The powers of darkness in rock music

Dear BPCWAians, Today, Canning Highway will be closed for a Perth Festival event. As advertised on their webpage, this is a music “celebration” of Perth’s “connection to Bon Scott, the iconic front man of legendary Aussie rock band, AC/DC. Taking inspiration from the AC/DC song of the same name, we’re paying homage to Highway to Hell!” The front page caption is, “Going down, party time, my friends are gonna be there too, I’m on the highway to hell. AC/DC.” For the past few weeks, we’ve also seen lighted signboards and banners advertising this event as well. What is it about, and what should our response to this be?

The band and their message. Why is the event celebrated as “Highway to Hell”? This is the title of a famous song written by AC/DC, an Australian hard rock band that started back in the 1970s. Bon Scott, songwriter of the band back then, was said to frequent some of the pubs and hotels along Canning Highway. That is why this event is along Canning Highway. On the surface, they claim that the lyrics of the song was just simply a reflection of the constant gruelling tour schedules and life on the road. But a simple read of the lyrics betrays the real message that the song is supposed to send to their fans and listeners – with lyrics waving a rebellious fist in God’s face. It mockingly says “Ain’t nothing I’d rather do, Going down, party time, my friends are gonna be there too, I’m on the highway to hell”. The song continues to blaspheme “Hey Satan, payin’ my dues… Hey mama, look at me, I’m on the way to the promised land… And I’m going down, All the way, I’m on the highway to hell”. The studio album that bears the same name shows one of the band members with horns on his head. Even the group band’s official website features prominently a curved red stage with fire behind it, and 2 horns rising from the top. There are photographs of the band and fans with similar hand gestures resembling what is commonly portrayed as the devil’s horns. Many other parts of their website mock the very idea of hellfire. Rock music sends a message of rebellion. It is anti- God, while at the same time promoting the powers of darkness and the underworld. In just over six months after the album was released, lead vocalist Bon Scott was found dead in the back of a car – after a riotous night of drinking (and possibly drugs). Scott was a known rebel. “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment” (Matt 25:46).

The Christian and our message. Sadly, what this band represents and promotes is not an oddity in the world of rock. It is what is typical. What should our response be? Can we dismiss what we’ve just read and just say that I’m going there to have some fun with my friends for Perth Festival, so let’s not be so serious? The issue lies beyond the Perth Festival event today, to other similar events that you may come across in other situations. It is also about how Christians should view rock music. The older people may not like  it, but that’s the music of choice for the young people – is it all just a matter of personal taste? Let us take a look at how we must apply Biblical principles to this question. 1) We cannot enjoy songs whose lyrics are anti-God and against biblical teachings. Remember Ps 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer”, and Eph 4:29, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers”. Even if we say we don’t sing those words, or that we don’t mean those words that we sing, we know by experience how easy it is for the words of a song to linger in our heads and hearts for some time after we’ve heard it. That’s the effect of music. As a Christian, let it not be so, that “out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so canno fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” (Jas 3:10-12) 2)

Christians should “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Eph 5:11). To make things worse, these groups portray Satan and devils as being cool and fashionably desirable – by doing so, they are antichrists. What you see on their websites and album covers should make any Christian appalled and make your hair stand. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1Jo 1:5-6). There is no in-between. Those who choose to continue to enjoy such music with its satanic imagery and message have forsaken their fellowship with God. 3) Such music promotes a culture of rebellion and carnality. They that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same (Job 4:8). You cannot enjoy such music and live the holy and sanctified life that you are supposed to live as a Christian witness. It is not about musical preferences. As a Christian, such music must be avoided. It changes your thinking, your lifestyle, your values.

As Perth city celebrates “Highway to Hell”, we must realise how far society has come to mock and reject Christ and His Gospel of salvation that leads to Heaven. The Perth Festival event page closes with this statement “Whatever and wherever you choose, Hell Ain’t A Bad Place to Be!”. The fact that society today can hold a celebration with such a caption only shows that people are attracted to things of spiritual darkness, or at best have a very light view of the reality of hell and Satan. And secular music is a great and powerful medium to promote such a mindset in the hearers. Those who enjoy and participate in such music and events are therefore supporting and promoting their evil causes. Those who are God’s children, who love Him, must not have any part in these things of darkness. Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD. (Isa 52:11)

Yours in our Lord’s service,