Is The Modern Christian Music Genre Dangerous?

Is The Modern Christian Music Genre Dangerous?

Being a musician, I admire and worship along with some of the new Christian “praise and worship” songs, both on Christian radio and in the churches. Many talented artists have perhaps changed their music genre from where they were to where they are now. Maybe some of the artists are just taking advantage of the newfound popularity of Christian music. But if you have followed my writings, you know my Scriptural motto is “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thess 5:21 As I sing along, I read the words and wonder if they truly do honor and praise the ONE who gave His life for us.

The Psalmist writes , “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, in all the lands. Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing.” Psa 100:1,2

Some of the words and phrases are a bit unbiblical and lacking substance, more of a feel-good message, but I do believe that they are written with best intentions. How do I “prove all things”? By comparing them with the Word of God. If a song doesn’t align with The Word, it doesn’t mean blasphemy has been committed, or that the Holy Ghost had been grieved. It may be ignorance, or something as stupid as needing a word to “rhyme.” Certainly, we must be careful of what we read and listen to. What goes in our hearts becomes part of us.

The old gospel hymns always seemed so real and heartfelt, though it wasn’t my style of listening music when I was a reckless heathen. Now, I have an appreciation for them more than ever.

As for my song-writing ability, I admit I never considered myself a songwriter at all. But since I became a born again Christian, I have yielded to the Holy Spirit; lyrics and music have poured out from my heart onto paper and the fingerboard of my guitar. Hallelujah!

One popular song that I do have an issue with, among a few, is one in which the hook lyrics repeated throughout are “reckless love of God.” Artistically, it is a marvelous song and I enjoy it. But we have to be careful what we hear. Is God’s love really reckless? Absolutely NOT! He knows exactly what He is doing! His love for us is very intentional, with His will and purpose—that is not reckless! Personally, I would have used a different word, maybe “wonderful” or “magnificent,” but maybe that is the word that grabs everyone. It makes me wonder what was going on in the writers life to come up with that word. Does he know the magnificent love of God? Discernment is always important.

Today’s Christian music is very popular and the musicians go on national high-energy tours, just like your favorite secular band. I have gone to several of these and the arena/stage production mirrors that of your favorite rock group. I must say that I am impressed. Some have criticized these tours as becoming too commercialized, too much about grossing the big bucks. The popular songs end up being played by the local church’s praise teams. Too much? Yes, there has been criticism.

These songs and Sunday morning church performances may be the drawing power to attract the younger generation in to church, to hear the preacher teach/preach the Word of God. That part is great, as long as the lyrics are in accordance with the Word of our Savior. Then, the power of the Word truly activates their inner-spirit to transform them by the renewing of their minds to become a “new creation in Christ,” born again Child of God. That may be the biggest shortfall, not in the worship portion of the service but in the subsequent message that lacks Biblical truth, distortion of what a new creation really is, absence of a repentance-salvation message, and what it means to live in the spirit, not in the carnality of our sinful flesh.

So, what is my point? Since the creation of man, music has been an important form of communication. Traditionalists may have issues with today’s Christian music, as they do other genres, but what is more important is the foundation of life—the living Word, the truth, that must live in us for eternal life. The message from the pulpit, that is what we must be concerned with using Biblical discernment. Pastors and ministers are held to a higher standard; there is a lot of responsibility in what they speak, but do not assume that just because they have the microphone that what they say is good food for your soul. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” Amen.

 And what do you think?

Trouble In Today’s Churches

John’s Christian Rant: The Trouble With Today’s Churches

Too many of today’s churches are diminishing the Word of God, if they even teach the Word at all. The Apostle Peter warned that some would distort Scriptures, as he reinforced what he had apparently learned from Paul:  “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which some things are hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they also do the rest of the Scriptures.” 2 Pet 3:16 The prophetic words of Peter are certainly describing today’s nature in many churches.

The word “gospel” means “good news,” and Jesus certainly is the good news spoken of in the New Testament, actually even going back into the Old Testament. Churches today diminish Jesus’ deity and what He accomplished on the cross for you and me.

Do you attend a church where the word “sin” is totally absent from any sermon? Where the mention of hell is only as a passing word when it appears in a Scriptural passage?  Where 1 Corinthians 6:9,10, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians  5:3-5, and other passages are never read and commented on as warnings? The Apostle Paul speaks throughout his letters about living in the spirit, not in the flesh. You can’t have it both ways as “these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” Gal 5:17

I heard a preacher recently preach that the obvious warning of “…will not enter the kingdom of God” is not talking about heaven and hell, separation from God, but instead only an absence from this present-day “kingdom of heaven on earth” and His blessings here on earth. The Apostle Paul warned, “Do not be deceived!” I am not sure that God is happy with the aforementioned teaching….

Heaven and hell? (See my post on heaven and hell.) Does it exist? Not according to many teachings, and many modern churches don’t want to approach the topic; better to ignore and keep the flock blind from the truth.

I’m a “salvation” guy. I know what it was like when I was once destined to the eternal torments of hell! I love Jesus and thank Him so much every day for my role in the mission field He has planned for me. But salvation to many of the new modern churches, many with multiple thousands of members, means that heaven has come down to earth to give you whatever you want; salvation means healings, unlimited prosperity, new Cadillacs, no trials or tribulations, on and on. Don’t get me wrong, I am a prayer warrior and believe in supernatural healing that only comes from God and that God can and does answer prayers, but the emphasis is no longer on what Jesus has done for you and how you need to thank Him, worship Him, serve Him, and honor Him., but instead, what He can do for us. He doesn’t need to do anything for us; He already did it by shedding His cleansing blood on the cross, and giving us hope through His resurrection from the dead. “It is finished.”

Jesus Himself taught more on the dangers of falling into eternal hell than entering heaven. Please heed,  “Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matt 7:1314  Sadly, there will be many who don’t make the final judgment in good standing with our Lord. Not my opinion, but the Word of God.

Too many of today’s preachers in the churches don’t go near the “fear of the Lord” references in the Bible, the phrase found a minimum of fourteen times in Proverbs alone. When they do, it is often softened to, “fear means reverence….” While that may be true to a point, we have reverence knowing that God has all authority to judge our eternal destiny, and He can cast us into hell, into the “outer darkness where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” OUCH! is an understatement. Strong’s #3373H, 3374H uses these words to define the word fear:  “fearful, afraid, dreadful, exceedingly fear.” I think we understand those words.

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Heb 10:31 Doesn’t sound like reverence is meant there, and that’s New Testament!

Sin? One cannot be convicted by the Holy Spirit if they don’t know what sin is, and if they don’t think any sin is in their lives. Forget about what the Bible says about repentance; that, apparently isn’t necessary anymore, either, as it doesn’t seem to be necessary to mainstream teaching.

Despite denials, many of today’s sermons  are psychological feel-good messages lacking much depth of the true Word of God. True prophetic gifts from God are instead “taught” by church teachers who are “trained” in prophecy. The Bible says some have gifts of prophecy, proving they cannot be taught.  Those who “graduate” from these teachings prophecy “good news” over people, giving them emotional encouragement, and giving them hope. Encouragement is good, but call it what it is, encouragement from man, not from God.

“Beware of false prophets who come to you in  sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matt 7:15 There is a difference between praying over someone and for someone than prophesying over a person. Prayers are petitions to God for His glory to be revealed by answered prayers, at His will. If someone claims prophecy and it doesn’t come true, then guess what? That person is a false prophet; no excuses, no apologies allowed.

When one reads the Bible, it’s revealed that most of the prophetic messages were not good, but  instead, warnings, coming destruction, famine,  and so forth. The exceptions, though, are the 356 prophetic messages of a coming Messiah, Jesus Christ! Other than that, no where do we read prophetic messages like, “I see great wealth coming into your life,” “your cancer will be cured,” “your family will be reunited,” etc. Bummer, huh? Today’s trained prophets are instructed that if they do receive a negative message from God about someone,  don’t dare say it–we want POSITIVE predictions and reinforcement from our prophets, with our people! Important to repeat: PROPHETS CANNOT TRAINED!

When you read the Old Testament, did you see any references that Isaiah, Elijah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Jeremiah, or any other of the prophets, major or minor, being told to go to a prophecy school before they received their prophecy credentials? No, I you don’t have to answer that. Don’t misunderstand me, there may be prophets today, but they are gifted from God, from a church church.

Another thing the modern churches do is try to emulate or copy “successful, growing churches.” God wants His churches to grow, but in truth, His truth, through His Word. Many churches begin their services with high-tech rock concerts, flashing lights, fog machines, and then suddenly the “Holy Ghost’s presence” becomes evident in feathers, glitter and gold dropping from the rafters, and fog pouring out from the floor.  Then comes the ceremony of begging for money, the “more you give, the greater your blessings, thirty, sixty,  hundredfold….” My friends, God’s blessings cannot be purchased nor bartered for; they are not for sale, but are poured upon us according to His will.

Churches need to sustain themselves, with gifting, or tithing from fellow members, and the preachers should receive compensation, see  1 Tim 5:17, 18. How much is not really clear in Scripture. Many new churches want to go back to being like the original Apostolic churches, yet they build gigantic buildings with gaudy amenities. My friends, Jesus traveled with nothing, the disciples sold all they had and went out on their missionary crusades, and their “churches” were tree groves, hillsides, shorelines, and primitive buildings where the Word of God was supreme.

Rant, rant, rant. Believe it or not, that’s all for now. Have I stirred up anything in your spirit?  Well, what do you think? It’s your turn to turn the table and let me know what you think. Looking forward to hearing from you. May the God of all grace, mercy, peace, and love bless you abundantly.