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Stop Singing Awful Christian Music
Embrace Your Duty and Sing With Power!
Brothers, I have been a long proponent that Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) is a hindrance to the Christian community. It waters down the Christian life to an emotional attachment. At worst, it promotes false doctrine and heresy.
Perhaps you can say this for old songs as well. I’m sure there are some from the past that were promoted as Christian but held to false doctrine. However, our focus here is on the current age and how steeped it is in lame, effeminate music.
My past has its fair share of secular music and less than grand Christian music. Throughout high school, I only listened to secular music. When I’m feeling curious, or nostalgic, I’ll even listen to a song or two. Once it’s playing, I’m quickly reminded that the nostalgia is not worth sitting through the songs. It can put quite the pep into my flesh and that can spiral out of control.
From college until about a year ago, I would listen to my favorite styles of music as long as the artist was openly Christian. This is way better than secular music. It fed my flesh less and my spirit more. Looking back on this time, it’s clear that the words would edify (sometimes) but the musical styles were still feeding the flesh.
Worship Is Specific
Many people, as I used to, think worship can be anything that draws you closer to God. While drawing to God is important, it’s not worship. Worshiping the one true God is specific and designed by Him.
The same goes for the songs we sing along to. Just because it says “Jesus” in the chorus or has a vague notion of Christianity does not make it worship music. You may have a memory of a verse that talks about “spiritual songs”. That would be Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:18.
“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” (Ephesians 5:19 KJV)
“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 KJV)
What do these two verses have in common? We see “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”, singing them to one another, and a reference to the heart.
Scripture expects us to sing songs to one another. This singing should be to admonish, edify, and teach each other. Songs that do that are, as mentioned; psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
When singing to or with each other, we must do so with sincerity and genuine belief. Not as a hypocrite who is singing the song to get by and move along his way after going through the motions. We have to mean what we sing and believe what we sing.
“Let your praises be not merely on the tongue, as hypocrites do, but from the heart.” - John Calvin’s Commentaries
These verses are not talking about worshiping the one true and living God. When we worship, we sing to God, not to each other, even though we benefit. These two verses are talking about singing to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. This may be in other gatherings outside of worship and daily with our family.
Can we sing the songs mentioned in Ephesians and Colossians in worship? Yes, if they directly glorify God and contain correct doctrine. Unfortunately, most CCM is much too watered down for worship of the one true and holy God.
God Expects Us To Sing the Psalms
Do note the expectation in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 to sing the Psalms.
How often the current Christian culture ignores this expectation is painful. Why does the average local congregation not sing the Psalms about God’s people conquering? Why does it not sing the Psalms about finding safety in God when times are bad?
“The singing of psalms and hymns is a gospel ordinance: it is an ordinance of God, and appointed for his glory.” - Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary on Ephesians 5:3-20
Sing To Edify the Brethren!
It’s interesting that verse 18 is not its own paragraph or even its own sentence because it’s talking about being drunk. (Which seems to have nothing to do with singing.)
Paul tells us to not be a drunk and to be filled with the Spirit. Then he moves on to tell us to sing to each other in “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”.
What’s the connection between being drunk and singing to be filled with the Spirit? My inkling is that it’s unlikely for a drunk man to sing from the heart the songs we are told to sing. Also, how could a drunk man could edify another man when his heart and mind are drunk with alcohol?
This is something that I’ve noticed since being mindful of the songs I’m hearing and singing along to. I only listen to the songs Paul tells us to sing to each other. It’s been edifying to my Spirit and keeps my mind focused on our King, Jesus Christ.
Not that if you listen to a secular song, or sing a watered down song from the CCM scene that you are sinning. Far from it, but it’s guaranteed to keep your Spirit from edification. Our goal with the music we listen to should be to feed the Spirit upon every listen, not the flesh.
“The joy of Christians should express itself in songs of praise to their God.” - Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Ephesians 5:18-20
“In psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs; under these names he comprehends all manner of singing to mutual edification and God’s glory.” Matthew Poole’s English Annotations on the Bible
Music Is Important
Be careful what you listen to. Be mindful of what is being said for all forms of media. Music being the most important to pay attention to because of how easy it is to get a phrase and tune stuck on repeat in our minds.
The term earworm is a common phrase for this event. It’s interesting what the Webster’s 1828 dictionary has for the verb form of “worm”.
“To worm is “to expel or undermine by slow and secret means.” - Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Does the music you listen to weaken your spirit? Is it slowly taking your mind off of our Lord, Jesus Christ?
Make sure your music is uplifting and brings your thoughts to God. If the music you listen to does not edify you and strengthen your spirit, it is pointless.
I promise, once you do, you will see the fruit in your life build even more. Your Spirit will conquer the flesh and you will grow into a stronger man of God.
Attention: My Brother in Christ
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