Worship Notes

"Should Christians
Listen to Secular Music?"

This is a question that has been asked time and again by Christians for many years.  Not too long ago, I went to a Music Minister's Conference in which this very subject was addressed.  I want to share with you what took place that day. 

During this particular conference, which was hosted by a very well known worship leader, there was a session/clinic that was mainly for musicians.  The clinician talked about flowing in and being sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit and also addressed some other issues that church musicians face.  Then he had a question and answer session in which people in the audience asked questions and the clinician answered them for about 15 minutes.

One young man said, "I am a drummer, but I have not been playing long.  I want to improve my skills, but I'm concerned with listening to a lot of secular musicians because of the negative influence that it might have on me.  Do you have any suggestions of different skilled musicians to listen to that a young musician can learn from?" 

What happened next has stayed with me, because the clinician did not answer with opinion, he answered with the Word of God.  Quoting Hebrews 4:12, he said, "The Bible says that God's Word is quick, powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, capable of dividing.  The Word divides and discerns..."  He then proceeded to explain how God's Word is capable of dividing right from wrong, good from evil, and so on, and that if you have the Word in you, you are capable of dividing as well.

I totally agree with this line of thinking.  The Word divides!  That means that if I have the Word of God in me, I don't have to be concerned about the world's influence on me, because I can divide!  I can chew up the meat and spit out the bones, so to speak.  I can take the positive things about a certain piece of music, or a certain musician's style of playing, and just toss out the negative.

Jeff Porcaro was one of the best drummers in the world.  He died from inhaling insecticides.  His lifestyle was not to be emulated, but his playing was.  As Christians with the Word of God in us, we should be able to divide what is good and applicable to our ministry from what is not.

Don't get me wrong.  I know that there are plenty of things about secular music and especially the lifestyles of secular musicians that Christians should take no part of.  I also know that there are plenty of Christians out there who don't have enough of the Word in them to be able to divide and discern secular music wisely.  But I also know that there is a difference between avoiding secular music because you don't enjoy it or desire it and avoiding it because you fear its influence on you.  The world should not be an influence on us, we should be an influence on the world!!

I find it interesting that most Christians do not have as much of a problem with watching secular television as they do with listening to secular music.  Still, I also know plenty of Christians who take part in neither.  All I can say is if you are avoiding these things because you don't desire them, that's fine.  But if you are avoiding these things because you fear them, or fear their influence, you need to get in the Word more.  Fear is still fear!  It is still the opposite of faith!  It can still be a stronghold on you!  We are not to fear the world, we are to change it!

In conclusion, I will admit that I do listen to some secular music.  I don't listen to secular music more than Christian music.  And I don't listen to any music that outright speaks of sin, the occult, or any other blatantly ungodly practices or lifestyles.  But I do listen to some secular music.  I am no less saved because of it, and it has not influenced me negatively.  I attribute this to my ability to divide what is right from what is wrong in it because I have the Word of God in me.  Secular music has, however, influenced my musical style...for the better.  Christians and non-Christians alike enjoy our church's music ministry, because it is current and relevant, both lyrically and musically.  It is both Scripturally accurate and musically appealing.

I'm not going to tell you what to do.  That's between you and God.  Don't go against your convictions.  But I can tell you this...fear is definitely NOT of God.  Whatever you do, just make sure it's for the right reasons.  God bless!