Observing the state of the modern church is no difficult task. With the church unabashedly looking to (and adopting) the image and likeness of the world, and the world sometimes quite convincingly imitating the church in hopes of proving their own righteousness, the lines can become indiscernibly blurred as to which side is which. It’s nothing new of course, as the Scriptures are rife with examples of posers on both ends, but taking a glance around every once in awhile is a tried-and-true method in reminding us that Christ truly is the only hope we have – and of course the only hope for those still lost in this unforgiving world.
No generation has been exempt from the fact that the world’s hatred for God has always been exhibited through its mockery and persecution of His children. From the Amalekites warring with Moses (Exodus 17) and the Philistines’ unrelenting pursuit of David (2 Samuel 21) to the systematic execution of Syrian Christians by ISIS , the sons of men have scarcely taken a weekend away from waging war against whatsoever God has instituted or said. We see the detestation the world has for anything so much as resembling that which is truly godly, anything set apart by His hand, as we ourselves were once guilty of the same (Titus 3:3).
It’s not my intention to fuel paranoia by drawing attention to a fictitious obstacle in the Christian walk, or to pharisitically fabricate some new hurdle for us, and I certainly don’t hope to attempt to resolve how to change the world with this article – no, no; only Jesus can do that. No, my conviction is for us to simply be more aware of this world’s conniving ability to infiltrate and misdirect the church. Their success at this fosters an environment that not only tolerates the ecumenical trends and teachings that are already so prevalent, but encourages us to follow suit while condemning any Bible-believer that would dare “judge” another’s walk or talk. And in response we spinelessly turn our cheeks from these wolves in sheep’s clothing for the sake of “unity.” Let us be mindful of the enemy’s tactics as we are weak men whose hearts and minds must be guarded by the mind of Christ and His Spirit. May we remember for ourselves and those around us His words recorded in Matthew 24:5, “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”
In (Christian By Default) we addressed the notion that Country music is somehow Christian, or at least Christian-esque, with “reverence for God” and a “love for Jesus.” That may be true for a few individual Country singers, but this is certainly a baseless claim for the Country Music Genre. This is blatantly evidenced by the crude and provocative lyrics in the music sung in nearly every song today. Still, this is often the preferred secular music of choice for the Christian. And although there may be those in the fold that have a hunger for righteousness and passion for God’s truth that may take occasion to listen to Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel” or Brad Paisley’s “When I get Where I’m Going,” there’s no question that many baby Christians, or those falsely so-called, are having their idea of Christianity shaped by such “philosophers.” Aside from what should be a love for Christ and His holiness, we additionally should refrain from giving credence to this industry for the sake of not tempting those weaker in the faith who may fall prey to this secular imitation. And we would do well to remember we are commanded to examine the fruits of those claiming to know Christ (Matthew 7:16).
There are two songs in particular that are at the top of today’s charts which provide for a startling sampling of what it is that Country music elevates. In this article I’ll primarily focus on one. This should encourage us as believers to take advantage of every opportunity God grants us to share the truth, lest we forget how lost the lost really are. This is the leaven that poisons the body of Christ.
“My Church” by Maren Morris (emphasis added)
I’ve cussed on a Sunday
I’ve cheated and I’ve lied
I’ve fallen down from grace
A few too many times
But I find holy redemption
When I put this car in drive
Roll the windows down and turn up the dial
Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church
When Hank bring the sermon
And Cash leads the choir
It gets my cold, cold heart burning
Hotter than a ring of fire
When this wonderful world gets heavy
And I need to find my escape
I just keep the wheels rolling, radio scrolling
Until my sins wash away
Really, every line could be emphasised because there isn’t a single line that isn’t blasphemous. If you scroll down to the comments section on the page I got the lyrics from, you’ll see one man pointing out how blasphemous and anti-Biblical this song truly is (unless the moderators removed his comment) and how comparing it to Scripture clearly reveals that. Of course it’s hardly received as everyone else jumps on his case accusing him of being judgemental, self-righteous, etc., telling the man he needs to “lighten up” and explaining that “this is her way of going to church, so let it be,” and surely no worldly attempt at a “biblical” rebuke would be complete without a few (classically out of context) “don’t judge(s).” I point out those replies because I realize that may well be the thought process of some of you reading this very article. I would ask that you please c.a.r.e.f.u.l.l.y. consider a few things before your defensive knee-jerk reaction clouds your ability to be b.i.b.l.i.c.a.l.l.y. objective. If you still feel inclined to respond we are very much willing to hear you so please don’t hesitate to contact us.
I don’t presume to know Maren Morris or where she stands before the Lord, but we are charged to examine the fruits of ourselves and others as to whether our speech and actions line up with the Scriptures. When she claims that her “sins are washed away,” she’s throwing the doors wide open for a good-ol’-fashioned Biblical examination. The theme here is vividly illustrative. She’s a sinner and she acknowledges that right out the gate. Interestingly though, repentance never enters the scene. Really we don’t see remorse either or so much as a hint of shame for that matter, for the sin she willingly (and cheerily) confesses to the world. Her “church” is riding in her car, listening to “Hank & Cash,” and her “redemption,” the cleansing of her sins, comes from that. Her “holy spirit” is the fleshly excitement she gets from listening to FM music – and this is one of the most popular Country music songs on the radio!
We all know how heavy this world gets, I mean, we’re Christians because we know this world has nothing to offer and that we have no hope apart from Jesus Christ our Lord. We often feel like we need an escape, and we have those moments despite Christ’s yoke being easy. We are weak but try to carry our own burdens, which is foolish. We face persecution, mockery. We get caught up in the many worldly idols surrounding us and we take our eyes off the Lord. But all it takes to lift those burdens is to fix our eyes right back on Him. To go to Him, because He is near (Psalm 145:18), because He really does care for us (1 Peter 5:7), because His burden really is light, and because He really does give us rest (Matthew 11:28-30).
Of course anyone that studies the Bible knows that the “church” is not a building, nor is it found in any particular geographic location. The argument is obviously not that God is not to be communed with inside the confines of our earthy vehicles, but rather that we can be emotionally led by secular music, by experience, without any Gospel, any Jesus, and by zero repentance, and still find salvation. This is the definition of heresy. When speaking to Thomas, Jesus stated in no uncertain terms,”I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. There’s really no misunderstanding that. This is a definitive conditional statement. Jesus removes Himself from being identified with anyone outside Himself, and from identifying with any systematic religion, as He alone is the means of salvation.
This is why we are commanded to preach the Gospel (Romans 1:16).
This is the message of hope for all nations (Matthew 12:21).
Any attempt to discuss redemption apart from Christ is blasphemy.
Of course there’s also no directive given in looking to or reading God’s Word (and why would there be; this song is in offence to God?). This is the way Satan likes it, and the unconverted heart, too. His aim, and the desire of the lost, are to keep from knowing God’s Word which rightly divides the heart in truth (Hebrews 4:12). Marren would have you believe that cruising down the freeway with our worldly radios cranked up will wash away our troubles and grant us salvation.
Scripture is clear how we receive the Holy Spirit, which is a gift from God, as a result of dying and being made into a new creation. It’s not about anything we do that takes us on some emotional rollercoaster, despite the fact that churches often teach just just that. See what Jesus said Himself:
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…..That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.“
Belief alone in Christ alone. There truly is no other way. At the end of the day, this song is not only horrifyingly carnal and irreligious, but it leads those that would listen to it further down the rabbit hole of false security in our own feelings. This can be battled only with the Gospel and must be done so on a scale greater than the reach of this song.
There are many other noteworthy claims throughout the lyrics that weren’t addressed, but by now the perspective’s been given and you’re either able to pick the remainder apart yourself (if you so choose) or you’re still in complete disagreement and are already taking to social media to organize a million-man-march in defense. I do pray that you would consider that the very foundation of this song is aimed against God, exchanging the glory of the incorruptible God for an image made like to corruptible man (or cars) (Romans 1:21-23). Let’s call it for what it is: idolatry. If we truly want to be used to bring the lost into the fold than we must be honest about that which is pure and that which is leaven. We surely can’t accomplish it by us being cultural or relevant, but by honoring God in spirit and in truth and preaching His Word!
I’ll leave you with another “top hit” that although will only be briefly addressed here, is yet another shocking example of the idolatry that permeates even the Christian’s “preferred” secular music industry.
FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE
…Cause you’re the first thing I know I can believe in
You’re holy, holy, holy, holy
I’m high on loving you, high on loving you
You’re the healing hands where it used to hurt
You’re my saving grace, you’re my kind of church
Do not be distracted by the high-jacking of biblical phrasing and terminology so as to be prevented from seeing that it’s not only horribly vulgar but it urges people to take our eyes off of the Holiness of the Creator, and set our eyes instead on women as our gods. For those that may “indulge” in this type of music while convincing yourself you “know the real God that’s holy so (you) can sing along knowing (you) don’t really believe what it’s saying” please consider what the Lord’s Word says about such things!
“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.”
May we repent from our own carnal nature so we may be able to share the truth with a lost and dying world unhypocritically. Please pray and seek the Lord on the next step!
With God’s grace and love!
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2
“Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives.” Ezra 10:11