The article below was written by Gary Maldaner Director of Plain Path Publishers, www.plainpath.org. It is being distributed by Hope Biblical Counseling Center with permission from Gary Maldaner.
Copied from ANCIENT LANDMARKS © 2005 by Gary Maldaner
I was born in 1949, and although I was saved when I was eight years old, grew up in the world’s schools and out of church. I grew up when America was eagerly welcoming rock music – the generation known as the “hippy generation” and the “baby boomers.” Rock music is the devil’s perversion of music, just as alcohol is the devil’s perversion of drink. Along with Hollywood, nothing has done more to destroy generations of young people than rock music, and now we see the true church accepting this kind of music!
The importance of music to the devil should not surprise us, since Satan was created as a musical being – Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Ezek. 28: 13, 15, 17
In my family I learned to sing and listen to Godly music, but as I entered into puberty around the age of fourteen, rock music became very appealing to me. At this age, there is an increase in another type of fleshly desire, which rock music pleases. For a Christian, salvation does not change the body and its wrong desires. The old nature is alive and well, although this nature has a new spirit to help in its control. For all that is in the world,the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:16 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. Rom. 7:18 As a teenager, I liked the beat of rock music. It made me feel good, and it pleased me. It was (and still is) a foot tapping, clapping, dancing, rocking style of beat that pleases the flesh. In a way, I was worshiping myself by using the world’s music to make me feel good – to lift up my spirits. I wanted more rock music and of course had little interest in reading God’s Word. All I cared about was the beat of the music – provided by the electric guitar, the drums, or both. I had no interest at all in the words the singer was singing. Had “Christian” rock been available in the 60’s I would have liked the music and ignored the words. Rock music is the world’s music. It is the devil’s music. It’s all about pleasing the old nature – the sensual, sexual nature.
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Ep. 5:19 Christian music is to have only one purpose; it is not for entertainment – to make us feel good, but its only purpose is to worship the Lord. That cannot be done with the world’s rock beat, no matter how wonderful and emotional it may sound to the listener! And, true worship can’t be done while we are pleasing the flesh. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Rom. 8:8 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Gal. 5:17 Music for a Christian should not in any way resemble the music of the world. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Ps. 40:3 A new song – a different song, one that sings praise unto our God. A new song is not dance music, be-bop music, jazz, soft rock, country, or music in which the singer hugs the microphone and acts like she’s singing to her lover– all those have one purpose, and that is to entertain the flesh of unsaved people. Music in many churches has turned into a grand performance, and the singers get their reward– applause when they are finished. Applause is the giving of praise to the one who has performed, and this is the opposite of the real purpose of Christian music.
I would be lying to you if I said that my flesh (old nature) doesn’t like rock music (although I stopped listening to it almost 30 years ago), and I can assure you that my flesh, judging from what I have already heard, would be very pleased with CCM. I’ve never tried alcohol, and even though it smells bad, without a doubt I’m quite sure that my flesh would be very attracted to it! I have never smoked, but I’m quite sure that my flesh would enjoy it. I have not used drugs, but I know that my flesh would crave more of the same if I once tried it. Wrong things I have done have always included the pleasures of sin for a season. Heb. 11:25 What I like or what feels good to me or to you has nothing to do with what is right! In the Christian life we have a Book which clearly gives us standards to live by. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15
As soon as your parents tell you to do something that does not please you, you have to fight the desire to do your own thing – to put “self” first. You will have to admit that doing what is wrong would feel better! The older you get the more the flesh will tempt you in many areas. I can truthfully tell you that rock music did nothing good for me, nor would disobeying your parents do any good for you. (Gal. 6:7,8) The unsaved understand this quite well– but Christians seem to have some trouble seeing this. Rock music from the beginning has represented sex (a perversion of sex), drugs, and rebellion (The first known “rock concert” took place in Exodus 32:17,18, and it was coupled with rebellion against God and idol worship. You can see one thing this music caused in verse 25).
Now the present generation thinks that rock music is “right” for the church, but it’s still the same ungodly music! The movie industry uses music to “paint a text.” Background music for a scene in a dark alley at night is quite different from a happy daylight scene with trees and flowers. Music has just as much meaning and message as the words – even though many Christians say the music doesn’t matter (and they say this only because they want to listen to the fleshly rock beat or the boogy-woogy sound). “Christian” rock appeals to the unsaved because it’s their music (no, they don’t care about the words). You can play “Christian” rock in a bar, but you’ll quickly empty the bar if you start playing the old (and not all new music is wrong) traditional hymns of the faith like “Amazing Grace,” “How Firm A Foundation,” “Blessed Assurance,” etc. The world hates this kind of music because 1) it doesn’t please the flesh and 2) it exalts and worships our Lord and Savior rather than the singer and 3) it teaches doctrinal truth that makes an unsaved person uncomfortable.
Sadly, the world today understands music much better than most professing Christians. Here are just a few quotes about the rock beat used in CCM today (written by rock musicians):
“The great strength of rock ‘n’ roll lies in its beat …it is a music which is basically sexual, un-Puritan … and a threat to established patterns and values” (Irwin Silber, Marxist, Sing Out, May 1965, p. 63).
When complaints were made about his erotic [sexual] behavior on stage, Jimi Hendrix replied: “Perhaps [my rock music] is sexy … but what music with a big beat isn’t?” (Henderson, ‘Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky, p. 117).
In 1970, Paul McCartney stated, “We probably seem to be anti-religious … none of us believes in God” (Hit Parader, January 1970, p. 15). In 1966, John Lennon created a furor by claiming: “Christianity will go. We’re more popular than Jesus now” (Newsweek, March 21, 1966).
“Rock ‘’n’‘ roll marked the beginning of the revolution. … We’ve combined youth, music, sex, drugs, and rebellion with treason, and that’s a combination hard to beat” (Jerry Rubin, Do It!, 1970, pp. 19, 249).
“My true belief about Rock ‘n’ Roll– and there have been a lot of phrases attributed to me over the years – is this: I believe this kind of music is demonic. … A lot of the beats in music today are taken from voodoo, from the voodoo drums. If you study music in rhythms, like I have, you’ll see that is true. I believe that kind of music is driving people from Christ. It is contagious” (Little Richard, quoted by Charles White, The Life and Times of Little Richard, p. 197).
“I was directed and commanded by another power. The power of darkness … The power that a lot of people don’t believe exists. The power of the Devil, Satan” (Little Richard, quoted in The Life and Times of Little Richard, pp. 205,206).
It is very dangerous for us to try to understand things by ourselves – apart from the Word of God. It is dangerous for me to listen to music and decide if it is right according to how much I like it. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. Prov. 12:15 Proverbs 3:5 tells us to lean not unto thine own understanding. It is not within your flesh (the body and emotions) to be able to tell right from wrong! O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. Jer. 10:23 Each Christian cannot have his own opinion of which music is right or wrong. During the time of the book of Judges this did happen, but for knowledge of God’s Word it was one of the darkest of times for God’s people Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Today it seems that there is no Bible in America! And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. Judges 2:10
Excuses abound for uses of the world’s music by Christians. “A lot of unsaved teenagers came to church.” “There was an invitation given at the end of the CCM concert”– but the end (what I accomplish) never justifies the means (how I get there). If I get a good grade on a test does that make it all right that I cheated? Although I may share the Gospel with a neighbor, is it right to tempt him to come and talk with me by offering him a beer? If it is right to use the world’s music to bring people to Christ, then it is just as right to open a “Christian” bar, a “Christian” sex club, etc. to tell people about Jesus Christ! Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 2 Cor. 6:17 We are also commanded to learn not the way of the heathen. Jer. 10:2 Rock music is the heathen’s music. Adding good words to the devil’s music does not make the music good!
When I joined a good church after many years of listening to rock music, I was open to what the Lord wanted to teach me. I sincerely wanted to know what was right according to the Bible, not according to what I liked. To be honest with you, my flesh likes all the wrong things and so will yours. The flesh, including your emotions, is not capable of determining right from wrong! For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 2 Cor. 6:17 If you really want to know what is right, the Lord will show you. If you just want that which feels good and pleases yourself, then you won’t understand or agree with anything that has been written here! Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness – things only found through diligent study of the Word of God! 1 Tim. 6:11