This is a question I discussed with a friend once. I should probably give an explanation of what Christian music is first. The Christian music I’m talking about is music that gives glory to God in its lyrics, whether it’s a testimony of what God does for a believer, or direct praise that is speaking to God in the second person point of view.
LeAnn Rimes, Missy Elliott, Patti LaBelle, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, Marty Stuart, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and Alan Jackson are just a few of many secular artists/producers that have dabbled in the Christian or gospel music industry. Is this something that is acceptable and should we even care? Well, in order to answer this pressing question, as Christians we should look to God’s word since he establishes the principles that believers should live by.
“Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. …
Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:
And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?
Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.” (Psalm 50:5, 14-17)
“The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?” (Prov. 21:27)
“He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Prov. 28:9)
So, who are the wicked people these scriptures are referring to? Anyone who lives outside of God’s will (i.e. those who have no relationship with Christ). In the passage from Psalm 50, God goes on to list some of the sins that these people are guilty of. Many of them are the same sins that secular artists participate in. It is no secret that these celebrities fornicate, use drugs, are drunkards, lie, and curse–among other things.
God basically says if you’re wicked, you have no business trying to tell other people about his covenant or anything else he commands in his word. Since you haven’t established a relationship with him your sacrifices of praise are an abomination and he doesn’t want to hear it. The only sacrifices he accepts are from his saints.
“… but be filled with the Spirit;
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; …” (Eph. 5:19)
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Col. 3:16)
No one can make melody in their heart to the Lord unless the Lord is in their heart. The word of Christ has to be in us for us to be able to create a song for God’s glory that encourages other believers.
–Harry A. Gaylord–