The Crossover Compromise
I was showing a web article on so-called Christian crossover bands to a fellow Pharisee pastor and was startled to find that he was impressed with what the bands were doing and suggesting that maybe we’re being a little too hard on them. Granted, this pastor was very young in both age and in the ministry and has incorporated a great many modern innovations like using soundtracks for congregational singing. While this doesn’t automatically brand him as a hopeless compromiser with the world, it does cause me to regard him with a great deal of suspicion. After our recent conversation, I don’t know that I have the heart to call him a Pharisee pastor at all since he has fallen so far from the denominational tree.
One of the most important doctrines Pharisees stand for is the doctrine of Biblical Separation. The very notion of a “crossover Christian” is an abomination to God as a compromise with the world and should be rejected in all its forms. I mentioned this to the pastor and he dared to accuse me of hypocrisy. He said that we don’t make such demands of any other profession, so we have no business holding musicians to a standard we are unprepared to hold anyone else to. Well he is wrong on two counts.
First of all, there is a distinct difference between those people who live their lives for God in full time Christian service and those who live their lives for this world. To say that we don’t expect Christian truckers to haul only holy cargo or Christian salesmen to sell only Bibles or Christian CEOs to be the head of only Christian business concerns does not negate the teaching of Biblical Separation. Let me cite some clear examples:
- Christian School teachers are in full time Christian service while teachers who are Christians and teach in the public schools are not.
- Christian bookstore owners are part of a holy ministry while Christians who own bookstores that sell worldly goods are not.
- Christian retailers who sell Thomas Kindade paintings and Precious Moments figurines are living a sanctified life while Christians who are retailing for the world are sell-outs to profits.
- Christian doctors and nurses who practice on the foreign field are missionaries for the gospel of Christ while those who practice in this country are part of the greed-obsessed worldly Health Care System.
- Christian lawyers who devote their time to Christian causes like the Rutherford Institute and Jay Sekulow practice law as a ministry but if someone graduates from Liberty University’s Law school and goes into practice for himself, he has sold his soul to mammon.
So is it any wonder that I have no problem making a distinction between musicians who want to make a difference for God and musicians who simply want to make a living? It is pretty obvious that if I were to get out of the Fire Insurance business (helping folks escape eternal damnation) and went to work for State Farm or Allstate, I would be a sell-out to the world. I have no worldly ambition to make a name for myself. I don’t seek fame and notoriety. I am simply serving God.
The second reason for eschewing the notion of a crossover Christian is the mistaken belief that we can participate in the world without being of the world. Crossover Christians want the best of both worlds. They want to “make a difference for Christ” and “impact lives for eternity” while enjoying the fame and fortune of this world’s children. These are people who think that a Christian can be popular and wealthy and still be spiritual at the same time. Sadly, this is not the case. There are no examples in the Bible of Christians who enjoyed closeness to God and personal or financial success. The Levites were called to be separate and were forbidden an inheritance because God was their inheritance. If we are to enjoy the privileges of priesthood of the believer, we need to adhere to the same mentality. Anyone who thinks they can have financial freedom and popularity doesn’t understand that the way of the Godly Christian is hard, perilous, persecuted and unappreciated by the world. I would even go so far as to say that anyone who is experiencing financial and personal success while claiming to be a follower of Christ is really deluding himself.
When one compromises the word of God with the world, it is always the world that wins. The article makes my point:
"We kind of leave that open," Cordoba says. "We don't shy away from our faith, but, at the same time, we don't really think of ourselves as a hardcore ministry band, either. We're just trying to set a good example with our music."
Leaving a song's meaning up to listeners is the hallmark of this subtle new strain of Christian rock.
"This blurring of the lines between Christian and secular music is very significant," says Scott Veigel, program manager for WAY-FM. "These soldiers of faith are going out there saying, 'I certainly wear the clothes, but I don't want any boundaries on what I'm doing.'
This is clear proof that these Christian musicians, so called, have lost their reason for being. The article even says that the musicians care more about the music (if that’s what you want to call the noise they put out) than they do the message. What ever happened to the good old days when the message was what mattered, even when the music was unpopular with the world? That is the way things ought to be. Anything that has appeal for the world is not of God because only worldly music draws worldly people. Godly music draws only godly people. So crossover music that is popular is, by definition, ungodly and should hold no allure for spiritual Christians.
Finally, we need to be aware of how weak and tender a thing the Truth is. It is so delicate that it requires every effort on our part to keep it from being tainted, even a little bit. It is like a delicate orchid that only grows and blossoms when the conditions are just right. If we mix even the tiniest bit of error with the Truth then it isn’t 100% pure which makes it 100% wrong. Crossing over into the secular world destroys the power of the Word of God to speak and quenches the ability of the Holy Spirit to awaken the hearts of those who hear the “message” these bands put out. From my vantage point these bands would be better off singing the old hymns to the faithful who appreciate them than to sing their compromising corruption of the Truth to those who can’t discern it anyway.
Sing joyfully to the LORD , you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.
Psalm 33:1-3 (NIV)
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