Should Christians Listen to Secular Music?
To learn more about the responsibilities of the Christian life of growing in discernment, understanding Christian liberty and freedom, developing an informed Christian conscience, and about pleasing God in matters of individual choice, consider listening to the following sermons by Dr. Richard Caldwell:
Should Christians Listen to Secular Music?
To what kind of music can a Christian listen? Can listening to secular music affect our life negatively? Should Christians be concerned about the style of music, is one kind better over another? Does the Bible give specifics about the types of music or entertainment from which a Christian may choose?
This week on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Richard Caldwell and host Dr. Josh Philpot dive into the discussion on music, one that often elicits a deep divide among Christians. The range of issues discussed when it comes to music, songs, and personal entertainment choices vary greatly. When it comes to music in the church, some declare no instruments should be allowed, acapella only. Some nay nay drums and or electric guitars, and others yet say hymns only and no contemporary songs/music. When it comes to personal leisure time, some would say that Christians should never listen to secular music, watch secular entertainment, or read secular books. What often happens when we aren’t thinking biblically about these things we tend to run to one side or other of the spectrum. We will lean either towards legalism or towards passivity as if it makes no difference.
The Spirit-filled Life
Dr. Caldwell provides an example from his own life, showing how this principle rings true. He shares that he doesn’t believe that all forms of entertainment, including music, are sinful even if they aren’t inherently Christian. The Bible doesn’t declare any particular genre of music off-limits; however, it does describe the kind of life and lifestyle that should characterize the Christian. Dr. Caldwell reads from Ephesians 5:18-21, verses that describe the Spirit-filled life the Christian is to live and exhibit. These verses speak of a life that is song-filled, a life that is full of joy and thankfulness. So according to this passage, there is a certain kind of song that belongs to the Christian life. Dr. Caldwell also reads from Philippians 4:8.
Here the Christian is taught the things that their mind ought to be occupied on and with. These things, "whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, if anything is excellent or worthy of praise", are mostly opposite of what we find in secular music and entertainment. In much secular music and entertainment, there is the presence of vulgar language, immorality, violence, and more. It more often than not mocks what the Word of God calls Christians to be and teaches ungodly messages.
Music affects us
So for a Christian to fill their life (hearts, mind, and soul), with songs and entertainment that celebrate, promote, and encourage sin, filling ourselves with dark things, and things overtly rebellious to God surely cannot be good for their soul. Music affects us; it is a powerful medium. The words of songs we hear and sing remain with us and echo in our minds. So while the Bible doesn’t condemn other music that isn’t Christian, it does condemn what is condemnable and praises what is worthy of praise. Whatever a person allows to occupy their mind will affect their living. We want to make sure that what we listen to is good for our minds and our souls. If we aren’t careful with what we take in, we can expose ourselves to things that aren’t healthy, things that are damaging and dangerous.
So while the Bible doesn't give specific answers to every issue Christians may encounter it does address how we are to live the Christian life. Dr. Caldwell shares that one of the most important ways the Bible helps us to do this is by calling us to develop discernment. It teaches us of our need for this and how we are to go about accomplishing it. We do this by saturating our minds in and with Scripture.
To Glorify God
Our devotion to Scripture saturation is to glorify God. Our purpose for doing this is to obey God, that we can know what is right and what is wrong, and that we would know what pleases and what displeases Him. As we practice meditating upon the Word of God, learning it, and living life through its lens, we develop and practice discernment. In this way, we have a better sense of judgment as to what we should and should not take into our lives.
Dr. Caldwell goes on to explain that the Bible also teaches us the importance of conscience. It exhorts us to pay attention to our conscience. Our consciences can be overly sensitive. When they are, they do not allow us to participate in things that we are free to. Over time there may be teaching from the Word of God that sets you free in this area. In this case, you no longer feel bound to that previous conviction and can now participate without any damage to your conscience. However, until this time comes, you do not violate your conscience. But if we are not careful, this is something we can easily do.
What Is Good
Sometimes we have a clearly defined standard of what is good, safe, and healthy. But over time we begin to allow that line of standard to blur or to move. In doing this, we violate our conscience without having been freed to do so. Violating our conscience is a dangerous thing. It’s better to wait until the Lord brings us to the place of freedom than to plow past our conscience. If we continually ignore our consciences, learn to turn them off or silence them, it only leads to devastating consequences. Hence the need as Christians to be intentional about saturating our minds with Scripture, paying close attention to our consciences, and not violating them.
About The Straight Truth Podcast
The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net
The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo. The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.
The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.
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