|by Missionary Ken Hutcheson
Those who defend "Christian Rock," claim that there are no differences between music; that the only considerations are the words and purpose. But this is patently false by the fact that the world clearly differentiates between music that is religious or Christian, classical, military or march music, country/western, waltz, honky-tonk or bar, etc... Further, people's minds are conditioned from childhood to associate these differences with activities, events, memories, etc., whether god or bad. Even God's Word refers to bad music such as "the song of the drunkards" (Psalm 69:12), "sing as an harlot" (Isaiah 23:15), children mocking Job with songs (Job 30:8-9), "the song of fools" (Eccl. 7:5), "religious" music that God does not like (Amos 5:23), and God's condemnation of all who make musical instruments "like David" to be used for sin! (Amos 6:1-6).
For years, before his death, Bro. Lester Roloff thundered that rock music is the most destructive influence on teenagers today, that it is so addictive it has a hold on them like dope, booze, tobacco, etc. And this is true of so-called "Christian Rock," or "Contemporary Music."
God's Word plainly commands us to "Abstain from all appearance of evil," (I Thes. 5:22) and to provide "for honest things, not only in sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men." (II Cor. 8:21). These verses, plus many others, clearly teach that whatever we do must not only be right before God, but that it must also look right and sound right before men.
Certain misguided church leaders thought that the way "to win young people" was to invite rock groups into churches and to encourage teenagers to buy their records and tapes. But the results have filled some churches with worldly members having little or no moral standards. A few pastors and editors tried to show that it was doing great spiritual damage to the youth of America and to those in churches, but they have been either ignored or bitterly opposed.
Repeatedly, some Christians, who were saved out of certain worldly conditions, have pleaded that they have painful struggles with rock music in the church because it reminds them of their sinful past! When lost people go to church and see and hear singers that look and sound like those in night clubs, bars, rock concerts, etc., they are either disgusted or drawn to a false religion. Some churches have now almost totally switched to "Christian Rock," and "Contemporary Music;" and it is hard to tell that their music is even Christian anymore. The dress styles of most "Christian Rock" singers is detestable and repulsive in the extreme. It is obvious that they are trying to promote themselves, get attention for themselves, and steal glory that belongs only to our Lord Jesus. They have certainly not learned the great lesson of John the Baptist who said, "He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease!" (John 3:30).
A few months ago persecuted Christians in Russia sent an urgent message to the Churches of America. It has been quoted in several Christian publications and we endorse it totally and enthusiastically! It is one of the most shocking and rebuking statements ever made in the two thousand year history of Christianity and should forever settle the matter. It ought to have the widest possible circulation. We quote:
For years we (Russian persecuted Christians) have suffered persecution, and now freedom is bringing another great harm to our churches. This damage is coming from the Christians in America who are sending rock music and evangelists accompanied by rock bands.
Our young people do not attend these meetings because we have all committed not to participate in secular entertainment.
This is a great burden on our hearts. Many came (from America) with Bible in hand and rock music. We are embarrassed by this image of Christianity. We do not know what words to use in urging that this be stopped. We abhor all Christian rock music coming to our country.
Rock music has nothing in common with ministry or service to God. We are very, very against Christian Americans bringing to our country this false image of 'ministry' to God. We need spiritual bread; please give us bread, not false cakes. It is true that rock music attracts people to the church, but not to godly living.
We were in prison for years for Christ's sake. We were not allowed to have Christian music, but rock music was used as a weapon against us day and night to destroy our souls. We could only resist with much prayer and fasting.
Now, we have a time of more openness, and we are no longer taken to prison. However, now it is Christians from America who damage our souls. We do not allow this music in our churches, but they rent big stadiums and infect teenagers and others with their rock music.
we, the leadership and congregations of the Unregistered Union of Churches, the former Persecuted Church, have made an agreement no to allow rock music in our churches. We urge you to join with us, and we advise you to remove rock music from America, and certainly not to bring it to our own country.
Do not desecrate our teenagers with it. Even the unbelievers recognize it as unholy music, and they cannot understand how American Christians can be so much like the world. We can give you the conclusion that after Russian unbelievers have attended these rock concerts where Christ's Word was preached, they were disappointed and disillusioned with Christianity.
We call this music from Hell. We urge all Americans to stop giving money (to send) such concerts to Russia. We want only traditional Christian music in our churches. This is the unanimous decision of all our leaders.
This statement was signed by leaders of the Underground Church in Russia, and its logic, reasons, and Bible principles are simply unanswerable to rock groups and their supporters. Think of that: poor, humble, suffering Russian Christians are severely rebuking and instructing arrogant, worldly American Christians. They ought to be ashamed. They ought to repent!
Therefore, what is Christian music? First, the words must be true to the Bible. Second, the music must not sound like or remind people of the world. Third, the music must honor and glorify our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Name above every name! Fourth, the musicians must be so dedicated to the Lord that they will do everything possible, including dress and music style, not to attract attention to themselves or the world but to magnify our Lord Jesus! Amen!
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