Should Christians Listen to Secular Music?

The question, "should Christians listen to secular music?" is an important one for us to consider, as music has become such a big part of the lives of people today. Secular music over the recent years has crossed the boundaries of language, culture and now even religion. The Christian church has been invaded by this so called 'Christian Rock' which has become the vehicle to communicate with the youth of the world. But what message is being communicated by this 'rock' music, and is God pleased with it? Should Christians listen to it?

The majority of professing Christians who listen to all kinds of secular music will also be happy to watch programs and films that are full of sin! Is that you? Does that not bother you?

Interesting News Report! .. A man in the UK was recently arrested and charged for dangerous driving, due to being "drunk on drum and bass music" (source)

Just think about this for a moment. The young people of today, and even some older people have been so saturated with rock, pop, dance and all the other kinds of secular music, that listening to and singing good traditional worship songs has become boring to them. Their minds have become degraded by this rock and roll, and pop and dance music. It's the same with movies. People's minds today have been so saturated with tv and big blockbuster movies, that Bible study has become boring. And who is the one causing this? Satan! His aim is to draw people away from God, and he has done a fine job in doing that over the past 30 years. He is infiltrating our minds through the medium of music and television, and we now have a generation of youth that spend all their time watching tv, going to the movies, listening to secular music and playing games. Christ Jesus their Saviour is out of the picture. He's just not that interesting anymore to today's generation. "Take up your cross and follow Me" means nothing to the majority of young Christians today.

Please learn the lesson from Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1-2). They offered "strange" common fire before the Lord and God destroyed them. Do you offer "strange" common music to the Lord?

Their "words" might have been just fine. But the fire they brought before God (the instrument they used for worship) was a common one, and God rejected them.

Instead of the church converting the world, the world is now converting the church! This is the reason why churches have started introducing the world into church. They are trying to find a way to make church "more interesting", "more fun", "more entertaining", because people today have so FILLED their lives with entertainment, that a good old traditional church service with plain Bible preaching and good traditional worship songs would not be "interesting" enough for them. It's not a case of going to church to worship God anymore, it's about being entertained! The sad fact is that the majority of churches today have become part of Babylon and are in a fallen state.

What does God want us to do? ...

Jeremiah 6:16 ...'Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.'

Jude 1:3 ...'Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.'

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that ALL music needs to be thrown out. Neither am I rejecting all modern music, as there are lots of beautiful melodies which we can listen to and use to worship and praise God. The problem I have is with the majority of secular music like rock, pop, dance, hip hop, heavy metal, etc. This kind of music should not be listened to and cannot be used to worship a holy God. Just listen to the words that are sung in this kind of secular music. Sex, drugs, violence, money, lust and all kinds of wickedness is portrayed by these secular songs. Is it ok for a Spirit filled person to listen to such stuff? Of course not.

Let's take a look at what effect music has on us.

Effects of Secular Music

There are few people who understand the power that music has over the mind. The moods of listeners change as they listen to various kinds of music. Do you want an example? Put a young man in a car and let him drive it while listening to fast paced rock music, and see how he drives! Actual tests have proved that music has a direct influence on the pulse rate, blood pressure, and the nervous system. Take a look at this quote from Dr Schoen:

"Music is made of the stuff which is in and of itself the most powerful stimulant known among the perceptual process ... Music operates on our emotional faculty with greater intensiveness and rapidity than the product of any other act." (The Psychology of Music, Page 39)

What a powerful weapon this is for Satan to use to infultrate our minds and draw us away from God and true worship!

Let me give you an example from my own experience. Recently, a church I attended had a worship band on stage, which most do these days, and during a particular worship song, in the chorus, the drummer would start drumming really loud which would excite the people, and when he did it, I could feel the drumming inside me, and it created a false feeling inside. This is what concerns me in church worship, as our worship and joy for God should be totally natural and not manufactured by the drummer. And how many people are thinking they are being filled with the Holy Spirit, when in fact they are just feeling the beat of the drum inside them?

Rock and Pop music appeals to the carnal nature of man. The exact thing that the Spirit of God is constantly battling against.

An important discovery made in the field of music shows that music is heard in the portion of the brain which received the stimuli of emotions, sensations and feelings, and bypasses the brain centres involving reason and intelligence. Time magazine described rock and roll music in this way ... "The hypnotic beat works a strange kind of magic. Many dancers become oblivious to those around them. They drift away from their partners. Inhibitions flake away, eyes glaze over, until suddenly they are seemingly swimming along in a sea of sound." ... The worrying thing for Christians listening to secular music is the assault of it upon the emotions and then actions. Since the music goes straight to the part of the brain which receives emotions and sensations, the Christian will be affected by the music without making any conscious decision.

When asked why he did sexual hand gestures on stage, Michael Jackson replied, "It's the music that COMPELS me to do it. You don't think about it, it just happens. I'M A SLAVE TO THE RHYTHM." (The Evening Star, Feb. 11, 1993)

Doctors have started using music to reach the minds of the mentally ill and retarded. Words may mean nothing to them, but the music opens up the sensory part of the brain providing a way in. The problem with this, although helpful for doctors with the mentally ill, is the fact that satan can use rock and pop music to make a sneaky attack upon any Christian who listens to it. When you think about the facts, it's easy to understand how the beat of modern rock music has created so much moral havoc among the young. The theme of sex, drugs, violence and rebellion have been drilled into their minds, creating an emotional acceptance of these sins.

Are there any Bible verses that show music can change a person? ... 1 Samuel 16:23 ...'And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.' ... So David played a melody on his harp and Saul's spirit was refreshed. So if a nice melody can make you feel refreshed and relaxed, what will listening to rock and pop music do to you?

Take a look at these quotes from well known rock artists:

"Rock has always been the devil's music ... I believe rock and roll is dangerous ... I feel we're only heralding something even darker than ourselves." (David Bowie, Rolling Stones Magazine, Feb. 12, 1976)

"Hopefully I'll be remembered as the person who brought an end to Christianity." (Marilyn Manson, Spin, August 1996)

"I'd kill my mother for rock and roll. I would sell my soul." (Bon Jovi, Smash Hits Magazine (for kids!!)

"First of all we want to thank Satan!" (Red Hot Chili Peppers, receiving an award at MTV awards in 1992)

"I'm the devil's advocate. We have our own worshippers who are called 'groupies.' Girls will give their bodies to musicians as you would give a sacrifice to a god." (Frank Zappa Quote, Peters Brothers, What About Christian Rock, p. 17)

And the Lyrics of many of these Rock and Heavy Metal songs are pure Satanic!

It is no secret that some rock and roll performers are not only tied in with drugs, but with spiritualism. Some performers have even attributed their success by way of a covenant with satan, meaning satan is controlling the production of the music. And the vast amount of teenage rebellion today can be attributed in part to the constant exposure of broken rhythms in rock music.

"A broken meter in a treble, played over an insistently regular beat in the left hand with gradually increasing rapidity almost to the point of frenzy, is capable of producing the identical disintegrating and almost hysterical effect on an organism; as if a person would try to rush madly in two directions at the same time. Any psychiatrist knows that it is precisely this two directional pull of conflicting drives of emotions that is helping to fill our mental hospitals with broken wrecks of humanity." (Alice E. Monsarrat, Music - Soothing, Sedative or Savage)

Now doesn't it say in 1 Corinthians 10, that whatever we do, we should do to the glory of God? So please tell me how we can listen to the majority of secular music, to the glory of God? How can God be glorified through this music that cannot bring peace to the soul and is tied to either sex, money, violence or anything else that is against God? God cannot be glorified through this kind of music, therefore we should not listen to it.

Now I would hazard a pretty good guess that the majority of professing Christians who listen to all kinds of secular music, also have no problem with sitting in front of a TV or movie screen and happily watch programs and films FULL of sin. The two go hand in hand together. And yet we know from studying the Bible, that a Spirit filled Christian should be turning away from the things of the world, and shouldn't be happy listening to or watching SIN.

James 4:4 ...'Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.'

Are you trying to be a friend of the world?

There is only one correct attitude that the true Christian should have towards the majority of secular music, and that is to close the door to it. There can be no compromise with the degrading music forms which satan has used to corrupt and destroy the minds of people all over the world.

Jeremiah 6:16 ...'Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.'

Now remember what David played to Saul to refresh Saul's soul and make the evil spirit depart? A MELODY from his harp. Have a real good think about that. A melody was able to cast an evil spirit from Saul! THAT is the power of music. The RIGHT kind of music can be a great benefit to us. But the wrong kind of music like all this secular rock, pop, hip hop and heavy metal, will do great damage to a person's soul. Satan will use any medium he can to gain entry into people's lives. And he is using secular music in a big way! Remember, Ezekiel 28:13 reveals that Satan was created with musical instruments BUILT INTO HIM. So don't you think he knows a thing or two about music and "worship"? Don't you think he will use this power to deceive the churches?

Christians and Modern "Worship" Music

Before I go on, please know that I am not condeming ALL modern worship music, as there are lots of modern worship songs that are beautiful melodies which can be used to worship and praise our holy God. But the majority of modern worship music these days is basically an amalgamation of secular rock and pop with "some" Bible words. And if you take a look at the study to do with mixing the profane and sacred in our worship to God, you will see it is very dangerous and not accepted by God.

Think about this. A person walks past a hall and hears a group of people singing a nice worship melody or a traditional hymn. What is that person going to know? They are going to know that those people are worshipping God. There is a DISTINCT sound and that sound is one of worship. Now the same person walks past another hall where there is a "worship" band playing a rock type worship song. What is that person going to think? They could think that there is a disco or party or concert going on. They could think that a rock band is just practicing. But they are not necessarily going to think that God is being praised and worshipped. Why? Because there is no DISTINCT sound of worship coming from that hall. It just sounds like worldly music! There has to be a distinct sound to our worship music, just like we are to be a distinct type of people, following the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to be a "peculiar", holy people for God. We are not to be seeking to blend in with the rest of the world. "BE YE SEPARATE".

1 Corinthians 14:7 ...'And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?'

"The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time. Better never have the worship of God blended with music, than to use musical instruments to do the work which last January was represented to me would be brought into our camp meetings. The truth for this time needs nothing of this kind in its work of converting souls. A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing. The powers of satanic agencies blend with the din and noise, to have a carnival, and this is termed the Holy Spirit's working." (E. G. White, Selected Messages, Vol. 2, 36)

Now some Christians will say that modern worship music has just "evolved" and there is nothing wrong with "Christian Rock" or "Christian Pop" music. And they compare it with how technology has evolved today, where we now have the internet`and television and cars, etc. And if we have to get rid of modern music, then we should get rid of the internet and cars and tv etc. Well, this is a weak argument, because we are not saying to get rid of modern music all together. We are purely saying that there is a certain kind of music that we should listen to and use to worship God, and there is also another kind of music that we should NOT listen to and use to worship God. The same applies to the internet. Is it ok to use the internet for ANYTHING? Porn? Violence? Theft? Of course not! Here at we use the internet to further the gospel and preach the truth, which is GOOD. But then there is a LOAD of stuff on the internet that we should not go anywhere near! Now cars are used to transport people from A to B, so I don't know how they can use that as an example? But how about Television? Can good be done with TV? Yes, many ministries use it to preach the gospel. But can we watch ANYTHING on tv? Of course not. Most things showed on the Television are full of sin.

Do you see where I'm coming from? I'm not saying to get rid of ALL modern worship music. I'm saying it's the worship music that has been mixed with secular, worldly music that should be avoided. It's the "Christian Rock" and "Christian Pop" and that kind of "worship" music which should be rejected.

Which came first, Rock or "Christian Rock"? It was Rock right? Secular Rock music came to the forefront of entertainment in the 50's and as television and secular music began to influence the world, many Christians began using secular sounds in their worship to God. Now can that be classed as "evolving"? No. It's just a case of mixing the sacred with the profane, pure and simple.

Show me in the Bible where it says that our worship of God can "evolve" into any "new thing" that comes along. Because what I see is that "God NEVER changes". Therefore our worship of Him should not "evolve" away from what the Bible states.

Remember what God said? ... Jeremiah 6:16 ...'Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.'

Now are the instruments like drums and guitars on their own evil? No, of course not, they are just dead objects. But used in a CERTAIN WAY, then they can PRODUCE evil. Just like the internet and television. In of themselves, the concept or object is not wicked. But they are used for wicked purposes by some. Let me give you an example with regards an instrument. A guitar in the hands of someone playing a beautiful melody can be calming, uplifting and can be used to worship God. But a guitar in the hands of a person in a heavy metal band will produce a bedlam of confusion and noise that cannot be used to worship God.

A church I visited a couple of years back (Church of England), really shocked me. When we went into the church before the service began, they were playing (quite loud) some RAVE music. As I sat there in complete shock, I could just barely make out one or two words about Jesus. Now this is supposed to be God's sanctuary, holy ground, where we worship a holy God who is an all consuming fire. God's sanctuary should be a place of calm and peace and humility. And yet what was this church turned into with this rave music? A place of noise and confusion. Or another name for it, Babylon! And how did this church get to this place? Because they allowed secular music into their worship at some point and that opened the way for more and worse things to be done.

Another church I visited near where I live a couple of years back, showed a video of Bono (from the rock band U2) being interviewed, talking about his "Christian" faith. And do you know what he said? .... "Rock music is my FIRST LOVE." And this was openly accepted by the church!! Now Jesus warned the church in Ephesus in Revelation that they had fallen from their FIRST LOVE, which is Christ Jesus. And He told them to repent, otherwise they would no longer be His church. We cannot be accepting it's ok for people to put other things before Christ Jesus, like Bono does. But this is what happens when we allow any worldly thing into the church in the first place. It may start off small and innocent, but then it grows into something big and very dangerous.

Christians should be listening to and singing real worship music that only gives praise and honor to Jesus Christ. And that praise should come from the heart, NOT from a set of drums or other worldly sounds.

Should not everything we do be for the glory of God?

Psalm 9:2 ...'I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.'

Psalm 28:7 ...'The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.'

The purpose of Christian music is to praise the LORD. When we accept Jesus into our lives and give ourselves to Him, and obey God, He fills us with His Holy Spirit and we sing a 'new' song of salvation to Him ... Psalm 40:3 ...'And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.' ... So it isn't something we have to work at, or create ourselves to keep up with the times, or with the world, it's something that God puts in us, and it is a result of Him redeeming us. It shouldn't be the music that enables our devotion and feelings of love toward God, we should already have those feelings in our hearts. No, praise toward God in music is merely part of our expression of love to Him.

Ephesians 5:18-19 ...'be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.' ... Did you catch that? Singing and making melody IN YOUR HEART to the Lord. Our praise should come from the heart, NOT from the music that the church worship team, or the Christian musician or rock band are playing. And it is melody that we should be making and singing to God, not the worldly sounds of rock, pop and hip hop music.

Are Christians really singing a 'new' song to God when they are listening to "Christian Rock" music and secular music? What about all the "Christian Rock" concerts that millions of Christians attend each year? Is God really being praised in these places? Or are the performers being praised more? Listen to what Keith Green had to say about this:

"Why do we idolize Christian singers and speakers? We go from glorifying musicians in the world, to glorifying Christian musicians. It's all idolatry!! Satan is getting a great victory as we seem to worship these ministers on tapes and records, and clamour to get their autographs in churches and concert halls from coast to coast." (Keith Green, 'So You Wanna be a Rock Star')

Now we are not supporting the music that Keith Green produced by using his quote above, as Keith also used secular sounds in his "worship" music. We are just showing you the idolatry that is attached to this "Christian" Rock, Pop and Hip Hop music.

Think about this: Why is it that the covers of the CD's of Christian artists have glorifying photos of themselves? Why are they trying to bring attention to themselves? Shouldn't they step into the background so that Jesus gets all the glory? Afterall didn't John the Baptist say in John 3:30 ...'He must increase, but I must decrease.' ... We MUST NOT put ourselves in a position to take glory away from Jesus. But sadly, this is exactly what a lot of modern Christian musicians are doing. Not all, but a lot.

And what about these award ceremonies that many Christian artists attend? Who gets the praise and glory there? It's not God, but the artist themselves.

"Oh but modern Christian Rock music helps to reach out to the world". No! The Word of God is to be used to reach out to the lost world, not worldly music with a few Christian words added in. If you think you need to reach the lost with music, then you are denying the power of God's Word in the Bible, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Did Peter and the apostles need worship bands playing at the day of pentecost? No, they relied on the Word of God and the power of His Spirit.

Up until a few years ago, I listened to and loved all kinds of music, including pop, dance and rock music. But then as I grew with Jesus, that love of worldly music was replaced with a 'new' song. My new desire was to praise God with all my heart and to only listen to real Christian melodies that gave glory and honor to God. If you are walking with Jesus each day and are growing in Him, then God will put a new song in your heart too.

"There are a lot of bands out now who do not feel it necessary to speak about God or Christ." (HM Magazine, Issue 67, p.26)

It seems that a lot of the modern Christian bands are more interested in pleasing man than God. This is a good reason to leave them alone and not listen to their music ... Galatians 1:10 ...'For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.'

"Oh, but the Bible doesn't give any guidance to Christian music.". Actually it does:

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

Colossians 3:16 ...'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.'

I think God is pretty clear in His Word about how we should worship Him in song. 'With psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs' from the heart. What does this mean? It means that our song should be full of praise and devotion to God, and it should come from the heart, and not need to rely on drums and guitars with a worldly beat and rhythm to get you going. We are to worship God in spirit and truth. It's from the heart. Worldly music feeds the flesh, whereas true Christian music should feed the spirit. That's why the world loves rock music, because it is carnal. But we who are Christ's have 'crucified the flesh' and no longer walk in it, but now walk according to the Spirit. Notice in Ephesians 5 it says that we should make MELODY in our hearts to the Lord. Not mad rock rhythms and beats, but melody.

"True Godly music will be composed of three elements, all in perfect balance with each other. They are melody, harmony and rhythm. Rock music has no melody, only fragments of melody endlessly repeated. Since there is no true melody, there is no real harmony. There is only rhythm. And rhythm in of itself is not music." (Leonard J. Seidel, 'Face the Music' - Contemporary Music on Trial, pp 46-51)

It has been said that the fundamental riffs, licks, bass figures and drum rhythms that make rock and roll can ultimately be traced back to African music of a primarily spiritual or ritual nature. "In a sense, rock and roll is a kind of voodoo." (Robert Palmer). This is why a drum is not mentioned in the Bible (King James Version), because the drum was a common worldly instrument used in Egypt and the lands around Israel.

"My true belief about rock and roll is this - I believe this kind of music is demonic. A lot of the beats in music today are taken from voodoo, from the voodoo drums." (Charles White, The Life and Times of Little Richard, page 197)

Will professing Christians hear this message and act upon it, according to the Word of God? Only if they are willing to stand apart from the rest of the world and do according to God's will. The sad fact is that the professing Christian of today will try and make excuses as to why they should be able to carry on in their old sinful ways, rather than basing their lives on the true Word of God in the Bible.

And as I said before, you will find that the majority of professing Christians who listen to secular music, will also be happy to watch films and programs that are FULL OF SIN.

Should Christians listen to secular rock, pop, hip hop and that kind of music? Definately not.

Is "Christian Rock" music true worship music and acceptable to God? I would say no.

There is no benefit for the Christian to listen to the majority of secular music, and God calls us to be separate and live holy lives for Him. We need to worship God in spirit and truth. We need to stop mixing our Christian faith with the world and walk away from secular music, and allow God to put a 'new' song in us, and worship Him in spirit, from our hearts, not from the beat of a drum. Our worship to God needs to have a DISTINCTIVE sound, not a "familiar" worldly sound.

A lot of "Christian" bands today have not "evolved" their style of music and worship to God. They have just simply mixed it with worldly sounds, in order to be more like the world. Do some research yourself about rock music, you might be surprised what you find out!

I plead with you open your eyes to the truth of this and walk away from secular rock, pop and dance music and let God put a 'new song' in your heart today. Christians should not listen to all kinds of secular music. Instead, we should be filling our minds with "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs".