Long ago the Apostle Paul was very much aware of the subtlety and malice of Satan, the god of this world – as were the saints in Corinth to whom he addressed his Epistles. He who was able to transform himself into an angel of light was active among them, as he ever is when the gospel is preached. Employing many devices, he successfully blinded the minds of many who heard Paul preach “Christ crucified” yet did not believe in the One of whom they heard. Far from these “devices” being laid aside as if, having served their purpose in Corinth, they were now of no further use, the enemy has continued to employ them throughout the course of the intervening centuries, and with great success. Adapted to suit changing circumstances, their effectiveness has not diminished but increased, and the proficiency of him who devised them ought never to be underestimated.
In our day it is patently obvious that multitudes of souls are being deceived, deluded and destroyed as a result of his ability to divert the attention of men from “the glorious gospel of Christ” and to prevent its light from shining unto them. Satan’s masterpiece, the counterfeit religion of the man of sin and son of perdition, “whose coming is after the working of Satan”, has now been fully revealed. And Mohammedanism, the religion of the “false prophet”, which is claimed to be the world’s fastest growing religion, has been skilfully set in place. Who can estimate the number of souls that have passed from time to eternity without Christ, without hope and without God since the deployment of these two Satanic systems?
But the great enemy of Christ and His gospel has many more weapons in his armoury, and in each generation he knows which one will prove most effective in achieving his objective. Hermits and monks are under the delusion that they will reach heaven by cutting themselves off from communion with others. By outwardly avoiding all that they conceive to be contaminating, they are persuaded to practise self-denial to an extraordinary degree, afflicting their bodies in order to save their souls. Others, however, are deluded into believing that self-denial is not at all necessary and that godliness and worldliness are quite compatible. Why not have the have the best of both worlds?
That would seem to be the aim of many in the United States who are under the delusion that mass-entertainment methods may be used to propagate what they apparently believe to be the gospel. The “Glorious Rise of Christian Pop” is the title of the main article of the July 2001 issue of Newsweek, and the author there reveals the sordid, blasphemous and Satanic nature of this movement. Were it only instrumental in gathering hundreds or even a few thousands of young people, we might just dismiss it as something localised and ephemeral. However, we read of as many as 50 000 assembling together at a venue where the band “dedicates its music to God while goofing around the stage in giant Afro wigs”; of “more than 20 major Christian-music festivals a year, some drawing up to 100 000 attendees”; and that “this gospel-fuelled fun is now a booming business and a cornerstone of American culture”. When all this is so, we are to recognise it for what it is: a powerful programme devised by Satan to obliterate the line of demarcation between the Church and the world, and to give the lie to what the Bible teaches on the behaviour of genuine Christians, who have some understanding of what is meant by “the grace of God that bringeth salvation”, which teaches us that “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world”.
This “denying ungodliness” is far removed from what is witnessed at “Christian-rock” concerts where, we are told, one band takes upon itself to “warn of Judgement Day in an upbeat song as their drummer defies gravity on a vertical rotating riser. And it’s all in the name of Jesus.” Even the reading of this account is enough to cause the truly God-fearing to tremble. We also learn from this article that “Christian entertainment has emerged as a multibillion-dollar business, from movies to music, books, TV, even a fledgling Christian Wrestling Federation, where the action is less lurid and the wrestlers go by names like Apocalypse and the Saint”.
There are, thankfully, in the United States those who do see the hand of Satan in this movement. According to one popular lead singer, who himself boldly maintains that “rebellion and Christianity go together”, there are those whom he designates “Christian people” who protest against the shows he takes part in. They call it “high-decibel devil worship”, he says. But he claims, “They don’t know what they’re doing. They’re just afraid.” Finding themselves in the midst of such wickedness, it is very likely that they are afraid, but not in the way this man imagines. Their fear is, we believe, akin to that of David, the man after God’s own heart: “My flesh trembleth for fear of Thee; and I am afraid of Thy judgements”. The warning trumpet was sounded on September 11 in New York and is there not cause to be afraid – “shall there be evil in a city and the Lord has not done it?” These events will doubtless have given the godly in the United States much food for thought.
What is popular in America usually becomes popular in Britain. We are not aware of “Christian alternative-rock tours” being, as yet, organised in Britain but “Christian entertainment” is undoubtedly popular. It began with the introduction of instrumental music in the public worship of God, a practice which is now almost universal; alternative metrical psalms are now available together with hymns of human composition, ancient and modern; and the sound of guitars and other instruments are heard at numerous youth fellowships and after-church rallies. Entering recently a religious bookshop on Streatham High Road in London, the writer was amazed to see the number of racks of cassettes and compact discs of so-called Christian music which were on display. Even the manner in which they were packaged and presented for sale plainly indicated that they were produced for the purpose of entertainment and that they ought to be shunned by all who seek to worship God with reverence and godly fear.