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The following emails are all in response to my three-part article on My Experiences with Secular and Christian Rock Music. CCM stands for "Contemporary Christian Music. The emailers' comments are in black and enclosed in greater than and lesser than signs; my comments are in red.
>I loved the article you wrote on Music. It sounded just like me. I tossed
all my rock LPs in the trash too. I wasn't into power lifting but I was into
Harleys. Country music is still my favorite. But now I can listen to some of
that old stuff; but I have to be careful, those old feelings and thoughts can
come back. That's why I like my I-pod, I can down load just one song off a whole
album. And what is it with people (my keyboarding is acting up, it won't let me
use a question mark). Like one of Tyler`s favorite songs, "Why Should the
Devil Have All the Good Music."
I just want to take a moment and Thank God for weaving me into your ministry.
God Bless You, Gary!
>Subject: Re: CCM newsletters
I've let your newsletters on CCM go by pretty much without comment but they've been interesting.
I've gotten somewhat interested in progressive rock--the sort of thing Genesis, Yes, and Emerson Lake & Palmer used to do back in the early to mid 70's. I don't have a million CD's of this stuff but I do find it interesting and enjoyable.
I'd sort of despaired of finding any Christian bands that do progressive rock when all of a sudden I found Glass Hammer. They aren't specifically CCM, but some of their works were very plainly Christian, especially a concept album called Lex Rex, which is about a Roman legionnaire who samples the world's religions and finally settles on Christianity.
I can't say I recommend it because progressive rock is an acquired taste, but it was certainly nice to find for me. It's odd how one's conscience somehow feels lightened when listening to groups that aren't either opposed or indifferent to one's view of God.
Good luck in the competition, hope you set a record!
Genesis, Yes, and Emerson Lake & Palmer, those are three groups I really liked "back in the day." I even went to a Yes concert at the "Civic Arena" (now, the Mellon Arena, where the Penguins play).
Thanks. I'm looking forward to my upcoming contest.
I enjoyed your article on music. As far as Christian music is concerned I do favor CCM and believe that any music that honors the Lord is k. I have mixed feelings about secular music. I listen to various stations; one plays CCM and the others play soft rock and rock. However, I usually change the station when I do not approve of the lyrics.
I also understand the need to get pumped up for athletics. I coach wrestling and wrestled in high school. I love listening to the soundtrack for Rocky IV. However, I cannot approve of listening to music that blatantly dishonors Christ. The song you mentioned by Black Sabbath is an example and there are many others. By listening to any type of music you are indirectly supporting it. You are either financially supporting it or supporting a radio station that plays it. Even the lyrics that exalt romance I can deal with but not songs that directly attack Christianity.
I was also curious about yours, and everyone else I know, interpretation of Romans 14. To me the chapter deals with three types of people. The weak one who does not eat meat because he thinks it is wrong. The stronger one who eats meats and knows it is ok. And lastly the strongest one who knows it is ok to eat meat but does not because he does not want to offend his brother. I never hear the last type mentioned. Even if you think something is ok, if it causes you brother to stumble you should not do it. I am not saying this to judge you, but am curious about your interpretation of the verse. In fact, I do not think it would mean you shouldn't listen to CCM or secular music but that you might not want to listen to secular music around a weaker brother.
I view the attack on CCM like circumcision and believe Christians should actually take a stand on it because to condemn CCM with no Biblical warrant is wrong. Anyway, those are my thoughts and am am curious about your interpretation of Romans 14.
The translation of this passage from Romans is very important. Quoting from the Third Edition of my Analytical-Literal Translation (ALT3):
14:13 Therefore, let us no longer be judging one another, but rather, judge [or, determine] this, not to be putting a stumbling-stone before your brother, or an offence [or, an occasion for sin].
14:14 I know and have been persuaded in [the] Lord Jesus that nothing [is] unclean by means of itself, except to the one considering anything to be unclean, to that one [it is] unclean.
14:15 But if on account of food your brother is distressed, you are no longer walking about [fig., conducting yourself] according to love; stop ruining with your food that one on behalf of whom Christ died.
14:16 So stop letting your good be slandered [or, be spoken of as evil].
14:17 For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in [the] Holy Spirit. [cp. 1Cor 8:8; Heb 13:9]
14:18 For the one serving as a slave to Christ in these [things] [is] acceptable to God and approved by people.
14:19 So, consequently, let us be pursuing the [things] of peace and the [things] of building up [or, edifying] one another.
14:20 Stop tearing down the work of God for the sake of food. All [things] indeed [are] clean, but [they are] evil to the person eating with offense [fig., eating something that cause someone else to sin].
14:21 [It is] good not to eat meat nor to drink wine nor [to do anything] by which your brother is caused to stumble [fig., to sin] or is made to fall or becomes weak.
14:22 You have faith? Be having [it] to yourself before God. Fortunate [or, Blessed] is the one not judging [or, condemning] himself in what he approves [of].
14:23 But the one doubting, if he eats, has been condemned, because [it is] not of faith. Now all which [is] not of faith is sin.
Paul's point in Romans 14 is as follows: I as a "strong Christian" know that God intends for people to eat meat. But if I am with a weaker brother who wrongly believes eating meat is wrong, then if that person sees me eating meat, then he might be emboldened to eat meat, even though he still believes it is wrong. As a result, he will feel guilty afterwards and feel like he has sinned against God. So if I am with such a fickle and weak Christian I should refrain from eating meat.
But it should be noted how very limited this view is. Most vegetarians are very "dogmatic" in their self-imposed eating restrictions, so my eating meat while with them might "offend" them but it will not embolden them to eat meat. It is only the person who is fickle and weak that the strong Christian needs to be concerned about.
Paul's point is that it is wrong to do anything against your conscience even if the behavior itself is not wrong, and others need to be sensitive to that fact. So rather than doing something that might cause someone to act contrary to their conscience, it would be better to truly help them see a behavior is not sinful. But until then, be careful and respectful around them.
In regards to meat-eating, that is exactly what I attempt to do in my *God-given Foods eating Plan book where I demonstrate that God intends for human beings to eat meat. In regards to CCM, in my three-part article on CCM, I try to show it is glorifying to God and edifying to Christians such as myself.
But if despite those writings, someone is still not full convinced, then yes, I would refrain from eating meat or playing CCM while with them, or secular rock if that is a concern to them.
>Subject: Re: Darkness to Light - Vol. VI, No. 6
I read your article about heavy metal music for power lifting. I have never done power lifting, but I enjoy football, and have been blessed with an athletic job in the real world that has many elements of football (my job is somewhat like the defensive safety, covering a lot of territory and doing a lot of different things). I don't know how it would tie into powerlifting specifically, but I know some classical recordings that I consider excellent football music. You might want to listen to conductor Otto Klemperer, especially on Bach. The St Matthew Passion has some good hard hitting choruses, especially when Jesus has been arrested with "Eroeffne den feurigen Abgrund o Hoelle" (O open your fiery pit o Hell). Make sure to get the Klemperer because it is the only one that brings out the hard-hitting aspect.
Thanks for the ideas.
>Subject: Re: Darkness to Light - Vol. VI, No. 6
I have been so blessed by your ALT translation of the Bible with its emphasis on formal equivalence translation. But this series of articles on music is very sad. Not that I am surprised, knowing that you do not love Jesus by keeping his commandments which includes the 4th commandment, and by continuing to eat meat even tho the Bible is clear that is not the best food for humans.
If there is any "white noise" in heaven, I will not want to be anywhere close enough for it to reach my eardrums.
Please follow Jesus with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself,
I don't even know where to begin.
First, I find it very judgmental for you to say that I do not love Jesus. Are you God? Do you know my heart?
Second, on meat, the Bible is clear that God intends for human beings to eat meat in this day and age. I demonstrate this in my God-given Foods Eating Plan book. Also in that book, I explain how a vegetarian diet ruined my health, and the health of many others, and the many health benefits of God-given meats. I define in the book what I mean by "God-given meats" as opposed to "non-God-given meats." So I will refer you to it on that subject.
Third, my article on CCM provided plenty of Biblical and personal evidence that CCM is approved of God. If you do not personally like it, fine. But your personal taste has nothing to do with God's approval of it, as I discuss in the article. I also might follow up that article some time later this or next year with a multi-part article addressing specific objections to CCM. But until then, I am sure we will only be listening to the music we like in heaven. For me, that means no boring old-fashioned hymns, please.
As for Sabbath keeping, see the items on the Sabbath on my site and Chapter 16 of my Scripture Workbook.
Note also, that I will never make any judgments about how much you love Jesus based on our disagreements on these issues.
Glad to hear the ALT has blessed you.
Subject: Re: Darkness to Light - Vol. VI, No. 6
Thank you for the links, Gary. I have faithfully read or at least skimmed all your newsletters over the last few years and say the things I did in the last email to try and wake you up. Yes, I know by your words that you do not love Jesus, because he said if you love me, keep my commandments. Those who love him will keep his commandments, and have clear minds to know what is the right food to eat and music to listen to.
Please repent while Jesus is still in the Most Holy Place working to save souls,
Note: I didn't bother responding to the above email as I figured it would be a waste of time. But his comments brought the following verses to mind:
2:16 Therefore, stop letting anyone judge you* in eating or in drinking or with regard to a feast or of a new moon [festival] or of Sabbaths,
2:17 which are a shadow of the coming [things], but the body [is] of Christ (ALT3).
14:1 Now be receiving the one being weak in the faith, not for disputes over opinions.
14:2 One believes [it is permissible] to eat all [things], but the one being weak eats [only] vegetables.
14:3 Stop letting the one eating despise [or, look down on] the one not eating; and stop letting the one not eating judge the one eating, for God [has] accepted him.
14:4 Who are you, the one judging another's household servant? To his own master he stands or falls; but he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
14:5 One indeed judges [or, considers] a day [to be] above [another] day, but another judges every day [to be alike]; be letting each be fully convinced in his own mind.
14:6 The one honoring [or, observing] the day, to [the] Lord he honors [it]; and the one not honoring the day, to [the] Lord he does not honor [it]. And the one eating, to [the] Lord he eats, for he gives thanks to God; and the one not eating, to [the] Lord he does not eat, and he gives thanks to God (ALT3).
Full Bible Search Utility
The ALT3 passages quoted above are copied from the newly available Full Bible Search Utility, which contains not just the full ALT3 text, but also the full text for the American Standard Version, the King James Version, and the World English Bible. Follow the link for download directions.
I mentioned in Part Three of my CCM article that before my most recent powerlifting contest, the meet director had told me we could bring our own music to be played during out attempts. So I burned a CD with heavy metal Christian music and took that with me.
At the contest, the meet director's wife, Susan, worked the scorer's table, announced the contest, played the music, and even judged on some attempts. So she was busy! Before the contest, I gave her my CD. When she read the tracks I had typed out on the cover, she asked, "Is this Contemporary Christian Music?" I replied, "Is that a problem?" She replied, "Not at all. We're Christians. In fact, I was just getting ready to put on an Audio Adrenaline CD" (A Christian rock band).
Unfortunately, the CD I burned wouldn't play in her CD system. I'm not sure why, it worked fine on my CD player. I recorded the files in Windows Audio format. Next time, I guess I should also record a second CD in MP3 format. Maybe that would play.
But at it was, fortunately, I also took with me a store-bought Bride CD (a Christian heavy metal group). Susan ended up playing that CD all the way through a couple of times during the contest, along with the Audio Adrenaline CD she brought. She also played some AC/DC and other secular music. But it was nice having some Christian music playing during the contest. I felt like I was working out at home!
I let her keep the CD I had burned. I figured, if she can figure out why it didn't work, she could use it at their next contest. And next time I enter one of their contests, I'll take along more Christian music with me for them to use.
Note, on my performance at the contest, it went great, exactly as planned. I weighed in at 114.0 pounds, half a pound under the limit. I successfully completed all nine of my attempts, with all three judges passing all nine attempts. I set eight NASA American Records.
My lifts were (in pounds):
I had many health problems leading up to this contest, but I thank the LORD that despite it all I had a great contest.
For a detailed contest report, see the following page of my fitness site: NASA NE States Powerlifting Championships - 2008.
For pictures from the contest, see NASA NE States Powerlifting Championships - 2008 - Pictures.
God-given Foods Eating Plan:
For Lifelong Health,
Optimization of Hormones,
Improved Athletic Performance
Paperback and eBook by Gary F. Zeolla
The above emails first appeared in the Free Darkness to Light
They were posted on this site July 1, 2008.
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