The following article was originally posted February 6, 2018. Michael Sweet retweeted it, and that caught the eye of Apologist/Author/Music Lover- Mark Mittelberg. He messaged me about this article and introduced me to Steve Perkins. Steve and I stayed in contact on many topics overthat year (music, theology, education, etc.). In the fall of 2019 I asked Anthony Martinez of classicchristianrockzine.net (whom I was writing for..) - if he would be interested in a CCR podcast. The rest as they say is history!!!!!! In honor of our 100th episode- here's the article that started it all......
Stryper Is Not Breaking a Commandment- A Pastor's Perspective
“We Don’t Talk That Way!” This was the response I received when I wanted Stryper’s album “To Hell With The Devil”. I was reminded of this discussion with my Mom when I saw that Stryper’s up and coming album is entitled “God Damn Evil!” First, let me say the artwork and imagery of this cover is second to none. Michael Sweet has made it clear from posting the lyrics of the song that it is not saying God Damn in a swearing way. It is asking for God to Damn the Evil that is around us. Some have already mentioned the possibility of Stryper breaking the commandment “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). While the phrase isn’t even being used in this way, I saw the need to explain what it means to take His name in vain.
1. First, Jesus corrected many areas of the Law through His teaching in Matthew 5:24-48 - Hate is the same as murder - Lust is the same as adultery - Loving our enemies is always necessary (not only certain ones) ….and many more. This means that as we read the Old Testament all of it must be sifted through the Life and Teachings of Jesus. We read the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament. 2. When we do this, we find the concept of names being used and emphasized by Jesus, but not in the way we assume. He states that if we ask anything in His name, he will do it (John 14:14). We are also told by Paul that anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13). Someone’s name in the Jewish New Testament culture meant much more than it means to us today. The name referred to someone’s character as family was VERY important. So, when Jesus says to pray for something in His name, it does not mean just saying His name at the end so that He would do it. Instead it means that the entire prayer should be prayed according to His character. Obviously, He will grant any request according to His character because it is the same as praying what He desires and not what we desire. 3. The New Testament understanding, using God’s name in vain is not saying a word that refers to God. Instead, it would be living a life against the character of God. I have known many people who would never say “the name” but do not live a life according to His character at all. My hope and prayer is that my life demonstrates the character of God in ALL that I do. AND, I am also looking forward to another great album by Stryper. They have never disappointed both musically and lyrically. God has used them to impact an entire generation with His message.
- Pastor Wildman