Monday, January 25, 2016

Music 8 - The Unholy Trinity: Drums, Drugs, and Devils

Music is an emotional language. In the Bible it was used to empathize with others, amplify romance with a spouse, teach truth, motivate people, express inner emotions, reflect love of country, and to express prayer toward and prayer to the Lord.

As the twentieth century began Western music began to shift. Slowly over the first few decades with the introduction of ragtime, jazz, the blues, and rhythm and blues popular music began to leave the smoothness of its traditional flow behind and become something more raucous. Over time, as a dam is gradually weakened and then suddenly burst, popular music's slow migration to something wholly new became a sudden and massive shift. Elvis arrived at the same time that radio did, and Alan Freed almost singlehandedly launched the rock revolution into the hearts and minds of a new American demographic – teenagers. Visibly, audibly, practically overnight (though with a long list of factors leading up to it) rock music became the most dominant form of Western music and along with its various offshoots has continued as such without so much as a pause.

devilhorns1Inarguably, rock is the primary musical style on the planet. Inarguably, the key element of rock music is the driving rhythm, the beat. There is a clear biblical link between worshipping evil spirits and the use of music. There is a massive pile of historical evidence that rock music both has its roots in such music and, indeed, its now in such music.

This blatant historical, factual, and continuing connection between rock music and the occult is not limited to or illustrated alone by the dominance of rhythm. The research of history and sociology both reveal other primary means of contacting the demonic spirit world, and some that are directly and heavily connected with rock music.

For instance, let us examine the use of mind altering chemicals, drugs in the common parlance. For millennia they have been used in a similar sense as rhythmic entrainment in order to alter states of consciousness, and to make the mind aware of things beyond or beside the physical, material universe.

This contention of mine – that there is a direct connection between the use of certain drugs and the opening up of the mind to the occult world – is not just a pet theory. It is proven in practice all around the world and has been for ages. Beyond that, and more importantly for the Christian, such a contention is established in the pages of the Word of God itself.

I do not have space within the limits of a blog post to walk you through all of the Scriptural allusions to and commandments regarding a Christian's duty to shun the spirit world. For the moment, then, let me just assume you understand this.

The practitioners of such arts are labeled in the King James Version variously as magicians, sorcerers, and witches. Amongst other means of contacting the spirit world such men and women used medicinal substances commonly known in their own day as potions. The English word potion is defined as "a drink or draft, especially one reputed to have medicinal, poisonous, or magical powers." It has its roots variously as many of our words do in Latin and Sanskrit terms that carry these meanings. While the word potion is not used in the King James Version there are three times in which its Greek equivalent is used in the New Testament.

Galatians 5.19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Revelation 9:21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
Revelation 18:23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

Each of those three English words comes from some form of the Greek word which gives us our English word pharmacy. You read that correctly. Witchcraft and sorceries in the KJV are explicitly linked to drugs. The widely reputable Strong's Concordance defines it this way:
5331 φαρμακεια pharmakeia far-mak-i’-ah
from 5332; ; n f
AV-sorcery 2, witchcraft 1; 3
1) the use or the administering of drugs
2) poisoning
3) sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by it

5332 φαρμακευς pharmakeus far-mak-yoos’
from pharmakon (a drug, i.e. spell-giving potion); ; n m
AV-sorcerer 1; 1
1) one who prepares or uses magical remedies
2) sorcerer
This clear biblical link between drugs and the occult world is more than substantiated in our day. th (2)Inarguably (I love that word because it conveys exactly what I intend it to), drug abuse has a greater foothold in rock music than in any other form of music, or indeed among any other kind of artists period. I do not have the time or the space to list the thousands of rock musicians who have been proven to use drugs, sung about drugs, or died of drug overdoses. The pure fact of that last sentence is so well entrenched that it has even birthed a cliché known to practically everyone on Earth – sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

…now is that not interesting? You do not find that said about any other kind of music. You do not find that said about any other type of creative artist. Why is there such a connection here? Very simply for this reason: if there is a connection between drums and the occult and if there is a connection between drugs and the occult then common sense tells you there will be a connection between drugs and drums.

That music? Rock music? You know, the music of choice for the average Westerner, the music that gets pumped into his head thousands of hours a year, the music that has revolutionized the world and almost singlehandedly birthed a culture of rebellion and sexual excess… that music is demonic to the core.

Yet in spite of all of these scriptural, historical, sociological, anthropological, and ethnomusicological facts I have piled up on this blog for the past eighteen thousand words some of you will continue to deny it.

You can run but you cannot hide. That music is following you, worming its way down into the deep parts of your heart, mind, and soul. And when it gets there it props a door open to a world any sane person in their right mind wants nothing to do with. Run, Christian, run. Flee to the Lord. Let Him be your strong tower. Let Him cast down the strong holds the devil has built into your life.

Isaiah 8:19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, And unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: Should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead?


  1. For the last couple of posts, you’ve been preaching to the choir (and I can say that literally as well as figuratively).

    But my problem as a Christian parent is this.

    It is the exception to the rule when I hear an old rock song from my past that I enjoy in front of the kids. When that happens my conscience tells me to turn it off in front of the children. Sometimes I do. But sometimes my darker side will say, “Don’t worry. It’s probably better than what passes for music nowadays among the young. Besides, the kids have no interest in old, outdated rock music anyway.” Since there is much truth in that and Jesus commanded us not to worry – sometimes I make the decision to let it play.

    But my old rock music is the exception to the rule. My bigger problem I have is the rule itself; the rule in question is what do my kids enjoy listening to? I have no idea whether they are listening to dance, pop, reggae, folk, country-rock, or a dozen other styles and blends of rock-ish music that sound no different than contemporary Christian music and I have no idea how it may or may not be affecting them.

    Sometimes the kids and I like to go roller skating at the rink on Saturdays. Most of the time the music is loud but doesn’t seem to be the backbeat driven, pagan variety you’ve been writing about. But then once or twice each visit, they’ll play something I wouldn’t want my children listening to but then it’s over and that’s it. These decisions are not easy. Would I invite other children from our church to come roller skating with us? Not without warning them first. Should I? That’s another question.

    Other questions to consider are: So what if Christians are exposed to backbeat driven pagan music? Demonic influence is not a contagious airborne viral infection. The Holy Spirit living in us will always speak truth to our hearts even when we’re exposed to lies. Are we over-reacting? Isn’t over-reacting and over-protecting a danger in that it shows our children we’re not trusting God or trusting them?

    A couple of blogs ago, I asked you what the 50s Christians’ reaction to Elvis was that could have been handled better and you talked about the race issue. I agreed with you but I think that the fundamentalist over-reactions included spectacles such as burning records in bonfires, formal protests and other public displays of anger that made fundamentalists look like superstitious fools. They were trying to fight a spiritual war in the flesh.

    I don’t need to be convinced that rock music has pagan / demonic roots if even the musicians themselves admit to it. What I’m trying to decide as a parent is how do I instill discernment in my children so they can recognize acceptable levels of and types of music while not over-reacting in fear and worry.

    You haven't said anything in your music essays that I disagree with, Pastor. I'm just trying to raise some other points for discussion.

    1. "how do I instill discernment in my children so they can recognize acceptable levels of and types of music while not over-reacting in fear and worry." infusing your house and their life with good music from a young age, by patiently teaching them the biblical principles that have bearing on popular music, and by enforcing strict standards of control over the music they do listen to in your home. Along the way you will have to answer a thousand questions. Along the way you should take a thousand opportunities for teachable moments as they present themselves. Gradually, as they mature, you transfer over to them the process of choosing more and more of their own music.

  2. First of all, I am a dedicated Christian that regularly attends church and participates in spiritual disciplines, but I really don't understand how you are drawing you're conclusions. I'm writing to you in hopes of an adequate explanation behind your reasoning. It seems like you are blaming rock music for the decline of American culture. Additionally, you are drawing strange connections between the use of drums and drug use. You also say that you "history tells you... common sense tells you..." but you don't actually offer any citations or sources. You are assuming that I can take every statement you make by faith alone which makes it problematic for me to take your opinion seriously.

    Let's start with your logical arguments. You said that rock music "birthed a culture of rebellion and sexual excess". This is assuming that prior generations had a better moral standard of living than current generations, which is definitely not true in America. Are you telling me that America was more moral when we owned and raped slaves? What about when America wouldn't even offer African Americans jobs, houses, or education? There's many examples I could cite, but the point is that America has been far more morally bankrupt than at the advent of rock music.

    Another logical argument you made was that since a lot of rock musicians participated in drug use that there is somehow a connection between rock music and the occult. Even though there is a connection between drugs and the occult does not mean there is a connection between rock music and the occult. That's like me saying that the good old church hymns have a connection to making baptist preachers sexually promiscuous with teenagers or that the catholic hymns have a connection to making priests sexually molest little boys. You are making it seem like rock music is inherently evil when in fact it seems like you just didn't like other activities associated with it, such as sexual activity and drug use. There's plenty of people who listen to rock music and do not participate in those activities.

    Another thing, a lot of eastern music used in meditation rituals is very calm and soothing, yet it is used very strongly in occult activities. You are assuming that music needs drums or rhythm to be occult when in fact much occult music doesn't have either of those elements.

    I will agree that America has increasing problems that need to be addressed, but honestly it seems like you are just using rock music as a scapegoat. If we're going to win back the culture then we really need to find out whats at the heart of these problems and not just assume it's a particular genre of music.

    1. Amer, I do not offer this blog post in a vacuum. In the first post in this series I cited my sources. Along the way there have been entire posts dedicated to a painstaking recitation of the historical and sociological facts that illustrate what I believe to be clear Bible teaching. There will be more in the weeks ahead.

      ...and for what it is worth I completely agree with you on the aspects of Eastern religion, meditation, and prayer. They certainly do open the mind to the occult. But they actually are not as far apart as you would think. Chanted mantras work on the mind in the same way that rhythmic entrainment does. They follow the same well-worn track.

  3. I do agree with your assessment of the "rock" connection. However, when it come making a blanket statement about drums I am convinced you are straining at a nat and swallowing a camel. (I did read your article and agree with your premise connecting rock music.) You see not all drums are wrong. There are those who major in music whose major instruments are percussion instruments. These would include the snare drum, tympani, chimes, tambourine, and bass drum. If you want to apply your thoughts a little further, other percussion instruments would include the harp and piano. So if you are going to take this conversation to the ultimate end you would have to includes these, too. Now I remember when you were in high school you loved listening to classical music, as well as Christian music (not contemporary). This being true, you would have nothing to listen to. You see, Tom, it is not the instrument that is evil, but how it is used and for what purpose they are used that makes the difference. David used the harp to calm Saul's spirit, as an example. So I caution you, my dear brother, be careful in making blanketed statements. God is using you immensely in Chicago. To that I thank God every time He places you on my heart. Please understand this is meant in all kindness and gentleness. Take care.