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Christian Goth?


Christian Goth?



Summer is upon us! And, in the Christian music world, that means one thing: summer music festivals. I actually don’t like using the name Christian to describe much of what occurs at these festivals, but festival organizers and bands market themselves under the name Christian, so it leaves little else to describe them. Maybe pseudo-Christian would be a better term.

It was just last year that I got myself into hot water with some folks with a post about the Cornerstone Festival and their inclusion of bands such as Grave Robber. It generated the most discussion we’ve ever had on the blog. It also produced some good follow up blogs by Michael Durham.

This year’s crop of festivals are no better than before. The one that caught my attention this time is the Ichthus Festival that occurred this past weekend in Kentucky. They had a Grave Robbers Tent that featured bands such as Dark Valentine and Leper. Here is what organizers have to say about the Grave Robbers Tent:

Ichthus values all different parts of the Body of Christ...especially those parts that are overlooked and underserved by the mainstream. That's why we've created a space for youth subcultures that tend to stay out of the mainstream: Goth, punk, hardcore, emo, and others.


Their first problem is that they assume that goth, punk, hardcore, and emo can describe parts of the Body of Christ. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”


The Body of Christ is first and foremost a peculiar people. Christians are above their culture if one’s culture is opposed to God. So we are Christians first. But even the last half of that verse speaks to this very issue. It says that God has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. The very cultures of goth, punk, hardcore, and emo are built upon a celebration of darkness. If a person is part of these cultures then they are in direct opposition to the very nature of God.

We are not talking about the differences between cultures such as Chinese, African, or American. We are talking about a culture that one chooses to be a part of. Many act as if those in these cultures are there because of fate, as if they had been born into an South American tribe or Asian village. To be goth, punk, etc. in the United States is a choice. And those very cultures are built around darkness, death, anarchy, and separatism. They are not God honoring.

The argument, of course, is that you have to be like them in order to reach them. That we have already addressed. I believe this argument is somewhat of a smokescreen. I believe their goal is to soothe their consciences with a form of Christianity while remaining in the very cultures that are anti-Christ.

Hope for the Rejected, an organization that appears to have ties to Youth for Christ, states that their aim is to reach people in these cultures. They do so by helping the pseudo-Christian music festivals have goth music tents and even goth raves. Their purpose statement starts off with this sentence: Hope for the Rejected focuses on reaching underground subcultures world wide with the gospel of Christ. That sounds great, right? I would whole-heartedly stand behind that effort.

But their goal is not to rescue them from cultures that promote darkness, but to leave them there under the name “Christian”. On their about us page, they say this:

We believe that Christianity exists outside and above culture. Therefore, being a Christian doesn’t necessarily determine how you dress or what music you listen to. All of us belong to different subcultures (based on tastes in music, social morays, etc.), but as Christians we are all united by belief in Jesus Christ.

This statement is flat out wrong. Being a Christian does, in many ways, determine how you dress and what music you listen to. 1 Timothy, 1 Corinthians, & 1 Peter all contains instructions in reference to dress. The goal of Paul and Peter was not to restrict liberties but to bring humility and avoid distraction in the church. Paul, in Ephesians, says, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.” This is just one example that would govern what music we listen to.


Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. Do you think that Jesus would celebrate darkness and death by dressing the way these subcultures do? Absolutely not. Would he preach the gospel to them? Absolutely yes! But he would not join them in their worldly pursuits.

Lastly, I want to expose how those in these chosen cultures reconcile their lifestyle to Christianity. It is all through death. Goths, whether they call themselves Christian or not, glory in death. Christianity is based upon the death of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Through his sacrifice, we have a payment for sin. He is our propitiation. But that is not where the story ends. Jesus died and was raised three days later. He defeated death and grave. It no longer holds power of us.

Death is very powerful in Christianity. And it is used as an analogy. Romans 6 says "How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

These groups, who already love what is associated with death, latch on to the theme of death in the Bible and therefore justify their lifestyles. Yet even if we are identified with the death of Christ in that we have died to sin, we walk in newness of life. We no longer glory in death. It is not fitting for a saint of God.

Parents, do you know what your children are getting into, even at a pseudo-Christian festival?  Please, do not be deceived. Just because someone names Christ and says some things that are in line with Christianity they are not necessarily Christian. I cannot say with certitude that those trying to merge goth and other lifestyles together with Christianity are not children of God. But I can say celebrating death in the way they do is not of Christ.

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Comment from: Allison [Visitor]
AllisonGREAT article! "Do you think that Jesus would celebrate darkness and death by dressing the way these subcultures do? Absolutely not. Would he preach the gospel to them? Absolutely yes! But he would not join them in their worldly pursuits." Right on! Thanks for stating the real truth instead of the watered down stuff people want to hear :)
06/21/11 @ 13:43
Comment from: Edward [Visitor]
EdwardI agree with Allison. The article is right on! If a person is truly saved he will have a discerning heart which will increase as he is being sanctified. In my heart I know these people dishonor our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
06/22/11 @ 08:23
Comment from: Cook [Visitor] Email
CookWell, I am glad you all know so much about these people you are writing about hearts. Sounds like you have really talked to a lot of them and really know what their goal with their lifestyle is.(yes I am being ironic)

1 Samuel 16:7 - "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

Christ loves every kind of people. We are all called by God to different things, to different places. He didnt call you to preach to these subcultures for a reason, he probably thought you would do better some place else - for a reason - Just respect the people who are actually called to preach the gospel among these people, who God loves, just as much as he loves you and me.

I am not going to go in to details with your blog.

You are welcome to send me an e-mail if you want to get to know the heart of God loving Christian, who happen to love to listen to christian bands who play metal music with a message about Gods love, and how he saved us by dying AND resurrecting. Come join us at a festival and see what it is like, meet some of these people you are talking about and judging. Come meet Pastor Bob Beeman.

But since you seem to know exactly how to reach people in these "death-celebrating-cultures" as you call it, I would like to see you make a try!

I just want to say good luck! - An one advice, try to get just a little more knowledge about these subcultures before you head in. It would do you much good.
06/22/11 @ 22:54
Comment from: Rev Tyler Folklore [Visitor]
Rev Tyler FolkloreI am having trouble understanding how the scriptures you quote about how followers of Christ should not be caught up in fornication and coarse jesting have much to do with wearing eyeliner, wearing black or listening to rock music. Are you trying to say that Christ followers who like wearing black and listing to rock music are foul mouthed & sexually immoral? I don't believe that this passage you are using backs up the point that you are trying to make.
06/23/11 @ 00:09
Comment from: JT Crawford [Member] Email
JT Crawford@Cook - You, like many other, make great assumptions about my experience with people in these cultures. You don't know if I have been rescued from the very cultures I am talking about. You don't know if I am active in trying to reach them. What you, like many others like to do, is turn the argument onto my experience with goths, etc. instead of tackling the real argument of whether what I have presented is correct or not.

You quote 1 Samuel 16:7 out of context. It is not a carte blanche invitation to dress and look anyway one wants to because God simply does not care about your manner of appearance. That is flat out wrong. God was pointing out to Israel that even though a person may not match up to their idea of what a king looks like, being a chosen king of God is not based upon good looks, a commanding stature, and so on. This has to do with David becoming king in place of Saul, a man who was in all appearances kingly.

Do you ignore scripture such as 1 Timothy 2:9 where Paul, trying to keep outer appearances from becoming distractions in the church, instructs Timothy to teach the women that they should "adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness. . ."?

I did not say that these cultures should not have the gospel preached to them. Everyone needs the gospel preached to them! God loves them, and therefore we should take the good news to them.

The point of the blog is that these cultures do not honor God, and based on that fact, a person who is in such a culture, when saved, should abandon it.
06/23/11 @ 09:02
Comment from: JT Crawford [Member] Email
JT Crawford@Rev Tyler - No, I am not saying that these folks are foul mouthed or sexually immoral. The point is that God does give us instructions that guide our conduct and dress.

Look at the first line of that passage: "Therefore be imitators of God as dear children."

Do you think these bands are really being imitators of God?
06/23/11 @ 09:05
Comment from: Philip [Visitor]

So is your point that God wears a three-piece suit and listens to hymns and maybe the occasional Southern Gospel number? I guess I'm not understanding how being an imitator of God implies sartorial or musical preferences. Could you please elaborate?

Also, don't we need more research into the clothing worn by first-century itinerant preachers so that we can imitate Christ?

Or is it possible that the Therefore in Eph 5.1 might suggest that we should imitate God in ways enumerated at the end of chapter 4 -- "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." (ESV) Could it even be true that Paul is referring to the attitudes of our hearts rather than our neutral cultural preferences?
06/23/11 @ 10:13
Comment from: JT Crawford [Member] Email
JT Crawford@Phillip - Its interesting how many who comment on this want to pull the stereotyping card yet they do the same to me (or *ahem* people "like" me, i.e. three-piece suit, hymns, southern gospel).

Attitudes of the heart will engender a desire to even dress in a way that glorifies God.

But you are saying that these things are neutral. You are saying they are neither good nor bad (as you say, neutral cultural preferences).

Goth is not a neutral, cultural preference. It celebrates things that are anti-Christ.
06/23/11 @ 10:20
Comment from: JT Crawford [Member] Email
JT CrawfordTo those who have commented so far about how dress is really a matter of preference (a neutral, cultural preference according to commenter Phillip), read this article and tell me what you think:
06/23/11 @ 10:23
Comment from: Philip [Visitor]
PhilipJT, the salient difference is that I'm not saying three-piece suits or hymns and Southern gospel are evil. I'm just saying that they're not inherently privileged in the kingdom of God, and perhaps not culturally relevant to some individuals whom God would have us love.

(Actually I sort of miss singing hymns in church, and I'm quite tired of contemporary "praise and worship" music, but that's a story for a different time.)

I'm not sure what the relevance of the SFGate article is, since we're not talking about cross-dressing. If wearing make-up is equivalent to cross-dressing then I look forward to your crusades against on-camera TV talent and clowns.

The name Philip has one L.
06/23/11 @ 14:17
Comment from: JT Crawford [Member] Email
JT Crawford@PhiLip

I do have something against clowns. Especially when they are brought into church to conduct communion services. That's an old topic.

I bring up the cross dressing incident because you were the one who categorized how goths dress as something that is a neutral, cultural preference. Isn't this cross dresser exhibiting something that is a neutral, cultural preference? What if the Christian music festival bring in a cross dressing tent in order to win the cross dressers?

Also, there is a difference between just wearing make up and wearing make up to make a statement. If you don't know the different between the make up on-camera TV talent wears and wearing make up to celebrate death, then we have no need to discuss this any more.

06/23/11 @ 14:25
Comment from: Sheri Luckey Bjorn [Visitor]
Sheri Luckey BjornGreetings my brothers in name is Sheri,I am in "Dark Valentine", one of the bands you have addressed, and i would like to introduce myself and invite you to write to me and get to know eachother. I bless you in the name of our lord, Jesus Christ! Come let us reason together.
1. I am not harmed by your judgement- rather, i am concerned for the little ones who are not strong yet in the faith whom you may judge in the same way, or the lost ones who you will turn away, and for those who are newly reborn, and to all who you impose the idea that they cannot look a certain way and be christian, that they have to conform to a particular style of dress.(i am not talking about modesty, we both can agree on that...i hope) I pray in Jesus name for all those to be healed from your judgement and i pray that you will be convicted and just so you know, i forgive you.
Unfortunately, i am no stranger to being slandered and as i recently said, who needs to be concerned about satanists, witches, warlocks, and curses, when there are brothers and sisters in Christ doing far more damage to eachother. We are misunderstood and rejected. But i know that Jesus understands and He of all, knows what its like to be misunderstood,rejected slandered and betrayed. He's the most goth of all!
Forgive them for they know what what they do!
anyway, i can take the arrows,by the grace of God, but i do get protective when it comes to the dear ones that may be harmed by these things, these manmade guidelines that you are imposing, implying that God has sactioned them, when in fact, God has not said it.
and just so you know, the Only death i celebrate, is the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus christ
your sister in Christ,
Sheri Luckey Bjorn
06/23/11 @ 18:08
Comment from: Sheri [Visitor]
Sherips...I like your black shirt :)
06/23/11 @ 18:11
Comment from: Simon Björn [Visitor]
Simon BjörnHello there my fellow believer!

First of all, I would like to welcome you to contact me on Facebook or on in case you would like to get to know me before you write more of me and the things I am involved in. But if you do not want to do this, I understand!

And then I also want to say that I will try to articulate as good as I can because I was born and raised in sweden so I am trying to use the foreign tongue of USA.

Alright here goes.
A reply to the differences in make up, as your comment to philip states. Yes there are differences in make up. Make up for tv and movies should make it look like you are not wearing makeup, then there is theatrical makeup or stage makeup. On a theatre stage it is not uncommon to see a man wearing dark eyeshadow to accentuate the eyes and eye brows, lipstick to make your mouth easier to see when you are on stage as for my X in my forehead: An old Christian Symbol that you might have come across is the chi-rho which looks like an X over a P, it is the first two letters in the word Christ in ancient Greek, X = Chi P=Rho. Form that early christians made that symbol to signify CHRistos. There is also another widely used symbol, namely "the Ichthys fish" or "Ichthus Fish" aka the Jesus Fish. the word Ichthys is an ancient greek word for fish, it is also used as an acrostic word meaning "Jesus Christ God's Son Savior" in ancient greek, ΙΧΘΥΣ,

I =Iēsous=Jesus

My X also means Christos.

And then to continue.

If you say that Cook took 1 Samuel 16:7 out of context because it was about when David was going to become king a long time ago and that "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." only refers to this then how come 1 Corinthians is valid for the church today?

Paul wrote those letters to the people of Corinth somewhere around 53 to 57 AD. In a time when the people of Corinth were just coming out of their non-Christian ecstatic rituals for example when they were worshipping Dionysus they let their hair out to look like the mythic Meaneds, (female worshippers of of Dionysus depicted in myth like madwomen) and the female prophets of Isis who wore their hair down. So Paul wanted them to cover their head when prophesying so it would not be like their old ways. In Numbers 5 it states a priest shall loosen the hair of women suspected of adultery, Numbers being in the old testament would be the Law Paul was brought up with being a Jew before Christ. So Paul might have believed that uncovered, unveiled, loosened hair on woman were signs of prostitution and adultery.

As the western culture does not practice the wearing of veils for women it is perfectly fine for them to have loosened hair while worshipping, nobody bats an eye. Same goes for women with short hair, no one cares, even though it also states that her long hair is her ornament and glory. I am fully aware of the fact that I am a man with long hair and I know that Paul did not approve of that, but I come from the culture of today. A culture far different from that of Corinth back in those day. The culture of today allows women to wear jeans and pants and have short hair, something that was clearly not worn by women in the days of Paul.

In 1 Timothy 2, I find the passage that talk about clothing, verses 9 and 10:
"I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God."
Now what is modest clothing, I would think that it should be clothing that cover up certain areas of the body. The Skin shown in the female members of Dark Valentine is not provocative in any way. If the choice of color, such as black, white, crimson red, shiny purple, and things like that is not to peoples liking, then so be it. I, myself is not very found of wearing yellow, but if God told me to wear it I would not argue, I might not be happy, but i would not argue.

In 1 Peter 3:3-4 it says (once again to women):
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight."

And a note how we all should conduct ourselves

In 1 Peter 1 22-25 continuing to 1 Peter 2:1-3 it says:
"Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
   “All people are like grass, 
   and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; 
the grass withers and the flowers fall, 
 but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
   And this is the word that was preached to you.
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good."

With this i would like to point out that we are all called to love each other deeply and from the heart and not give in to deceit, hypocrisy, malice, slander and the like.
And i do know that in Exodus 20:16 it says

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."

Which makes me think that before you talk about people, make sure you know their hearts.

To the point that darkness is bad and that goths, emos, punks and hardcore people, celebrate this I could throw a long list of scriptures out that show darkness in a different way than something evil. I'll give a few.

Exodus 20:18-21

"When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was."

Deuteronomy 4:10-12

"Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice."

These speak of when Moses received the ten commandments. 
God was actually in the Darkness and Fire that engulfed the entire mountain.

In Psalm 18 it is written when God saved David from his enemies
verse 6-15
"In my distress I called to the LORD; 
I cried to my God for help.

From his temple he heard my voice; 

 my cry came before him, into his ears.

The earth trembled and quaked, 
and the foundations of the mountains shook; 

 they trembled because he was angry. 

Smoke rose from his nostrils; 
consuming fire came from his mouth, 
burning coals blazed out of it. 

He parted the heavens and came down; 

 dark clouds were under his feet. 

He mounted the cherubim and flew; 
he soared on the wings of the wind. 

He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— 
the dark rain clouds of the sky. 

Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, 

 with hailstones and bolts of lightning. 

The LORD thundered from heaven; 
the voice of the Most High resounded.

He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,

 with great bolts of lightning he routed them. 

The valleys of the sea were exposed 
and the foundations of the earth laid bare 

at your rebuke, LORD, 
at the blast of breath from your nostrils."

Here God made Darkness his own covering, His canopy around him.

It continues…
verse 25-29
"To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
 to the blameless you show yourself blameless, 

to the pure you show yourself pure, 
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. 

You save the humble
  but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. 

You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; 
my God turns my darkness into light. 

With your help I can advance against a troop;
  with my God I can scale a wall."

So as my God turns my darkness into light, my prayer is that God will guide my way as a venture in to the dark to help those still in there!

Psalm 97

 1 The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad;
   let the distant shores rejoice.
2 Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
   righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3 Fire goes before him
   and consumes his foes on every side.
4 His lightning lights up the world;
   the earth sees and trembles.
5 The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
   before the Lord of all the earth.
6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
   and all peoples see his glory.

Psalm 104

19 He made the moon to mark the seasons, 
and the sun knows when to go down.

20 You bring darkness, it becomes night, 
 and all the beasts of the forest prowl.

Isaiah 45

 1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
 2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:
 3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
 4 For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.
 5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
 7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

This list goes on, and I also know that there are a heap of references to darkness as a bad thing.

Anyways the last part there about mow God makes Peace, and create evil is nothing I will use to justify anyone who indulges in evil.

I know that I do not even understand what God means half the time, I am only a small insignificant swede that tries his best to blend with all you americans out there in the land i now live.
I try my best not to condemn anybody, I try to show love to everybody, I try my hardest to Love my God with all my heart!
Do I have flaws? Yes, but I do believe that my greatest gift that God bestowed on me was the ability to blend and interact with all kinds of people. I try to lovingly embrace all people, and befriend people, I try to respect peoples views even though the differ from mine. I will keep on befriending baptist, pentecostal, catholics, orthodox, protestants and all the other denominations that has cluttered the the face of belief, when all we do is believe the same stories, the same God, the same Savior and all that. When there is mutual respect for different Godly viewpoints we truly get closer the the Kingdom of God here on earth. When different denomination start bickering about details it creates strife. And we all agree on that strife is never a good thing.

I will also continue to befriend and embrace the "gentiles", the satanists, the atheists, the agnostics, the muslims and heathens and what have you! I will continue showing these people love and hope that through me they can find truth. The same goes for subcultures, pop, rock, goth, emo, CCM and all the subcultures there are, I will make friend and pour out the love of Christ on all those I meet! This I will do to all even before I know them. I might not be hugging people on the streets or run around giving people flowers and saying "Jesus Loves You", because I am a shy person when first met.

When I went to theatre school I learned how to act out and how to not act out. You J.T. being of multimedia sort must understand that acting something and being something are two different things. Jim Caviezel, who we all know as portraying Jesus in "the Passion of the Christ" also portrayed a junkie in "Pay It Forward". So if somebody, like myself, portray the things that you call blasphemous, on stage, would that be any different than Pedro Sarubbi portraying the devious, rioting bandit named Barabbas, or for Luca De Dominicis playing Herod in "the Passion of the Christ". If these people were not Christians that might be to their defense but how about all the Christian productions of movies. If the movie is portraying anything from the bible, I do not think the Christians making the film are recruiting non believers to portray all the bad guys. 
So if bands like Dark Valentine and Leper portray a dark side of the world, does this mean that we are darkness?. If a non Christian actor is helping in the portrayal of significant Christian events,in a movie, does that mean he is in the light?

We might look scary to some people, we might look dark, our music might be dark, but i know we are all doing it because we have been sent to do it, I'm just happy I also like the music we're doing and to quote Larry Norman "Why should the devil have all the good music?"

Now I would like to quote Micheal Durham of the RTM from the blog The Problem of Modern Evangelism Part One. This is the first part of a series of 5, the fifth part is not yet available, but I did read the 4 parts that have been written. So here follows one quote:

"I believe the answer is one thing—let me step aside and allow the Apostle Paul to tell us—“But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). Their evangelism did not lack compassion for the lost. There is no want of compassion in Paul saying, “for I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren.” But the ultimate motive for their labor in the gospel was to please God: “not as pleasing men, but God.” This is what is missing in today’s preaching and singing."

So one big thing that is missing from todays preaching and singing is the pleasing of God. But this is just what Dark Valentine, Leper, Grave Robber and others are doing. We are not in this to please people, nor please the Church. We do all that we do to please the Lord, God Almighty, Our Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. And it seems to be pleasing to Him since no matter what words are said nor actions taken against these bands they still bring people to God. But according to you, our fellows believers in RTM, our means of doing this is ungodly.

This takes me to this following scripture that is diligently quoted by you at the RTM to prove that we are in the wrong.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23

"Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."

"I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some" is what Paul said. But you say that we have become sinners to reach the sinners, and therefor have defiled the gospel, since we are to turn away from sin. What in my life have you seen that makes you believe that I am indulging in these sins.

I know that terrible people can be found everywhere, and these subculture are no exception, you can find people who indulge in perversion, self mutilation, manipulation, witchcraft and wickedness and so on. In Churches you can find people of the same sort, but in these subcultures and in the churches you will also find people who love their Lord with all their Hearts, Mind and Spirit, and their neighbors, they love like themselves, just like Jesus told us to do! In some subcultures you are shunned if your dress code in not up to par, in some churches you are shunned for the same reason. Jesus was called a drunkard and a glutton, for he drank and ate when offered, and to top it all off, he befriended tax-collectors and prostetutes.
Then we have John the Baptist was accused of being possessed by demons because he did not drink nor ate when offered.

No matter who you are, or where you are from, you are not safe from slander. There seems to always be a problem of who is right or wrong. Some Churches believe that all music is evil, some churches believe that those people are crazy.

I can honestly say that I have never in my life seen so much bickering about everything and nothing as the body of Christ does here in America. I grew up knowing that my priest was happy if I droped by a morning service, and that he was never judgmental. He was just glad I wanted to be his friend and that I wanted to listen when he taught. So all this fighting within the body of Christ is very new to me.

If I in any way offended anyone, then so be it, it was not my intention, so please confront me if necessary.

Oh, by the way, I hope you can disregard any misspelling and grammatical faults, since I am not writing this in my native tongue.

End note.

Ecclesiastes 9:7-8 "So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne!"

With Much Love!
Your brother in Christ and fellow believer

Simon Björn of Dark Valentine
06/23/11 @ 19:57
Comment from: Jason the Saj [Visitor] Email
Jason the Saj"beautiful...simply beautiful"...

But like a sepulchre this article is full of dead bones. I find it rather interesting that you are so focused on culture. And yet so unaware of your own influences of culture.

So let's look at the article you wrote. You seemed bothered by the term "grave robber". Despite the rather apparent insinuation that the purpose is to save people from the grave through the power of Christ.

"goth, punk, hardcore, and emo can describe parts of the Body of Christ"
It is amazing what a difficult time the Church has had with music. The music that is played in most churches, be it a contemporary church or one full of liturgy is quite different from the music of the days Scripture.

In fact many songs that we sing in churches today are derived from the rawdy tavern songs of centuries lost.That is not to say that the above scenes do not have their issues. But I've found that a lot of modern worship lacks spiritual depth. And I'd challenge most believers to compare the band Spoken's album "Echoes of the Spirit Still Dwell" lyrically to most of the modern CCM music out there.

Now I am quite aware that some churches in deed recognize this fact, and have eliminated most aspects of what they view as secular music. In fact, some have gone solely acupella.

And yet what does Scripture say about this? Scripture often records declarations of multitudes of musical instruments to be performed. David sought out all the instruments he could find. Most of these other instruments were used by heathen cultures, most in pagan worship.

But David sought to offer all sounds to the Lord. Likewise, I believe that all musical styles can be used for God's glory.

"The Body of Christ is first and foremost a peculiar people."
Well goths definitely fit the peculiar people part right. ;-)

"And those very cultures are built around darkness, death, anarchy, and separatism."

Let's address this a bit. Because in all seriousness, there is an argument being made. Is the culture built around those things a perception of those sub-cultures. And is that separate from Christianity?

How might a Jewish person look at Christianity and define it?

"darkness & death" - every church they see has all these paintings, stain glass, statues of a man being murdered. Then they had this communion thing, and they talked about drinking the blood. They tell me I must lose my life. Anarchy, they do away with God's law.

As for separatism, I guess both Judaism and Christianity can claim that one. But I'm not sure that's a bad one.

"The argument, of course, is that you have to be like them in order to reach them."

No, that's really not the argument. Though it is a facet,... the real aspect of reaching them. Is that as a part of a culture, we are not afraid of the superficial aspects of a culture.

And while you reference Greek and other nationalistic cultures.Culture often transcends national/ethnic bounds. Hellenism influenced the entire known world at the time. Most who criticize cultural appearances often know little of their own.

"I believe their goal is to soothe their consciences with a form of Christianity while remaining in the very cultures that are anti-Christ."

It's funny, because I believe American church culture to be far more anti-christ.

I am a believer of over 30 yrs. In that 30 yrs it is extraordinary how much anti-christian behavior I've experienced at the hands of "acceptable church culture". Worse, the treatment I've seen of others at the hands of the "acceptable church".

I wonder if you, the author, has ever endeavored to learn about the cultures you denigrate. Most of the goth scene is full of individuals who for all their trying, never fit in to the normal culture. Most spent their youths being rejected, teased, ostracized. Most were the nerds, the artists, the eclectics. Very much akin to the lepers that were pushed out of society. Not allowed to fellowship. Kick to the side of the road. Is it any wonder that one of the bands you reference has chosen the name Leper for itself?

So what is "acceptable christianity" in America?

1. Focused on looks and appearances. How ironic that this is in direct disobedience to Scripture. (So we can add "rebellion" to the sins of "acceptable church". [How like the worship of Ashteroth focused on appearance.]

2. Focused on buildings and worldly materialism. [Mammon is in the houe of the Lord. And the Lord hates it.]

3. Focused on doctrine, knowledge and law...but without love. Unable to even allow those different than them into the church. [Baal, and is it any wonder that our churches so lack the power of Elijah today?]

4. Focus of appearance causes the "acceptable church" to abort the spiritual children. If one is not "acceptable" we cast them out. Might as well worship Molech.

I knew a girl who was a just beginning her faith in Christ. She became pregnant but decided to keep the child and give it up for adoption. A very godly decision for a young women who had made a mistake. What happened to this girl? She was kicked out of youth group for her sin. Rejected from the church. Mind you, this girl had a rough life and spent years as a child prostitute. Can you tell me what is more anti-christian than such deeds?

I just read a great book entitled "Weird". In it the author recounts a story where a girl had called about visiting the church. Her life was a wreck and she was looking for answers. As she walked into the church, dressed in a sleeveless shirt, jeans, and what not. The greeter, and elderly man, expressed "We come to church in our best clothes. Are those your best?" The young woman left before ever entering the sanctuary, never hearing the message.

Oh the "acceptable church". You mean the one Christ preached against repeatedly as he sat with the sinners, ministered to the lepers, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, and those evil Samaritans.

How ironic that one of the few groups that Jesus ever criticized were the "acceptable" members of the congregation. Those pharisees who looked the part of a good cultural Jew. Who had all the appearances they should have. But they were nothing but dead bones.

Oh, the cultural acceptability test, what is acceptable. It's okay to wear our best, show off (not to God cause he doesn't care about the outward) to man. Wear our big flamboyant Sunday church hats.

There was a reason that certain sects such as the Amish tended toward all black and brown subdued clothes. Why so many monastic orders did as well.

You state the following....

"Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks."

But I see nothing there regarding wearing a particular type of garb. Nor do I see how this relates to the music. I once had a woman in the church I was attending who was similar to you in many regards. She just couldn't see how this 'goth' thing could be godly. She just couldn't swallow it...

I then played for her the song War Memorial off of Wedding Party's album.

Awakening from a lingering slumber
The haziness dispels from my eyes
Clearly around me, I am surrounded
By enemies on every side

We give our lives up
And if we must, we will die
In His service
Our last command is our battle cry

The weapons of our warfare are mighty through God
To the pulling down of strongholds

The Peace of God, when the battle’s won
All my tears are caught by the Holy One
We must stand until the end
We must stand until the end

Please tell me where those lyrics are in opposition to the above Scripture passage? In fact, after I played that song. The lady in my church completely changed her viewpoint. She thought it was one of the most beautiful and spiritual songs she had ever heard.

"Do you think that Jesus would celebrate darkness and death by dressing the way these subcultures do? Absolutely not. Would he preach the gospel to them? Absolutely yes!"

I think Jesus would have shocked the "acceptable church". I think he would have hung out with them, he would have expressed how beautiful and artistic they were. Then turned around and questioned why you spent so much money on a suit that looks like every other just to maintain a status of culture?

"But that is not where the story ends. Jesus died and was raised three days later. He defeated death and grave. It no longer holds power of us."

Than why, oh why, are you so afraid of it if it holds no power over you. You are right, as a Believer in Christ, my story doesn't end at death. It continues to resurrection. You're absolutely right. And there, is that is what a Christian goth shares with the culture he resides in. And the culture outside "normies".

1 Cor 15:31 "I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily."

Luke 9:23 "And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."

There are many aspects of Christianity that retain a continual and daily rememberance of death, of Christ's death. Of our death with him. Of the daily need to kill our old man.

The big irony is that the "goths" are really God's test of the church. One of many that the church is failing. The church always has a nack for having the inability to love the current "sub-cultures".

In the 60's and 70's it was the hippies. A group that often looked toward peace, vegetarianism, kindness, and gentleness. Many ideals of Christianity. And the church rejected them because they were barefoot, sandaled, long haired hippies in flowing clothes. The irony, not a single generation in modern times more closely looked like Jesus. But you "acceptable church" folk still rejected them.

The truth of the matter is you are much more tied to your culture and your Christ. It's a shame that you can't see beyond the outward to get to know some of the most radical and god-loving brothers you have.

Lastly, I ask "what culture these young people should flee into?" Should they embrace the "acceptable church" of America. One who's motives, fashions, behaviors, and MOST OF ALL treatment of it's fellow mankind is un-christlike. You want us to look like you. But those that look like you have done far more "evil".

"Attitudes of the heart will engender a desire to even dress in a way that glorifies God. Goth is not a neutral, cultural preference. It celebrates things that are anti-Christ."

The love of money is the root of all evils. Three piece suits represent money and nothing else. Tell me they represent ANYTHING but money. And yet you take issue because another culture uses the color black.

And yes, somethings do go on within the sub-cultures that are sinful. People fall. But guess what, that happens in "acceptable church" too. I've served in ministries that looked outwardly acceptable while the shepherds took advantage of the female sheep. And sadly, that's not an uncommon event. Many in the sub-cultures have been abused by the "acceptable church". It is the image of evil to them.

It's truly about the heart. Being in a relationship with the Creator of the universe.

Be loved my brother. I hope that one day, you will be more open to some of the great hearts out there that passionately love Christ. I will endeavor to pray for you. As I believe it's sinful to rebuke without love. And the best way to love someone is to give them time on your knees in prayer.

I also apologize for this being less cohesive than I would like. But I've been waking up at 5:30am this entire week and brain is running on fumes.

"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
06/23/11 @ 22:08
Comment from: JPTR [Visitor] Email
JPTRI would like to start off by saying that I do not dress goth, punk, or any other subculture. However, it saddens me that any Christian would condemn another Christian group for their style of music (as long as it is not explicit) or dress (as long as it is not revealing). Before they do, they should look in the mirror of their own congregation. How many "normal" teens are wearing tight shorts or revealing blouses. On average, goths cover their bodies to the neck, wrist and ankles (the lead singer of Leper even covers his face). Some of the main reasons for wearing Gothic clothing is their love of the Victorain and Romantic eras. Another main theme is that they are in mourning for the lost world. Guess what, the world is lost in its sinfulness, and if you disagree, you better brush up on your bible. In the 50's rock music was considered satanic. Now there is Contemporary Christian music, which uses melodies similar to rock and roll, as well as other "satanic" genres (R&B,rap, etc.). If all of these genres are "satanic", should we sledgehammer our organs and go back to the Gregorian chant? In answer to your biblical references: I Timothy 2:9-10: "I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God." Does your wife wear jewelery at Church, a wedding ring perhaps? Taking these verses literally would put her in violation of Scripture. Do you wear a suit? Pretty expensive clothing ... The meaning of this passage is to not dress like a harlot, the listing in the passage is a description a first century prostitute. As I mentioned, the average goth is more modest than the average "normal". I Corinithians 11:4-9: "Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head. "A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man." Do all the women cover their heads in church? Are all the men hatless? How about the pope and bishops? Again, the passage is another description of a harlot in the first century. 1 Peter 5:5: "In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.'" The focus of this passage is humility. Goth clothing may be outragous to your eye, but in fact, is much more traditional garb (Victorian/Romantic era) than the modern day suit. Many either make their own clothing or buy them in consignment shops. The average gothic attire is much more humble financially than the modern day suit. I know personally the members of Dark Valentine and Leper, as well as Christian punk group Sleeping Giant. They are some of the most loving and prayerful people I know. Before you criticize their beliefs as pseudo-Christian, listen to their music. For example, "Take What You Want" by Leper is one of the most beautiful Christian hymns that I have ever heard. Dark Valentine performed for the first time a song that is equally spiritual (not recorded yet, don't know the name). What many people don't know is that the gothic Christian community "Graverobbers" have been praying over the prayer tents at Ichthus for the last three years (members of both Leper and Dark Valentine have joined in). "Hope for the Rejected" was the only group that had daily bible studies at Ichthus - and they did not add their "punkness" to their message. I can tell you from first hand experience - "Graverobbers" and "Hope for the Rejected" are Christians first, then goth and punk. In the past three years, I've seen the Holy Spirit work in the Graverobbers tent more powerfully than in any church building. I saw a broken finger healed before my eyes while I was praying that those present would not lose their faith when this prayer for physical healing did not work. I've seen teens of all attire (even yuppies) being prayed for. I've seen the gifts of teaching, hospitality, service, toungues, giving, discernment, exhortation, and evangelism as well. Your attack on their ministries is an insult to Christ's mission. In I Corinthians 9:19-23: "Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." The fact is, they are saving souls. There is a girl who started going to my children's youth group who dresses goth. This is her story: in preschool, she met her first agnostic. With her theology limited to the "Doughnut Man" story, she brought him and his family to Christ. In kindergarten, she talked her teacher into going to church. She began wearing dark clothes in seventh grade and thereby attracted the fringes of her school - the wiccans, the satanists, the agnostics, and atheists. Her church at the time rejected her in a similar fashion that you have in your blog. She found this church and within a month starting bringing these lost souls to youth group. Is it your opinion that this young woman who obviously has the spiritual gift of evangelism is only pseudo-Christian? Do you really think the message in your blog is "an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma" (I know this is a reference to Christ, but as you blogged, aren't we supposed to be imitators of Christ). Isn't forcing everyone to wear the same type of clothes and listen to the same genre of music or get out a form of separatism? Jesus spent most of his time among the lost, not in the first century equivalent of picket-fenced suburbia. The clothing you wear, as long as it covers the essentials, does not make a difference. The music you listen to, if it praises God, is truly a joyful noise unto the Lord. Jesus did not tell the sinners to change their clothes or their music genre - he told them to sin no more. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God - in our hating thoughts, actions, ... and judgmental blogs. Remember the account when the disciples were about to be killed by the Sanhedrin in Acts 5:34-39: "But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: 'Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; YOU WILL ONLY FIND YOURSELVES FIGHTING AGAINST GOD.'" PS - I see you used Dark Valentine's official picture and trademark. Did you get their permission - or did you commit the sin of trademark infringement?
06/25/11 @ 01:07
Comment from: Chad [Visitor] Email
ChadI can tell that your heart is full of concern for these people, but be careful as you are beginning to cross the line of judging and adding deeper division in the church. Luke 9:49 saw Jesus rebuke his deciples because someone was doing work in Jesus' name that wasn't one of "them". These people may not be one of "you", or what you perceive a christian should be like, but only God knows their true heart and judgement belongs strickly to him. So if they are not against you, why create deeper division? Let God use these people to reach other people that come from dark, abusive places that are unreachable by the mainstream church. Is that not what the body of Christ is about?

It's easy to assume you know a person by the way they look, but each one, including us in the mainstream, has a unique story. Try not to blanket any group with assumptions. Go to and try to learn for yourselves a little more about this lifestyle.

Time is short. Let's not waste time creating deeper division in our own body when there are lost people still out there.
06/25/11 @ 06:08
Comment from: Not important [Visitor]
Not importantI think you all should apologize for stereotyping both ways. The question(s)that you propose with this is on the grounds of accusing your Christian brothers and sisters falsely(you can't decided who is a Christian, God draws and Jesus saves, the Holy Spirit convicts not us)We are to forgive, love one another and spread the gospel), bossing each other causing division within the church and leads to us fighting within the body of Christ. That doesn't seem good. You have a chance to take the time to get know each other and across cultural boundaries. Give our common interests a chance and let our differences coincide only then may we raise above with LOVE and glory to GOD.
06/26/11 @ 14:18
Comment from: JT Crawford [Member] Email
JT Crawford@JPTR - Its called the Fair Use provision in US Copyright law. Materials can be used by others in order to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. The visual of the band is important in the critique.
06/27/11 @ 10:53
Comment from: JT Crawford [Member] Email
JT CrawfordThe Final Word (on this blog at least)-

I do thank all of you who have submitted comments. At least you are thinking about the issues raised in this post. I do appreciate the input from band members as well, and I thank you for your civility and and thoughtful responses. I have only posted twice on this subject, and both times have generated a great number of responses. I am not sure why.

But, alas, this conversation must come to an end due to a lack of time to manage responses and reply to them all.

I would like everyone to learn about argument fallacies. An argument fallacy is an error in reasoning when responding to someone you do not agree with. For the most part, the argument fallacy I've encountered most through the blog post's responses is Ad Hominem Abusive, also known as Personal Attack. It is defined thusly: "A personal attack is committed when a person substitutes abusive remarks for evidence when attacking another person's claim or claims. This line of "reasoning" is fallacious because the attack is directed at the person making the claim and not the claim itself. The truth value of a claim is independent of the person making the claim. After all, no matter how repugnant an individual might be, he or she can still make true claims."

I am not saying anyone was overly abusive to me, but you cannot argue against a point by attacking by making assumptions about the argument presenter and using those assumptions as your counterpoint. Look at what was presented, and argue whether it is true or not. Many of you assume I know nothing about the Goth culture, and that is basis of your argument. You simply do not know that.

First and foremost, those who still hold to the belief that being goth and Christian are compatible are still wrong.

Goth is not a culture, as I have said, like that of nationality. Goth is a choice.

Additionally, goth is not just a style of dress or a simple music choice. Goth has deeper implications. Goth encompasses a lifestyle and attitude with deep undercurrents.

Goth, as a movement, came out of the punk scene of the late 70s. It was defined by rebellion against mainstream society, and it thrived on a spirit of anarchy. To cement this separation from the mainstream, Goth focused on the theme of death, taking cues from horror genres and a little from the world of sado-masochism. Thus you have a focus on dressing in black (not for the sake of dressing in black but in order to identify oneself a culture that celebrates death), and make up that would make one appear to be dead (paleness, darkness around the eyes, heavy black eyeliner).

Goth has a fascination with the macabre, something that is not in line with the Spirit of Christ. I know that many would respond and say that just because one is goth doesn't mean they love the macabre. But that is very essence of goth! Plus if one digs deeper into many of these bands, they do find definitive links to morbid fascinations with death. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians to "abstain from all appearance of evil."

I know most of the people in these cultures feel that they have been cast of by the mainstream. Many are even rejected by their own families. I do empathize with them. They have turned to a culture to find acceptance and react to their feelings of rejection. They do need the gospel of Jesus! They need to find forgiveness and acceptance in Him. He is the One to be treasured above all, and I want anyone and everyone, regardless of their backgrounds, to find that He is all they need.

I assert that the preaching of the Gospel will transcend that culture, and, if that culture is opposed to Christ (or has the appearance of being opposed to Christ) then those converted need to come out of it. I am not saying that we should not associate with those in it, since that would break the lines of communication in preaching the gospel. But to openly be a part of it is wrong.

That is all for this blog. Thank you!

06/27/11 @ 11:58