Is it okay to listen to instrumental "Christian" music outside of worship?


Someone asked me this question and I would like your opinion. I looked on your great web site but didn't see it addressed.

A young lady asked me if it is okay to listen to "Christian rock" or instrumental ("Christian") songs outside of worship.

I would appreciate you opinion.

Thanks for the good work you do.


I've known brethren to argue both sides of this issue. Those for it argue that it is better than the trash available on many other stations. While they won't join it and sing with the instrumental music, they prefer to hear decent words and lyrics that are focused on praising God. The other side points out that many of these songs are worship songs but set with instrumental music. Since worship is involved, then the one being worshiped is the one who sets the rules. Since God did not authorize instrumental music for His worship in the New Testament, then we should not seek to add it to ours, whether it is congregational worship or personal worship.

Thus the core issue is whether listening to someone else sing songs that can be used in the worship of God constitutes worship or not. It is an issue that I am not certain I can settle. I usually ask the person whether they consider it to be worship or not and work from there. Personally, I don't go out of my way to listen to such music. I won't change channels on a station necessarily if a religious song comes on. I have even heard and admired some of the thoughts expressed in some songs set to instruments and wonder if we could get a hold of an a-capella arrangement for the congregation. But I definitely don't allow myself to sing along with such songs because it focuses my mind on God and I would rather worship God as He wants to be worshiped.

We also ought to be careful of the music branded as Christian music. I've heard numerous songs that might mention God, but what the song teaches is contrary to the teachings in God's word. Filling our minds with erroneous teachings is bad whether it is from secular or religious sources. In some ways a religious source is more dangerous because we are at least on our guard for false teachings from a secular source.