From my earliest recollection music has been a powerful part of my life. Anyone who has a memory will tell you, there are feelings and pictures conjured up when we hear the strains of certain tunes from our childhood.
Music can be uplifting, comforting, relaxing soothing. Heighten emotions such as danger, (as we know from horror films) or lift the spirit as strains across a panorama of visual beauty, in Technicolor (for those of us from black and white TV days). How many of us gasped at the magnificence of the Austrian landscape, alps, streams, rolling green pastures and Salzburg’s cathedrals with the strains of orchestra building to a climax as Julie Andrews sings, “The hills are alive?” How many still feel emotion when they hear Edelweiss played on a soft guitar, and I am not Austrian.
I have many wonderful memories and favourite songs from my childhood, from an early age I could hold a tune and had a lovely voice. I was allowed to enter the school choir under the age requirement because I had an ear.
Music gave me joy and I lived to sing for the joy alone. I never needed to be a contestant on young talent time or the equivalent. The smile on my parents faces’ said it all to me.
By the time I reached the fifth grade things were changing. At school we learned new songs, some were fun and folksy like the Seekers or Peter, Paul and Mary. But it was the 70s and things were changing. Music became an influence on me and I was forming associations with darker meanings. I traded Beethoven for the Beatles, and as I got older the association with many songs are still with me today, many not good. A neighbour who passed away suddenly, a family suicide, and the time I had been violated.
I made it a point to learn every single lyric of every song that I liked obsessively. So what was I studying all those years? certainly not anything that was uplifting or growing me in a healthy self-image or in an acceptance of who I am in Gods eyes.
Why do I share this obviously I am not alone in this experience? now as a Christian I am aware of the power of the ‘Word’. In the beginning was the Word. The word is life and light and a sword. In the 70s I had little to no knowledge of Christianity and the Bible. God says,
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. Matt 12:36
I have read many articles on the evils of rock and roll and the Biblical proofs that there is a definite right and wrong way to use instruments and so on. My argument is not based on any of their theology, simply to lay aside all the stuff others say and from my own point of view to ask “Why?”
Why in Gods name are we playing music in Church during worship that is definitely music from our past, that was not sung by professed Christians and has associations with evil. Or music that mimic’s the world view that is anti God?
There are many arguments about Christian contemporary music and my task is not to revisit stuff you can research for yourself. But I want you to consider, as I have this week, what are we thinking? People always use the excuse “Sing a new song unto the Lord!” God loves music he created it, for his glory.
If I take Davids Psalms and put them to heavy metal is this a new song? It is still Davids song. I feel sure that if our hearts are right before the Lord we will praise him as David did in our own words. But we need to keep it about Him. not what “I have” or what “I am” or what he can do “for me”, some of the lyrics are basically about anyone, and it is hard to distinguish who they are about at times.
About six months ago I was in small country Church, and the final blessing was the Celtic prayer, “may the road rise to meet you?” It isn’t biblical, but we put up with it so as not to offend the leaders. We went a few more times to this Church, where we were hit with Mindfulness, Yoga, we should not mix eastern religion with our beliefs, but the straw for me and another one of my pet hates is when the leadership doesn’t check what the music leaders choices are.
Elvis! now I don’t care if at home you love Elvis, if you make pilgrimage to Graceland, I don’t care if you think he is the king. But in My heart God is King, Christ is on the throne, and as far as I know the fruits of Elvis life are not such as I think we should hear his voice in a Church assembly. I don’t care if its scriptural lyrics. Now call me a prude or old-fashioned, call me legalistic, but who do you think people saw in their hearts and minds while this song was played that day? Were their eyes turned to Christ, or God the Father? how can I disassociate myself from Elvis.
This isn’t the first time and it wont be the last. We are always inundated with celebrity at church or sermons with a touch of Hollywood, its frustrating. The word isn’t enough? the psalms aren’t enough?
We are on the road often, living in different places for short and long periods of time, and visit as many local Churches as we can. But it saddens us to see, so often Churches that think the music is the answer to dwindling numbers or plasma screens with dynamic entertainment on-screen.
As a preteen I saw Jesus Christ Superstar*. My brothers had already seen Godspell,the LP’s played over and over. Note the word spell on the end. I had no real knowledge of the gospel and didn’t really know about crucifixion had never entered a church only once prior to this. I had been invited to Sunday school and been attendee in scripture at state school which I enjoyed. So I didn’t really put two and two together with JC superstar till much later.
One of the reasons I bring this up now is, that, recently at a Church we have been attended,the two rock operas were given a mention and 70s worship was raised at the opening session in Church.
Now I believe the Holy Spirit speaks to us in this day and age, and the week prior to this leader speaking, I had been attacked in my mind all week with the lyrics to Judas song from JCS*. As if Satan himself were mocking my Lord in my head. I unfortunately had learned the whole opera from beginning to end as with most pop songs at the time.
Now my mother liked Boney M, “By the Rivers of Babylon” and yes it’s based on a Psalm from the Bible. She obviously believed it was a christian tune back then. It is a party dance song, not the lament it was for the Israelite’s in captivity. If you have seen any of their album covers you would get the idea of bondage, and I don’t mean the captivity type. The nudity and explicit pictures will tell you pretty quickly what their agenda is, and it isn’t worship of our God. The fruits of this band tell me that this song is not to be used for worship in the Lords House.
I was asked to play some music the following week and it was noted that we would be doing a Boney M version during worship time. As a result I had a heaviness of heart all week. This is not the worst of what we have come across in our travels, and we said nothing to her as she means well.
I had previously expressed to her the uncanny timing of her message on 70s church music, and how I had seen these operas that her good Christian family had denied her growing up. I said to her I felt she was most fortunate not have them rolling around in her memory, “while you were studying Gods word as a teenager I was swallowing muck from hell” I told her. ” And you never forget it”. I guess she didn’t think about it much.
Please think about what you sing to God at Church and what constitutes praise and worship! and what is really nothing but pop or rock music, and dare I say it, there is now Christian Death Metal? how?
I have been involved in worship, I have led worship I have taught it, I have encouraged my children when they were young in it, but, with wisdom comes responsibility. I know that if I am at this Church next week and Boney M comes out through the speakers, I wont see God before my eyes or picture the glorious majesty of Christ, I will see the late 70s, a time of destruction to my soul, my heart, and abuse that would affect me for the rest of my life.
Yes God pulled me out of it all, I live with consequences of my decisions and the evil plotting of others over my life, but in the words of Paul we should not cause another to stumble and for that reason some churches refrain from alcohol at communion for the AA members just one e.g,
Music didn’t make me fall,
Music didn’t break up my family home,
Take away the life of my uncle and cousin to suicide,
Music didn’t cause me to raise children alone
But music reminds me of all the heartache that my Jesus has taken from me, It breaks my heart for those left back there. It increases the loneliness of hearts that are broken, despairing and gives wrong messages. Not all, but an awful lot of it. Is it possible that the music you play at Church could hinder them hearing what they should, as they are focused on it?
It was David Bowie who stated that Rock and Roll always was the music of the devil. He was not alone in this.
My daughter went to Church and Katy Perry Roar was played? seriously? another who on you tube gives her fame credit back to the enemy of God.
I have serious issues with much of today’s Christian praise and worship music, but that is not my issue here.
Think people! what happens to Gods people when they offer the profane with the holy?
Should we be offering him the dregs of the world, or should we be helping Gods people to take their eyes off the world and onto the purity and the awesomeness of God? This world is a tough place to live and setting our eyes on things above surely must be better. Why are we so afraid to be different, why do so many bands have to say they sound like other worldly bands? Aren’t we just doing the same as we did pre-salvation, and labeling it CHRISTIAN?
It is a serious thing to be up the front choosing the praise of the assembly. God says he inhabits the praises of his people. If we are not praising from a scriptural and pure heart then who inhabits our praise?
Did I raise this with this woman? no, I am a visitor not a member and not wanting to cause her offence. The shepherd needed to be aware so we went to the shepherd. Fortunately and we find this rarely, he agreed with our conviction, I loved how he said,
“much of the worship today is as deep as a cup of tea”
so our job is to pray for this Church and its pastor, that the Lord will show and reveal to him the scriptures that he revealed to us and more. We are praying always for revival, of course it begins in us, we must cleanse the temple of which we now are.
Chronicles 29 deals with this issue before the temple worship was restored. It’s very interesting and worth a read. Chronicles 30 speaks of the runners and The Lord gave us a job to do two years ago and that is what we do, take letters and run in a way to all the Churches encouraging them to come back to the pure worship the right way and we all receive the blessing.
The Lord prompted us to speak up, and we did in love, and we continue to pray for Him and other ministers of the gospel to be attentive to what is being preached, sung, and presented in the assembly.
Imagine if we were to sing pure praise to the Lord? we would have words of life repeating in our minds all week and not the world intruding.
Why do the malls and stores have constant radio playing? why do Libraries that were once quiet places often have the radio now? Is it so that we can’t hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit?
The enemy knows how powerful music is. To pray without ceasing would be much easier if our minds were full of the pure word not the world’s music.
Yes God created music and taught David how to make instruments. But we live in a fallen world and Lucifer was also created to give praise, He fell from heaven and he demands worship too. Make sure you are singing to the right Lord.
Satan quoted the Bible to Jesus in the wilderness, just because the words you hear sung are from the Bible, doesn’t mean the singer is a believer. Beware.