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There is no such thing as "Christian Music".
There are only "Christian Lyrics"
A song is not holy, or unholy, because it was written in 3/4 time in the key of G. Some great hymns and a great many Southern Gospel songs were written that way... as were a very great number of country western "drinking and cheat on your wife" songs. There is no "Christian" music in and of itself.
There is no such thing as "Christian Music".
There are only "Christian Lyrics"
Find songs that are sound lyrically and expressed in musical styles you enjoy... whatever that may be. The entire arguement about style is irrelevant. It is no different than argueing that vanilla ice cream is "Godly" and chocolate ice cream is "Ungodly". It is nothing more than flavor, or style, preference. However, when someone is spiritually immature, and perhaps has a bit of a self righteous attitude, it translates into them thinking that their personal musical style preference is the one that God has mandated as the "Holy Godly Musical Style".
Just find Godly lyrics in a style you enjoy... and if you do you will find your preferences growing to include vast arrays of styles. You will be able to judge and enjoy by the actual content and character of the song rather than what key and time signature it was written in. Everything from Gregorian Chant, CCM, Classical, Celtic, Screamo, Hip Hop, Prophetic, Historical Church Hymns, Metal, etc. In fact I have ALL of these styles on my IPOD/MP3 playlists. I may hear an ancient chanting of a liturgical Psalm or Canticle .. followed by a Keith Green Song... followed by A Screamo band..followed by a rousing rendition of A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.... followed by a the Chicago bluesy riffs of Rez Band and closing with a piece of Celtic songs with great visual imagery in them. All of them glorifying Jesus...all of them living Godly lives as far as I am aware...I can receive from all styles. It seems to me that I am more mature in that stance now than I was years ago when I labeled much music as "ungodly" simply because it was in a style I was unfamiliar or uncomfortable with.
You judge the tree BY ITS FRUIT.... not on the basis of what fruit is produced by it. Lemon trees, lime trees, almond trees, olive trees, coconut trees, bannana trees, walnut trees, etc.......they all produce very different things. You judge that tree by the quality of the fruit on that specific tree. For example you can't take Jesus parable and say "all almond trees are bad"... However, you can judge the almonds from a particular tree and tell if the fruit of that particular tree is bad. We must have as much sense in the spiritual as we do in the natural. You can't just say a particular musical style is evil/bad in and of itself. However, you can look at the fruit in an individual artists life and know if they will bring forth good or bad fruit...whatever style it may come in. Then simply judge the lyrics by the Word of God. This will enable you to receive from all kinds and myriads of styles that will bless you.
| 2010/6/24 9:32||Profile|
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Ginnyrose. I really liked your post. Very thought provoking.
I've always had a difficulty reconciling rock music with the holiness of God. The two just don't seem to go together. Growing up when Christian Rock was in its infancy, I remember how it was always kept on the fringes. As my generation has grown up Christian Rock has become much more mainstream.
Interesting that the justification of Christian Rock usually comes by appealing to the lyrics of the songs i.e. that they can be educational etc. but lyrics very much play a secondary role in rock music. I like the way you address the essence of rock music being unpeaceful.
May God give us direction on this....
| 2010/6/24 9:33||Profile|
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There is nothing like the "music topic" to bring out igorance, judgementalism and hot air!
...well, maybe the KJV topic.
| 2010/6/24 13:08|
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so lets just hit the prayer closet instead, spend some time with Jesus?
much more eternal profit in That, yes?
| 2010/6/24 13:41|
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In posting this, I guess I am going to risk others taking offense. I pray that none do as this thread does seem to be honestly seeking on a difficult subject snarling-up the Body of Christ today.
SOLOMON 101: I would love to hear your heart and mind on music, not what it might be to man, but what you have discerned it is to God.
The idea, "This will enable you to receive from all kinds and myriads of styles that will bless you." may have some truth in it. Like there is truth in, "When we pray, we are blessed." When I read your last sentence something Ravenhill sharpened the focus on came to mind "Its not what you got out of it. What did God get out of it."
If we just stop with what you said so far, it reminds me of the distorted gospel referred to as "Come to Jesus and get blessings." or however its put. Yes believers are very blessed, but that is only part, maybe just a side-effect. I know you remember, "Bless the Lord."
Remember the offering. I really do think that Genesis 22:5 defines worship, happening to also be the first time the Hebrew word is used.
I understood your: "There is no such thing as 'Christian Music'." It reminded me of my response to "a Christian psychologist": "You mean like a Christian plumber, a Christian electrician?"
Better stop here before I add more related but not on topic things. God bless all His servants made for His pleasure.
| 2010/6/24 14:42||Profile|
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Lol krispy. Yeah the old kjv...
My problem with modern Christian music/rock is that I'm just not sure about it. The Bible (certainly the kjv anyhow) ;-) tells me that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against the rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places etc (ephesians 6:12). I suspect that the world of modern Christian music, with its emotional appeal, offers an irresistible platform for Satan to deceive.
My intention is certainly not to sow dissension among brothers and sisters here, but to voice a valid concern. This thread has brought out some superb points. Getting down to the root of an issue is what we're after. I recognise that many young talented Christians are now involved in rock groups and God can and will work through it, but it is vital we warn of the dangers.
| 2010/6/24 16:08||Profile|
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There are certainly dangers. I have always voiced a concern about 95% of Christian music being owned and controlled by secular companies. (unequally yoked)
Also, many of the bands that are very very popular are made up of kids in their early 20's... most of them with no formal Christian education... and they are the "preachers" to the youth. Many times the music is doctrinally unsound, or at the very least... mushy.
Not all tho. As pointed out there are several independently owned Christian rap record companies that are hardcore about getting these artist educated in the Word... and it shows.
It's like a jet liner... it can take missionaries to the remotest parts of the world rather quickly... or they can be flown into buildings and kill thousands.
The jet liner is not what is evil.
| 2010/6/24 16:42|
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I am still here - just reading and thinking and trying to find time to locate the lyrics to some of his favorite music. Thank you all for your sincere input and desire to see God glorified in every aspect of our lives.
| 2010/6/24 22:48||Profile|
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This is a difficult topic. Like Krispy said, this one can be as divisive as almost any other that has been discussed here in the SermonIndex forums.
As a musician (piano and guitar), I can empathize with various points on all sides of this discussion. In fact, I have often felt torn in regard to the topic. I understand that many people see "music" as being "neutral" (neither good nor evil) -- and can be used merely as a tool to accompany words. Yet I also realize that music is a language. Language (and even sounds) can be used to express emotion. "Shouting" wordless syllables and musical notes can be just as frightening -- or just as joyful -- as shouting words. They can characterize or even set a "mood" and even change the atmosphere of a room. In fact, I believe that you can almost profanely "curse" with music as easily as you can with words.
Still, I don't know that anyone on this side of Eternity knows with any certainty just which music is acceptable to God (or whether there even is a type of music that is acceptable or unacceptable to begin with). Yet I also think that this is the most important standard for a musician! I think that any Christian musician should be keenly desirous to PLEASE God with what the musician writes, sings or plays. The greatest underlying motive should be to please the Lord with purity of heart and motive. I believe that any legitimate Christian musician should have this as a primary motive: Will this please the Lord? Too often, I think that the musician is worried about pleasing a crowd or his own musical tastes.
I totally agree with what musicians like Keith Green and Steve Camp have said and written about the contemporary Christian music industry. For many, it is merely a profession that brings fame and fortune -- albeit for music that is performed (at least rhetorically) in the Name of Jesus. I have attended Christian concerts where I found the entire atmosphere to be somewhat disturbing.
Now, I came from a non-Christian background where I loved rock and rap music. I have heard some Christian rock songs that I think were wholeheartedly meant to please the Lord. But for every one song like that, I think that I have heard another 99 that reeked of confusion or selfish musical pleasure. I have heard worship songs set to heavy metal music -- in which the intimate lyrics of worship seemed to be literally shouted AT God (rather than intimately offered to Him). I have often wondered why the musicians felt the need to change the tune or "rockify" those intimate lyrics of worship in the first place...although I suppose that it could be an easy profit for many of those bands.
I attended the Rock of Ages Music Festival in Calistoga not too long ago. I remember watching some of the teenagers "slam dancing" and "crowd surfing" during some of those rock versions of intimate worship songs. Maybe I am getting a little older, but I was deeply troubled by it. The bands publicly proclaimed that their goal was to "show the world that Christians know how to have fun" and applauded the dancing (even sensual dancing) that went on during the concert. Yet many of those same dancers were also smoking and drinking in between musical acts. Praise the Lord and pass the joint? Yikes!
I also noticed an interesting thing shortly after beginning college. The congregation with which I fellowshipped had decided to dedicate a month to prayer and fasting. As a result, they shut down all of the "ministries" in order to focus on this endeavor. I was involved with the youth and college ministries. I noticed that most of the praise and worship musicians stopped attending church when they weren't allowed to play (or perform?). They even publicly complained that they were "bored." I suppose that there is nothing more "boring" that spending time in intimate communion with God? Or maybe this should have been a revelation that something might be wrong? Further, I noticed that many of the young people in the congregation were noticeably bored during worship and praise. They would sit down in their chairs and talk to one another or just roll their eyes -- even during extremely upbeat praise songs. However, they would be applauded by the youth minister when they danced to the Christian rock songs later on in the meetings. This tended to quietly concern me.
To be clear: I think that I am harder on Christian musicians than I am with secular musicians. Personally, I don't even have a problem with writing or singing a love song to my wife -- since it is motivated by a love that God gave me for her. I don't find it sinful...as long as it is motivated by a Godly and Biblical love. At the same time, I have trouble listening to Christian artists who seem to be motivated by a desire to sell an album.
Many modern Christian acts will freely admit that they are mainly "entertainers" with a Christian message. Even many "praise and worship" CDs are produced by offshoots of secular producers and are generated on a regular basis to sell as many CDs as possible. It is, after all, a music INDUSTRY -- even with the dove, fish or Christian lyrics found on the CD covers. I suppose that this is the main difference between individuals like Keith Green -- who grew to the point where he no longer wanted to sell his music, since he credited it to God and felt that selling God's music would be akin to selling sacrifices (doves, lambs, incense, etc...) at the Temple Courts. BTW, I think that every aspiring Christian musician should read NO COMPROMISE, the biography of Keith Green written by his wife. This book shows the inner struggle and turmoil that Keith Green experienced when coming to his conclusion.
My favorite times of worship are often when I am alone...with a guitar or piano...and just pour my music out before the Lord like a drink offering. I even have "prayer songs" that I have written while praying for someone, some congregation or a specific need. Sometimes, these prayers are simply music while other times they are accompanied by lyrics. Some of the most meaningful songs that I have written were born out of various situations that I was going through in life. When I ran out of words to pray or worship, there was music that flowed from deep within.
As I have continued in my walk with the Lord, I have noticed that I have slowly begun moving away from much of what is sold by popular modern Christian musicians. Now, this is not to say that I don't listen to Christian music. My computer contains nearly 10,000 songs that I have purchased, written or received over the years. I even prayerfully chose and purchased the music for our wedding -- including each song played before, during and after the ceremony (including music during our wedding feast). Yet I have found that much of the music that means the most to me today comes from people who are already dead and gone. Before I became a Christian, I would have NEVER listened to Keith Green music. Yet, he is probably my favorite musician. I find myself drawn to old hymns too...and I enjoy reading about the experiences out of which these songs were born.
Anyway, I suppose that I haven't added much to this conversation that hasn't already been written. Ultimately, I think that we should always remember that our life's mission should be to please God in all that we say and do (and play, sing or listen to). Moreover, we should endeavor to have a clear conscience in this. We should never be afraid of questioning such things -- and asking God whether or not He is pleased. Of course, this is true with everything that we say and do. Are we pleasing the Lord with our music...dress...attitude...words...and focus? Or is some of what we are doing "selfish" and focused mostly on what pleases ourselves and others?
I do wish that there were a dozen more Keith Green's out there today. I haven't found too many modern Christian musicians who can "strike a chord" in my heart as this man who died a decade before I came to Christ! Don't get me wrong -- there is some very lovely music out there. Unfortunately for me, little of it seems to have the spiritual impact of some of hymns that are 200-300 years old. I pray that God raises up psalmists who can pour out their prayers like David...where every stroke of the guitar or touch of a piano key is offered to God as a sacrifice from a hungry heart!
Maybe I have said too much...or maybe...not enough.
| 2010/6/25 3:05||Profile|
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God bless you savannah
I don't know if anyone else has noticed this but almost all new 'worship' songs out of CCM are 'rock-ish' and it bothers me to no end.
I'm a vocalist on a worship team and have little say in the choice of worship songs. I can't tell you how many times I've wondered how a particular song could've have been chosen for congregational worship.
For one, the lyrics are, at best, limp but are quickly defended as Scriptural because they express love for Jesus.
Like savannah said, they don't express deep truth, such as can be meditated upon...
To the OP, let the Lord lead you in your choice of music for your son and may He grant you strength to remain firm when you disagree with your son. Amen
| 2010/6/25 11:22||Profile|