“I heard that the lead singer’s dad was a missionary….”
“I think the bass player has “Jesus” tattooed in Hebrew on his side.“
“I’m pretty sure they were a worship band for a church somewhere in Tennessee. Or maybe it was California?”
“Yeah, man. I’m positive. The band is Christian…. “
“Oh really,” you respond. Sitting a little taller in your coffee shop chair, excitedly playing with the idea along with the rims of your thick black-rimmed glasses. “This it it,” you think to yourself, we’ve got someone on the inside, someone successful, someone who can prove that someone can be Christian and talented.
The idea produces more goose bumps than the night you sang “Amazing Grace” holding hands around the campfire.
So you order some songs on iTunes and start listening. I mean really listening. For the Spirit-infused lyrics. For the biblical illusions. The love-songs-that-are-really-about-Jesus that you somehow missed before.
Oh yes, you hear it now. They’re not just talented. They’re anointed.
It’s high school all over again, and the cool senior with the tattoos just walked into Wednesday morning prayer. We Christians have finally made it.
Notable Secular-Christian, Christian Musicians.
Jon Acuff already wrote about arguing about the faith of U2, but the list of Secular-Christian, Christian musicians is longer than the Levitical laws. Such reputable artists include Collective Soul, OneRepublic, Justin Bieber, Jessica Simpson, Regina Spektor, The Fray, Miley Cyrus, Jewel – the list holds no prejudice to genre or style. If Google says they’re Christian, then it must be so.
Creed was driving the train for years with star-struck Christians climbing aboard — Five Iron Frenzy t-shirts quickly being replaced by Scott Stapp looking pensively towards the sky with arms wide open.
Mumford and Sons was the main addition to the list from 2011. Songs like “Awake My Soul” and “Sigh No More” leading countless people to the Lord, of this we are sure. Sure “Little Lion Man” and its chorus of F-bombs confused the equation a bit. But those F-bombs were nothing more than explosions of authentic-emotional-truth. Nothing more. And when in doubt, we’ll just turn that song down in the office. Problem solved.
But why? Why is it so tempting for us to throw the Christian label on musicians who have purposely tried to avoid it?
Three Reasons We Quickly Claim Secular Musicians as One of Us
1. Evangelism Made Easy
No longer do we have to coax friends to church or a Christian music festival to be touched by the spirit. No, now we can just slip on that Regina Spektor CD, sit back, and watch the conversion-magic happen.
“Do you hear it?”
“Oh, you’ll know.”
“Just keep listening…”
2. Guilt-Free Music
The days of giving away all our “secular” CDs after coming back convicted from camp are over. Now we can listen to our favorites, as they are merely undercover agents for the Lord. Buying a CD is like giving money to the ministry smuggling Bibles into a communist country. We can support their secret mission with every $9.95.
3. Cool Christianity
All the angry bearded men with megaphones and signs about hell. All the do’s and don’ts, lest you be judged. All the “Christian” music. All the strikes against us can be demolished with just one Mumford and Sons chorus at the proper volume.
It’s the best of both worlds: Good music and great God. The only thing that can throw a monkeywrench into the whole thing is when one of the bands we’ve claimed makes a point of saying, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. We are not Christian.” They go beyond the traditional faith disclaimer of “We’re not a Christian band. We’re a band of Christians” and actually say, “We are decidedly not down with the king.” At that point, well, we’ll take our albums and go home.
Content that we still haven’t found what we’re looking for.
“Let me go into a person’s house, and let me see what kind of music they listen to; let me see what kind of books they read and what kind of songs they sing and what kind of pictures they have in their house. I can just about tell you what the nature of that person is.” 59
We live in a vibrating universe. Each individual voice and instrument produces tones, which vibrate at an established frequency. As these frequencies reach our ears, they cause our eardrums to vibrate in the same pattern as the source of the sound, thus allowing us to identify it.
This acoustical principle is referred to as sympathetic vibration – the ability of one body to cause another body to vibrate in sympathy with it.60 We can apply the principle of sympathetic vibration to our musical natures as well. In order for music to ‘speak’ to us, it must respond sympathetically to something that is within our being. It must vibrate to the same frequency as our emotions. In other words, a person responds to the music to which he is attuned, and conversely, the kind of music he produces reveals what he is.
So, let’s get personal. What does your music say about you? Does the water around you feel a little warmer now than it did at the beginning of this article? If so, then maybe it’s time for you to change your tune.
Did you know that the Bible makes more references to a ‘new song’ than it does to a ‘new man,’ ‘new heavens,’ ‘new earth,’ or ‘new creature?’61 And that means new in kind, not just in sequence. A new song can only be sung by those who have been redeemed through the Blood of Jesus Christ.
In the past, the Devil may have tried to trick you into believing that music is neither moral nor immoral. He may even have misled you into thinking that the Message of Christ can be preached effectively through rock music. Don’t yield to Satan’s deceptions any longer. May your testimony be like that of the Psalmist David:
“And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God; many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.”
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 named [here] gave birth to groups like: MercyMe, Kutless, NewSong, Sidewalk prophets , The David Crowder band, Casting Crowns, Jeremy Camp, and Third Day to name only 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. – [DM – discerningMusic]
“An then He said, ‘Here comes the church of America now, to be previewed.’… I almost fainted. “51
Religion (and its multitude of accouterments) has always been a big business. That is legitimate and acceptable, because it is through the ‘business’ of religion that churches are built, Bibles and other materials are printed, pastors and missionaries are supported, and host of other worthy endeavors are maintained. But when, in the practice of religion, Divine guidance is by-passed, then Christian orthodoxy and devotion are left totally vulnerable to the manipulations of corporate profiteers. Subsequently, being spiritual and being led of the Holy Spirit cannot always be looked upon synonymously. “ God moves by His Spirit, not by the amount of money or talent in the church.”52
Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) is an industry, and, as in all industry, its motivation is subject to the bottom line –$$$. With millions of dollars at stake in this highly competitive market, the majority of performers and recording companies do not hesitate to pattern themselves after their more-popular secular music counterparts, including rock artists such as those previously mentioned. As a result, the inherent Heavy Metal message of rebellion, and the Soft Rock smoke screen of New Age love have been so cleverly incorporated into the substance of Christian music that it now represents 90% of the tapes and disks being offered today at your favorite local Christian bookstore.
Most pro-rockers who write on the subject of Christian music use the same line as Steve Lawhead does in his book, Rock Of This Age: “Rock communicates to the rock generation. It has the ability to reach a population that has grown up with it.”53 But the question then becomes, “Reach them with what?” A perusal of the reviews that Christian artists and groups have been given in the pages of various CCM magazines may shed some light on the subject:
MICHAEL SMITH –
“Smith, with synthesizers blaring, drums blazing, and guitars screeching, sent a young crowd into a frenzy from beginning to end.”
“With sweeping strobes lighting the stage and crowd areas, Smith took the stage with some twirling dance steps that sent the crowd into rocking frenzy.”
“Lyrically, the only difference between Amy Grant’s love songs and, say, those of Olivia Newton-John, is that often Grant’s pronouns come with capital letters…”
“It is important to understand that some lyrics are implicitly Christian while others are explicitly Christian…You trust the Jesus in them – even if they are singing about life and love, like in “Baby, Baby” [Grant’s hit song that recently topped both the Christian and secular music charts].”
“And rock they do. Their ninety-minute stage show includes all the outward trappings of secular metal – the sass, style, and bombastic bone-jarring sonic barrage of such secular acts as Motley Crue, Ratt, Iron Maiden, or Judas Priest…”
LOVE LIFE –
“I… was very impressed with the band’s original, blues based commercial material. The band showed its [musical] ability with a couple of acoustic-oriented songs and even a cover [re-recording] of the Beatles’ hit, ‘A Hard Day ’s Night.”’
KIM HILL –
“It’s really encouraging to see someone who loves to sing in non-Christian venues, avoiding the ‘Christianese’ in so much of [today’s] Christian music.”
The purpose of sacred music is to turn a person’s heart and mind towards God. Notwithstanding that CCM is (naively, perhaps) dedicated to that end, the fact remains that sincerity is not a test of Christianity. God’s work must be done God’s way!
Remember, Satan is an imitator, and his game is to counterfeit every move of God. But he is powerless unless she has an instrument (person) to work through, so he recruits his volunteer army from every race, creed, and walk of life – even from the ranks of unmindful Christians. And that is why we can see in the performances of contemporary Christian musicians today echoes of the Judas-like deception that ushered in the Age of Rock’n’roll in the first place. But no matter how much they try to make it fit the sacred mold, it will never feed the soul of a truly born-again Believer. As Jesus testified in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
When we can’t tell the difference between sacred music and worldly music, when the songs that are being sung in the sanctuary of the church could just as effectively be sung to one’s lover, then it’s time to stop and ask ourselves a very important question: “Who is really being worshipped here?”
I heard them other day
on the radio, singing,
"When the Saint's Go Marching In," in ragtime,
"When I See the Blood," in boogie woogie.
What a disgrace!
Do you think a holy God can listen to that and be just,
and not judge it?
~ William Branham
- THE.HANDWRITING.ON.THE.WALL_ JEFF.IN SUNDAY_ 58-0309M