Home » Arts & Culture » Of Christians and Secular Music

I was recently listening to the legendary Leonard Dembo’s song “Mutadzi Ngaaregererwe” off his 1992 album “Tinokumbira Kurarama”. I often do not have time for such stuff, but after carefully going through this song, I was left debating within myself. Dembo was a well-known secular musician, good at the game for that matter, but this gem of a song left me thinking and debating within myself.

Is it right for Christians to listen to secular music?

Well, this a question which raises a lot of debate and even emotions among Christians, especially those who are into singing either as individuals or as part of a church’s praise and worship team.

It is the lyrics on Dembo’s song that made me sit up and think twice on the subject.

For those who might not be aware of the song, I will summarise the lyrics.

The song goes: “Ndingapunyuke seiko, munezvakaipa kunze kwekunamata ndikokuti ndirarame.

“Pane uyawondofungira mweyawakaipa, ndiye akanditadzira ndokumbirawo ararame”.

The song continues: “Ndirimutadzi panyika anochiva nekuuraya zvisakanditadzira ndokumbirazve ndicheneswe. Muchauya here baba, riiniko, muchauya here baba kuzotiraramisa”.

This is an abridged version of the song, but still I hope it will be enough to stir our debate.

Dembo’s song is one of the many hit songs he and other secular musicians produced which have a gospel feel.

Now, what should Christians do with such type of music? It is not gospel music in the stickiest sense, but still it has a message that perfectly appeals to Christian beliefs.

Is it a sin for a Christian to listen to such type of music which is not clarified as gospel, but still carry the message of repentance?

I have often come across Christians who listen to secular music for their entertainment, either in their cars or at their homes.

When a church brethren visits their home or gets into their car, they quickly switch to gospel music.

I have since discovered that there are various reasons to explain such an action.

Such people might not want to offend their fellow brethren by making them listen to music that is not deemed proper.

The other reason might be that those who like to listen to secular music may want to protect themselves from ridicule by their fellow church members.

To some Christians, one becomes an instant outcast upon discovery that they have been out listening to secular music.

It seems there is a general belief among some Christians that what you listen to is what determines your views.

Because of this, many people who go to church struggle to come to terms with comfortably listening to secular music.

Perhaps the first point of debate should be on the message and the lyrics portrayed in the song.

There are some songs by secular musicians which carry worrying lyrics, some of which so dirty that you cannot listen to them as a family.

Quite a number of secular songs also promote violence, while others uphold promiscuity and nudity.

Surely, one cannot expect a Christian to have joy in such songs, most of which are being churned out by singers, especially in the Zimdancehall genre.

But then there are also some songs in the genre which make sense because not all Zimdancehall singers are dirty and reckless.

I think the major problem is on what to do with secular songs which have a good message, be it social or Godly.

To some, for a Christian to listen to such songs is a major mistake since they are deemed to be associating with ungodly music.

Some of the secular musicians are even viewed as sinners and their music is labelled in the same way.

Yet there are also a number of pretenders who sing gospel music.

From my perspective, I see nothing wrong in Christians listening to secular music with a proper message, but this is usually left to individuals to decide.

In fact, there are so many songs from secular musicians in Zimbabwe which do not mention God, but still expound his virtues such as love, kindness and peace.

Some songs even implore people to leave their sins and lead an upright life.

I once joined a debate among some church youths who were arguing over what type of music is appropriate for a Christian.

The debate ended unceremoniously when one of the youths asked his fellows to show him a verse in the Bible which condemns secular music.

No one among the church youths was able to come up with such a verse.

But if a song is praising the devil and encouraging sinful ways, why should it be the business of a Christian to listen to it?

People must not forget that what occupies your mind is what defines your character and attitude.

So, a Christian heavily influenced by secular music tends to be preoccupied with such music, leaving no room for gospel music.

Whatever the arguments, I think the best kind of music for a Christian will always remain that which praises and glorifies God.

What do you think?

Source : The Herald