I listen to a local TV program that generally speaks about the differences between fundamental Christianity and Mormonism. I already know most of what the speaker teaches, but I listen because I occasionally I hear something outside the box that makes me think. A few days ago, he raised a question that caught my ear. What makes something, such as music, “Christian?” Is it simply music that Christians make? Or, perhaps, it is music that has a Christian message! Alternatively, the term could simply represent music that most Christians find acceptable and/or enjoyable.
And if music can be divided into “Christian,” and by logical extension, “Non-Christian,” then what about other things we make? Could we start dividing cars into the classification? House floor plans? Food?
The more I think about it, the more I start to realize that I needed to learn something out of this.
Music makes the best example here, because most of us either listen to or know about “Christian Music.” I have friends who will only listen to “Christian Music,” and even a couple who only listen to hymnals.
Yet, why is that? Do we presume that all “Christian” entertainment leads all people closer to God, and never away? Are we so prideful as to think that God can only speak to us through “Christian” entertainment, and not though the works of others? And if you make “Christian Entertainment” (maybe for a living), is that a higher calling than a carpenter who works as onto the LORD? (Col 3:23-24). How is it that a Christian artists calls his work a ministry and yet a Christian that works as theme park attendant “just has a job,” even as he does so onto God.
And whether or not we like it, this approach creates prideful elitism. I have had Christian siblings judge me and my heart because of some of the music I listen to, and even the “Christian” comics I draw. Some congratulate me in my ‘ministry’, while others say I fall short of the mark they have set. I could not find this line of thinking or division anywhere in the New Testament.
This does not mean, by extension, that we should just treat all forms of entertainment equal in our personal lives. The Bible says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Phil 4.8). You will notice that this does not say anything about only consuming “Christian” works or to stay away from “Secular” hobbies. It does give us a goal of thinking upon those things that are pure, lovely and noble. Conversely, that means partaking of forms of entertainment (or any activity) that leads us to sin would also be a bad idea. Again, we should do everything as onto the LORD (Col 3:23).
Ultimately, however, I now believe categorizing our entertainment as “Christian” or “secular” is a fruitless endeavor that encourages elitism. Only God’s Word is truly perfect and inspired.<>