Music That Pleases the Lord
A. Contemporary and Traditional services?
Is it a good idea? Some have sought to avoid casting out the old traditional hymns by having TWO services… one traditional and one contemporary. Here are eleven reasons why that is not a good idea.
1. First of all, it DIVIDES the church into the older folks and the younger folks.
a. For folks who claim to be using music to unite the church, they have failed!
b. Music, which should unite us around the truth instead divides us around personal taste and preference.
c. I Cor. 1:10-13. In light of this passage, do you think the apostle Paul would be pleased with seeing the churches divided today over the issue of music?
d. Isa. 52:8-9 – Notice that when Christ comes for Israel, they sing TOGETHER… not separately.
e. Where will this division end?
• Should we further divide the church into a section with country music, reggae, rap, symphony, polkas, etc.?
• Should we then divide the church into Jew, Gentile, barbarian, Scythian, bond, free, male and female, red, yellow, black, and white?
• OR, is this kind of division an unscriptural expression of the OPPOSITE of what the Body of Christ really IS? (ONE in Christ!)
f. Read John in Revelation as the redeemed and the angels praise God. They do so with ONE VOICE! Worthy is the Lamb! Holy, holy, holy!
g. Read Paul in Romans 15:6 – with “one mind and one mouth, glorify God!”
2. Secondly, the MOTIVE behind this is obviously to please men.
a. It is obvious that when this kind of decision is made, the real driving force behind it is what men want… pressure from men… to please man.
b. Pleasing the Lord is obviously NOT their main concern.
c. It is being done because if the church leaders don’t change the music, the young people will leave.
d. As much as it breaks my heart so say this, the right response is, “Let them leave.”
e. If they are only staying because of music, then they aren’t really with us anyway!
f. We have the apostles doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers… If they are looking for something else, then they are looking for something OTHER THAN what a church is according to the Bible.
g. Should we change what the church is because the young people don’t like it?
h. Should we change our doctrine if the young people don’t like it?
i. Should we cancel prayer meeting if the young people don’t like it?
j. Should we cater to the whims and wishes of the youth, OR should the ELDERS lead and choose music?
k. It is a much better idea—a more BIBLICAL method—to TEACH the Word on this subject… and introduce young people to good, wholesome, Christ honoring hymns and spiritual songs.
l. I was brought up on rock music. And when I got saved, I instinctively KNEW that my old music had to go… it was incompatible with my new life.
m. And over time, I learned hundreds of new songs—old-fashioned hymns—but new to me!
n. Young people CAN learn to LOVE the great hymns of the faith! And there are a lot of new songs being written today that are good too.
o. I love to see young people here picking hymns on Sunday nights. And they pick good ones too!
p. Young people and old people alike can LEARN to love good, solid, Christ honoring music.
q. When music is selected for church, our goal ought NOT to be to satisfy the appetites of the inexperienced and immature.
r. Parents would not be wise to let the children choose the dinner menu (candy and coke). Neither are church leaders wise to let the youth choose the music menu!
3. Thirdly, they have effectively removed the older, wiser, more mature believers from the younger, inexperienced, immature believers.
a. Thus, the younger generation misses out on the wisdom gleaned from fellowshipping with more mature believers.
b. And thus, the church is divided so that the younger folks with all the energy are ready to start new things… and the older folks, who lack the energy are not.
c. Thus, all the new programs begun will be carried out with lots of energy… but without the wisdom to channel that energy properly.
d. God proves Himself to be wise once again when we follow HIS pattern; the young and old are not to be divided in the local church.
e. Read Titus 2:2, 4, 6 – God’s design is for the older and the younger to minister TOGETHER!
f. The old and the young need each other for the church to function as God intended.
g. The older folks need the strength and energy of the younger folks to get things done; the younger folks need the wisdom and experience of the older folks to guide them in what they do and how to do it.
h. This isn’t by accident, but by God’s design.
i. Separating the two groups from each other so they don’t see each other and can’t fellowship together is NOT a good idea.
4. A fourth problem is that after one generation, there will be NO MORE classic, traditional hymns… which have stood the test of time…
a. The church will be left with newer songs, most of which are quite shallow by comparison… and some downright heretical.
b. In spite of good intentions, the bottom line is that even though they attempt to keep BOTH types of music today, ultimately, they ARE casting out the old—whether they do it today or tomorrow… the final effect is the same.
c. It is a veiled attempt to cause Christ honoring, sacred music to die of attrition.
d. Young people in the next generation will know nothing of the rich heritage of Christian music because it will all have been left in the dust… they grew up on the contemporary section of the church…
e. If that is where this is all heading in 10 years or so, doesn’t it make sense to stop and THINK about where that road is leading before we all jump on the bandwagon and follow blindly?
f. It might seem like a pragmatic compromise that keeps everybody happy in the short run, but in the long run it effectually and permanently removes the old, great hymns of the faith… and replaces them (for the most part) with something inferior.
5. A fifth problem: It is NOT just the music that is so disturbing… it is the mindset and attitude that goes along with it.
a. It has brought into the churches a spirit of irreverence and looseness… which permeates the whole atmosphere.
b. Reverence and rock music are NOT compatible.
c. This is not just the opinion of a 53 year old guy who doesn’t like rock music.
d. This is what Rolling Stone magazine (a leading mouthpiece for Rock music for 3 decades!) says… “Rock music is about sex and rebellion.”
e. I believe them for a couple of reasons.
• These folks are the experts in the field… they have lived and breathed in that atmosphere for 30 years or more… they know what they are talking about. We should listen to the experts.
• Experience confirms this. I grew up with that music… my flesh is still attracted to it… and I know from experience what it is about…
• It evokes an “in your face” attitude… (Larry Normon – adolescent rebellion.)
• Even without any words, rock music DOES affect attitude…
b. Rock music creates an atmosphere or an environment that is incompatible with reverence and worship.
c. And if rock music is sensual, as the experts and experience teach us, how can we ever call it a spiritual song?
d. And what is the purpose of bringing sensual music into the church? Is it wise to wed words from the Holy Scriptures to music that is by nature sensual… and even rebellious? Isn’t there something quite inconsistent about all this?
6. A sixth problem is that along with this new kind of music we have also seen a new kind of worship:
a. Along with this new wave music has come a whole new atmosphere in worship created by: multimedia presentations with sights and sounds; dancing; performance music; entertainment; showmanship; a true merging of theatre and church;
b. In this new kind of worship, the WORD of Christ is de-emphasized; sermons become sermonettes.
c. A few verses are shown on a screen because the religious leaders have determined it is too HARD for the folks in the pews to find all those books of the Bible… so they don’t even need to bring their Bibles to church any more.
d. The end result: shallow Christians who have spiritually developed a taste for cotton candy and have no stomach for steak and potatoes. (They will not endure sound doctrine.)
e. Superficial religious people who come to be entertained… self centered… not Christ centered… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…
f. And in that atmosphere, true worship virtually ceases.
g. The music is part of that whole scene… and that whole scene stinks to high heaven… and we want no part of it here.
h. We could argue details till we are blue in the face. But if it is part of that scene, we want nothing to do with it.
7. A seventh problem: The bottom line of all this change is a modern Evangelical version of what happened to music in the dark ages in the Roman Church: the Word of God was de-emphasized… and therefore, the people stopped singing.
a. That’s what happens when the Word is not richly dwelling in the heart.
b. Christian music FLOWS out of hearts filled with the Word of Christ.
c. Out of spiritually empty hearts, NO spiritual songs will gush forth… not when the well is dry.
d. And when the heart is not filled with the Holy Spirit, Christ, and the Word of Christ, then SELF is reigning.
e. Congregational singing was replaced with performance music… sung by the professional religious caste: the priests…
f. Instead of actively singing, they were passively sung to.
g. And the words were unintelligible… Latin!
h. Because the hearts of the people were NOT richly indwelt by the Word of Christ, no spiritual songs emanated from those hearts. Congregational singing ceased; singing was replaced with performance type music; the words of which were unintelligible… thus music was entirely soulish and not spiritual.
i. Music that affects the SOUL and emotions but never reaches the spirit CANNOT be called spiritual songs. They are purely natural… earthly… and to the degree that the devil’s influence was involved, demonic!
j. Consider the influence of the charismatic movement today.
• They aim for the emotions and the feelings—for experience—at the expense of truth and understanding.
• They bypass the head for the feelings.
• It is therefore, soulish and natural rather than spiritual.
k. Even though the loud new wave worship (which came to us via the charismatic movement) and the old traditionalistic Roman Catholic Church seem so opposite, they actually produce the same effect:
• Bible teaching is diminished—replaced by religious feelings.
• Word not richly dwelling in hearts.
• Reduces or eliminates congregational singing.
• Replaced by performance music.
• Unintelligible words…
• Produces a religious experience, but not spiritual edification.
l. It adds NOTHING to the kind of worship God desires: in spirit and in truth.
m. And regardless of how HOLY they SAY this music makes them FEEL, if it addresses merely the emotions and not the spirit, it is NOT a spiritual song.
n. Our adversary is the master counterfeiter. He uses another spirit to counterfeit true spirituality with emotionalism and religious sentimentalism.
o. It matters not how men feel, but what God says.
8. And eighth problem: The entire movement is LED by babes.
a. This movement was NOT begun at the request of older, discerning, more mature believers.
b. It was the YOUTH who pushed, promoted, threatened to leave, and cried until they got their own way. Babes!
c. Church leaders today are caving in to the outlandish demands of the youth just like parents today are caving in to their kids.
d. And while we cannot know the hearts of individual rock and roll concert goers, we do know human nature.
e. I have talked to some of them. It is fair to say that in MOST… it would be quite INNACURATE to say that the Word of Christ is RICHLY dwelling in their hearts.
f. They’re kids… immature… and have no place leading in the local church… especially in such an important area as music!
g. Isa. 3:1-5 – (vs.4) “?And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.” This was God’s JUDGMENT against Judah for their sin!
h. Ecc. 10:16 – Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!?
9. The ninth problem: The next step is doctrine… guaranteed!
a. When the music is cheap and shallow… and the atmosphere has been set for entertainment rather than learning… and the word of Christ is deemphasized, rest assured, you have effectively created an environment for apostasy.
b. It might take a while… but it will come. It is inevitable!
c. Now this is obviously not to be blamed solely on their music. But music is a VITAL part of the loose, “anything goes” environment that is ready for apostasy. It sets the stage.
d. Some of the most popular contemporary Christian Music songs have as their theme, “tearing down the walls” of doctrine that separate us. They are often quite ecumenical… and see doctrine as a stumbling stone rather than a foundation.
e. It is obviously not true of them all… but that is the mindset more often than not in those circles.
f. The next generation of “church goers” may well reject the whole concept of salvation! (Too narrow minded for that crowd!)
g. Already some of the super churches around this country which grew so rapidly (in part because of their showmanship and music) are creeping into false doctrine… unable to take a stand on anything!
h. When the ultimate goal is unity and growth (at the expense of purity), the system is doomed to failure.
i. Sound doctrine is NOT their forte. Many of them hate fundamentalists… because the whole religious world embraces them… (Catholics; Protestants; Evangelicals) everybody… except the fundamentalist.
j. We are quite naive to believe all these “Christian entertainers.”
• It has been well documented that some of these religious singers and bands are USING the church as a stepping stone to their real goal: stardom and fame in the top 40!
• They use the church and then move on… to bigger and better things.
• Peter warned, “They shall make merchandise of you.”
• This was true with some of the older Motown groups in the 60’s… and it is still happening today… some of the contemporary Christian music stars have made the crossover into the secular world. After all – that’s where the real money is.
• They get a few big hits and their venue changes overnight! Off to Las Vegas! (It would make an interesting documentary.)
10. Problem number ten: immorality.
a. I’m sure this will sound like a stretch to some… (connecting immorality to music) but hear me out.
b. I’m looking ahead down the road… where this scene is headed… perhaps in a decade…
c. I know of a Bible believing rock and roll church… not too far away, where they have home Bible studies… and when the study is over, the young people turn on rock music, and for fellowship time, break out the Budweiser too.
d. That is a recipe for moral disaster—young people listening to rock music… and drinking beer… dancing… eventually, you KNOW what’s going to happen.
e. Music changes the atmosphere. Some of these rock and roll churches have created a night club atmosphere… which is NOT conducive to holiness.
f. Young people live in bodies with an abundance of hormones and impulses that require very little to ignite.
g. Music can be SENSUAL… even sexual.
h. The leading rock and roll magazine has warned us what rock music is all about: rebellion and SEX! We would do well to listen!
i. Luke 16:8 – Jesus said that sometimes, “The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.”
j. The children of this world clearly see the obvious in the natural realm. For all kinds of baffling and inexplicable reasons, Christians seem unable to see this. God help us to see.
k. Of course, not every one who listens to rock music is going to instantly run out and commit fornication.
l. But where rock music is tolerated… other things are tolerated too…
• It becomes a package deal.
• Rock is tolerated, and often dancing is too… and social drinking is too.
• It is all part of the same scene… the same mindset.
• Folks who have no concept of what Christian liberty is for and how to use it properly!
m. This new kind of music is one of the ingredients that often leads to impurity.
n. The new atmosphere and mindset of evangelicals today is loose… which at time borders on shady and immoral.
o. I heard a famous pastor of a super church on TV the other day being interviewed by Larry King. Larry King read to the preacher some very risqué and off color statements he allegedly made from the pulpit… and the preacher began joking about them… on national TV!
p. Along with the new music comes Christian comedians—yes as part of the church services in some places… and you know the tendency of comedy to edge towards the shady…
q. The stage has been set for this kind of looseness… an atmosphere where we have been taught to embrace everyone… judge no one or nothing… always be positive… so accepting of human failures… and deathly afraid to use the “S” word… we shouldn’t be surprised to see the next step in the decline: open disregard for holiness.
11. Problem eleven: this whole transition does not happen over night.
a. Our adversary is clever enough to know that he needs to take baby steps AWAY from that which is good and sound—or it will instantly be recognized for what it is.
b. There is much “bridge music” today—a favorite tactic of the devil.
c. On the one hand there is good, solid, sound music… and on the far other end is Christian heavy metal or gangster rap…
d. And in between there are a thousand shades… to make the transition gradual… EASY… imperceptible…
e. AND that gradual approach makes it impossible (?) to argue each step along the way.
f. Discerning believers will NOT try to argue each step… but will step back and look at the DIRECTION the movement is headed!
g. Some folks here are old enough to have seen many changes in the evangelical world in the last century.
• Virtually all of the changes have been in the wrong direction.
• The atmosphere of worship has been corrupted.
• The music has degenerated.
• The Word of God has been deemphasized.
• The average churchgoer is becoming more and more Biblically illiterate.
• The average believer today is not more mature or discerning than the average believer 100 years ago.
• But the stats don’t tell us this. The stats tell us that evangelicalism is THRIVING… because of the raw NUMBER of people attending the many super churches around the country.
• The numbers are rising, but spiritual climate is falling…
• There is a growing outward FORM of godliness… but in form only. It is quite empty and shallow.
• The new music is NOT to blame for that decline. But it is PART OF the overall decline… one of the many ingredients in the decline… the dumbing down of the churches.
• In part the number of evangelicals is rising because of the new church format: LESS Bible… and MORE entertainment… which features performance music by bands of all stripes.
• We have been warned of this by men for many decades now… they could see it coming!
• Charles Spurgeon:
• AW Tozer:
h. Discerning believers will choose that which is unquestionably wholesome… and will in mature LOVE be willing to give up some music that is good… IF it is aiding that movement.
i. And we have so MUCH good music that IS unquestionably wholesome… why skate on thin ice?
1. You can accuse me of crying wolf if you like or making much ado about nothing. That’s ok. I’m willing to take the heat on this issue.
2. I was saved OUT OF that movement.
a. When God opened my eyes, as a new creature in Christ, I instinctively recognized that music for what it was… earthly, sensual, and at times, demonic!
b. No one had to tell me to get rid of my old music.
c. Even as a babe in Christ, it wasn’t hard to tell the difference between light and darkness… sensual and spiritual.
3. But now, that movement has worked its way INTO the churches. It baffles me how Christians ever allowed it to be, but it is so.
a. When it first came out, even the WORLD was shocked by it blatant sexual implications (Elvis—viewed from chest up on TV)… and by the rebellious attitude it fostered.
b. After 50-60 years of being surrounded by this music, the shock value has worn off… though they up the ante every year to TRY to shock us… we have become numb to it.
c. The world had more discernment to recognize rock for what it is a generation ago, than many churches do today.
d. Christian rock performers have made some superficial changes—by adding some nice words about Jesus… but it is still pretty easy to recognize the difference between sensual and spiritual.
4. IN addition to being saved out of it, I have been observing it for 30 years, as it has infiltrated into Christendom.
a. And I’m not buying it. It has divided the church.
b. It has been a wedge between the youth and older believers.
c. It is a movement predominantly led by immature believers who lack discernment… and designed to please man—the youth.
d. As a whole, the movement has shown utter contempt for fundamentalism… for the doctrine of separation…
e. As a whole, the movement has shown little interest in sound doctrine. (They see doctrine as divisive.)
f. The movement has a tendency to be ecumenical… making no distinction between truth and error… Rome, Protestants, and Evangelicals… embracing them all… as long as they provide venues for their bands.
g. I have also observed that when the music changes, the whole atmosphere of the church changes… and not for the good.
h. It brings in a looseness and laxness that has affected behavior and even doctrine. (what Spurgeon called the DOWNGRADE of Christianity)
i. If Larry King and the late Peter Jennings (neither one of whom were friends of Christianity), and others in the world are able to recognize that something smells in this whole scene, it is an indictment on our blindness and naiveté if we are unable to smell the same rat.
j. We have been warned by godly saints for many decades that they could see this coming… (Not to mention the apostles!)
k. It isn’t hard to see where this music scene came from. It is not hard to see where it is headed.
l. If we close our eyes to all this, cave in to the pressure of the youth and the inexperienced ones, and allow it here… then we are without excuse and fully accountable to God for where it leads into the next generation.
5. I am calling upon us all as a body… as a congregation to stand together and oppose not just the music, but the mindset… the attitude… and the direction of this movement.
a. This is THE battle of this generation.
b. The church is gradually and imperceptibly being morphed into an entertainment center.
c. I am especially calling upon the young people here to stop and think about this movement… where it is headed. Is that really where you want to go?
d. Young people brought up here have a distinct advantage. You should be able to see the difference. Other young people have been brought up in it… and it is all they know. And hence a warning like tonight’s is incomprehensible to them… but it shouldn’t be to you.
e. Do YOU want to be responsible for aiding a movement that is not edifying, but eroding the work of God?
f. “If any men defile the Temple of God him shall God destroy; for the Temple of God is holy, which temple YE are.” (I Cor. 3:17)
g. “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (I Tim. 3:15)
h. Solomon said, “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. ? ?Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.” (Prov. 4:26-27)
i. This is the battle our generation is called to be engaged in. That’s why God refers to us as soldiers of Jesus Christ.
j. It is going to be a difficult battle. Many folks won’t see this. Many folks won’t join us because all the action is elsewhere.
k. It is going to be difficult to see families leave because their KIDS want to go to the rock and roll church… families whom we have come to know and love… nice, but naïve.
l. That is the BATTLE. We are called to fight the GOOD fight.
m. We are called to endure HARDSHIPS as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.
n. God help us to stand. Daniel stood… and so can we. God is able to make us stand.
o. I thank God that so far, the Lord has spared us from much conflict on this issue. But rest assured, sooner or later, it will come. We need to be ready. So gird on your armor brethren.
p. Eph. 6:13 – “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”