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In a recent thread on Sharper Iron, I posted the following remarks concerning why many believers reject secular testimonies that speak about demons and music:

Another frequently used basis for rejecting these testimonies is the claim that believers who use these testimonies to argue for the rejection of music of the occult commit multiple logical fallacies in how they use those testimonies. Such claims include the purported use of guilt-by-association (GBA), the genetic fallacy, hasty generalization, and ad hominem.

To address the claim that GBA is routinely used to support the fallacious rejection of music of the occult, it is necessary to examine various passages of Scripture. Consider the following comparison of passages about Balaam:

Numbers 31:14 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle. 15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? 16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. 17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.

Revelation 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. 14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

In spite of 1400-1500 years (we do not know this time span exactly but can approximate it closely enough for our purposes) having elapsed after Balaam’s death, the glorified Christ indicted believers in a Christian church for having people in their midst who were holding the doctrine of Balaam. We know with certainty that Christ was not guilty of using the GBA fallacy when he rebuked the believers in this church for doing so.

Scripture does not provide any basis for our understanding that the doctrine of Balaam had been faithfully transmitted by his followers for all those hundreds of years since his death and had spread from where the Midianites had been all the way to Pergamos. How, then, was the glorified Christ able to validly declare that in essence the same perverse doctrine that greatly corrupted ancient Israel was corrupting a first-century church?

Because I have not received any interaction on that thread for several weeks now, I have decide to discontinue posting on that thread and continue posting further information on the topic here. To profit fully from what I plan to treat in future posts, I encourage you to go and read all my preceding remarks in the thread, “What Does 1 Corinthians 2:14 Teach about What Unbelievers Cannot Know?

Many people believe that they have the ability to decide whether music is fit for human use by listening to the music and analyzing it musicologically. They even think that they have the ability to analyze music of the occult in the same manner.

The following comparison between consuming spiked beverages and listening to music of the occult shows just how faulty and deadly this thinking is.

Consuming Spiked Beverages

Suppose a malicious scientist invents a colorless, odorless, sweet-tasting liquid that slowly poisons people so that their brains very gradually malfunction more and more. In collaboration with a corrupt, secret government organization, beverage manufacturers mix this poison in various beverages and then ship them to select grocery stores in neighborhoods of enemies of the state.

Not knowing what the government has done, scores of political enemies gradually go insane because they were never able to detect that the beverages were spiked. Because of the properties of the poison that make detecting its presence impossible through ordinary means, those who drink it have no ability to know of its presence and its poisonous effects merely by tasting, smelling, seeing, or drinking the spiked beverages.

To them the spiked beverages look, smell, and taste perfectly fine. Using their aesthetic abilities to determine the fitness of the beverages has disastrous consequences for them.

Listening to Music of the Occult

Music of the occult is music that evil humans produce either under the influence of demons or for summoning them or both (see footnote 1 in this post for some information about such music). Because demons are supernatural beings whose knowledge, ability, and experience concerning music far surpasses any ability or knowledge of humans, such music is incredibly dangerous music.

Humans who assert that we must listen to such music to know whether it is demonic music wrongly think that they have the ability to understand and detect anything about the music that would make it either harmful for humans to listen to it or unrighteous for them to listen to it or both. As with the spiked beverages, however, humans completely lack the understanding and capabilities to detect and determine accurately the deadly properties of this music.

Application

Christians should never assent to challenges to listen to music of the occult for the purposes of analyzing it and explaining what is demonic about it. Rather, we must totally reject all such music without exposing ourselves to it in any way.

 

In First Corinthians, Paul emphasized that the Corinthians must not be idolaters by playing idolatrously as the Israelites did in the Golden Calf Incident (1 Cor. 10:7), which including their producing demonically influenced music on that occasion (1 Cor. 10:18-20 applied to Exod. 32:17-18). In addition, the Pauline emphasis in this passage included a command to flee idolatry (1 Cor. 10:14).

Moreover, we find this emphasis reiterated in Second Corinthians when he again instructed them that they must not have anything in common with the unrighteousness and darkness of idolatrous unbelievers:

A Reiterated Pauline Emphasis

2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Because Paul reiterated this vital emphasis, we must heed what he emphasized to the Corinthians by properly applying it to our music!

Application to Our Music

Like the Corinthians, we must reject all the unclean things (2 Cor. 6:17) that reprobate idolaters as inventors of evil things (Rom. 1:30) have made, including musical forms sourced in demonic influence upon them in their idolatrous worship (Exod. 32:17-18; cf. 1 Cor. 10:7). We must not have any fellowship with such unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11).

The Battle for Kingdom Music

The vast majority of biblical content about music is not explicitly pertaining to music in the Church. Properly understood, all that the Bible says about music, however, is about music in God’s eternal kingdom. Therefore, we need to engage in The Battle for Kingdom Music because engaging in the battle for Christian music is too narrow a focus to treat properly what Scripture reveals about music.

Of course, in the battle for kingdom music, we must use Scripture to address the problems that we have in Christian music today. In particular, we must explain why God does not accept in His kingdom the use of rock music and music related to it.

Why Rock Music Is Not Acceptable Kingdom Music

To do so, we must help believers understand that the Bible does not teach that God created all musical styles or genres. We also need to explain to them why it is not biblical to hold that music without words is inherently neutral, amoral, or good.

Beyond that, we must make known that God has given categorical prohibitions to His people that completely preclude them from borrowing any music from wicked people who have crafted their music for wicked purposes or used it for wicked purposes. Many rock musicians have testified that they have designed their music to promote evil so we must reject it entirely.

Furthermore, we have testimonies from rock musicians that their music is demonic or sourced in demonic influence on them. God commands Christians not to have anything to do with anything sourced in or connected with human contact with supernatural evil. We must therefore completely reject all rock music and music that is derived from it or based upon it.

In order to fight the battle for kingdom music properly, we must give ourselves to prayer and the ministry of what God says about music that is fit for His kingdom. As God brings it to mind, I would appreciate prayers for God’s good hand to be on me for this ministry.

Do any ungodly ways of playing music exist? How can we know if there are any such ways?

By considering whether demons influence humans to play music in ungodly ways, we can answer both of these questions definitively!

Do Demons Influence Humans to Play Music in Ungodly Ways?

Demons incorrigibly and irredeemably oppose God. They are especially intent on denying Him the glory and worship due His name.

On every possible occasion and in every possible way, they seek to influence humans to worship in ungodly ways.

God has commanded that humans use musical instruments to worship Him. We, therefore, must hold that demons unceasingly seek to influence humans to play worship music in ungodly ways.

Only by presupposing that there are no ungodly ways to play music in worship can we deny that demons influence humans to play music in ungodly ways. Holding such a presupposition, however, does not have any biblical basis.

When, therefore, humans engage in activities that put them in fellowship with demons and subsequently produce music, we must hold that they play it in ungodly ways. Of course, we could not hold this view if a passage provides explicit biblical evidence that humans played music in godly ways in spite of demonic influence on them.

A Biblical Account of Demonically Influenced Music

In the Golden Calf Incident (GCI), humans in a worship context consumed what was offered to an idol (Ex. 32:6). When they did so, they came into fellowship with demons (1 Cor. 10:18-20).

After they had consumed the sacrificed foodstuffs, they produced music (Ex. 32:17-18). Because Exodus 32 does not provide us with any evidence that they played their music and sang in godly ways, we must hold that they did so in ungodly ways.

Again, the only way to escape this understanding is to presuppose that there are no ungodly ways to produce music in worship. Because such a presupposition does not have any valid basis, we must hold that the people in the GCI played demonically influenced music in ungodly ways.

Conclusion

Demonically influenced music does exist; in fact, the Bible provides indisputable evidence that demons have influenced humans to produce music in ungodly ways. Holding that there are no ungodly ways to play music, therefore, is an indefensible presupposition and position that we must reject.

A professional CCM musician recently made the following revealing comment to an online article about CCM:

I’m a professional musician who has and does work with some of the most well known CCM artists. I’ve done tours, recorded on their albums , etc.. I can tell you first hand that it’s about the bottomline, not Jesus. The hypocrisy is rampant. And I will say many are not believers. I was on a tour bus one year with a well known act and I was mocked for reading my bible. I was yelled at by the drummer for calling out heretics on TBN. Many musicians like myself who work in the CCM market are not believers. They all call themselves Christian’s, but their words and actions betray them. And the biblical ignorance is beyond breathtaking. There ate [sic] true believers players and artists alike, but far and few between.

This article provides telling information about CCM. The comments are especially informative.

Many Christians today are quite dismissive of testimonies from secular rock musicians and music authorities who have said that rock music is perverse music that should be rejected, especially by Christians in their ministries. These believers argue that unbelieving musicians and music authorities are unable to judge spiritual truth accurately concerning whether rock music is fit for use in ministry.

I have previously presented evidence from two passages that counters this dismissiveness by pointing out that lost people were reliably able to give testimonies about spiritual realities. Judges 7 provides additional evidence to hold that unbelieving people can accurately assess spiritual realities.

Judges 7:13-14

During the period of the judges who ruled over Israel, the Lord directed Gideon to be His deliverer of the Israelites from the Midianites (Judg. 7:7). To alleviate possible fearfulness on Gideon’s part to carry out this mission (Judg. 7:10), the Lord directed him and his servant to go and hear what certain men in the host of Midian would say (Judg. 7:10-11).

The record of this incident reveals that an unsaved man in the camp of the enemies of Israel remarkably interpreted the spiritual significance of a dream with striking accuracy:

Judges 7:13 And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. 14 And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.

Observing what transpired, Gideon was moved to worship God for the testimony that he had received through these two lost people:

Judges 7:15 And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.

The biblical record of this incident is yet another passage that shows that lost people have given accurate testimonies to spiritual realities in spite of their being unbelievers. Just because people are unbelievers does not automatically invalidate anything that they say about the spiritual significance of any event or the spiritual fitness of any practice.

Conclusion

Christians should not dismiss the validity of testimonies by secular rock musicians and music authorities about the perverseness of rock music and its unfitness for use in Christian ministry simply because these authorities on music are unbelievers. Judges 7:13-14 and other passages provide evidence that doing so is not a right approach to such information.

Ryan Martin has written a helpful critique of the musical state of at least some sectors of evangelicalism.

Using passages about meat offered to idols to support the use of disputed musical styles in worship is a great misstep for several key reasons. The following treatment briefly explains four of these reasons.

Whenever a human offers an animal in sacrifice to an idol, he sins against God. We must consider carefully what is always true about any animal that an idolater offers in such sacrifices.

Divinely Created

Scripture explicitly states that God created all animals (Gen. 1:20-25), including those animals that idolaters have offered in sacrifices to idols. Scripture provides no such statements about any disputed musical style being created by God.

Divinely Declared to Be Good

Scripture explicitly states that God declared all the animals that He created to be good (Gen. 1:21, 25, 31), which obviously includes the animals that are offered in sacrifices to idols. Scripture provides no such teaching about any disputed musical style being good.

Divinely Authorized for a Specific Purpose

Scripture explicitly states that God authorized humans to eat all animals as food (Gen. 9:3), which applies therefore to all those animals that idolaters have offered in sacrifices to idols. Scripture does not anywhere say that God has authorized the use of any disputed musical style for any use.

Divinely Commended for Christian Use

Scripture explicitly states that God has commended Christian eating of the meat of all animals (1 Tim. 4:3-6), so He has commended Christian eating (in a context that does not involve eating in a worship context meat offered to idols) of those animals that idolaters have offered in sacrifices to idols. Scripture never says that God has commended for any Christian use any of the styles of music whose use in worship is widely disputed among God’s people.

Discussion

We have explicit biblical basis for holding that God created as good all animals and authorized their use as food for all humans. Directly from Scripture, we also know that He has commended the use of those animals for food for Christian people who choose to eat them.

We have no explicit biblical basis for holding that God has created as good any disputed musical style or that He has authorized any human use of these styles. Moreover, Scripture does not reveal to us anywhere that God has commended their use by Christians for any purpose, especially for worship.

Because of these essential differences between the biblical data concerning the animals that have been offered in sacrifice to idols and the musical styles that are widely disputed among God’s people, applying passages about meat offered to idols to the issues concerning the use in worship of these styles is a great misstep. In order to apply the passages about meat offered to idols legitimately to the issues concerning disputed musical styles, believers must prove explicitly from Scripture that those musical styles are directly comparable in the ways treated above to the animals that have been offered to idols.

Conclusion

Scripture explicitly provides four key bases for rejecting as faulty the use of passages about meat offered to idols to support the use of disputed musical styles in worship. These passages do not provide any support for using these disputed styles in worship.

Long before there was any rock music, classical guitarists such as Fernando Sor and Andrés Segovia earned widespread acclaim for their fantastic musical abilities. These virtuosos played instrumental music that was recognized all over the world for its musical excellence.

When rock music became popular in the US, the electric guitar was at the forefront of the popularity of that style. The classical guitar, however, had already existed for more than a century and a half by that time, and it never was and never has been the symbol of rock music.

To reject the use of the classical guitar so as not to associate oneself with rock music is a seriously flawed perspective that has no historical or biblical basis (see this post for an explanation) to support it. Christian churches today should not reject the use of the classical guitar out of an erroneous notion that to use the classical guitar is inherently to play rock music, CCM, or any other music that they deem to be unacceptable music for corporate worship.