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"Christian" Rock Is The Devil's Music

Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.

Links to Topics:

Three Common "Strange Fire" Offerings
Research Supports the Connection of the Strong Beat with Paganism
Rock Music is "Strange Fire"
The Result


TEXT: Leviticus 10:1-3 & 10

"And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace. And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;"

Why did God consume (398 - burn up) these two priests in this awesome manifestation of judgment? Two reasons are given for God's judgment.

  1. Their Actions Were Outside Of God's Mandates:

    Leviticus 10:1
    "And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not."

    Nadab and Abihu decided to follow their own inclinations and fancies instead of following the revealed will of God in their worship. Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25 ring true. "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." These two priests had a real "Raiders of The Lost Ark" experience. I don't think there was any question in the minds of the Israelites that day regarding whether God approved of offering "strange fire before the LORD," do you? So, what does that tell us? When it comes to worshipping and serving Him, God does NOT allow us to improvise! He expects us to live within the bounds of His divine mandates!
  2. This passage of scripture reveals a second reason for God's judgment:

    They Failed To Differentiate Between Holy and Unholy
    Leviticus 10:10 "And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;"

Few American Christians are aware of, or understand God's demand for Holiness. Why? For one reason grace has been magnified beyond biblical proportions. We live in a time when Christians sanction sin. But, even in America, holiness is not an option!

Leviticus 11:45 says "For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16 brings the same message to us saying, "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." Simply stated, God expects believers to practice Holiness. That means putting a difference between what is holy and what is unholy. There is to be a clear line of demarcation between what is holy and what is not. There is to be a separation between godliness and worldliness. But there is a BIG PROBLEM! It is apparent that the generation of Nadab and Abihu is not yet extinct, as it were. In our culture the line of demarcation between Holy and Unholy is being erased. This fact hit me like a ton of bricks when I picked up a newsletter from Last Trumpet Ministries. I scanned through the first page and then my eyes locked on this sentence -- "In the city of Massillon, Ohio, there is a place called the Christian Nude Dancing Club, where strippers are required to attend church and dance to the Madonna song Like A Prayer." The generation of Nadab and Abihu is not yet extinct! That's strange fire! Where is the separation between holy and unholy? To connect Christianity and Nude dancing, strippers and church, Madonna and prayer is an abomination to almighty God. Our culture is being defiled and losing the blessing of God because it no longer differentiates between holy and unholy (right and wrong).

The problem of strange fire is not just a cultural problem. Christian organizations and Christian churches of our day, even many of those that assert they are fundamental, are following their own inclinations and fancies as Nadab and Ahihu did instead of following the revealed will of God. You don't have to be a private investigator to see that personal tastes, peer group preferences, and political correctness are being substituted for or added to the revealed will of God! When compromisers are questioned, they put their spin on their "strange fire" to justify their actions! After all, because God does not ZAP them immediately they somehow assume that He approves. But Gangrene sets in and eats away at the life of that Church or Christian organization until God writes ICHABOD (which means the Glory Of God Is Departed) over them. They may still have a form of Godliness, but the power of God is missing! I remind you that there is no eternal security of churches and Christian organizations that offer strange fire before the Lord.

Allow me to illustrate by pointing you to the "main line" denominations. Where is the glory and power of God? It is gone. So, what are they doing about the loss? Some are re-imagining God as Sophia, Gnostic goddess of wisdom. Certainly she can empower them!? Hardly. 1 Corinthians 3:19 "For the wisdom (4678 - sophia) of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness."

The problem is not just with in the "main line" denominations. The fact is, that many Bible believing, Baptist churches and organizations are filling their censers with "strange fire" and offering it before the Lord.

Three Common "Strange Fire" Offerings

  1. Unbiblical Music -- "Rock"
  2. Unbiblical Compromise -- Syncretism
  3. Unbiblical Doctrine -- Psychology

This message will focus on "Christian" Rock Music.

The Incorporation of Rock Music Into Christianity IS a "strange fire" offering to the Lord.

When Rock Music first came onto the scene Bible believing churches recognized it for what it was...the music of sex and rebellion. No Christian ministry praised Elvis' gyrating pelvis. Even Rock Stars called a spade a spade. For example, in 1969, Life magazine quoted Rock star Jimi Hendrix: "through music, you can hypnotize people...and when you get them at their weakest point, you can preach into the subconscious minds what we want to say." Rocker Hendrix knew what he was talking about. He continued, "Definitely I'm trying to change the world." Music has an awesome power to mold the thinking of the masses and particularly the youth and rock musicians know it. Crosby of Crosby, Stills & Nash made that plain enough when he bragged, "I figured that the only thing to do was steal their kids. I still think it's the only thing to do...I'm not talking about kidnapping...but about changing young people's value system."1

Can music change someone's value system? Is that possible? Allow Lenoard Bernstein to answer. "Music is something terribly special...it doesn't have to pass through the censor of the brain before it can reach the heart...an F-sharp doesn't have to be considered in the mind; it is a direct hit, and therefore, all the more powerful."2

Now, I want you to note, we are talking about music, not words to music. Music has power, either for good or evil! Let me explain. Godly music has strong melody. "The part of music to which the spirit responds is the melody."3 Ephesians 5:18-19 shows that the most prominent part of music should be melody. "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;"

1 Samuel 16:23 shows the powerful affect for good music can have. "And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him."

That brings us to harmony. "The part of music to which your mind responds is the harmony. Harmony is the intellectual part of music."4 Harmony is to be secondary but not primary.

Then there is the rhythm. "Rhythm is the pulse of the music."5

Too much (or erratic) pulse ----------- Body is sick
Too much  (or erratic) rhythm -------- Music is sick

No pulse ------------------------------------- Body is dead
No rhythm ----------------------------------- Music is dead

Pulse under control ---------------------- Body is well
Rhythm under control ------------------- Music is well

"The sexuality of music is usually referred to in terms of rhythm it is the beat that commands a directly physical response"6 Music with the heavy, hard beat got the name "Rock and Roll" when a disc jockey coined the term from sex in the back seat of a car. "The rock beat is Satan's sound of lawlessness. The rock beat is musical perversion. Every knowledgeable musician knows that the term 'rock' really means a shameful act of lust"7 But that is not the only problem! The beat of rock is nothing new. Pagan, animistic tribes had the "rock beat" long before it came to America. They use the driving beat to get "high" and bring them into an altered state of consciousness. "Traditional drumming and dancing techniques are designed to achieve the Shamanic State of Consciousness."8 You see, the beat "is a vehicle for demon infestation."9

Perhaps you are wondering, "can you really support that quote?" My answer is yes. In have a video interview with a missionary that does just that! I offer this transcript of the interview with Iver Greenslade -- A.B.W.E. (Association of Baptist For World Evangelism) Missionary

"When we first came up here (from the mission field) and heard the Rock Music, when it first came out, my wife and I looked at each other and said this is something we have been hearing all along. This is nothing new to us. It sounds just like the jungle music.

"I remember one furlough going back and we took some tapes out.. Our children had slipped one of these contemporary Christian music tapes, Christian Rock. Shall we put it in quotation marks? Really there is no such thing as "Christian" Rock. Rock is rock and it is connected to Spiritism.

"When our children played that tape, suddenly the brethren wanted to know why we were playing the music of the demons. They recognized it right away.

"All of this contemporary Christian music as they call it, the people who are in Animism recognize it right away as their demonism music. You will find that this [rock] music and Animism is the same in the Amazon Jungle as it is in North America. It is all related to Spiritism."

Research Supports the Connection of the Strong Beat with Paganism

Last year, while doing research on the subject I met with a Christian journalist. He shared some documented information with me that nearly knocked my socks off. Jeremiah 7:31-32 speaks of a place called Tophet. I discovered that "tophet" comes from the Hebrew root that means "to drum." As you will recall in I Kings 11 1-8 Solomon turned to pagan idolatry in his later years. His 700 wives and 300 concubines "turned away his heart after other gods." Solomon built his pagan wives a garden, originally called The Garden Of The King at the place where the Kedron Brook and the Brook of Hinnom met. It became known as The Garden of Tohpet or which means, The Garden of The Drum. It was there that Solomons wives sacrificed to their goddess Asthoreth and the demon god Moloch. There Israel burned their children alive in sacrifice to his idol. Now, Dr. Don Nelson did first hand research in Israel and discovered it was called the Garden of The Drum (Tophet) because the people were brought to a drug like trance through the driving beat of the drum and then they sacrificed their children.

Are you skeptical? Read this quote, "Since fast rhythm releases into the bloodstream chemicals which excite the organism, such music can literally be said to give a 'kick.' When a young person is used to listening to fast rock music for a number of hours per day, such kicks literally become a form of addiction, and a sense of emptiness is experienced if for some reason music cannot be listened to for a prolonged period of time."10

Rock Music is "Strange Fire"

How did demonic music get into get into Bible believing churches and organizations? Between June 12-17, 1972 more than 75,000 high school and college students met in Dallas, Texas for EXPLO 72. During the day they attended classes on evangelism and Bible study. In the evening they gathered at the Cotton Bowl to hear messages by famous preachers and for "Christian" Rock Concerts. The festival closed on Saturday with an eight-hour Jesus Rock Concert. Explo was the "first major trans-denominational endorsement of the rock beat as an acceptable Christian music form."11 That was a tragic sin! They had taken "strange fire" from the pagan altar and offered it to God. "I seriously doubt if EXPLO realizes that they have clothed the demonic spirit of this Satanic force in the holy and Blood-stained garments of the sinless Son of God." Those young people filled their censers at EXPLO and took the "strange fire" of "Christian" rock music back to their churches, colleges and other Christian organizations. Today, church after church has accepted that strange fire and incorporated it into their worship services and ministries.

The Result

So what's the result of failing to discern between that which is Holy and unholy. Tragically it is the loss of the blessing and power of God. 2 Timothy 3:5 calls it "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:" What is the believers response to be when this is the case? "...from such turn away." Any church or Christian ministry, college or organization that endorse or promotes the "strange fire" of "Christian" rock music should be confronted in Christian love with the purpose of restoration. If they refuse to reject the strange fire the believer is to "...turn away." The phrase means turn away from, avoid, shun. One of the excuses I always get is, "but the music draws such a big crowd and we can reach more people that way." God does not honor "strange fire."


1. Rolling Stone, Vol 1, p.410
2. Kathrine Ames, " An Affair to Remember," Newsweek, October 29, 1990, p. 79
3. Garlock & Woetzael, Music in the Balance, p. 57
4. ibid. p. 58
5. ibid. p. 59
6. Leonard J. Seidel, God's New Song, p. 69-70
7. Donald E. Nelson, Explo '72 Biblically Examined, p. 27
8. Hunt & McMahon, America The Sorcerers New Apprentice; Harvest House; p. 253
9. ibid. p. 28
10. David Tame, The Secret Power of Music, p. 139
11. Nelson, Explo '72 Biblically Examined, p. 10


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