Gothard Slams Christian Rock
group magazine: September, 1990
From: September 1990 GROUP Magazine
Keywords: Gothard Christian Rock Music
Gothard Slams Christian Rock
Popular seminar leader Bill Gothard says Christian rock corrupts kids
Christian rock, says Gothard, is undermining parental authority.
BY RICK LAWRENCE
If your teenagers are listening to "rock" musicians such as Sandi Patti they've taken one giant leap down the road to sin and rebellion.
So says Christian "life-principles" guru Bill Gothard, who's branded Christian rock music as "the unrecognized enemy in the church." In a recently released pamphlet, Gothard asks parents and church leaders to "urge their teenagers to conduct an Acts 19:19 bonfire, and then replace wrong music with Godly music."
To make it easier for his supporters to acquire "Godly music" for their teenagers, Gothard is offering two obscure praise-music albums for $5 and $8. Apparently, these are the only two examples of "Godly" music the former youth minister recommends.
According to Gothard, whose Basic Life Principles seminars are widely attended by Christian parents and teenagers, many kids who listen to contemporary Christian music are coaxed into "moral failure" because of rock's "demon beat." Though he has no substantive research to back up his claims, Gothard touts his theories as fact.
Gothard says the testimony of missionary Stephen Maphosah, a former tribal drummer in Zimbabwe, proves his "demon beat" theory. Maphosah's job in tribal rituals was to "appease the spirits" by beating on a drum. When he left Zimbabwe four months ago and came to the United States, Maphosah says he recognized a similar drum beat in most rock music.
Maphosah also claims that rock has its roots in African tribal music. "From our perspective," says Maphosah, "the rock beat has a lot to do with the emotions that allow the spirits to come into a person." These so-called "wild emotions," he adds, are associated with demon possession.
"ROCK LEADS TO MORAL FAILURE"
Gothard's pamphlet lists the testimonies of 44 unnamed teenage "witnesses" to Christian rock's purported corrupting influence. All the testimonies are peppered with catch phrases and "Gothard-ese" language such as "moral impurity" and "rebellion against my parents." These alleged witnesses use language not normally used by teenagers. For example:
One witness, identified only as a 17-year-old student from Pennsylvania, writes: "Just a few months of listening to Christian rock and contemporary music led to a life of being controlled by acid rock. This quickly led to and encouraged rebellion, greed, moral impurity and trying to protect my rights and hide from my parents. Now, however, I have become accountable to my father in this, and I am experiencing glorious victory over this satanic music."
The pamphlet also cites scriptures that warn against Christians placing "stumbling blocks" in the paths of other Christians. And it trumpets the partial results of an American Medical Association study that links secular rock music with "adolescent alienation." But the AMA study says nothing about Gothard's "demon beat" theory.
Gothard compares contemporary Christian musicians to the moneychangers Jesus denounced in Matthew 21:12. "Both," he says, "operate in the house of God; both rob God of his glory; both function for personal gain; and both hinder true worship of a holy God." But Gothard's charges have no basis in reality. Most Christian musicians barely make a living, and many are recognized as ministers by their local congregations.
"Just as Jesus threw out the moneychangers in his day," writes Gothard, "so all Christians today who have a responsibility for the spiritual welfare of others must exercise their God-given responsibility to free those under their care from the destructive consequences of so-called ÔChristian rock' music." The method for securing this "freedom," says Gothard, is parental obedience.
After two weeks of consistent calls to his office, Gothard consented to an exclusive interview with GROUP. In defending his position, Gothard said: "I work with those who want to see victory in their lives. They want to grow in the Lord. And so, therefore, they should then remove that [Christian rock] from their lives.
"The second thing is that when parents are against the music, then scripture compels you and me to encourage teenagers to obey their parents."
"ROCK SUBVERTS PARENTAL AUTHORITY"
Parental obedience, says Gothard, is paramount.
Kids should obey their parents and stop listening to Christian rock, even if they believe it's God's will for them to listen to it. He claims that even Jesus refused to do God's will in deference to his parents' wishes. He cites Jesus' visit to Jerusalem as a 12-year-old as an example (Luke 2:41-52).
Gothard's interpretation of the scripture is forced, if not heretical. Jesus, he claims, believed God wanted him to stay in Jerusalem, but he set aside his "father's business" and submitted himself to his parents instead. He says kids today should follow Jesus' example.
Gothard is so convinced that Christian rock has a pervading negative influence on young people that he challenged media consultant Al Menconi to produce even one "legitimate, positive response concerning contemporary Christian music."
Gothard's warnings against Christian rock music are a regular staple of his Basic Life Principles seminars. But his bizarre pamphlet appears to be the first written material he's circulated that specifically and publicly condemns the music.ú
Rick Lawrence is assistant editor for GROUP Magazine.
CopyrightG© 1990 Group Publishing, Inc./GROUP Magazine