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Why Contemporary Christian Music is NOT Christian

Churches must be careful that something sensual is not mistaken for something spiritual. James warns us that “This wisdom descenth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish” (James 3:15). Rick Warren wrote, “God loves all kinds of music because he invented it all – fast and slow, loud and soft, old and new. You probably don’t like it all, but God does! If it is offered to God in spirit and truth, it is an act of worship.”1)Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Life, Zondervan, 2002, p. 65; also cited by David Cloud, What is the Emerging Church, Way Of Life Literature, Fourth edition 2009, p. 447 Can Christians properly perform devilish music as an act of worship to a Holy God?

Contemporary Christian music (CCM)is indeed earthly sensual and devilish. This music is earthly because it taken from the world. Consider the influences of these “Christian” musicians.

When asked by Christianity Today to list their musical influences Jars of Clay members “listed no Christian artists” (Christianity Today, Nov. 15, 1999). Jars of Clay performs Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” during their concerts. Osbourne is the filthy-mouthed former lead singer for the occultic rock group Black Sabbath.
When Crystal Lewis was asked what was in her CD player, she responded by saying, “I have six: Michael Jackson, ‘Thriller’; Billie Holiday; Led Zeppelin; Radiohead, ‘OK Computer’; Radiohead, ‘Kid A’; and Sting,…’Nothing like the Sun’.” There is a definite problem with worldliness when someone openly admits to listening to Michael Jackson and Led Zeppelin. Someone’s music would definitely be affected in a negative way by listening to such wicked men.2)Mike Foster, The Spiritual Song: The Missing Element in Church Music, TBT Publications, 2011, p. 57

Paul wrote to the Corinthians “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14), and to the Philippians, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” (Philippians 3:18-19) Jesus told His disciples: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19). When Jesus spoke of sending the Holy Spirit, He said, “the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive” (John 14:17). John taught us to discern the “Spirit of truth” from the “spirit of error” – “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them….Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:5-6). This spirit of error is to love what is heard of the world.

This music devilish because the “spirit of error” is identified in contexts as the “spirit of antichrist” (1 John 4:3). The worldly music taken from secular influences often originates from demonic inspiration. “They [the Beatles] were like mediums. They weren’t conscious of all they were saying, but it was coming through them.”3)Yoko Ono, The Playboy Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Berkeley, 1982, p. 169, cited by Dave Hunt & T. A. McMahon, The New Spirituality, Harvest House Publishers, 1988, p. 239 “The Stone’s songs came spontaneously like an inspiration of a séance. The tunes arrived ‘en masse’ as if the Stones as songwriters were only a willing and open medium.”4)Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Rolling Stones, May 5, 1977, p. 55, cited by Dave Hunt & T. A. McMahon, The New Spirituality, Harvest House Publishers, 1988, p. 239

He [Jimi Hendrix] used to always talk about some devil or something was in him, you know, and he didn’t have any control over it, he didn’t know what made him act the way he acted and what made him say the things he said, and songs… just came out of him….
He was so tormented and just torn apart… and he used to talk about us going down there and having some root lady or somebody see if she could drive this demon out of him.5)Fayne Pridgon, Hendrix’s former girlfriend, soundtrack from the film Jimi Hendrix, Interview with Fayne Pridgon, cited by Dave Hunt & T. A. McMahon, The New Spirituality, Harvest House Publishers, 1988, p. 240

On April 17, 2005, when Rick Warren announced his P.E.A.C.E. program to Saddleback Church, he sang Jimi Hendrix’s drug-drenched song “Purple Haze” to the congregation, accompanied by his “praise and worship” band! He said he had wanted to do that for a long time.6)David Cloud, What is the Emerging Church, Way Of Life Literature, Fourth edition 2009, p. 400-401

“Many New Age performers admit that they use channeling (demon possession) to get their musical ideas…. To take hymn arrangements and other spiritual songs and pattern them after New Age music is simply an open condoning of satanic teachings and philosophy.”7)Mike Foster, The Spiritual Song: The Missing Element in Church Music, TBT Publications, 2011, p. 38-39 Contemporary Christian music is just another way we see the fulfillment of 1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”
This music is sensual. Peter warns about maga-churches such as Warren’s Saddlback community church, identifying their means of church growth is that “they allure through the lusts of the flesh” (2 Peter 2:18). It is no surprise that the inventor of instruments was the son of the first polygamist (Genesis 4:19-21). Jude indicates those who are sensual are apostates, saying, “These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit” (Jude 19). The word “sensual” is translated from the Greek word psuchikos which refers to that “belonging to the psuche, soul… natural, physical, describes the man in Adam and what pertains to him (set in contrast to pneumatikos, spiritual)… springing from, the corrupt desires and affections.”8)W. E. Vines, M.A., An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words with their Precise Meanings for English Readers, Fleming H. Revell Company, 1940, 1966, Vol. III, p. 102 This word identifies the “natural man” in the carnal Corinthians church which struggled with the sensual lusts of the flesh. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Paul told them “I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ…. For ye are yet carnal” (1 Corinthians 3:1, 3). Paul scathingly rebuked them, “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles… And ye are puffed up… Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?… Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person” (1 Corinthians 5:1, 2, 6, 13).
This music is idolatry because the historical link Judeo-Christian heritage. Expounding the Greek word gehenna – “hell,” Geerdardus Vos explains:

In AV and RV Gehenna is rendered by “hell”… That “the valley of Hinnom” became the technical designation for the place of final punishment was due to two causes. In the first place the valley had been the seat of the idolatrous worship of Molech, to whom children were immolated by fire (2 Ch. 28:3; 33:6). Secondly, on account of these practices the place was defiled by King Josiah (2 K. 23:10), and became in consequence associated in prophecy with the judgment to be visited upon the people (Jer. 7:32). The fact, also, that the city’s offal was collected there may have helped to render the name synonymous with extreme defilement.9)Geerhardus Vos, “Gehenna,” Ineternational Satandard Bible Encyclopedia, II, p. 1183; as cited by J. Dwight Pentecost, things To Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology, Zondervan, 1958, 1978, p. 559

This is significant because the valley of Hinnom was also known as the valley of Tophet (Jeremiah 7:31, 32; 19:6). This location was where the idol of Molech was worshiped when Israel was in apostasy and perpetrated the most heinous crime to humanity as described by James M. Freeman. “The idol sat on a brazen throne with hands extended. In sacrificing to it the image was heated to redness by a fire built within. The parent then placed their children in the heated arms, while the noise of drums and cymbals drowned the cries of the little sufferers.”10)James M. Freeman, Manners & Customs of the Bible, Whitaker House, 1996, p. 92 The very name Tophet means “A drum; betraying,”11)Hitchcock’s Dictionary of Bible Names; http://www.biblestudytools.com/search/?q=tophet&s=References; accessed 8-31-2013 so named “because the cries of children here sacrificed by the priests of Moloch.”12)http://www.biblestudytools.com/search/?q=tophet&s=References; accessed 8-31-2013 In the time of Jesus the use of drums for religious purposes would have conjured the memory of Israel’s relapse into pagan idolatry and the practice of their abominations. God commanded the Israelites, “Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise” (Deuteronomy 12:30). Surely God has not changed His opinion of worship for the local church. It also connected to pagan occultism. King Manasseh “caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with familiar spirits, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him.” (2 Chronicles 33:6) The Hebrew word for “witchcraft” is defined as “to whisper (a magical spell), use songs of magic, mutter magical words of incantations; to enchant; to practice magic; to be a sorcerer; to use witchcraft.”13)Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D., Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible (KJV), AMG Publishers, 1991, p. 1624 This is what modern Wicca calls a “Song-Spell” meaning: “A lyrical chant or rhythmic song used to captivate and/or control a person, place, or thing for a specific length of time for the benefit of the Witch or magician casting it.”14)Lady Sabrina, Exploring Wicca: The Beliefs, Rites, and Rituals of the Wiccan Religion, New Page Books, 2000, p. 202
This rejection of such music retain in the early centuries of the Christian era because the music remained connected with paganism. “And if you reconsider the rites of these gods, how many things are laughable, and how many are also pitiable! Naked people run about in the raw winter; some walk bonneted and carry around old bucklers, or beat drums, or lead their gods a-begging through the streets.”15)Mark Minucius Felix, The Octavious of Minucius Felix, chap. Xxiv; The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson; 1885-1887, Hendrickson, 1994, Vol. 4, p. 187; also cited by David W. Bercot, editor, A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1998, p. 701 Here we find an obvious contrast of the Pagan’s worship practices dramatically differ from the early Christian’s worship. It was the pagans who banged on old shields and drums in praise to their gods. Clement of Alexandria spoke of “the Scythians the mystery of the Mother of the gods, as practiced by the inhabitants of Cyzicus, beating a drum and sounding a cymbal strung from his neck like a priest of Cybele…”16)Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Heathen, chap. II; The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson; 1885-1887, Hendrickson, 1994, Vol. 2, p. 177 Clement concludes elsewhere, “But we must reject superfluous music, which enervates men’s souls, and leads to variety—now mournful, and then licentious and voluptuous, and then frenzied and frantic.”17)Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, Or Miscellanies, Book VI, chap. XI; The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson; 1885-1887, Hendrickson, 1994, Vol. 2, p. 500-501 This is not to indicate that drums are evil in and of themselves, but rather by the manner they are played. Ezekiel described Satan as a wind instrument. “The magical genius of Lucifer, its composer, far exceeds that of Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, and all the other great composers who have lived. The Bible tells us that Lucifer was originally designed by God as a living, musical instrument (see Ezek. 28:13).”18)Texe Marrs, Ravaged by the New Age, Living Truth Publishers, 1989, p. 243 Jazz has identified the saxophone as a sensual instrument the way rock-and-roll did with drums. Neither is the piano always a “godly” instrument as homosexual rock star Elton John’s manner of music proves, as well as Albert Schweitzer who was mentioned prior for his use of an organ to induce mystical trances. The rock style of music performed in Contemporary Christian Music is obviously following the idolatrous pagan methods, has a sensual effect, and is stolen from the music of the world. Therefore, CCM should be avoided by every christian that desires to follow the Lord faithfully.


If you liked this article, you may also be interested in Crept In Unawares: Mysticism by Heath Henning is available for purchase here.



Heath Henning
Heath Henning
Heath heads the Set Free addictions ministry on Friday nights at Mukwonago Baptist Church and is involved in evangelism on the University of Wisconsin Whitewater campus, offering his expertise in apologetics at the weekly Set Free Bible Study every Tuesday evening. He currently lives in East Troy, Wisconsin with his wife and nine children. Read Heath Henning's Testimony

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