The Messianic Evangelical and
Why is it so Dangerous?
We are often asked what our position as Messianic Evangelicals is towards what is generally known as 'pop music' and the answer we give is not generally liked -- which is probably why we are asked again and again in the hope that there might be a 'change of position'. I realise this is a difficult matter especially when the world culture is so steeped in pop music these days and to such an extent it is virtually impossible to avoid it whether at school or in the work place, on TV or in other places of entertainment.
I think must Christians agree that hard rock or 'metallic' music is not Christian, though there is some 'Christian' rock music which, were you to remove the Christian words, would be indistinguishable from the heavy secular variety. The area that concerns most modern Christians is what one might call 'mild pop music' of the kind that one often finds in modern worship services with Christian words, with electric guitars, drums, electronic amplification systems, etc.. It is this area that I will address now by giving you a true story which, though it is not connected to music directly, illustrates a true principle.
I once knew a man who became a convert to Yah'shua (Jesus) in England. He loved, and lived for, the pub (bar) milieu. He was especially good at darts and had won many trophies. The darts competitions always took place on days of worship. He was told that in order to be a talmid (disciple) of the Master that he needed to forsake Babylon by getting out of the pub environment altogether. And because darts competitions took place on days of worship when the believers met together for worship and praise, he would probably have to sacrifice darts too.
The man in question accepted this somewhat reluctantly but did so nonetheless. Eventually, though, his soulish Adamic nature began whispering to him, saying: 'If you go back to the pub when the others are assembling you can witness of the Gospel, and that is much more important than sitting in a meeting house. By joining in with your old comrades in darts, drinking, etc., you can win their confidence and win them for the Gospel. Didn't Paul say that we should wear the clothes of the Gentiles to witness to them [that is, enter their environment and win them from within].' These and other propositions were made by the lower nature which subtly combined truths and lies to make it seem 'reasonable' and 'Christian'.
The man quit attending worship meetings and before long quit talking about the Besorah (Gospel) too. He returned to his old environment and was sucked into it again. He returned to drinking, smoking, swearing and in general, being worldly. He had deceived himself. In truth, he had wanted to combine his new-found emunah (faith) with his worldly ways and discovered that what Yah'shua (Jesus) said was true: "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other" (Mt.6:24, AV). He chose, in the end, the master that made the least demands on him -- Babylon, the world system and its culture, traditions and ways.
There are, as you know, many kinds of common cold. Some of them are mild (like a head cold) and some of them are pretty awful. But a mild cold can also lead to bronchitis, pneumonia and sometimes death if you're not careful. Whatever their degree of virulence, all of these are sicknesses.
The First Step Away
Mild pop music is merely the first of a series of steps away from Elohim (God). It is like a mild head cold. Mild pop music is the Prodigal son looking at the world and wondering if, in fact, it isn't better than the cloistered environment of the messianic assembly. The next step, if it is taken, is a demand for the whole inheritance of one's free agency (which until now we have surrendered to Messiah) so that he can completely turn away from the emunah (faith) and descend even deeper into sensuality and materialism.
However inoffensive mild pop music may seem in comparison to heavy metal or other forms of rock music, it is nevertheless off the Derech (Way) that leads to salvation, being the first degree towards total enslavement to the world.
All or Nothing
Do not be deceived: a choice for Yah'shua (Jesus) is all or nothing. And whilst we may not make that choice all in one go, the longer we delay it, the harder it becomes for us later, as old renounced sinful habits lure us back into lives without Him. A compromise with the world, even in the matter of mild pop music, is to reject Messiah as supreme Master of your life and to invite the world to remain and come back in and take you over again step by step. I have seen it so often -- what we deceive ourselves into believing is harmless in the end takes us into total slavery. I have seen it not just with music but with alcohol, tobacco, drugs and promiscuous living too.
Think of all the arguments that are given for compromising -- they are legion. "The Bible doesn't say it is sinful to smoke." No, not directly, but as one preacher once said, you may smell as though you have come straight out of hell, and you certainly aren't treating your body as a Temple of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) by polluting it with nicotine and other carcinogenic drugs (1 Cor.6:19), and you run the real risk of getting cancer and forcing others into getting cancer through your passive smoking. Does any of that sound Christ.like to you? And then modern revelations, which fill in the gap which those who don't want to see the truth believe is there because of a lack of specificity, make no bones about tobacco (e.g. NC&C 285:16-17). "Paul said alcohol is good for your health in moderation", some claim, yet the New Testament says it is only to be used medicinally (1 Tim.5:23). Others argue the Tanakh (Old Testament) permits it, which it did, but we are under a New Covenant and everyone is a priest on duty 24/7 now. Priests on duty were not allowed to drink at all. But what of music? "The Bible says nothing about music -- we can surely choose for ourselves?!"
Compromising with the World
Now let me give you some simple spiritual keys of judgement. It's really a matter of common sense. You will discover that those who are attracted to modern 'Christian' pop music (such as is very popular in the charismatic churches particularly, but increasingly in the 'traditional' ones also) are invariably sympathetic to worldly, secular equivalents, and that their 'musical mind' makes no distinction between the two, even though the lyrics may be different.
Godly music is not liked by the world because it lacks the sensual elements that worldly music thrives on. Godly, Ruach (Spirit)-inspired music is of such a different spiritual nature that to attempt to write secular lyrics to it would be impossible. Can you imagine a pop group, for example, writing worldly lyrics to great classical hymns as 'Fairest Lord Jesus"' or 'Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken'? Though they might try it would never sell or become popular because the world wants something entirely different.
Music dedicated to Yahweh cannot be popularised in Babylon. I have heard jazzed up versions of 'Amazing Grace' but they have never caught on in the pop world -- the words are too offensive, the tune too reminiscent of a way of life that is repugnant to worldliness.
I have heard heavenly music on a number of occasions, as have a number of other believers who have been permitted to glimpse into heaven. It was glorious. Even not hearing the words was enough to make you praise Yahweh because you knew the music was HIS and not for personal gain, for romance, sensuality, violence, revolt, or whatever. The nearest equivalent to heavenly music that I can point to is much of the classical hymns of the 18th and 19th centuries (though not all -- some of them are dull and dead). There are no electric guitars in heaven and NO DRUMS. I never heard them and those who have seen visions of heavenly choirs never saw them. There are trumpets and flutes in abundance, stringed instruments like harps and violins, organ-like music, chimes, and predominantly the human voice. The kind of pop music you hear in modern churches and messianic synagogues ISN'T IN HEAVEN.
That which is Yahweh's is Yahweh's, and is sealed up unto Him and the world can get no pleasure from it (see NC&C 5:9-40).
Kadesh-biyqah, Sweden, Saturday 10 January 1998; updated 25 November 2013
This page was created on 7 April 1998
Last updated on 25 November 2013
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