A Christian friend of mine challenged me lately to stop listening to (what he calls) secular music – any non-worship music that does not glorify Christ or pinpoint listeners to the gospel – for the upcoming three months. Instead, I am only permitted to listen to Christian music. He argues that anything this fallen world produces is a polluted mixture of good and evil stemming from the fall in Genesis, and it degenerates into evil since God’s creation is only good. He continues to say that music is a product of such a fallen world and thus it is ungodly and will influence us in negative ways. Furthermore, God was the creator of music, therefore music is spiritual in substance, of a spiritual matter, and it affects the spirit, soul, and body of human beings. Moreover, my friend argues that Satan is corrupting God’s gift to rob him from his glory. God indeed created Lucifer with a “built-in” music system (Ezekiel 28:13), thus he is an expert at deceiving people with evil sounds.

I accepted the challenge knowing that I enjoy listening to soft instrumental music as I read and study. I even enjoy listening to “clean” non-Christian songs. This challenge made me think more about the kinds of music that we often listen to daily as Christians. I ask myself, should I, as a Christian, refrain from listening to music that was not produced by Christians? (My friend certainly thinks so.) And while we’re thinking about this, and it might be beyond the discussion here, isn’t some Christian music itself problematic?

The Bible does not speak directly about Christians listening to secular music, but the following three questions might shed some light on the issue by laying out a few principles.