Sunday, March 6, 2016

Music 12 - Seven Arguments Against Me, Answered

Let's face it. The bulk of my first eleven posts on music have aimed to establish the fact that rock music is a bad thing. I freely admit it. I also freely admit that the vast majority of people do not agree with me, including the majority of American Christianity. They object to many of my characterizations and conclusions. Today's post is dedicated to dealing with a number of the objections that I have received.

1. Classical music at one time had all the same stigmas.
51S542MWP8L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_That is simply not accurate. Yes, classical music has had a number of wicked composers, men of dissolute morals and a reprehensible lifestyle. But that is true of every subset of music because it is true of humanity in general. If I studied it out I'm sure I could find the same thing amongst composers and performers of Celtic music too, for example. There is no one particular style of music that produces moral perfection. What there is, though, is overwhelming evidence that one particular style of music (and its sub-genres) has its roots and its present deep in the occult, and is explicitly paired in historical fact and the popular mind with drugs, sex, and rebellion. That style is not classical; it is rock. Yes, there is a popular book out subtitled "Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music" but is noticeable specifically because it goes against the grain of classical music's generally accepted culture. In other words, the book's very existence is proof that such a position is the exception to the rule, the Prime series not withstanding.

2. You are just reactionary.
A reactionary is one who clings tenaciously to a conservative tradition and is automatically against something because it is new. I am for a music that flows rather than rocks but not because rock music is new and classical music is old. For one thing, at this point, rock music isn't exactly new. For another, I am not reacting against rock music out of some mindlessly robotic attachment to Handel's Messiah, for instance. The truth is that I am not against all new music. Scripture does reference a new song six times in Psalms alone, once in Isaiah, and twice more in Revelation and all of these references are in a positive sense. In point of fact, one of my church members is a wonderfully gifted man who routinely writes new songs and then teaches them to our church. I welcome them wholeheartedly. Rock isn't wrong because it is new; CCM isn't wrong because it is new. Reactionary I am not.

3. I have Christian liberty; I can and do disagree with you about rock music and I'm at peace with it.
You may be telling the truth when you say that but sincerely holding a pro-rock music position under the guise of Christian liberty is zero indication of said position's spirituality. Liberty isn't license. Yes, you have Christian liberty. No, it doesn't mean you can live how you want and enjoy whatever you want. Furthermore, the presence of peace in your heart or the absence of conviction is not any indication of the righteousness of a particular position. There are billions of people in the world living wicked lives without experiencing a shred of conviction. Such an absence of the Holy Spirit's aggravation in your life is a lousy reed to lean upon to establish the scriptural validity of your spiritual position on music. Our heart is deceitful and desperately wicked; using it as a guide is foolhardy at best.

4. Not every rock song or rock star is as bad as you make it sound.
Usually this contention is followed by the lyrics to one particular song which has been used in the life of11247822_1 the listener in a positive way. Alternatively, I am pointed in the direction of Bono and all the charity work U2 does, or some version of this. Such positive influences are a clear indication that my attacks on rock music are simply a broad brushed legalism at best.
If you were physically present at my house in Chicago I would respond by walking you back to the alley that runs behind my house. I guarantee you that within fifty feet of my garage door I can find enough food to eat a meal. And it would all be free and easily available. That's because our alley is lined with trash can after trash can. But just because I can find occasional edible food by digging through my neighbor's trash does not mean I should. Nor does it mean that eating out of the garbage is a good thing instead of a bad thing. Are there occasional good influences in rock music? Yes. And there are occasional good meals to be found in the alley too but it is still better by far to avoid eating out of the trash altogether.

5. I've listened to rock music for years and I've never had sex outside of marriage, used drugs, or been possessed by devils.
So is your experience to be the guiding light for your conscience or is it supposed to be the Word of God? Any kind of a Christian at all knows the right answer to that question is the latter not the former. Then don't try to defend your preferential music style with the shield of your own experience. It isn't about experience, positive or negative. The determination for the spiritual validity of my music cannot be my own life; it must be the Word of God.
Furthermore, I contend that while your objection may be factual it is all the more dangerous. If you can permeate your heart and mind with the demonically connected, sex-soaked, rebellion-inducing music of the world and still live morally clean I say you are playing with fire. Can you get away with playing with fire? Perhaps. But Siegfried and Roy had Bengal tigers under control for years until in one minute they suddenly didn't anymore.

6. Your arguments are not convincing.
Let's put the shoe on the other foot. Convince me with your arguments that rock music is acceptable then. I dare say you cannot, can you? So if you can't convince me does that mean you are wrong that rock music is acceptable? No. You may very well be right. In other words, my lack of being convinced by your arguments does not mean that you are wrong.
Now put the shoe back on the first foot. If I cannot convince you that rock music is wrong that lack of being able to convince you does not mean that I am wrong and you are right. It could just mean that you are stubborn, eh? Lack of being convinced is not a valid form of debate. Anyone can be stubborn on either side of this issue. If I can't convince you and you can't convince me that doesn't make either of our positions automatically invalid.

hqdefault7. My music is not any of your business.
It is God's business, though, mi amigo, it is God's business. You won't answer to me and I won't answer to you but we will both of us answer to God someday. Everything we are and do and allow and love and enjoy and reject is His business.


  1. Have not always agreed with the extent of your conclusions or applications on music, but am with you 100% on this, Tom. Well said response to common arguments.

    Not that most will listen to your reasoning . . .

  2. Good stuff, Tom. (Not just this article, but the others I have read.) Easy to follow logic and always rooted in Scripture. Concerning Christian liberty in #3, I have liberty to do or abstain from something the Bible determines to be pleasing to the Lord (meat offered to idols), but I DO NOT have liberty to determine whether it is pleasing to the Lord. Some have mistakenly set up conscience as the litmus test instead of the Bible (Romans 14:5, 14a). What is right or wrong for my conscience is not determined by me. It is determined by God’s Word (vs. 5, 14a). Romans 14:“5 ... Let every man BE fully PERSUADED in his own mind." The mind is persuaded, it does not persuade. God's Word does that according to verse 14 I know, and am persuaded BY THE LORD JESUS, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” That is a key misuse of liberty I'm seeing more and more. Thanks for what you're doing.

    1. Have you read Corle's book on Christian liberty? I have it, but I haven't read it yet.

  3. Practicing the principles of Romans 14 solves this issue.

    There is no doubt you are fully pursuaded in your own mind that rock music in and of itself is sinful. Just as I am fully pursuded in my mind that rock music isn't in and of itself sinful.

    If you want to label my liberty as license then I would ask for Scriptural proof (which has lacked through this blog). I could easily label your stance on rock music as a commandment of men, which you should not teach.

    As far as what genre of music is acceptable or unacceptable then one should go to the Scriptures.

    Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:19

    Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
    Colossians 3:16

    No mention of acceptable and unacceptable genres of music. But we do see all the components of acceptable, biblical music.

    The incorrect premise of your blog has lead you to incorrect conclusions. I saw this coming from the get go and pointed out your lack of proper Scriptural support for your premise.

    Sadly most fundamentalists are not interested in honest dialog but rather just putting out their thoughts and beliefs and having everyone follow them. At least that has been my experience.

    If a church wants to have hymns only with piano and organ or full blown contemporary music they can. The problem arises when they believe their stance is the only right one when the Scriptures have not made that to be the case.

    1. ...yet interestingly, you have totally failed to respond to what I said a couple of weeks ago about I Corinthians 15.33.

  4. Here was my response (It is still on your FB page)...

    1 Corithians 15:33 deals with the people we associate with and not the music we listen to. This is in regards to the resurrection and those who deny it. Context is your friend.

    So without this verse your opinion (Rock music is immoral) has no biblical support. As a matter of fact your initial thesis of the series was based on your predispostional opinion and not rooted in Scripture.

    Maybe you are just parroting Jack Hyles and those fundamentalists like him?

    And my second response...

    The only problem is that the music is not immoral people are.

    If I were to make your assumption about music and apply it to Hammond one could conclude that tradional hymns are immoral. But that isn't the case. Hyles, Schaap and the like are immoral not the music or the IFB church polity (as many make the argument).

    So what was the question I did not answer?

    1. You are right. You did respond and I forgot. I'm sorry.

      Your response is, however, completely inadequate. You have no right to chain the application of that verse to only the people we associate with. Lots of things besides friends influence us in a direction, either right or wrong. Television communicates. Media communicates. Books we read communicate. But in your world none of that matters because none of that is friends.

    2. I have no right to chain the interpretation of the verse to the contex in which it was written. Is that really your position?

      In your zeal to find 1 verse that deals with rock music being sinful you will disregard the context of a passage.

      Yes tv communicates by the words...books by the with the words communicate too.

      I have asked for verses that tell me that certian types of music are moral with other types of music are immoral. I don't know of any.

      I have listed 2 wonderful verses that deal with music with lryics. You have not commented on them, strangely.

      Your initial premise was not rooted in scripture but had you made it music with lyrics then you would have adequate Scripture to support moral and immoral music.

    3. Context chains interpretation but it doesn't chain application. You know the difference between the two. The proof is you adjusted it yourself in your 6.41 pm post.

      We just disagree that my position is rooted in Scripture, including our original disagreement on the definition of music. You think my definition isn't scriptural; I do. But you are right about one thing - that original definition is tremendously important; I'll give you that.

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  6. have laid out a very well documented case. For what it is worth, I have been edified by it. I have dealt with murder/suicide fueled by deth metal music...I raised an orphan for 7 years as a result of the effects of rock music and drugs...they fueled each other. I work with addicts, rock music feeds their addiction...never have I seen an addict who sings Jesus loves me this I know. The demonic nature of the music is clear to anyone who works with those who literally change their personality while in the throes of it. Keep up the good work Bro. Tom. You are known by those that attempt to stop you.

  7. have laid out a very well documented case. For what it is worth, I have been edified by it. I have dealt with murder/suicide fueled by deth metal music...I raised an orphan for 7 years as a result of the effects of rock music and drugs...they fueled each other. I work with addicts, rock music feeds their addiction...never have I seen an addict who sings Jesus loves me this I know. The demonic nature of the music is clear to anyone who works with those who literally change their personality while in the throes of it. Keep up the good work Bro. Tom. You are known by those that attempt to stop you.