I am perplexed as to why there is such a strong theme of intellectualism and such a move of carnality in Christian music today when the Old Testament was clear about music. The Levitical musicians were appointed, used specific instruments and played their music in a specific manner, which was accompanied by worship and prophesies! The times have changed, but even though the government is no longer in the position of setting the tone of pop culture this is not to suggest that Christian artists should lack clarity.
We are quick to say that God will use anything. God could use anything, but he does not use anything. When we are looking for God to use anything, we are looking to worship everything but God. Our focus changes from what God is trying to say to us, to what we are looking for him to use. We then rely on the God in us to change those around us, and we think that we are strong enough to be everywhere we want to be when we need to be around other Christians. We are supposed to test every spirit. People think that is only a reference to prophesies that go forth but you have to bend the definition of spirits and prophesies to get a true understanding of what that means.
In a metaphysical context, a spirit is the energy present in living things. Metaphorically, one way of looking at a spirit is “the loyalty and feeling of inclusion in the social history or collective essence of an institution or group, such as in school spirit”. It is also a term for alcoholic beverages, which suggests that spirits need a medium to travel through. Prophecies are not just used in Christianity. The term prophecy also describes the process through which the message has been communicated to the prophet before it is disseminated to the people. Prophecy is not just a noun, and that is what trips up a lot of people. You have to look at the energy that is present in who is presenting the prophecy. You also have to look at your own loyalty and need to be included; if your own loyalty and need to be included in that energy is a priority over your own need to worship God you may have to reconsider that worship.
Music is going to create an environment of worship, regardless of whether or not it is Christian. Music evokes worship, because it calls on a spirit. It can go both ways; there is a video on YouTube in which Israel Houghton revisits Diana Ross’ song “I’m Coming Out”. The intention sounds good on the surface, but upon closer examination he actually refers to her as a prophet. If you look at the textbook definition of the word prophet, he is actually correct in that proclamation. There was a process in which Diana Ross came up with the idea for that song, (which she details on the liner notes of her album “Diana”) and a lot happened in that decade for the homosexual community. The process of creating art in general involves prophesy; anticipating what people will like before they even know that they will like it, creating a culture around your work that does not exist. But that does not mean that every artist should be looked at in that same way just because the enemy can duplicate the work of the Lord.
A lot of musicians do not want to be known as Christian artists, others just want to blend in. Christian music was used to affect change in the Bible. In 2 Kings 3:14 – 16 Elisha states that if he did not have respect for King Jehosophat of Judah “I would not look at you, I would not take notice of you”, he then asks for a musician. When the musician played the Lord’s hand came on Elisha, who then turned around and stated what the Lord had instructed him to do. That point is often lost in conversations about Christian music. If you praise God and communicate with God, as a response to the spirit and tone that is set by the music, he will give you direction.
1 Chronicles 6:31 – 41 explicitly tells us who the musicians put in charge of the music in the Lord’s temple after the ark were. If it were not important who those musicians were, then why are they mentioned by name in the bible? Would the Word have mentioned these musicians if they were not “Christian musicians” in that sense of the word? They ministered in song until Solomon built the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem, and performed their task according to the regulations that were given to them. They didn’t just perform a song, or throw a concert, they stayed around until the job was seen to completion.
It is important to know who the Christians are and what their purpose is. We just want a “good feeling” or an intellectual experience with God but God is putting musicians in place to stay around until the job is done. If we do as we please as Christian musicians, and are not under the will of God and do not submit to God then the job is not complete, and there is no change. Musicians did not do what they wanted to do, they did what God had instructed them to do.
Finally, in 1 Chronicles 25:5-7 we see that “All these men were under their own fathers’ authority for the music in the LORD’s temple, with cymbals, harps, and lyres for the service of God’s temple” and that they numbered 288. Two hundred and eighty eight musicians in service for the Lord! If there is any question as to their effectiveness, you can look at the first verse in 1 Chronicles 25, which states that they were to prophesy accompanied by lyres, harps, and cymbals. This is what people that want Christian music to blend into the secular realm will never tell you. In the Word it is clear that music was being used for more than just worship; prophesies accompanied the music, the stage was set for people to be set free. Even in the New Testament, while other aspects of the church were under criticism, because those churches were becoming carnal, they were not discouraged from praising God! If you do not have a relationship with God, just want to talk about God but do not want to get too deep with God, just want to feed babies milk and cookies and reduce worship to simple adjectives and nouns no one is going to be set free because you diminish the prophesies that are going forth, and your efforts pale in comparison to what went on before Jesus even came to the Earth!
People need to be set free! Do not leave any ambiguity to what the message is because the World wants to hear about Christ; we may have our own issues with “Christian” this and “Christian” that but for someone that does not know about Christ, they want something “Christian”. They want the real deal, they want the authentic, genuine article. No where in the Word of God do you see people singing praises for the sake of singing them, timing their services or quenching the spirit. People came into the temple, stayed until they were full and then left when God was finished with them. Again, no one is suggesting that God is not discrete or subtle, but he isn’t leaving that wiggle room for people to walk away with their own interpretation either. It isn’t enough to be positive, because a lot of Muslims are making positive music. It isn’t enough to be spiritual, because a lot of Buddhists and followers of the New Age are spiritual. We have to be specific; do not just stop making people feel good while falling short of ushering in the presence of God, bring correction, and set things in order.