I don’t have a TV because most television programs don’t interest me, and many are just plain offensive. I think I watched a lot of TV out of habit or boredom. So many evenings when I’m too tired to do anything else, and it’s too early for bed, I watch sermons on YouTube.
One I came across a few months ago was about Contemporary Christian Music, and the pastor claimed that CCM is satanic. He also claimed that some traditional Christian music is also satanic because it is either unscriptural or uses “You” or “Lord” instead of the Name of Jesus, which could be co-opted by the antichrist for purposes of worship. I admit, I had watched partly out of curiosity, but also wondering if there was something to his claim.
However, the pastor just ranted about the evils of syncopated rhythm without backing up any of his assertions with Scripture. In fact, in thinking about it, I can’t think of a single place where the Bible warns us about bad music or tells us not to let our children listen to certain kinds of music. What the Bible says instead is:
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22, NKJV, emphasis mine).
In the comments section, I wrote that I was not convinced. Almost immediately this pastor launched an attack on me, saying that I’m not worshiping, but just caught up in the music and emotionalism. He even said that it would be better if I listened to secular rock music instead of CCM. He ended his attack by saying that I’m probably not really saved, and I’m not welcome to comment any further on his page.
So I went to the Lord, asking about CCM because the only opinion that matters to me is His. And I realized I couldn’t think of once—not one single instance—in the Bible, where music is ever condemned or where we are warned about the kind of music we listen to. The Bible doesn’t warn us about the kind of music we let our children listen to.
Many years ago, when my firstborn was a pre-teen he went through a phase where he loved rap music. This was before Eminem, Tupac, and the “kill the cops” and “beat up yo’ ho” lyrics that came to typify rap music. This was when rap music was just mostly annoying, but not evil. He listened to rap day and night until I wanted to scream. I wasn’t walking with the Lord at the time, but I believe that I got some divine guidance not to criticize his music. In fact, sometimes I would sit and listen to it with him. In a few months, he became bored and lost interest in rap music.
Just today I came across a similar video by another preacher, ranting about the evils of Christian rock music. A group that he described as “Vatican Catholic satanists trying to play voo-doo, witchcraft music.” As he is saying this, I can hear “Holy, holy, holy” in the background. To be honest, I didn’t bother to watch the whole thing, since it is probably just him howling on video about the evils of Christian rock music, and frankly, I feel like life is way too short to waste a moment on someone’s psychotic obsession—even if they are a brother or sister in Christ.
Here’s the thing: the enemy was once the worship leader in Heaven. Then he decided that he wanted the worship for himself. So, since he was skilled at music, and particularly music that evokes worship, naturally he has co-opted those very skills for his own purposes. The Bible says: “God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable,” (Romans 11:29). That means that the enemy didn’t lose his gifts just because he sinned. And it is the same for people. We can walk away from our calling, but the gifts will always remain. And if we ever return to the Lord, our calling likewise remains. This speaks of the generosity and patience of God—Hallelujah!
So the enemy’s irrevocable gift explains the rise of satanic rock music. Now, just because satanic rock music exists, does that make all rock music evil? Certainly not! God has raised up lots of Christians artists who glorify Him with their music. The enemy is an angel (a fallen angel), and angels are absolutely incapable of creating anything. They were not made in God’s image, so creativity is not something they can do. But humans are made in the image of the Creator, so we can create. Since he can’t create, the enemy does what he can—he whispers an idea into a person’s head: “Hey, Ozzie! Write a song about Aleister Crowley . . .” (an early 20th century satanist whom the British press called “the wickedest man in the world”). And with a song created by a human, the enemy uses his gift to inspire worship for himself.
None of that implies that rock music is evil. It is simplistic to think that people come to church just for the opportunity to listen to Christian rock music. Or to imagine that the enemy is using Christian rock music to bring worship to himself—right there where the Word of God is being preached.
Although these preachers didn’t reveal their denomination (or denominations), I remember very well moving to the Bible Belt at age fifteen. It was then that I learned that some denominations believe that drinking alcohol is a sin, dancing is a sin, and have even banned music from their churches. I was still a very new Christian at the time, but I remember wondering if they knew that Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine (John 2:1-9), that David (the man after God’s own heart, Acts 13:22) danced in worship (2 Samuel 6:14) and wrote music that chased away evil spirits (1 Samuel 16:23). Not surprisingly, those denominations have also declared that all of the supernatural gifts of the Spirit ended with the death of the last apostle. I believe that these preachers are probably a part of those denominations.
Thank God that music is not a salvation issue! And thank God that we are free to worship with music or not—as long as God is worshiped and glorified. I doubt that standing across the street and howling at Christians playing rock music is very effective either in winning those people to your point of view or in winning converts from passing unbelievers. Sometimes the baffling behavior of some preachers makes me want to cry. Instead of focusing on these piddly details, let’s instead go out there and share the Love of Jesus with a lost and dying generation. God is good!