"Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of all peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Thessalonians 5:21-23
"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching. For a time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, don the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." - 2 Timothy 4:1-5
Every few weeks or so, I find myself traveling on the road for extended periods of time for work, and every time I get into the car to go to my destination, which is usually at least an hour away, I'm faced with the same problem - music! I don't know about you, but I can't drive longer than about 20-30 minutes without some music, or at least a background beat!
The problem that I've been dealing with for some time now is that the musical selections that are played on the radio - in particular modern Christian radio - are quite often sub-par, inadequate, heretical and sadly in some cases, blasphemous. This article isn't written to call out any singer or group of singers/writers, but to encourage all of us as believers to be watchful and discerning in all things.
Sadly, Christian music - songs written to praise and worship God and His goodness, righteousness and glory - have fallen by the wayside. Instead of singing of the mercy, love, goodness, justice and wrath of God, how Jesus' death and resurrection was necessary for the forgiving of sings, we now have songs played on repeat of how God makes us feel good, how God's love wraps us up and makes us feel warm inside. Christian praise and worship songs have become so diluted that the message of the Gospel of Jesus is barely visible, if it's even present to begin with.
Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg as related to what's actually going wrong behind the scenes. Like I've mentioned above, this isn't targeted towards any writer or singer(s) specifically - this is just a plea to all Christians, no matter what talent God has given us, to be biblical stewards of the gifts and talents God has entrusted us with.
When it comes to society and its standards, we tend to go with what's popular and relevant - what's current at the time. However, that's not what God wants or designed things to be. Our life's mission is to seek to glorify God in all that we do and to magnify the name of Jesus Christ to the ends of the world. Music is only one aspect of worship, not worship in itself. Music can be part of worship, but that doesn't mean that music is the only means of worshiping God.
Here are my concerns for modern, contemporary Christian music (CCM):
1. The desire for CCM artists to "become all things to all men" by collaborating with and having songs written by secular artists, and/or those that aren't doctrinally sound - The phrase "become all things to all men" comes from Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. In this passage, Paul speaks of how he made himself different capacities such as a servant, a Jew, and one without the law, all in order to win more souls for Christ. Paul did this all for the advancement of the Gospel throughout the world.
Just because you can do something, doesn't always mean that you should. Just because working with a secular artist will allow the Gospel to be shared with many and more at a faster rate, doesn't mean the actual purpose of what you intended (the Gospel) is being conveyed. Doctrinal differences, even among Christians and denominations opens up another can a worms.
2. Another problem with modern CCM is how liberal it is in accepting things in direct opposition to the Bible and promote it as a fact - This includes songs that romanticize one's relationship with Jesus, songs that are repetitive in nature and have no point or purpose, and songs that are just plain theologically out there! Read the following lyrics of a very popular CCM group:
"Your love has ravished my heart
And taken me over, taken me over
And all I want is to be
With You forever, with You forever
Pull me a little closer
Take me a little deeper
I want to know Your heart
I want to know Your heart
`Cause Your love is so much sweeter
Than anything I've tasted
I want to know Your heart
I want to know Your heart" - Closer, by Bethel Music
If I heard this song in any church I visited, not only would I be uncomfortable about how the relationship of a believer with Jesus is described as this romantic, intimate relationship, but I would be highly troubled and disturbed. Worship is meant to unify the body of Christ under the same stance rooted in the Gospel, but is also meant to edify and teach the body of Christ of His truths. This song, amongst a sea of other unfortunate songs that are being categorized as "Christian" and "Gospel" only brings down the body.
The point: not all contemporary Christian music is horrible and heretical, but there's also some really bad CCM songs being played widely on the radio. A good example of a popular yet biblical song would be Chris Tomlin's "How Great is Our God". Don't throw out all CCM, because there is some good in there; however, be discerning - check to see if what someone says and does matches the Word of God.
*sorry for the very long post