65 Comments

Sacred or secular?

Can you identify which of the following three lyric excerpts come from Christian musical artists and which are from secular musical artists? I admit it won’t be easy, but differentiating between Christian lyrics and worldly lyrics shouldn’t be that difficult, right?

For more, be sure to check out DefCon’s other Christian music lyrics quiz.

1.

Lack of understanding lack of communication
Lack of a desire for expanding education
Lack of inspiration lack of innovation
The fact you can’t respect another mans creation
Lack of motivation lack of restoration
The fact we lack unity and enjoy separation
Lack of destination because you know what I feel
I feel that humans lack the ability to be real

Do not tell me what I can and cannot do when I rock

2.

Welcome to the world of a girl named Susie
Susie’s only crime was that she was born a cutie
Physically abused by her uncle and his friends
Alcohol let ‘em all leave the house with grins
But Susie couldn’t shake off the memories
Forced to find her own kind of remedy
A man-eater for the rest of her days
Three kids, three men, no daddies by eleventh grade

3.

The secret side of me, I never let you see
I keep it caged but I can’t control it
So stay away from me, the beast is ugly
I feel the rage and I just can’t hold it

It’s scratching on the walls, in the closet, in the halls
It comes awake and I can’t control it
Hiding under the bed, in my body, in my head
Why won’t somebody come and save me from this, make it end?

I feel it deep within, it’s just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster
I hate what I’ve become, the nightmare’s just begun
I must confess that I feel like a monster

I, I feel like a monster
I, I feel like a monster

Answers . . .

They’re all from Christian artists.

1. John Reuben – Do Not

2. Toby Mac – What’s Goin’ Down

3. Skillet – Monster


65 comments on “Sacred or secular?

  1. Ahkay….call me crazy but I’m seeing a trend here.

    Now. 1st confession: I’ve liked CCM since I was in college: MWS, at the time Amy Grant; love Steven Curtis Chapman; Chris Tomlin; Matt Redman; Tim Hughes; Newsboys. Although I’ll be very frank and admit I prefer their praise and worship songs to the general “Christian pop”, whatever that’s supposed to be (pretty much like secular easy listening, as is the point of your posts).

    2nd confession: I’m getting up there in years (I’m 38), so I’m simply not familiar with the newer, hipper, younger groups and what they’re singing about.

    However, I’ve been seeing more and more of these types of posts on the Christian blogs I read, and the trends are quite disturbing when I see lyrics posted (Note to people: Jesus is NOT your boyfriend; or your “boo”).

    This week, I was counseling a young lady by Skype (I counsel Christians with eating disorders). There is a real upswing, evidently, in “cutting”. Well, this gal is telling me all the Christian groups that she loves (I’d never heard of half of them, and hadn’t listened to the other half), and linked me to their YouTube videos of songs that really “spoke” to her. One was by Barlow Girl and I think the name was “Mirror, Mirror”.

    Well, guess what? These songs that the Christian artists are putting out – that really “spoke” to her – are all about self-image, abuse, cutting. I am not making this up. I am CONVINCED, absolutely, that some of these teens and young adults are getting IDEAS (not necessarily from the artists themselves, but even from each other) and are starting these behaviors, which they see as somehow legitimate and heroic. Even the weepy music itself paints them as “victims”. Don’t get me wrong – abuse is evil and those who are abused are victims. I get that. But glorifying self-abusive behavior, in the name of victimization — even in a song supposedly intended to “raise awareness” of the behavior? NOT cool. Sorry, but these “Christian artists” should know that these songs are neither edifying nor Christ-exalting. You do not need a degree in biblical counseling to know that.

    Speaking of the Bible, I cannot seem to get these girls to spend as much time reading it as they do listening to this type of “Christian music”. I am convinced it just makes them slide more deeply into self-pity.

    When we take our eyes off of Christ and His finished work on the Cross and put it back on ourselves, (which IS what this genre of music is doing), we’re going to go further away from Him. Believe me, I stand in judgment of no one; I’ve done it myself (and still do). But somehow it feeds the fleshly desire for attention, validation, and vindication. When the Bible tells us to sing and make music in our hearts to God, somehow I don’t think this is what the holy Spirit was talking about. Someone battling emotional problems would do better to sing “How Great Thou Art”, “In Christ Alone”, “Lord of All” or “Blessed Be Your Name” than some of this stuff.

    Okay, rant over. Y’all can hae your blog back now. :)

  2. I’d be hard pressed Marie to call your post a rant. Very well said and excellent comments and observations. I won’t rant myself :) but I will say briefly that CCM looks like the world, sounds like the world, and is loved by the world. This should cause all Christians to stop and think.

  3. I am still trying to figure out why “Christian” artists want to cross over into secular music. Is it for the hope of planting a seed or for the money?
    It is probably for the money.
    A lot the songs, they could be singing about their dog, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. and you wouldn’t know the difference.
    I read on a blog the other day, I can’t remember where, the author stated something to the effect of “I had rather listen to Van Halen because at least they don’t pretend”.

  4. I think the majority of this music tends to be shallow, empty and superficial at best. Although these particular songs sound very much like the other side of things though. If you think about it in one corner we have the Happy clappy “CCM” singing “all is happy happy joy joy every day songs” while here is the opposite of that, dark, gloomy, desolate, angry and depressed.

    I think there’s nothing wrong with singing the blue-note, once in a while, the truth is life is seasons. I just have a bigger problem with the whole “christian music” category thing, it seems as though we Christians have built our own little christian bubble, for example why must we have “Christian-rap, christian-pop, christian-techno, christian-jazz, christian-videogames, christian-movies, christian-news channels, christian-newspapers, what’s next? Christian-Cola??

  5. In 1 Samuel 15, Saul was told to attack the Amalekites and TOTALLY DESTROY everything that belonged to them, don’t spare anything, put everything to death. But Saul decided to keep the best of the Amalekites’ sheep and cattle and use them as a “sacrifice” to the Lord. Samuel said “Stop! Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you as king.” Saul paid the highest price for his disobedience and his rebellion led him down a path to eventual death by his own hand.

    God does not need to borrow the demonic sludge of His enemy (Satan) to draw men to Himself. By the spirit of the lyrics posted here, and Marie’s testimony, we can see the culmination of what a little leaven will produce.

    Leo, to the best of my recollection, the origin of the term rock & roll was slang for back-seat-sex. With that said, can we really justify using that music style (“Christian-rap, christian-pop, christian-techno, christian-jazz) for worship?

    ‘Christian’ Rock and Roll…it’s an oxymoron.”

  6. Well, I may be a day late and a dollar short identifying this new trend, but “Emo” has become quite the lifestyle choice among Christian teens. I am not making this up — there are actually websites and Wiki pages instructing teens on how to be a “chremo” – a “Christian Emo”.

    Urban dictionary defines “chremo” as the integration of two musical styles – Emo and Christian rock.

    So there’s our answer.

    There is truly nothing new under the sun……ugh. I’m glad to see these sites at least admonishing the wanna-be “emos” that as Christian they really shouldn’t cut themselves; not all emos do that. (sarcasm).

    So if this gloomy, depressive, self-absorbed lifestyle (and the accompanying music) is something they pursue and try to imitate, is “seeking help” through counseling the next fad in the natural progression of things? To ensure that they receive enough attention? No wonder it seems to me a lot of people don’t really want help; they have no real desire to change. Again, my point is reinforced: this whole genre of music endorses self-absorption, and therefore an ungodly lifestyle.

    From “How to Be a Christian Emo” :

    Listen to Christian rock, especially artists signed to Tooth & Nail Records, Credential Recordings and Solid State Records, a metal and division of Tooth & Nail Records. Listen to bands such as Underoath, Norma Jean, POD As I Lay Dying, and Showbread and Flyleaf. and the band Skillet” and Anberlin.

  7. I’m getting up in the years too (I’m 39) and I also am not up on who the new bands are and what they’re singing about, etc. I have heard Todd talk about this on Wretched and from what little I know about it, I think the trend is partly due to false conversions and or as well as an identity crisis.

    Paul said for us to put on the new man or new self (Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10). As Christians, our identity should be in Christ and not in the world for we are in the world but not of the world (John 17:16) and the lyrics (the fruit of the tree) that are being put forth is indicating what is in the heart for what comes out of the mouth is what’s in the heart (Matthew 15:18) and defiles a man. If these “Christian” bands (and I use the term lightly) are wanting to praise God through everything that they do (Colossians 3:17) then I think that there are better ways of praising the Lord than to talk about Him as if He were your boyfriend or “boo” as someone else referenced. If they want to sing about their boyfriend or girlfriend and praise God for them then play it on secular radio and lets not try to pass it off as “worship”. I think another part of the problem with this is that we’ve had so much watered down preaching that we have lost reverence for God. We are talking about God here! He’s Lord and Creator that deserves your reverence and worship! He’s not your best friend, He’s God! Some of this may be the fault of weak teaching, spiritual immaturity but some or a lot of it may simply be the goats trying to pretend to be sheep. I know of people that are not in the faith and yet they will talk about God or listen to “Christian” radio, etc. I think some people would like to have the peace that comes from having a relationship with God but they love the world and their lusts more than God so why not incorporate just enough religion to make yourself comfortable?

    I’m rambling so I’ll stop now but I think as brothers and sisters in Christ we should pray about this and use this “trend” as an opportunity to deliver the gospel out of the same loving kindness that He bestowed upon us when He saved us.

    Grace & Peace,

  8. Marie is correct, while this type music claims to help “Christian” teens by meeting them where they are, what it really does is join them in the mire and wallowing with them. We are to pull others from the mire, not jump in with them, nor encourage others that it isn’t so bad in the mire.

    When I prepared the CCM PowerPoint for a previous church one portion of it stated:

    Christian Rock Glorifies Suicide

    The continual mention of suicide and suicide methods defeats the intended purpose of preventing suicide. It keeps it in their thoughts and provides ideas.

    “Take Three Days Grace’s song ‘Pain.’ It relates to a lot of hurting kids. When they hear it, the song makes them feel like there are other people going through this too, and there is some comfort in that thought. But at the same time, they don’t have to look for a way out. They just sit there and dwell in their pity, like, ‘I’m just going to be miserable. This is my outlet.’” Quote from October 2007 Breakaway magazine.

    Included with the PowerPoint was a video done by a teen girl to Skillet’s “Last Night”. The video dwelt on her depression and her cutting even showing her cutting herself. That video has since been taken off the internet but it goes to show what our youth are doing with “Christian” Music today.

    Notice also how the first song here encourages rebellion in our youth. So many of the “Christian” music groups directed at youth follow that same line of encouraging rebellion. POD and Skillet lyrics are full of rebellion and disrespect towards parents.

    It is sad that no one at the church I shared this information with seemed to care, even though a few teens were already being counseled for depression.

    Berean Wife

  9. I am a daily reader of this blog. I’m getting up in age also. I’m a 35 year old, married youth leader at the church I attend and I’ve gleaned a lot of valuable info from this sight. But I must take slight issue with the 3 examples of the lyrics that were posted above. What are the contexts of these songs. Are they testifying to issues that they may be facing? I’m not familiar with these groups, nor do I desire to buy their music. I’m more into Christian Rap and some Gospel but you can take a section from any song, paper, book, The Bible and etc and prove a point w/o including the full meaning of the text. I’ll also admit that the songs in question could be pure trash. Let me provide an example, from this Christian rapper called Flame. It’s a song titled MYSPACE from his 2007 release “Our World Fallen”

    “Young Chante Andrea Jones; Never met her father and momma’s never home; Plus she’s 15 and she lies about her age; She always on the phone or her myspace page; She likes to socialize cause it makes her feel loved; Mom doesn’t have time for something simple as a hug; Drugs got her mom strung out; All on the streets; Suicide attempts as tears drip down her cheeks; This is deep; She’s so young, with so much pain; There’s so many things Chante wishes she could change; So what she does is; spends hours of the day; Meeting new friends in her own little place; Yesterday she counted and had 300 friends; Most of them young, but yet some were older men; But it’s okay, Chante says that it’s safe; Her own little place to get away; Her myspace”

    Now this rap seems to mirror some of the examples above, if it was just left there, but as the song continues to tell a story (which I won’t post, but his lyrics are posted on his website: http://www.flame314.com, under the album info link). It ends with this section:

    “Young Chante Andrea Jones; Never met her father and momma’s always gone; Feeling all along invited him to her home; She’s feeling it’s wrong; But she figures her feelings wrong; All arrows point to the fact that it’s love; Is what she thinks before she offers him a hug; A couple of chats man this cat’s still a stranger; But young Chante can’t foresee the danger; But she didn’t know she was messing with an adult; She messaged a cat wanted for sexual assault; A sexual predator who preys on the young in age; Like Chante who was fearfully and wonderfully made;
    She ain’t know Jesus Christ gives forgiveness and grace; Searching for love only ended up getting raped; Her life was shattered; If only she’d played it safe; And found love in His amazing grace
    AHHH!”

    Now these last verses show that there are consequences to sin and making poor judgment calls, but salvation and forgiveness are found in Christ. Please understand that this is just an example, are there hoards of songs that aren’t good, that don’t praise God nor edify the body, SURE! But there are examples of artists that sing, rap and etc about God, Christ, His dying on the cross and etc. Just as there are preachers who teach God’s word faithfully and there are many who don’t.

    As far as putting Christian before rap, rock, jazz and etc., I believe is just a tag to speak to a specific audience. As stated I’m a 35 year old man, and I grew up with rap music but since Christ has saved me, my worldview has changed, now when I’m looking for a rap cd to buy I’m looking for Christian artist. For example, if a Christian needs counseling, should they look for a Counselor or a Christian Counselor. I understand the point that is being made that CCM is looking wordly more and more by the day. Even the gospel rappers I listen to are subject to fall, just as I am, that’s why my hope is only in Christ. Sorry for writing so much, but I tried to make a clear and succint point, as much as possible.

    Thank you, if statements I’ve written come off offensive, that’s not the case. I understand that the meaning of a point can be lost when it’s written.
    -Michael Pharr

  10. Dear Berean Wife,

    Thanks for that, and especially that excerpt! Good to know I’m not the only one who’s noticed that downward-spiraling trend,a nd I’m not over-reacting. It’s just that I’m seeing the net result (and I’m not even involved with “Youth Ministry” ; just a few individual teens). I do believe this kind of music is at least a factor, and the whole “emo” fad that glorifies it.

    After spending a good long time in prayer this morning and making sure my own heart was right, I banged out the following entry: http://redeemedfromthepit.blogspot.com/2010/01/ana-mia-and-oxymoronic-christian-emo.html

    I’d appreciate any feedback from the peanut gallery – including from anyone who disagrees. As I get deeper into counseling, I am not looking for simplistic answers, but I seek to deeply understand these young people’s pain and help them by pointing them back to Christ alone.

    Now that I’ve gotten this combox totally off-topic, I’d like to respond to Michael’s point, if you don’t mind. Personally, I can totally see where you’re coming from, and I agree that as in everything, context does matter. The lyric you quoted does, in fact, mention Christ as the answer; and strictly speaking it is thus theologically correct.

    But here’s the problem: this genre of music, broadly speaking, takes a high view of man and a low view of God. What I mean by that is that it puts the inner turmoil, the subjective emotions, and the “dark night of the soul” that we all sometimes experience front and center, and only mentions God tangentially, if at all. The focus is not fixed on Christ as the Author and Perfecter of our faith. He’s somewhere in the background, hat in hand, as it were; waiting for the poor suffering, heroic “victim” to condescend to “let Him in”. The focus is, at it’s core, man-centric rather than Christ-exalting. (And that’s not even getting into the lyrics that are irreverent or blasphemous – that’s a different subject).

    Interestingly, Berean Wife used the verb “wallowing” to describe the morbid fascination people tend to develop with their own depressed emotions. I used the exact same term to describe the self-absorption I note in some of the girls who write to me. It may SOUND cruel, and I truly don’t mean it to (it is difficult to convey one’s heart in this medium), but God wants to sanctify our emotions. That is just not going to happen while we’re listening to lyrics that seem to “validate” our morose attitude (and implicitly tell us that this is a legitimate state of mind common to all Christians).

    The Bible tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. How is this type of music going to renew our minds? We all know what abuse is; what sex is; what rape is; what cutting is; what bulimia is; etc. etc. These are the “deeds of darkness”. At no other time in history would it have been considered edifying, or even socially acceptable, to talk openly about these things – much less sing about them. Girls don’t need songs that tell them to have more self-esteem (no matter how beautiful the melody); they need more Christ esteem. We love ourselves. We’re endlessly fascinated by ourselves. That’s the problem.

    Christian music should pass a basic test: Is it true? Is it edifying? Does it glorify God? There are many, many worship songs – both traditional and contemporary – that fit that bill. It’s not a matter of style so much as content. What we are talking about here – trying to be “relevant” so much that Christ is not glorified – has no legitimate place in Christian music, in my opinion. It’s not leading these young people closer to Christ. Reading the Bible, praying, and repenting of these self-serving attitudes and behaviors leads them closer to Christ – and only in Him is true freedom found. Trouble is, it doesn’t seem to me like a whole lot of them WANT freedom. It seems like many folks are just addicted to depression. I can’t understand it.

  11. I’ve been a musician for almost 20 years now and have learned to appreciate different genres of music. But ever since God has led me to a deeper walk with Him, I am finally understanding what Paul said that wherefore in words or in deeds, It must be done for the glory of God. It’s pretty straightforward really when I think about it. It pretty much says that God must be glorified with my everything.

    As a musician, sometimes messages are tend to be overlooked for the sake of having a nice and catchy tune. As long as it has a great beat, the vocals are great, arrangement is phenomenal! It doesn’t matter how unbiblical it is, and sometimes near-blasphemous. My thinking was, the church is “going to have” a “great time” worshipping God. But boy was I so wrong. And I was guilty of this when I lead the worship in our church or even recommend these kind of songs to other people. I’ve learned that just because some guy attached the name of Jesus in a song doesn’t mean it’s a Christian song.

    I have learned that music must be treated like a sermon. Is it man centered or Christ Centered? Can it be used for the advancement of the Kingdom or not? Does it promote sin or not? Is it biblically sound? Can it be used for evangelism? And most of all, does the song glorifies God ALONE? If not, then more than likely it’s something that must be put in the trash rather than in our CD Players or ipod.

    Please don’t get me wrong, this is not a case of traditional vs. contemporary Christian Music. I did not grow up with a hymn book in my hand, or in an environment that sings hymnals. But Praise God, that through his sovereign grace, he has still chosen me as one of his elect. There is nothing wrong with hymns, and as I grew older I learned to sing some of them and are now using them in my worship. Contemporary Christian worship are great tools to use as well, but the songs must be chosen with great discernment from God. And the only way to know if it’s of God or not is to know the Word. It all boils down to the Word of God. And even I’m a musician, my musical perspective and talent is only a captive to the power of God’s word.

    My suggestion, Take time to really study the Word of God and live it…discerning music will become of a second nature because it is the Power of Christ that will now work in you. To God be the Glory Alone!

  12. Marie, you did a wonderful job of illustrating that the music that is in question is “man-centric rather than Christ-exalting” (I love how you put that) and I believe that is where the appeal comes in at. I suspect that they make music like this on purpose so that it can be a “crossover” (as someone else mentioned previously); its more “marketable”, if you will. Today churches are run like organizations with “growth plans” etc., is it any wonder that the music is being treated as such as well? I’m sure the same as how some people justify the execution of employing entertaining church services and or programs that are designed to “attract” large congregations as opposed to scaring away people that are offended by the word of God, some people probably also justify irreverent lyrics by saying that they will “attract” a number of people that will hear about God that normally wouldn’t hear about Him.

    I also like what you said Neil; I also think the music should be Christ centered. We should become knowledgeable of the word of God and with that use our conscience to bear witness (Romans 2:15) as a guide to make discernment.

    Grace & Peace,

  13. The rule to test all things including music is the Scriptures and not personal tastes; if not, then all we will have is Burger King religion where everyone wants it done their way.

    Michael above asked about the context of the lyrics. The lyrics as far as I’m concerned speak for themselves, but if not, here is a video that shows Skillet performing “Monster.” (viewer discretion is suggested as it is very troubling)

    And what bothers me is that things that are so blatantly anti-Christ as this even need to be addressed. Yet I know that most churches won’t touch the golden calf of CCM or music with a 10 foot pole lest they might offend someone or appear judgmental.

    All I can say is that Skillet and their music is not of Christ so I don’t care if they sing Amazing Grace like Elvis did, their tree is rotten and so is their fruit.

  14. Dear Michael,
    the song you are refering to by Flame is not God honouring at all. Jesus gets one sentence at the end then the focus goes back to the girl. Songs are written all the time about peoples pain. Are they told the reason? that we live in a fallen world because of sin. We cannot highlight ourselves and put Jesus as a footnote. As Christians He is to come first, last and everything in between. If they only mention the love of Jesus, that is not the Gospel. It does seem that Jesus is just waiting on the sidelines till He gets noticed. Jesus is our Lord and Savior who while we were dead in our trespasses and sin, God sent His Son to die for us. I point to you Ephesians ch. 1 which magnifies Jesus as He is. Amen!

    Dear brother Michael
    Thanks for the clip. I’ve got one question for anyone who thinks this song is something born again believers should listen to. Does this song glorify God.?

  15. I am not familiar with the other artists. About TobyMac, while I find him extremely problematic in general, with reference to “What’s Goin’ Down”, TobyMac was speaking to the sinful conditions of people living in the world that many people – real, breathing people who God loves – are trapped in, and how it is our job to evangelize and disciple such people and do good works to help them, but so few Christians do, in many cases because we are too busy but in some cases because our hearts are hardened to the plight of sinners, especially in America when said sinners inhabit a different socioeconomic strata from ourselves.

    Now, the girl “Susie” in TobyMac’s lyrics … there are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of girls like that today in our country to one degree or another. They are the ones strung out on drugs, infected with AIDS (and a host of other venereal diseases), having children out of wedlock, having abortions etc. How do we view such people? As a social problem that we should pass welfare reform (and “abstinence education” programs) and other laws to address? As a theological problem against whom we should rail against from the pulpit? Now both approaches allows Christians, many of whom happen to be theologically conservative (evangelical, fundamental, Reformed, what have you) to feel as if they are addressing the problem while detaching themselves from it.

    “What’s Goin’ Down” urges Christians to see the erstwhile “Susies” that populate our inner cities (and increasingly suburbs and exurbs) as a mission field. Pointing out that “What’s Goin’ Down” falls short of the reverent form of music that the Bible requires for praise and worship. I admit, I no longer listen to my TobyMac collection! However, that song’s message needs to be heard. Despite the problem with the medium (Christian rap) and the messenger (TobyMac) the message itself is directly derived from Jesus Christ’s teachings about how we are to work to help the poor, marginalized, dispossessed etc. in their plight in the gospels, and those teachings were also excellently expounded upon in the book of James. As the book of James instructs us, orthodoxy without orthopraxy (faith without works) is dead, and the goal of “What’s Goin’ Down” is to provoke Christians to good works.

  16. Job:
    I can’t help but agree with James that faith without works is dead. I do not believe one can be a true Christian in word only, but his/her very life must reflect evidence of repentance, holiness, obedience to God’s word. Thus it is paramount that we put ourselves into action, as God provides opportunity. That said, I caution crossing over to thinking “so few Christians do [good works], in many cases because we are too busy but in some cases because our hearts are hardened to the plight of sinners, especially in America when said sinners inhabit a different socioeconomic strata from ourselves.” Yes, we have jobs, families, others that the Lord has already placed in our lives, and has given us responsibility to attend to. That doesn’t mean we do not personally attend to the person we bump into on the street, or the one whom the Lord calls our attention to, who is in obvious need of a coat, food, transportation, etc. We just don’t go around blowing a trumpet when we do (that would be against God’s word).

    It has become an increasingly preached sentiment, especially from Emergent pastors, that “old-style” Christians don’t want to “dirty” their hands with the unlovable. That may be true of any individual, but that sentiment seems to be lumping most conservative Christians into the same camp, stigmatizing them with some sort of hypocrisy badge. And it feeds the concept that we need to depart from “old Christianity” to “new, orthopraxy-focussed Christianity” (or as Warren has coined: “deeds, not creeds”). Such mentality promotes a separation among brethren, and with it, a sort of proud, looking down the nose at others who are not on the “relevant”, works-focussed bandwagon.

    I see nothing wrong with a song that tells the story of the plight of the unsaved, trapped in sin. But does that same song give a clear, distinct, unmistakable Gospel message, which is the only thing that truly helps these deceived, bonded people? If so, great. Or does it focus on merely reaching out to physically help, which isn’t enough when these souls are lost, headed for a Christless eternity?

    But these (highly visible) “preachers” with their drums, mics and guitars, how are they representing the Jesus Christ they “preach” through their lyrics? Is their behavior consistent with the biblical pattern? Or are they spreading a mixed, unbiblical message, that you can behave like the unsaved, talk like the unsaved, and yet proclaim the Savior, who is supposed to transform you out of worldliness, out of fleshliness? If they do not display the transformed life that the Jesus of the Scriptures commands, then all their “orthopraxy” is missing the whole point. The power of the Gospel is evidenced by a transformed life, a life that denies self, takes up the cross, and follows the Jesus of the Scriptures, not some hip, cool, Jesus that is made more pleasing to the unsaved world.

    Point is, if the Gospel isn’t being preached as the solution to man’s condition, and if the “preachers” of the message are not displaying the Jesus that is described in His word, then what “Jesus” is really being preached?

  17. Hey, you know, I am sorry. I was wrong. I read http://gcmwatch.com and was thinking about how irreverent Christianity leads to homosexuality in the church. (It actually is a rather direct line.) So, while I agreed with what TobyMac was trying to do, he should have done it in a Biblical, reverent fashion. I am absolutely certain that other Christian rappers have. I will cease attempting to defend the indefensible.

  18. I see nothing wrong with a song that tells the story of the plight of the unsaved, trapped in sin. But does that same song give a clear, distinct, unmistakable Gospel message, which is the only thing that truly helps these deceived, bonded people? If so, great. Or does it focus on merely reaching out to physically help, which isn’t enough when these souls are lost, headed for a Christless eternity?

    That’s exactly what I was trying to get at. Thanks for articulating it so well.

  19. Dear DavidW:

    You asked,

    I see nothing wrong with a song that tells the story of the plight of the unsaved, trapped in sin. But does that same song give a clear, distinct, unmistakable Gospel message, which is the only thing that truly helps these deceived, bonded people? If so, great. Or does it focus on merely reaching out to physically help, which isn’t enough when these souls are lost, headed for a Christless eternity?

    I have included the song lyrics below and will let you be the judge:

    “What’s Goin’ Down”

    Welcome to the world of a kid named Mikey
    Who had only one reason to be hated be whitey
    Raised on a farm outside of South Bend
    Where they hated on him cause he was African American
    But three years later, Mikey was the town pride
    Basketball Mikey went and got himself a full ride
    Earned his acceptance on the hardwood floor
    And that’s something white America would never ignore

    Stop, hey, what’s that sound
    Everybody look what’s goin’ down
    Stop, hey, what’s that sound
    Everybody look what’s goin’ down

    What’s goin’ down tell me what’s goin’ down
    You wanna know just what’s goin’ down
    What’s goin’ down I’ll tell ya what’s goin’ down
    You wanna know just what’s goin’ down

    Take a look around
    Everything is comin’ down
    Do you hear the subtle sounds
    Of our morality slippin’
    People on the go
    We’ll be reapin’ what we sow
    Yeah we say we want to know
    But I got my suspicions

    Welcome to the world of a girl named Susie
    Susie’s only crime was that she was born a cutie
    Physically abused by her uncle and his friends
    Alcohol let ‘em all leave the house with grins
    But Susie couldn’t shake off the memories
    Forced to find her own kind of remedy
    A man-eater for the rest of her days
    Three kids, three men, no daddies by eleventh grade

    [CHORUS]

    What be goin’ diggy down
    When you find what you lost
    But you lose what you found

    From http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tobymac/whatsgoindown.html

    – The Pilgrim

  20. One thing we need to keep in mind is that the New Testament church never used music as an evangelistic tool even though they certainly could have. Rather they preached the word and lived it on a daily basis in obedience to the command they received of the Lord and the pattern established by the apostles. And it was through this, amazingly without music, that it is written that they “…turned the world upside down.” (Today I think we can say the world has turned the church upside down).

    As far as singing in the church, it was not a industry run by profiteering corporations, it was not a form of entertainment, and it was not a way for believers to promote themselves and be cheered, lauded and awarded as we see today. Rather, it was part of both individual worship as people went about their daily lives (Jas 5:13, Eph 5:19), and also corporate worship when the believers came together (I Cor 14:26).

    Here, historians are in agreement that the early church sang the Psalms acapella and quite possibly portions of Scripture. This in fulfillment of the command to “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.” (Col 3:16 – italics added) Something the Jews would have been familiar with as the NT church was partly fashioned after the Synagogue model which included Psalm singing, reading of Scriptures and prayer.

    But oh how times have changed where music is big bu$ine$$ and most churches would crumble if modern “praise and worship” were weighed in the balances of God’s word. The study of how all these changes came about from the simple NT pattern into the billion dollar industry we have today is quite fascinating. If I ever make the time, I hope one day to do a formal study on it.

    In any event, it is my contention that all things, including denominational/non-denominational traditions, need to be tested in light of the Scriptures against the NT pattern even if it is something we hold near and dear and esteem highly.

  21. brother Michael:

    “Here, historians are in agreement that the early church sang the Psalms acapella and quite possibly portions of Scripture.”

    And the evidence that they have for this is what precisely? Further, since scripture does not touch this issue, what theological reason for the early church doing this was there that would make it a commandment for the Christians following after them? And if there was, is there any evidence that this doctrine was preserved in some way, if not in scriptures then perhaps in the writings of the 2nd century church fathers?

  22. Hi Job,
    As I noted, this is a very lengthy study and I have not the time to do such a one. But I do want to briefly answer your question and encourage you to study it out.

    First, CCM and the points I listed about the industry are not included in my discussion below. These should be clear for all to see as this is nothing like the New Testament pattern, whether in letter or more importantly Spirit.

    Second, I’m encouraging study and for people to follow the Scriptural injunction to “prove all things” and to “test the spirits” so that we hold to what is of God and throw out what is of man. Because if one studies Church history they will find that the Catholic church, the model of anti-Scriptural additions and deletions, did not spring up over night. It took many centuries of adding a little here, and taking away a little there which resulted in the monstrosity we see today. Things that I’m sure seemed harmless at the time like candles, incense, vestments, and even the organ, but they developed into the anti-Christ system we have today that looks nothing like the New Testament church.

    Second, I’m not sure how you can say that Scripture does not touch this issue when I provided a list of Scriptures that speak specifically to the singing of Psalms. Yet how many sing the Psalms today? Few, even if in conjunction with “traditional” hymns as the Psalms are viewed as dusty relics, especially in light of Dispensational views of the Old Testament.

    As far as the pattern the church received from the synagogue, again, you need to do the study. What I will write is that first, acapella psalm singing was the pattern in the synagogues until the 1800’s during the German Reformed movement when they added the organ.

    Instrumental music is quite a modern feature in synagogal worship. Owing to the rabbinical “fence” which prohibited the use of an instrument on Sabbath and festivals because of the probability that it would require tuning or other preparation (comp. Shulḥan ‘Aruk, Oraḥ Ḥayyim, 338, 339), it is still avoided by conservative congregations on those days. Source

    The reason, by the way, why they were acapella is that the Jews, even in a carnal way, feared God and knew that instrumental worship was only allowed in the Temple associated with the sacrifices as performed by the Levitical musicians. They also, in modern times, did not want to imitate the Christian church that eventually introduced the organ.

    And as the pattern was in the synagogue, so it was in the early church where instruments (first the organ) were not widely introduced into the church until the 12th century! And their introduction was by none other than the Catholic church who also added candles, incense, the alter, etc. Here, even Catholic writers admit these facts where we read from Newadvent.org.

    In the early centuries the objection of the Church to instrumental music applied also to the organ, which is not surprising, if we remember the association of the hydraulus with theatre and circus. According to Platina (“De vitis Pontificum”, Cologne, 1593), Pope Vitalian (657-72) introduced the organ into the church service. This, however, is very doubtful. At all events, a strong objection to the organ in church service remained pretty general down to the twelfth century, which may be accounted for partly by the imperfection of tone in organs of that time. But from the twelfth century on, the organ became the privileged church instrument, the majesty and unimpassioned character of its tone making it a particularly suitable means for adding solemnity to Divine worship. Source

    There are countless other quotes but I don’t want to write a tome. Again, reading from a Catholic author so as to not be guilty of bias, we read that:

    The early Christians rigidly banned musical instruments from their religious assemblies. At any rate, there is no mention of their use, and several texts positively show that, at least in the period preceding the Peace of the Church, the singing of the clergy and people was unsupported by any instrument whatever…A text of Clement of Alexandria can hardly be said to prove more than the above-made statement: “Though we no longer worship God with the clamor of military instruments, such as the trumpet, drum and fife, but with peaceful words, this is our most delightful festivity; and if you are able to accompany your voices with the lyre or kithara, you shall incur no censure” (cfr. Burney, “Hist. of Music,” II, 26). Source

    This is why the Greek Orthodox churches still cling to this tradition; that is acapella singing. And they of all people are the ones we can trust in understanding the Greek text of the New Testament!

    The Reformation writers also discussed this subject widely as many were purging out of the church the additions of Catholicism. Organs being one such item; although not all were in agreement. The topic at hand came to be known as the “Regulative principle” verses the one more widely held known as the “Normative” principle.

    For materials to study, you can reference the articles here as a starter. Also, for a very thorough study, please see this paper here which you can also find on Sermon Audio if you prefer to listen rather than read.

    Blessings to you.

  23. I haven’t really studied much about the use of musical instruments in worship. I am neither against it or for it. I used to play guitar at my previous church.
    I will say though, I think using instruments and getting the music just right, gets people into being entertained and not reallly worshipping God. Which is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. I would probably be ok if they took music out all together but, that is just me.

    I think an example is a church choosing a new music minister/worship leader. I have just witnessed this. People in the church did not vote for him because his “style” was not pleasing to their ears. Nevermind if the music he selects is God honoring or theologically sound, they just want it to sound good and give them “liver shivers”.

  24. I like Petra for many of the reasons mentioned here. The lyrics to “Enter In”:

    Petra
    Enter In lyrics

    Words by Bob Hartman
    Based on Hebrews 10:19-20

    Once a year for sacrifice just one priest could pay the price
    And step inside the inner veil to make the people free
    Temple stood the same for years till the Nazarene appears
    Things will never be the same since 33 A.D.
    When He spoke and bowed Hid head
    He who saved the world was dead
    Then the earth began to shake
    Heaven’s wall began to break
    Opening the Holy Place
    The temple veil is torn in two
    The way is clear for me and you

    (Chorus)
    We can enter in, enter in
    Into Heaven’s Holy place
    We can enter in, enter in
    Boldly by His blood we can approach His throne of grace
    We can enter in a new and living Way
    By our faith He will receive us when we pray

    Now without a second look we forget what all it took
    To be seen as innocent by His Holy eyes
    Never thinking foolishly there is something He won’t see
    For our lack of righteousness there is no disguise
    He won’t look the other Way
    Someone’s life will have to pay
    Once for all it has been done
    Taken out upon His Son
    He remembers it no more
    Now for us He is the Door
    Opened up forevermore

    We can enter in, enter in
    We can enter in His gates with thankfulness and praise
    Into the once forbidden Holy place
    We can live in goodness and in mercy all our days
    We can enter in a new and living Way
    By our faith He will receive us when we pray
    We don’t have to be afraid to seek His face
    We can enter in

    Also, from Petra’s lead singer, John Schlitt:

    Wake The Dead

    Lyrics by John Schlitt
    Based on Matthew 28:16-20

    Wake the dead, wake the dead
    Take up the call and carry His commission
    Wake the dead, wake the dead
    Don’t be content and just walk away

    Wake up!
    There’s a job to be done
    You’ve got a calling that you haven’t begun
    For too long you’ve been coasting along
    You think salvation is the end of it all
    (The fields are ready but the workers few)
    You’re not heeding the call
    (It’s time the body starts to shout the news)
    And wake the world up to God’s invitation

    Wake the dead, wake the dead
    Take up the call and carry His commission
    Wake the dead, wake the dead
    Don’t be content and just walk away
    There’s too much to do to just walk away

    Darkness blinds a new generation
    Searching for its place
    Banished by their own choice of living
    From His shining grace
    (But even with such hardened hearts)
    God cares that they will be found
    (He had a plan right from the start)
    To break their chains by His testimony

    Wake the dead, wake the dead
    Don’t be complacent with your own salvation
    Wake the dead, wake the dead
    Got to lead the lost searching for their way

    My $0.02,
    – Jeff H

  25. I thought the first one might be by a so-called Christian artist but figured the last two were secular. Talk about being surprised…that floored me. When you hear Christian song you expect there to be something in there about the Lord and what He did! Those last two songs were just sick!

  26. Pilgrim:
    I am in agreement with your post. I agree with your point that much of contemporary “Christian” music has sunk to the point of being practically indistinguishable from secular. The lyrics you gave above of Toby Mac, who claims to be a Christian, seem to give zero draw toward God, zero mention of the only One who can save the unsaved from their plight, zero resemblance to anything Christian. If anything, “Michey” in the song triumphed over his disadvantage by making it big in sports. Toby says “morality’s slippin”. Yeah, and? Soooo…what’s the point? And what’s the fix? Don’t know. Not according to the song. We’re left to draw our own conclusions. Maybe we should all be like Mickey and pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, get worldly respect and admiration, etc. So, who needs God?

    Music is a powerful medium to influence. We sing or hum jingles all the time. I, for one, am plugged in a lot on the job. I listen to music while I work. I believe there are Christian musicians out there that we can listen to that keep our minds on the truth of God’s word. I like some Don Francisco, some Keith Green, some Classical, some hymns. But in listening to music, it’s important we as Christians keep a discerning ear tuned.

    Some points to consider:
    1) Does the music truly conform to the truths of God’s word? Or is it distorting, or contrary to God’s word in it’s message? Is it helpful for me to walk as a follower of Jesus, or does it encourage worldly values?

    2) Does the music encourage me to worship, praise, thank the Lord? Or does it excite my flesh, my pride, or keep me in unregenerate thinking? Can I continue in prayer whenever the music is playing, or does the music distract me from a prayerful mind and attitude?

    Another thing to consider, as I mentioned earlier, are the artists displaying worldly, fleshly behavior in public? If that’s the case, there’s something wrong with their total message. The source has to be consistent with the recorded message. To give an example of what I mean by this: I’ve seen some famous, obviously secular musicians come out on stage at various times, with their skimpy, sensually dressed female companions in tow, “Thanking Jesus”, or “Thanking God” for their music awards. I’ve seen a female singer, dressed very sensually, showing as much skin as she could legally get away with, singing first a Christian song, then a common secular song. I could give many more examples. The point is, if I support such musicians, the whole message I’m getting, and just who or what I am supporting in listening to music from such “artists”, is inconsistent with what associations I am having as a believer separated unto Christ in my whole being.

    If I am supporting any “Christian” musician, who displays or expresses by his behavior, by his music, or by his associations, that which is inconsistent with God’s word, I am, by such support, partnering with him (if not on the spiritual level, then on the soul level.) Such partnership is unfaithfulness to Christ. And if others hear me listening to such, or see their CD’s in my car or house, it is a tacit endorsement, and I am a stumbling block to those who may be led astray by such “artists”.

    As for church gathering music, I agree very much with brother Michael’s assessment. And I will add that I am sick and tired of the music in churches that “works you up” for worship. Anything that excites our flesh, gets us emotionally charged, may appeal to the flesh and soul, but not the spirit. It’s not only falling short, it is an affront to the All-Holy God Who has made it crystal clear by the examples He gave us in the Old Testament (which He said is for our instruction, so we need to take heed today), that He is to be approached and worshiped in the way He has specified. We cannot approach God in a profane, worldly, careless, flippant, irreverent, fleshly or worldly manner. We cannot come to Him with “strange fire”. We cannot set up our own altars and “worship” Him as we please. We must worship Him in Spirit (the soul may be involved, but in full submission to the spirit, and not in the flesh) and in truth (by His revealed truth). Our spirit must be in unity with the Holy Spirit, in full conformity with the whole of His word. And only then can we, as blood-bought followers of Jesus Christ, approach the living God.

    With this in mind, it is self-evident that worldly, fleshly music has no place for any Christian. Nor should true children of the most high God have any association, or give any support, to imposters who merely claim to be Christian, but do not display it in their lives.

  27. brother Michael:

    Christians are bound by the commandments of the New Testament, not the traditions, the “fences around the law”, of the very postexilic synagogue Jews who tried to kill Jesus Christ for healing on the Sabbath.

    “The reason, by the way, why they were acapella is that the Jews, even in a carnal way, feared God and knew that instrumental worship was only allowed in the Temple associated with the sacrifices as performed by the Levitical musicians.”

    Wrong.

    Exodus 15:20 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.

    Further here.

    1 Samuel 18:6

    And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.

    Further here.

    1 Samuel 16:23 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.

    Further still here.

    2 Samuel 6:4-5

    And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which [was] at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark. And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of [instruments made of] fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.

    Even better.

    1 Samuel 10:5-6.

    After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where [is] the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.

    Now David dedicated Levite musicians to temple service (just as Moses before him dedicated musicians to tabernacle service) but there is ample evidence that music was played in other times and places by other people.

    Habbakuk 3:19 The LORD God [is] my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ [feet], and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

    Even if in the Old Testament times music was only allowed by the Levitical priests during the sacrifices at the temple, these are not Old Testament times. Further, the New Testament makes it clear that 1) we are all priests, 2) our bodies are temples and 3) we offer continuous living sacrifices. So, according to even that doctrine, a Christian should be able to play a song to the Lord on an instrument at any time.

    But as it is, I have just given you some of the VARIOUS examples in the Old Testament where praise music was played by people other than Levitical priests in places other than the temple and in contexts other than during the sacrificial offerings.

    The Bible is not a cryptogram that needs to be interpreted with a decoder ring. Things that God intends for His people are not hidden or done in a corner, but are clearly revealed, a key difference between Christianity and false religions with all of their mysteries, mysticisms and what have you. If God never intended for Christians to play instruments, and if we were only to sign psalms and scriptures a capella, then there would have been a command in the New Testament. Christians are responsible for keeping the commandments in the New Testament, not the opinions of Reformers and other theologians who assert that instruments in worship were fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

    But since we are speaking of historians, it is generally regarded by those same that the many doxologies and prayers that are in Paul’s epistles (among other places) were common hymns sung in the early church. Which means that rather than relying solely on inspired scriptures, the early church was already well into the process of writing their own hymns for worship during the time that the New Testament books were being written. The oldest known hymn, Hail Gladdening Light, believed to date back as far as 150 AD, or 55 years past the late dates for the book of Revelation.

    http://ingridschlueter.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/hail-gladdening-light/

  28. Job – Did I say we were bound by Jewish fences? Did you listen to the message and read the paper or is your mind already made up? Proof-texting via the OT won’t do it as we are under a New Covenant. Those were shadows as the book of Hebrews points out.

    Why the attack with the cryptographic ring remark? No – it is clear – it says sing Psalms – I don’t need a decoder ring for that, do you?

    No – the Apostolic church did not write their own music; they sang the Psalms. And Paul’s writings, last time I checked were inspired writings. Is a Michael W. Smith song inspired? How about one by Amy Grant?

    Likewise, Hail Gladdening Light was said to be written in the 3rd or 4th century, not 150.

  29. Here’s my question….

    I fully embrace the reformed faith…I fully believe in the doctrine of sovereign grace and the 5 solas. As paul said, that the Spirit of God bears witness in our Spirit that we are children of God. Glory to God I am saved!

    I only know just a handful of hymns, “How great thou art”, “Old Rugged Cross”, and…the rest I only know when I hear them. I play instruments and I use it to praise and worship God through singing. I write songs to God, as an overflow of my testimony of what has God done in my wretched life. Through the constant reading and studying of God’s word, the songs I create and play are biblically sound and theologically correct. Please tell me, does this make me less of a Christian because of this practice?

    I came from a 3rd world country where people do not have bibles much more a hymn book. They know the songs like “This is the day…”, “Alive, alive”, and other “pentecostal” songs. They would have drums made out of cardboards, plastic drums, plates, etc. just to provide some sound. A rusty old guitar, probably with strings as old as I am. But do not question the faith of these men, for these people will die anytime for Jesus Christ. These are persecuted church, who does not talk the word of God, they live it by the second. And in their comfort, when they sing and play songs to God, they get strengthened and rejuvenated for this cause they know is worth dying for. Tell me, are they less christian than we are because they sing songs that might not be inspired because it’s not coming from Psalms?

    There are people who loves to dissect the word of God, and make sure that we always got it right. I’m all for that. But there are also people who probably know just a few verses of the bible, because they can only have one page of the bible literally. But prays to God like there is no tomorrow. There are a lot of people in my country who are uneducated, no read, no write….but will die for Christ anytime of the day, because of the strong conviction they have about their Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

    I will tell you something…majority of the people outside of US and other developing countries do not know John Calvin, Edwards, Spurgeon, and other reformers, puritans, and the other noteworthy people. But they do know Jesus Christ and to them, it is enough even unto death.

    Are you telling me just because they sing the song “this is the day” with some old beaten up drums and guitars makes them less acceptable because that’s not how the forefathers had done it?

    In Christ.

  30. Neil,
    Of course no one is saying that people who sing “this is the day” or any other song are not Christians or less than others. I’m not sure why you would imply such a thing because the same could be said with any doctrine that a person has not be taught or learned. This not being something distinct with people in foreign lands but could just as be true in America or any other place where access to the Scriptures and doctrinal materials is abundant.

    Think on China for a minute. Do you know that over there that many of the house churches are led by women? And that men take a secondary role with women being the preachers and teachers. Yet most of us would agree that this is un-Scriptural and a violation of Scripture. Not only in the church but also the family where the Scriptures say the husband is the head of the wife.

    But no one in making such a judgment that this setup is a clear violation of Scripture is making a judgment that they are not Christians for having such an arrangement. Big difference between the two.

    And with the women as preachers and teachers I’m sure most of us would agree that it is something that has to be addressed. Lovingly, gracefully and with much prayer and wisdom because it is so entrenched in their culture. We cannot just say that this is the way they do things, they love the Lord and are being persecuted unto death so we never speak to them on this. This would not be love but fear on our part.

    This same thing can be true in so many other areas but that does not mean we, who know better in any given area, accept the Christianity of lowest common denominator. Rather, we who can, study to show ourselves approved unto God being faithful with what God has given us. They likewise, need to be faithful with what God has chosen to give them. He who is faithful in that which is least, is likewise faithful in much.

  31. Brother Michael…

    Point Taken..

    “But no one in making such a judgment that this setup is a clear violation of Scripture is making a judgment that they are not Christians for having such an arrangement. Big difference between the two.”

    This I understand bro. Sometimes, we are so hasty on passing judgment on something or someone (I am guilty of this) without really taking the time to seek the Lord on how to address a concern with Godly wisdom.

    “And with the women as preachers and teachers I’m sure most of us would agree that it is something that has to be addressed. Lovingly, gracefully and with much prayer and wisdom because it is so entrenched in their culture.”

    Since you’ve raised this up bro, just a side question (since this is totally off-topic) Where does sola scriptura stands in this argument. Women preachers + Culture + real faith still does not equal 1 Corinthians 14. I guess my question is how can someone address this “lovingly” to someone who is in this situation. During my pentecostal years, it never really bothered me…but now, to me, it just seems opposite to what the Word of God says. Given that is wrong based on the scriptures, how would you address this? I guess I’m looking for the right approach. (conversationally)

  32. Hi Neil,
    Thanks for your kind reply. First, you said:

    This I understand bro. Sometimes, we are so hasty on passing judgment on something or someone (I am guilty of this) without really taking the time to seek the Lord on how to address a concern with Godly wisdom.

    My reply: I’m glad I’m not the only one guilty of this! Oh how I pray for the love of Christ to guide me in all things.

    I would agree addressing the woman preaching issue could be a big issue especially depending on the circles it is encountered in. Very hard when you are dealing with a cultural situation like that in China where it is deeply rooted; largely due to the problems of men being hauled away into prison or killed for preaching the gospel. Honestly here I have no easy answers and would have to seek counsel from elders who have more experience in such things.

    In terms of areas less difficult but still challenging like a Pentecostal church, this might be an area to get to later rather than sooner. That is, there might be bigger fish to fry first before this doctrine is even addressed.

    I might start with the sufficiency of Scripture as our rule for faith in all matters of doctrine verses new revelation and “prophetic words”, dreams, etc.

    I also might teach the spiritual truths behind what many see as cultural issues only related to the first century. Women speaking being one such item where I have heard it said many times that Paul was only addressing local matters with women speaking over men (i.e. in Corinth) but that this does not preclude their speaking/teaching as elders today.

    The problem with this belief is that it overturns the family order we see in the Scriptures where God is the head of Christ, Christ the head of man, the man the head of woman, and the children under their parents. Any time this order gets out of whack, like having the woman as the head of man, or the children as the head of their parents, you will have problems. Big problems.

    This, in my estimation, is the very foundational area to focus for this doctrine because if this truth is established where woman understand and believe God’s established order (and men also!), then I think by course they will defer to their husbands, their head, to lead them even as Sarah did with Abraham.

    Men though have to be willing to step up to the plate, get off their proverbial butts, peel themselves away from the TV, and be the men God has called them to be. If not, and there is a spiritual vacuum, then it will be filled and filling it will be the woman.

  33. CCM looks like the world, sounds like the world, and is loved by the world. This should cause all Christians to stop and think.

    Isn’t it just this simple? – if it looks like the world, sounds like the world, and is loved by the world, is this not cause for all Christians to stop and think.

    (re: music)

    its quite simple – we are so far forward in time, from the actual “truth” — that the “truth” has been distorted, twisted, manipulated……..(by who? WHO DO YOU THINK?!)
    ..”music” as we know of it today, has been manipulated over time by satan….. music is “sounds”….. sounds affect our soul – our spirit …… the manipulation of sounds, by any “instrument” whether it be a stick on a metal garbage can lid, or a harp or an electric guitar, is manipulated to create a “connection” to our soul – our spirit…. “sounds” affect us in different way… go sit by the ocean on a windy day – if the sound of the waves of the ocean do not affect your spirit, then you must be listening to something else inside of your head………
    go into a field, and listen to the trees and the wind — sit by a small stream and listen to the water flowing down across some rocks – does it not affect your spirit? listen to a baby coo, or a baby scream of pain – does this not affect your spirit? cut through and speak to your soul?? are these sounds “music?”
    — listen to classic metal or rock – does it not affect your spirit and your soul?? listen to kenny G – (or the like) – does it not affect your spirit?
    listen to rap or like music — c’mon people….. especially CHRISTIANS! — one person above said it the best!!
    Isn’t it just this simple? (i modified it a little)

    “- if it looks like the world, sounds like the world, and is loved by the world, is this not cause for all Christians to stop and think.”

    i’m about 50 – from the age of about 8 or 9 years old – until my late 20’s/early 30’s – i was steeped in music – and when i decided one day (and with Gods help) to stop the drinking, etc. etc.. — looking for the “truth” i realized the affect of music on ALL PEOPLE!!! (including myself of course)
    since then, my skin CRAWLS when i hear (especially) “christians” DEFEND “their music”! — (ccm or even secular music)

    WE ARE LIVING IN THE END DAYS!! SATAN WILL USE, AND IS USING ALL THAT he CAN TO SWAY, CONFUSE, “MANIPULATE”!!!

    MUSIC – IS SOMETHING “NATURAL” – “PURE” – “SPIRITUAL” –
    HE STARTED WITH THE GROSS DISTORTION OF MANIPULATING SOUNDS – “MUSIC” IN THE WORLD – AND NOW, IN OUR “WISHY WASHY – ITS ALL ABOUT ME AND WHAT IS THE CHURCH GOING TO DO FOR ME AND HOW IS THE CHURCH (AND “GOD”) GOING TO “MAKE ME FEEL GOOD” CHURCH” (WORLD) —- IT HAS FILTERED IN – AND NOW GRASPING THE “christians” AND ” AFFECTING THEIR SPIRITS!!! ” “MANIPULATING THEIR SOULS”

    I T ‘ S R E A L S I M P L E — PEOPLE!!!

    WHERE IS THE DISCERNMENT??!!!

    (I’M SORRY, IT JUST FRIES MY BRAIN – WRENCHES MY SPIRIT – DISTURBS MY SOUL………)

    if joel olsteen or benny hinn or the like, preaches a part of a sermon, that is biblical, true, right on, —- are you going to listen to the rest of his sermons, become a member of their cult?? well, no… i dont think so….
    so if a ccm song (or group) has one or two good songs, with “good words” — are you going to listen then to the other songs and be “fans” of them – because there was a song that inspired you (for that moment in time.. MADE YOU “FEEL GUSHY” AND TEARY EYED?!!!)

    W A K E U P!!!!!

    SATAN = MIX THE TRUTH WITH LIES (how about this – mix it with “sounds”)

    so LETS JUST GO AHEAD AND FOLLOW!!!!!!
    LOOKS GOOD – “FEELS GOOD” – SOUNDS GOOD – WELL “SIGN ME UP!!!”

    and for you “WELL IT GETS THE KIDS INTO THE CHURCH” christians —

    DID JESUS “HANG AT THE BAR – KICK DOWN A FEW – TELL A FEW NASTY JOKES ” so they would “listen to what HE said????

    (i cant take much more… JESUS PLEASE TAKE ME HOME!!! – the end….)

  34. hey guys.i`v been goin thru your comments and please guys,i know you all sound knowlegeable but be careful not to set up formulaes for God on how he reaches out to his people.

  35. Favour,
    I only find one way God reaches out to sinners, through the preaching of the word (Romans 1:16). Music plays on the emotions, but the preaching of the Gospel works on the souls of men. They do not need to be entertained, they need to be saved.

  36. I’m also new here. I also saw someone said that music should not be in churches because the music makes us excited and excitement is of the flesh. But when I listen to Christian music that gets me excited and is praising the Lord I wanna praise the Lord along with them! And do you want be people to be bored to death in church? I hope not. God wants us to be excited for him! not dosing off and barely paying attention to what the pastor is saying. I sometimes find that when I hear upbeat music at my church I pay attention more but when the songs are slow I tend to drift off a bit more.

  37. Ima Skillet fan:

    Greetings.

    Some question to ponder:

    Should it take music to make one want to praise the Lord, or does the indwelling Holy Spirit cause the spirit inside to gravitate toward He Who loves and cares for His children?

    Is the message preached boring unless there is music, or does God’s Word, read and preached from the pulpit cause the spirit within to jump with joy?

    Should the tempo of the music dictate or influence your ability to pay attention to what the pastor is saying?

    What is “praising the Lord”? Is it a thankful appreciation that flows out from us no matter where we are in gratefulness for what He does for us every moment of every day? Or is it measured by the feeling we get when we work ourselves up emotionally by means of music we like?

  38. I’ve read some comments and some people here are hating on Skillet. Please don’t because the song Monster is just one song out 12 songs on that album and most of the songs are very scriptural or Godly. None of Skillet’s songs promote rebellion as I have heard most of their songs and read the lyrics to the rest. All of Skillet’s beliefs are based from the bible and I know because I’ve read many interviews. And It was Skillet who helped me in my walk with God! I don’t know if I would have such a strong faith in the Lord without them. I’ve heard of many other people who have felt the same way as me too. Now in response to DavidW Yes the Holy Spirit is what makes me wanna worship but unfortunately if there are a lot of slow songs with the same message I feel like I’m at a funeral not at church. i believe that upbeat music is better for worship because look what God did for us! He died and rose again! Isn’t that something to celebrate for? Doesn’t that thought make you just wanna jump for joy? It does me! And I ALWAYS Look for a way to praise God. Whether through Music (even secular sometimes!) movies, books etc. Now I can’t talk anymore. I’m not allowed to blog much.

  39. Ima Skillet fan:

    Please do not assume that disagreement with another’s views/behaviors is “hating on them”.

    I also caution you about assuming that if one’s beliefs are “based from” the bible, that the person or group is truly “Christian”, born again, or a follower of the Jesus of the Bible. There are certainly various groups who claim to be “christian” who base their beliefs/teachings on the Bible, yet ALSO have teachings and/or behaviors that are at odds with or contrary to the whole of Scripture. Read and contemplate Matt. 7:21-23 for instance.

    Friend, I used to think very much like you years ago. As an old rocker Larry Norman used to say “I aint knockin your hymns, just give me a song that moves my feet…I don’t want none of your funeral marches, i aint dead yet…”. And to that I would give a hearty “right on Larry”. Truth is, I dug the music. And if the music I liked was “christian”, by “christian rock bands” and in a “christian church’, well, I truly had the best of both (so I thought at the time). I could “worship Jesus” along with all the music I liked (emphasis on “I liked”).

    But I didn’t really understand the difference between the flesh and the spirit. I was told I was a new creature because of my decision to follow Christ. But I wasn’t taught nor did I understand what exactly the flesh was that I was supposed to be dying to (other than gross sins like fornication, drunkeness, etc.).

    It wasn’t for many years that the Lord (the Holy Spirit) showed me, through daily study of His Word (BOTH Testaments), Who He really is, what He really desires, what He approves of and what He doesn’t. It was all there in His Word (both Testaments) all along. But I had to study His Word, daily, for years, and practice what He commanded, daily.

    Now I have a better understanding what the flesh is and what caters to it, and what the spirit is, and how to commune with the Holy Spirit residing inside. And don’t get me wrong: I AM STILL LEARNING each day as I study His Word.

    I can only go so far in telling you the ways of God. But only He can open you eyes and grant you understanding of what pleases Him and what doesn’t. I hope someday you find that true worship of the Almighty Creator God is in spirit (not by feelings, nor the flesh) and in truth (that which is defined by Him in His Word: “Thy Word is Truth”) (Jn.4:24).

  40. DavidW, First off thanks for the talking! I just wanna make clear that I felt some people were hating on Skillet just based on the song Monster and the Music Video for the song (and Monster is actually my favorite song by them. Ha ha!). And I do believe that any music fast or slow, loud or quiet can be used to praise God. I just prefer the fast and loud type. I do believe that I was created like this. If we all liked the same music what fun would music be? And I am not hating on you or anyone who prefers church hymns. It’s funny how me and Larry Norman said basically the same thing huh? Hee hee! But again from what I’ve read (and I’ve read alot! I think I’ve read over 20 interviews!) Skillet doesn’t believe anything that is unGodly and when I hear some of their music my spirit jumps for joy! I don’t have anything against slow songs or hymns in fact when used right I like them alot. Just not overdone. It’s the same with hymns and rock albums for me. when I’m listening to to a rock album it’s nice to sometimes take a break from all that headbanging and have a song that is slow and smooth. Same with churches I like some songs that make me wanna shout “Praise the Lord!” but then it’s nice to have songs that slow down and make me think and make me wanna go “Amen”. Too much slows songs however make me feel like everything is dragging on. (On rock albums and hymns) I can’t change the way I feel about this and I don’t think it will ever change. (it might though) And before I end I just wanna take something my mom said into consideration: “When I go to church and have a bad attitude and sings hymns that praise God but don’t mean it God won’t be too pleased. However Skillet can go and perform and bang their heads for a few hours and praise God with that and God will say ‘Well done my good and faithful student'” Praising God is a heart thing it can be done through whatever, whenever, but for some people certain things don’t express the way they praise God. Now I don’t know if I will be able to talk again like I said before I’m not allowed to blog much.

    And also I wanna make a testimony. When I was reading on Skillet.com how a fan believes he is being taunted by demons(and by what he described I do believe he is) I got scared that night because the thought of demons and Satan sometimes scares me and I was shaky and kinda jumpy and I put a Christian Radio station on and the first song that I heard was “Feed the Machine” by RED. It’s a dark song but as soon I heard the first bit of screaming (yes this bands screams) I immediantely felt better! So I believe God can use whatever to praise him or to help others (Feed the Machine isn’t exactly a cheerful song but it helped me crush my fear) but I’m not trying to shove my beliefs down your throat if it appears I’m doing so I’ll stop.

  41. http://apprising.org/2011/09/01/steven-furtick-and-prophet-brian-carn/?utm_source
    I find these 2 videos interesting. In the first video he gets them all worked up, in the second one anything goes. No gospel preaching, just music. Some people seem to think if they add Jesus’ name it’s ok

  42. Jude:

    You came closer to the heart of the issue. So many have a false concept of what worship is. Euphoria is confused with “the Spirit’s presence”. “Feeling” is confused with spiritual guidance. “Worship” is for many (and for a time in the past was for me as well) a mystical experience, often catalyzed, instigated by, or produced by using a type of music they like (be it classical, rock, or “mood music”), which puts them into a “worshipful” feeling or atmosphere (as they perceive it), which they DIRECT TOWARD God. Such is not what we see in Scripture. But we do find that basic method in heathen religions. And as you well pointed out, attaching Jesus’ name to it somehow legitimizes it. Sad.

  43. David W
    Sadly for a time that was me as well Thinking back I didn’t pay much attention to my Bible or about the preaching It was all about feelings, it’s unholy fire but then if people get on a high and think they have touched heaven, and are so close to God there is never a need to deny themselves take up their cross and put to death the things of the flesh

  44. David W and Jude: What is worship then? From what I’ve read in the Bible it all seems to aim towards one thing which is said in the psalms: “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord oh my Soul” So is worship just singing and dancing? No. Praise is done through anything. Whether it be at home, at work or church or Rock concerts. We just gotta have the right heart attitude. I can praise God when I win a game on my Wii Jumping up and down and shout “Thank you God Thank you!” (I’ve done that a few times) Or it can be when somebody fixes something at their job and silently whispers “Thank you Lord” or it can be just standing singing hymns and offering up praise during the worship service in church. (I’ve done that too) You guys hint at what you think is worship but never actually bluntly say it. (At least to me) If I don’t have the definition of praise to God right please tell me. Thanks.

    PS: I need to add that We can praise God even if we have no reason too. I don’t HAVE to win a game on my Wii I can be thankful that I just have the Wii let alone the game. Same with work, People (especially in these hard times) need to know that they can’t just praise God because they did well at their job, rather praise God that they have a job. I can also praise God that I’m alive and well and living my life for him it doesn’t have to be brought up at anything, church, concerts, Bible studies, etc. I can praise God through anything at any time. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with getting really excited at concerts or church and that bringing on feelings of praise. And with the Jesus thing, I think that will shred apart our complaining when a song doesn’t mention Jesus or God. Because like you guys pointed out a man or woman can say Jesus in their songs but yet be so vulgar in their private lives or in public, while an artist who is on fire for God and praising him but yet not mentioning Jesus in the lyrics will be blasted down for “not saying Jesus”. See what I mean? Thanks for reading.

  45. This article says it better than I could
    http://www.gotquestions.org/true-worship.html

  46. Thanks Jude that answered my questions beautifully! The article pretty much said what I wanted to say, just I didn’t quite have the words to say it. The “music can be used to express our praise” Is basically what I’ve wanted to say all along! Thanks again! (Shriek! One of my favorite Skillet songs is just now playing on the radio!)

  47. Also Jude and David W and anyone else who may read this can you pray for someone? I mentioned earlier that I got jumpy when I read someone’s report on Skillet.com when they said they were being taunted by demons. The persons username on Skillet.com is SkilletWolf but I don’t know the persons real name and even if I did I wouldn’t give it for sake of privacy. I really believe she is being taunted by demons but even if he isn’t he needs our prayers because this person is going through a tough time. You can read the story here: http://www.skillet.com/forums/ed0440-demon-or-is-it-just-me-seriously-guys-its-just-not-fun-anymore/ Thanks!

  48. PS It’s a Female person not a male! I screwed up when typing. sometimes when I get to typing fast I start to lightly tap the keys instead of pressing down on them so twice i just tapped the “S” key and it didn’t register! Sorry for the confusion.

  49. Ima Skillet fan:

    I have to say I’m confused in that what you’ve previously commented in this thread seems to run contrary to much of what the article said which Jude linked to. Yet you say the article is saying what you’ve been saying all along. OK. I have no desire to go round and round about it. And this would get quite lengthy indeed were I to bring in the issues of circumcision, the life and mind of Christ, God’s holiness and purity, Davidic vs. N.T. worship, world/flesh vs. spirit, etc. and how it all factors into all this. May the Lord grant us all understanding of what He has required of us as we study His Word.

    Regarding your prayer request: of course I would be happy to pray for the person.

    Something to remember (for true followers of Christ):

    “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:19-20)

  50. Sorry for the confusion DavidW! I’m only in early high school so I sometimes have trouble expressing what I want to say in a way that everyone can understand. I must admit that I do tend get confused over what true worship is. But the conversation has been helpful these past few days. And thanks for praying! This girl needs our prayers as satan is doing everything he can to try to scare her, possibly into a state of depression it sounds like. I must also say that if it is God’s will I can hopefully start a ministry in Christian music and hopefully lead people to Christ. And I wanna ask your opinion on something: What do you think of taking secular songs and rewriting them to fit a Christian purpose? For example there’s one song that I like that I heard on the radio one time and it sounded awesome but unfortunately it had a bad message and some swearing in it (I don’t listen to it because of that and thankfully it was censored but I could tell the singer was swearing) What would your opinion be on taking that song and rewriting it to praise God or to give a Godly message? Thanks. I’ve really appreciated all that you and Jude have done to help me so thanks again!

  51. worship isn’t just a song sung but a lifestyle lived in honor of Jesus…let Him be the inspiration and writer of you songs

  52. Thanks Marc! I always try to do my best to live for God (“Do or do not there is no try”) but that can be hard in these days. even if I become a musician I will do my best to not give in to the life of fame and instead just live for the Lord. Many of my songs that I write have been about fighting against society and for the Lord. One of things that is very strong in my songs is the call against “fitting in” with the world. I hate it when I walk into a Wal-mart and there are all these magazines telling women how to get men and how do their hair and other propaganda. (I am only in high school myself but really I personally am more attracted to girls my age who don’t have stick thin bodies.) And other songs would be about surrendering your life to Christ and giving him your all (I really love the song “Jesus Freak” it’s a song that can keep me pumped up and ready to live for God even when other people try to bring me down) even the song that I rewrite would have that “Live for the Lord” message. It would be a call to live for the Lord and to not reject him when he calls you. Maybe I’m weird but I feel really strong about those 2 messages. Not fitting in and Living for the Lord is something God calls all of us Christians to do. Sorry for the rant! And thanks for all the advice all of you have been giving me!

  53. 1 peter 2:11 is one of my favorite verses…it reminds us that we are to be as strangers in this world…i believe the church lost it’s effectiveness was when we became more focused on fitting in and blending in, than standing up and standing out…if we really want to reach people then we need to remember this…Jesus never had a hard time attracting people to Him because He either had what the people wanted or what the people wished they had….and the ones that thought they had it but didn’t…where would we be without people like that? seriously?

  54. Marc Stump I know! I wanna be a person that sticks out. If God calls me to spread God’s word through music I’ll do my best. But one of the things that I have trouble with is this: I wanna show God’s love to all people. If it is God’s will for me I wanna get his message out big time. I wanna promote the message on MTV, secular radio, even certain movies too.(But I will have to know what the movie is about and the context my song will be used in. I won’t just hand my songs off to anyone who asks for it.) But I know that if I do that I will probably have fans who aren’t Christians and I know that when you get to preaching to non Christians you’re walking a fine line. I know that I won’t judge people based on whether or not they’re Christian, because I know that all people have reasons for why they believe what they believe and if I were to hate on people they would be hardened to the Truth. And I know that I there is a very good chance that I will be hated by some legalistic Christians because I’ll play the style of “satanic” Hard Rock or that I don’t mention Jesus in all my songs. Which that argument is sooo narrow minded it’s not even funny. Amazing Grace only mentions God once! The rest the author just talks about some “Grace” that saved him. And Buddhism refers Buddha as “God” and so the song could be talking about any “god”. That’s what legalists do is they tear apart songs just because “It doesn’t mention Jesus” We know that the song is Christian because of the author’s testimony and it’s our hymns. I even love that song. My point is this: I wanna reach many people people but in this world it’s going to be hard and I don’t know how I will take criticism from other Christians. Sorry for the rant!

  55. Ima Skillet fan:

    Sorry for taking so long to get back to you (life’s been busy). In regard to your question to me:

    “What do you think of taking secular songs and rewriting them to fit a Christian purpose? For example there’s one song that I like that I heard on the radio one time and it sounded awesome but unfortunately it had a bad message and some swearing in it (I don’t listen to it because of that and thankfully it was censored but I could tell the singer was swearing) What would your opinion be on taking that song and rewriting it to praise God or to give a Godly message?”

    Essentially what you’re wondering about is, can or should I take something secular, change it, and use it to bring glory to God? Sort of mixing the two (worldly song with “God-glorifying” words). Right? I have to say, when I was a young Christian, I thought the very same thing (since there were a lot of secular songs I really liked). What I came to see all throughout God’s Word is that many times, especially in the Old Testament, God’s people attempted to mix the “secular” (that which originates from the unsaved, fallen, unregenerate world) with the “sacred” (that which pertains to or is offered to God). Each and every time it was rejected by God. Why? Weren’t they intending to glorify God? Maybe so. But it misses the point of what God says about Himself and Who He is, about us and who we are, about sin and why we are separated from God, and about who and what the All-Pure God allows in His presence.

    Here’s a short explanation of a long subject:
    God is not just holy, but supremely all-holy. “Holy” derives from “hágios” – meaning “different” (unlike), other (“otherness”). For the believer, hágios means “likeness of nature with the Lord” and therefore “different from the world.” Thus a temple in the 1st century was hagios (“holy”) because it was different from other buildings (Wm. Barclay). In the NT, hágios (“holy”) has the technical meaning of “different from the world” because it is “like the Lord.” Then He says “(You) be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet.1:16). This is where the Old Testament is so valuable in understanding just what God means by this. God never said, nor does He ever convey the idea: “Come and worship Me any way you like”. On the contrary, He laid out highly specific, detailed instruction for His people to worship Him, including who was allowed to come into His presence (and how), what they were to do, what instruments to use in worship, what clothing to wear, how to prepare the sacrifice, etc. Any deviation from His instruction was unacceptable to Him. All of this process was important to make it clear to man that God only allows sinful man (who deserves hell for his rebellion, and has no right to approach his all-holy Creator) to approach Him by one specific means that is acceptable to Him. First man must be made holy BEFORE he can even enter into God’s presence.

    Fast forward to the New Testament (and us). God STILL allows only one means by which we can approach Him. First our sins must be washed from us by His blood which He shed on the Cross, so that we are no longer separated from Him. When we are born again and thus become new creatures, we live our lives no longer as we always used to (in our flesh (our old fallen human nature), according to the ways of the world around us). On the contrary, we live in obedience to His every word, denying ourselves daily (that is, denying our fleshly thoughts and behaviors), take up our cross (willfully and gladly taking embracing that which kills our flesh) and follow Jesus daily (by living in obedience to His Word and following His example). That comes from our new nature (which is pleasing to God, and which God puts in us).

    Evidence of this is the fruit we bear. That fruit is not “good works”, nor merely attending a church, nor saying and doing all the “right things” or all the “right words”. Rather, good fruit is that which flows out naturally from us when we are connected to Jesus “The Vine” (Jn.15:5). When we are truly born again, and new creatures, the fruit that naturally comes forth from us is that we no longer think or behave like we used to. In fact, those old things are now repulsive to us. We no longer even want them, and certainly take no joy in them anymore. Nor are we any longer like the world around us. Rather, we take joy in following Christ, living in obedience to His Word, seeking truth and righteousness as well as holiness (remember what holiness is?).

    So that brings us back to “can I use secular songs to worship God”? In light of what I just shared, I sincerely hope such mixture would seem inappropriate and unacceptable. Worship God rather, in spirit (not the flesh), and in truth (according to His Word) (Jn.4:24), and in the beauty of holiness (Ps.29:2).

  56. Ok thanks DavidW but one quick question: What if the song was not a praise song but instead a battle anthem to inspire people to live for God? And doesn’t taking a secular and rewriting it kinda like the being reborn process? Taking a bad song and rewriting it to make it good therefore making the original repulsive? Also what about taking inspiration from secular artists? I gotta make a confession: One of my musical inspirations is a secular group called Disturbed. They swear in a few songs but I only listen to the clean ones and I very rarely listen to them at all. What I like about them though is their musical style: angry vocals, gritty guitars, tribal drums all give them an angry feel, so when you listen to any of their songs you can tell they’re angry about something. But why I wanna copycat that sound is because we Christians should be angry! We live in a world controlled by satan and everyone is against us. When I hear the whole “happy clappy” type music it makes me feel there’s a false presence of peace and joy in this world. But before I depart I need to say that I’m only in early high school and so I don’t have a huge understanding of the Gospel so if my questions seem petty or juvenile feel free to let me know

  57. The pervasive idolization of music within the Western church (not seen in the church elsewhere in the world) is nothing more than another golden calf. CCM will not sustain you as you are beaten and tortured in a prison for your faith, in fact, the “positive and encouraging,” bubble gum, hip hop, “Jesus-is-my-boyfriend” pop music that oozes out of the radio (as well as the headbanging sounds of hard rock distortion) will be the last thing those suffering for their faith will care about.

    What will inspire us in our suffering (as does countless Christians today who suffer, who don’t peruse the latest music CD releases at Christian bookstores and who know nothing about going to Christian rock concerts) is the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures.

    A few years ago I re-posted a piece from Ben Ratliff of the New York Times that I entitled Christianity: It’s All Abut the Music?

    Apparently even the secular world can identify our idol, too bad we can’t.

  58. Pilgrim thanks for commenting but I wanna ask a question: Are you trying to guilt me into not playing music because CCM is a “golden calf” of idolatry? Who said I wanted to be apart of CCM? In fact I personally don’t want to be recognized as a “Christian artist” of any sort. I wanna be recognized as a band consisting of Christians for 2 reasons: 1) I wanna be able to be recognized not by my religion but by talents so that way I can have a better chance of getting out and preach to the mainstream. 2) So that I can avoid hate from other Christians about “not saying Jesus” every song. And like I said in a comment before there a TON of hymns that don’t mention Jesus. If you want I’ll send you a link to a website that gives a list. (Be warned it’s a pro-Christian Rock site) And I really hope I can be inspiring to those who are suffering because that’s what I want my my music to be about, inspiring people who feel hated by the world to stand up and fight the world! And the Holy Spirit has guess what: touched me and helped me through tough times by allowing a certain (oh my goodness!) CCM or even a secular song to be played at that time!

    I also read that article you posted and I read comments and to all those who think music is becoming such an idol: well CCM is to blame for that isn’t it? None of those hymns have anything to do with it? Yes they do! If you don’t like the way music is becoming an idol in the church why do you still sing hymns? They’re music too! All the music you presented in that article seemed to be “contemporary” style churches. So again more CCM hating. And the reason why music has become such an important part of the church is because music has become an important part of people’s lives (especially young people) and people can connect through music. I don’t say it’s right to make the church a stage but I don’t think it’s wrong to play contemporary music. I also think that music is a tool that God can use to work in people’s lives and even to reach lost people. (I don’t want to hear “the only way God reaches people is through preaching”. Have you ever heard the saying “The Lord works in mysterious ways”? Well music is one of them.) Also if you think “Christian Rock is evil” read Psalm 150. It says at the end to praise God with string instruments (guitars) and loud cymbals (cymbals are on a drum set) so the Bible says to praise God with, basically, Rock music!

    Sorry for the rant but seriously I think the whole CCM hating is getting out of hand because people who glorify hymns are just as bad as people who glorify contemporary music.
    (PS I find a lot of Catholic hating on this site to be offensive because both my Grandma and Great Grandma are Catholics and they also believe in Jesus as their Savior and my parents want to check out this site so I might not be able to talk)

    Also before I go maybe we think of CCM all wrong. Maybe it’s not supposed to be “Praise and Worship” but rather, a ministry. Many bands like, Skillet, RED, Flyleaf all have toured with secular bands and they preach the gospel while on tour, Christian or secular. Maybe that’s the reason why we have so much focus on music is due to the fact that music can be used to open people’s hearts to the gospel. Ok now I’m going. Talk to ya later! (I hope)

  59. Dear Ima Skillet fan, you said:

    “Pilgrim thanks for commenting but I wanna ask a question: Are you trying to guilt me into not playing music because CCM is a “golden calf” of idolatry?”

    Nope. I was actually making a general blanket statement about the issue, not directing it specifically to you. But if you do feel any guilt about it, then praise God, perhaps He’s working on your heart.

    “And like I said in a comment before there a TON of hymns that don’t mention Jesus.”

    I never said anything about this. And I would argue that it’s not the absence of the name Jesus in Contemporary Christian Music that’s the problem, it’s the presentation of a false Jesus of CCM that’s most disturbing.

    “that’s what I want my my [sic] music to be about, inspiring people who feel hated by the world to stand up and fight the world!”

    Can you be more specific about what you mean by this (and provide some Scriptural reference for this as well)?

    “And the Holy Spirit has guess what: touched me and helped me through tough times by allowing a certain (oh my goodness!) CCM or even a secular song to be played at that time!”

    Laying aside your snarky and condescending tone, please be aware that people are “inspired” by things all the time, that doesn’t in and of itself mean it’s from God. But what’s really disturbing is that you (as a professing Christian) keep referencing how these extra-biblical “things” keep inspiring you, but what about God and His Word? How come nary a word about those the very things that have “inspired” Christians since the beginning of the church (as well Christians today under fierce persecution)?

    “I also read that article you posted and I read comments and to all those who think music is becoming such an idol: well CCM is to blame for that isn’t it? None of those hymns have anything to do with it? Yes they do! If you don’t like the way music is becoming an idol in the church why do you still sing hymns? They’re music too!”

    Well, when the author of that article can find a church that focuses that much on hymns at the exclusion of Christ and His gospel, then I’ll address that. But until then, you’re blame shifting and diversion hold no water. Music is not inherently an idol till one makes it so. Any good and perfect gift can be made into an idol. So please don’t waste your time with the hymns-are-bad straw man argument.

    “All the music you presented in that article seemed to be ‘contemporary’ style churches. So again more CCM hating.”

    I wouldn’t have an issue (or an argument) if CCM wasn’t almost completely void of Scripture and doctrine. Conversely, most hymns are similar to a sermon in their copious doctrinal content. Today’s “positive and encouraging” happy, clappy music is more like the world it seeks to mimic than the God it claims to represent.

    “And the reason why music has become such an important part of the church is because music has become an important part of people’s lives (especially young people) and people can connect through music.”

    Ah, the man-centered gospel where it’s all about us rears its ugly head again. Perhaps music has become such an idol because it relieves us of having to study His Word, yet allows us to retain some semblance of a Christian life. Or perhaps it’s because CCM appeals to our flesh and we love to feed our flesh whenever we can (none of that crazy dying to self stuff for us modern Christians).

    “I don’t say it’s right to make the church a stage but I don’t think it’s wrong to play contemporary music.”

    I agree and I agree. The church is not a stage (for entertainment), and there’s nothing wrong with contemporary music if it’s God honoring and doctrinally sound.

    “I also think that music is a tool that God can use to work in people’s lives and even to reach lost people. (I don’t want to hear “the only way God reaches people is through preaching”. Have you ever heard the saying “The Lord works in mysterious ways”? Well music is one of them.)”

    Well you have rejected Scripture regarding the importance of preaching (Romans 10:14-15) for a quaint saying found on Hallmark cards? What exactly do you stand on for your foundation for truth?

    “Also if you think “Christian Rock is evil” read Psalm 150. It says at the end to praise God with string instruments (guitars) and loud cymbals (cymbals are on a drum set) so the Bible says to praise God with, basically, Rock music!”

    Wow. Are you serious? That’s a stretch. I mean a really big stretch. Look up the words “context” and “hermeneutics” to better understand why I am amazed at your stretch.

    “Sorry for the rant but seriously I think the whole CCM hating is getting out of hand because people who glorify hymns are just as bad as people who glorify contemporary music.”

    One is predominantly Scripture saturated (meat); one is feel-good style over substance (junk food). Oh, and please stop with the “hate” allegations. I grow so weary when anytime anyone opposes anything they’re automatically considered hateful. If you oppose illegal immigration then you must “hate” immigrants. If you oppose tax hikes, then you must “hate” old people and little kids. Can you dislike your friend’s rival sports team without you “hating” that sports team? Sure you can. So let’s stop with the inflammatory allegations.

    “(PS I find a lot of Catholic hating on this site to be offensive because both my Grandma and Great Grandma are Catholics and they also believe in Jesus as their Savior”

    Were Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, Jude, etc. Jew haters because they opposed the false works-righteousness Hebrew religion? I am sorry that the truth about Romanism offends you, but it doesn’t make it any less truthful. I too have Romanist family, but the Bible is very clear on who Jesus is and what the gospel is, so it doesn’t matter how many of my family members are in false religions, I will not diminish the severity of their error in order to help me sleep at night. It’s the very fact that Romanists have lived and died in my family that I am so passionate about exposing Rome for what it is. I also have other family that are Mormons who “believe in Jesus as their Savior.” Problem is the Jesus of Mormonism (and of Rome and of Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.) is not the Jesus of the Bible (see here), and the gospel of Mormonism (and of Rome and of the JWs) is not the gospel of the Bible and it does not save (see here).

    I do find it ironic though, that this very week we’ve discussed this matter of CCM music with a woman defending John Crowder and she (steeped in the world of so-called CCM) also believes there’s nothing wrong with Romanism. I’m beginning to see a pattern. Strong on CCM, weak on discernment, doctrine, and theology. When your life comes to an end, what will be more important, a right understanding of who Jesus is and what His gospel is, or how many concerts you went and how many good feelings you got while listening to music?

    “Maybe that’s the reason why we have so much focus on music is due to the fact that music can be used to open people’s hearts to the gospel.”

    God opens the minds and hearts of men (Luke 24:45, Acts 16:14, 1 John 5:20) and the Holy Spirit convicts of sin (John 16:8). Not Flyleaf, nor Skillet, nor any other person.

    Look, I understand that you love your music. Your fervent defense of it shows how important it is to you, but please, do yourself a favor and spend more time reading your Bible than listening to music. In fact, I challenge you. Go 30 days without Skillet (or Red, or Flyleaf of K-Love, etc.) and dive into the Word of God. Study it, listen to the Bible on audio, listen to sermons from godly men, read the writings of godly men (e.g. the John Owens, JC Ryle, Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, John MacArthur, any of the Puritans, etc). Perhaps by the end of those 30 days you will begin to see things a little (or a lot) differently. Do you think you can do it?

  60. Pilgrim, great suggestion to Ima Skillet. I pray you will take this challenge. As Pilgrim said it’s the Gospel that will inspire you in tough times. Any doors you open through music only will lead you to exactly the same place all these seeker churches are in. The Gospel is sufficient though not popular and you will find the Lord leading you into places whether your family, school, friends, but let it be His leading. We do so many things to make the Gospel more palatable to the world and it never work it weakens the very message they need to hear and again places man at the centre and God as the slave. He will not take second place to anything or anyone. Any conversion through music instead of the Gospel is false, and people are better of never to have heard than to accept a false Gospel. Blessings Ima

  61. Ok first off thanks for reading Pilgrim, and I need to apologize. I came off the way I did because when i wrote that I was in a bad mood so my ability to discern what was aimed at me or someone else was compromised. So again sorry if anything came off judgmental or hateful I truly apologize. Secondly I have taken that challenge before when I first got into Skillet and I know to research artists before I take any of their messages into my ears. POD is an artist that I am weary of (even though Dial-the-Truth is known for pulling at threads for evidence) because their lyrics are questionable I like em but I don’t take them seriously when listen(I can’t take them seriously even if I wanted to because I can’t understand what they are saying haha!) and I don’t listen to them very often anyways only when I hear them them on my radio app on my iPod.

    Ok now you said: “Can you be more specific about what you mean by this (and provide some Scriptural reference for this as well)?” What I mean is that I want my music to encourage Christians to fight against the worldly rebellion against God and to stand up for their faith. (Isn’t that what this site is about?) Matthew 24:9-13 talks about being a Christian will mean people are going to hate you from all nations but to stand strong. That’s what my music is all about to inspire people to follow God despite the hate. “But what’s really disturbing is that you (as a professing Christian) keep referencing how these extra-biblical “things” keep inspiring you, but what about God and His Word?” I have been inspired by God and his word many, many times. I unfortunately was angry at the time because of some personal matters and didn’t really think to make note of this. “Well, when the author of that article can find a church that focuses that much on hymns at the exclusion of Christ and His gospel, then I’ll address that.” Well unfortunately I have heard of people who boast how “We keep the hymns!” and believe that what they do is “true worship” It’s really sad that we’ve allowed such bickering to go on about such a petty issue. “Well you have rejected Scripture regarding the importance of preaching (Romans 10:14-15) for a quaint saying found on Hallmark cards?” I never intended to reject the importance of preaching, rather I was trying to say that God can use things (usually very strange) to open some one’s heart to the gospel. “Wow. Are you serious? That’s a stretch. I mean a really big stretch. Look up the words “context” and “hermeneutics” to better understand why I am amazed at your stretch.” I looked up those words and really Psalm 150 is quite a straightforward scripture and it’d be hard to misinterpret it. I was trying to say that Scripture supports the use of rock music whether or not they’d like to admit it. Some people use the “We should be separate from the world not apart of it!” argument (James 4:4 I think) when really we are! Christian music is completely separate from secular “CCM” and those artists that have broken out into the mainstream had to fight tooth and nail to do so. I mean when Skillet first got a new record company and started to hit secular radios there were some stations didn’t play them because they knew that Skillet was Christian! I even found a small website devoted to hating on Skillet saying that Rock is about “life, not unicorns in fairy tale land!” You also stated: “One is predominantly Scripture saturated (meat); one is feel-good style over substance (junk food).” I beg to differ. Alot of the songs I hear on the radio deal with more than just “happy clappy” (I have to agree alot of the music is though too. But I don’t like that style music anyways) An artist (I think Brandon Heath) sang a song about how he lives his life the way he wants and prays to God in that song to open his eyes to what God wants him to do (Anything but happy clappy) TobyMac sang the song “Lose my Soul” which talks about (like Jesus said) living to not gain the whole world and lose his soul but instead follow God and his will. Sanctus Real sang the song called “Lead Me” which is about a man asking God to show him how to lead his family according to God’s will. All on similar subjects but very difficult to swallow. (I’ve have felt God tugging on me to follow him when I wasn’t living for him when those songs came on. It’s hard!) And again with the Catholic thing, both family members read the gospel alot and follow the Catholic ways loosely. My Grandma even goes to a Protestent church the only she does is say the roseary. (My Great Grandma has limited mobility so can’t go to church very often) Now can you expand upon the “CCM is steeped in a false doctrine” please I don’t get what you mean exactly. Thank you for your time!

    Ack I messed up! I meant to put “Christian music is completely apart from secular music hence, “CCM” ” not “secular CCM” ” Sorry! (PS If you want to see the lyrics to those songs I wrote about I’ll be happy to give you the lyrics!) Thanks for your time!(again)

  62. I realize I’m “coming to the party” a little late as it relates to this discussion, but I want to throw-in my two cents on this topic. After having read the post and all of the comments, it seems to me we have a pretty significant split here. I’m much more inclined to side with Pilgrim’s position(s) on this subject as I, too, believe the state of today’s “Christian” music is truly repulsive.

    I grew up in an independent, fundamental, “Bob Jones University-type” of Baptist church where excellence in music was one of the pillars of that local assembly of believers. I didn’t really understand, growing up, what the big deal was about music. After all, music is amoral, no? It’s OK to listen to AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, DefLeppard, REO Speedwagon, and a little (very little) Barry Manilow, isn’t it? I mean, come on! What’s the harm in listening to some secular music? We still have “church music” in church. What’s wrong with having a little of “the world’s music” in the world, on the radio, on my 8-track/cassette/CD player?

    Then the Lord converted me, and I began seeing and understanding the “world’s music” for what it really is – an expression of what’s in the hearts and minds of the writer/performer. It’s not only the lyrics, it’s the style and beat and synthesis of harmony vs. melody, and the way the words are formed and sung. It’s the entire package of the song. We all know the world’s music used to be quite different than the Church’s music (both in corporate worship and for individual Christians enjoyment).

    Not today though.

    There’s been such an Intermingling of worldly, sensual, base, carnal lyrics and styles into today’s Christian worship (and non-worship) music that it’s difficult for many (yea, most) people to tell the difference between what basically sensual (appealing to our senses and feelings) or secular, and what truly is sacred (set apart, sanctified, holy).

    As one who has visited many churches in the last several years, it is VERY discomforting to me to be constantly constrained by the new worship trends found in even “conservative” churches. It’s not uncommon nowadays to sing one or two verses of a four or five stanza Christian hymn only to have it “blended” with some new interpretation, or to actually sing an entire hymn (one) and then have to stand there for at least 10-15 minutes watching the “worship team” dance and prance and “perform” their version of “worship” music – while the rest of the congregants watch (not really participate). Next time you’re at one of these type of “churches,” notice the majority of the people. They’re not singing. They’re not even really paying attention. If you’re blessed to have some more mature people in your church, watch them. It breaks my heart that the churches they helped build some 30, 40, 50 years ago have literally been hijacked by the “youngsters” of today who have really no clue of the difference between secular and sacred.

    I know I’m on my soapbox here, but I’ll continue for another few lines.

    Even in today’s songs, hymns, and spiritual songs (which we’re commanded to use in worship), there’s been a noticeable shift from singing to God Almighty, to now singing to our fellow creatures. The music used today is more “testimony” focused, as opposed to ascrbiing “worth-ship” to the Creator.

    Sad indeed.

  63. Good word, Todd. Well said.

  64. Unworthy, I didn’t get saved because of a sermon. God convicted my heart through a beautiful Gospel song 40 some yr’s ago and I know many others who have done the same. And this was before CCM.

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