December 30, 2023

The answer is no longer an issue of what is or is not permissible, but rather a matter of why and how it can impact our spiritual state. As the Apostle Paul writes about this: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of anything.” (1 Cor. 6:12). But since in recent years we have witnessed divisions of entire churches and generations, we must admit that the issue of music is something we should reflect on. For some reason, this particular matter is quite acute, which seemingly has nothing to do with the basic tenets of faith.

I once thought that music should not even be a matter of any discussion. However, let’s imagine any harmless Christian movie without musical accompaniment – it will surely seem boring to us. Still, music plays a huge role in imparting emotional coloring. A certain episode can bring tears or joy, especially when it is accompanied by well-chosen music.

A long time ago I watched a secular documentary where scientists experimented on the influence of certain genres of music on our body. Because a body on average consists of 70 – 75 percent of water, it became the object of the study. After playing genres such as rock, rap, hip-hop, jazz, and classical music, the molecular structure of water changed in such a way that it had either a destructive or positive effect. Only the classical genre had a beneficial effect on water. Thus, scientists have concluded that if we listen to unnatural synthesized sounds for a short amount of time, it affects our health as if we smoked one cigarette.

So what happens in this case in our body? The fact is that sound waves cause water to not only vibrate, but also affect our nervous system, mental health, and even brain cells.

You might be asking, “Okay. But what does this have to do with my spiritual state? There are several answers to this. First, it is worth noting why we, in the church, consider smoking or drug use to be a sin while the Bible does not say anything about this. We forbid it for the reason that it ruins our health and ultimately leads to premature death. Then let’s answer honestly – aren’t we being hypocritical when we ban smoking, drug use, and alcohol while allowing music with a negative effect?

Secondly, we are trying to cultivate the character of Christ in us, because “solid food belongs to those who are mature, that is, those who are by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14). Do you see how important it is what state our feelings are in? Senses must be trained or exercised. What exercises your senses today? Aren’t our senses susceptible to musical stimulation? No doubt, music affects our sensory perception and has a strong influence on the formation of our spiritual personality. “Let this mind be in you all, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). What feelings and conduct do listening to such genres as rock, pop, hip-hop, rap, and jazz music evoke in us? Are negative qualities such as narcissism, irritation, anger, self-confidence, self-importance, pride, and arrogance (“I’m cool, classy,” etc.) revealed at this moment? Therefore, it is not surprising that those who are stuck to certain genres act accordingly. The focus in such “Christian” music bands shifts away from God toward man. It is the familiar voice of the ancient serpent calling from the Garden of Eden even today: “… you will be like gods” (Genesis 3:5). If we desire to develop the character of Christ, then we should not take a superficial approach to music as something unworthy of attention.

Thirdly, the Lord teaches us through the Apostle Paul: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2). So, we are called not to copy the image of this age or become like the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. One simple question: could you ever imagine an angel welcoming people with a bass guitar in his hands while ushering them into the Heavenly City accompanied by rock, pop, or rap music? It’s hard to even picture this, isn’t it? We often forget to ask the old forgotten question: “What would Christ do? Would He listen to this? Would he approve of those genres if he lived on Earth today?”

Fourth, I once read an article about some “Christian” music bands that could not make it onto the secular stage and tried their luck in the Christian music world. And they did succeed. What was the fruit? They said that they did not believe in God, but they composed songs that would appeal to the Christian audience. Unfortunately, they saw so much hypocrisy in “Christianity.” Why do you think? When people ran up to them after a concert and “testified” that they had seen the “power” and “glory of God” on them, the fans asked them for a prayer. After such prayers, they got on the bus on the way to their next tour and made fun of those gullible and naive Christians. As a result, the souls of these musicians did not draw near to Christ, but, on the contrary, drifted even further away from Him because of such hypocrisy.

Fifth, you may be asking, “What about the biblical texts that tell us to praise God on all musical instruments?” Let’s take a knife as an example. The knife itself is neither good nor bad in itself until we start using it. With a knife, we can cut bread and feed the hungry, and with the same knife, we can stab someone. The same applies to musical instruments. Note that we are talking about natural, undistorted sound that affects us positively, not synthesized sound. After all, this is an artificial sound.

Sixth, if Lucifer was involved in the music ministry in Heaven and eventually became the enemy of God and the cause of the distortion and curse of every good thing God created – are we really so naive to believe that he bypassed music?

Unfortunately, more and more churches are switching to a contemporary style of “worship.” At first glance, there should be nothing wrong with this, but the fruits say otherwise. As one preacher said, “If there is a controversial issue, the only way you can tell whether or not something is spiritually beneficial is by looking at the fruit.” Let’s think about it and answer honestly – why would we play destructive music in our churches? Are we trying to become closer and more accessible to the world in this way? Why then has the image of the world overcome us? Why have we become more worldly than Christ-like? When the real power of the Holy Spirit is absent, then you resort to carnal methods. And carnal methods produce carnal Christians. Music is a powerful tool that can excite you temporarily, but not forever because only the Spirit of God can do that.

Music is a great tool for manipulating and thus inducing certain emotional experiences. Have you noticed that in such “churches,” prayer is always accompanied by music? Why? When a church is deprived of the genuine work of the Holy Spirit, it must be replaced with counterfeit power. Such ministers understand this and do it purposefully, while others do it unconsciously, but at the same time feel a significant need for it. This can be easily tested. For instance, announce a service in the church without any musical accompaniment, especially if it is a Bible study or a prayer meeting. Such events will seem boring to them. Why? Because the heart does not thirst for the knowledge of God but strives to satisfy its carnal, mental, and sensual desires. Moreover, if people are more likely to have supernatural experiences, then this kind of atmosphere is the right fertile soil for such experiences. And they are either falsified or based on wishful thinking. In fact, in some cases, it becomes an open door for dark forces. It’s not in vain that pagan tribes use rhythmic music during their rituals of calling on spirits.

As for classical music, it not only has a beneficial effect on the body but with its help, namely, Mozart’s compositions, psychiatrists treat mental illnesses. Of course, not all classics are perfect. Some classics composed their works under the influence of occult forces. This issue could be considered separately. However, many classics dedicated their compositions to Jesus Christ, approaching their work with diligence and reverence.

There are things that, although they seem harmless, negatively affect a person. Have you noticed that people haven’t been pondering much lately? It is not surprising, because they surrounded themselves with noise from all sides: in the car – music, at home – television, at work – the noise of machines or computer keyboards. How can a person think in such noise? This is similar to alcohol or drugs, which suppress the sense of reality, temporarily plunging a person into false satisfaction. However, the root of the problem remains. Therefore, more and more people, even among children, are now becoming depressed and suicidal. Children spend their time playing video games that promote violence, cruelty, and other graphic images.

One has only to visit a Christian store and look at the CDs of various music bands and performers, and then it becomes clear that those people often glorify themselves rather than God, putting themselves in the center of attention. Have you noticed how often in the field of ministry this phrase is heard: “You need to realize yourself in the church, believe in yourself.”? Instead of self-realization, the servant must become smaller so that the Lord increases. As John the Baptist once said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30). The minister, like any other follower of Christ, must be able to point to Jesus. It is the Lord who must become the center of life and all attention. Music cannot give what God can. A person is deprived of true peace and joy. They come to those who seek Him and to whom He becomes a reality. Unfortunately, many “Christians” create only His visible “reality”, approaching with their mouths only, while being far from Him in their hearts (Matthew 15:8). It’s about a real relationship with the Lord. Let us seek the genuine, and not be satisfied with something less, which has no eternal value.

So, if many contemporary genres of music harm our physical and mental health, and also affect our behavior and personality formation, which, in turn, impacts us spiritually, then let’s make the right choice because the devil craftily finds a way to our heart. Remember – “he was more subtle than any beast of the field” (Genesis 3:1).

May we be sober and watchful and allow God to be truly our all in all-in-all in each area of our lives!

God bless you!

Max Volkov in Christ