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Gamaliel's Desk
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Autobiographical Moral Norms
People ask me why I am so hard on rock music and why I make such a big deal about the dangers of contemporary Christian music. Let me share my testimony and you will see why. During my 20's God saved me by his marvelous grace out of the rock & roll culture. I was as addicted to the music as I was addicted to the drugs, the sex, the lifestyle and the wantonness. The life that I lived then was a life of profligacy, debauchery and shame and I thank God that he had saved me out of it.

A few months after my salvation, the Lord began to deal with me about rock & roll. I had no trouble giving up the drugs, the sex and the lifestyle, but I loved the music. It had become a part of my life to the point where I was even in a rock & roll band. However, because we cannot serve two masters, I had to give up rock & roll to be able to devote my entire life to God's service. It was a choice I made and it was the right one. I have no doubt that God is the One who led me to give up rock & roll. Because it was God's will for my life to abstain form rock music, I believe it is God's will for everyone else's life as well. If anyone wants to be a True Follower of God, it is absolutely necessary for them to give it up – just like me. I am certain that rock & roll is evil and that God requires every believer to give it up.

Some say to me that it isn't the music itself that is bad but the lifestyle of those involved in it. I am here to tell you that it is impossible to separate the music from the lifestyle. Christians who claim to use their godless rock music to "worship" are just as ungodly as any unsaved rock musician is. Sure, they may go to church and they may not drink and smoke and do drugs. Nor do they live in wanton sexual promiscuity and debauchery, but these are only minor incidentals. It is clear from the clothes they wear, their jewelry, their tattoos (however godly they claim them to be), and their hair cuts that they are uninterested in the things of God. Young people ought not to be deceived because these groups pray on stage as part of the concert or give the plan of salvation or even have a time of commitment and worship during their performance. These are still not enough to set them apart from the world.

Others say that just because I had a problem with rock music doesn't mean that everyone has a problem with it. They point to the millions of Christian young people who listen to contemporary Christian rock who have never done drugs, never lost their virginity, and are faithful in church attendance. I am here to tell you that it is all a sham. No matter how righteous a person might be in other areas of their lives, if they permit even the tiniest amount of rock music to pollute their souls, they are guilty of breaking the whole law. Nor does it matter no matter how Christian the lyrics are, as long as they are listening to that rock beat, it is ungodly. Even the devil quoted scripture when he tempted Jesus, so godly lyrics don't make the music godly.

My primary purpose as a Pharisee pastor of one of God's Pharisee churches is to guard the flock from evil. God has allowed me to experience the ugly side of sin so I can prevent others from suffering the same sorrow and shame I have. My experience and God's call to the ministry give me the authority to discern right from wrong, not just for my life, but also the lives of everyone else. Simply put, my personal moral failures and weaknesses are a warning to all that they run the risk of falling into the same sins if they don't practice the same spiritual disciplines and personal separation that I practice.

Because I had a problem with certain sins in my past, I condemn everything associated with those sins. Some foolish critics point out that I don't preach against polyester leisure suits even though they were associated with the debauchery of disco. This is absolutely idiotic. When I was in Bible College during the 1970's, we all wore leisure suits and we did not frequent discos. Clearly, leisure suits are not associated with evil because I personally did not conduct myself in an evil way when I was wearing those clothes. To put it bluntly, my wearing of leisure suits in college sanctified them for God's use and it was a perversion of worldly people who used them to evil ends, not the evil of the suits themselves.

However, worldly Christians who feel that they can sanctify rock music for the cause of Christ are in grave error. Everything about rock and roll is wrong and immoral. They should take my word on that because I am a godly person, led by God and since He led me out of rock & roll; it is clearly His will that I should lead everyone else out of rock and roll. My spiritual experience forms the norm for how all godly people should live. If it is a godly practice for me to give up rock music, then it is a godly practice for everyone else, and if they don't live as I do then they are out of God's will.

Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
Colossians 2:18-23 (NIV)

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