Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Continuous Practice of Sin in Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism with Its Music

In the preface to Geistliches Gesangbuchlein, Martin Luther wrote (16th century):
Young people. . .  should and must receive an education in music as well as in the other arts if we are to wean them away from carnal and lascivious songs and interest them in what is good and wholesome.
In particular, I point to "carnal and lascivious songs," as opposed to "what is good and wholesome."  Things have gotten much, much worse with music.  Greater warning is needed, but far less is provided.

I assert that music possesses self-evident meaning as expressed in a consistent, regular way through history by men as to its moral significance, influence on character, and then shaping of morality.  The internet is filled with references to "lustful music" (57,000 results), "erotic music" (490,000 results), "sexy music" (2,610,000 results), and "lust music" (36,800 results) among many other similar type references.  People recognize the qualities of something lustful in music without the component of words.

Many know the story of Marilyn Monroe singing "Happy Birthday" to John F. Kennedy in a lustful manner, not related to the enigmatic lyrics of the song.  Music conveys lust minus words.  Without any context, someone understand the language by which music communicates its message.  Music not only expresses meaning, but it also arouses or influences other impressions upon its listener.  Everyone knows this.  Those who deny it do so for dubious, pernicious reasons or because of dark deception, the kind usually characteristic of an unbeliever.

Scripture warns against lust.  It is forbidden for the believer, the true Christian.  I'm including this long list as a reference.  You don't need to read every verse right at this moment, but at some point do that, and I ask you to think about how that the verse applies to music.  I'm going to apply some of them myself in manifesting the point of this post.  Don't give up.
Mark 4:19, "And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful."
Romans 1:24, "Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves."
Romans 6:12, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof."
Romans 13:14, "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof."
Galatians 5:16, "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."
Galatians 5:24, "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."
Ephesians 2:3, "Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."
Ephesians 4:22, "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts."
1 Timothy 6:9, "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition."
2 Timothy 2:22, "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity,, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart."
2 Timothy 3:6, "For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts."
2 Timothy 4:3, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears."
Titus 2:12, "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world."
Titus 3:3, "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another."
1 Thessalonians 4:5, "Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God."
James 1:14-15, "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
James 4:1-3, "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?  Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
1 Peter 1:14, "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance."
1 Peter 2:11, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims,, abstain from fleshly lusts,, which war against the soul."
1 Peter 4:2-3, "That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.  For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries."
2 Peter 1:4, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
2 Peter 2:10, "But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities."
2 Peter 2:18, "For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error."
2 Peter 3:3, "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts."
1 John 2:16-17, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
Jude 1:16-18, "These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.  But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts."
I want to focus in particular on verses that make commands to a Christian.  Romans 13:14, you can see above, commands, "[M]ake not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof."  Professing Christians who listen to pop music -- rock, rap, country, hip-hop, etc. -- disobey this command.  As they continue listening to this music, they live in continual disobedience to it.  The music makes provision for the flesh.  As a result, the command of 2 Timothy 2:22 is disobeyed, "Flee youthful lusts," and that of 1 Peter 2:11, "[A]bstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."  With lustful music playing, the professing Christian isn't fleeing youthful lust and isn't abstaining from fleshly lust.  This wars against the soul.

Many more can be applied above.  They are very serious.  The popular music hurts the Christian and displeases God.  Those who "walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, . . . despise government."  I've never seen more anger than that from those who wish to keep their lustful music.  It is feeding their flesh, and they don't want to or can't give it up.  It becomes more important than God and usually godly parents.  Young people take the music over their parents at the same time savaging the parents with scoffing.  I've watched this again and again.  It almost always goes along with immodest clothing as well.

The popular music of the world does not deny "worldly lust," and so conforms to this present world, the lust of the flesh, rather than proving what is the good and acceptable will of God (Titus 2:11-12, 1 John 2:15-17, Romans 12:1-2).   Evangelicalism and fundamentalism is filled with those who disobey these passages in a continuous manner.  It leads to a hunger and fascination with many other worldly interests and behaviors.  Rather than deny worldly lust, they deny true fellowship with God.

I am not writing here about what is even used in churches today for worship.  I'm talking about what Christians do in their lives on an almost every day basis.  They not only listen to this music, but they promote it all the time in how they use it in their cars and podcasts.  All of this shapes a different view of God than a scriptural one.  They might have "God" in their doctrinal statements, but this forms God into the image of their own lust.  They subject God to their lust and invent a different, heretical view of the grace of God.  Rather than their lives being transformed by the renewing of their minds, they conform God to their lust.  It affects everything they do, how they make decisions, what they do and how they live, much more than the continuous practice of sin in disobedience to passages against lust.  What I'm explaining, Jonathan Edwards already described in his Treatise Concerning the Religious Affections:
The affections and passions are frequently spoken of as the same; and yet, in the more common use of speech, there is in some respect a difference. Affection is a word that, in its ordinary signification, seems to be something more extensive than passion, being used for all vigorous lively actings of the will or inclination; but passion for those that are more sudden, and whose effects on the animal spirits are more violent, and the mind more overpowered, and less in its own command.
David Wells in No Place for Truth writes:
It is this God, majestic and holy in his being, this God whose love knows no bounds because his holiness knows no limits, who has disappeared from the modern evangelical world.
God hasn't actually disappeared.  He is Omnipresent.  He sustains the universe.  He is missing from the imaginations of evangelicalism and fundamentalism, replaced by a god shaped by their passions, fed by their lust.  Edwards warned of this in his Treatise Concerning the Religious Affections.  A different god is shaped in the imaginations formed by lust or passion.  Someone chooses his music according to either passion or affection, or his music fashions the passions that lead to a different god in his imagination.


Kent Brandenburg said...

The typical argument against worldly, fleshly, lustful music is that the Bible doesn't tell us what that music is. The Bible doesn't tell us what corrupt communication is. It doesn't tell us what is profane. It doesn't tell us what the attire of a harlot, the clothing of a prostitute is. Scripture expects us to know. What God says, people can know, if they want to know. The problem here is a will problem. People want their lascivious, sensual, worldly music that feeds their flesh without judgment. Their best argument is ridicule, scoffers walking after their own lust. Their justification is idolatrous. They want a god shaped like their own desires, and he only do they serve.

The people that I'm closest to, know the best, that lap up godless, pagan, Babylonian music for their own detriment and demise have never given me one argument for. There has never been a biblical basis given for it.

Jessica said...

Thank you for this article. It was convicting, and I needed it. I have a university degree in piano with a minor in voice, and I play piano at my church. Sacred music is something I'm passionate about. Music is so powerful, and I am convicted about how much lustful music I've let creep into my life. Thanks again for writing this!

Bill Hardecker said...

"I am not writing here about what is even used in churches today for worship. I'm talking about what Christians do in their lives on an almost every day basis. They not only listen to this music, but they promote it all the time in how they use it in their cars and podcasts." - I see this, have seen/heard it in a variety of platforms and wonder about it, too. Audio/Visual presentations, even sound bites however short/scant they maybe utilized are no exemption. God is in the details (Ps. 37:23-25; Pro. 16:9). I also appreciate how your cite many Scriptural passages. They certainly mean something, don't they? Them words mean things.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Thank you. I'm glad it helped. Sanctification is a struggle. I'm glad you're struggling. That's how we make progress.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Thanks. The verses must be dealt with. They mean something, yes. And scripture is perspicuous.