I believe in common grace. John Calvin taught me that it is God who lavishes giftedness on his human race. We may therefore enjoy his bestowments wherever we encounter them, with gratitude to God (Institutes 2.2.15).
That gives me three categories of music. First, music devoted to God. Hopefully, this is great music everyone will fall in love with. Second, music opposing God. Hopefully, this will be rotten music people cannot stand. Third, music neither devoted to God nor opposing God. If it happens to be good music, by God’s common grace, I for one will enjoy it and thank him for it. Good music does not have to be devoted to God for me to be okay with it — though, if it were devoted to God, I’d be thrilled.
One thing I love about the gospel is its promise of the new heaven and new earth. In eternity, God will not delete all the culture-creating we’ve done throughout human history; he will redeem it. The Bible says that, in the New Jerusalem above, “the kings of the earth will bring their glory into [the holy city]. . . . They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it” (Revelation 21:24-27).
The glory and honor of human cultures — the music, the clothing, the literature, the dance, the languages, the customs, the humor, the traditions, and so forth — it will be cleansed, perfected and brought in forever. So Eric Clapton’s blues guitar, for example, is a preview of coming attractions. The blues will be brought into heaven. But there it will be even better — fully devoted to God.
I hope and pray Eric himself will be there too.