Christian rock exposed
Many Christians affirm that rock music (as well as other kinds of contemporary music, such as rap and disco) must be used to reach the lost with the Gospel, that is to say, they affirm that rock music is a means of communicating the Gospel to the young people who do not know God so that they might be saved. Those who affirm this usually cite the following words of Paul: “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law: to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:19-22 – NKJV). According to them, therefore, the Scripture allows a Christian to play rock music in order to win people to Christ! Moreover, rock music can be played to praise and glorify the Lord! The reason why they affirm this is that they believe that any style of music is acceptable to carry the message of the cross to the lost and to glorify Jesus Christ. Here is the Christian Rocker’s Creed as it was published in the popular CCM Magazine: “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 forth from man is but one evidence of the boundless creativity of our Heavenly Father” (CCM Magazine, November 1988, p. 12). Furthermore, note the following statements from the CCM crowd: ‘There is no such thing as ‘gospel music.’ Every style and form of music can become gospel, whether it’s jazz, pop, rock ‘n’ roll, or rap’ (Don Butler, Gospel Music Association, Inhouse Music, March/April 1991, p. 27); ‘There’s no such thing as Christian music. That’s because all kinds of music are capable of expressing Christian thought. It’s not the music that’s Christian, it’s the lyrics” (John Styll, “What Makes Music Christian,” CCM Magazine, June 1991, p. 22; reprinted from the April 1987 issue; Styll [1952-] is the Founder and Executive Editor of CCM Magazine and President of the Gospel Music Association); ‘I believe music, in itself, is a neutral force’ (Keith Green, Can God Use Rock Music?); ‘Music per se … can be considered morally neutral–it is neither sinful nor holy. Its morality is determined by the use to which it is put’ (David Scheer, PG: A Parental Guide to Rock, p. 167); ‘We take the music of the street and apply Christian lyrics to it’ (Billy Ray Hearn, owner of Sparrow Records and creator of ABC’s Myrrh label, cited by Ric Llewellyn, “Christian Rock,” Foundation, Vol. VI, Issue 2, 1985, p. 16); ‘We need to know rock ‘n’ roll. We need to know the gentleness of a folk tune. We need to know the majesty of Handel’s Messiah. We need to know the awesome reverence of the Gregorian chant’ (John Michael Talbot, CCM Magazine, July 1998, p. 28); ‘We’re like Billy Graham with guitars, basically … rock and roll is neutral. It depends on the spirit’ (Michael Bloodgood, Duluth News Tribune, October 9, 1987, p. 1C); ‘Music is not good or evil because of the formation of the notes or the structure of the beat. Music is good because the heart of the person playing it is innocently and sincerely giving praise to our God’ (Mylon LeFevre, cited by Jeff Godwin, What’s Wrong with Christian Rock?, p. 122); ‘…music is just music. It’s the message that’s important’ (Mylon LeFevre, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle, Washington, Oct. 11, 1984); ‘God is the King of Soul; He’s the King of all rhythm’ (Phil Driscoll, cited by Tim Fisher, Battle for Christian Music, p. 82); ‘There’s no such thing as Christian music. Music is generic’ (Chris Christian, cited by Kit Frieden, “Christian Music Guru Says There’s ‘No Such Thing,’” The Patriot, Harrisburg, Penn., Nov. 29, 1986); ‘God gave rock and roll to you/ Put it in the soul of every one/ If you love the sound/ Then don’t forget the source’ (“God Gave Rock and Roll,” Petra); ‘All music was His to begin with and He’ll use any medium necessary to convey this message’ (Editorial in the Christian rock magazine Take a Stand, July 1987); ‘… rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t have a conscience of its own. It was the people who were playing it’ (Randy Stonehill, cited by Chris Willman, “Randy Stonehill: Turning Twenty,” CCM Magazine, August 1990); ‘The problem, essentially, is there is no such thing as ‘Christian music.’ There is only music and what it’s about. … Every genre, every style, every media needs to be claimed–or reclaimed–to glorify God’ (Chris Well, 7Ball, July-August 1998, p. 66; Well is Editor in Chief of 7Ball, a bimonthly publication which reports on alternative rock Christian music, such as metal, punk, rap, and ska); ‘We believe all music comes from God, and that liberates us to express ourselves in a wider range of artistic expression than some others’ (Bebe Winans, CCM Magazine, Feb. 1989, p. 21); ‘There is nothing un- or anti-Christian about any kind of music’ (Best, Music Through the Eyes of Faith, p. 52; Best is dean of the conservatory of music at Wheaton College); ‘Using WHAT IS NEUTRAL in a society as a vehicle for the gospel is not only acceptable; it is sound missionary strategy’ (Steve Miller, The Contemporary Christian Music Debate, p. 49).
First of all, let me say that I also have thought for a certain period of time of my new life in Christ that rock music can be used to reach the lost, for after I got saved in 1983 (at that time I was about 19 years old) I listened to the so called Christian rock music played by some ‘Christian’ groups (such as Jerusalem, Resurrection Band, and others) for about two years. I became acquainted with the so called Christian rock music during my second stay in England (January-July 1984). For in Italy at that time there was no ‘Christian rock music.’ I liked that kind of music and I thought that it could be really used to reach the young people with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have to confess that at the time I could not help listening to the so called Christian rock music. I even tried to persuade my father, my grandmother and other Christians to accept this kind of music as a means of reaching the young people with the message of the cross, but without success. I remember that at that time when I would evangelize the lost I used to speak also about some ‘Christian’ rock stars and I even made them listen to some of their songs, even though they did not understand English or they understood just a few English words. I thought: ‘In this way they will feel attracted to the Gospel and accept it!’ I was sincere, I really wanted to win them to Christ, and I was ready to speak also about the so called Christian rock music in order to persuade young people to accept Christ in their life. I advocated the so called Christian rock concerts, I myself attended one of these concerts while I was in England during my second stay. To me at that time there was nothing wrong with this kind of music; I mean in my opinion at that time rock music (as well as other kinds of modern forms of music) was an efficacious means of drawing the lost to the worship places or to some other places (parks, streets, squares, stadiums, theatres, auditoriums, etc.) in order to let them hear about Jesus. I was convinced that as long as a song contained the message of salvation, a Christian could play rock music to convey this message to the lost. It goes without saying that in my opinion rock music could be used also to praise the Lord, so a Christian singer could praise the Lord even playing rock music. So a Christian could listen to such songs for their words were addressed to God! But I was mistaken. You may ask me now: ‘How did you come to the conclusion that a Christian must not play nor listen to the so called Christian rock music?’ I came to this conclusion praying to the Lord, searching the Scriptures, and pursuing holiness.
Now I am going to explain to you why rock music must be rejected, and thus every Christian must not play or listen to it.
Rock music is rooted in occultism
Rock music is rooted in occultism for it originated in the African jungle among people who were devoted to voodoo and witchcraft. The medicine man (or priest or sorcerer) was the chief musician also, and it used the music to get the tribesmen into contact with the gods to drive the evil spirits away or to attract the favour of the good gods. The way he used music to get his tribesmen into contact with the gods was through the beat. By means of the music, the tribesmen were worked into a craze, a frenzy, and were able to hear voices of the spirits, see what they otherwise did not see, and do what they otherwise could not do. Obviously we know that those gods evoked by the medicine man actually were demons or evil spirits. Then in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the negros who were captured from Africa for slavery in America took with them their religion, and with it also the music used by them in their homeland to contact demons. The occult origins of this kind of music is confirmed not only by the fact that it is an extremely violent style of music which incites the listeners to be violent, merciless, arrogant, to take drugs, to fornicate, to rebel against the governing authorities, to hate Jesus Christ and His teachings, etc., but also by the fact that many of the so called rock stars are devoted to occultism or have something to do with it and have dedicated directly or indirectly some of their songs to the devil (for instance, the Rolling Stones’ song titled ‘Sympathy for the Devil,’ and the Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ are songs which have undoubtedly occult origins), who is the originator of this kind of music which attracts so many young people. Even some unsaved rock musicians and researches have confirmed the connection between rock music and the occult. Newsweek magazine noted the African and voodoo music connection in disco rock: “From Latin music, it takes the percolating percussion, its sensuous, throbbing rhythms; from Afro and Cuban music, it repeats simple lyric lines like voodoo chants” (Newsweek, April 2, 1979, pp. 58,59). Rock artist Peter Gabriel has no doubt that there is a direct African connection to rock & roll: ‘There are things like the bo diddley rhythm that i’ve heard beat-for-beat in congolese patterns. Part of what we consider our fundamental rock and roll heritage originated in Africa. Period’ (Peter Gabriel, interview with Timothy White, 1986, Rock Lives, p. 720). In his book Rock and Roll an Unruly History, Robert Palmer, noted rock music critic and historian, is forthright about the direct connection between voodoo and rock music: ‘Bata drums [drums used in voodoo], sacred to the Yoruba people of Nigeria and Cuba: Their push and pull provided a template for the inner rhythms of rock and roll. …. The idea that certain rhythm patterns or sequences serve as conduits for spiritual energies, linking individual human consciousness with the gods, is basic to traditional African religions, and to African-derived religions throughout the Americas. And whether we’re speaking historically or musicologically, the fundamental riffs, licks, bass figures, and drum rhythms that make rock and roll can ultimately be traced back to African music of a primarily spiritual or ritual nature. In a sense, rock and roll is a kind of ‘voodoo,’ rooted in a vigorous tradition of celebrating nature and spirit that’s far removed from the sober patriarchal values espoused by the self-appointed guardians of western culture. . . … Bata drummers tap out their toques, or rhythm patterns, like signals to the realm of the gods, inviting and enticing them to come on down and mount or possess their horses, or devotees. . .The specific drum patterns or toques include some riffs and licks basic to the rock and roll vocabulary.” (Robert Palmer, Rock & Roll, An Unruly History, Harmony Books, New York, 1995 p. 46, 53, 62). Little Richard, one of the rock’s fathers, has also testified of this connection: ‘My true belief about Rock ‘n’ Roll–and there have been a lot of phrases attributed to me over the years–is this: I believe this kind of music is demonic. … a lot of the beats in music today are taken from voodoo, from the voodoo drums. If you study music in rhythms, like I have, you’ll see that is true … I believe that kind of music is driving people from Christ. It is contagious” (Little Richard, quoted by Charles White, The Life and Times of Little Richard, p. 197). John Lennon said rock & roll gets through to people because of its voodoo beat: “Because it is primitive enough and has no bull, really, the best stuff, and it gets through to you its beat. Go to the jungle and they have the rhythm and it goes throughout the world and it’s as simple as that” (Lennon, Rolling Stone, Feb. 12, 1976, p 100). Tony Sanchez, who travelled with the Stones for many years and who wrote a book about them, described the music at their infamous concert at Altamonte, during which many people were injured and killed, as “pounding voodoo drumming and primitive shrieks” (Sanchez, Up and Down with the Rolling Stones, p. 184). He described the music of the Rolling Stones song ‘Gimme Shelter’ as ‘hypnotic, voodoo rhythm’ (Sanchez, p. 175). David Byrne of Talking Heads produced a documentary film, The House of Life (1981), on the drumming and chanting rituals of the african-rooted religion candomble in Brazil, during which the followers are taken over by their gods. “If you go back in the history of American popular music, you’re constantly finding elements of Yoruba [voodoo] influence. The rhythms are there – Even Little Richard. If you grow up with that, you’ve already got a taste of it. So when you see Candomble, you say to yourself, ‘hey, this is part of where it all comes from’” (Byrne, Rolling Stone, July 13-27, 1989, p. 78). David Szatmary’s book A Time to Rock: A Social History of Rock ‘n’ Roll traces rock to African rhythms. Under the section on ‘the Birth of the Blues,’ this secular rock historian says: “The blues were an indigenous creation of black slaves who adapted their african musical heritage to the american environment. Though taking many forms and undergoing many permutations through the years, the blues formed the basis of rock-and-roll. · Probably most important, the slaves, accustomed to dancing and singing to the beat of drums in Africa, emphasized rhythm over harmony” (p. 2). Mickey Hart, drummer for the Grateful Dead, has studied the connection between rock music and African paganism extensively. He says that rock and roll is “the latest extension of the African backbeat” (Mickey Hart, Drumming at the Edge of Magic, p. 64). He also says that the “mother rhythms from West Africa mutated into rock and roll” (p. 91). He traces a direct connection between rock & roll and the rhythms of witch doctors and voodoo practitioners. “· when the slave ships began playing the waters between the New World and West Africa, everyone though they carried just strong, expendable bodies. But they were also carrying the Counterplayer culture–maybe even the mother goddess culture–preserved in the form of drum rhythms that could call down the Orisha from their time to ours. In the Caribbean and South America, slaves were allowed to keep their drums and thus preserved their vital connection with the Orisha, though the sudden mingling of so many different tribes produced new variations like candomble, santeria, and vodun. · and out of this severing came jazz, the blues, the backbeat, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll — some of the most powerful rhythms on the planet. · It is hard to pinpoint the exact moment when I awoke to the fact that my tradition–rock and roll–did have a spirit side, that there was a branch of the family that had maintained the ancient connection between the drum and the gods” (Mickey Hart, drummer for the Grateful Dead, Drumming at the Edge of Magic, pp. 209,210,212). It is evident, therefore, that since this kind of music has occult origins it is a work of darkness, and thus we as sons of God must have nothing to do with it, as it is written: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11 – NKJV).
Rock music has harmful effects on those who play and listen to it
Rock music has harmful effects on those who play or listen to it. For this kind of music encourages people to rebel against the governing authorities appointed by God, to give themselves over to illicit sex (fornication, adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism), to strip off, to blaspheme the name of God, to practice occultism, to get drunk, to take drugs, to hate their neighbour, to beat and kill other people, to mention just some of the bad things it encourages to do. Here in Italy there is a well-known rock star, named Vasco Rossi, who many years ago recorded a song whose title was ‘Voglio una vita spericolata’, which means ‘I want to live in the fast lane,’ and which was a great success at the time, and which is still loved by many young people. The lyrics of this song says among other things, ‘Voglio una vita piena di guai’, that is, ‘I want a life full of troubles’. You may say, ‘Not all the lyrics of the rock songs urges people to live a life full of troubles!’ Well, my answer is that even though not all the lyrics of the rock songs urges people to get drunk, to take drugs, to fornicate, and so on, all of them somehow convey a wrong message, for the rock music itself conveys a wrong message to the hearers. Let me give you an example: consider any rock song played by a famous rock band, which is played only with instruments without any words, does it convey a message such as ‘be humble’, or ‘turn the other cheek’, or ‘be holy,’ or ‘seek righteousness’? I don’t think so. It seems to me that rock music – even if it is played with instruments only – conveys the following messages: ‘Be arrogant’, ‘be violent,’ ‘do whatever you like,’ and so on. That’s why rock music can’t accompany holy and righteous words, for rock music in itself is evil. We can’t mix Christian lyrics and rock music, for we can’t mix holy words and unholy melodies. So, no matter if the lyrics of the rock songs contain bad words or not, incite people to revolt or not, the music itself conveys a bad and wrong message to the hearers. We can compare rock music to a bad tree that brings bad fruits. This is confirmed by the conduct displayed by the rock bands and by those who attend rock concerts. They are carnally minded, for they set their minds on the things of the flesh. You can really find all kinds of perverse and rebellious people among them. Therefore we, who are the temple of the Holy Spirit and are led by the Holy Spirit, must not play or listen to this diabolic style of music, which encourages people to live according to the flesh. The Scripture says: “If you live according to the flesh you will die” (Romans 8:13 – NKJV), so we can’t love or use something whose purpose is to lure Christians into doing what is contrary to the Word of God and thus to kill them spiritually. In other words, we can’t love or use a kind of music that incites people to rebel against God.
Music is not neutral
In the light of what I have said so far, therefore, it is obvious that the statement according to which music is neutral is untrue, for rock music is not neutral at all. Anyone who has attended a rock concert cannot deny that the atmosphere that this kind of music creates in the stadium or in the auditorium where the concert is held is not a holy atmosphere but on the contrary an atmosphere that encourages people to get drunk, to be violent, to move sensually, to speak bad words, to fornicate, to commit adultery, and so on, which are all works of the flesh that we as sons of God must hate and flee. Yes, rock music creates a sinful atmosphere, just as other kinds of music. Have you ever wondered why the owner of a tavern or a night club chooses a certain kind of music, which appeals to the fleshly lusts? Have you ever wondered why movie makers decide to accompany each scene of their films with a certain kind of music which is different depending on the scene? Have you ever wondered why advertisers use a certain kind of music rather than another to promote certain products? The answer to these questions is the same: because music is not neutral but is able to create the right atmosphere or to have the right psychological effects on those who listen to it. I am surprised to see that many Christians do not realize this. Listen, you who think that music is neutral: let us suppose you are praying to God in your bedroom, and suddenly you hear someone play a heavy metal song, would you not be disturbed by that music? I am sure, you would. However, let us suppose that while you are praying to God in your bedroom you hear someone play ‘Oh Great Thou art’ or ‘Amazing Grace’ or ‘El Shadday,’ would you be disturbed? Not at all. Why? Because the kind of music which accompanies these songs does not lust against the Spirit, but rather it encourages the Holy Spirit activity. That’s why if someone plays one of the above mentioned songs while all the members of a Church are praying with a low voice to God, the spiritual atmosphere is not disturbed at all. Likewise, if someone is in a night club, and suddenly someone begins to play ‘Amazing Grace’ in the night club, he will feel greatly disturbed by that song; not only by the lyrics, but also by the type of music that accompanies the words of that song. Why? Because the music of ‘Amazing Grace’ creates an atmosphere that is not fit for a night club. That’s why the owner of a night club chooses certain kinds of music, which minister to the carnal side of man, so that those who attend that place may feel at ease while they stay in that sinful place.
What kind of music should accompany Christian songs
Having demonstrated that rock music is just one of the fleshly types of music existing in this world of darkness, and therefore it is not fit at all for accompanying Christian songs, let me tell you what kind of music Christians must play and listen to. First of all I want to remind you that a Christian is a person who belongs to Christ, and the Scripture affirms that “those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24 – NKJV) for they died with Christ to sin, that is to say, their old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that they should no longer be slaves of sin (cf. Romans 6:6). This is why Paul says that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17 – NKJV), for a Christian is no longer a carnal person who walks according to the passions and desires of the flesh, but a new person, a spiritual person, who walks according to new passions and desires, which are holy and right for they are produced in him by the Holy Spirit of God. In other words, a Christian is someone who walks in the Spirit and not in the flesh – he is a spiritual person and not a carnal person – for the Spirit who dwells in him prompts him to think, to dress, to talk, to behave in a completely different way, which is holy. A Christian knows that he no longer belongs to this wicked world, for the Lord has rescued him from it through the blood of Jesus Christ and so now, since he belongs to Christ, he must not love the world or the things in the world, for – as John says – “all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:16 – NKJV). As a consequence, he must not play or listen to all those kinds of music which appeal to the fleshly lusts and try to arouse them, and among these kinds of music are rock, disco, rap and many others, for all of them prompt the listeners to move sensually, to think evil thoughts, to fornicate and so on, that is to say, to do things which are hostile to the Holy Spirit. So what kind of songs should a Christian play or listen to? A Christian must play and hear only spiritual songs, that is, songs whose lyrics and melodies are spiritual, for the Scripture says: “… be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:18-19), and again: “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” (Colossians 3:16). In the light of the Scripture, therefore, the music which accompanies the Christian songs must create a holy atmosphere, that is to say, a wholesome spiritual atmosphere that encourages the Holy Spirit activity. Let me explain to you what I mean. All the saints who are gathered in the place of worship, when they sing a song to the Lord or hear someone sing a song, should be prompted to reflect on the love of God which He manifested toward us by sending Jesus into this world to atone for our sins, on His power, on His faithfulness, on His greatness, and so on; they should be prompted to praise and thank Him all the more, they should be prompted to rejoice in the Lord, they should be encouraged to follow the Lord, they should feel strengthened in the inner man, and to ask God to forgive them of their sins. As for the unbelievers who happen to be in the place of worship and listen to a song, they should perceive that they are in the midst of the Church of the Living God. In other words, unbelievers should feel the presence of God in a place of worship also through the music which is played by the saints there. What I mean is this: just as a believer, who walks according to the Spirit, perceives that demons are present in a place where rock or disco music is played, so sinners should realize that God is present in a certain place also through the music that is played in that place. Through the music played there they should perceive a holy and spiritual atmosphere, they should be encouraged to ask God to forgive their sins, they should not be at their ease till they repent of their sins and believe in the Gospel.
Further proof that confirms that music is not neutral
That music is not neutral is evident also from the following incidents recorded in the Bible.
“And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him” (1 Samuel 16:23). Note that when David played the harp, Saul was refreshed and well, and the evil spirit departed from him.
“And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, The king of Moab hath rebelled against me: wilt thou go with me against Moab to battle? And he said, I will go up: I am as thou art, my people as thy people, and my horses as thy horses. And he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom. So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom: and they fetched a compass of seven days’ journey: and there was no water for the host, and for the cattle that followed them. And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab! But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may enquire of the LORD by him? And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah. And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the LORD is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him. And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab. And 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. But now bring me a minstrel [the NIV reads ‘an harpist’]. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches. For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand. And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones. And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.” (2 Kings 3:7-20). Have you noticed that the prophet Elisha asked that a harpist should be brought to him? Why a harpist? Well, I think it was because according to the prophet Elisha the sound of a harp was able to create the right atmosphere in that moment.
Please notice that in both cases when the harp was played a good thing took place; when David played his harp king Saul would feel better and the evil spirit would leave him; while when the harpist played in the presence of the prophet Elisha it came to pass that the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha and he spoke from the Lord.
In the light of these two incidents recorded in the Bible, we should not be surprised therefore to find out that in heaven the musical instrument which is played is the harp, as it is written: “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelations 5:6-10), and again: “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest” (Revelations 15:2-4). The fact that in heaven both the living creatures and the elders, who are around the throne of God, have each a harp should lead each of us to reflect very seriously on the kind of music which should accompany Christian songs. Please do not misunderstand me, I am not saying that Christian songs can be accompanied only by the sound of a harp or that songs are spiritual only if they are accompanied with a harp, but I just want you to realize that not all kinds of music are fit for Christian songs.
There is no doubt that the harp creates a good atmosphere in the place where it is played and is fit for a holy meeting. Many years ago I saw a sister play the harp in a place of worship, and I still remember with pleasure the type of sound which her harp produced. It was as if the sound of that harp created an heavenly atmosphere. However, according to the Scripture, we are allowed to praise the Lord with other instruments, as it is written in the book of Psalms: “Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals” (Psalm 150:3-5 – NIV). So the harp is not the only instrument we are allowed to play to accompany the songs we sing to the Lord.
About the so called Christian rock artists and their music
I have proved that rock music is not fit for Christian songs for it is of the devil, therefore it must be rejected without hesitation. Now I want to say something about the so called Christian rock music and those who play it.
● ‘Christian’ rock artists affirm that they use rock music to evangelize the lost, that is to say, they affirm that rock music is a means of communicating the Gospel to the young people who do not know God so that they might be saved.
First of all, it must be said that according to the Scripture we cannot use an evil thing as a means of evangelizing the lost. The end does not justify the means. Just as we can’t use sex to reach the lost and win them to Christ – like the Children of God who, being perverted people who teach damnable heresies, practice the so called ‘flirty fishing’ -, or karate and some other martial arts – like some groups of young people who use martial arts to evangelize the lost -, for these means are wrong, so we can’t use a kind of music which is rooted in occultism to evangelize the lost in order to win them to Christ. Someone will say then: ‘Did not Paul say: ““For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win the Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law: to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:19-22 – NKJV)?’ Yes, he said these words, but he never meant by them that we are allowed to do evil that good may come, that is to say, he never meant that we are allowed to break the Word of God that we may win people to Christ. For Paul himself did not use evil means to evangelize the lost. Let me give you a few examples to explain to you this concept. Paul did not let his hair grow long like the hair of a woman, nor did he wear some earrings, in order to evangelize the effeminate or the sodomites or some other sinners! In other words, Paul did not decide to behave like a sinner or to look like a sinner in order to win the lost! Yet, this is what many so called Christian artists have actually decided to do, for they behave and dress like sinners! There are some male Christian artists who have long hair, wear earrings, live a sinful life, move sensually on the stage, etc. There are some female Christian artists who are dressed like prostitutes, they live a sinful life, on the stage they move sensually, etc. Now let us assume, for the sake of argument, that their purpose is to evangelize the lost; don’t you think that by dressing and living in that way they will cause people to stumble? That is to say, don’t you think that by their lifestyle they will keep sinners from turning from their evil ways to the Lord? Of course they will, for they do not conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel. They have conformed to the worldly lusts, so they are not light but rather darkness, and so sinners cannot see in them the light of the Lord, but they see the darkness of this wicked world. So, in the light of what the Scripture teaches, what these so called Christian artists are doing is to keep people from turning from their evil deeds. They claim to be Christians, but actually they refuse to follow Christ’s steps, they are rebellious, arrogant, they do not fear God. A Christian – no matter where he lives and what his job is – must act different and look different from the people of this world, for he is no longer part of this world. Paul said to the saints in Rome: “Do not be conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2 – NKJV), while the message which these so called Christian artists communicate to Christians through their acts and appearance is the opposite, that is, ‘Be conformed to this world’. So, it seems incredible yet it is true, on the one hand they affirm that through their music they want to evangelize the people of this world, but on the other hand through their lifestyle they show that they do not want people to be rescued from this wicked world. I firmly believe that these so called Christian rock artists do not evangelize the world, but rather they scandalize the world.
● ‘Christian’ rock artists affirm that they use music to reach the lost. However, according to the Scripture, the purpose of Christian music was never meant to evangelize the lost. The purpose of Christian music is to glorify God, to thank Him, to sing of His love, of His power, of His faithfulness. The Scripture says: “… be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:18-19), and again: “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” (Colossians 3:16), and again: “Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the assembly of saints” (Psalm 149:1 – NKJV), and also: ‘Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion!” (Psalm 9:11 – NKJV). God’s method of reaching the lost is the preaching of the Gospel of the grace of God. For Jesus, before He was taken up into heaven, said to the apostles: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature ….” (Mark 16:15 – NKJV). So we must reach the lost by preaching to them that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again for our justification, and by exhorting them to repent of their sins and to believe in Jesus Christ so that they may receive remission of sins and eternal life. That was the message which the apostles of the Lord preached to the lost in their days in order to win them to Christ, and they preached it with boldness, without fearing the reaction of sinners. However let us assume, for the sake of argument, that the so called Christian rock artists use music to evangelize the world, we should find in their songs the message of the Gospel, shouldn’t we? But we do not find it at all. Their message is vague, and very often meaningless. Even the name of Jesus Christ can’t be found in most of their songs; they have replaced it with the pronouns ‘he’, and ‘him.’ Why? Because rather than get their audience interested in God, they want their audience to get interested in their music and to buy their records. These people are trying to please men, rather than God. They are not serving God but their belly. Beware of them.
Brothers and sisters in the Lord, if you still listen to the so called Christian rock music, I urge you to stop listening to it immediately. If you have some records of these so called Christian rock bands, take them and break them into pieces and throw them away. Their music is a worldly music which is rooted in occultism, which appeals to fleshly lusts, and does not glorify God. They do not want their listeners to get interested in the things of God, but to buy their records. Know this, that there is no such thing as “Christian” rock music. Just as there is no such thing as “Christian adultery” or “Christian homosexuality”. If it is rock music is not Christian, and if it is Christian music is not rock.