Can an Unbeliever Produce Christian Music?

World famous songwriter/composer/arranger/conductor John Rutter writes beautiful Christmas music. For many decades his pieces have been performed in churches around the world. The following piece is one popular sample:

There’s just one problem: From all that I have heard and read about the man, Rutter does not claim to be a born-again Christian, although he is not considered to be an atheist.

Listen to this brief excerpt from a Minnesota Public Radio interview:

“John Rutter: What Sweeter Music
by John Birge, Minnesota Public Radio
December 9, 2009
For their Welcome Christmas concerts this weekend, VocalEssence sings a tribute to the English composer John Rutter. One of his most beloved Christmas carols, “What Sweeter Music,” became famous in America when it was used in a Volvo television commercial. Rutter told Classical Minnesota Public Radio’s John Birge that it almost didn’t happen.

St. Paul, Minn. — For a composer who has created some of the most eloquent Christmas music, it may come as a surprise to learn that Rutter himself is not a believer, at least in the conventional sense. In that, he allies himself with another great English composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams, who said “I’m agnostic, but I wouldn’t be who I am if it weren’t for Christianity. It’s given me my values, and a strong sense of faith. But I’m a fellow traveler rather than a believer. ” But Rutter says that the Anglican Church remains central to his being: In 2002, Rutter’s 19 year-old son died in an automobile accident. While Rutter’s grief temporarily interrupted his composing, he retained his faith in the gift of life.”

Is it possible for an unbeliever to produce “Christian” music, music that will uplift true believers, music whose words can be honoring to God, music whose words may even lead one to Christ and salvation? What do you think?

115 responses to “Can an Unbeliever Produce Christian Music?

  1. I hope i am not misunderstanding the point of this subject, “Can an unbeliever produce Christian Music?” Sure they can. They can produce songs that tell of Christ’s birth and life and even death and resurrection. Trouble is, do they understand what that means to our eternal destiny? I have heard songs like “Victory in Jesus”, but this song adds the false teaching of adding ones “repenting of sins” as a condition to receive salvation. This composer used a Christian theme, but added a false doctrine of works to personal faith to be saved.
    I can usually tell by the lyrics of a song if they author knew and believe the truth of the gospel of salvation. Some of the best examples are, “It is Well With My Soul” and “Jesus Paid it All” and “Blessed Assurance” make it clear they the writers of these songs believed the gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone.
    There are are writers of songs that I am not so sure about. “Amazing Grace ” would seem to say salvation is a free gift, yet the author, John Newton, was a Calvinist. My question is, what terms and to whom was this grace for in Newtons belief system? And this song is so universally sung by everyone from Catholics, Reformed, Methodist, Baptists, and yes even us here on EXp that it means different things to different groups.

  2. Hi Deborah, glad you are here.

    I don’t think we wonder about the authors behind Christian music, at least for me, the lyrics being sound is what is important. All things were made by God, even a tree that one took and cut down to make a god to pray to and carry around, and took the other half to warm his bread and body. The tree itself is not pagan and so everyone needs to choose their conscience regarding these things and not trouble others with our conscience. I believe that is how most here feel.

    Whether one worships God daily, or chooses Sunday or Saturday, the Word tells us to not concern ourselves how one esteems the day to the Lord, nor do we worry about food offered to idols unless it might offend the one offering it to us. The cross is just a symbol, it only matters how we ourselves look at it. If we have direct prohibition from Scripture on something, then we should take heed.

    I still trust we are to do our best to study with His approval as our goal, and whether or not Jude 3 is debated among Christians, we ourselves have to answer as to whether we are doing what we were exhorted to do by His living Word, contend earnestly for the faith once delivered.

    The Scripture is meant to be understood by believers as we strive to be unashamed workmen. I believe we also have to let the Spirit lead us as to what part of the body we are, whether hand or foot, we all are necessary, sometimes the one others deem unnecessary is the most necessary part of the body, so I hesitate to tell others what they should or should not spend our time doing in our work for Him. I agree with you, we all need to be sharing the unhindered good news.

  3. The misinterpretations and disagreements among professing Christians throughout churchianity history do not change the fact that the scriptures teach God’s grace clearly. Nor do the dogmatic assertions of postmoderns and emergents make the truth of the gospel less true.

  4. Deborah, agree we need to focus on preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as defending it.

  5. Deborah Dessaso

    I think it interesting that Christians spend a lot of time wondering about the authors behind Christian music and various interpretations of Scripture while ignoring the historical fact that most Christian music (and worship in general) has its roots in paganism including Christmas (most of the carols were adapted by St. Anselm and others from pagan songs), Easter, Sunday sabbath, etc. Even the cross was a hated symbol of the authority of pagan Rome. Regarding music, Christians down through the ages, including Martin Luther, have lamented the fact that the secular world produces far more beautiful music and poems than the Christian world (Handel, Bach, and a few others notwithstanding). Truth is, God is the Eternal Transformer who takes anything He wants and turns it to His glory. For this we should be eternally grateful, because as long as Christians possess minds that see things in different ways, there will never be a truly “pure” interpretation or thorough understanding of Scripture, conversion, musical interpretation, or anything else by any one group of Christians. Even understanding what constituted the “faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3) continues to be debated among Christians. The apostle Paul was right: “We see through a glass darkly” (I Corinthians 13:12). God help us to continue to do Kingdom work God to His glory: preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and showing others the way to Him.

  6. David Taylor,

    I, as a “recovering” artist (for 64+- years) have no idea about Golden Ratio, Divine Proportion and Fibonacci series as it relates to Scripture and God’s Grace. Sounds interesting to me as a mechanical/electronic tinkerer, though.

    But, I suggest we not delve into that subject in our comments here. However it may be a good subject for private discussion if anyone is interested. If so I can share your email addresses with your permission. Do not place your email address within in these visible comments.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  7. thought i would pass this along not connected to the main purpose of the website exposing false teachings. but have been looking into this as of late being an artist the Golden Ratio, Divine Proportion and Fibonacci series are the ideal composition numbers.
    Looking at
    Exodus 25:10 And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.

    I believe the numbers in Exodus 25:10 are that of the Golden Ratio if that is the case it shows how these numbers/proportions did not happen just by accident or chance.

  8. i was going to ask a question here about phil keaggy a few weeks back when i posted about him here but i forgot and time passed by. anyway i now will ask.

    what i was going to ask. In the video about him i posted he mentions a Bible that has all the passages underlined or wording colored for different parts example he said the salvation verses were in i believe red . I was not aware of a Bible like that not sure if anybody has ever seen that Bible. I was wondering what were the salvation verses were that were highlighted in red. i am guessing the Bible did not promote a free grace perspective.

  9. I don’t remember the song, but driving down the road a year or so ago, just hearing, “everybody will be saved”, something to that effect, and thinking, “what”? And tried to memorize a few of the words so I could look it up when I got home. Sure enough, Universal.

    The other day, flipped on the radio, it was on “K-love” and the ‘hostess’ was talking about “Jesus Calling”… I turned it up so I could hear what I sadly knew was coming. It was about ‘channeling’ Him wherever we go…. What Jesus said, etc. Sickening….

  10. “Can an Unbeliever Produce Christian Music? ” I would say yes , however to me composers under the influence of a twisted heretical gospel are much better at deception and they don’t even know they are practicing it themselves deceived.
    prove all things before giving listen too .

    I myself am fine sitting in silence and enjoy it. I do love the simplicity of hymn’s and piano that is rightly played in corporate worship.
    drums guitars and whatever else rightly played is fine with me. I am fine with out it too.
    My music of choice is classical the old classical. There is some kind of brilliance behind it.
    I love to study and meditate on while listening to Bach and others.
    I don’t know how to prove it or explain it but to me there is something about studying and or meditating on the KJV and listening to the old classical that go together . I think it is in the cadence
    to me what is lost in modern CCM is what is lost going from KJV to the NIV
    be very careful what you are listening to. some of the modern CCM are into the “radical grace” movement were mysticism and gnostic’s hang out.
    The target audience for CCM is everyone.

  11. Jan Kotlarski

    d taylor, quite telling is that he calls our apostle Paul “saint Paul”, that sounds quite roman catholic to me or at least ecumenical.
    That and his vague story about how he supposedly got saved are indicators that Phil is either a babe in Christ or not saved.
    Someone who is saved for so long should know a lot more and be able to present the gospel significantly more clearly than that.
    If he isn’t saved yet, I hope and pray he does put his faith on our Lord Jesus Christ to save him.

  12. I know his sister, who is an old friend’s mom from my teenage years. I don’t know… I don’t know him well, in fact I ran into his sister who is in a retirement home, at an event that a Bible study class I attend put on at Christmas. I recognized her as my friend Molly’s mom. I sure hope and pray they understand, and yet when you hear words like that, you just pray it’s terminology they picked up and that they understand/understood what they must do to be saved…

  13. d taylor, the video was pretty vague. Phil said he “gave his heart to Jesus”. He said his sister showed him God’s love for him and he became a Christian. Nothing about the Gospel, Christ dying for him, etc.

  14. any body know any information on Phil Keaggy he is an amazing guitarist and is labeled as a christian one thing i found was this video not really sure from the video

  15. johninnc, thank you for that article about the Pakistani man. I have also seen people that were very sincere to what ended up being very wrong. It is sad, but it happens.

  16. d taylor, I have read this explanation as well. I think it is consistent with a free grace perspective.

  17. about the sheep and the goats how i have seen this explained is that the sheep are believers by faith in Christ. and the other group the goats are unbelievers. the sheep are believers who helped Jews during the tribulation all other believers who were either carnal or did not help the Jews out, were more than likely removed (sin unto death) by God or were allowed to be killed or died for not helping out the Believing Jews, so the only ones left alive at that time were believers that were helping the Jews.

  18. Abe, yeah, I don’t get it.

    This guy seemed to have had a lot of confused opinions on salvation and living the Christian life.

    He seemed very committed to his beliefs. People often equate level of commitment with level of truth. They are not necessarily related.

    Attached is an article I had read previously of a man from Pakistan who was willing to be persecuted, perhaps even martyred, for his “faith.”

    As it turns out, he had never trusted in Christ, but was holding onto a works for salvation mentality. He accepted Christ after the writer went through “The Gospel” booklet with him.

    Please find the article linked below:

    Click to access 9929.pdf

  19. Keith Green’s most famous song, “Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful”, one line says, “help me to never seek a crown”. That line always irritated me, and I always refused to sing it when the worship team did it.

    Jesus says so many times to store up treasure in heaven, and Paul always talks about going for the crowns, and the Bible always very strongly encourages believers to go for crowns and rewards, even in Revelation.

    So why was Keith Green telling people to not go for crowns?????

  20. John, I can only speculate about that, as the Word tells us in that same discourse, that those who endure to the end will be saved. I take that to speak to physical deliverance. I imagine while the seals and then the trumpets and the two witnesses (killing people with fire from their mouths) and the bowl judgments, there will some period of time where those who have taken the mark will be rendered somewhat if not greatly ineffective for a time. Perhaps that will give some time to regroup or escape, I just do not know.

    I believe any believer is going to love another sheep and the point is to me in that chapter, that the Goats are different than sheep, and do not have Him as a Shepherd, therefore, they would not have shown any kindness. They will go into the eternal fire because they were never His, but people are still judged according to their works and some receive greater condemnation.

    Goats makes me think of the dog and the sow, I see that as a dog was never a sheep and neither was a sow. (could be wrong, so please anyone correct).

    As for motive, I don’t know if he was saved and was frustrating grace, or not saved, I don’t know. Very sad though…

  21. I have two more things to say about Keith Green’s song “The Sheep and the Goats”:

    1. His last line is a lie – “And my friends, the only difference between the sheep and the goats, according to this scripture, is what they did, and didn’t do!!”

    Wrong. According to scripture (Matthew 25:37, 46) the sheep are “righteous” – in Christ by Grace through faith. Green overlooked this difference.

    2. Why do you think Keith Green wrote this song? Was it to reach the lost? If so, where is the gospel? Was it to guilt believers into doing more good works? Was it to make people think that they needed to look to their works for assurance of salvation? Was it to try to harmonize God’s word with Keith Green’s false gospel of Lordship “salvation”?

  22. Holly, thanks for sharing the article.

    I am curious how gentiles who refuse the sign of the beast will be able to materially assist the Jewish brethren, since the believing gentiles will also be unable to buy and sell.

  23. Sorry, don’t know how my wording was distorted above. Probably me 🙂

  24. This like John is from Bibleline Ministries on the sheep and goat judgment, I trust this is o.k. to share,

  25. I am glad to know it. I tried to like him, I listened to a few songs that people just loved. (And I too have loved songs that have been by bands that have gone into heresy or associations with them, one that comes to mind is the Revelation song by Gateway worship.)

    I said nothing, because I guess I just didn’t “get” him. It’s funny, when you don’t (I didn’t get moved by Billy Graham either), you think it is because you just aren’t spiritual enough. Or something is lacking in you. Or at least that is how I saw it when I was younger. I wonder how many others feel that way because of these kinds of teachings.

    Thank you John for sharing that about his teachings. His statement is ambiguous. First you can’t have conversion without repentance, but at the end, suddenly we are able to do it, because by grace, we can fulfill the desires of the Spirit within us?

  26. Keith Green was a false teacher! Here is his view of repentance:

    “I cannot conceive of conversion without repentance. The teachings of Jesus and the apostles are full of commands to “repent and be saved!” Repentance is not just “being sorry” – that is only conviction. Repentance is not merely a change of heart and a change of mind, it is a change of action! God requires that if we are sincerely convinced that sin is wrong, then we will turn from it to God, and commit ourselves to not take part in sinful deeds any longer. God blesses such decisions and commitments with abundant grace. And it is by that grace that we can fulfill the desires of the Spirit within us.”

  27. I meant “Dr. Constable”, not “Sr. Constable”.

  28. I am really perplexed by some expositors’ analysis of the sheep and goats judgement.

    Here is one from Sr. Constable’s Expository (Bible Study) Notes:

    “The sheep and the goats will express surprise, but not because they
    anticipated a different fate. They will express surprise because of the
    evidence upon which Jesus will judge their condition, namely: their
    treatment of His brethren. Normally a person’s works demonstrate his faith
    or lack of it.”

    My comment: If this is true, then why the numerous scriptural admonitions, encouragements, and exhortations to maintain good works?


    Titus 3:8: “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.”

    Hebrews 12:1: ” Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”

  29. Ah yes, Keith Green. Another potential golden calf for some, in my experience. I was once serving in ministry under a pastor that was so enamored of him. And apparently Keith Green said in some song somewhere that a person not willing to get up before the sun for prayer time, is not really a devoted Christian.

    So because of that statement from Keith Green, this pastor that I was under, held prayer meetings that started at 5 am, and I had to get from across town to get there, which meant getting up each week at 4 am.

    One such morning for a prayer meeting, I was so sick to my stomach, but I didn’t want to be an “undevoted Christian”, so I went to the prayer meeting anyway. And later that day, I ended up in the emergency room.

  30. Has anyone heard the song “Sheep and the Goats” by Keith Green? A friend of mine mentioned it at work today.

    Check out these lyrics:

    “In as much as you’ve not done it unto the least of My bretheren,

    You’ve not done it unto Me.

    In as much as you’ve not done it unto the least of My bretheren,

    You’ve not done it unto Me. Depart from Me.

    And these shall go away into everlasting fire.

    But the righteous into eternal life!

    And my friends, the only difference between the sheep and the goats, according to this scripture,

    is what they did, and didn’t do!!”

  31. Thanks, Sue, for the interesting cultural insights. I pray that you are correct in your assessment that Rutter felt awkward and that he simply did not express himself clearly to an American. Thanks for your participation at


  32. Expected Imminently

    John Rutter CBE is one day older than me!

    Brits generally hold to the rule not to speak about religion or politics in polite company. I can imagine him feeling ‘on the spot’ and turning red as the young woman broke an unspoken rule. His reply to her could be seen as Brit speak for the US more upbeat enthusiasm of ‘Yes sister, praise the Lord’.

    I am more outspoken about my faith than most Brits are, but I too would feel awkward with such a direct approach. It’s like a ‘space invasion’ and a culture shock all rolled into one for most of us, especially we oldies.

    JR’s background was Quaker but brought up and educated in our default religion of Church of England (as was I). He calls himself an “agnostic supporter of the Christian Faith”. At the time we were at school, we had prayers and readings from the Bible in morning assembly. We were given more information during our weekly RE lesson. I am hopeful that many of my age group trusted Jesus for Eternal Life with the simplest, most childlike faith. The ‘I don’t know’ comes as a result of all the mixed messages we have been subjected to since the 1960’s imo.

    Quoting General Booth of the SA “Why should the devil have all the best music”.


  33. Jarrod,

    Thanks for your comment — You know you are welcome and will find many free Grace friends commenting here.

    Thanks for your comments on Music. There are varied opinions on that subject. The important thing is preaching the inherent Good News of the Gospel of God’s Grace in all we do.

    Thanks for your email to our system but we usually don’t answer them specifically unless in a comment. You are welcome to include all or part of your email in commenting on an appropriate article.

    Our Co-Administrator, Bruce Bauer recently wrote to me personally about a group called The Revolution Church taking over churches in So. California and other places. Sounds like the same thing — maybe the same group.

    Thanks for visiting —

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  34. Hi guys and Gals,

    I just found this web site a week ago and it is pretty refreshing to see some truth speakers and seers out in this vast waste land!

    I was going to post something on music but kept on reading and started to cry! It sure is nice to see people who have true Hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. The Joy and Hope of Him is barely visible out here anymore! It seems even most Christians have never been taught of the Freedom in Christ, they get shot right into guilt right out of the gates of salvation.

    I do want to say that in Grace I dont have to worry much about music and know that we are never going to get rid of the stuff that “I don’t like”. And The Holy spirit will reveal truth to someone that wants it even in secular music….even in rock and roll if it has some truth in it. I have a story about someone that was led to the Lord with a few words from a secular HARD metal band. The Spirit used those few words in that song that spoke truth to this person and was led to the Lord.

    I know its ok to talk about our opinions on music and how its mostly corrupted anymore with some kind of unbiblical source. And i know that you guys are Grace minded, but me personally I dont worry about it that much, its the way this world operates and I am not going to change it. I thank the Lord God has given me a pastor teacher that taught me how to discern from the lies in it though and can offer a biblical answer to anyone if they ask me about it.

    Lewis sperry chafer said it so great,

    This whole world is designed by the kingdom of darkness to be an anesthetic for mans empty heart, and as Christians we are NOT to go out and try to rid the world of that anesthetic. We are to go out and offer the Gospel to mans empty heart.

    But i do know what you guys are saying about some of this music.Its frustrating and sickening at times but I know we are not going to change it.

    Its ironic that sometimes there is more truth in a secular song then in some of the so called pulpits around today!

    Thanks for a grace web site!
    Jarrod Kruger

  35. Holly, I am sorry to hear of the passing of your husband. He sounds like a wonderful person, and I am looking forward to meeting him! I also rejoice at your compassion and courage in using so many occasions, including difficult moments, to proclaim the Gospel.

  36. Bruce – I did know about your mother, and I am so sorry, but so rejoicing for her, and praying that as people watch your example and hear your words of testimony, the light you shine in your life, that they will be drawn to the Lord and believe…

    Trust4Himonly – love your name, so sorry to hear of your loss too…Yes keep praying! Keep praying for opportunities, He will certainly give them.

    I will just say that I was extremely upset at Harry’s sudden death, because I had no assurance of his salvation, until after the funeral. But even in that the Lord worked, as non-believing friends comforted me with “he’s in a better place” and I told them that I had no assurance of that, and was able to share why. But after his funeral, at the family gathering for dinner (at his restaurant), his sister-in-law asked if she could speak to me. I’ll try to keep this short (I know some are chuckling about that:)

    Anyways, she told me Harry had a dream of my husband and explained how superstitious Chinese are, and she is one of 15 siblings, the only believer, and her sister called her in a panic and told her that Harry was going to die (this is what they believe when they have these types of dreams so soon after one dies I guess).

    She made her come right then from Canada, Ha (her name) made it in 3 hrs to a flight, packing, driving to the airport; everything. She brought 5 Chinese Bibles, rushed into the hospital room to see Harry eating and sandwich and sitting up looking fine. Now I know God gave her that day to read and share, for the next day Harry took a terrible turn, and her sister Ming sent her in to talk to Harry. He was out of it, but she said she told him again the good news, and asked him if he believed. She said to Him, if you are too weak, just say “yes”. He didn’t say yes.

    So she continued, if you are too weak to speak you can nod… Jesus know your heart (in her Chinese accent), but he did not nod. She finished with, “I finally told him, you believe in your heart, and Jesus know, you will be saved.”

    At that moment she exclaimed, (again in her Chinese grammar) “HE SAY YES! NOW, HE IN GLORY WITH YOUR HUSBAND!”

    I guess most there didn’t understand the hugging and joy, but I wept over the Lord’s faithfulness, the prayers, the speaking to Harry, all seemed to fall on deaf ears, except for the one time I spoke to him when he asked me all those questions. So I am quite sure we will see people we will definitely be rejoicing. Praying and speaking His Word any chance we get. God is most definitely faithful to give the increase!

  37. Holly
    Nice to hear your testimonies- gave me encouragement to keep praying for those I know who do not know the Lord and for more opportunities to witness. 🙂
    So sorry for your lost of your husband- for him he is with the Lord and enjoying eternity with the Savior, but for you it must be hard to not have that one you love around. It is harder on us who are still living when someone has passed because we do not have the love and encouragement of those who were here- I know I miss my dad and his smile and constant positive attitude, but he is also with the Lord and I am glad he will have no more sorrow.

  38. Dear Holly,

    Thank you for sharing with us about the loss of your husband. I will pray for God’s comfort, strength and peace for you at this difficult time. I, too, lost someone dear to me, my mother, about five weeks ago. She was 89 years old and she loved the Lord deeply since childhood. She built a foundation in our home to where all of my four siblings and I came to know the Lord in our youth. At her service there was a bit of sadness, but more joy in a life well-lived for Christ and one that no longer has to struggle with physical health and pain.

    Blessings on you dear sister and friend in the Lord!

  39. Pearl, thank you, God gave us seven more years than the doctors, so the kids got time with dad. My youngest was just born when he was diagnosed, and just turned 10. God gave time for me to be strengthened in Him, and my children also to be brought up in a better way than I was for sure. I will say that when He died, I prayed for harvest, and two have gone to be with the Lord, one a former Buddhist I witnessed to and had no assurance until after he died, and I shared the gospel at his funeral, that he had come to faith. (He was one of Gilbert’s best friends.)

    I shared the gospel at Gilbert’s funeral, there were about 250, I sure pray I shared it clearly. I have been praying for harvest ever since. Another friend, Nancy, more of an acquaintance, had done some notary public paperwork for me, I was called in Bible study one night, she was in the hospital, liver failure. I came down with my Bible, her Catholic husband met me at the door and I said I thought I might read the Word and pray with her. (She was on a respirator and swollen beyond belief). He said he had a question to ask me first that no priest or minister had been able to answer. (I thought uh oh…)… And I said “o.k.? He asked, “where do the blind lead the blind”… ? PHEW… “Into the ditch”, I responded and he seemed impressed and said he was going to make a call and left me with her. I was able to freely pray and share, and she not only squeezed my hand when I read Rom 10:8-13, she actually tried to speak through the respirator and blinked… I came back one more day, and prayed for another Christian to visit, who did right after me, and then Nancy went to be with the Lord.

    I went to speak at Nancy’s funeral, was not sure they would have me or not, and had prepared an entire gospel around why Jesus came, (to seek and to save that which was lost) based on it being around Christmas, which was her favorite time of year. More people showed up than I thought, so before I lost my nerve, when they offered for people to speak, I took the long walk up front. (I was sitting in back). And so I spoke, and the Lord gave me strength, walked back, and I was the only one. The man who gave the sermon actually also gave a clear presentation, I was surprised. The people who came up afterwards showed me clearly how wonderful the Lord is in His work, people from the bank who had not known her but prayed, a co-worker, who had shared, and had no assurance it had been heard, we all wept and hugged. I tell you, (as you all know), He is so good. We all were nothing, He gave the increase, but each time, what a miracle.

    Anyways, it was the biggest loss of my life, but the biggest gain for my husband 🙂 And what a precious gift to me too, that some of his friends have believed and gone on to glory. Love in Christ to you all 🙂

  40. I feel quite tongue-tied, Holly, learning that you lost your husband. I’m so sorry for your loss, but clearly see you are at rest knowing “…that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.”

    “When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!” Amen? Amen!

  41. Jack, somehow until now, I didn’t read your post about Shirley reading Job’s devotional to you, brought me to tears.

    Yes, that is the song I am hearing :)…I wrote something a few years back about Job, I don’t know if it’d be called a song or a poem, but I love the book of Job, and most especially those chapters. So, it is sweet to see that today.

    Gilbert was a normal guy, but he was always quietly helping someone who ran out of gas, or the older lady who didn’t have family he would make the excuse to get his own Mcdonalds, Helen liked “Happy meals” 🙂

    Or someone needed a jump, or a tool, or money, or whatever. I’ll never know in this life all he did, but he never pretended to be anything. He knew the Lord loved him first. He had that childlike faith, and so I also now know who I am/was (I Cor 1:26-29) and who all the glory belongs to.

    Thank you for being faithful to share what came to you, it touched me greatly.

    I too am overwhelmed by His great love and His marvelous grace…

  42. Holly and Pearl,

    Further off topic: I must set the record straight — I am dyslexic only since my last good eye has not allowed me to read complete words. It is quite amusing at times. I also don’t claim any unusual creative genius – even though there was a time I produced several useful inventions but certainly nothing like Gilbert’s.

    Holly, he must have been a wonderful Christian guy.. looking forward to meeting him in Heaven.

    In Jesus, overwhelmed by His Grace, Jack

  43. It has been a blessing how this conversation has gone off topic. 🙂

    Maybe not so for the author (sorry Bruce) but for all the feelings it has invoked in me throughout this thread for various reasons.

    No invitation during Christmas services and no gospel….has been a troubling thing to me also during regular services, along with the great opportunity during Christmas, a time some consider attending church. And I ponder if this is why men such as Paul Washer ridicule the altar call or praying and receiving the Lord into your heart, or “the idolatry of decisionism” as Washer snidely calls it (as if we teach a prayer saves).

    Learning that you are dyslexic made me smile Jack and even more fondly as I saw what Pearl said about dyslexic people.

    It is true, my husband was both, dyslexic and a problem solver of great creativity. He designed some of the projector system for the lighting that went up on the Space Shuttle the Endeavor when a local company was stuck. Also when another large company had problems with the motherboards for the space station (they were bumping when going through x-rays), Gilbert came up with a fixture to hang them upside down, allowing the weight of the motherboard to hold it more stable. He had a way of looking at things for sure… A gift from God.

    I do not remember the date I sat and prayed with my mom, but I do know it was before I started kindergarten (at 4). I knew I believed, I knew what I believed, and I know that some doubt such young conversions, but whenever it was that I became His, I am His for sure and so thankful. I for one am glad for those VBS classes that Paul Washer also ridicules and says they make false converts. He makes yokes too hard for the people to bear, so the churches are no longer giving invitations because they are mocked. The gospel is not just to be believed, but as we know, has all sorts of requirements added by these men. I am sure thankful that someone loved me enough to preach the gospel and I am thankful men believed in the POWER of the gospel unto salvation and didn’t feel the need to add their gimmicks, words of wisdom, accusations, fears, clever words, or mocking to it…

  44. Interesting timing, Jack. I recently had a conversation with a fellow homeschooler on dyslexia: she had just finished reading a book about it and was thrilled to learn that dyslexics are actually quite gifted in how they problem-solve. They just “see” things differently, as well as approach things creatively. She added that a certain learning institution (it’s on the tip of my tongue) specializing in technical stuff (don’t say it) actually looks for serious dyslexics! How ’bout that?

    Now, back to topic. Yours is a wonderful testimony. I wish I had something as marked in my memory as yours, but looking back, I do see His hand guiding me along the way.

    To this day, I’m very sad to say I’ve yet to hear a verbal invitation such as you describe. Last Sunday, we attended a Christmas concert put on by the local First Baptist Church. It was very moving, very well done, but I never heard the gospel, and sadly, neither did the hundreds who attended. Now, assuming they examined their program during the service or afterward, they would’ve read the typical commitment contract.

    Wish we could hear your performance, Bruce!

  45. Pearl,

    We agree — I thoroughly enjoyed Holly’s testimony.

    And about my anniversary, my poor dyslexic vision read your note incorrectly as “84th anniversary,” which got me to thinking. Next year (if I am still around and kickin’) I can flip between my natural birth at 84 and my spiritual birth of 48 — dyslexically.

    My 48th spiritual anniversary provided conversation for Shirley and me. I have tried to analyze how I, an atheist through my 35th year, trusted Christ as my Savior – 48 years ago tonight. I cannot explain it, except when Ray Stanford presented the Gospel it was as if he was speaking to a friend — simple, uncomplicated and complete. It just made sense for me to make my decision that night and I felt I would be “stupid” not to (in Ray’s very kind way of making the Gospel clear and me feel “stupid” if I didn’t trust Christ). I would like, for the sake of sharing my faith with atheists, a more clear understanding of “Why me, why that night??” I had heard all the false messages and rejected them.

    I am sure it was under the conviction of God’s Holy Spirit, though I had no idea at that time, and I was just open for His Truth of salvation by Grace in Jesus Christ alone that night.

    Thanks Pearl for your wonderful comments.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  46. Holly,

    Maybe this is the music you hear.

    Last night Shirley read to me a devotional from Job where, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the Author of Job wrote:
    “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Job 38:7

    It is wonderful that man finally caught up with God’s Amazing Word late in the 20th Century.

    Thanks Holly, you are an inspiration to us all.

    In Jesus happily and eternally, Jack

  47. Attached is a link to an article by J.B Marchbanks entitled “Your Little One is in Heaven”.

    Imbedded in the article is a poignant inscription from a child’s tombstone that reads as follows:

    “Beneath this stone
    an infant’s body lies;
    say, is it saved or lost?
    If death’s by sin, it sinned,
    for it lies here!
    If Heaven’s by works,
    in Heaven it can’t appear.
    Oh, reason how depraved!
    Revere the sacred page
    the knot’s untied.
    It died, for Adam sinned
    it lives, for Jesus died.”

    Please find link to the article, below:

    Click to access GFJ%202005%2004%20Your%20Little%20One%2000%20Marchbanks.pdf

  48. I’m smiling, as I think on the little girl I was that came to Christ, I lost my brother when I was three, we were very close in age. I was very cognizant of Jesus back then, I talked to Him as I played alone from that day, but not really alone. I believed, and I wanted to receive Him and become one of His.

    Yes, He dwells in my heart by faith, as much as Paul Washer wants to ridicule and mock that simple faith. Likely I didn’t understand repentance then to his approval I am guessing.

    I too came to Christ around the time you both did, but lots of wasted years… I would like to thank Dr. David Mitchell, my Sunday School teachers and mom and dad for teaching me faithfully from His Word since I was too little to remember.

    I pray more will come to Him during this time as we reflect on His first coming and His sufficient work on the cross (and look forward to His second coming).

    Thank you all for your kind words, I can’t really take any more credit for my blog than compiling some of the heart wrenching comments, some Bible passages that came to mind and that others also shared. Adding Jack’s letter of comfort was just the finishing touch.

    I too wish more would use this opportunity to reach others with the good news that they have been blinded to. May we all continue to proclaim the good news from day to day. God bless you all.

    I’m hearing music…. (Godly music only 🙂

  49. Bruce,

    Thank you. Happy 48th Anniversary to you too!! Just a slight difference in age, right?

    We will be praying for your church’s Christmas service — that many will respond to the Wonderful Grace of Jesus!!

    It would be a such a blessing if all church’s Christmas services would emulate yours and Tom’s and focus on lost souls receiving the Gospel of God’s Gift to the world, Jesus Christ, rather than the tradition, glamor and glitz we so often see.

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  50. Thanks, Jack, for getting the conversation back onto a focus on Jesus and the gospel. And thank you for your wonderful word of testimony. I, too, trusted Christ as my Savior, as a child, in 1964.

    I will be singing in our church’s choir in four services this weekend giving our annual Christmas concert. I pray that many will hear and respond to the gospel through the music, the narration and the message which will be preached from Philippians 2.

    Blessings and Merry Christmas to all of our Expreacherman friends!

  51. Holly’s post was profoundly heartwrenching I’m so glad she included your note at the end, for it was equally profound, earnest and wise, pointing to this weary world’s only Hope, eternal life (which begins the moment we believe) in Christ Jesus through His atoning blood.

    Very encouraged to learn of those who were saved tonight at the Christmas concert. And Happy 48th to you!

  52. Jon,

    That’s Ok!! – I just took the topic way off track with my comment in answer to Jim F and Pearl about their mention of the Sandy Hook School tragedy. But, even so with that comment I hoped to draw us back to the Gospel of God’s Grace.

    To all:
    As an important side note: Dr. Tom Cucuzza just emailed me that they had 4-5 individuals indicate they were trusting Jesus Christ alone as their Savior during his Church’s Christmas Concert tonight, just a couple of hours ago. It was broadcast live streaming but I missed it. I asked Tom to let me know if/when it will be rebroadcast and I will post it as another article at ExP.

    I thank God for Godly men like Tom who will clearly preach the Good News of Jesus anytime and anywhere.

    Tomorrow, December 15th is the 48th Anniversary of my second birth (Spiritually, Born Again), in 1964. That night I trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior at age 35… Amazingly at a Christmas Concert!!! That is where the Holy Spirit used His Gospel message and worshipful music to convict me, an atheist, of my need for The Savior, Jesus. I thank God for Ray Stanford (now in Heaven) who clearly preached the Gospel that night (like it was just for me) — and also Ray did so anywhere, anytime!!

    Eternally Grateful in Jesus Christ, Jack

  53. Pearl, Jim F and all,

    Holly Garcia has a wonderful,. compassionate post about comments she received concerning the Sandy Hook School tragedy. Please bear with me as I have re-posted my rather long comment directed to her readers:

    Dear Holly,

    Thanks for this very compassionate post.

    We must remember, The Lord did not want nor cause this tragedy.

    But our Savior did welcome these little children into Heaven by His Grace. I pray this tragic event will awaken our friends to the Holy Spirit’s conviction that they individually need to trust The Savior, Jesus Christ.

    As a Pastor for many years it was my difficult position to comfort and serve some young parents whose precious children had tragically passed away. Such is a time when folks, normally having no thought of the reality of death or eternity, come face to face with it.

    The Gospel of God’s Grace by Faith in Jesus Christ alone is the only individual solution for the family surveyors, relatives, friends — and even those across the country who have grieved over this terrible thing. Everyone has the opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ.

    Titus 2:11-14
    “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

    For anyone reading this and not sure of Eternal Life in Heaven some day, please trust Jesus Christ as your Savior NOW!!

    Thanks, Holly, for letting me speak.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

    Holly’s web site post:

  54. I did not take offense to your teasing Pearl. I was told similar things back when I used to listen to mostly secular music. My innocence was lost as a child so I am not surprised when I make foolish decisions as an adult which may give the devil a foothold. Sorry to have contributed to leading the discussion off track.

  55. I’m sure I have and didn’t know it (Handel for one?). That doesn’t bother me. I feel sorry for the soul who wrote it, composed it, was so close and yet so far.

    “…with more news of horrible things like these shootings – a bit of good music could go a long way to sooth the soul.”

    Amen, Jim. Kinda puts things into perspective, don’t it? I can’t begin to comprehend those entire families’ sufferings. Positively horrific.

  56. Jim F,

    I wholeheartedly agree with you. 😀

    With regards to the actual topic of this thread, would any of you ever sing songs that are doctrinally sound, but were produced by a nonbeliever. Let’s say you couldn’t even tell they were produced by a nonbeliever.



  57. Hi Rick, thanks for the thoughts. I will close with this. If you are interested in music, try checking out the book I mentioned above. There is plenty out there that shows how music can be used to influence for good or evil as it is a communication. For example, letters themselves are not moral but put into words and phrases they can become immoral communication. Notes themselves are not moral, but notes arranged musically most certainly can be and there is a broad spectrum from obviously wrong, questionable, to obviously acceptable. It is not up to me to put the scrutiny to someone else if they disagree with me on where something lies in that spectrum but I can always just encourage folks to take the next steps, whatever it may be, that the Spirit is leading them to through God’s truth. The question should never be how much can I get away with but rather what opportunities do I have to improve my Christian walk. The answer to that is open ended for many things, not just music.

    Music as a communication is less specific than words but sometimes more powerful on the emotions and can trigger thoughts or reinforce/enhance an experience. It is just like how salt can enhance your enjoyment of food. Also, think of a bar or night club playing the tune to something like Jesus Loves Me while everyone partakes in their so called fun. It would be ridiculous but rock music would go along with those activities just fine (not according to me – but according to people who do such things). The plain fact is that music is chosen to fit the occasion. Think of any movie that you have seen. The music for that movie was chosen to try to enhance and bring home the emotions, mood, and meaning of a particular scene whether good, neutral, or evil.

    Once again, I’m not arguing for a set legalistic standard but we as Christians should be wary of how music can affect us. It would be naive to say that it cannot.

    I know one thing – with more news of horrible things like these shootings – a bit of good music could go a long way to sooth the soul.

  58. Pearl,

    First, I am shocked that you own a TV… 😎

    Absolutely no apology necessary — I think most of us have contributed to veering off-topic in one way or another. But that may be the nature of open discussion.

    I think Bruce’s question is valid and during the process of discussion, we have been made to think, even though I am not sure there is a definitive answer this side of Heaven, considering our wonderful Christian Liberty.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  59. I agree, and sorry to have contributed to it, Consider the conversation wrapped up on my part, Jack.

    I would like to conclude with one thing, though: since I learned about LS (going on two years now?), I have relaxed somewhat in my “moralistic” standards, both toward myself and others. When it comes to Christian music, I set the standard high, but on secular music, I’ve returned to it and am quite flexble and enjoy many varieties, though I tend to draw the line on sensual & new age tempos & subject matter. Right or wrong, I apply that approach right across the board in all worldly considerations, from reading to viewing television (and yes, I own one). It is true that there will always be someone whose standards are higher than my own and will object to how my familiy and I live out our daily lives, but, slowly but surely, I’m learning to not be governed by what others think of me, but by my own conscience which is influenced by the Holy Spirit. This is why I emphasized Corinthians, chapter 10.

    I should’ve stayed right there, but I got up on my high horse and preached.

  60. Rick,

    Thanks — and be assured my comment was not directed to any individual but, as you say, “the direction” we seem to be heading with the conversation. I often become easily distracted.

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  61. Jack,

    Sorry I commented right after you said that. I did not see your comment. And you are right about the direction of this conversation.

    Thank you.


  62. Jon,

    I share many of your sentiments. Thanks for sharing.

    JimF said, “I think you have it right in that you need to determine for yourself what is right or wrong based on the Word and the Holy Spirit’s leading.” That was what I was getting at before, and I agree. Anyone who condemns any style music puts himself as a judge of ‘biblical’ music, how it should be, and how it should sound. Again, I’ve studied this before many times, and there is no biblical bases for what music qualifies as Christian and what doesn’t.

    As a pianist, I am more than familiar with those terms. Those terms were simply developed as standards in the past, so that people can understand/read/write music and be on the same page. I would not go as far to say that these structures were dictated by God. I’m willing to bet, however, that many create their own structures that you (even I) would describe as dissonant cacaphony. Examples of those music styles are punk, hard rock, trance, alternative, and rap. Those styles are music to their ears (not to ours), just as traditional piano playing is music to ours. However, I am willing to claim that those who use those types of styles to sing to our God are likely immersed in the culture of that style. If that is the case, then it’s their problem and not the music’s. I will not rule out the possibility of a person who plays that style of music without being immersed in that culture, and without participating in the ungodliness that comes with it. There is music that is appealing to the flesh to everyone, but it’s not the same to everyone.

    We all have the same Holy Spirit. Let us not wound our own consciences and not stumble other brothers and sisters in music. Furthermore, let us not condemn others just because they have different convictions.

  63. To all:

    This has been a fascinating and timely discussion of music — one which may have no end.

    Jon, we apologize that you may have felt “shredded.” I know of no one here who would purposely condemn a fellow believer. As Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we should encourage and not offend. Also we grow in Grace as we study and obey God’s Word, realizing and understanding the liberty we have in Christ Jesus.

    Folks, these wonderful comments and discussions are timely, however, in general I think we may have veered from our main focus and devolved into what seems to be, in some cases, a moralistic debate.

    Romans 11:6
    For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

    I must remind myself — Our focus should be:
    (1) Preach the Gospel of God’s Word — His Salvation and
    (2) Expose the lies of “religions,” among them — Calvinism and Lordship “salvation..”

    Thanks to all of you, our friends.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  64. Last night, I had typed out a few paragraphs of my own to you, Jon, from my ipad when “wha-la!”, the browser shut down and all was lost. I was so ticked and tired that I gave up and had to wait until now, which is probably better in the long run, because it gave me time to think.

    Firstly, I’m sorry you feel gained up on. My teasing you about your liking “lousy music” sure didn’t help things. I’m sorry. Truly, I was just playing with ya (see the horns budding out on the little lamb there? That’s me!).

    Secondly, I think the reason music is a recurring topic here is not to corner you nor make you feel uncomfortable, but because, unlike smoking and drinking, Christian “rock & roll” (CCM) is the now the norm in the body of Christ, when less than 40 years ago, it was unheard of. If and when churches open their doors for a holy happy hour and entice their flock into smoky contemplative rooms, you can bet we’ll be pouncing all over that too. Oh, wait…there was a news flash a few years ago of some church serving beer to its young & hip congregation. It shouldn’t be too long a wait, I guess.

    Bruce made a comprehensive list above, which you questioned. To assist you in making up your own mind, may I offer a possible source to learn more about that list above? It comes from a music teacher named Frank Garlock who has two DVD series which touch upon those a little bit. I was amazed to learn how music is basically a language with its own code, like our alphabet or math, and like any language, there is the holy and profane. Garlock’s source is the only one I’ve encountered, but Jim mentioned another source the other day. I liked the DVD series because he plays examples as he’s teaching. I tend to benefit from audio/visual instruction.

    I do remember Mr. Garlock saying that classical music in general was safe ground. He’s not going overboard by saying we ought only exist on Christian music. Come to think of it, you can find him on Youtube. That would be a good place to sample him before investing $$.

    As a caution, however, I’ll say upfront that as I’ve learned about LS, I can’t guarantee this man’s understanding of the gospel is leaven-free. There are some of us here who wouldn’t bother investing any time whatsoever in any ministry which is off on that. But, Garlock’s audience is not hearing the gospel. He assumes all present are believers and teaches music alone, and I’m of the opinion that it is worthwhile .

    I found Tom Cucuzza’s knowledge above to contain the same information I learned from Garlock. Perhaps he could offer to those who feel differently an alternative source.

    Jim’s concluding paragraph to you is the best advice yet. You are God’s precious child and He’ll lead and teach you in His good time, regardless of my input.

  65. Thank you John and Jim. I appreciate all of my brothers and sisters in Christ here. I find the excerpt you quoted to be quite a profound statement John. I will definitely read the full article.
    Jim you said: “The beauty is that if we are believers then it is all under the blood of Christ. Praise the Lord for that.” Amen to that! I hope that I will be open and obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit when truth is revealed to me. I won’t go into my musical preferences because I feel they are changing to some degree.And I know where you stand on Christian rock/pop. I will say that I don’t like having mindless garbage repeating in my head any more. I appreciate hymns much more than I used to. I still find that I prefer a somewhat more contemporary approach to some of them. I also find that I don’t like it if the music is drowning out the lyrics making them difficult or impossible to understand.

  66. Hi Jon, good comments!

    You bring up an excellent point about the beauty of music even without lyrics, like your reference to a Beethoven sonata. I believe that music itself is a creation of God meant to be enjoyed by mankind. For example, think of the sounds of nature: the buzzing of bees, the pounding of thunder, the humming of the wind, the crashing of waves on the seashore.

  67. Jon,

    I basically agree with you even though I don’t really know what kind of music you like or don’t like. Music doesn’t have to be “Christian” or intended necessarily for a Christian purpose of worship. I think that music comes up a lot because it is often an issue that is harder for people to totally wrap their minds around. It is easier to understand why things like smoking and alcohol are bad for you than it is to necessarily tell why certain types of music could have a negative influence.

    As far as short comings and habits go, we all have them or have had them. The beauty is that if we are believers then it is all under the blood of Christ. Praise the Lord for that.

    I think you have it right in that you need to determine for yourself what is right or wrong based on the Word and the Holy Spirit’s leading. Approaching things that way avoids the temptation to conform and encourages the possibility that the results of what you learn will be long lasting. Plus the Holy Spirit can’t and won’t ever fail at revealing the truth.

  68. Jon, I agree completely.

    I would like to recommend an article by William Newell entitled “Are You Living by Law or Grace?” The most pertinent excerpt is this:

    “The primary reason Christians today are living such unhappy, such empty such weak and fruitless lives is not (I dare to say it) that they are “not consecrated”, “not surrendered”, “not self-denying”, “not obedient”, not this that and the other that the thousands of preachers of legal holiness are complaining, not these at all: the trouble, the one great trouble, is that Christians do not believe they are free from the law, in Christ Jesus; and that they already have the glorious blessings they are seeking after, and need only claim them to enjoy them.”

    Please find link, below:

    Click to access GFJ%202009%2002%20By%20Law%20Or%20Grace%2000%20Newell.pdf

  69. Well torn to shreds is maybe a tad strong. But I don’t like feeling like I’m being ganged up on and I have felt that way. I don’t really know where I stand on music right now. I would certainly not force my tastes on anyone else. I appreciate everyone’s thoughts on this issue and I try not to dismiss anything out of anger or feeling rebellious.
    It’s nice to “meet” you too Holly. You said: “I truly do try to stay away from the discussions because there are many out there that are causing quite a distraction over it, and much division unfortunately insinuating their own consciences on everyone else.” It is that insinuation of some others conscience upon myself that I don’t always appreciate. I’d like to be able to decide or realize for myself that something makes me uncomfortable or is sinful.
    Jim you said: “Are you totally Christ like in everything?” That’s an easy one for me to answer. NO! absolutely not. I’m probably right up there with Samson on the scale of holy conduct. I could list all of my shortcomings and bad habits but then you all might never want to hear from me again.
    One question I have is: is there not any artistic merit to songs that aren’t Christian? Do you all only ever listen to music as a form of worship? For example, I think the song Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven is beautiful music. It has no lyrics(that I know of), Beethoven probably wasn’t a Christian, the song isn’t about Jesus, does that make it bad and harmful to listen to? It seems like this topic could just as easily be about Christians drinking alcohol. I don’t happen to drink so I could feel quite holier than thou on that issue, should I? Why is it that music seems to come up here every so often but not something like alcohol consumption or smoking etc.?

  70. Jon, I honestly do not feel anyone here would tear you to shreds for your own thoughts, I believe there are some very kind believers who have experienced God’s grace and have not forgotten the mercy we were shown. All I believe any desire here is just to search His Word for the answers and apply it to our lives in order to please Him, and abide in His truth. Good to meet you 🙂

    Pearl, you made me smile thinking maybe I could just drive somewhere quietly in order to not offend lol! But I agree completely, if it doesn’t offend us, we still should esteem the other better and no offend, nor give them a cause to stumble.

    Jim F., I agree about compromise, but I do believe if we keep pointing others to Christ and His Word, that is the best thing we can do to encourage anyone to avoid compromise or complacency. I think what happens when I look at Christ, is that I realize I am not Christlike enough, but it is His Word of Grace which is able to build us up, and so the more we know from His Word, the more we will be convinced of wrongdoing along the way.

    Just like the Word of the Lord pushed back the enemy in Isaiah 28. Precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little, it seems like that is how the Lord’s Word has worked in my life, but unlike the Israelites, I did say, I will hear Lord. So if we can just say “I will hear”… and exhort one another daily with the Word, He is able to make His servant stand.

  71. Jim,

    Your explanation is full of wisdom and truth. I couldn’t agree more and thank you for discerning that this isn’t an issue of law, but of Spirt. Even though I have listened to and watched Frank Garlock’s two programs on music about 5 years ago, (which are excellent, btw, for anyone who would like to know more on this issue) I hadn’t made that distinction (and if he made that clear in the series, I forgot it!).

    I guess what I’m more or less trying to avoid is the debate forum in this issue. Unless a person is actually willing to take up and pursue the study of this particular topic (which I think is important to do), I think the attitude will lean toward defensiveness and leaping to the feeling of being condemed. So, I can sure see how my stance might lead to a sort of subtle compromise, being that it is a spiritual issue, not legal. Thank you for pointing that out.

  72. The issue of music is many times not a question of law but a question of Spirit. We know that the Spirit does not lead one to fulfill the lust of the flesh or Old nature. There is that music, which in any time or culture, goes along with sin rather than righteousness. There are certain kinds of music that goes well with things like murder, rebellion, witchcraft, immorality, drunkenness, idol worship etc. There is also that which goes well with worshiping God. No amount of Christian words can redeem music that caters to the old nature.

    As believers, we shouldn’t settle for complacency in any spiritual area. There is always more to learn and there are always areas to improve in. This is the great thing about hearing preaching from the Word of God.

    This is also not about comparing oneself to others. It is about looking to Christ and comparing yourself to Him. Are you totally Christ like in everything? When we compare ourselves to Christ instead of others we can never say that we have arrived at “good enough” in our progressive sanctification. We should be as runners in a race pressing toward the goal. This is not in order to prove our salvation, prove we are better than others, or to stay saved but to succeed in Christian living. How many of us struggle at times with sin or spiritual issues? We are in a Spiritual warfare every day. We also need to realize that our enemy the devil is skilled in the use of music and will indeed be happy to see it used to counter our spiritual walk even if it is just by a little. That little bit can add up over time and lead us to further sin if we are not careful. It is the same way with doctrinal errors that may seem small.

    This time of year is an especially good time to use good music to celebrate Christ. Sure some things may be written by unbelievers but if you keep your focus on God and His Word then any error will eventually stand out in comparison.

  73. I wouldn’t want to see you torn to shreds either, Jon. You’re our cherished brother, even if you do listen to lousy music 😉 !

    Thanks, Holly, for your kind words. I also appreciated your contribution, and think you summarized it well when you said,

    “I don’t know about them, but I certainly know the tree wasn’t brought in my house as an idol, nor do I bow down to it, pray to it, or claim it can deliver me. I do not carve it into the similitude of a man, and I certainly recognize, it was made by the Lord, to provide shade, clean air, shelter, firewood to warm ourselves by, or to bake our bread with.”

    That’s really the heart of the matter, isn’t it?

    Now, as for music, there are a few here who like CCM, and Jack’s friend Pablo said that it disgusts him and reminds him of his days as a rebellious youth (a born again, former stripper said the same thing, and it makes perfect sense to me). Well, let’s imagine a scenario where Jon and Pablo are taking a three hour drive somewhere, together. Rather than Jon insist on having his way by defending his liberties and telling Pablo that he’s condemning him because he likes CCM and should therefore get over it, I think the proper action would be for Jon – the one who doesn’t suffer unpleasant memories, saturated by similar rhythms – to attune his liberties in Christ to that which would benefit his brother, not weaken him. Does that mean that Jon should have to listen to old gospel tunes for three hours? Well, not if it reminds him of his strict, judgmental religious upbringing. Perhaps it would be just as offensive (and I can sure understand that, too!) No, at this point, the two brothers should agree on something else, in the spirit of charity. I think this is the thrust of 1 Corinthians, chapter 10.

  74. john wrote: “I think it is more than likely that much of what passes for Christian music today is done by unbelievers.”

    That goes back to what I was asking, why does the community of “Christians” accept that? Really it is because the community of “Christians” itself is wheat and tares together, and separation from false teachers is considered “passe”. But how strongly the first churches in the New Testament taught to separate from false teachers. Even if they wrote a “nice song”.

  75. Bruce, I like what you said: “an unbeliever might be called a believer of false doctrine.”

  76. I just want to say that I appreciate Rick and hollysgarcia’s input on this subject. I feel that if I don’t agree with most here that old hymns are the only suitable thing to listen to I will be ‘torn to shreds’, so to speak. So I generally remain silent on the issue of music.

  77. Hi John,

    Thanks for the solid insightful comments.

    Re. #1, that much of what passes for Christian music is probably produced by unbelievers: sad commentary on today’s state of Christendom and I would agree with your assessment.

    Re. #2, I employed the term “true” just for extra emphasis. The Gospel of John uses that literary device pretty often. Obviously, there is no such thing as a false believer, although an unbeliever might be called, “a believer of false doctrine.”

    Re. #3, interesting approach, focusing on the performance end of things, that to be honoring to God, biblical lyrics should be sung by believers. I agree. I have seen church choirs where there was an “open-door” policy in which unbelievers were allowed to participate. The justification for this practice was, “Well, maybe they will get saved along the way through their participation.” I think that this modus operandi is flawed and naiive; it could let the enemy (Satan) get a foothold within the church. I’ve seen this phenomenon play out in Christian colleges, in which standards have been lowered to allow unbelievers to enroll as students and liberals to be hired onto faculties. Within two or three decades the colleges begin to look pretty much like any other secular institutions out in the world.

    Thanks again John.

  78. Rick, Welcome, I am happy to meet another that has seen the troubles with the teachings found in much of reformed theology.

    In our household, on Christmas, we do what we do with joy, and to offer no offense to another believer if we can at all help it. I found much interest in the festivals and feasts of Israel, specifically the Feast of Tabernacles which the sukkah was decorated similarly to a Christmas tree. But whatever the roots of anything, I discuss what different people’s ideas are with my children, what passages they use, and I also go through the verses in I Cor 10 as Pearl mentioned, and Romans 14, Col 2, Rom 8 and Gal 3-4 are some that I go over with them so they can make up their own mind.

    I truly do try to stay away from the discussions because there are many out there that are causing quite a distraction over it, and much division unfortunately insinuating their own consciences on everyone else.

    I believe it makes them doubt about things they had freedom over before and honestly steals some of their joy. The Lord will show us all in His Word which things are not for us.

    I never celebrated Santa, but still discuss with them why other people do and the theory behind him, but as for me and my house, we celebrate the birth of our Lord, the coming of our Saviour.

    The tree means nothing, but if we put it up, we discuss the tree that the Lord hung on at Calvary, the evergreen signifying everlasting life, the lights celebrating the Light of the world, and how the gospel spreads around the world through us. The star of Bethlehem at the top, the gifts of the Magi and the greatest gift ever given.

    But we don’t force our way on another, nor do we let someone else judge us either, if their conscience bothers them in these areas lacking clarity in the Scriptures, I think they should not do it. Those are some of my feelings, unfortunately in the discussion that ensued over a couple of days, a pastor who has come out of Catholicism took a stand a couple days ago of the idolatry of the Christmas tree etc. defining it as the tree of Jeremiah 10. And I think some are shaken when they see a voice of authority tell them what they are doing is adopting the ways of the heathen and practicing idolatry. I don’t know about them, but I certainly know the tree wasn’t brought in my house as an idol, nor do I bow down to it, pray to it, or claim it can deliver me. I do not carve it into the similitude of a man, and I certainly recognize, it was made by the Lord, to provide shade, clean air, shelter, firewood to warm ourselves by, or to bake our bread with 🙂 God bless!

  79. Jack, the story of your pianist being so angry so quickly, over something that was her “favorite”, sure tells quite a bit. I hope she remembers that event and thinks on how blessed she was that she had a pastor that stood for truth.

    Pearl, so far what I’ve read from you here, I’ve not seen any pessimism come from you…

    Your sweet boy, how wonderful for him to try to share the gospel with relatives, how precious in His Saviour’s site, and how terribly sad for them that they would respond that way.

  80. Bruce, you asked: “Is it possible for an unbeliever to produce “Christian” music, music that will uplift true believers, music whose words can be honoring to God, music whose words may even lead one to Christ and salvation? What do you think?”

    I’ll address them one at a time:

    1. Is it possible for an unbeliever to produce “Christian” music?

    I think so. I think it is more than likely that much of what passes for Christian music today is done by unbelievers.

    It is a similar question as “is it possible for an unbeliever to write “Christian” books, be a pastor of a “Christian” church, be a “Christian” evangelist, and so on. I believe it happens all of the time.

    2. Music that will uplift true believers?

    I think it is possible for an unbeliever to produce music that will uplift true believers, although I don’t really know what a “true believer” is. Someone is either a believer, or they are not. A believer may be uplifted by anything that he thinks exalts Christ.

    3. Music whose words can be honoring to God?

    Yes. If the words are sung by believers.

    4. Music whose words may even lead one to Christ and salvation?

    Possibly. Particularly if they include the uncorrupted Gospel message.

  81. Rick,

    I know what you are saying basically because I’ve heard it many times before. It is just that I always try to get people to research things a little more for themselves regardless of what conclusions they think they have arrived at concerning music. The Holy Spirit is a Good teacher! The Bible does indeed say much about music. There is a book out now that I have been planning to read through on the topic of music written by Dana Everson called Sound Roots. I know the author personally and he has been a music teacher for years. It looks to be a book worth reading.

    I do believe that while there can be differences in christian liberty, there is also kinds of music that is more universally carnal in nature. There is also that which is definitely not of the Spirit (because iti itself communicates sinful sensuality) and a person walking in the Spirit would take part in it. Any line of discernment can be tweaked but we should be more toward a more and more Biblical view of music and not toward the edge of the world’s music.

    As far as this: “However, there is no standard of music that one must have to make it pleasing to God. There is no biblical support for this. ” Check it out for yourself you’d be surprised.

  82. Matt,

    I apologize — It seems your timely comment was, for some unknown reason, hung up in our spam filter. Just now caught it. No obvious reason.

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  83. Just to clarify, I believe these issues are important and that it’s not what I deem appropriate/inappropriate, but what God would have me do in light of revelation concerning these matters.

  84. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Hello all,

    Regarding this discussion, I add the following Biblical and personal insights:

    Music: God is glorified (Psalms 86:12) and the assembled saints unified, ministered to and edified through obedience to the command of singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs of praise, rejoicing, and thanksgiving with their spirits, with melody and grace in their hearts and with their understanding to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 14:15, 14:26; Psalms 47:6-7, 95:2, 96:1, 98:1,105:2, 149:1, 150) and, at times, lifting up our hands to His name (Psalms 63:4). Although the New Testament emphasizes the voice with no mention of musical instruments (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; James 5:13; Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26), the Old Testament commands praises with such instruments (Psalms 147:7, 150:2-5).

    Volume/Amplification: In my view, musical instruments, if utilized, ought to be at low enough volume levels to not interfere with and/or distract from the clear hearing of the words sung. Singing leaders voices should possibly be without artificial amplification to promote equality and harmony of the assembled believer’s voices. (2 Chronicles 5:13; Romans 15:6).

    Things to Avoid: Music ought not to be chaotic or frenzied (1 Corinthians14:40, 14:33) and ought not be so loud as to damage hearing (Romans 13:10). Worship should direct attention to God, not to a worship leader or team or choir, if any (1 Corinthians 10:31; Matthew 4:10).

  85. Thanks for the welcome, Pearl.

    Your response was great, and thank you. I do not hope to divide the body through an issue like this either, but I also do not want fellow believers to be so condemning toward others’ convictions especially in this area of ‘rock and roll’ music.

    I don’t know if you implied this as debate, but I don’t view this as debate. I’m on the same page as y’all with music (especially LS), but I suppose I view the subject here from a different angle.


  86. Thanks for your response Jim F.

    You said, “there is that type of music that does appeal in a carnal way to the flesh.” Yes, but that is different for every believer with the Holy Spirit. It’s not right nor possible to impose these standards upon others and call them less discerning/mature/spiritual. I’m not saying you’re doing that, so don’t misunderstand me. However, there is no standard of music that one must have to make it pleasing to God. There is no biblical support for this. The style of music is merely a style, and it might offend one but not the other. It might hurt the conscience of one but not the conscience of another. Sure, the music style may have some bad roots, but not everyone uses the musical style in association with its bad roots. Only those who are sensitive and offended by it do so.

    While I am personally very traditional in terms of musical style, I do not condemn nor dogmatically draw a line for musical style. I am not comfortable with CCM, but I don’t believe the music is solely bad just because of the tune. At the core of it, I hope the believer sings with his heart, understands what he’s singing about God and is touched by it.


  87. Welcome Rick,

    I don’t think it really matters what I think or anyone else here thinks. I do have firm convictions of my own about it, but I don’t believe it’s my place to impose them onto others who may not agree. I didn’t arrive at my convictions of music type, Christmas/Easter issues (and what have you) overnight, or because I was “whooped” in a debate, nor do I expect others will either. First Corinthians, chapter 10 addresses these more touchy issues. What I get from there is that, first and foremost, my position as a believer ought to be toward encouraging and strengthening my brothers/sisters in Christ, not defending my liberties as a Christian. Also, whatever I have to offer ought not come from the motivation of showing off knowledge “which puffeth up”, but ought to first come from the Spirit of charity Who seeks to edify.

    As Holly already noted, it’s a shame to see how these debates tear at the body, and is a sore witness to those on the sidelines.

  88. Hi Rick,

    Plenty of thoughts there but I’ll briefly comment on a few.

    There is that type of music that does appeal in a carnal way to the flesh. No amount of mixing God’s truth with it makes it better. It is actually the other way around. The music then would be putting the meaning of the text in a bad (sensual) light. Not everything is up to the hearer because we must remember that the hearer should have the Holy Spirit to help with discernment as to if something is carnal or not. Will you find an air tight line for every single thing? – no – but you might be surprised how little gray area there really is. Plus you have this issue of not offending the weaker brother even if it is acceptable to you.

    As far as Christmas decoration etc, I don’t like Santa or teaching children about Santa and I don’t like some of the song that promote Santa and commercialism. The trees don’t bother me and the rest is fine as long as the person understands primarily why Christmas is celebrated and celebrates it for that reason.

  89. That’s disappointing to hear Handel may not have been a believer, but if it is true, then it certainly adds to the case that an unbeliever is able to compose music which brings glory to God and may ultimately even be instrumental in bringing others unto salvation, and yet, as JimF said, sure won’t determine a single note to that one’s eternal standing before God.

  90. Jack wrote: “I still use that as an example of the need to use words “easy to be understood” — because I am retired now and have no worry about offending my pianist.”

    I’m glad you said this too, because I’ve struggled with this in the past with certain songs. I’m very sorry that happened to you with your pianist, but the fact that you said it then and now, is good for people like me. I felt in the past like, I must be the “unspiritual” one, because I had no idea what certain songs were saying at all. So since I didn’t understand what those certain songs were saying, then I couldn’t worship the Lord, and I wasn’t edified by what I heard.

  91. What do you think about turning something that was meant for bad or associated with the bad into something good? “Bad” music or “immoral music” can be used with doctrinally sound lyrics to become a song pleasing to God. What is sensual/sexual to one may not be so with another. Not everyone’s standard is the same in this manner. While I do agree with what you respected teachers have said, I do believe that there is no line to draw here.

    On another relevant note, unbelievers can produce great lyrics doctrinally…but they’ll only have lucked out and it won’t be because they understood what sound doctrine is. The unbeliever doesn’t have the Spirit.

    Thanks. Quick question for you all in regards to Holly’s earlier comment. What do you think about celebrating Christmas, with the trees, decorations, Santa, etc.?


  92. Hi Jim, Good comments!

    I have to agree with you that even if someone got saved through the hearing of a biblically-based song’s lyrics, that fact would do nothing to save the unbelieving song writer who continues to reject Christ as his Savior.

  93. Thank you, Jack, for your kind words and insightful thoughts.

    Your reference to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is interesting. They perform a lot of patriotic pieces and, as you say, some old hymns. It seems like it is really important for them, as a whole, to be viewed and accepted as part of “mainstream” Christianity. A couple of decades ago a popular Christian singing duo, Hale and Wilder, were hired to perform as the featured lead guests at a Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert. I thought, at the time, that this was a poor choice on their part because it could send out a message that they were endorsing or embracing Mormonism.

    I trust that your treatment wasn’t too painful friend.

    Blessings to you and to Shirley!

  94. Thanks Pearl; I always enjoy your comments.

    I think that you really nailed a large portion of this discussion by your pointing out about the emotion-producing facet of music. I suppose that even agnostics and atheists can be moved to tears by a powerful piece of music. By the way, your reference to Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus #44 from “The Messiah,” is appropriate in this discussion, for I have heard that it is possible that Handel was not really a believer in Christ. Can you or anyone else shed any light on this issue?

    Blessings friend!

  95. Thanks Tom for that excellent analysis! Great insights.

    I especially appreciated your statement, “But it is not them that make biblically sound lyrics, it is the Bible that does.” How profound and true! To illustrate what you are getting at, let’s say, for example, one were to commission a well-known secular musician and song writer, say, like Paul McCartney, to compose an anthem to be sung at some major Christian event. The person paying and commissioning the song writer stipulates that at least thirty percent of the piece must come directly from the verbiage of the King James Version of the Book of Psalms. The artist’s motivation may be strictly to earn a handsome commission fee. The words from the Psalms may not move him personally and spiritually at all. However, the resulting composition may end up being quite poetic, spiritually uplifting and honoring to God.

  96. Abe,

    Great information about the blob of error being perpetrated in modern church songs today. I see you did not name the song — and maybe that is best because some of the apostate folks sue at the drop of a hat.

    In Jesus secure eternally, Jack

  97. Oh my. Thanks Jack! And here I was, regretting my pessimistic abrasiveness. As I typed this morning, I had in mind several family members who wear the glossy, pseudo-Christian veneer, one of whom responded with almost the exact same question to my very young son’s feeble attempt to share the gospel: “What is a Christian anyway?”

    They irk me.

    I think the rest of the comments are spot on topic, as well as edifying. Bless you, dear people!

  98. Holly,

    Thanks — Great Bible illustrations — and yes they are profound indeed… Settled!! The whole Bible is profound. I know you agree.

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  99. Pearl,

    I thoroughly enjoyed your comment, it is Truth wrapped in wonderful prose.

    So far, all comments seem to be wonderfully appropriate. Are we all on the same page??

    Just as a side note, back when I was preaching, (Tom may remember this) I was doing a study on “words easy to be understood” from 1 Corinthians 14:9 —
    So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.”

    I asked the question of the congregation, “How many of you know the meaning of that hymn title, ‘In Excelsis Deo’?” I saw only one hand.. our wonderful, talented pianist — but she exhibited a scowl. I went on to explain how we must be clear in our Gospel message, to refrain from using language that is not understandable.

    After the service the pianist came up to me privately and said, “I resign!” “Why?” I asked. She answered “You have insulted my favorite hymn and one of the classics of all time, thus you have insulted me.” I was flabbergasted, devastated and really felt terrible. I apologized profusely and pleaded — to no avail. So, we were without a pianist for quite a long time.

    I still use that as an example of the need to use words “easy to be understood” — because I am retired now and have no worry about offending my pianist.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  100. One more thing,

    Just think if an unbeliever can make music that at least contains some elements that bring glory to God, (as in actual quotes from the Bible, etc) then how much more of an opportunity do believers have to go out be inspired by the Holy Spirit and Scripture to write those new doctrinally correct songs that are sorely needed!

  101. I have to say after thinking about it that an unbeliever could possibly put enough scripture in to a song that would then allow a person to hear it and believe unto salvation. The song itself may be later used by Christians to actually praise God but it would not yield any eternal rewards for the writer. The most beautiful, doctrinally correct, artistically moral, song would be filthy rags in God’s sight on the part of that particular unbelieving song writer/composer.

    Btw, Thanks Tom for that Biblical analysis of the music issue.

  102. Holly,

    I agree with you on Christmas. Many of the traditional Christmas songs/hymns/carols are bad doctrinally. So it isn’t always an issue of old versus new. I would love to see someone write some new Christmas songs that are both doctrinally right and also beautiful in musical style.


  103. Great post Tom, I have seen some hymns too that were using Scripture but out of context, I think one that comes to mind was Battle hymn of the Republic, if I recall correctly, so even the “hymn-style” music can definitely be wrong theologically speaking. This is the time of year where the “works based judgments” come out. The Christmas tree, the celebration of not, the judgment of one calling out another for the idolization of their Christmas tree etc. It’s sad as I watch the days of discussions and the hearers who could be presented with the good news… Praying I do that each day.

    God bless each one of you here…

  104. Jack,

    I was thinking on how Balaam disobeyed God (child of disobedience) yet he had no choice but to bless the nation of Israel.

    I also thought of Caiaphas, the high priest that year, who prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation that the whole nation should not perish even as they were plotting to put Him to death…
    How profound…

  105. Great question Bruce!

    In my mind, it seems there are two issues going on here. Let me address them separately.

    1. Music has a language of its own. While music notes are amoral, they can be assembled in such a way that affects people in an immoral way. It is the same with the letters in a word. The letters by themselves are simply what they are, amoral. But they can be arranged in such a way to be vulgar, immoral, and even blasphemous.

    I believe that music is the same way. Depending on how the notes are arranged, they affect people in different ways. Ex. Some music agitates a person, some appeals to the sensual side of man, such as rock and roll or blues. Some music is happy, some is sad. Some music produces peace, calm, and contentment. Good music (just the music, not the words) is good music, regardless of who arranged the notes, whether a believer or an unbeliever. It has a language all its own.

    I know what I have written is controversial, especially in light of ‘Christian Rock”. Often times the only ones who do not believe that music itself has a language of morality are those who are involved in the CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) movement. Virtually all secular rock and roll musicians willingly admit that their music is sensual and even sexual. This is where the name, “rock and roll” came from. I can give you pages and pages of quotes from famous rock groups that confirm this and willingly say it outright. It’s the “Christian” rockers who won’t admit this to be true. They say the music is amoral.

    By the way, I am not saying that all new music is bad. There is some very good music being written today, which would mean that it is contemporary, in the true sense of the word. You just have to know where to look for it. “New” or “contemporary” is not bad because it is “new” or “contemporary”.

    2. The lyrics are another issue. Unbelievers do not have the ability to create “meaty”, doctrinally sound, lyrics. However, if they quote the Bible or biblical truth in their lyrics, to the extent that they do and are in context, they can create good lyrics. But it is not them that make biblically sound lyrics, it is the Bible that does.

    As an example, let’s say that a lost, religious, person, such as the one mentioned above by Abe, a “oneness pentecostal”, which says that you must be water baptized to be saved, and says you must speak in tongues, and also denies the Trinity”, writes a song that is biblical or quotes scripture, that part of the song is biblical, not because of them but because of the Bible. If everything they say in the song is biblical and in context, then it is truth.

    A good example of good music written by someone who I certainly would not share our pulpit with is the great hymn, Wonderful Grace of Jesus. This is one of my favorites, and it is completely biblical in every way. The music is great and so are the lyrics. But it was written by Haldor Lillenas. He was a pastor in the Church of the Nazarene. Nazarene theology teaches “complete sanctification,” meaning that believers are supposed to reach sinlessness in this life. Nazarenes also believe that you can lose your salvation, which is obviously works for salvation. If he was in fact Nazarene in theology, what do we do with him and the great hymn he wrote in light of this discussion? I don’t know whether he was ever saved or not. How do we make such a judgment? Maybe he was saved and didn’t hold to the theology of his denomination. Or maybe he was saved at a young age and then went off into works for salvation.

    There are many more examples in our hymnals as well as today, some old and some contemporary. Personally, all I can do is go back to my two points above to form a conclusion.

    Sincerely in Christ,
    Tom Cucuzza

  106. Bruce,

    This is a wonderful topic and may be considered somewhat “controversial” in some quarters.

    I was tied up most of the day today because of having my monthly IGg infusion. I am blessed to have a Biblically strong, discerning male nurse, Pablo, who comes to my home to administer it.

    He read the article and some comments over my shoulder and he, Shirley and I had an enlightening conversation about the topic.

    His comments were bracketed by two verses, one of which Jesus Speaks in John 4:23:
    But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”

    And the other, 1 Cor. 1:18:
    For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

    He felt that without Biblical/Gospel content, it was really a disservice to the listeners.

    Pablo, of Latino descent, was thoroughly disgusted with modern Contemporary Christian Music/Rock. He says he and his family (teenagers and all) prefer the old time Biblical hymns — because the CCM/Rock reminds him too much of his unsaved youth.

    Therefore we had another great infusion session today and I’m looking forward to our conversation in 4 weeks.

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  107. Thought-provoking topic, Bruce. Great comments, too, asserted by Holly and Abe.

    It is a mind-bending conundrum, contemplating how a lost person can compose such pieces as that. But, with music being such an emotionally super-charged medium, I’m not at all surprised. The events surrounding the birth of Christ don’t prick the conscience too much, do they? It’s relatively “safe ground” to tread and many there be which “adore Him” and come to the feast, only without the wedding garment. How many of us know lost, stiff-necked people who contend all roads lead to heaven, yet whose eyes moisten whenever they encounter a live manger scene, don’t hesitate to stand at the Halleluiah Chorus, or shed tears to Amazing Grace, (which is totally accepted by secular audiences)?

    Purely emotionally-driven people. That’s what makes religion so appealing – it’s whatever man wants it to be, only he must be the one calling the shots.

  108. Great article and comments. More later.

    In Christ, Jack

  109. Bruce,

    Great article and some wonderful comments also.

    My first thoughts were about the apostate cult, Mormon Tabernacle Choir and their “Christmas Albums.” You can’t get any further away from the Truth of God’s Word than that group.. yet they sing some “Christian” hymns.

    I am in the middle of my all-day monthly infusion and my regular male nurse, Pablo, a strong, discerning believer was able to look over my shoulder and read the article and comments.

    Pablo’s excellent and numerous thoughts were bracketed by two verses, one in John 4:23, Jesus said,
    “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”
    and the other:
    1 Corinthians. 1:18 “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

    The conclusion is that without the scriptural purpose and delineation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in some way, “Christian” music is deceiving and damaging.

    But as Holly said, the Lord can use anything to get our attention. But our preference should be music that honors the Lord Jesus Christ.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  110. Hi Abe; Excellent comments as always!

    Frankly, I hadn’t even thought of a connection with Lordship “salvation.” But you bring up some excellent points which really point out a quandary which is this: If Lordship “salvation” movements, conferences and “churches” are so ready to put out there for consumption just about anything that calls itself “Christian” (grossly tattooed “pastors,” rap “music,” etc.), how is it, then that their leaders, preachers and writers (Chan, Piper, Stearns, Platt, et. al.) are the first ones to declare that people who don’t act “Christian,” who don’t live a “radical” life for Christ are all, en masse, doomed to hell?
    Pretty inconsistent, wouldn’t you say?

    Thanks again Abe!

  111. Hi Holly, Great to hear from you!

    Yes, I agree with you about the sadness of this situation, about a life that seems so close to the truth, yet so far from acknowledging Christ as Savior/Redeemer. I like your reference to Nebuchadnezzar, from Daniel 4, because, in the end of the story, the king of Babylon looked upward and acknowledged the TRUE King of Heaven.

    Thanks for your comments.

  112. And if I may add one more comment about this, in our church we have some of the songs that a lot of places play, and one particular song that is popular with every church I’ve ever seen, was actually written by a band that is “oneness pentecostal”, which says that you must be water baptized to be saved, and says you must speak in tongues, and also denies the Trinity.

    So now since everyone uses this song, sooner or later a person in a Bible church goes to look up the information on the writers of the song, and they find that this band is basically in a group with a false gospel. Are they now forced to call the group with the false gospel, “Christian”? Since after all, the song itself doesn’t contain any wrong doctrine. That’s what ends up happening in these situations, and the blob is increased in size.

  113. Great questions and deep issues as always here. Yes, God can use an unbeliever to say something that would lead a person to faith. But that, in my mind, is not the issue really.

    This is just my opinion, but personally the issue in my mind is, why does “Christianity” allowing unbelievers to speak for us anyway? I ask that as if I could somehow have the ears of all “Christians”, so it isn’t us here on this website that I am referring to by us and we. By us and we, I mean professing Christians.

    Why are we allowing unbelievers to be a voice in so-called “Christendom”? I believe that has everything to do with lordship salvation again, which has been such a permeating source of evil in the Body of Christ, that we are forced to accept as “Christian”, anyone that claims to be so. Since lordship salvation says you have to “act Christian” to be Christian, then that puts a lot of people in the house, that aren’t really in the house. It is the mustard seed bush that becomes a tree that houses the birds of the air.

    Again catch that by the “we” statements here, I don’t mean this website’s people. I mean what is called “Christian” out there. Christians are generally so lacking in discernment, and so lacking in desire for discernment, that we have created a blob called “Christianity” which can include practically anyone.

    And the price that is paid for that is, the Gospel isn’t preached all that much. All the counterfeits are preached more often, and when an unbeliever is lifted up as this gentleman to a position where he can speak for “Christianity”, then his message will be once again, a false one.

    There used to be separation from false teachers. That requirement for separation is being replaced by a “unity” that will lead to antichrist.

  114. I mean absolutely no disrespect to the man, but we know that the Lord can open up the mouth of an ass, and He can make a powerful King crawl around wild for seven years. He can use I believe whoever He may wish to display His glory. I find it TRAGIC that some of his lyrics (haven’t seen them all) contain truth and beauty, but he is so close, but yet so far, from the greatest joy ever known.

    What irony that his own words testify against him and even accuse him as he calls the Lord his treasure, but he knows Him not…

    He uses a lot of God’s Word, I see Ps 121 and Numbers 6, but his eyes are closed and his ears stopped, and he is so close to tasting those words, but he is blinded by the god of this age… I’m telling you, it’s so sad… May the Lord open his eyes to see wondrous things… One thing I know, I once was blind and now I see…