Have you ever read something that was written a few years ago and yet it seems as though the words are prophetic in their relevance to the present? Such was the case when I read a booklet from the pen of Duncan Campbell recently. This preacher of yesteryear saw wonderful revival in the New Hebrides islands off the coast of Scotland. He wrote these words less than fifty years ago:
In many quarters there is growing conviction that unless God moves, unless there is a demonstration of the supernatural in the midst of men, unless we are moved up into the realm of the Divine, we shall soon find ourselves caught up in a counterfeit movement, but a movement that goes under the name of evangelism. There are ominous signs today that the devil is out to sidetrack us in the sphere of evangelism, and we are going to become satisfied with something less than Heaven wills to give us.
These are prophetic words indeed! Could it be that we are seeing a fulfillment of this telling foresight? Could it be that music is one of the areas this is happening? I think it behooves us to investigate the matter.
The Counterfeiter Examined
First, it is important to note something about the creation of “the anointed cherub” who became Satan. Ezekiel 28:13 says of the “anointed cherub” who became Satan, “The workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.” Notice that this angelic being that became Satan was created as a being of music.
Secondly, Isaiah 14:11 says of Lucifer, “Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols.” The word “grave” is the Hebrew word “sheol”. It is often translated, “hell”. Note that some aspect of Lucifer’s music will go to “sheol” with him. A quick study of the word, “noise,” will enhance the implications of this verse.
Thirdly, the devil is clearly a deceiver. Rev. 20:10 calls him “the devil that deceived them.” Eph. 6:11 encourages us about victory “against the wiles of the devil.” How then does the devil deceive? Who does he deceive?
We all know that “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Satan tragically is many times successful in deceiving the lost. But he also deceives the “fleshly” believer. Paul admitted in Romans 7:11 that “sin, taking occasion be the commandment, deceived me.” A few verses later he cries out, “I am carnal, sold under sin.” Satan successfully deceives the carnal Christian.
But how does Satan deceive those who are surrendered to the Lord? How does he dupe those who are living in a measure of victory? What about those who are nurturing a genuine spirituality in their lives?
How are they deceived? I am sure there are many ways, but I would like to submit to you one of Satan’s “wiles.”
II Cor. 11:13-15 says, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness whose end shall be according to their works.” Satan deceives people who have a heart for God, folks who have begun to understand what it means to be spiritual, and yes, Christians who want to serve the Lord. How? By counterfeiting God’s work, He delights in posturing as an angel of light. He wants folks to think that what he is doing is from God.
This brings us to a very real possibility. If Satan is a being of music, it stands to reason it is quite possible he can and will package music as “Christian” when it is not. The possibility of counterfeit music is real.
I have had young people talk to me who in essence would say, “How can the music be wrong when it makes me feel so close to God?” Remember that Satan can package an experience that makes one feel close to God. He is a supernatural being. I think it is important to recognize the necessity, as I John exhorts us about the false prophets, to “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God.” Now how are we going to objectively find out whether a music packaged as Christian is counterfeit or genuine?
The Counterfeiter Exposed
God has given us a wonderful test in Scripture to show us whether a music packaged as Christian is of the Lord or is counterfeit Christian music. That test is in John 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
The first test of Biblical worship is in regards to its nature. Is it spiritual or not? If you were to take your concordance and look up the words, “spirit,” or “spiritual” and look up each passage and search for its opposite, you would find that the opposite of “spirit” is “flesh” and the opposite of “spiritual” is “carnal.” Romans chapter eight would be one of those passages where the contrast is found repeatedly. For instance, Romans 8:4 says, “Who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Biblical worship must be “in spirit” not in flesh. It must be spiritual not fleshly. Eph. 5:18 connects the being “filled with the Spirit” with a consequence that involves “spiritual songs.” In other words, Spirit-filled believers are involved in spiritual songs, not fleshly songs.
In 1975 Time magazine published a poll of unwed mothers. 987 of 1000 admitted that they fell into fornication while listening to pop music. When almost 99% admit that they were listening to a certain kind of music while involved in a sin that was sensual in nature, it should cause the unbiased observer to assume a causal link. In other words, it is fair to assume the “pop music” these girls were listening to was sensual or carnal, not spiritual. The music was a part of the problem.
Jon Bon Jovi said in the magazine Movieline in February of 1998, “Trying to seduce an audience is the basis of rock-n-roll.” Even country music star, Garth Brooks, responded to Barbara Walters question, “How would you describe what you do?” with this answer, “It’s sex.” Numerous other quotes could be given to support the obvious. Much of rock and country and their mutations are music driven by sensuality. Christian lyrics that are packaged with this kind of fleshly music are counterfeit.
“Well, the music doesn’t bother me that way” some will say. Do not forget the possibility of becoming desensitized. The night before Ted Bundy was executed, James Dobson of Focus on the Family interviewed him. In that interview Ted Bundy told Dr. Dobson that he could look at a pornographic magazine and it would not even bother him. What was he saying? He was saying, in essence, that he had looked at so much filth that he had become desensitized to what the world calls soft-core pornography. A man would have to be a fool to use Bundy’s statement as justification to look at filthy magazines. Bundy was simply admitting how bad off he was. He had become desensitized! Friends, you must recognize the possibility of becoming desensitized to sensual music.
Just because the music doesn’t pull you sensually doesn’t mean it is not sensual. You can be desensitized to any kind of sensuality (including music) by frequent exposure to it.
The second test is the test of truth. When Satan is deceiving, he will always have grievous violations of truth mixed in with truth itself. Biblical worship is always “in truth.” It is consistent with truth. There is not a clear violation of basic Bible truth.
I was talking to a youth pastor who told that his dad had gotten into the Charismatic movement. One day he was talking with his father and showing him from the Bible some of the problems in the Charismatic movement. His dad pointed at the Bible and said, “I don’t care what that Book says, I know what I have experienced!” My friend, that man is deceived. Young people will say to me, “Well I go to the concerts and they make me feel so close to God.” The longer I talk with them, the more I come to realize they are not right with God. They are treating their parents like dirt, they are listening to worldly music, they’re watching things Christians have no business watching, yet they claim the music makes them feel close to God. Listen friend, think. If a so-called Christian music makes you feel close to God, when you’re obviously not close to God. YOU ARE DECEIVED!
In a Time magazine article entitled “Reborn to be Wild” in 1996,Time published a picture of DC Talk with this caption, “Imitating Nirvana for Jesus.” Kurt Cobain of Nirvana took his life because of an existential, nihilistic, anti-God view of life. What in the world does a Christian “ministry” want to do in imitating Nirvana? Doesn’t the Bible clearly teach, “Be not conformed to this world”? This is a grievous violation of clear Bible truth.
This same article says this of the group Point of Grace, “They…don’t believe they’re out of the mainstream. ‘I read John Grisham books. I watch Friends. We’re not so separated from regular girls,’ says Point of Grace’s Shelly Phillips.” USA Today said of the programs Friends, “Casual sex is the basic plot line for the NBC’s top rated sitcom Friends.” No Christian had any business watching a sewer like Friends. If one does, it is a grievous violation of Ps. 101:3. Any Christian who would watch Friends and then brag to a lost news magazine writer is deceived.
I have a copy of the Papal Youth Gathering Schedule for January 26, 1999 from right off their Internet site. Before the Pope spoke these CCM artists performed: The Supertones, Rebecca St. James, and DC Talk. Let me say I would love to see every Catholic on this planet come to Christ in salvation. My problem is not with Catholics. It is with a theology that diminishes the finished work of Christ and in doing so causes men to have false assurance and die lost and go to a devil’s hell. No Christian should sing before the Pope because in doing do you are calling a theology which is unbiblical, truth. To sing before the Pope is a betrayal of the Gospel. Many men in yesteryear have given their lives at the hands of the Catholic Church because of their preaching of salvation through grace by faith alone. If you think the Supertones or any of these performers are of God, you are deceived. This is a grievous violation of Bible truth.
One might respond, “Well, I think so and so is sincere and genuine.” That may be true, but they are deceived too. A person can be sincere and genuine and yet fall for Satan’s counterfeit.
No one who genuinely has a heart for God wants to be deceived. Let me encourage you to stop listening to the music in question and ask the Lord to show you if it is from Him or if it is a Satanic counterfeit.
Remember the closer the counterfeit is to the truth, the harder it will be to detect it as a counterfeit. God has given to us His Word. It is “truth,” “a lamp,” and “living and powerful.” Spend time in the Book of books and ask the Lord to expose through His Word any counterfeit “Christian” music in your life. May God help us, as Duncan Campbell warned, to not get “caught up in a counterfeit movement” so we do not “become satisfied with something less than Heaven wills to give us.”