Back in the day when we were growing up, there were lots of conversations about secular and Gospel music. It was too much that some of us out rightly rebelled against such vibes without caring about the fact that we were Church leaders in the teenagers’ department and almost active in our Christian unions. Instead of being changed, we became more challenging towards such sentiments than ever. The lack of solid conviction and distinction between the secular and the Gospel made us grow sceptical. Today, many years past my teenage life, the clarity is home, and the joy is real. Need I say as well that the consequences are as real!
What is the difference between secular and Gospel?
In 1850C, they coined the term ‘secular’ to denote a system which sought to order and interpret life on principles taken solely from this world, without recourse to belief in God and future life. Now it is used in a more general sense of the tendency to ignore, if not to deny, the principles of supernatural religion. (from the Oxford reference).
The term gospel refers to the message of the salvation that God brought through the death of his Son, Jesus Christ. Paul, in Romans 1:16, says that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. In Christendom, the Gospel has four elements that qualify and crunch the whole redemption narrative, namely;
-God is Holy, creator, love and judge.
-Man is a sinner deserving of the wrath of God.
-Jesus Christ paid for the sin of man by dying on the cross for us.
-Man must respond to the call that Christ give saying, “Come unto me all ye who weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
The reason young people rebel against the call to ‘reject’ is that they do not know what difference it makes when we see and understand the striking, profound truths about the two statements. For that, we end up in endless arguments and, as it were, old wives’ tales. The definitions’ summarise that secular is anything that rejects the stipulations, attributes and character of God. Gospel is anything that is governed by the redemptive, eternal work of Jesus Christ as explained in the Bible. With this in mind, it is only sensible to conclude objectively that the Gospel and secular can never align even we want them to. Secular wants God out and Gospel wants secular out. It is the age-old war cited in Galatians 5:16-17, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” There is an evident war between the flesh (secular or worldly things) and the Spirit (gospel, God-centred) that never ends. An understanding of these terms will help us not look at the charge to walk away/ depart from the secular as something more than just ‘God being boring and a kill joy’ to God being loving and most caring, especially for our posterity.
What does the Bible say about it?
The scripture says in Isaiah 52:11, “depart, depart, go out from there; touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her; purify yourselves, you who bear the vessels of the LORD.” And again;
Psalms 1:1-3, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;”
For the one who is genuinely regenerated, the above thought is a banner that guides. Why is it a banner? Because our spiritually journey is hinged in the issue of separation and consecration unto the Lord. The Apostle Peter called us aliens and sojourners; Paul tells Timothy a good soldier does not engage in civilian affairs. That, just as darkness and light can never mix, so it is with the worldly (secular) things and the Gospel. At this point, we must avoid using the word ‘christian’ because of the loss of meaning it has gained over time.
Biblically speaking, Christian is supposed to mean a follower of Christ, and this is not a religious name. It is a relationship name. Whoever understands that relationship knows that there is no way they can claim both worlds. One is either Biblically Christian (born again) or secular (against God). This is the heart of the secular culture that scripture is fighting against- rebellion! If we chose the secular culture (culture means a way of life), we choose to be enemies of God. Paul says in Romans 8:7, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” James, later on, adds in chapter 4, that friendship with the world is enmity with God and that whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Is that not obvious and plain? The scripture does not condone the heart of secular culture. Jesus himself said that the road that leads to life is narrow. It does not have space for inclusivity. He said that those who find it are few!
Here is the point of what we are saying:
Secular culture is a way of life that is in rebellion to the ways of God. It does not acknowledge God’s rule and existence and therefore geared towards shutting down and silencing everything that is called Gospel.
Gospel culture, to the contrary, is a way of life that seeks to exalt, more than anything else, the message of salvation that brings change and transformation. A gospel minded person is therefore set apart from the rest because they exist to make significant, the praises and glory of God.
Anything we do in this life satisfies either of these two cultures. Whether it is music or movies; language or style; we must continuously ask ourselves how the Gospel is exalted above the secular in all our endeavours.
Secular wants God out. Gospel brings God in.
Reject secular in any form it presents itself!
Won’t have yourself a Gospel entered week!