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In Ghana, every secular musician is tagged a ‘sinner’ and that has created a myth that majority of them will go to hell. Many Christians and gospel musicians in the country struggle when asked if they listen to secular music.

Many secular musicians are massively talented. Secular music can be very entertaining and educative that Christians can enjoy but our focus has not been drawn to that due to some of the lyrics in their songs. There are many secular songs that have catchy melodies, thoughtful insights, and positive messages.

Though the definition of gospel music is not clear to Ghanaians, we therefore consider any song which has Jesus Christ or God’s name as gospel. In reality, most songs from some of our legendary high life artistes, especially Abrantie Amakye Dede like ‘bebrebe’ and others are gospel.

In determining whether or not to listen to secular music, there are three primary factors to consider:
The purpose of music: Every song has its target audience and purposes why they are created. Are secular music designed solely for the clubs, pub, funerals, parties or all occasions? So, while the primary purpose of music is to educate, inform and entertain why then do we criticize Christians who listen to secular songs for information and education?.


The style of music: Sadly, the issue of music styles can be very divisive among Christians. There are Christians who adamantly demand that no musical instruments be used. There are Christians who only desire to sing the “old faithful” hymns. There are Christians who want more upbeat and contemporary music. There are Christians who claim to worship best in a “rock concert” type of environment. Instead of recognizing these differences as personal preferences and cultural distinctions, some Christians declare their preferred style of music to be the only “biblical” one and declare all other forms of music to be unpleasant, ungodly, or even satanic. The Bible nowhere condemns any particular style of music. The Bible nowhere declares any particular musical instrument to be ungodly. The Bible mentions numerous kinds of string instruments and wind instruments. While the Bible does not specifically mention drums, it does mention other percussion instruments (Psalm 68:25; Ezra 3:10). Nearly all of the forms of modern music are variations and/or combinations of the same types of musical instruments, played at different speeds or with heightened emphasis. There is no biblical basis to declare any particular style of music to be ungodly or outside of God’s will.

The content of the lyrics: Since neither the purpose of music nor the style of music determines whether a Christian should listen to secular music, the content of the lyrics must be considered. While not specifically speaking of music, Philippians 4:8 is an excellent guide for musical lyrics: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, and whatever is admirable. If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” If we should be thinking about such things, surely those are the things we should invite into our minds through music and lyrics. Can the lyrics in a secular song be true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy? If so, then there is nothing wrong with a Christian listening to a secular song of that nature.

However, much of secular music does not meet the standard of Philippians 4:8. Secular music often promotes immorality and violence while belittling purity and integrity. If a song glorifies what opposes God, a Christian should not listen to it. However, there are many secular songs with no mention of God that still uphold godly values such as honesty, purity, and integrity. If a love song promotes the sanctity of marriage and/or the purity of true love—even if it does not mention God or the Bible—it can still be listened to and enjoyed.

Whatever a person allows to occupy his mind will sooner or later determine his speech and his actions. This is the premise behind Philippians 4:8 and Colossians 3:2, 5: establishing wholesome thought patterns. Second Corinthians 10:5 says we should “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” These Scriptures give a clear picture of the kind of music we should not listen to.

Let’s allow Christians to enjoy secular songs with good content like: Susuka- Kofi Kinaata,Nipa Nua- Nero X and others.

By:Daniel Lartey