"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye SEPARATE, saith the Lord,. . ." (2 Cor 6:17)
By far - this is the most common scripture quoted by the critics to prove that the true believers will separate themselves from worldly things. Chuck Colson even talks about conservative activist Paul Weyrich, who created a major stir when he advised cultural conservatives "to drop out of this culture, and find places where we can live godly, righteous and sober lives."
NO - Paul Weyrich. That is a cop-out, the easy way out. Suppose such a place were to exist - let's say Christians were to purchase an entire state and all non-believers decided to move out. What then? Would we be called to live like spiritually fat little babies, resting on our laurels, congratulating ourselves on our Godliness? That would certainly appeal to MY flesh - not to do anything, just sit around and worship 24/7 with other believers. But - NO! The only proper thing for truly committed believers to do would be to immediately leave the Christian state for the "mission field" - the other 49 states and the rest of the world. The Great Commission would demand that the Christian state become uninhabited while everybody there was about their task of evangelizing.
Let's take a closer look at this scripture:
14. Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15. What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16. What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." 17. "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." 18. "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
This scripture is not talking about music. It is talking about entering into close relationships with the unsaved. It is NOT talking about totally cutting ourselves off from all contact with non-believers. Youth pastors should recognize this passage immediately as being the passage most often used to tell teenage girls and boys not to date unbelievers. There is a potential for the unbeliever to drag down the believer in the relationship because of the extreme power of lust. There are other types of lust, however. The overall meaning of this passage is much broader. For example - to a businessman - it means to avoid those "power lunches" where alcohol is served - the temptation to succumb to sin for the goal of a lucrative contract is too strong. I don't think the passage should be watered down and cheapened by trying to make it say something it doesn't, such as expanding it to talk about music (an entertainment form) when it clearly is talking about interpersonal relationships. When it says to come out from among them, the "them" the scripure is talking about is unbelievers - ones who would drag us down instead of us bringing them up. If we don't interact at all with unbelievers, nobody would ever get saved.
John 15:18 If the world hates you, ye know it hated me...
I absolutely hate it when the critics do a hatchet job on God's Word, using it to prooftext their point of view. They have managed to take a tender, loving, merciful passage from Jesus - meant to encourage us - and have managed to strip all of the mercy and love right out of it:
15. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17. This is my command: Love each other. 18. "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
It is a real stretch to try to apply this scripture to music. It is talking about the relationship of a Christian believer to anti-Christian bigots prevalent in our society. Just try to post an anti-nudity message on a binary newsgroup and get ready for the vehement hatred of the lustful libertarians there. Try speaking out against homosexuality in a work environment, and be prepared for a little private chat about "affirmative action" from the personnel department. Try speaking out against gambling in a town council meeting when that town has casinos that pay taxes - you may literally be ejected from the chamber. Try speaking out against abortion in a high school. THIS is the type of situation that this scripture is talking about.
If you choose to extend this pasage to Christian rock music, I still have no problem at all with it. If I listened to Christian rock music to gain the favor of the world, then it might be valid. But I listen to Christian rock to be SEPARATE from the world. The world does not like Christian rock, and any young person who listens to it in preference to secular garbage is ostracized by their peer group.
I John 2:15,16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
The critics have omitted verse 16, so the passage will agree more closely with their point of view!!! Yet the clip above is directly out of their essay, they claimed to be quoting 16 as well!!!
15. Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16. For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world.
They omitted verse 16 for good reason. Look at the items listed:
". . . know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a FRIEND of the world is the ENEMY of God." James 4:4
The entire passage is long, but makes a VERY different point.
12. My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. 13. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. 1. What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2. You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4. You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6. But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 7. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. 11. Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor? 13. Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." 16. As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.
This is talking about people who continually cause dissention by arguing and slandering other people. Gossiping and back-biting are NOT fruits of the Holy Spirit. Yet the critics proceed to assasinate the character of Christian rock artists and Christian rock fans with impunity! There will be a day of judgement, and on that day - their true nature will be revealed before the throne of Christ. Until then, we will have to put up with their whining and complaining. The critics are the friends of the world, because they use the deceptive, quarrelsome ways of the unsaved to accomplish their goals.
12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2
Most of the chapter is vital to understanding what Paul is saying here:
1. Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5. so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8. if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. 9. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
The rest of the chapter is important because it gives the characteristics you should exhibit after being transformed by the renewing of you mind. It shows how not everybody performs the same function in the same way in the church. Somehow - the biting sarcasm present in some of the critic's essays is just not on the list. I wonder why? Could it have anything to do with verse 18? You see, I honor those who have the conviction not to listen to Christian rock music. I give them a special page they can browse instead of these essays. I try as best as I know how to keep them off this site. I even let them review my material - and incorporate their corrections when they are relevant and agree with scripture. Contrast that with the sorry treatment Christian rock fans get when they contact the critics. WHO has been transformed???
I have to be very honest to the Christian rock fan. The last part of verse 17 partially supports the critics. Paul wrote the letter to a single church. Even though the principle is generally applicable, it is safe to say that it can be limited to an individual believer's sphere of influence. Actually, it would be impossible to "do what is right in EVERYBODY'S sight", if that included all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is such a diversity in doctrines on baptism, day of worship, Bible translation, confessions of faith, and a myriad of other issues that there would be open warfare if these individual doctrines were not separated into denominations and different churches. A lot of Christian rock critics try to say that we are part of some great ecunemical movement, trying to unite all of Christianity under one leadership, possibly even (shudder) the Roman Catholic pope. This is utter nonsense. The spearation of the body of Christ into denominations and differing doctrines is a very GOOD thing, because it acts as a safety "firewall" to keep these differing opinions from arguing with each other.
Christian rock music falls into this category. If you are in a church that does not believe in Christian rock music, do not cause dissention! You are free to leave that church and find others who believe the way you do about music. Go without fanfare, do not inflict your taste in music on the believers you leave. They do not ever have to know that you were not convinced by their arguments. In this way, you can obey both verses 17 and 18.
"And have NO FELLOWSHIP with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret." (Ephesians 5:11-12)
The critics are prooftexting again. They did it here because - to them - Christian rock is an "unfrutiful work of darkness". But the Word of God lists the "unfruitful works of darkness" in the verses right before these:
1. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2. and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. 4. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7. Therefore do not be partners with them. 8. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9. (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10. and find out what pleases the Lord. 11. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
|"Unfruitful Works of Darkness"|
in Ephesians 5
Impurity is a translation of the word for "immorality".
Here again, music is NOT on the list. Why do the critics try to put it there???? But empty words are. Some of the critics speak with so little love and even less scriptural content (preferring to quote SECULAR sources) that their words are pretty "empty" to me! Other critics try to SELL me their material, instead of distributing the truth freely. Sounds like greed to me! Particularly when every essay brings up a page long copyright notice before you can even read the material below. In some cases, the copyright notice is LONGER than their essay.