What makes music gospel

Pastor Erasmus Makarimayi

BECAUSE of the current COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, many are calling upon God, the Father of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in music. I have seen His character assassinated for supposedly afflicting the people He sent His Son to die for with disease, pain and agony.

I have extensively written on music, especially gospel, oftentimes called Christian music. Please remember that just because a song mentions God, Jesus or the Holy, does not automatically make it gospel music. Religious music is not gospel. I have advised many to seek counsel if they want to enter into the ministry of singing gospel music.

If you don’t have the revelation of Jesus Christ, please don’t record under the label of gospel music. I emphasise, please don’t make a mockery of the finished work of Jesus Christ. You would not be able to recall recorded music from the internet and moreso from the hearts of God’s precious people whom you would have corrupted and defiled.
Let us recap some lessons. There’s quite a sizeable number of believers who are in quandary over what type of music to play at such events as birthday parties and weddings.

Many hypocritically listen to “Christian” music in public but mimic or hum secular music privately while cooking, bathing or doing some chores. Some surreptitiously play their choices by ear/headphones.

Does the gospel of Christ, the grace of God, the good news of Jesus Christ or the glad tidings of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ free/liberate us or cage us or imprison us?

I ask you to be patient and conclude my take at the conclusion on the matter.

I continue to give evidence of music in the Bible. Please remember I started from the Old Testament.

Here’s an example from the book of Acts. Acts 16:25, Amplified, records, “But about midnight, as Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the [other] prisoners were listening to them,” According to the original language they were singing psalms.

Here the type and mode of music are not specified. Definitely no musical instruments were used. (Please be patient, I am not saying musical instruments cannot be part of Gospel music) Let’s look at the epistles.

1 Corinthians 14:15, reads, “What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.” Note here, singing in tongues; mode of music isn’t specified.

1 Corinthians 14:26 further states, “How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, everyone of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.”
A psalm, as seen in Acts, need no instruments, but could make do with it as was with David. However, no genre of music was specified.

Ephesians 5:19 reads, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” For more examples, Colossians 3:16, says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

James 5:13, records, “Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms.” In all the above quoted texts, no genre of music is specified. Read the following statement correctly please. So we can readily submit that there is no such genre of music called Christian, heavenly or spiritual or gospel. That said, what makes a song Christian/gospel will be its lyrics. We shall immediately delve into this.

David’s psalms were majorly prophetic, speaking of Christ. The content of psalms spoken of in the epistles would speak of Him, Christ. Ephesians 5:20, notes, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” The Lord Jesus Christ is at the centre here.

As quoted earlier, Colossians 3:16, reads, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
It’s all about Christ. Hebrews 13:15, puts it thus, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”

What makes music Gospel/Christian is the content. We have to check if its contents are the finished work of Jesus Christ, that is the Grace of God.

Check if it speaks of Christ’s sacrificial death, resurrection, ascension and seating. I emphasise His seating. Verify if it speaks of Him seated at the Father’s right hand.

His intercessory ministry has to be evident in His authority and power. If it does then, we have a gospel song. It must never be merely sung to entertain!

Singing gospel music means prophesying and exalting Christ. If preaching the gospel of Christ means the grace of God it necessarily means gospel music is the singing of the grace of God.

Apostle Paul hints on the gospel of Christ which is God’s Grace. He says in Galatians 1:6-7, “[6] I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: [7] Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” Verse 16 makes it clear that it’s grace. Anything else according to verse 17 is perversion.

Perversion is instigated by troublemakers who want to keep you under fear and condemnation. A song that fails this test isn’t gospel music. I repeat, a song that doesn’t meet this criterion isn’t gospel music.

I will give you examples of songs that are erroneously classified as gospel at the end of this series. Additionally I will also give you the opinion of gospel musicians. Should space permit, I will give you my interviews with cult and religious singers.

Gospel music is Christ’s music and Christ’s music is grace. Consider Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” We must not be careless with what we listen to and sing. It’s worthy noting that songs have very strong impressions on the human heart.

Please send me your opinion and questions. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Grace and peace be multiplied to you through knowledge.

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