Lately though, I have heard many Christians say that music not devoted to God is dangerous and even evil, that worship bands and Christian artists are the only safe recordings for Christian ears.
Pardon my frankness, but that’s rubbish. A man named Gareth Higgins wrote a book entitled, How the Movies Helped Save my Soul. He offered that some movies he had watched had more value as a spiritual experience/lesson than most church services he had attended. Music, at times, does the same for me, which is why I suggest that to write off secular music as fruitless purely because it wasn’t written with the intent to preach the Gospel is naïve.
Has God not given us enough evidence that He can use anyone or anything to his advantage? The Bible is full of such examples; just take a look at people like David and Saul. One was a shocking adulterer, the other a mass murderer (of Christians, if you don’t mind), but God turned their hearts and used them. God’s ability to work through his creation must never be underestimated.
I am in no way trying to imply that worship music has no value—simply that it is not the only kind of music that a Christian can listen to or worship to. There are many artists in the popular music scene today who have done a fantastic job of injecting some Gospel into a blind, materialistic society. Not all of them meant to, but why should that restrict us from praising our Lord for the message it brings. Worship, in my eyes, goes beyond just singing. If you sit in your car and belt out lyrics about love from your favorite song that was written by an atheist, but you feel them resonate deep in your heart and you dedicate them to God, I feel that has more value as worship than the "automatic" response you have when you passionlessly recite words to a church song; words people often don’t even think about.
We should never try to box our God. Similarly, I don’t think we should box our lives into "Christian" terms. Sure, we should try to live a Christian life. But we cannot afford to insulate ourselves from the world, hiding behind Christianized songs, books and films, there is too much to be achieved in it. As the wisdom of Relient K so poignantly puts it, “Jesus loved the outcasts, he loved the ones the world just loves to hate.” Jesus always thought outside the box, he was always doing things that were socially unacceptable and often thought of as dangerous.
When a top-40 favorite like Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20 sings, “Everybody’s trusting in their heart like their heart don’t lie,” I will continue to respond by rebuking Satan and all his lies from my life in the name of Jesus. And when Joel Madden sings, “I’ll serve God of these two hands to make myself a better man,” I will continue to be inspired to do the same, and that will be me worshipping God outside of Church.