What About Music
2010-11-05 at 21:28:39

For as long as music has existed, Godly men have had their opinions about it. Today, I hear opinions that music with a drum or a quick beat is from the bowels of hell. But that's all that is: an opinion. Malformed at that, for I can find no scriptural evidence that music should not have a drum track or a guitar or a bass or a rhythm or a beat.

I've never been a music snob (although I've riled against country and rap in my youth, which ended yesterday). Music snobs seem to think that their preference for music should be shared by all. I guess one understands with age (I have lots of age at this point) that everybody has different tastes, and opinions are not fact. Some people like Britney Spears, some like Barry Manilow, and some like Nine Inch Nails. Some listen to classical or opera and others listen to country and pop. Some like all of those, and some like none of them.

Then I hear it said that "Christian" rock music (their quotes) is an attempt by the armies of the underworld to lure its target audience away from God and into harder, more evil music. If that's the case, Satan is failing in that mission.{BREAK}

For example, Toby Mac (who used to be with D.C. Talk) has a song called "Made to Love." Those who have a problem with rocking Christian music would have us believe that this song originated in the depths of hell and is drawing people away from Christ and towards the devil with its rhythm and beat and wicked drum noises. But if you look at the comments from that video, you see something totally different. People express their passionate love for God and for Jesus.

"i love god and i will never let him go," says TheAmy422.

The most popular comment (at the time of this post) is a testimony that the song helped draw the listener back to God!

"you know, there was a time where i loved God so much....then i started fading away. I got worse and worse until God finally took away one of the things that i loved most. And we all experienced this truth, the time you see God best is when you are so low that the only place you can look is up at him. Now i'm on my way back to daddy, thank you Father" (tig3rbit3r).

And this is supposed to be Satan's doing?

The Bible says, "And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end" (Mark 3:25,26).

Christ was saying these words because some of the religious leaders of the day were suggesting his behavior was demonic. Sounds familiar.

In reality, these men reveled in their power and the exercise thereof. They wanted to lord over others, to control them. They wanted to be respected or praised for their wisdom. But Christ was doing no demonic thing, and told them, "If it's the devils work, his house will fall because he's working against himself."

Satan will not work to send people to God, nor stir their passion for Christ! So, maybe we're just experiencing some music snobbery?

The religious leaders said that Jesus "had an impure spirit." That sounds familiar. Again.

But we know better. Jesus' spirit was the most pure a spirit could get! So, if the religious leaders of that day could claim Christ- God Himself!- was working for Satan, then I have doubts that today's religious leaders can recognize the workings of Satan in Christian music.

Here's a particularly hard song from a group called Demonhunter (scary!). The song is "Driving Nails" and an acoustic version.

The first time I heard that song, I cried, because it reminded me of what Jesus went through for me. It's hard and passionate and dark, but that's where Jesus went for me. And those nails didn't just pierce His glorious and holy flesh... they pierced His pure and loving soul. Even today, if I'm alone when I hear this song, I let myself weep and praise Jesus, in awe of the terrible horror He experienced to save me. I realize how unworthy I am of this gift, and it strengthens and emboldens me to be worthy of it. (If I'm with others, I hold it in and tear up a little.)

This song makes me want to run to Jesus and fall on my knees and praise Him for this crazy thing He's done for me. Satan really screwed up there!

I like the song, enjoy the melody and the guitars and drums. You might hate the song. That's okay. We don't have to like the same kind of music. God intended us all to be unique, so we're going to have different preferences. But when a song makes me think of what Jesus did for me, makes me go on my knees weeping to Him in praise and worship, makes me want to spend eternity with Him, do you really think the song is having a corrosive effect on my spiritual life? If Satan did originate the song, do you think it's working for his kingdom or against it?

My taste for music doesn't include most rap music, most country music, and any "screamo" (Simon didn't care for it, either, LOL)." (I'm talking about Christian music, not mainstream or secular music, which can be and is obviously of this world.) But I will not claim that this music is from Satan (screamo sounds the most "demonic" to me because of the guttural screaming, but that is an opinion influenced by my upbringing- it does not make it inherently evil just because it grates on my soul. Remember, there are people who don't like hymns! It's a musical preference, not a measure of holiness.) If those kinds of music- that I don't like- moves someone to think on Jesus or God's kingdom, who am I to intervene? Would you come between a man and God?

I've even read comments for some of this "evil music" that the song brought the person to Christ! How is that for totally not hitting your objective in the war for souls?! In fact, it might be that instead of these songs being written by demons to draw people away from God, they're actually being written by angels to draw people to the Father. Maybe a Christian screamo song will influence for good a person who already likes screamo but doesn't yet know God.

Here's what the song writer from Demon Hunter said this about the song, "Carry Me Down":

"This song, although seemingly very sad and depressing, is in actuality a love letter to my friends and family. It is essentially something that I would want them all to know if I were to die. I ask my true friends to carry my casket down the aisle, and as they lay me into the ground, not to mourn for my soul, but rather rejoice for my salvation.

Death can be viewed as a very negative thing, but for Christians, it is where we find our true hope. Death is never something I would take lightly or toy with, but to address it I think can be very revealing. If you never spoke of the reality of death, you would be ignoring such an important part of life. This song asks my friends and family to save sorrow for the souls in doubt, for they know that my soul is safe."

Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death. -Isaiah 57:2"

Who's going to claim that Satan had a hand in writing that song? Some would outright reject the song as Satanic because it has a drum line and hard rocking guitars. In reality, it's just not their cup of tea.

One of my favorites is Emery's Ten Talents.

	Come home my dear because I love you. I love you still. 
	It's a slap in the face when I feel my complacency grow.  
	It's the thrill of the chase, when you catch it you just let it go.  
	I take for granted the grace that is given me daily I know, oh. 
	How can you say that you love me when all that I want. 
	All that I want is your blessing and then I am gone.  
	Nothing I do can make up for the things I have done, oh.  
	Your love is all we need. We're gonna make it.  
	So let's close our eyes tonight and just believe. 

You'll note the light, soft introduction, then the hard screamo! I'm like, what's up with that?!

The song says, "I'm not so good on my own." It means, "I need Jesus." Really, Satan? Thanks for that.

Skillet's Forgiven. Listen to that one, and then listen to the artist explain it. Now tell me it's from the devil.

So, while we as Christians can all relate to the lyrics of a Christian song, we might not all appreciate the style. That's still okay.

God intended us all to be unique, so we're going to have different preferences. We have different tastes for art, for clothing, for geography and weather, for food and drink. Some of us are morning people, some are night owls. Some like the opera, some like the theater, and some like the movies. Some read books and some can't stand to read. We're going to prefer different styles of music, too, and one is no worse than another.

Even so, a drum can't be evil. A guitar can't be evil. A rhythm can't be evil. Only the lyrics can express evil, and that's as far as you can go with proclamations of "evil music."

Saying that a "snare drum" is devious is just playing word games, and might even be fear-mongering. "Perfect love drives out fear" (1 John 4:18).

The fact that it's a "snare" drum is what we call a coincidence, used in a clever way to sell a message. Well I ain't buyin'. (And neither should you.)

I agree that there is no place for secular music in the life of a Christian, but that's because of the lyrics, not because of the style of music. The lyrics of secular songs are depressing or untruthful, holding up a fantastical kind of love that only leads to heartbreak despite the temporary pleasures. Secular songs are all about selfishness and sin.

Music with Christian lyrics, no matter what the package or style, serves some kind of purpose for the kingdom of God, and I don't dare snip even the thinnest of threads that draws a lost child to his Father.

2010-11-05 23:18:08

I too think people go too far by saying Satan necessarily has a direct hand in, for instance, "Jesus is my girlfriend" songs; however, just because he or his legions don't have a direct hand in the creation of a song doesn't mean that a song can't have an evil influence on its listeners. Conversely, just because a song rouses you about the love of God doesn't mean God had a hand in inspiring it. Indeed, I've listened to purely secular music that makes me consider the nature of God.

I'm not going to say that none or a little or some or all of Christian contemporary music is of the devil. I too question the motives of people from one generation condemning the music of the next generation as evil. Take this from someone who can't stand hymns—except for maybe 4 or 5 of them. They just don't do it for me. Moreover, it's very hard for me to call the trap set or the electric guitar evil instruments; I don't have the knowledge to make that decision; contrary to your statement in this post, I don't think you can make the opposite conclusion so emphatically either.

Since I was a teenager, I've believed that music is a matter of taste like someone's favorite color. I've listened to and enjoyed rap, country, R&B, techno, and all sorts of stuff. You are exactly right—they are all equally valid forms of music when looking at it from a cultural—whether across time, geography, etc.—point of view.

But that doesn't mean anything for the Christian.

I think we need to get away from the idea that an emotional reaction to even a Jesus song is necessarily meaningful to our faith; it should not be a determining factor in whether we continue to consume that music. Music isn't a moot aspect of a song; the fact that it will be or won't be someone's cup of tea tells you how vital music is to lyrics--not the other way around. They spend millions on a movie soundtrack to enhance a feeling in a way that dialogue and even circumstance cannot. We know that music physically changes the state of the mind.

We must consider the culture of music and its impact; I suggest that lyrics typically are the most meaningless parts of a song to most people.

"Even so, a drum can't be evil. A guitar can't be evil. A rhythm can't be evil."

Perhaps; but they can be used for evil. They can drive you away from reason by overly emphasizing emotion. When you hear someone scream a lyric, it's them tuning into your emotional state, not your thinking mind. Screaming is visceral; it is purely emotional. A hard driving beat is likewise emotional; it is not attempting to make you consider the lyrics. Music gets you to move your body, to change your heart rate, and to affect your mind before you hear or process the lyrics. Music can put you in a trance, open you to suggestion. That isn't fear mongering; it's real science of the mind. It's a truth at play in advertising agencies and grocery stores.

Music can be a narcotic and make you tap your foot and bob your head without you realizing it. That means that while you might be considering the lyrics, something else is happening at the same time.

"Satan will not work to send people to God, nor stir their passion for Christ!"

Yet we are told that Satan will appear as an angel of light; to think that music—and especially so-called Jesus music—won't be part of that picture ... that delusion ... is, I think, not very reasonable. I'm not claiming to be an expert, nor am I judging anyone's music. But my question is, "Why wouldn't Satan use music cloaked as Christ?" He can masquerade as Christ, so why not masquerade as Christ in song? Most people say music can bring the world together, and I believe it. I'm sure Satan knows it.

So do I think Satan can use a song or even movie about the suffering of Christ in an effort to mold and control the mind? Absolutely. Indeed, the suffering Christ can become an idol if the devil keeps you looking at it in lyrical repetition, if it means that's all you look at and return to. It could have you always beholding but never changing. It might not be a problem for you, but it could be a stumbling block for millions.

I'm not suggesting you respond in fear; I'm suggesting you consider what's at stake. Tale a step back and look at it again. In my 37 years, I have met two people who've said they don't give a squat about music. I'm sure others are out there—but that says something about the importance of music in humanity. Almost everyone is a raging emo when it comes to their beloved music. So Satan not using music as a vehicle to deceive the very elect would be a very poor play on his part.

So please pause before you rebuke as pharisaical those who might question contemporary Christian music and its potential dangers--who say that music packaged like the world's music is inviting danger. Is it a red herring? Perhaps. But also perhaps not. Those who judge your salvation by what you listen to are, indeed, pharisaical. Those who say you must enjoy a certain kind of music to be saved are also evil.

But those warning you from mixing with the world aren't. Coincidentally, I for one am putting them to the test to prove themselves. We'll see what happens.

2010-11-06 09:17:43

It is also important remember that not everyone that says "Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom of heaven. Even though many profess to believe in God, they are not willing to obey him. Yes, God's gift of eternal life and the wonders of Christ are beautiful, and many people look on with amazement and awe. But not all of those affected by his love will allow themselves to be changed by it -- Changed to be DOERS of his will, not just hearers who nod in appreciation.

I have seen what I thought were very godly people in church. They were so friendly and were always talking about God. But I found that their personal life was a different story. Just because TheAmy422 professes that a song turned her mind toward God's love does not mean much to me. Because there are many people who think God's love is all they need to be saved. No repentance, no change of lifestyle. No respect for who God actually is (as seen by his laws). If someone says "Praise Jesus" after a Christian rock concert, I don't believe that is necessarily evidence of the Holy Spirit drawing near. Lip service is an easy thing to do.

The devil's great deception is not that he convinces people to follow a great, red, horned leader, but that he convinces them that they are indeed following Christ. The devil will appeal to people's emotions. True, a house divided against itself cannot stand... But just because a song bears the name of God does not make it "of" God. Satan will call himself "God" or "Christ" but will not BE Christ. It is his greatest deception to misrepresent God himself, so that people who think they are worshipping God are actually worshipping a different entity. This is not a "house divided." This is deception. Remember, even sinners are capable of dong "good" things when it will benefit them in the long run (Luke 6:33). Satan wants to appear to be the "better choice" when the sides are presented, so of course he will appear to be doing "good" things. But are those things truly good? Or are they a means to and end? Even Hitler gave SOME food to his captives.

Is a drum beat evidence of the devil? Not necessarily. But is the word "Jesus" evidence of righteousness? Again, not necessarily. But I like to think about it like I think about sugar. Sugar is a naturally occurring substance in fruits and other natural plants. When eaten with the whole fruit the body benefits. But when extracted, refined, collected in heaps, and pumped into other foods in high proportions it is definitely detrimental. I believe the devil can do the same with music. What once was beneficial, the devil has extracted, refined, and pumped into songs for extremely high emotional value, but with very little "healing" power if any at all. If your thoughts about God do not bear the "fruit" of changing your life, what good are they? They are empty and meaningless, though they "feel" good and soothe the soul.

But just as eating one candy bar will not mess up your health, maybe listening to one Christian rock song will not necessarily "mess up" your spiritual life. But if that one candy bar leads to another the next day, and then 2 the following day, then one after every meal... Well, you see where it could be headed. May we all guard our souls from things that present themselves as good but manifest emptiness in the long run.

2010-11-13 17:18:29

Have you watched Ivor Myers' presentation called "Sonic Warfare?" You can find it on vimeo. I'd post the link here, but link posting isn't allowed. It's the most convincing presentation on the subject that I've heard so far. Some of the examples he plays go on a little long (and yes, he makes the "snare" joke), but it's very well presented. Check it out. (Its video ID is 5439320, the more recent one from this year.)

Remember, just because something is "dedicated" to God doesn't mean God accepts it. Cain's sacrifice is evidence of that. We need to be careful about encouraging people to relax their standards just because we don't see the danger of a certain thing. The very fact that there are people that testify that music WAS a snare in their own lives means that we shouldn't be declaring that people have no reason to worry.

2010-11-14 08:09:10

Is it really possible for a style of music to be all that keeps one tethered to God? If so, I would have to say that that person is like the seed that falls on shallow ground in the parable of the sower. They may spring up quickly, but have no root and wither away when trials come. I'm not attempting to sever anyone's connection with God, but I have my doubts that music can be a true binding force. Only by God's Word will people have lasting strength to cling to him.

I don't believe the drums are "of the devil" any more than I believe sugar is. But not everything is as cut and dry as we'd like it to be. As I said before, sugar in excess is unhealthy. Who is to say where that line might be? Different people may turn into diabetics after having consumed differing amounts of sugar in their lives. Listening to a drum beat won't send you to hell, but if it's so innocent and neutral, why do people lash out when a threat arises to take it away?

Can I ask if you have reservations on what EGW says on the subject? She was the prophet who helped form and guide our church. Did she also miss the mark in the very same way?

I think it's wonderful that an atheist's mind was turned to God beginning with listening to a Christian rock radio station. But I have also heard stories (Ivor Myers', for example) where someone's mind was turned to God at a pot-smoking party because a backslidden christian was in attendance. But just because God can take ANYTHING and turn it around for good does not mean we should be condoning pot parties. Saying this atheist was saved through Christian Rock is like saying Ivor was saved through pot. (As you said, music is neutral, so it had to have been the lyrics that reached the atheists' heart... And in the same way, the pot didn't do the saving, but the words the backslidden christian spoke.)

So God can take any circumstance and reach people. But that does not mean any circumstance is "good." And yes, you might say that the atheist wouldn't have listened to the lyrics unless they had been accompanied by the rock music, and therefore the music was God's method of delivering the gospel. But then you'd also have to consider saying that Ivor wouldn't have listened to the christian friend unless the conversation had been accompanied by pot. And can we really think that God would choose to use pot as a vehicle for the gospel? Heaven forbid. God used the circumstance, but did not condone the circumstance. I think it is the same with music.

2010-11-14 11:01:51

EGW mentioned music styles several times in her life. Though she admits not everything she ever wrote is inspired, she does say things were "shown" to her in one of the below quotes. I'd consider that officially "inspired". Here are a couple of her quotes relevant to the subject:

Selected Messages Book 2, page 36, paragraph 2 Chapter Title: The Holy Flesh Doctrine
"It is impossible to estimate too largely the work that the Lord will accomplish through His proposed vessels in carrying out His mind and purpose. The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit."

Selected Messages Book 2, page 36, paragraph 3 Chapter Title: The Holy Flesh Doctrine
"The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time. Better never have the worship of God blended with music than to use musical instruments to do the work which last January was represented to me would be brought into our camp meetings. The truth for this time needs nothing of this kind in its work of converting souls. A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing. The powers of satanic agencies blend with the din and noise, to have a carnival, and this is termed the Holy Spirit's working."


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