Updated March 16, 2004 (first published September 9, 2001) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org) -

One of the reasons why Contemporary Christian Music has gained such rapid influence in churches is that this generation is so completely addicted to rock music. Over the past 50 years, rock music has permeated society in practically every part of the world. It is on the radio and television, in commercials, in stores, at sporting events. Even the mildest form of rock music was shocking to people in the 1950s, but that which was shocking then is old hat today. As rock has gotten ever more violent and vicious, we have become desensitized to the milder forms of it. Many people don’t even recognize soft rock as rock music. When they think of rock, they think of heavy metal or punk or rap or some other kind of very hard rock. The average church member is so accustomed to and even addicted to rock music in his daily life, he craves for it even in church. Thus, practically every pastor today is faced with an ongoing battle if he attempts to hold the line in the area of music.

Many Christians who would not listen to “hard rock” nevertheless fill their minds with “soft rock.” But is soft rock really innocent and proper for a child of God? Is soft rock a godly influence? Following are six warnings against it.

1. THE MESSAGE OF “SOFT ROCK” IS OFTEN AS IMMORAL AS THAT OF HARD ROCK. From its earliest days, free sex has been one of the themes that has permeated all of rock music, soft, hard, pop, metal, punk, you name it. It promotes sensual, lustful relationships that are not grounded in marriage. The “love” that is so often the theme of rock music, is not love at all by God’s standards; it is lust. It is very dangerous to allow one’s mind to dwell on such things. “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints” (Ephesians 5:3).

2. EVEN SOFT ROCK USES SENSUAL “SEXY RHYTHMS” THAT APPEAL TO THE FLESH. Dr. David Elkind, Chairman, Department of Child Study, Tufts University, warned: “There is a great deal of powerful sexual stimulation in the rhythm of rock music.” Certain kinds of rhythms produce certain effects on people. In his history of music in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the homes of rock and roll, author Larry Nager observed that “…the forbidden pleasures of Beale Street had always come wrapped in the PULSING RHYTHMS of the blues” (Larry Nager, Memphis Beat). That part of Beale Street near the river was infamous for its bars, gambling dens, and houses of prostitution. Those are the forbidden pleasures referred to by Nager. It is not happenstance that those wicked activities were accompanied by certain types of rhythms. And those old blues and boogie woogie rhythms were not always loud and boisterous. Like rock music, there was soft blues as well as hard. Famous bluesman Robert Johnson knew that his music had a licentious affect on women. He said, “This sound [the blues] affected most women in a way that I could never understand.” B.B. King, one of the most famous of the bluesmen, made the same observation in his autobiography: “The women reacted with their bodies flowing to a rhythm coming out of my guitar…” (B.B. King, Blues All Around Me). These unsaved blues musicians admit that certain rhythms are sexy. This is a loud warning to those who have ears to hear. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Gal. 5:17).

3. BY LISTENING TO SOFT ROCK, ONE DEVELOPS AN APPETITE, AN ADDICTION, FOR POP MUSIC. Like all appetites, this one is never content. “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied” (Prov. 27:20).

4. SOFT ROCK IS A DANGEROUS BRIDGE TO THE WORLDLY THINGS THAT PERMEATE THE WORLD OF ROCK AND ROLL. “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. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).

5. THE LISTENER HAS TO SORT THROUGH THE HUGE AMOUNT OF GARBAGE IN POP MUSIC TO FIND A FEW RELATIVELY INNOCENT SONGS. Is this a safe and wise use of this short earthly life? “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).

Steve Peters, who does not believe all rock & roll is wrong for Christians, nevertheless makes the following important admission: “Just about the time I think I’ve found a good-clean-acceptable secular musician, they blow it on their next album or tour. And if I have recommended them, suddenly I find myself scrambling to tell thousands of teens who know--I WAS WRONG” (
The Truth about Rock, p. 90). We would remind Mr. Peters that he will never undo all the damage he has caused by recommending, even hesitatingly, secular rock. Such recommendations by Christian authority figures are a bright green signal to young people that it is all right to explore the filthy world of rock. VERY few of them will be as cautious about what they listen to as Mr. Peters claims to be.

6. WE MUST BE CONCERNED ABOUT OUR INFLUENCE ON OTHERS. If I allow myself to listen to “soft rock,” it is possible that my influence will encourage others to listen to music that is worse. If a parent, for example, listens to “soft rock,” how can he or she consistently and effectively warn young people about the dangers of rock music in general? “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth. . . . Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God” (1 Cor. 10:23,24,31). “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak” (Rom. 14:21).