I love Gospel Music. Traditional. Contemporary. Praise & worship. Choirs. Groups. Solo artists. Old and new. From Rev. So-and-So Presents… albums of the 80s to today’s Bishop So-and-So Presents… albums. I have even started to listen to some quartet and Christian hip-hop.
I love music. And I especially love music that exalts the Lord Jesus Christ. But my true love for Gospel Music has broken my heart.
In two ways…
First, I am grieved by the excessive commercialism of contemporary Gospel Music. I can cite various examples of this illicit love affair with the world. But there is an explicit seduction of the world on Gospel artists that burdens me: reality TV. What is this about? Why are Gospel artists joining the ranks of these mind-numbing reality TV shows? Don’t you now know that “reality TV” is an oxymoron?
Of course, Gospel artists are not the only ones joining this parade of worldly foolishness. It’s also preachers, preacher’s wives, and preacher’s daughters. More and more religious personalities are nakedly pursuing fleeting celebrity. We want to be famous, rather than promoting the name, message, kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Please to tell us you are doing this to expand the influence of Christ in culture. If that’s what you think, you are extremely confused. Deceived. Out of touch with “reality” (pun intended!). It is easier for the world to pull you down than for you to pull the world up. And in leaning over to reach the world, the church often falls in. And we are dragging the precious name of Jesus down with us.
Where did we get the idea that Christ wants us to help him be relevant in this God-ignoring society? The Lord commands us to be holy, faithful, obedient, wise, and loving. The Lord does not want us to show the world that we are regular people just like everyone else. The world already knows that! That’s why they don’t respect the church. We need to be different. Light. Salt. Our influence in the world happens by the difference Christ makes in our lives, not by blending in. The world cannot see our good works and glorify the Father in heaven by watching so-called Christian leaders divas argue, boast, shop, covet, date, lust, and complain on TV. Get real!
My heart is broken for another reason.
Not only are Gospel artists fallen in love with the world; even worse, they have fallen in love with Word of Faith theology. Prosperity Theology used to be on the fringes of the Christian landscape. Now these faith teachers are the mainstream. And many prominent Gospel artists have digested their unbiblical teachings and regurgitate them in their music.
As I listen to the new Gospel Music released, I am blown away by how talented Gospel artists are. The music, singing, and production can rival anything “secular” project. Unfortunately, I am hearing more thoughtful reflection in some Pop and R&B music than among those who claim to sing for the glory of God.
I buy a lot of Gospel Music. But I can commend very little of it for worship, private or corporate. Too much Gospel Music has too little gospel in it. It is not God exalting, Christ focused, or biblically saturated. It is fixated with self.
“It’s my season…”
“My harvest is coming…”
“What’s to come is greater than what’s been…”
“I don’t look like what I’ve been through…”
“Praise him till you get your breakthrough…”
“Speak those things that are not as though they were…”
“I’m taking back everything the devil stole from me…”
“Speak it into the atmosphere…” “
“I’m claiming my destiny…”
On and on it goes.
Just because you use biblical phrases does not mean you are communicating biblical truth. Cults play that game. Christian musicians and singers should not.
We need music that teaches truth (Col. 3:16), not just cherry-picks phrases that sound good. We need Gospel Music that proclaims the gospel! We need reverent, bible-rooted music that will lead worshipers to think deeply about Christ. We need musicians to record music that will lead us to sing to the glory of God, not just cheer-lead to get an emotional response.
Don’t look now, Gospel Artists, but the upstart Christian hop-hop artists are lapping you. Now, I am not a big hip-hop fan. And I don’t know any of these artists personally. But I am encouraged by their willingness to rap about God and Jesus and the gospel and holiness and doctrine. They are daring to compose and perform truth-driven messages, not mere foot-tapping music.
Gospel artists, please wake up! We are in a storm. And you are playing the Jonah, sleeping your way to Tarshish when you should be headed to Nineveh. The church – and the world – needs you to wake up and give up music about the true and living God!