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It has been suggested to me that some Christians believe that rock music is inherently immoral, and as a result they believe that Christians would do well to avoid the entire genre.

For example, several older Christians have told me that statements about the immorality of rock were more common back in the 60s and 70s. Apparently, American evangelist Bob Larson was against rock music, and that he was lampooned for these view by Larry Norman, a musician who wrote rock music with a gospel theme. If this perspective is widespread, are there denominations that are opposed to rock music? Is there a cross-denominational movement that objects to rock music on the grounds that the genre is in some way unholy?

I met someone in my previous church who held this view, but I was never able to get a straight answer from her as to why. Was this just a personal perspective, or is this a widespread perspective amongst Christians?

If there is an anti-rock music movement amongst Christians, where did it originate? What is the basis for the belief? Are there particular Bible verses or doctrinal stances that underpin the anti-rock stance?

In answering the question, note that I'm not interested in debating whether or not rock music is actually immoral. I just want to know if / why groups of Christians believe it to be so.

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Fortunately, not all Christians object to rock music. For some who enjoy it try out turntable.fm/christian_anything6 –  a_hardin Sep 1 '11 at 21:17
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Vote to close or rephrase question. Rock is a genre and has to do with preference, as it says nothing about the nature of the music/lyrics/artist. There is a lot of Christian Rock, too. A better question would be: "Why do some Christians object to secular music." –  felideon Sep 1 '11 at 21:28
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@felideon: On the contrary, those who hold this view are appear to be against rock as a genre. They consider "Christian Rock" to be as objectionable as any other type or rock. Nor do they don't seem to object to secular music in general. –  Kramii Sep 1 '11 at 21:32
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Not sure this merited close - there are definitely a number of Christian groups that prohibit rock music, is it less "hearsay" if links are provided? answers.libertybaptistchurch.org.au/answers/98.pdf –  mxyzplk Sep 2 '11 at 1:32
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@Shog9, etc: this question is not about preferences (likes) but about "belief". That is, some Christians have a moral objection to rock music. Further evidence that this was the author's intention is in the "sin" tag. This question should be re-opened - and rephrased to make this more clear. –  Wikis Sep 2 '11 at 5:07

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

After reading several of the comments, it appears that many are taking the original question, "Is rock music sinful / immoral" and rewriting it in their heads as "If I listen to rock music, does that make me a rank sinner?"

As Paul put it...

I Corinthians 6:11-13 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

Is it expedient to listen to a song that contains lyrics about traveling down the Highway to Hell? As one commenter noted, this song may be theologically accurate, but the lyrics are that "I'm on the highway to hell". No thanks. That's not expedient for me to sing along to.

Jesus admonished us to remember Lot's wife, who was so in love with the things of the world (Sodom) that, as fire fell from heaven, she had to turn back around to get one last look.

LUKE 17:32 Remember Lot's wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

GENESIS 19:24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

As Paul said, "but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." Sanctification brings separation.

I believe true sanctification produces a difference between what you used to be, and what you are today in Christ. The difference between what you used to do, and what you do now, should be so obvious that anyone can see it, and you become a living testimony to all men.

I Corinthians 3:1-2 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:

Summary: To say that listening to rock music makes you a sinner is legalism. On the other hand, make sure you are washed, sanctified, and set apart, and aren't turning back like Lot's wife.

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Because a lot of rock songs (not all of them, of course, and not just rock by any means) have a message that's contrary to the teachings of the Gospel in one way or another, and people understand the power that music can have to influence people's actions.

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This doesn't explain the inconsistency mentioned by the OP in comments about the bias between rock and other genres which I could argue espouse worse teachings. Would you say that's just an ignorance issue or is there some specific root here somewhere? –  Caleb Sep 1 '11 at 22:33

You can't be so sure that rock music, when listened to, is sinful. But my advice for you is, anything that you don't really know if it's sinful or not then abstain from it. Don't do it, cuss it's better not to do it than to put your self in danger of the judgement

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Welcome to C.SE! When you get the chance, please check out our tour and specifically How we are different than other sites. As it stands, you may have a good point, but there's nothing really to support it. –  Affable Geek Aug 28 '13 at 21:53

I think those people are not very good Christians:

  • it's bigotry, because in 99% of the cases they mistake rebelliousness for blasphemy
  • even when the lyrics are un-Christian, but not hate speech, the only reasonable Christian reaction should be to ignore it
  • all kinds of music, besides religious music, have always been pagan/irreligious/sexual/funny, for as far back as we can ascertain. Why this obsession with rock?

I think it has more to do with people that still think that it's improper to have fun.

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protected by wax eagle Nov 8 '13 at 20:13

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