God, Love, and Rock'n' Roll
By Scott Ross
The 700 Club
Throughout the years I have received many letters in regard to the question
of styles of music and which one does "God prefer?" Here's an example:
"Being a new Christian and growing up in the 60s and 70s, I am having
a hard time understanding if secular music is permissible? Some Christian
friends totally avoid all music, saying its from the world. Yet others
enjoy light music entertainment, such as Broadway musicals, and music
to exercise to. I have not received any convictions from God on the style
of light music I listen to at work. Biblically where are the answers?"
|"Music is a fair and glorious gift of God.
I am strongly persuaded that after theology, there is no art which
can be placed on the level with music. The devil flees before the
sound of music almost as much as before the Word of God." (Martin
Music and the performing arts are not intrinsically evil in themselves.
The utilization of the creative arts are set apart (sanctified) by the vessel
that God chooses to express Himself through. God certainly has used strange
methods and messengers to package His message in. Throughout the Scriptures,
God has used prostitutes, the crippled, the blind, tax collectors, farmers,
fishermen, shepherds, kings, Jews, Gentiles, murderers, and adulterers and
redeemed them for the purposes of His Kingdom.
Often people are offended and stumble over the messenger God chooses
to speak through. As a result they miss the message. Many people were
offended (Greek word definition: scandalized, or made to
stumble) by John the Baptist. Here was a man who lived in the desert,
announcing the coming judgment, and wearing clothes made of camel's hair.
(I wonder how that smelled.) He had a leather strap around his waist and
his diet consisted of grasshoppers and wild honey! Could this guy get
in your church on Sunday morning? Jesus asked the crowds later
about John: "What kind of man did you go out to see? Was he someone
dressed in fine clothes? He was a prophet and even more than a prophet."
and Roll and God work together in the hands of someone who loves
them both." (The London Times in regard to English rock and
roll singer Cliff Richard).
John's dress, manner, lifestyle and theology were offensive to many who
could not see who he was because of the blindness of their own personal
prejudices and pre-disposition. We can get so scandalized by the outer appearance
that we miss the message and the messenger. Frequently, our view of God,
and God's messengers and message is affected by our own theological and
cultural frame of reference and personal taste. The fact is people didn't
recognize God either; in the person of Jesus Christ.
the rock that rolled my sins away." (Larry Norman)
Throughout my years as a broadcaster and journalist, I have presented music
and other expressions of the performing arts as performed by African Americans,
Jews, Englishmen, Scotsmen, Bulgarians, Russians, Armenians, Chileans, Argentines,
Brazilians and Peruvians, to mention just a few. Each of these people are
rooted and trained in their respective cultures which result in a variety
of expressions. The result is a literal symphony and fusion of sounds that
glorify God in black rhythms, country and western music, South American
and Latin syncopation, classical roots, and Celtic and Hebraic antiquity.
This is a good picture of the diversity and corporate expression of the
various members and their respective gifts, in and through the Church, that
Paul the Apostle speaks of in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians
Question: Which one is more spiritual and acceptable to God?
The bottom line, the litmus test, the final criterion: "By their
fruits (deeds) you will know them." (Matthew 7:16-20)
Each of the people that I have presented on radio, television, or stage
have been evaluated according to this standard. Certainly, none of these
artists have "arrived." We recognize that each individual varies in spiritual
maturity, which affects the depth of the message coming through their
lives. The message can only be as mature as the messenger. However, I
do recognize that tens of thousands of lives have been influenced and
often changed toward the purposes of the Kingdom of God by the lives and
artistry of the majority of people we have given a platform to throughout
And we will continue to do so, until together, throughout the heavens
and earth we all "sing a new song before the throne!" (Revelation
5:9 & 14:3).
Scott Ross welcomes your feedback.
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