Bible Answer

Is contemporary Christian rock music a concern?

I know the lyrics of contemporary Christian music can be very edifying, but what about the style of the music itself? The rock beat seems to appeal to the flesh. Is this type of music drawing people closer to God, especially the young people?

While it is true that the enemy will use music (or anything else) to introduce lies and distract believers from the truth, we must be careful when identifying any potential source of harm.

Music lyrics can be evaluated objectively by their content. We can discern whether the message they convey is edifying, wholesome and consistent with scripture, or if the message is destructive, unwholesome and unbiblical. On the other hand, musical style is very hard (if not impossible) to judge morally. Different cultures appreciate different styles of music, and yet all styles can be used in a potentially edifying manner and also in a potentially destructive manner.

Chanting can be used in glorious hymns to Christ or in senseless pagan mantras. Symphonic music can become edifying requiems or empty testimonies to man’s vainglory. Rock and country music can introduce the masses to the gospel or feed the flesh of unbelievers.

Obviously, a person (even a Christian) may use rock music to feed the flesh rather than to edify the spirit, but lovers of symphonies or jazz or even tradition hymns are capable of doing the same. Many an unbeliever has attended churches in past centuries merely for the opportunity to hear beautiful choral music, which is no different than teenagers feeding their flesh today with rock music in contemporary church services. 

In the end, we must guard against equating our own musical preferences with holiness while adopting a judgmental attitude toward others’ musical preferences. Every style of music can be redeemed for the Lord or abused by the flesh. It’s not the music that matters, but the nature of our hearts.

Finally, if a Christian's worship or discipleship experience is limited to the theology gained from contemporary Christian music, then certainly the believer is not likely to grow properly. Musical worship is not capable of drawing us into a proper, abiding relationship with Christ, though it can supplement our learning and inspire us to grow closer to the Lord. A healthy relationship depends on regular, indepth Bible study, prayer, fellowship and accountability, and worship in a meaningful way. Contermpaorary Christian music can be a useful part of this "formula," but by itself it will do little to mature us.