Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 6: It's Okay...Go For It

One of the things I enjoy doing is illustrating messages with some sort of pop-culture item. What I don't understand why is it okay to use "secular (I hate that word)" poems, books, movies, and quotes to illustrate a message but when it comes to "secular" music...some church goers get uptight. Somewhere in history the word Christian went from being a noun to a verb. I write this blog to say, sometimes the best way to illustrate a point is by using a "secular" song. I am not condoning the use of songs that are blatantly evil. I am merely suggesting songs that have powerful truths that would never come out of the Christian music industry. This means...we have to listen to secular music to do this. Oh boy! For those who say, "you should not be quoting secular sources," let's go down that road for a moment.

First of all, have you ever examined who let's say the apostle Paul quotes in Acts 17:28 when he says, 'For in him we live and move and have our being... .' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' He is quoting Aratus of Cilicia. How about Titus 1:12 Even one of their own prophets has said, "Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons." Who was he quoting here? How about Epimenides of Crete! Just for kicks, what about I Corinthians 15:33 Paul writes, Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." hmmmm....nice saying, sounds biblical...but he quoted Menander, author of the Greek comedy Thais. So what is the deal with these people he is quoting? All Pagans. And how would he happen to know that information? Perhaps he read their poetry and pulled these quotes to use for his teaching purposes. This is just one SMALL example of how bible teachers used "secular" things to drive the point across.

Can the Holy Spirit of God not redeem a "secular" song and use it for God's own purpose? I love the idea that he can! Imagine God ransacking the music aisles and declaring it to be his territory, his arsenal, and his voice. We willingly engage nature and non-human aspects of creation in order to get closer to God, why not engage secular media for the same purpose?

If people would stop judging things they don't understand, perhaps the Christian life would be something more people would be more interested in. What Jesus had all setup as a beautiful thing in the new testament, the church has torn to pieces. To quote Paul, Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh" he wasn't talking to the Gentiles...people who heard about the message and believed and got behind it. He was talking to the "Good Christian Jews that lived by the law" that made the gospel something it shouldn't be.

Funny story: About a year ago I had a couple come to the church I pastor. I knew this couple from my early teen years and literally got discouraged that they showed up at Radiant Fellowship. They would not fit in and make my life as the pastor unpleasent. It just happened we were talking about "A Couples Love." To drive the point, the intro music was Stevie Ray Vaughn's "Pride and Joy." Let's just say after that service this couple is being a blessing somewhere else.
"All Truth is God's Truth"-St. Augustine


  1. First off, let me preface this by saying that I am not personally against the use of secular music and literature as an illustration, though more times than not it is unnecessary and simply a church trying to be "relevant" above all else.

    I want to comment specifically on your second to last paragraph. You hound of people for being judgment and proceed to call them dogs, evil, and manipulators, but have you not done just the same?

    Philippians 4:8
    Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

    And thus, a secular song MAY NOT fit into this category, even if used for a positive illustration, and could be especially troublesome when used in God's house (which has been called a house of worship).

    You have judged, but you cannot see man's heart or motive. You are no better than the people you criticize when you do this.

    And finally, on my own personal soapbox, the problem was not Christian Jews who lived by the law, only those who relied on the law as a means of salvation and righteousness.

  2. Ben, I appreciate your comments. I cannot see how I made a judgement call but we are all entitled to our opinions which is why I blog.

    Secondly I didn't say anything about pharisee's being dogs...I was quoting the Apostle Paul.

    Take Care

  3. Great post! I had to smile, remembering the Sunday I used "All We Need is Love" (Beatles), and one time I used "The Times They Are a Changing (Dylan) and then there was the time we listened to "Hole Hearted" from....who was that? Can't recall, but the perfect song to illustrate the point. I think the Holy Spirit will use anything. Not saying we should look, listen, use BAD stuff or sinful stuff, but I also have wondered why it is perfectly okay to show a clip from a movie but God forbid we use a "secular" song. I hate that word too. To the Jesus follower, all of life can be sacred.

  4. Extrene. That was it...and the album is called "pornografitti: for reasons I could never figure out, but the song is terriffic.

  5. That is awesome Dorcas, yes I agree don't use bad stuff. Don't even really worship to it, but the truth in some songs are very relevant and should be used.

  6. Bob, this is why I love you.
    For me we are all God's creation, everything we do is in part showing God. Some show it more than others. Christian and secular are mere labels that we put on artists, poets, playwrites and so on. Yet their work speaks for itself. I believe God can use anything He wants to further His kingdom. Christian, secular, movies, books, tv show, nature, teachings, music, whatever we allow Him to use, He will use to work in our lives. Keep on Keeping On!!!!!!!!!

  7. Thanks Mark I appreciate the comment.

  8. What determines a "blatantly evil" song? The word hell? Swearing? Anything by Lady Gaga or Marilyn Manson? What if I call it blatantly evil when people put crap music out for the populace for the sake of feeding a cash cow record company that only cares about profits and not art?