Recently while flying back to Portland, I sat next to a man who worked for KLOVE, a Christian-owned corporation of radio stations that play Christian music. Because of my passion for worship and experience listening to the local KLOVE station, I queried him about how they chose the songs they aired. He told me that songs were selected according to the interests of the listeners. I challenged him on the accuracy of that statement. In essence, big labels sign artists and promote their music. While the public as a purchasing body has a say in what is popular, in fact companies sign artists based on what their market analysis determines will be well received by “young listeners.”
The masses are rarely a good source for determining quality. But even more alarming, how wise is it to pick songs based on the interests of youth—the age at which spiritual formation is still weak and immature! Repeatedly the Bible warns us against adopting worldly values (see James 4:4 and 1 John 2:15,16). I think I am safe in saying the world influences us more than we influence the world. Rap, reggae, emo, thrash etc. are all styles that came from secular artists. Even many hymns originated from what in their time were bar room melodies. Christian musicians adopted those styles either because they liked them or felt they would be a natural conduit for reaching unsaved listeners. We see similar rationale in our society today modeled by believers with body piercings and tattoos.
To embrace what is secular to attain what is spiritual is a faulty premise. If I’m a nonChristian my argument would be, “Why should I become like you, if you are so intent on copying me?” Adopting worldly habits to promote heavenly values is like taking drugs so I can better relate to my friends who are “high.” Hogwash! If we want to attract people to Christ, we must be Christ-like not world-like. If you can’t understand the “Christian lyrics” of a song screamed by an artist to a beat that is damaging to the eardrums, explain how that glorifies God? The test to determining whether our interests and tastes are valid can only be answered affirmatively if God is glorified.
1 Corinthians 3:1,2—Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life. (NLT)
My intent is not to bash KLOVE. I love the unashamed manner in which they share the gospel and have prayer lines with counselors open to their listeners. Many songs they play certainly honor God. But I do question their approach and philosophy in music-selection. Too often I hear songs that are me-centric and not God-centric. Too often Christianity is defined by what is popular as opposed to what is Spirit-led. Too often music that should uplift listeners through love and reverence for God is garbled by silly jingles and values that affirm the world and not the Maker of the world. I don’t think Jesus is preoccupied with how good I feel. He defines friendship by obedience to His commands (John 15:14). His commands advocate dying to the world and what the world values. Christian stations ought to raise their standards to what would Jesus play instead of what will the masses like. And I think we would do well to examine our own tastes and philosophies. We might find that the world as a whole has a lotmore say as to what we do and think and like than we might like to think.
So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude He had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.—1 Peter 4:1,2 (NLT)
Something to think about . . . in reveration.
There was nothing secular in our Lord’s life and in the saint the sacred and the secular must be all His, the one must express the other. If I have to turn consciously from the shallow to the profound, there is something radically wrong, not in the shallow, but in the profound.—Oswald Chambers in Run Today’s Race
©2006 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)