|Posted on December 5, 2018 at 1:05 AM|
Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Acts 17:11 ESV
Some of the Christian music I listen to is for worship and some of the other Christian music I listen to is for clean entertainment. This article is not intended to help us distinguish between these two, though that would be a useful article. The intent of this article is instead to encourage us how to make a distinction between that which calls itself Christian and that which merely has the Christian label attached to it but fails to be so.
I will be completely honest, if you look at my digital music library you will find worship music like the Getty’s, “In Christ Alone”. However, you will also find contemporary Christian music like Toby Mac and NF, artists which many of you have never heard. I even have an album by Johnny Cash, all because I wanted his song, “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”. A great song about Johnny’s own sinful lifestyle, God calling him out of that life, and to call others out of that life to come to Christ. These last few artists I would consider to be music entertainment rooted in a Christian worldview. So, I am not coming from the perspective that all contemporary Christian music is bad. Yet, there are music artists that are being played on contemporary Christian radio, that at best, reject essential Christian doctrine, and at worst, are not even Christian. Philips, Craig, and Dean are a trio who oddly enough reject the Trinity, Pentatonix is a talented group but have members who are openly homosexual, and Matt Maher is not only a practicing Catholic but leads worship and teaches as a minister in the Roman Catholic historic tradition that is directly opposed to the gospel. These are only a few of the popular artists that come to my mind who have been regularly played on Christian radio for years.
Most recently in the news is Lauren Daigle, a woman bearing the Christian label, and has a recently sky rocketing career not only in Christian circles but also in the secular music world. Her music is sung every Sunday morning in churches around the world. Her recent album debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 100, she appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and was on the Ellen Degeneres Show. Some Christians are celebrating her being welcomed by the world with open arms. What some are now concerned about is her recent response to a question on a radio show. The host asked, “Do you feel homosexuality is a sin?” Lauren’s response:
“I can’t honestly answer on that. In a sense, I have too many people that I love that they are homosexual. I don’t know. I actually had a conversation with someone last night about it. I can’t say one way or the other. I’m not God. So, when people ask questions like that…that’s what my go to is. I just say read the Bible and find out for yourself. And when you find out let me know, because I’m learning too.”
The Bible is clear on homosexuality being a sin (Genesis 19:1-24; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Romans 1:26-28, Jude 7). The Bible is also clear that Christ died for sinners, including the homosexual, who if like other sinners acknowledges their sin, repents and believes on Christ they are saved (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Notice, by Daigle’s response, it is not that she hasn’t thought about it, she has, and she has even had discussions about it. Her go to response is that she is, “not God”. Well, thanks for clearing that up. Can she call murder, stealing, or adultery sin? She should be able to do so and probably wouldn’t hesitate. Would she be in the place of God if she did? No. She would merely be affirming what God tells us is indeed sin. Quite frankly, her answer is a lame cop-out. There is no more excuse in this day and age for one who is in public ministry to claim ignorance on what God’s Word has to say about this issue. If Lauren Daigle doesn’t know if the Bible calls homosexuality a sin, she ought not be in a public Christian ministry like Christian music.
One of the bands I liked listening to when I was younger, because they came from the reformed Christian perspective and yet played the contemporary style of music with a little folk mixed in, was Caedmon’s Call. One of my favorite songs of theirs was “Thankful”. In this song Scripture was paraphrased from Romans 3:10-11 concerning the condition of man, “There is none righteous, not one who understands, there is none who seek God, no not one”. Now, Derek Webb, the previous lead singer says that he believes, “God made people good and the fall didn’t fundamentally change that.” This problematic statement has all sorts of ramifications on the gospel. He has come out, it seems, in support of the LGBT+ community and went on tour with Jennifer Knapp, an open lesbian who claims to be Christian. He also believes that human sexuality is non-binary, meaning there are not only two sexes man and woman and that those sexual relationships are not confined to be between man and woman only. Finally, he now calls himself an unbeliever.
With all the Christian artists out there it is impossible to know where they all stand theologically. But, make no mistake, their theology does inform their ministry, it comes out in their music, their interviews, and with whom they partner and support. Whether we like it or not, their fans are influenced by these artist’s ministries. Also, the world is either being encountered by the gospel through faithful music ministry or the world in its sin is being affirmed by their false ministry. So, what do we do?
We need to be a discerning people. We need to examine the messages we listen to with the Scripture. That applies to the music to which we listen, to the sermons we hear, to shows and movies we watch, to the books we read, to the conversations we have with others. We are constantly being bombarded with messages and you, I, our families and our culture are being influenced by the worldview in these mediums. The believer has always been called to discernment and it is necessary as you faithfully follow after Christ. Here are some passages to consider for how we ought to respond to the messages and messengers we hear. 1 John 4:1; Philippians 1:9-10, Hebrews 5:14; Romans 12:1-2; James 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; Colossians 2:8; Proverbs 2:1-5; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; 1 Timothy 4:1; Matthew 24:24