IS GOSPEL ROCK CHRISTIAN?
By Chris Gardner
Many Christians today are faced with the controversy of Gospel rock music. Are you? Are your loved ones? What does the Bible say? Because of the growing place that Gospel rock has in
Christendom today, we are concerned that individuals come to a Scriptural conclusion in order to satisfy the Holiness of God. Let’s “search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have
eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).
What is acceptable music? The question is not what is acceptable to us, but what is acceptable to God. Remember, we must, in everything we do, present [our] bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is [our] reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). Verse 2: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Let’s hear what some supporters say about Gospel rock: “Gospel rock is a matter of individual choice.” “God is using Gospel rock to reach many lost souls.” “It has a special message for youth.” “It attracts the attention of the drug users.” “It is effective.”
These statements sound good and logical to the carnal ear. There is no doubt that Gospel rock is effective, but to what end?
Music today is one of the most popular and effective forms of communication. Its language speaks in every tongue and to every nation. Music stimulates one’s emotions in different way
according to the rhythmical tempo, the lyrics, and so forth. One can be soothed to relaxation and contentment, or one can be stirred to dance to the pounding beat. Music with lyrics is one
of the most common channels of self-expression, and one’s mood or motive usually determines the nature of what is expressed. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (see Proverbs 23:7).
Let’s focus on the nature of Gospel rock music.
In order to justify Gospel rock music, one must sacrifice purity of heart. As born again Christians, we must realize that “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the
flesh: and these are contrary the one to another: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:17). Is it right for the Born again Christian to expose himself to that which will arouse the carnal senses and activate a struggle against the Spirit of truth within us?
Gospel rock contains lyrics which talk about Christ, however, they exist within the realm of compromise. Because of the rapid growth of Christianity and the popularity of rock and
roll, men have chosen the way of compromise. They are seeking to degrade the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ to accommodate their carnal desires. They do this when they take something which
seems to represent God and combine it with something which identifies with Satan.
GOD HATES COMPROMISE! Revelation 3:16 says, “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.” Where is the line of separation
concerning Gospel music? The Bible says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in
the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. Little children, it is the last time: and ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that is is the
last time” (1 John 2:15-18).
The reason we cannot love the things of the world is because of their influence and effect on the Christian’s relationship with God.
We must identify with God’s people and, most of all, God’s Holiness. God’s Holiness demands separation from the world in every step of the Christian’s walk. Because music is a big part
of the Christians worship, and worship is the channel of self-expression to God, we must be careful not to compromise true holiness to satisfy our own desires.
2 Corinthians 6:14-17 exposes the line of separation which we are accountable to: “Be ye not equally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath light with darkness? And
what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”
Notice the contrasts in verses 14-16: Christians being unequally yoked together with unbelievers, righteous with unrighteousness, light with darkness, and Christ with Belial. Separation from the world must be a distinct part of every born again Christian’s life. God first instituted separation in the very dawn of creation when He separated the day from the night, light from darkness, and land from sea. It is interesting to note that in the creation, separation came before fruit-
bearing. It was only after the separation of light from darkness and the division of land from sea that the earth brought forth her fruit. And so it is with us. How can we expect to bear fruit if we are still part of the devil’s kingdom?
It is well-known fact that rock music has laid the foundation for rebellion in the hearts of many young folks. But what about all those who claim salvation through the influence of Gospel rock music? The incongruity that salvation through Gospel rock represents in the light of the divine grace of God working in the heart of the believers, is challenged by the words Jesus spoke when the scribes accused him of having an evil spirit in him. Mark 3:22: “And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of devils casteth he out devils.” Notice the answer Jesus gave them in verses 23 and 24: “And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be
divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”
It is plain to see that God does not use something satanic, or satanic influence, to bring salvation to the lost. He gave His Son Jesus Christ, and through His death and resurrection made it possible for all to be saved. And it is only through the death of our fleshly desires and the resurrection of a new creature within that we are saved. “I am the way, the truth, and
the life: no man cometh to the father, but by me” (John 14:6).
We can also see by the lives of the rock artists that they identify with the kingdom of this world by the suggestive clothing they wear. The hair styles and the make-up are no different from those who are lost in the depths of sin. The appearance of the child of God on the outside should be a reflection of the child of God within.
Gospel rock relies heavily upon instrumental music to achieve its purposes. We as Christians, however, are thankful to God for the voices we have to praise God in song. We have no
need of the aid of earthly instruments to express ourselves in worship to God. “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in
temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needeth any thing, seeing he giveth life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:24, 25).
Does the music we listen to, draw our attention to the God we worship? Does it encourage purity within? Does it speak to our inward need?
Suppose we would subtract the driving beat of the music; would it still satisfy? Or would is sound barren? Would it melt our desire to serve God? If the words you sing to God cannot be
sung without the driving beat of rock music, then perhaps you are serving the wrong God!
We who worship the living God must unite ourselves in spirit and in truth (John 4:24) and stand against the evil influence which Gospel rock represents. Let us worship the Lord in the
beauty of holiness! And let us thank the Lord for youthful hearts, filled to overflowing with gratitude and praise, for voices to praise Him in song. It is a pure and holy way to
express ourselves in true worship to our Creator and Redeemer.
If we look at the world’s standard of rock music and compare it with the “Christian” standard of rock, the only difference is that the latter is done in the name of Christ. How degrading!
To subject oneself to the influence of Gospel rock merely creates an emotional upheaval and leaves us “groping for the wall” as in Isaiah 59:10.
God hates sin in every shape and form. Surely if God did not hate sin He would not have sent Christ to die for the sins of the world. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue to sin,
that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1, 2). Judge for yourself. Is Gospel rock Christian?
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