As I’ve dandered around Christian bookstores over the past few years there was always a book that caught my eye. Maybe because it made me angry even by looking at the title and the cover. Also because I don’t like anything by nature that’s sole purpose is there to be negative and tear down. So I ignored it…

But recently I was challenged to have a read at the book and see what I thought for myself. The book is called “Why I left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement: Confessions of a former worship leader” and its written by a guy called Dan Lucarini.

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So I read the book….gave it a chance…went back to the Bible as my sole guide on this matter…

Basically Dan’s argument is that music within churches has become too worldly. That by using drums and guitars in church music it creates a worldly environment, really modelled upon the rock world that has sex as its symbolic centrepiece. He writes:

“I am now convinced that God will not accept our worship when it is offered with music styles that are also used by pagans for their immoral practices.”

He really nails his colours to the mast and much of the book is written with this thought at its core. So I did much soul searching on these issues, really considered his arguments, read the Scriptures and chatted it through with a few friends. As I talked with many people it seemed like many confused by these arguments and were unsure of the Biblical response.

And so to help with that, I put together an email to the writer of this book to outline my thoughts. This is part of my response below. I hope and pray it helps those of you in the midst of worship conversations – may His Love prevail:

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EMAIL to Dan Lucarini:

“To me, ‘being worldly’ is an attitude. Music can’t be worldly, in the same way food or money can’t be worldly. They are neutral. Instead, I believe, it is attitudes that can be worldly, such as a worldly attitude of pride, a worldly attitude of greed, or a worldly attitude of jealousy. The word worldly is used 9 times in the New Testament and in every instance it describes an attitude. Of course music can’t be defined as ‘Christian’ or ‘non-Christian’, in the same way a film or painting can not. This is because a film can’t trust in Jesus. A painting is not eternal. A guitar or drum kit isn’t going to heaven or hell. 

This tells me that music in itself can not be worldly, but the attitudes that lie behind them most certainly can. As I play or sing, I can have a worldly attitude of pride, but I will never play a worldly instrument. Oh yes, I will definitely play an instrument that has been used by many with worldly attitudes, but I decide every time I pick it up whether or not I will have a worldly attitude or a Godly attitude. One of pride and selfishness, or one of beauty, love and service? God will not care how soft or loud a song is because He doesn’t struggle to hear or have ears that can be damaged by noise. Instead He cares if those playing have a heart to serve the people they are leading. 

It doesn’t matter to God whether the congregation are singing in 4 part harmony or are all tone deaf. Instead He cares whether those singing have a heart for justice, the poor and the oppressed. God doesn’t worry about whether a song is played by an organ and flute, or a rock band with guitars. Instead He cares about whether those playing are doing it with a thankfulness in their hearts to Jesus for giving them breath in their lungs. 

It’s clear from the Bible that God doesn’t have a musical genre that He likes best. He loves praise brought to Him with such diversity from cymbals to trumpets, from dancing to silence. I know you’ve heard it said before, but it really is all about the heart. 

We should stop dividing the sacred and secular. The only truly secular thing is sin! God isn’t more pleased or displeased by one style of music than another. Jazz or country? Folk or rock? It’s irrelevant to God. He is interested in the attitudes behind the style. 

And as a worship leader, that’s my freedom! For me, every time I step out in front of people to lead worship, I want to play my instrument, sing every note and speak every word in the name of Jesus. I desire to have a Godly attitude in everything I do. And whenever God’s powerful and mighty hand comes upon something and someone so weak, small and insignificant, His glory can be displayed and His power seen in special ways. And me? What’s my story? Well I became a Christian at a worship concert. I gave my life to Jesus in the middle of a worship song. Fumbling around in the dark I prayed the words of the song being sung by the band at the front. And ever since, the heartbeat of my life has been to make the song of Jesus known through every single thing I do. 

He truly has ‘put a new song in my mouth [and] a hymn of praise to my God.’ And I pray that every time I minister ‘many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.’”

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I await his response…

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