Monday, April 3, 2023

A Call to the Christian Rock Community: Christ Focus over Self Focus

I don't know who in the Christian rock community needs to hear this message, but let me tell you this, there are other topics to sing about than the love of God. 

As I listen to Christian radio, Family Life, K-Love and such, I hear so many songs, and the topic is always the love of God, the grace of God, and the mercy of God. Those are all true and wonderful things about who God is. 

But, if we only focus on the aspects of God that make us comfortable, we can start to make an idol out of God, by cherry-picking the character attributes that we like. The more we exclude the aspects of God's character, like his justice, his wrath, his holiness, and his anger against sin, well, we start to get into murky waters.

We need to be careful how we portray God. We want to make sure our portrayal is accurate and complete, that it reflects the true God of the scriptures. We want our depiction to be biblical. We want it to be full. We won't get it perfect. 

But I've noticed something in modern evangelicalism. There's this mushy middle where a lot of us find ourselves, I know I was there for a while in the past, where we take the top 20 most common verses of the Bible, verses like John 3:16, Jeremiah 29:11, Isaiah 41:10, Philippians 4:13, 1 Peter 5:7, and so on, and we take those verses in isolation and make a religion out of them. And a religion based only on those feel good verses, as true as they are, when you take them out of context and make a religion out of them, you get a broken caricature of Christianity which is false. 

And I worry that the same thing happens with many of these modern Christian rock songs that only talk about the love of God, in fact in many of these songs, they no longer even refer to God himself, they call God "love." Which I understand, God is love, but, biblical love is sacrificial love. It's not worldly niceness. And God is more than love. God is just. God is righteous. God is wrathful. God is a mighty warrior. God is a just judge. God is merciful. God is alpha and omega. 

So my challenge to the Christian rock community is to find a greater balance in the depiction of God's character. Explore his love, yes, but also, His holiness, His purity, the fear of the Lord, the jealous love of God, the God of heaven and hell, the God of wrath, the God of judgment, the God who lives in unapproachable light. 

I think I noticed it first when the Chosen did a collaboration with the Christian rock community. There was such a contrast, between the focus on Jesus in the Chosen, and then to see the Christian rock musicians, many of them so self-focused, the Holy Spirit within me just surged with a sense of concern. 

I appreciate greatly the ministry of Christian rock music. But we need to keep the focus on Christ himself. One of the chief dangers for any Christian rock musician is the focus slowly shifting from Christ to the beauty of their voice, or their own talent, or their musical talents, guitar playing ability, piano playing ability, and I get it, it's tough, the whole Christian rock industry is trying to shift the focus onto the musician, and not necessarily onto Christ. Be very careful, I would say, fear the Lord, and give Him all the glory, all the time, repent of self-focus, repent of vain ambition, and return to total submission to Christ, total focus on Him, and giving Him all the glory again. Fear God, and renounce self. 

That's my challenge. I hope my words have not been too harsh. I get it, the struggle is difficult. The challenge for anyone, pastor, blogger, musician, is to keep the focus off self, and keep it on Christ, pride is a deadly opium. Let it die in us, in Jesus name, amen.