Encouraging a higher standard for Christian music

“A THOUGHT-PROVOKING LOOK AT HUMANITY’S MOST INFLUENTIAL FORM OF EXPRESSION, MUSIC  – THE SOUND AND THE UNSOUND

MUSIC

THE SOUND

AND THE

UNSOUND

 

C H A P T E R  S E V E N

RAISING CAIN

“… they call in the spirit by the rhythm of the music.”37

Evil is contagious, and the wave of demonic spirits which The Beatles and The Rolling Stones unleashed in the 60s had become an unstoppable flood by the 70s. But that was nothing compared to the whirling maelstrom of the 80s as rock expanded its repertoire even further into the realms of grotesque darkness.

Satan, who recognized the vulnerability of a human being’s auditory senses, equipped his disciples of chaos and disorder well. Through the use of the latest space age technology, amplification became the essence of rock’s roar. The electric guitars, keyboards, and drums that were a part of every performer’s arsenal, gave musicians the ability to duplicate the hazy confusion and distorted visions that accompanied their psychedelic drug trips, while at the same time suffocating the senses of the listener with a heavy, steady, throbbing, mind-deadening, ear-popping beat.

Satan has now sent his troops into all the major fields of cultural entertainment.38The fact is that unless you are deaf and blind, it is virtually guaranteed that rock music has, in some manner, affected your view of the world. We may not be willing to admit it, but each of us is manipulated daily by the persuasive techniques of the advertising media – through radio, television, films, billboards, magazines, newspapers, product packaging, etc. And advertisers routinely utilize the popularity of rock stars and rock musician the promotion of products and services.

Millions of young people today wake up every morning to rock music. They drive to it, study to it, play to it, eat to it, and go to sleep to it. Studies show that between the 7th and 12th grades, the average teenager will listen to and watch 11,000 hours of rock music and rock videos – more than twice the time they will spend in class!39And all the while, today’s rock musicians continue to raise cain in performances that are often openly occult and increasingly bizarre.

Rock’s addicts are being virtually controlled by music, from the way they dress to the way they view and understand everyday issues of life. The National Review magazine has declared: “Rock’s sheer pervasiveness makes it the most profound values-shaper in existence today.”40 How? For the purpose of our study, we’ll need to take an even closer look at the many guises of today’s rock music.

HARD ROCK vs SOFTROCK – First of all, not all rock music is the same. It is important to keep in mind that through the years there have been dozens of rock-relatives added to each branch of the Rock family tree, far too many to name. However, there are two dominant genes under which we can identify and categorize each new offshoot.

Since the rock battle began nearly 40 years ago, Satan’s main assault force has been a double-headed changeling that operates under the twin identities of Hard Rock and Soft Rock. If the sick displays of psychotic behavior that make up a large part of the Hard Rock scene are not your style, then welcome to the world of Soft Rock, where themes of universal love (lust),peace, and the brotherhood of mankind color the lyrics, along with cleverly-worded references to the excitement of doing drugs.

Soft Rock (alias Pop Rock, alias Contemporary Rock) is the offspring of The Beatles’ music, and much of the blame for what is now known as the Sexual Revolution can be placed directly to their account. And the older rock gets, the lower society ’s  standards sink. In the three decades that have passed since T he Beatles arrived on the scene with their seducing message of drugs and immorality, our world has seen an alarming increase in sexual crimes, abortions on a massive scale, epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases (including the plague of AIDS), along with rampant drug addiction and all the depravity that goes with it. Many of today’s most popular entertainers, such as George Michael, Carly Simon, Prince, Madonna, Dino, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, and Barry Manilow are Soft Rockers. Soft Rock has become the ‘elevator music’ of the 90s, and, like it or not, we are being bombarded with it on every hand.

Hard Rock was introduced into music’s family tree by the first, and still reigning, kings of satanic rock, The Rolling Stones. By  flaunting behavior that the Scriptures plainly identify as being demonic possession (and yet today is dismissed as mere artistic showmanship), rock bands are being catapulted overnight into the coveted spotlight of mega-stardom. Performers and songwriters candidly confess to receiving the inspiration for much of their music at seances, saying, “What we do is what we’re about. If it comes out demonic, that’s what we are.”41 Thebands will often choose a name to spell out its motive and intention: Styx (in Greek mythology, one of the rivers of Hades); Iron Maiden (a hideous, medieval torture device); W.A.S.P. (short for “We Are Sexual Perverts”); KISS, (meaning“ Kings In Satan’s Service”); Twisted Sister; Judas Priest; The Grateful Dead, and Black Sabbath are but a few out of many hundreds.42

In today’s rock message, absolutely nothing is forbidden – sex, drugs, witchcraft, murder, suicide, spiritualism, Satan worship, homosexuality, sado-masochism, sodomy. It is a monster that has adopted the nickname Heavy Metal –once a literary synonym for torture, but now it is used as an umbrella term for a legion of snarling ghouls, including the newest blasphemies of Shock Rock, Satan Rock, and Armageddon Rock. Rock’s voice has never been louder or more evil, and it is not just for listening any more. It is for watching too. With the advent of video and MTV, the intensity of rock’s assault has been multiplied, and today, partaking of the hard rock experience is like stepping into the middle of an epileptic seizure. It is beyond human control.

IDENTIFYING ROCK – All music uses rhythm. For instance, a waltz rhythm is ¾ time, and goes like this: ONE two three ONE two three. For a stirring march written in 2/4 time, you would count: ONE two ONE two. The conventional way to count 4/4 time is as follows: ONE two THREE four ONE two THREE four.

Technically speaking, the rhythm of rock is 4/4. But all the normal conventions and principles of sound music have been laid aside, and here the accent is placed on the offbeat: one TWO three FOUR one TWO three FOUR. In addition, there is usually a highly accented “backbeat” coming between the regular beats creating what is known as “syncopation.” In his book, The Day Music Died, author and former rock performer Bob Larson writes, “Syncopated rhythms evoke the most sensuous response from the human body, particularly when they are electronically accentuated.”43

Rock music is written (and performed) to be felt, as well as heard, and one essential instrument for this type of music is the electric bass guitar. Its super-amplified low frequency vibrations give rock that gut-level intensity that preys on sensory perceptions. The tempo can be fast or slow, but if the beat is rock, the fundamental response will be erotic.

A second key to identifying rock music is repetition – words, choruses, instrumental parts or chord patterns that are repeatedly played or sung throughout the song. As any educator will tell you, repetition is one of the most effective teaching tools that can be employed. And when you consider the neurotic, profane, and suggestive words that are being fed into the brains of even very young children, it’s “no wonder people are going crazy. That’s enough to drive a human being crazy.”44

A third important characteristic of rock can be its volume. As if the over-amplified, buzz saw screams of guitars, and the wild, incoherent vocals of the performers were not loud enough already, rock performers and fans enjoy their music best when it is cranked up to 100-plus decibels of sound (approaching the threshold of pain, where the body becomes completely disoriented).  Such an intense, steady pounding can quickly cause the mind to lose touch with reality and even induce various stages of trances. The psychological principle being applied here is this: The louder the music, the more vulnerable the listener becomes to the lyrics being sung.

The last aspect of rock that we are going to review is the fact that it can have all the characteristics we have already mentioned (heavy beat, repetition, extreme amplification), or , it can have none of them! That is because rock has long ceased to be any one thing, and has denominated into a multitude of sects and schisms, each reflecting its own version of the aesthetic principle that masterminded its creation. And every new revelation that the prophets of rock can produce will echo a resounding “Amen” in the ear of a true rock believer somewhere. No matter what musical principle that is applied to make it happen, the spirit will find a witness.

WHO WRITES THE SONGS? – As we have just learned, it is the beat of rock music that pulls the emotional trigger of its listeners, but, undoubtedly, it takes lyrics to produce the gun. The battle for men’s souls is being fought in the mind, so let’s take a look at some of the ideas that young people are being fed daily by the disciples of rock:

At the beginning of the song, there is the sound of little children shouting, “I don’t want to go to that place!”  Then the singer begins to howl his deadly sermon:

“I’m the Lord of the wasteland

I gather darkness to please me

And I command you to kneel

before the God of thunder, and of rock and roll.

The spell you’re under

Will slowly rob you of your virgin soul…”

GOD OF THUNDER, from the album“Destroyer” by KISS 4

Fairly straightforward, wouldn’t you say? Rock groups today don’t mince words when it comes to paying homage to the Devil and spelling out his evil intent. Many of Hard Rock’s offerings are more incantation than song. A 1982 album, “The Number Of The Beast,” by the Heavy Metal group, Iron Maiden, contains such sentimental ditties as “Children Of The Damned,” “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” and “Run To The Hills.” Fellow rockers, Black Sabbath, sing such distinctly inspired songs as “Nativity In Black”:

Now I have you with me, under my power

Our love grows stronger with every hour

Look at my eyes and you’ll see who l am

My name is Lucifer, please take my hand. 46

There are sure to be those who, right now, are saying, “I’m not a devil worshipper. I don’t listen to the words; I just like the music.”  Unfortunately, to such a statement there can only be one response: You are still guilty – by association. In a sermon entitled “Why Are We Not A Denomination?”  the prophet, William Branham, accurately describes the situation: “If you hang around with somebody that is a thief, you’ll soon be a thief yourself.  My old Kentucky mammy used to say, ‘If you lay down with a dog that has fleas, you’ll get up with fleas, too.’…. You’re known by your company.”47

Are you wondering whether Soft Rock should be included in that warning?  The answer is “Yes,” because that particular flea infestation is far, far nastier (and more sneaky) than most people suspect. Let’s take a look.

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

IMAGINE by John Lennon

“Imagine”  was written nearly 20 years ago, but the philosophy, which it applauds, remains as a central theme of today’s Soft Rock. It is termed Humanism, and it doesn’t sound really bad, does it?  After all, we would all like to see an end to wars and strife, and a reign of universal peace and prosperity. But let’s face it, man’s idea of peace is just not the same as God’s idea of peace. The humanistic hypothesis of  “unity through diversity”  is an exercise in self-deception. Unequal yoking is sin. And how can there be peace without the Prince of Peace?

Humanism  –  the belief that man, rather than God, is the sum and measure of all things – is one of the founding tenets of a faith called New Age. New Age (also called Age of Aquarius) is not a passing fad, and the only thing ‘new’ about it is the vocabulary. The movement itself is older than Hinduism and Buddhism; it is older than the oracles of ancient Greece and Egypt; it is as old as the serpent in the Garden of Eden, who beguiled Eve with the words  “ … and ye shall be as gods.”

In some way, New Age has touched you, too. You’ve heard its philosophers, viewed its art, read its literature  –  probably without knowing them as New Age. You may even have participated in its therapies and shared in its rituals. But you have most certainly listened to its music.

Since John Lennon (the Beatle who once enjoyed the title of priest/king of the Aquarian Age)48 wrote the song “Imagine,”  New Age music has broadened to include everything from reggae to contemporary rock, and is most often played on those radio stations denoted  ‘easy listening.’  However, record companies do not take lyrics into consideration when they classify a type of music, so the only styles which you will find labeled ‘New Age’ in the record stores are the increasingly popular ‘meditative’ and ‘ambient’ music. Often performed on sitars or other Eastern instruments, critics call it the ‘audio valium’ of the90s, largely because it claims to transport souls into a kind of cosmic cohesiveness.49

Topping the list of popular artists who champion such lyrical humanism are those who have joined together to preach the gospel of rock-in-the-service-of-mankind. Through fund-raising extravaganzas like “We Are The World” and Live  Aid, the New Age dogma of “All is One, One is All”  is being legitimized and assimilated deeper and deeper everyday into the general culture. For Christians, this may be the most deceptive and dangerous hybrid that rock has ever produced. The music is enthralling; the lyrics are intriguing, but guess who writes the songs?

I’ve been alive forever,
And I wrote the very first song.
I put the words and the melodies together,
I am music,
And I write the songs.

I write the songs that make the whole world sing.
I write the songs of love and special things.
I write the songs that make the young girls cry.
I write the songs, I write the songs.

My hold lies deep within you,
And I’ve got my own place in your SOUL,
Now, when I look out through your eyes,
I’m young again, even though I’m very old.

Oh my music makes you dance
And gives you spirit to take a chance,
And I wrote some rock ‘n’ roll so you can move.
Music fills your heart,
Well, that’s a real fine place to start.
It’s from me, it’s for you,
It’s from you, it’s for me,
It’s a worldwide symphony.

I am music, and I write the songs.

I WRITE THE SONGS, written by Bruce Johnson and performed by Barry Manilow.

ROCK’S KISSING COUSINS – Just in case you’re thinking, “Thank God I’m a country boy (or girl),” there’s something you need to know. The land of country music is no longer a place where the deer and the antelope play and the skies are not cloudy all day. Some of the most obscene, sex-ridden lyrics heard today are being sung in the key of N – which stands for Nashville.

For those who grew up on country music and mistakenly believe that the good ol’ boy hasn’t changed much through the years, it’s time to take another listen. As Al  Menconi writes in his book Today’s Music: A Window To Your Child’s Soul, “If you take away the booze, the fights, the adultery, and the self-pity from country music, there would be nothing left to sing about except your mama and my pickup truck!”50

Of course, there is one strategy commonly practiced by artists of the Nashville sound that many staunch Christians consider to be very noble, and that is the singing of a well known hymn as the closing number in a country music program. This particular form of hypocrisy was born on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, and for more than 60 years country musicians from Roy Acuff to Barbara Mandrell have been using spiritual songs as a form of musical mouthwash to soothe the taste buds after several courses of filth have been served and consumed. In reality, such pseudo-spiritual placebos have nothing to do with Christianity.

The latest offering to be laid on rock’s altar is a form of chanting known as Rap. There is no melody line (so technically it cannot be considered music), but the monotonous beat that accompanies the spoken verse offers a straightforward lesson in rhythm – Rock.

Rap began on the streets in lets-see-who’s-the-baddest bragging contests among black teenagers. Consequently, it should come as no surprise to hear rappers today contend that in order to really rap, what you need is a boastin’ attitude. Once again, such selfish egotism and downright arrogance bears no resemblance to any Christian ethic.

Although many of today’s popular rappers proudly take a verbal stand against drugs, they invariably glorify gangs, crime, and violence (including sexual brutality) in their performances and recordings. All in all, Rap is Heavy Metal in disguise.

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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