Encouraging a higher standard for Christian music

C H A P T E R  S I X


“Looking at uncensored programs; listening to Hollywood’s dirty jokes; listening to old boogie-woogie music of the Devil that’s hatched out from men of ill fame and vile conscience – the Devil’s instruments, to inspire the works of the Devil.”24

The American teenagers’ love affair with Elvis Presley was uncontrollable and unstoppable. Most parents shuttered at the hip-grinding rebel who boldly inquired of their swooning daughters, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” But when the cherubic-faced choirboy turned to the adults and sang gospel favorites like “His Hand In Mine,” and “Peace In The Valley,” (selections from an album which still holds the record for the most weeks at the number-one spot in the United Kingdom)25 their perception of the “child corrupter” gradually began to change.

Undoubtedly, it was the trappings of Christianity that legitimized Elvis to the American public. The renegade turned-respectable King of Rock’n’Roll was even able to reach the pinnacle of social acceptability – a command performance before the President of the United States, Richard Nixon.

“What happened?  What happened is that we just got used to Elvis. The young people of the fifties grew up with him, and the older folks, after living with him for awhile, decided that he wasn’t so bad after all. Very rich and very famous, Elvis became a folk hero.”26

The kind of success that Elvis enjoyed has a tendency to make a person appear to be worthy of such greatness, but Elvis had not changed. No matter how much the spirit cloaked itself in gospel, the flesh remained pure rock’n’roll. It is generally acknowledged that  “rock’n’roll”  is a long-standing black euphemism for sex, and with Elvis, “it was the aggressive, taunting sexual performance combined with the music which drove fans to hysteria.” 27

The religious Elvis was often quoted as saying, “God gave me a voice. If I turned against God I ’d be ruined.”

And yet, as Gary Herman points out in Rock’n’Roll Babylon, “ He also recognized the Devil’s part in his success, saying that ‘my voice is ordinary; if I stand still while I’m singing, I’m a dead man”’28

Other rock-n-roll performers took their cue from him. Pat Boone, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and a multitude more (many of them raised in Pentecostal churches) propagated the vulgarity that Elvis preached with the Judas-like deception born of religious delusion. And what it produced was a decade of spiritual schizophrenics, flip flopping between the pulpit and the stage.

For nearly a decade, rock-n-roll and Jesus were being weighed on the scale of financial profit, and in 1964 the results were made known. Jesus lost.

In April of 1964, a double-edged musical blitzkrieg from Great Britain invaded our shores. American rock’n’roll had been chewed, swallowed, and vomited back at us under a new name: Rock. It was like rock’n’roll, but this new sound paid no lip service to anything resembling Western religious tradition. Instead, it came drenched in drugs and Eastern mysticism, and the deceptive seduction of rock’n’roll had to give way to the total, unconditional surrender which rock demanded.

The first wave, and perhaps the most influential of these invaders, was the four, cheeky, mop-heads with Limey accents that called themselves The Beatles. And along with their sassy new sound, they brought a new look. Perversion came out of the closet and became fashionable as millions rushed to adopt the longhaired look of these musical messiahs – a look that appropriately expressed their cynical response to all authority and tradition. Seemingly overnight, a mocking sort of nihilism became the trendy substitute for religion among the spoiled, confused, flower children the 60s had produced.

The Beatles’ music offered gleefully shaking heads and infectious wit rather than sex as bait. On the surface, at least, it appeared to be clever and even humorous. Few adults were aware of the content of the music, and most teenagers perceived the Beatles’ message only at subliminal levels. 29 In retrospect, media experts agree that the main contribution that the Beatles made to western society laid not so much in their music for music’s sake, but in music for the sake of the message it carried. And what was the message? Psychedelic drugs.

The Beatles certainly didn’t invent marijuana. Its use could be traced back to the shamanistic rituals of the American Indians and the whirling dervishes of ninth-century Persia. What they did was to culturally legitimize its use for the general population of the world. Marijuana expanded the limits of both the imagination and sensory perception, challenging the  user  to re-create the sounds and visions that “spun and fizzed and cascaded through the frontal lobes of their brain.”30 LSD went even further;  it eliminated all barriers between real and unreal, it was “the ground zero of chemically induced revelation.”31 Spirituality was a trip, and LSD was the sacrament of the new faith.

“Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that, I’m right and will be proved right. We[The Beatles] are more popular than Jesus Christ right now.  I don’t know which will go first, rock’n ’roll or Christianity.”John Lennon, lead singer for the Beatles; March 4, 1966 32

The second wave of the British invasion washed ashore in 1966, and when the tide receded, gone were music’s days of veiled sexual innuendo and carefully phrased allegories. The rock generation had arrived, and it was “time to tell it like it is – let it all hang out.” Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones did just that, and in the process he created a role model for rock stars that would endure for 25 years.

A performance by the Rolling Stones has always been a macabre mixture of sexual debauchery, sadistic violence, Satanism and drugs. Most revealing is the fact that the violence that has become an intrinsic part of every concert is no accident, but a natural result of the music and the way it is played.

In his book The Music of Man, noted musician and historian, Yehudi Menuhin describes a Stones concert as follows: “I heard what sounded to me like a premonition of hell… Of notes, pitches, musical design, I could distinguish little… Under such overpowering circumstances, I understood how deliberately the whole madness is engineered. It aims to numb all awarenesses, to leave no choice but to surrender and participate … The Rolling Stones are trying desperately to generate and liberate emotion, but as they know little of those disciplines and structures through which emotions are transformed into art, they can only generate hysteria. Their music is more like the elimination of structure, dissolving everything back to crude clay.”33

Eager to give credit where credit was due, in December of 1968 the Stones released a record titled “Sympathy For The Devil” – a descent into the feverish world of voodoo devils, hallucinogenic images, and pounding rhythms. It was not music. It was cacophony – a screaming banshee bent on inciting death and destruction. During one memorable performance, as lead singer, Mick Jagger, pranced on stage in his Lucifer-in-the-flesh persona, suddenly the drug-crazed mob erupted into a killing rage. Within minutes, five people were dead, including one man that had been stabbed and beaten with chains while Jagger watched from the stage, just a few feet a way.  It was as if  “…the Rolling Stones had OD’d [overdosed] on a massive dose of their own medicine.”34

Satan had boldly shown his face and made his demands, and, like lemmings, the rock performers complied. They were victims of their own greedy lifestyles. Spurred on by a lust for more fame, power, and wealth, they openly declared their allegiance to the Devil in the music they performed. And where they led, young people followed. Innocent, curious, naive teenagers stopped to listen, and Lucifer did the rest.35

In 1971, musicologist Frank Garlock, a professor at Bob Jones University, wrote: “All one needs to do is to make a trip to the places where rock’n’roll has its roots (Africa, South America, and India) and observe the ceremonies which often go along with this kind of music – voodoo rituals, sex orgies, human sacrifice, and devil worship – to know the direction in which we as a nation are headed.”36

How right he was! By the mid 70s the music charts made it perfectly clear that, in America, Satanism was selling very well indeed.

Editors note:
Taken from the magazine ONLY BELIEVE (no longer in publication). The regression of music amongst our churches is a cancer which, if not properly dealt with, will suck the true Life out of The Church. This downward spiral is caused by a lack of discernment and a general lowering of standards by a generation wanting something new and different rather than stand fast, and hold to what is tried and true, proven, and right. Many have failed to heed the warning expressed in this article. Innumerable groups, bands, and various musical artists spawned forth since Brother and Sister Smith published this article in December 1991, [Vol. 4, No 3].  No doubt the Christian artists she names here gave birth to groups like: MercyMe,KutlessNewSongSidewalk prophets The David Crowder band,Casting CrownsJeremy Camp, and Third Day to name a few. If Brother Branham called people like Pat Boone, modern day Judases, obviously these are too. What kind of person feeds off these groups, and promotes their demonic inspired lyrics and music within our churches? I pray this article will help someone. (the pictures are mine) – [DM – discerningMusic]



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