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Music Debate (a guest commentary)
Top Reasons Against Christian Rock - ANSWERED!
Isn't Christian Rock Compromising With the World?

Top Reasons Against Christian Rock - ANSWERED!

Taken from the Apologetice Essays

How Misinterpretations, Misconceptions, and Even Heresies Get Started ---


This is one of the most insidious of mistakes made not only by Christian rock critics, but also by just about anybody with an agenda. If you want to prove just about any point of view, or doctrine, no matter how ridiculous - you can probably find a Bible verse to fit you. Here is an example:

There is a cult in the United States that handles snakes and drinks Arsenic during their services. They justify this bizarre behavior with the following scripture:

"they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it shall not hurt them ...." portions of Mark 16:18

If you are into prooftexting, you have to ask yourself: "But isn't that what the Bible says? What is wrong with picking up snakes and drinking poison?" PLENTY!!!

The right way to study the Bible is not to use single scriptures to develop an entire doctrine. That is precisely why you won't find any scriptural "one-liners" all the way through my other essays. When I looked for scriptural support of Christian rock music, I looked at general Biblical principles developed through the old and new testaments, or I quoted entire chapters or passages, such as Psalm 150, David's bringing the Ark back to Jerusalem / Michal's objection, and Jesus entry into Jerusalem.

In the case of our snake handlers, what they need to do is read more of Mark chapter 16. The pasage begins in verse 14, and occurs the last time Jesus appeared to the surviving 11 disciples. The passage ends at end of the book. Now it is time to start digging! First of all, read the footnotes. They often contain valuable cross references / explanations. In this case, they clue you in that the same scene is repeated in other places. Other gospels and the first chapter of Acts, in this case:

  • Matthew contains the Great Commission
  • Mark speaks of signs, casting oout demons, speaking in tongues, snake handling, drinking poison, and laying hands on sick
  • Luke speaks of Him explaining the prophecies of His death to the disciples, and how He fulfilled them
  • John speaks of "feeding my sheep", and restoring Peter
  • Acts talks about receiving the Holy Spirit

So what is important? All of the sudden snake handling and poison drinking begin to pale in importance. But one thing becomes clear: Jesus was giving final instructions to the 11 surviving disciples - ALL THAT REMAINED of His church at the time. It was vitally important that these disciples survive long enough to write the gospels, win converts, and spread the news. Never at any time during the history of the church was His intervention needed more to protect His followers. Never since have their been men of such faith, except for Paul. For some cult in the Ozarks to feign "faith" as great as the 11 disciples is the heart and soul of ARROGANCE! They need to get on their knees and repent of the sin of pride, before God gets really mad and lets ALL the snakes start biting ---! The last time God meddled with a snake was in front of Pharoah in Egypt - and God made it into a snake with an ATTITUDE that swallowed the snakes Pharoah's magicians produced through slight of hand. If God gets really mad with the snake handlers, we are talking a 100 foot anaconda, but with fangs and gallons of venom! Lets see them pick up THAT! WHERE would their faith be then? But why would God get mad at them - just for misinterpreting?:

Because of the scriptural principle involved. This is the second level of Bible study. You not only look for passages written by different authors about the same events, but you interpret what is said against the general guidelines of God's Holy redemptive plan. If there is a central theme of the Bible - it is that redemptive plan. From man's creation and rebellion, through the final defeat of satan and the establishement of Jesus as eternal ruler. Everything pales in significance compared to God's desire that none should perish and as many as possible be saved. Any doctrine that limits His desire to save mankind - such as sectarian groups - is highly suspect of being in heresy for some reason or another.

Along with the primary theme of God's redemption of man, there are many parallel sub themes. One is the legitimacy of his His Son, Jesus - and His redemptive act on the cross. There are numerous symbols of Jesus Christ, and one of those is His blood - the living water. This symbol plays a part in the story to come. Another symbol of Jesus Christ are various men God selected in the old testament to represent some of the characteristics of Jesus Christ. These men were not perfect, unlike Jesus - but certainly were God's representatives at the time, and meant to show the Jewish nation what to look for in a Messiah. Moses was the "redeemer" that saved Israel out of bondage in Egypt. So anybody criticizing or challenging Moses' authority would be sure to provoke God's wrath. This also plays a part in the story to follow.

The snake handlers hit close to home to Jesus, because they are committing one of the three sins he was tempted with during his 40 day fast. In a nutshell - Satan told Jesus to jump off the highest spot of the temple, because Jesus was God's son and would be protected. Jesus response was that you don't put God to foolish tests (Deuteronomy 6:16). A diligent Bible student will then go on to research the incident at Massah that provoked God's wrath:

The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, "Give us water to drink." Moses replied, "Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?" But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, "Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?" Then Moses cried out to the LORD, "What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me." The LORD answered Moses, "Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink." So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the place Massah {[7] "Massah" means "testing."} and Meribah {[7] "Meribah" means "quarreling."} because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, "Is the LORD among us or not?" Exodus 17:1-7

This incident really provoked God's wrath. Besides being mentioned in Deuteronomy 6:16, it is also mentioned in Deuteronomy 9:22 (which comes right out and says God is angry), Deuteronomy 33:8, and Psalm 95:8. That is 4 times. If God repeats himself 4 times, don't you think He is trying to make a point?! By the way, did you notice what Moses was supposed to use to hit the stone? The very staff he turned into a snake in front of Pharoah! Perhaps a little prophecy about the snake handlers?

God was particularly mad because he had just demonstrated His power over and over again to them:

  • the very act of saving the "redeemer" Moses in a manner very similar to what Jesus would experience (near death as an infant from the wrath of a jealous ruler)
  • the inflication of miraculous plagues on Egypt at Moses command
  • the sparing of the firstborn of Israel while the firstborn of Egypt died all around them
  • the parting the Red Sea for Israel, then closing it on top of Pharoah's soldiers

You would think - after seeing such wonders - that the nation of Israel would not even think twice about a small matter such as being in a desert. Or they would not doubt Moses leadership. But - they did. Their problem was lack of faith - even when God demonstrated His power to them. That is the "foolish test". The snake handlers lose it right here, because they are demonstrating their lack of faith by putting God to the test.

A lot of trouble to go through? It just took me in excess of an hour to disprove snake handling. If I "prooftexted" the issue, snake handling would be OK - even commanded. But if I research it properly - it is clear the Bible teaches the exact opposite. But that level of study is the committment required on the part of the believer to guarantee that each scripture is really talked about in context, and in accordance with God's plan. Far too often, the Christian Rock critics, along with just about every other group with an opinion, open a concordance, comes up with a scripture or two that seems to pertain to their pet opinion, and then proclaim that the issue is settled, this is God's final word on the matter, case closed. Or is it? I intend to do the same thing in my essays to their "prooftexts" that I did to the snake handlers. Only I intend to be even more thorough. Get ready to have some fun - God loves to humble the pompous fools who prooftext His Word!

Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music