Question:

What kind of music is prohibited? For the longest time, I have been listening to music that isn't "Christian," but nothing that is profane or that gives a bad message or talks about lewd or gross things. When I listen to my music, it makes me happier and helps me deal with some of my problems, and it actually gets me closer to God, but the thing is that it isn't "Christian" music. They are also motivational music, and none of my music, as I said, give a bad message or anything. But two of my friends keep telling me that it is wrong to listen to music that isn't Christian music. It usually just helps me and lifts me up and brings me closer to God, and some do have lyrics (Japanese), but I fully checked their lyrics and they aren't bad at all. Besides, I listen to its sounds rather than its actual words, but I am careful in what it's trying to convey and avoid it if it is wrong. I'm wondering if it's true that only Christian music is allowed?

Answer:

There are many songs that fall into the category of "Christian music" which teaches doctrine different from what is found in the New Testament. Does that mean that because a selection of music is labeled as "Christian" it is automatically good?

I will grant that you will more often find decent music in the "Christian" category than in others, but it doesn't mean there isn't good music which falls into other categories.

Your method of selecting music is much more sound than your friends. You consider the words. Your friends are letting someone else choose their music. They are taking a lazy approach to being faithful.

The only warning I would offer is the idea that music in and of itself can bring a person closer to God. Words can encourage faithfulness (Romans 10:17; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), but music is about sounds which produce emotional feelings. Emotions can be manipulated. Our relationship to the Lord should be based on doctrine (Matthew 7:21-23).

When I listen to my music, it's kind of a reminder that He is with me no matter where I go, and I'm going through my life not alone, but with Him. It reminds me that even though I may fall or difficulties may come my way, I know God is there to pick me up. I mean, even without my music I know that God is there, and like you said, music does produce emotions. It gives me determination to go on, brings me motivation that everything I do in my life for the glory of God is not in vain, and it also brings me comfort. Even without my music I know that God is with me, but my music is sort of an extra for me. Music is extremely important in my life, so that's why I need to know all its facts before assuming anything about it. What kind of music is not allowed? I know that I shouldn't listen to offensive or gross music, but I need to know what sort of music I should avoid because I have many friends that don't believe me when I talk about what they listen to and why it's bad, but if you can enlighten me some more on this topic, I would greatly appreciate it so that I won't be an ignorant Christian that just accepts things as I believe them to be. Rather, I want to have some sort of reinforcement so I'm not just talking without weaponry! Sorry to bother you some more, but this is really important to me, and I appreciate this a lot!

The importance of music is not the melody, but the words. The melody invokes moods or emotions, but those are nothing without words to tell the story. That is why in speaking about music for Christian worship Paul said, "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:19). The style of music is never mentioned, but what the music says is very important.

Thus in selecting music to listen to, a Christian ought to consider what the song is teaching, promoting, or demonstrating. Are the things it mention in accordance with the proper life of a Christian? For example, do the lyrics accept drugs, drinking, or sexual relations outside of marriage? Such would not be proper for a Christian to fill his thoughts about. "Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles--when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries" (I Peter 4:1-3). Even in our day to day speech Paul warns, "But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks" (Ephesian 5:3-4).

The reason is simple, what goes into our minds begins to affect our outlook on life. We need to keep our thoughts on proper things. "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things" (Philippians 4:8).