Top Scriptural Reasons Against Christian Rock - ANSWERED!

Argument: Christian rock appeals to the flesh, therefore it MUST be evil


As you can already tell, this is a very subjective argument! Nevertheless, the critics yield it with devastating effectiveness. The average Christian is not as prepared as they ought to be against an onslaught like this, particularly when it comes from older, wiser church leaders. It is easy to do a "snow job" on people whose convictions are not deepened by years in the faith, a good knowlege of the scripture, or a good knowlege of church history, including the dark history of heresies. The church has been down this road before - and it almost led to the destruction of the Christian faith!!!

A lot of Christian rock critics will quote scriptures about the flesh when they condemn Christian rock music. They are trying to say that the music appeals only to the flesh, and not the Spirit. This is a close cousin of the old "Christian rock music is sex" argument. Here is a list of the scriptures they use:

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, {2} in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, {3} among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (Eph 2:1-3 NKJV)
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. {8} So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. {9} But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. (Rom 8:7-9 NKJV)
Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, {12} having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Pet 2:11-12 NKJV)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. {16} For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the Father but is of the world. (1 John 2:15-16 NKJV)
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, {3} as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, {4} by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Pet 1:2-4 NKJV)
As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance. I Peter 1:14.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Galatians 5:16-17
And they that are Christ's have crucified the FLESH with the affections and lusts. Galatians 5:24
Woe to those who rise early in the morning, That they may follow intoxicating drink; Who continue until night, till wine inflames them! {12} The harp and the strings, The tambourine and flute, And wine are in their feasts; But they do not regard the work of the LORD, Nor consider the operation of His hands. (Isa 5:11-12 NKJV)

The critics assume that love of Christian rock music is love of the world and the things of it. If love of Christian rock music comes out of a genuine desire to be separate from the things of the world (secular rock music), and / or a desire to worship Jesus Christ in Spirit and Truth to the music, then these passages cannot apply to Christian rock music. Conversely, if the only motivation for listening to Christian rock music is that it pleases the flesh, then it is largely ineffective in the life of the listener. God's Word never returns void, but I encourage all fans to really listen to the lyrics.

These passages are all talking about SINS. A sin is an act of rebellion to the revelation of God through His Word and His Spirit. A personal musical taste for Christian rock music is NOT an act of rebellion to God's will UNLESS He has convicted an individual that the music is wrong for them. These passages are certainly NOT talking about a committed Christian young person - who is living for Jesus Christ but happens to like Christian rock music and prefer to worship to it instead of hymns. They are talking about backslidden believers who have major spiritual problems, usually sexual in nature. Now - if Christian rock is associated in somebody's mind with their former life as a sinner, then it is wrong for them. But if it is part of a believer's new life in Christ, and enriching their spiritual life, then it is NOT a sin for them to listen, even if it is for somebody else. The believer should exercise their freedom to listen carefully, and not make the other believer stumble.

If a non-believer chooses to listen to Christian rock music, it is certainly NOT out of a desire for things of the world. It is a conscious act to listen to the things of God. The Holy Spirit is convicting them, and the music will be a large part of their salvation. Do not hinder them from listening or coming to the Lord (MT 18:10-15).

Deja Vu ---

--- or the feeling that you have been somewhere before. Unfortunately, the church HAS been here before. Many hundreds of years ago, a heresy arose called "flagellism". It is a close cousin to "salvation by works", and builds on Matthew 16:24

24. Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Flagellants LITERALLY took up crosses and paraded in grueling processions, whipping and punishing THEMSELVES. The idea was that they were not good enough to "deserve" salvation if they lived normal, comfortable lives. They needed to be "punished" by literally taking up crosses before being "good enough" for Jesus Christ.

I do not usually quote sectarian sources, but in this case I will adapt the official Catholic history of this heresy:


A fanatical and heretical sect that flourished in the thirteenth and succeeding centuries. It is in 1260 that we first hear of the Flagellants at Perugia. The terrible plague of 1259, the long-continued tyranny and anarchy throughout the Italian States, the prophecies concerning Antichrist and the end of the world by Joachim of Flora and his like, had created a mingled state of despair and expectation among the devout lay-folk of the middle and lower classes. All ages and conditions were alike subject to this mental epidemic. Clergy and laity, men and women, even children of tender years, scourged themselves in reparation for the sins of the whole world. Great processions, amounting sometimes to 10,000 souls, passed through the cities, beating themselves, and calling the faithful to repentance. With crosses and banners borne before them by the clergy, they marched slowly through the towns. Stripped to the waist and with covered faces, they scourged themselves with leathern thongs till the blood ran, chanting hymns and canticles of the Passion of Christ, entering the churches and prostrating themselves before the altars. For thirty-three days and a half this penance was continued by all who undertook it, in honour of the years of Christ's life on earth. Neither mud nor snow, cold nor heat, was any obstacle. The processions continued in Italy throughout 1260, and by the end of that year had spread beyond the Alps to Alsace, Bavaria, Bohemia, and Poland. In 1261, however, the ecclesiastical and civil authorities awoke to the danger of such an epidemic, although its undesirable tendencies, on this occasion, were rather political than theological.

In 1347 the Black Death swept across Europe and devastated the Continent for the next two years. In 1348 terrible earthquakes occurred in Italy. The scandals prevalent in Church and State intensified in the popular mind the feeling that the end of all things was come. With extraordinary suddenness the companies of Flagellants appeared again, and rapidly spread across the Alps, through Hungary and Switzerland. In 1349 they had reached Flanders, Holland, Bohemia, Poland, and Denmark. By September of that year they had arrived in England, where, however, they met with but little success. The English people watched the fanatics with quiet interest, even expressing pity and sometimes admiration for their devotion; but no one could be induced to join them, and the attempt at proselytism failed utterly.

As soon, however, as the Flagellant movement crossed the Alps into Teutonic countries, its whole nature changed. The idea was welcomed with enthusiasm; a ceremonial was rapidly developed, and almost as rapidly a specialized doctrine, that soon degenerated into heresy. The Flagellants became an organized sect, with severe discipline and extravagant claims. They wore a white habit and mantle, on each of which was a red cross, whence in some parts they were called the "Brotherhood of the Cross". Whosoever desired to join this brotherhood was bound to remain in it for thirty-three and a half days, to swear obedience to the "Masters" of the organization, to possess at least four pence a day for his support, to be reconciled to all men, and, if married, to have the sanction of his wife. The ceremonial of the Flagellants seems to have been much the same in all the northern cities. Twice a day, proceeding slowly to the public square or to the principal church, they put off their shoes, stripped themselves to the waist and prostrated themselves in a large circle. By their posture they indicated the nature of the sins they intended to expiate, the murderer lying on his back, the adulterer on his face, the perjurer on one side holding up three fingers, etc. First they were beaten by the "Master", then, bidden solemnly in a prescribed form to rise, they stood in a circle and scourged themselves severely, crying out that their blood was mingled with the Blood of Christ and that their penance was preserving the whole world from perishing. At the end the "Master" read a letter which was supposed to have been brought by an angel from heaven to the church of St. Peter in Rome. This stated that Christ, angry at the grievous sins of mankind, had threatened to destroy the world, yet, all who should join the brotherhood for thirty-three and a half days should be saved. The reading of this "letter", following the shock to the emotions caused by the public penance of the Flagellants, aroused much excitement among the populace. In spite of the protests and criticism of the educated, thousands enrolled themselves in the brotherhood. Great processions marched from town to town, with crosses, lights, and banners borne before them. They walked slowly, three or four abreast, bearing their knotted scourges and chanting their melancholy hymns. As the number grew, the pretences of the leaders developed. They professed a ridiculous horror of even accidental contact with women and insisted that it was of obligation to fast rigidly on Fridays. They cast doubts on the necessity or even desirability of the sacraments, and even pretended to absolve one another, to cast out evil spirits, and to work miracles. They asserted that the ordinary ecclesiastical jurisdiction was suspended and that their pilgrimages would be continued for thirty-three and a half years. Doubtless not a few of them hoped to establish a lasting rival to the Catholic Church, but very soon the authorities took action and endeavoured to suppress the whole movement. For, while it was thus growing in Germany and the Netherlands, it had also entered France.

Although as a dangerous heresy the Flagellants are not heard of after the fifteenth century, their practices were revived again and again. In France, during the sixteenth century, we hear of White, Black, Grey, and Blue Brotherhoods. At Avignon, in 1574, Catherine de' Medici herself led a procession of Black Penitents. In Paris, in 1583, King Henry III became patron of the "Blancs Battus de l'Annonciation". On Holy Thursday of that year he organized a great procession from the Augustinians to Notre-Dame, in which all the great dignitaries of the realm were obliged to take part in company with himself. The laughter of the Parisians, however, who treated the whole thing as a jest, obliged the king to withdraw his patronage. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Flagellant processions and self-flagellation were encouraged by the Jesuits in Austria and the Netherlands, as well as in the far countries which they evangelized. India, Persia, Japan, the Philippines, Mexico, and the States of South America, all had their Flagellant processions; in Central and South America they continue even to the present day. In Italy generally and in the Tyrol similar processions survived until the early years of the nineteenth century; in Rome itself they took place in the Jesuit churches as late as 1870, while even later they occurred in parts of Tuscany and Sicily.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia, copyright © 1913 by the Encyclopedia Press, Inc. Electronic version copyright © 1997 by New Advent, Inc.

Yes - I know that some of you do not like the Catholics. No matter what you think of them, you have to admit that they had the good sense to label flagellation a heresy! Unfortunately, flagellation as a heresy is is alive and well today. None other than DAVID WILKERSON belives in it!!! You can read the shocking details here. His Mount Zion school discouraged medical treatment of two badly abcessed teeth so that the student could learn through suffering physical pain! Even as a lay person, I know how medically irresponsible that is. Here is an exerpt from the page above that clearly shows the influence of the heresy of flagellism:

Rather than being built up with sound Biblical doctrine, Mount Zion students are lead into a mystical world of monkish introspection and scourging of their inner selves. They are taught that only through a long process of breaking and or physical sickness can a believer be properly equipped for ministry. Personal Sorrow and suffering are depicted as the only means to attain holiness and full unity or fellowship with Christ. Ultimately, students are informed through Hannah Hurnardís writings (a prominant NEW AGE author) that every human affection must be destroyed as a sacrifice to God. The students are lead to believe that in this life, their human affections must be completely removed. When this work is achieved inner sorrow and suffering will supposedly vanish away! Dave Wilkerson also puts forward SOME of these ideas in his book Hungry For More of Jesus

These bazaar teachings at Mount Zion were clearly exemplified when a student initiated, with some faculty resistance, a love offering to pay for a fellow studentís tooth extraction. This student was suffering with two seriously decayed teeth and defiantly did not have the resources to pay a dentist. A week or so after the collection was gathered the students were informed that it was a sin to interfere with Godís dealings. The students were told, that by giving help, we hinder the suffering that God has willed and thus, a needed lesson will not be learned!

SICK! UN-GODLY!!!! But how do these heretical teachings affect the church as a whole? There persists a feeling that if something is pleasurable, fun, or otherwise adds to the enjoyment of life on this earth - it must be suspected as being evil. The heresy demands that things of God be looked at ONLY as being serious to the point of somber and sullen. If you get too excited during worship, you have to calm down or you are worshipping "in the flesh". The Word of God cannot be allowed to be easy to read, it must be couched in lofty, difficul language or it is not "holy". Preaching cannot have any humor in it, or it is not of God. Music has to be slow, quiet, melodious. If it is exciting and stirs the senses, it must be evil. God does not want us to have any fun - he wants us to always be sullen, downcast, introspective - lest we not be worthy of "salvation".

Can you see the influence of the flagellants? I sure can! Hear it loud and clear, Christian rock critics: I do not intend to be a flagellant, even in my thoughts. God is a God of abundant JOY, in this life and the next. I CAN be saved and happy. I CAN worship and have a good time. To you, the appearance may be evil. All I can say is "God help you". You need to repent of this heresy of flaggelation.

More Deja Vu ---

Here is a quote from what has to be the FIRST Christian rock critic:

There exists a vast mass of love songs of the poets, written in a fashion entirely foreign to the profession and name of Christians. They are the songs of men ruled by passion, and a great number of musicians, corrupters of youth, make them the concern of their art and their industry; in proportion as they flourish through praise of their skill, so do they offend good and serious-minded men by the depraved taste of their work. I blush and grieve to think that once I was of their number. But while I cannot change the past, nor undo what is done, I have mended my ways. Therefore, I have labored on songs which have been written in praise of our Lord, Jesus Christ. --- Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525-1594)

Funny thing is - the church survived the onslaught of the music he was criticizing so long ago. As a matter of fact, the very music he was criticizing still exists today. We call the music "hymns". Oh - by the way, critics - I notice most of you are against the Catholics. You provided me with this quote in one of your essays. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was a DEVOUT Catholic, and the music he wrote was primarily for use during the Catholic mass.

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