Harold Best on “satanic music”

June 23, 2023

In his work, “Music Through the Eyes of Faith,” Harold M. Best asserts the following:

When people say that rhythms, chords, or textures cause sexual license, violence, or drug abuse; whenever anybody—missionary or tribal person—says that certain kinds of music or rhythmic types are satanic, they are caught up in the same dilemma that Isaiah speaks of (chapter 44). There is really no difference between someone carving a god out of what otherwise is a piece of firewood and someone else who happens upon or makes a certain kind of music, expecting it to govern the actions of those hearing and using it.

—Harold M. Best, Music Through the Eyes of Faith, 48-49

I believe that Best is profoundly mistaken in what he says about “satanic music” through these statements. As a finite human, he has no capability to legitimately declare what he does concerning satanic music.

See my post Resources That Provide Answers to Key Issues Concerning CCM for much more biblical information about issues concerning what music God accepts in corporate worship.

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.



Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

2 responses to Harold Best on “satanic music”

  1. I am not sure that I totally understand what Best was getting at by the quote that you provided. But, his attempt to compare wood (Isaiah 44) and music seems unclear. When I read Isaiah 44, I am not sure that the emphasis that the Lord is making has to do with how wood can be used for good or for evil. It seems that the Lord is emphasizing the irony of how it does not seem to occur to “all who make idols” that they could have just as well burned the idol as they did fashioning it. The idol is as powerless as the firewood.

    But, the first thought that came to my mind when I read Best’s quote was what Paul said about idols.
    “The sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons” (1 Corinthians 10:20 NIV).

    But, when it comes to music, it certainly can be demonic. I don’t see what “dilemma” Best is referring to when he speaks of those who are calling “certain kinds of music or rhythmic types . . . satanic”. Isaiah 44 does not seem to have a parallel “dilemma”. There is a huge difference between what I hear at my worship service and the heavy metal satanic music that I flee from. Is he denying that difference?
    Thank you for your post Mr. Rajesh.

    • You are welcome. Yes, it is hard to know exactly what Best is getting at with these comments.

      I agree wholly with you that there certainly is demonic music. I believe that Best has misunderstood and misapplied the teaching of Isaiah 44.

      Thanks for the feedback.