Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Lyrical Heresy 2

Blessed are the undefiled in the way,Who walk in the law of the Lord!  Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, 
Who seek Him with the whole heart!  They also do no iniquity;
They walk in His ways.
You have commanded usTo keep Your precepts diligently. Oh, that my ways were directed
To keep Your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed,
When I look into all Your commandments. I will praise You with uprightness of heart,
When I learn Your righteous judgments. I will keep Your statutes;
Oh, do not forsake me utterly! How can a young man cleanse his way?By taking heed according to Your word.
- Psalm 119:1-9

Back during the summer of 2013, I served on a short-term summer missions trip. There was only about 8 or 9 of us girls total that attended the trip, but it seemed as if ALL of them except for me had gotten the memo about this song. Everywhere I went, whether it be going out for Bible Study, volunteering at the YMCA - you name it - this song always seemed to come up. I remember one Saturday afternoon in particular where I was in my shared room and I happened to misplace something at the time. I went over to one of the other girl's rooms, and, you guess, they were listening to this song.

On February 22, 2013, Hillsong United released its album "Zion", containing the hit song "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)". Before going on this missions trip, I had never heard of the song - I had heard only a few Hillsong songs, but I wasn't big into listening to their music. By the end of summer 2013, I had been convinced into not only listening to Hillsong, but also buying their music and (I so regret even saying and doing this now - I'll get into this a little later) Jesus Culture.

Fast forward five years, and my ideas on Christian music, in particular Christian worship has dramatically changed, and I would say for the better. I don't listen to those groups mentioned above anymore (see Part 1). The main reason why I even wrote Lyrical Heresy to begin with wasn't to bash anyone or any artist/group for the music they produce. The purpose of Lyrical Hersey was to specifically target the body of Christ by asking questions that many of us tend to look over or issues we let slide only because we like the artist. I really wanted to clear that up before I began to go further with this discussion.

A Lack of Discernment

Whether it be that I was naive or simply immature in the faith - I'm not completely sure, it could be both - over time, I slowly began listening to more Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) artist such as Hillsong. One thing I hit on very briefly in part one was the stark contrast between feelings/experiences versus biblical truths. From someone who has previously, and still a little now, listen to a lot of CCM, I really find it sad that I can't tell the difference between Contemporary Christian Music and music produced by secular artists. In a interview done by Shai Linne in 2017 with DJ Wade-O, he stated that it's crazy how when you look at the current trend in music, secular artists seem to be speaking about God more than artist that say they are Christians (go watch the entire interview - it's a really good watch!). When we begin to lose focus on our calling - to "go and make disciples" - lines begin to blur, and not in a good way.

Look at the following lyrics:

"This is your time, your moment 
The fire, the fight, you're golden
You've come so far keep going
Here comes the comeback, comeback
You feel the lightning, the thunder, your soul shakes
Under the roar of the heaven, the tide breaks
And from the ashes you will take your place
Here comes the comeback" - Danny Gokey "Comeback" (Air1 Radio)

The reason why I slowly began to stop listening to artists like Hillsong or Danny Gokey (just to name someone specific) was that when I really listened to them - to the message of their songs and their actual lyrics - their lyrics didn't always line up with what's found in the Bible. Their songs are very popular and catchy, but biblically they aren't sound. My thoughts are that what you do reflects what you believe. Meaning, the content of their music was only the surface of what they actually taught, and if I was already having issue with their music, I can't even imagine what they actually taught every Sunday morning (actually, I can imagine, and it isn't a pretty sight).


Where does the standard in CCM lie? Does it rest within our emotions, or based according to the Word of God?

A Lack of Urgency

I've been reading this book called "Hell is Real (But I Hate to Admit It)" by Pastor Brian Jones, and one thing that he mentions in the book that had DEEPLY convicted me is something he calls apocalyptic urgency. It is when we as Christians, knowing the reality of God's wrath, are so deeply moved with compassion and urgency to share the Gospel to those unbelieving (paraphrasing - doing a book review soon). I, for one, know that at times things such as fear of rejection has hindered me from sharing the Gospel with my closest friends and neighbors. That shouldn't be the case. 

If we find the Scriptures sufficient in every way, why are we so afraid to share the Gospel? We know that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Instead of relying on appealing to people's emotions with inspirational/upbeat/make-you-feel-good songs (even messages on Sunday), why don't we share the truth of the Gospel in love.

I'm not here to downgrade anyone for listening to CCM, nor am I here to downgrade its artists. What I am here is to ask meaningful questions for spiritual growth and development. I'm writing this as a call for biblical discernment in all areas of our lives, not just music, although it was the topic of this post. People need to hear the truth, and we must be will to share it.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this - please comment below.

Blessings.

SDG