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Alice Cooper and the Gospel

Alice Cooper and the Gospel

Friday, February 8, 2013

6:28 AM

Romans 5:18 - "Therefore as the trespass of one led to condemnation for all men, so the act of righteousness of one leads to justification and life for all men."


I don't listen to a lot of secular music, in fact I think it would be fair to say that I don't listen to a lot of music at all, but the other day I heard a song from my childhood, "No More Mr. Nice Guy," by the infamous Alice Cooper.  A song can cause memories to quickly flood your mind and you can quickly be reminded of events, places, and even smells through a song.

This song reminded me of my younger days.  I was instantly transported to the kitchen of the house that I grew up in with my Mom washing dishes, cooking, and telling me how I shouldn't listen to music like that.  How it would be harmful to me and how I needed to stay away from that stuff, especially from Alice Cooper.

Her pleadings were not very successful but I can see me as a parent having many of the same conversations with my boys in a few years.  "Music? You call that music? No way, lets listen to this," I can see it now.

As I was listening to this song and walking down memory lane, all of a sudden the lyrics hit me like a ton of bricks.  Some people say "I don't listen to the lyrics", well I always have and I always do and there was something about the lyrics to this song that caught my attention:

"I went to church incognito.  When everybody rose, the Reverend Smith

He recognized me and punched me in the nose.  And he said No more Mr. Nice Guy."

What struck me was two fold.  Why did he have to go to church incognito?  Everyone should be welcome at church.  Everyone ought to have the opportunity to come and hear the Gospel, after all it is the only thing that can change us and transform us.  Paul says, "I'm not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for salvation." (Romans 1:16).  So perhaps when we tell people by our words or our actions that they are not welcome in church, we are actually being ashamed of the Gospel and doubting its power to transform people.

The only hymn says "there is power in the blood".  It is that power that changes people.  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.  He is the only thing that truly brings transformation and because of that everyone should be welcome to come and hear the message of the Gospel.

But I was also struck by the line that talks about the pastor of the church recognizing him and punching him in the nose.  Alice was always known for his humor and for trying to shock people, and that is what he doing here.  The thought of a pastor (especially in the 1970s when this song was written) hitting someone in the nose in church was comical.  I laugh when I think about it even now.

But there is something deeper here.  This pastor is supposed to be a man of God but he is so filled with anger towards this person that he actually punches them in the face in the church during a worship service.  In other words, this man of God is a sinner.  But we all are aren't we?  Even the ones that we think are "extremely good people" they are sinners.  We as human beings are totally depraved to quote theologians of old.

We don't like to hear that today we want to be told, Joel Osteen style, "don't worry about your mistakes, focus on the positives, and God will do the rest."  But that isn't what the Bible says, the Bible says that we all are sinners.  Romans 5 lets us know that this is true of us even from birth.  We are born sinners, it is the concept of original sin, and  the remedy for that disease is not to try harder to be a better person.  That simply doesn't work.

The remedy for our original sin, be it mine, Alice Cooper's, the Reverend Smith, or yours is not to try harder.  The remedy is the blood of Jesus.  The remedy is us repenting of our sins and placing our faith and trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  That is it period.

I don't know if Alice knew about the theological concept of original sin when he wrote those lyrics.  He might have, his dad was a pastor and he grew up in church.  He knows about the concept of sin now because now he is a follower of Jesus Christ.  But I don't know if he knew then.  Regardless he presents us with a truth, we all are sinners aren't we? Romans says we are all enemies of God.  The Rev. Smith seemed to be a good person, but he was a sinner.  We may seem to be good people, but we are still sinners.  Sinners in need of a cure, and the only cure is Jesus Christ. 

A song that is even older and even more true than "No More Mr. Nice Guy" bears this out:

"What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus

What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus

Oh precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow

No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus

Nothing can for sin atone, nothing but the blood of Jesus

Naught of good that I have done, nothing but the blood of Jesus."

We are not nice guys, we are sinners, but through the blood of Jesus we become saints.  Not because of our goodness but because of His.  Whether it is you, me, someone else, or even Alice Cooper.