Let me start by saying I'm not questioning anyone's salvation, including the hosts of the radio show or any of the artists' whose music that they played. If these people profess salvation in Christ, then I cannot condemn them as lost. I'm also not questioning the sincerity of the artists. I have no doubt that many truly believe in their hearts that they are honouring God. I also believe that there are many "Christian" music artists who are just "in it for the money" so to speak. What I am questioning is the "fruit" of these Christians. The Bible says,
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. (II Cor 5:17).
I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5).
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:17-18)
The Bible is clear. When someone truly receives Christ as his/her Saviour a change takes place in that person. First of all their sins are forgiven (Romans 6:23). Secondly, they are in dwelt and sealed by the Holy Spirit (II Cor 1:22). The change that salvation brings happens on the inside of a person first, but it eventually should be evidenced on the outside. Ephesians 4 explains this so clearly. Now, if you're like me you typically scan over the Bible verses when you're reading. This passage is a bit long, but I would encourage you to really read it and think about it. God gave us specific instruction of what our lives should look like as Christians.
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation of the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Eph 4:17-24, read the whole chapter for an even clearer picture of what God wants for the Christian).
The Bible is clear. Our life is to be new. It is not to be characterized by uncleanness, lasciviousness (offensively sexual), greed, and deceitful lusts. Instead it should be characterized by righteousness and true holiness. Many other passages could be cited that give further evidence of the change a Christian is supposed to exhibit in his/her life. I think of Galatians 5 where Paul lists the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, long suffering, faith goodness, gentleness, meekness, and temperance. In the preceding verses he gives another list of the works of the flesh (the old man) that includes adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, and revellings. I don't know about you, but when I read the list of the fruits of the Spirit I feel encouraged. I feel peaceful. I feel just plain good! I think, that's the way I want to be. When I read that other list, I feel yucky, revolted, and dirty. I do not want anything on that list of sins to be part of my life.
You may think I'm getting a little off topic here, but I'm coming to my point. As Christians our goal is to reach our world for Christ right? One way of doing that is through the many technologies present in the world today such as television, the internet, and Christian radio. If we as Christians are supposed to be changed people, would it not stand to reason that when we are using these mediums as a means of reaching the world for Christ, we would seek to promote the change that Christ brings? There is absolutely nothing sinful or wrong about using the radio or the internet as an evangelizing tool, but there are many sinful and wrong things being promoted in the world through the radio and the internet today. Yes, Christians should use the tools we have to witness, but we should also strive to separate ourselves from the wickedness associated with those tools.
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb 10:22). God desires a true heart and a pure conscience, and that necessitates separation from sin and worldliness.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world the love of the Father is not in him. (I John 2:15)
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God... cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (James 4:4, 8). James is warning Christians about being a friend of the world. He's not talking to unsaved people! It is possible to be a saved person and be a friend of the world, but the cost is dear. A friend of the world is an enemy of God, and no true believer wants to be God's enemy.
Now we come to the fruit part. Again, I am not questioning any specific individual's salvation, only their works, because as we know, a true born-again Christian should have a changed life. Several things upset me while I was listening to CT-20. One was the fact that the broadcast included a Hollywood update! I was absolutely disgusted. I know that's pretty strong language, but there is no gentle way to describe what I felt when I heard supposed Christians giving an update on the latest news about actors/actresses and Hollywood life. This article is not about Hollywood, but everyone knows that Hollywood is characterized by immorality, excess, substance abuse, greed, and the list could go on. The status of Hollywood stars and the popularity they receive is akin to idolatry. Clearly CT-20 is not separating itself from the world, and instead is helping promote the idol worship of Hollywood stars.
Probably the most upsetting part of CT-20 was the total lack of anything Christian in the songs that were being played. Here are the lyrics of the top 3 songs. You can judge for yourself the "fruit" of these who profess Christ.
I think when he mentions "crazy love" that's supposed to be God's love for us, but it certainly reads like a love song to me!
So yeah, if anyone can figure out what's "Christian" about this song you can let me know, because I certainly can't get it. Maybe I'm just dumb.
Christianity is glaringly absent from the top 3 Christian songs, and the others weren't much better believe me! There is not gospel, repentance, forgiveness, salvation, hope, heaven, Jesus, Lord, praise, worship, truth, holiness, or righteousness. And that's just my short list of what's missing. Not to mention if you do try to interpret the lyrics "symbolically" you can come up with a whole bunch of twisted theology.
Take the line you're impossible but lovely from the last song. Assuming the "you're" means God, we have the idea that God is impossible. Wait... God can do the impossible, but no where in the Bible is He impossible. Even if the lyrics were more God-honouring it would not have mattered. I couldn't make out half of them because of the overpowering drums and electric guitars and the unclear, muddied, breathy, slippery vocals. I was more shocked by the lyrics after looking them up just now for this article than I was when I initially heard them. Now I know what they were all really saying.
Unfortunately this is the kind of "fruit" that is present in a lot of so-called "Christian" ministries today. That is why I generally stay away from mainstream Christian radio, tv, and internet evangelism. It's nothing but shallow words, weak testimonies, and often out-right heresy. It saddens my heart that many people are listening to such radio programs as CT-20 and are never hearing a clear presentation of the gospel. Yes, they may be hearing that God loves them, but they aren't hearing about sin, repentance, and forgiveness. They are not being given the message of salvation and hope in Christ. They are not being offered a real alternative to the empty, hollow, worldly, sinful lives they are living. Perhaps there are some who have come to saving knowledge of Christ through CT-20. I'm not saying that there aren't. What I am saying, is that their fruit is not measuring up to biblical standards. Their fruit is not displaying the holiness and righteousness of God. Can people still be saved by listening to their program? Maybe, but many more would be reached if the true gospel were actually preached. Can God use a radio ministry like CT-20? Well, God can do anything, but the Bible is clear. Those trying to be like the world are the enemies of God. Is CT-20 being like the world? Let's just say, I had to scan through the radio stations 3 times before I figured out which one was the "Christian" one. That doesn't seem to be unlike the world. But then, maybe that's just me. Maybe I'm totally off here!. Maybe I'm wrong.
One thing that's never wrong is God's Word. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed... (Romans 12:2). Again, maybe this is just me, but shouldn't a transformed radio station sound different????