Thoughts on Christian Music

When I was growing up, like many teenagers, I listened to some music that I probably shouldn't have. My mom would find out that I was listening to that 90s hard rap that had cursing in it (cursing is the least of the problems in that music genre today), and take that music away.

Today, I completely despise that music. I even cringe when I hear it on the radio. But in my state of depravity, I thought it was "cool" to listen to music like that - after all, all the other kids were doing it. Like I said, 15 years ago, "that horrible music" that I listened to is tame compared to today's stuff. I can only imagine what Morgan will face 15 years from now.

But that is one of many challenges that we will face as parents. I thought of this over the weekend as our family devotional focused on the role of music in our Christian lives.

Has Christian music become just as bad?

Don't get me wrong. I do not believe that contemporary Christian music is littered with cursing, degrading of women, etc. And I would much rather my children listen to it than some of the secular stuff out there. But I also question that a lot of this contemporary Christian music, is well, Christian.

Throughout the bible, we are instructed to "lift a joyful voice" and worship God using music. In fact, it is commanded that music be uplifting to the Lord and be theologically sound. This is evident throughout the Psalms of David - the original hymn book.

Have you ever been invited to church with these words? "You should come to church with us on Sunday. The music is incredible." or hear someone say "I liked the preacher at that church, and I like the people, but the music isn't very good so I can't go back."

I have been guilty of both. But worshiping our Lord and Savior should not be entertaining to us. It should be glorifying to him. Many churches have gone to a "contemporary" style to attract young people to church. Is it wrong that more young people are going to church? No, but it is wrong that more young people are going to church for the wrong reasons.

Go back to a traditional worship style, and people would leave churches in droves. Some would stay - the ones that came for the wrong reasons but found the true reason.

Simply mentioning God or Jesus does not make a song Christian. Consider the following three sets of lyrics. Guess which one is the "Christian" song.

I saw a man with tat on his big fat belly
It wriggled around like marmalade jelly
It took me a while to catch what it said
Cause I had to match the rhythm
Of his belly with my head
We ain't got no place to go
Let's go to the rudeboy show
I wanna hear them play it rude
Gonna pop some rudeboy attitude
I'll show you a place
Where there is no sorrow or pain
Where the streets have no name
The latter is a U2 song, not Christian music, but certainly Christian views have made their way to many of their songs. The first two are among the most popular Christian songs of all time. Christian music should be poetry, but the kind from the heart, not the kind where you sit around the table and come up with words that rhyme. (belly/jelly?)

Rebecca St. James is a contemporary Christian artist - her music is a beautiful example of what Christian music should be.
You make the road rise up to meet me
You make the sun shine warm upon my face
The wind is at my back and the rain falls soft
God, I lift You high
You are my Abba

The chorus of DC Talk's "Jesus Freak (in which the first set of lyrics come) says: "What will people think when they find out I'm a Jesus Freak." and "Do you think I am a stranger because my best friend was born in a manger." There are so many things wrong theologically (not to mention syntax) with those two statements that I do not know where to start.

As our daughter grows up in a fallen world, we have to protect her from not only the death metal and hard rap, but this music masquerading as Christian as well. Building a Christian life around this may actually be more dangerous than listening to hard rap. At least she'll know that the hard rap isn't related to the most important thing in her life - her Savior.

If she comes home singing the latest contemporary Christian craze, that's fine. I will be joyful. But we will also have to teach her that there is deeper meaning in a relationship with Christ than rhyming belly with jelly. 

The final stanza of the second song (The Supertones' Orange County) goes like this:
King David, my great grandfather, was a dancer
King Solomon, my great grandfather, a romancer
Jesus came from Jesse, but Jesse came from Jesus
Now come to Lord Jesus 'cause Lord Jesus frees us!
Sigh. At least the theology is closer, I guess.


Anonymous said...

Wow. This is wonderful. I have been thinking the same thing for quite a while.

But its not just the young people. Some of the older people that are relatively new in the church are there for the music and the drama teams.

I have heard the song "Jesus Freak" for years and never noticed those lyrics. Probably because I could not understand them. That's funny.

Lowder Living said...

I admit I've struggled with these same thoughts about Christian music when I hear a happy bubbly song by a Christian artist with little content. But now that my kids are getting older, it makes me happy when they sing Toby Mac songs that aren't necessarily conveying any deep theological truth. My 3 year old yesterday was singing "right here, right now, under the stars I promise You my heart..." which is the song Tonight by Toby Mac. I thought that was so sweet. I hope and pray that one day he will turn his heart to Jesus and maybe even use those same words. But there's nothing in that song that quotes Scripture or talks about the depth of God's character.

I guess what I'm trying to say is isn't it better if kids and even non Christians are hearing songs that aren't blatantly worship songs or even necessarily with words about God rather than the latest Lady Gaga song? With popular music being infiltrated with sex and unholy behavior, I hope that the top 40 stations will continue to play Christian artists with positive songs who are also being examples of integrity and a life of purity when my kids are looking for role models in their teenage years.

Amber said...

I completely agree. There is nothing wrong with listening to this type of music, as long as it is understood that these silly lyrics are not evident of how deep Christ is.

Mrz. Hannah Myhre said...

Amber... I couldn't agree more! I like you also listened to music that I shouldn't have when I was growing up, (behind my parents back) it wasn't allowed in our house because of our beliefs.

But although I did it anyway at times, deep inside my heart & soul I knew it was wrong. Because my parents didn't jus say I couldn't listen to it without "explaining why it was wrong". This I believe is a huge factor in how we should raise our own children. My parents were constantly teaching us throughout our childhood. After all it says plainly in Gods word- to train a child up in the way it should go, and they will not depart from it:)

Myself and my family may stick out in this life we live in todays world, and not fit in. BUT.. it doesn't matter at all! Because myself and only myself will one day have to Answer to God.

And I sure don't want to say- well Lord.. Everyone else was doing it.( this applies to everything in Life that is wrong)

Ok.. gonna stop now. Lol glad to know your stance on this!

Also want to say that there is no Judgement on anyone else by me.. this is just my own beliefs and convictions on this:)

Just Believing said...

Didn't read this yet but I like the new blog! OK now I will read it ;)

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