A few weeks ago, I began a two-part Bible Study from Ephesians 4:17-32. In that passage, Paul warns us against living like the world. He describes their lifestyle as aimless, darkened, alienated from God, ignorant, blind, past feeling, lewd, unclean, and greedy. None of that should describe the Christian lifestyle. Instead of living like the world, each Christian should put off the old man (remove sinful habits), be renewed in the spirit of our minds (let the Scriptures change our thinking), and put on the new man (instill godly habits) from God. God’s formula (remove, renew, replace) will make a liar honest, give self-control to an angry man, make a thief a giver, make a foul mouth edifying, and make an angry man kind. These are only a few example of the changes God wants to make in each believer’s life.
The Scriptures are filled with examples of people whose lives were changed by Jesus. Think of the woman at the well, the demoniac of Gadera, Saul of Tarsus, the woman found guilty of adultery, and Zacchaeus. Their lives were changed as they left their sin and believed the Lord. If any of them went back to his old lifestyle, he would have been exhorted to follow the formula above (remove, renew, and replace). Or in the words of Scripture, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” I find it difficult to imagine any of those changed people going back to his old lifestyle so as to reach unbelievers with the gospel. But stranger things have happened under the guise of evangelism.
While studying at Northland Baptist Bible College (1994-2000), I was taught the principles mentioned above (remove, renew, replace). We knew that certain actions, attitudes, and speech were antithetical to the Christian life. With that in mind, the college purposefully limited the types of influences on us. We could not smoke, drink, dance, be immoral, or attend rock concerts. These activities were rightfully deemed inappropriate for those who were following Christ. They even went further and kept us from being involved with other churches or organizations that compromised in these areas. So, none of us were allowed to minister in a church that used Christian rock music for the same reasons. Mixing the life-changing message of the gospel with rock music didn’t make sense back then and still doesn’t to me. Why would anyone mix the sounds of “sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll” with Christ?
Apparently, there has been a change of mind at my alma mater. The change has been slowly evolving but has recently come out of the closet. Now doing business as Northland International University, the college I attended almost 20 years ago is now sporting a traveling worship band made up of drums, electric guitars, and rock music. I had been hoping things had somehow been exaggerated, but the school website and Youtube channel have confirmed the change. And it’s not a good one.