Worship Mythbusters: Secular Music is a BAD thing to do in church

Worship MYTH to BUST today: Secular Music is a BAD thing to do in church

I recently received a question about worship, as is usual in my corner of the social media world. Here is the note and my response. Please share your opinions and thoughts on this. I will pass them on to my new friend from a far away place.

Rich, there is a long time discussion in my place regarding an ordinary love song and Christian songs. An incident took place once in my city where the local artists sang a non Gospel love song in a local wedding which is held in a Church and raises opposition by the Pastor. Can you provide some ideas and opinion about this?

Here is my response:

This sounds very familiar.

One Christian leader says, “there are is no Christian music, only Christian lyrics.” I would take that further to say that at a wedding it is biblical to sing about love between a man and woman. The scripture celebrates this fact. As long as the lyrics of the song do not conjure up unbiblical ideas or immoral ideas I see no problem in singing a non-church or non-gospel song at a wedding–even if that wedding is in a church building.

The issue may be that there are songs that can only be sung in church. I say that we as Christians give music its context. And, as long as the content of the song is in line with who we are and what the Bible teaches then we should have liberty to do so. Was it a “sin” listed in the Bible to sing this song?

It is also common that artists enjoy pushing the edges of everyone’s comfort without realizing the impact of that path of choices. It is prudent to count the cost. In other words, was it worth the headache and pain to sing that song? It may very well be! Artists need to be aware of there impact. The key here is keeping true to how you live and what you say in your music.

Share your opinions about secular music in a church setting.

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

20 comments

  1. I have heard the lover of my soul singing me love songs through ‘secular’ music so often. Listen. Notice. He’s passionate and is captivated by his bride. Music thatgets that across needn’t be separated into 2 camps. Separate art into bland, uninspiring, soggy, boring or the opposite. Do that.

    1. are not some boundaries appropriate, however?
      not every setting is an expression of art…art is not our purpose as people, even though as an artist its my lens

  2. I have heard the lover of my soul singing me love songs through ‘secular’ music so often. Listen. Notice. He’s passionate and is captivated by his bride. Music thatgets that across needn’t be separated into 2 camps. Separate art into bland, uninspiring, soggy, boring or the opposite. Do that.

    1. are not some boundaries appropriate, however?
      not every setting is an expression of art…art is not our purpose as people, even though as an artist its my lens

  3. I have heard the lover of my soul singing me love songs through ‘secular’ music so often. Listen. Notice. He’s passionate and is captivated by his bride. Music thatgets that across needn’t be separated into 2 camps. Separate art into bland, uninspiring, soggy, boring or the opposite. Do that.

    1. are not some boundaries appropriate, however?
      not every setting is an expression of art…art is not our purpose as people, even though as an artist its my lens

  4. I have heard the lover of my soul singing me love songs through ‘secular’ music so often. Listen. Notice. He’s passionate and is captivated by his bride. Music thatgets that across needn’t be separated into 2 camps. Separate art into bland, uninspiring, soggy, boring or the opposite. Do that.

    1. are not some boundaries appropriate, however?
      not every setting is an expression of art…art is not our purpose as people, even though as an artist its my lens

  5. I think the major problem is not secular music is making its way into Christian music, but that Christian music is becoming secular. I am not saying that there needs to be a dividing line that one is secular and the other Christian, but simply that most Christian music today seems, to me, inherently secular (or at least there seems to be nothing particularly Christian within Christian music).

    1. I think the quote by Rick Warren should answer your dilemma …”no Christian music, just Christian lyrics”.
      If you are talking about Christians being sinful and reflecting that in actual life and lyric, that could be one thing. But, what is Christian about a certain beat, tone or style? The issue is the people and message, not the medium.

      1. Exactly Rick. I have had many discussions with the Church Folk – about “unholy beats” and such. Then we inevitably arrive at the Hymns being “holy”. And then I bring out the fact that a lot of the Hymns were written to the “pop” music of the day, including Amazing Grace. They completely flip when that happens. Martin Luther was simplified for doing this! Now? The Lutheran Church sings those snogs and considers them Holy!
        It is the message not the medium – look at Christian TV. If we are to follow that example – then no one can watch it because TV has some very un-wholesome things on it on the secular channels….

  6. I think the major problem is not secular music is making its way into Christian music, but that Christian music is becoming secular. I am not saying that there needs to be a dividing line that one is secular and the other Christian, but simply that most Christian music today seems, to me, inherently secular (or at least there seems to be nothing particularly Christian within Christian music).

    1. I think the quote by Rick Warren should answer your dilemma …”no Christian music, just Christian lyrics”.
      If you are talking about Christians being sinful and reflecting that in actual life and lyric, that could be one thing. But, what is Christian about a certain beat, tone or style? The issue is the people and message, not the medium.

      1. Exactly Rick. I have had many discussions with the Church Folk – about “unholy beats” and such. Then we inevitably arrive at the Hymns being “holy”. And then I bring out the fact that a lot of the Hymns were written to the “pop” music of the day, including Amazing Grace. They completely flip when that happens. Martin Luther was simplified for doing this! Now? The Lutheran Church sings those snogs and considers them Holy!
        It is the message not the medium – look at Christian TV. If we are to follow that example – then no one can watch it because TV has some very un-wholesome things on it on the secular channels….

  7. I think the major problem is not secular music is making its way into Christian music, but that Christian music is becoming secular. I am not saying that there needs to be a dividing line that one is secular and the other Christian, but simply that most Christian music today seems, to me, inherently secular (or at least there seems to be nothing particularly Christian within Christian music).

    1. I think the quote by Rick Warren should answer your dilemma …”no Christian music, just Christian lyrics”.
      If you are talking about Christians being sinful and reflecting that in actual life and lyric, that could be one thing. But, what is Christian about a certain beat, tone or style? The issue is the people and message, not the medium.

      1. Exactly Rick. I have had many discussions with the Church Folk – about “unholy beats” and such. Then we inevitably arrive at the Hymns being “holy”. And then I bring out the fact that a lot of the Hymns were written to the “pop” music of the day, including Amazing Grace. They completely flip when that happens. Martin Luther was simplified for doing this! Now? The Lutheran Church sings those snogs and considers them Holy!
        It is the message not the medium – look at Christian TV. If we are to follow that example – then no one can watch it because TV has some very un-wholesome things on it on the secular channels….

  8. I think the major problem is not secular music is making its way into Christian music, but that Christian music is becoming secular. I am not saying that there needs to be a dividing line that one is secular and the other Christian, but simply that most Christian music today seems, to me, inherently secular (or at least there seems to be nothing particularly Christian within Christian music).

    1. I think the quote by Rick Warren should answer your dilemma …”no Christian music, just Christian lyrics”.
      If you are talking about Christians being sinful and reflecting that in actual life and lyric, that could be one thing. But, what is Christian about a certain beat, tone or style? The issue is the people and message, not the medium.

      1. Exactly Rick. I have had many discussions with the Church Folk – about “unholy beats” and such. Then we inevitably arrive at the Hymns being “holy”. And then I bring out the fact that a lot of the Hymns were written to the “pop” music of the day, including Amazing Grace. They completely flip when that happens. Martin Luther was simplified for doing this! Now? The Lutheran Church sings those snogs and considers them Holy!
        It is the message not the medium – look at Christian TV. If we are to follow that example – then no one can watch it because TV has some very un-wholesome things on it on the secular channels….

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