does in worship and what one views as personal enjoyment or "entertainment" with the latter still being morally correct.
One would not play baseball during worship but I do not believe it is wrong morally as long as it is done at the right place and during the right time. Miriam, David etc. also danced etc. when not directly in the Lord's house but it was not considered wrong. What I am trying to say is that entertainment given the right circumstances isn't wrong and that's the purpose of this chapter.
Resisting Knowledge, A Sin in Itself
Isaiah 5:20 says "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil..." I know this goes both ways and that's what we are here to find out. Philippians 3:16 tells us, "Only let us live up to what we have already attained." The act of formulating an opinion without listening to the defense (all the evidence) is called prejudice according to Webster's New World Dictionary. I hope you have at least sat down and took the time to pray and search the scriptures for your side let alone the other side. Proverbs 3:5 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." If there is knowledge out there and we willfully refuse to listen to it (like the papacy did to the reformers), not only will we be held accountable for it anyway but it is also called judging which besides resisting information, is a sin in itself. See also Proverbs 1:29-31 and 1 Thessalonians 5:21. Ignorance is not bliss! Leviticus 4:13.
Argument #1 - "A tool of the devil. They (the band) or the performers use it to brainwash people into evil. Satan will use anything to drag down God's people." - Throughout history, Satan has used, is using, and will use three ways to drag down Gods' people which we will examine. 1/ Perverting the gospel - This can be done with false doctrine or the truth as it is in Christ. Read Galatians 1:6, 7; 3:1-3. The genuine Christian rock bands in no way pervert the gospel in their lyrics. 2/ Love of the world (2 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 2:15-17). The world is full of attractions which Satan uses to allure the believer. E.g Money, materialism, position etc. The genuine Christian bands actually have songs that are a call to come out of the world. The genuine musicians themselves also live separate from the world which I will prove later on. 3/ Persecution - 2 Timothy 3:12 tells us"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." You will be surprised to know that one of these Christian rock bands called Mortification has actually received death threats from some of the secular heavy metal bands (See HM magazine, issue #63, pg.8). If that is not persecution I don't know what is. And a lot of the other bands and musicians face tremendous persecution. Another example is Ken Tamplin. He had a very large deal in Europe with a well-known major label that eventually fell through when they found out he is a Christian. They were already in their third draft of the contract and were negotiating. They said they didn't want what they called 'white metal.' He said it is very discouraging. (See HM magazine, issue #43, pg. 8). If these Christian rock bands are "a tool from Satan" why would he be against himself? Christ said it himself in Matthew 12:26, "If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?" Those are Jesus' words not mine. Now whatever scripture you use to describe Satan dragging people down (even the infamous "angel of light"), it has to be in one or more of these three ways which I have just successfully defended.
Argument #2 - "The lyrics are good but the music isn't from God (the beat). Rock N' Roll is completely of the Devil and makes people do lustful moves and dances." - Do you realize that some of the hymns we sing in church actually have the same and in some cases a faster tempo than some Christian rock songs? The only difference is that the guitar sounds different than the piano and that it is accompanied by percussion. Percussion as well as stringed instruments are mentioned in the Bible. Psalm 81:2; 92:3 NIV. They definitely didn't have organs (the word organ in the Bible as in Psalm 150 is actually "ugab" in Hebrew meaning pipe...poor translation) or pianos in Israel but why are they accepted in churches today? Isn't that blatant hypocrisy? It's one or the other! Rock music actually came from Gospel music. It is people like Elvis Presley who got a hold of it first and ruined it. If it would have started with the Christian lyrics in the first place we wouldn't have these pre-conceived ideas. People who listened to secular rock became converted and they said they hated to see Satan use the musical style that they like for his purposes. The Bible speaks of joyfully praising (even shouting) and lifting Him up with music period. Read Psalm 95:1, 2. There is no Biblical evidence to prove that music itself apart from the lyrics is wrong. When Paul talks about music in Colossians 3:16 you will notice that he focuses primarily on the words with the music being secondary. You will also notice that he just doesn't recommend hymns but other types of praise music including spiritual songs. The Bible even stresses that it is OK to write new songs! See Psalm 98:1; 149:1. There is a lot of Biblical evidence to prove that music with non-Christian lyrics is wrong though. I don't have to give texts for that now do I? Whether people like it or not, it mostly boils down to the fact that the person personally doesn't like the music (although not in all cases...it is deception in some) and is using the Bible (or trying to) as a method of justifying their opinion. In most cases if the person was never converted to Christianity they probably still wouldn't have liked rock music in one form or another. I don't particularly like country music but I don't think it is morally wrong as long as the lyrics are Christian. God created us all with personal tastes. That's what makes our world exciting, it would be boring if everyone thought exactly the same. He made us unique so we shouldn't try and use the Bible to try and prove opinion and not fact. It's okay to have different personal tastes as long as our choices do not compromise with Scripture. Also, when we get a broader perspective of the Gospel we would find that not everybody comes to Christ in the same way. The apostle Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 9:20-23: "To the Jews I became a Jew" etc. (Look it up!) He talks about reaching them at their level although not compromising Biblical principles. Some also try and say that the only way to reach out to people is by preaching, not music, and they try and use the text 1 Corinthians 1:21 to explain it. While this is ONE way it is NOT the ONLY way! They forget the main ingredient...witnessing! Read 2 Corinthians 5:19. If it wasn't for witnessing as individuals we wouldn't get most of these people into church to hear these people preach! I realize back then most of them stood on street corners but today that's not always the case. We open doors by the examples we live, music included. Also, preaching doesn't have to include a lot of people to be preaching. Jesus said in Matthew 18:20, "For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them." The Bible states that God used preaching as ONE method, not the ONLY method. Just because John the baptist ate wild honey and locusts (Mark 1:6) in the Bible should everyone? I think you get the picture. Countless souls have been saved because of this (even preventing suicide). Would we rather not have these people saved at all? The vocal tracks on cassette tape and compact discs that some Christians have playing in the background while singing to in church and other places aren't exactly hymns either. They have drums, bass guitar, keyboards etc. They ARE the same instruments you know. You might be surprised to know that some of the instruments used for evil purposes in Daniel 3 are also recommended to praise God in Psalm 150. Are they Satanic? Sounds silly doesn't it? Saying that a heavy sounding guitar is Satanic doesn't make any sense. These bands also have their share of slow ballads too when the lyrics require it (when they pour out their heart to the Lord in humility).
As a side note, the only thing in that vein that I could possibly understand is that sometimes 'modern' worship services and/or Christian rock might tend to remind those of what they left. Then we should use tact. Just like you wouldn't set off 4th. of July fireworks around some war veterans...but it doesn't necessarily change what's right and/or wrong.
When you have hard rock songs about prophecy and the coming judgment as well as other relevant issues of today like child molestation, OF COURSE the music will reflect that message to further bring that point across! When John and Daniel saw these visions of judgment and war etc., they saw scary beasts and dragons! ... Not butterflies and bunny rabbits. The same also applies in reverse. Some of the lighter rock bands I listen to who sing about the love of Christ and the gospel tend to use lighter more peaceful rock to convey that message. Makes sense doesn't it? If the music isn't supposed to involve our emotions and convey the message and make us feel a certain way then what is it for? We might as well read poetry. Music can and should effect our mood and emotions as well. See 1 Samuel 16:15-17, 23. If you associate sex with Christian rock music (Christian, as the name implies), then it is obviously where your mind is already, your carnal mind that is. Get your mind out of the gutter! Why don't I and other people think of sex when we listen to it? The reason is that our thoughts are set on spiritual things by the renewing of our minds. Read Romans 12:2. It goes on to say that ONLY then will you be able to test what is the pleasing, good and perfect will of God...not before!
Some also try to state that if you even as much as tap your foot to the music it is of the flesh! That's very interesting. Let's examine it. If people do dance to it, if they have any fear of the Lord, they will dance to the Lord and not do lustful moves. This can also be said of any music. I've seen people dance to hymns also! Is it of the flesh? I will admit, I move my feet just as much to the hymns as I do to Christian rock songs. You could say that it is just my evil nature to move to the hymns and not the hymns themselves but the same could be said about Christian rock. Many prominent Bible Characters danced to the Lord and the Bible even gives instruction to do so. See Psalm 149 and 150. Was David, Miriam etc. deceived that whole time by dancing to fleshy music that was not even rock? Christian rock is the last thing (musical style) I would find lustful. Many people use Christian rock as a scapegoat to try and explain the perversions (among other things) in today's society when we should be focusing on the real issues that are to blame... sin, self and Satan, along with the things that go with it like television, New Age ideas and abortion just to name a few. Remember! Adam and Eve sinned BEFORE the beat of a drum...or the pluck of a guitar string for that matter! Read the account in Genesis. Satan will attempt to distract us as a church from the real issues destroying us and stir up issues which shouldn't present so much controversy in the first place. Sure Jesus called for division among brothers and sisters, but only when NECESSARY. A slow, undistorted rhythm can sound far more lustful than a heavy sounding guitar. Examples are country line dancing and X-rated pornographic films (not that I watch them). With that being said, are traditional hymns and choir music responsible in the Catholic church for alter boys being raped by priests? Come on! A lot of listeners to Christian rock go past superficial levels and actually appreciate the musicianship of the ones playing. A lot of these songs are actually hard to play whether someone realizes it or not. It's not true that all rock music is characterized by a strong repetitive beat and no melody. In the future I will post written guitar music for a Christian rock song showing that's not always the case. What one get's (or what one wants to get) out of a musical score is in the eye of the beholder. It's the lyrics that count!
Argument #3 - "Brings people into secular music" or "It's of the world" - We should not be afraid of people who listen to Christian rock turning to secular rock. You would have to question the person's relationship (personal relationship that is) with Jesus in the first place if they would be willing to "bridge" over to secular rock. We don't stop people from drinking grape juice because we are afraid they will drink fermented grape juice (wine). You would have to wonder about their relationship with Christ in the first place. In every case I have ever known (including myself) it was the other way around. Most people think that it is a real blessing to have music praising Christ in the musical style they enjoy and are comfortable with. Just picture what it would be like if you didn't have or couldn't find the Christian style you like and all there was Christian rock and then you finally find music you liked and then someone told you it was wrong just because they personally didn't like it (or were deceived) regardless of what the Bible says or even taking the time to investigate it.
It is also not fair to call Christian rock worldly or of the world. Modern things or modern technology are not wrong, it's how people use these things. Is it considered wrong to use satellite dishes because 1/ It wasn't invented for the purpose of saving souls and 2/ they show pornography on there? I don't think so. As a result of these dishes we are able to save people's eternal destiny through things like The Next Millenium Seminar, the largest satellite evangelistic campaign to date (as of 1998). Just because something isn't 400 years old doesn't mean it is of the world. That is why the Amish are the way they are. Music is the same. We are able to save souls because of modern music played through amplifiers and recorded in recording studios. Most modern technology can be used to uplift Christ in some way. Think of things like the Internet, V.C.R.'s and even cars. Just because those things were invented by secular society and not for uplifting Christ doesn't mean they are wrong or we can't use them for Biblical purposes. God uses bad things and turns them for good purposes. Read in Genesis how God used the selling of Joseph into slavery (bad thing) and turned it into a good thing by saving the nation of Egypt and his own family (Joseph's family) from famine. See also Philippians 1:19.
We also must take a FAIR look at history before we come to our own personal conclusions. You say that Christian rock is wrong because it was written after it's secular counterpart? Well I got news for you! So were a lot of the hymns! The music was written in the same style as the popular secular folk music of the day. And even worse, some were intentional pub tunes that just had the lyrics switched to Christian! Among them are "A Mighty Fortress" and "Side by Side" which are in BOTH in a lot of adult and youth hymnals! At least Christian rock was written with God in mind! Now don't you think if God can use these hymns for praising His name and for His purposes He can use Christian rock too? It is basically just history repeating itself. Most people look at history with blinders on and only see straight ahead when they should take their blinders off to see back down the side of the historical time line as well. Knowing these facts, are you willing to take your stand and give up hymns also? With God, it is ALL or NOTHING! Read James 4:17 and Matthew 12:30! NOTE: While there was a lot of 'unity' between the secular tunes of Luther's day and the spiritual ones it still doesn't totally negate the claim of being 'separate from the world.' Though I don't particularly agree with this a lot of Christian rock critics do therefore I thought it would be appropriate to bring up this point. And remember, that "a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?" 1 Corinthians 5:6.
you classify as being blessed by God.
But several hundred years ago, you called
them evil, but who was wrong? (By Deliverance)
"In most cases if the person was never converted to Christianity they probably still wouldn't have liked rock music in one form or another..."