Music in churches

Over the past week I have been thinking about the music style we have in many churches these days. I grew up attending a fairly conservative church, with conservative music. However, most of those I attended youth group with, had a preference for what we called Christian rock back then in the early 90’s. I just accepted that it was the same as worldly rock in that it was wrong to listen to. This was because I was just told that is how it is.

After moving out from home to complete my diploma, I of course started to listen to Christian rock. It sounded good and was addictive. So much more upbeat than the hymns and choruses I was used to. From there of course I progressed to listening to just any rock music. It all sounded so good and easy to listen to.

Whilst I could have said the Christian rock as good Christian words so it is different to secular rock, I would have been kidding myself. The only difference between the two was that because you would occasionally hear the word Jesus in Christian music, it was a little harder to listen to if I was off track, backsliding.

My thoughts this week though were more on why some people are so set on ensuring that Christian rock (or contemporary music as they like to call it), is in every church. As in rather than a person leaving a church to attend one with the music they prefer, it seems that people like to introduce it into the church they are in. Now, they may just be ignorant, but there are some who don’t feel comfortable singing with a loud beat in the background.

At first they play it softly and then it grows and grows as they push people into the ‘music ministry’, which I have seen can then cause other ministries to suffer as a result. Real ministries that have real impacts. Then I head the amplifier getting louder each sunday and they will try to add a few hymns in to keep the ‘traditionalists’ happy. However the beat they play to those hymns just destroys them as they were never written to add a beat to. So then they just start ‘buying’ the license to use songs that were written to have a beat.

So rather than focussing on ministry, and solid preaching and testing all things, the focus seems to be on ‘worship’ as they call it, but is it? Would those same people who worship God with a loud band, also be able to worship if there was just a lowly organ up the front? Do they care about anyone in the church who actually prefers not to have a loud band up front? Even those who cant attend a church with a loud band because it affects their health?

Couldn’t the people with a different preference for music just leave and start their own church? Well I think the issue here is that there is a much much bigger picture that I believe 95% or more of people in even fundamental churches these days do not even realise is unfolding.

Think of it this way, there is an enemy and he is smarter than you. You cannot outsmart Satan. Only God can. You do all things through the strength of Christ. So if we stop testing all things within our churches, and we stray even 1% towards the enemy, we have compromised. If we compromise, we will leave the door open to Satan having some control or influence. He works on the basis of control. If we sin, the same thing, we open the door to satanic influence. Satan wouldn’t bother tempting Christians if his tempting us had no effect.

He tempts us to hopefully entice us into sin. Then he tries to keep us there. By doing this, he not only distracts us from doing what God wills us to do (such as the great commission – unless you are a Calvinist and the great commission is irrelevant just like the sinners prayer is to the Calvinist), he also gains some influence. We sin once, we may find it easier to sin in that way again. It takes us further away from God in our relationship. We spend less time with God. Satan is more than happy to use the guilt thing too. The you have sinned too much so just give up and don’t bother with Christianity anymore. The Christian backslides. We know there are verses in the Bible that talk about people falling away. Some may come back but some may fall away never to again be renewed (wont go into this in this blog – will do another one on eternal security).

How this relates to the church? Well if we compromise on the music that is played in a church, we also give Satan influence in that church. God can bless His church, but how can He bless it if they don’t want to obey Him? If we take people from other ministries and put them on a stage each Sunday morning to do their show, rather than focus on truth and real worship, then the church may look like it is growing, but it is only numbers, not spirituality. The church will die spiritually at some stage.

I have previously discussed the state of Israel prior to the birth of Christ. Read Malachi and some of the other prophetic books of the old testament. There is a very clear message that in the final days of Israel (before the church), the Israelites were worshipping God. But they were telling God how He should be worshipped and then wondering why God was not blessing them, rather sending judgment.

I believe that in the final days of the church age we will see the same thing. I believe we already are seeing this. I believe there are very few churches left now in the western world at least, which are truly worshipping God in spirit and in truth. How can the church profess to be worshipping in spirit and in truth with their African drumbeats (used to worship demons), mixed with some nice sounding lyrics that makes everyone happy and have had enjoyed their time at church, if there is no teaching by the pastor to even test all things?

Your pastor is not God and will make mistakes. They are not perfect as they are human. As I have alluded to before, don’t disrespect them. However, test all things that are taught. Do this by spending time in the word studying what you have learnt and ensure that it is in line with the Bible in its entirety. Of course there are many pastors today in churches who were not called by God, rather are there for other reasons. You will only find this out if you test all things.

I found it strange that over the past 15 years, a large percentage of the leadership or pastors I have known, have been the ones to either introduce the drums into the church, or their children have. Seems strange to me that God is calling all these pastors to change the music so that drums are introduced.

If a church really wants to grow, stop focussing on how to get people into the church. Focus on worshipping God in spirit and in truth, and test all things so you understand what is the truth. Preach truth and don’t add man’s doctrines (i.e. Calvinism). Any doctrine that relies on a book other than the Bible, is unlikely to be all truth. For example, Calvinism studies or interprets the bible through the institutes of calvin. There are lots of cults out there that use the Bible but have their own literature to interpret the Bible.

Please feel free to comment on any of the above. I would love to have more discussion.