(The modern Christian’s obsessive love affair with music.)
Remember this old song? The chorus begins with:
“Let us have a little talk with Jesus,
Let us tell Him all about our troubles.”
The song goes on to mention a “prayer wheel.” A prayer wheel is a Buddhist originated instrument with mantras written on it. The writer of the song, Cleavant Derricks, likely did not know that fact. In the early part of the last century some Christians, including Billy Graham, openly used prayer wheels.[i]Apparently, according to a recent discovery of the Liesborn Prayer Wheel, the use of a prayer wheel in Christianity goes back to the 12thcentury. It has been defined as a map of “the soul’s journey to God” or “a Christian way of life,” a “meditation aid” and “a study guide.”[ii]I advise against spinning a prayer wheel to “have a little talk with Jesus.”
However, millions of people, including me, have sung that song with gusto not realizing that, although it was entertaining, it did not contain solid doctrine. In fact, if we consider all the troubles or the seriousness of our trials, we may need much more than a “little talk with Jesus” to “make it right.” We should know that God’s word instructs us to pray to God, not to Jesus—but we pray in Jesus’ name. It is also a fact that Jesus is not “a friend that guides us day and night,” but the Holy Spirit is our guide.
The song represents what is wrong with so-called Gospel music, and Christian music in general. Please do not misunderstand me. There are some godly singers and songwriters in Christian music and I’m personally acquainted with a few of them. But merely because a song is appealing, well sung, and stirs our emotions does not make it sound doctrine. As it is with preaching and teaching, it takes a genuine relationship with God to write songs with substance. Reading an old hymnbook often makes me weep at the richness of line after line saturated with meaning.
I often hear Christian songs that are not only void of any helpful substance, but are pollinated with heresy. Some Contemporary Christian Music could be sung in a nightclub, or a New Age church. Amy Grant, dubbed the “Queen of Contemporary Christian Music,” once said that the best Christian songs were “god/girlfriend” songs, i.e., songs that could be sung to God or your girlfriend. No thanks!
Now this may be controversial, but it needs to be said. Numerous professing Christians have apostatized and many are daily falling like autumn leaves onto the path of heresy. It is not only because of heresy from the pulpits, or a lack of doctrine in their personal lives, but the tremendous obsession with heretical music.
Music has moved numerous churches away from a focus on God’s word and the leading of the Holy Spirit. In cases I am aware of where music has become the main attraction, the obligatory sermon is casually tacked on at the end. Obsession with music has become so powerful that music by groups associated with dangerously heretical churches is completely accepted.
Several years I had a conversation with a young man concerning Bethel Music. The young man argued that because the musicians were very talented and their music contained what he considered to be sometruth, that I was wrong to condemn them.
What if you were very hungry and Satan handed you somebread? To ignore the source is to ignore the intent, which is to ignore the danger.
Ever wonder if Satan or demons can sing? If Satan could sing, would he sing a Christian song? Would it be sung well, enormously appealing, and perhaps rise to the top of the music charts?
Yes, Satan would sing, and most likely does so. He might sing, “Jesus Loves Me” with sarcaism dripping as posion slobber from a Kmodo Dragon. Or he may croon a poetic and captivating song with a psuedo-Christian hook. Our flesh may want to weep, dance, or sing along when we heard the music. We might even raise our hands in worship.
Finally, the australian musical Megachurch, Hillsong, recently became a denomination. I believe that it is the first denomination not founded on a great revival, the efforts of godly Christians, or on a biblical belief system, but on music. It was not bad music in the beginning, but it became bad as they became large and popular. Their doctrine became laced with heresy, the musical presentations became secular in style, and even salacious, and they continue to grow numerically.
We should expect nothing less in the last days period of great deception and apostasy. The pragmatism of using whatever means necessary to lure people into a building does nothing to get them into God’s kingdom.
The “siren song” inHomer’s Odysseypromised to Odysseus that he would know great truths and live to tell them. However, the siren’s song lulled sailor’s to sleep, and then the sirens would tear them to pieces.
“Their song, though irresistibly sweet, was no less sad than sweet, and lapped both body and soul in a fatal lethargy, the forerunner of death and corruption.” – Walter Copland Perry; Wikipedia
Likewise, music capturing the hearts, indeed souls, of Christian generations is very alluring, compelling, and seductive. That appears to be the only standard by which it is deemed good and acceptable. I am a musician and songwriter, so music has a strong pull on my spirit. I know the experience of being hooked on music because of its carnal attraction rather than its spiritual benefit. Therefore, I can explain from experience that the power of the unregulated and unaccountable music industry is no minor issue.
The Apostle Paul wrote to a church that majored on emotion, man worship, and even toleration of incest, rather than sound doctrine and practices.
“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2)
Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Movement are prone to major on emotion. I have witnessed emotional frenzy whipped up by music in church meetings. The belief was that the Holy Spirit had arrived. No wonder the Seekers and other Millennials believe that the Holy Spirit arrives with the grinding, throbbing, rhythms of the worship band, and departs when the noise subsides.
Do not be deceived, beloved! This is a period of great, intense, and supernaturally clever deception. It would be a disaster to stumble this close to the finish line. When we begin to regard music more than God’s word then we desire the “dessert” much more than the main meal. We may as a result spiritually rot on the vine. But addiction to the “dessert” could be the very reason that people have gravitated to music-oriented church meetings. Consequently, God’s word has been relegated to low priority, and truly biblical and anointed preaching is deemed boring and even repulsive. Godly preachers and teachers are considered expendable.
Please consider that not in one scripture that pertains to faith, spiritual growth and maturity, the salvation of souls, and God’s gifts of leadership, mentions “music ministry,” “worship leaders,” or even of music as having any spiritual benefit in ministry. Why then has modern Christians consigned God ordained ministry subordinate to music?
The Apostle Paul wrote:
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” – 1 Corinthians 6:12
Edify: Greek; oikodomeō, build up, construct, establish. Biblical usage includes; to found, establish, to promote growth in Christian wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness, blessedness, to grow in wisdom and piety.
The question is, how far is this musical perversion of Christianity going to go? It go as far as Satan wishes to take it. And who’s going to stop him now that professing Christians have accepted his standard for determining good and evil? Where it is going is out of the realm of fidelity to and respect for God’s word and into the realm of the primacy of flesh with religion tagging along on a leash. For example, some churches are involved in “Beer and Hymn Night,” where they guzzle the suds and sing like duds. Shame on the leaders for allowing this to occur, and without even a mild protest!
When individuals decide that gratifying the flesh is the best way to be a Christian, Christianity becomes nothing more than a cruise ship without rules on the open sea. Professing Christians taking that cruise will have much to be ashamed of when they stand before God.
[i]The History of Christianity in 25 Objects: Billy Graham’s Prayer Wheel
Tim Challies, Challies.com, March 13, 2014
[ii]How Readers Solved the Mystery of the Prayer Wheel, Religion News Service, May 5, 2015