June 2, 2010 (first published May 21, 2009) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, email@example.com; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -
A growing number of fundamentalist singers, churches, and schools are adapting music from the field of Contemporary Praise Music even though they remain opposed to it in principle. Typically they use the words of the songs while changing the rhythm somewhat and omitting the bass guitar, drums, and heavy backbeat.
Three of the top charismatic-ecumenical music companies are Integrity, Maranatha, and Hillsong. About 75 of the top 100 contemporary worship songs are included in the latest Southern Baptist hymnal.
Contemporary Praise Music is dangerous because it is ecumenical in philosophy and practice. It is one of the most powerful glues of the end-time ecumenical movement.
John Styll, the publisher of Worship Leader magazine, made the following telling observation:
“You can have a pretty straight-laced but theologically liberal Presbyterian church using the same songs that are being sung at a wild and crazy charismatic church, but they use different arrangements and adapt the songs to their unique settings” (Styll, quoted by Steve Rabey, “The Profits of Praise,” Christianity Today, July 12, 1999).
Why would a “theologically liberal” Presbyterian church, which perhaps hates the old hymns about the blood and adds hymns about mother god and the social gospel to its songbook, and which allows preachers to deny that Jesus is God and thinks unrepentant homosexuals make fine church members, be attracted to contemporary praise music? Why would a Roman Catholic who prays to Mary and praises God for purgatory (such as the popular charismatic priest Tom Forrest does) be attracted to contemporary praise music?
Don’t you see something wrong with this picture, my friends? And now we have gullible, ill-informed fundamentalists and Bible-believing Baptists adopting the same music!
In an interview with Christianity Today, Don Moen of Integrity Music said: “I’ve discovered that worship [music] is transdenominational, transcultural. IT BRIDGES ANY DENOMINATION. Twenty years ago there were many huge divisions between denominations. Today I think the walls are coming down. In any concert that I do, I will have 30-50 different churches represented.”
In his book Making Musical Choices, Richard Peck makes the following important observation about modern church music:
“Ecumenical terms that permeate the CCM scene include ‘anointed,’ ‘the body,’ ‘united,’ ‘John 17,’ ‘tolerance,’ ‘non-critical love,’ ‘judge not,’ ‘no finger pointing,’ etc.”
These are terms that identify the philosophy of the end-time ecumenical movement described in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 and other passages. The end-time apostasy is characterized by a rejection of strong biblical absolutes and reproof and doctrine and by teachers who pamper instead of preach, who generalize instead of being specific, who are positive rather than “negative,” who build self esteem rather than call for repentance, who refuse to delineate truth from heresy, and who ignore the Bible’s warnings about apostasy.
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4:2-4).
Contemporary Praise Music is at home in the most ecumenical of contexts. It is the music of ecumenical evangelism, as epitomized by the Franklin Graham and Luis Palau crusades.
It is also charismatic music. The overwhelming majority of the popular contemporary praise songs come from a charismatic context, and the modern charismatic movement is rife with error and spiritual confusion.
Tim Fisher makes the following important comment:
“There are many CCM performers who do not believe the Bible, yet we allow them to sing in the homes of our people on a daily basis without warning. If you would not allow a charismatic preacher in your pulpit, why let one sing to your people? I am not trying to portray all charismatics as unsaved, but we certainly do not want them as our teachers. To keep doctrine pure, we must separate from those who teach false doctrine and never give them an audience in our churches” (The Battle for Christian Music, p. 122).
For Bible-believing separatist churches to use this music is unwise in the extreme.
A DIRECTORY OF POPULAR CONTEMPORARY PRAISE MUSICIANS
The popular contemporary song writers that are being used by fundamentalist churches include the following. All of these people are radically ecumenical and the majority is charismatic in theology. Not one of them takes a clear stand against end-time apostasy.
PAUL BALOCHE is worship leader at the charismatic Community Christian Fellowship of Lindale, Texas. Their 2002 Leadership Summit featured Ricky Paris of Vision Ministries International, who calls himself an apostle and is said to give “apostolic covering” to Vision Church of Austin, Texas. Baloche’s Offering of Worship album was recorded at Regent University in Virginia Beach, which was founded by the radical charismatic ecumenist Pat Robertson. As far back as 1985, Robertson said that he “worked for harmony and reconciliation between Protestants and Catholics” (Christian News, July 22, 1985). Some of the Regent professors are Roman Catholic and Regent’s Center for Law and Justice has a Roman Catholic executive director. According to Frontline magazine, May-June 2000, a Catholic mass is held on Regent’s campus every week.
GERON DAVIS is committed to the “Jesus Only” Pentecostal doctrine that denies the Trinity and baptizes only in Jesus’ name. He wrote “In the Presence of Jehovah” and “Holy Ground,” which is the No. 2 best-selling contemporary praise song. Bill Clinton invited Davis to sing the song at his inauguration. Barbra Streisand, who is not a Christian, included the song on her 1997 New Age inspirational album “Higher Ground.” She says that she first heard “Higher Ground” at Clinton’s mother’s funeral in 1994 and that it was “an electrifying moment.” Streisand applied the lyrics to her New Age philosophy that “God is everywhere “and “every square inch of this planet is holy ground.” When asked how he felt about Streisand being electrified by “Holy Ground,” Davis replied, “The presence of God has the same effect on everybody. It doesn’t matter how powerful, how wealthy, how well known you are. When you come into God’s presence, friend, we're all on level ground” (Phil Christensen, “Holy Ground by Geron Davis,” http://www.ccli.com/worshipresources/SongStories.cfm?itemID=6). His gross lack of spiritual discernment is evident in that he didn’t mention anything about the necessity of being born again in order to have a personal relationship with God, and he did not warn that the devil appears as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11).
If we consider the lyrics to “Holy Ground,” the reason for its broad appeal becomes obvious.
“As I walked through the door/ I sensed His presence/ And I knew this was the place/ Where love abounds/ For this is the temple, Jehovah God abides here/ And we are standing in His presence/ on Holy Ground./ We are standing on holy ground/ And I know that there are angels all around/ Let us praise Jesus now/ We are standing in His presence on holy ground/ In His presence there is joy beyond measure/ At His feet, peace of mind can still be found/ If you have a need, I know He has the answer/ Reach out and claim it/ For you are standing on holy ground.”
In light of the incredibly vague message, it is not surprising that this CCW song is popular in ecumenical Protestant, theologically modernist, Roman Catholic, even New Age circles. And the doctrinal vagueness is not limited to a few CCW songs. It is one of this genre’s hallmarks. “Holy Ground” is the No. 2 best-selling contemporary praise song. There are exceptions, of course, but vagueness tends to be the rule in CCW.
BRIAN DOERKSEN, author of “From Everlasting to Everlasting (You Are God),” is affiliated with the Vineyard churches of Canada. See Vineyard Churches for more information.
RICK FOUNDS, author of “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High,” is radically ecumenical. His popular song is described as a “little four-chord flock-rocker” that “hurdles denominational barriers effortlessly” (Worship Leader Magazine, March/April 1998). It was one of the theme songs of the ecumenical Promise Keepers movement. He has authored hundreds of other contemporary praise songs, including “Jesus Draw Me Close,” “I Need You,” and “I Love Your Grace.”
KEITH AND KRISTYN GETTY list the Beatles as a major influence for their melodies. Their goal is to “bring everyone together musically” and to “write songs that contemporary, traditional and liturgical churches could use” (www.keithgetty.com). Their popular songs include “Don’t Let Me Lose My Wonder,” “In Christ Alone” (penned by Keith and Stuart Townend), “Speak, Oh Lord,” and “The Power of the Cross.” Keith arranged some of the songs on Michael W. Smith’s Healing Rain album.
STEVE GREEN is a popular CCM musician who has sung at ecumenical forums such as the Religious Broadcasters Association annual convention, Moody Bible Institute’s Founders Week, Billy Graham crusades, and Promise Keepers rallies. He has performed at a half dozen Promise Keepers meetings since 1993. At the Promise Keepers Atlanta Clergy Conference in 1996, Green sang, “Let the Walls Come Down,” referring to PK’s goal of breaking down of walls between denominations. Several Catholic priests were present at that conference, and Dr. Ralph Colas, who attended the event, described it in these words: “The big beat, contemporary music brought the ministers to their feet....” Steve Green belted out repeatedly “Let the Walls Come Down.” The 40,000 clergy shouted, whistled, clapped, and cheered as they worked to a higher and higher pitch of emotion. Dr. Colas said: “While there may be some good things said at a PK conference, this meeting included compromise, ecumenism, apostasy, Jesuit casuistry (end justifies the means), and hyper-emotionalism, along with a theology based on relationships rather than Biblical truth.”
JACK HAYFORD, author of the song “Majesty” (which teaches the Pentecostal kingdom-now theology) and many other very popular worship songs, is pastor of Church-on-the-Way Foursquare Church, a Pentecostal denominational founded by the female pastor Aimee Semple McPherson. Paul and Jan Crouch, of the Trinity Broadcasting Network are members of Hayford’s church. Speaking at the St. Louis 2000 conference, Hayford told how his daughter approached him one day concerned that her “tongues speaking” was mere gibberish. He encouraged her that the believer must first learn to speak in baby tongues before he speaks in adult tongues. (I attended this conference with press credentials and heard Hayford say this.) To the contrary, biblical tongues-speaking is not something that be learned; it is supernatural gift and there is not one example in the New Testament of someone learning how to speak in tongues. Hayford claims that in 1969, as he approached a large Catholic church in Southern California, God spoke to him and instructed him not to judge Roman Catholicism. He says he heard a message from God saying, “Why would I not be happy with a place where every morning the testimony of the blood of my Son is raised from the altar?” (“The Pentecostal Gold Standard,” Christianity Today, July 2005). Based upon this “personal revelation,” Hayford adopted a neutral approach to Catholicism, yet the atonement of Jesus Christ is NOT glorified on Roman Catholic altars. The Catholic mass is an open denial of the doctrine of the once-for-all atonement that we find in the book of Hebrews. Note what the Vatican II Council said about the mass: “For in it Christ perpetuates in an unbloody manner the sacrifice offered on the cross, offering himself to the Father for the world’s salvation through the ministry of priests” (The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, “Instruction on the Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery,” Intro., C 1, 2, p. 108). This is only a small part of Rome’s wicked heresies, and it is impossible that God would encourage Jack Hayford to look upon the Roman Catholic Church in any sort of positive, non-judgmental manner. Hayford has acted on this “personal revelation” by yoking up with Roman Catholic leaders in conferences throughout the world. For example, he joined hands with thousands of Roman Catholics, including hundreds of Catholic priests and nuns, at the North American Congress on the Holy Spirit & World Evangelization in St. Louis in 2000.
GRAHAM KENDRICK, one of the most prominent names in Contemporary Praise Music, is the author of popular songs such as “From Heaven You Came,” “Meekness and Majesty,” “Shine Jesus Shine,” and “Such Love, Pure as the Whitest Snow.” One of his objectives is to break down denominational barriers and create ecumenical unity. He was the co-founder of the ecumenical March for Jesus, which has brought together every type of denomination and cult including Roman Catholics and Mormons. A biography at Kendrick’s web site boasts: “Crossing international and denominational barriers, his songs, like the popular Shine Jesus Shine, have been used from countless small church events to major festivals--including Promise Keeper rallies, Billy Graham crusades and a four million-strong open air mass in the Philippines capital Manila, where the Pope ‘swung his cane in time to the music.’” Kendrick is charismatic and promotes the heretical “kingdom now” theology and Word faith doctrine. He is a member of the Ichthus Christian Fellowship and welcomed the so-called Toronto Blessing. Graham claims that he was “baptized with the Holy Spirit” in 1971 after attending a charismatic meeting. He says, “It was later that night when I was cleaning my teeth ready to go to bed that I was filled with the Holy Spirit! ... and I remember lying at last in my bed, the fixed grin still on my face, praising and thanking God, and gingerly trying out a new spiritual language that had presented itself to my tongue with no regard at all for the objections thrown up by my incredulous brain! ... That was a real watershed in my Christian experience” (Nigel Smyth, “What Are We All Singing About?” http://www.freedomministries.org.uk/ccm/nsmyth1.shtml).
MICHAEL LEDNER, author of “You Are My Hiding Place,” is senior pastor of the Pentecostal (Four Square) emerging Desert Streams Chapel in Scottsdale, Arizona. It describes itself as “a post modern, relevant and relational” church.
MARTY NYSTROM is a graduate of the radically Oral Roberts University, which is a radical Word-Faith Pentecostal institution. He is a member of Overlake Christian Church in Kirkland, Washington. His background includes service with Christ for the Nations, and he has a long-standing affiliation with Integrity Music. His popular songs include “As David Did,” “As the Deer,” Forever Grateful,” “Enter His Gates,” “Come to the Table,” “I Will Come and Bow Down,” “In Christ Alone,” and “More of You,” and “Times of Refreshing,” “We Draw Near.”
DAVID RUIS is a worship leader at the Toronto Airport Church where people roll on the floor, bark like dogs, roar like lions, laugh hysterically, and get “drunk in the spirit” during their “revivals.” Ruis’s song “Break Dividing Walls” calls for unscriptural ecumenical unity between all denominations.
MARTY SAMPSON, author of “God Is Great/All Creation Cries to You,” is a worship leader in the radically charismatic/ecumenical Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia. See Darlene Zschech for more information.
MICHAEL W. SMITH is another prominent name in contemporary praise. His contemporary praise albums sell millions of copies. In 1979, he joined Belmont Church near Nashville, a Church of Christ congregation which had moved into the charismatic movement. His pastor was Don Finto, who I heard Finto speak in 1987 at the North American Congress on the Holy Spirit & World Evangelization in New Orleans. Of the roughly 40,000 in attendance 50% were Roman Catholic. A Catholic mass was conducted each morning of the convention, and priest Tom Forrest from Rome brought the final message. In a message I heard Forrest preach in 1990 in Indianapolis, he said that he was thankful for purgatory, because he could only go to Heaven through purgatory. Michael W. Smith supports this ecumenical confusion. In 1993, he performed for the Roman Catholic World Youth Day in Denver, attended by Pope John Paul II. In 1997, Smith joined the Roman Catholic Kathy Troccoli and 40 other CCM artists to record Love One Another, a song that talks about tearing down the walls of denominational division. Smith testifies that he has had many charismatic experiences, though he doesn’t like the label “charismatic” because of “negative baggage associated with the term.” At a Full Gospel Business Men’s meeting he was “slain in the spirit” for 15 minutes and “laughed all the way home” (Charisma, April 2000, p. 55). Another time he felt “a bolt of electricity go through my body from the top of my head to my toes--wham!” He also started laughing uncontrollably--“rolling on the floor,” “hyperventilating”--on that occasion. Inside Magazine interviewed Smith in 1991 and noted that his music is influenced by Alan Parsons. The interviewer said: “There’s also the influence of such groups as Alan Parsons in your music” (Inside Music, January/February 1991, p. 23). Smith’s quick reply was “DEFINITELY!” Parsons is one of the most occultic rock musicians. One of his songs is openly titled “Lucifer.” In 1993, Smith said, “... you’re always going to have those very, very conservative people. They say you can’t do this; you can’t do that … you can’t drink; you can’t smoke. ... It’s a pretty bizarre way of thinking” (The Birmingham News, Feb. 1993, p. 1B).
JONATHAN STOCKSTILL, author of “Let the Church Rise,” is the worship leader at the charismatic Bethany World Prayer Center in Louisiana and the frontman for the rock fused Deluge Band.
CHRIS TOMLIN, author of “We Fall Down,” “Holy Is the Lord,” and “How Great Is Our God,” holds the non-judgmental, ecumenical philosophy. He says, “Conservatives and charismatics can stand in one room, listening to the same music, worshiping the one true God. Music unites” (“The United State of Worship,” Christianity Today, Aug. 2003). Tomlin is a former staff member of Austin Stone Community Church in Texas, which holds the emerging church philosophy. It has an extremely weak doctrinal statement that allows the widest possible ecumenical relationships, and its objective is not just to preach the gospel to lost souls but to “redeem” the city of Austin, which is definitely what the apostles sought to do in the Roman Empire. Tomlin supports the Worship Central training school sponsored by Alpha International, the radically ecumenical charismatic organization that was birthed from the “laughing revival” at Holy Trinity Brompton in London. There is a Roman Catholic arm of Alpha. Tomlin says, “Worship Central is an important and much needed training ground for today’s leaders. When it comes to leading the church, we need each other, and Worship Central is a wonderful place to connect” (www.worshipcentral.org)
STEWART TOWNEND, author of “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us,” is a member of Church of Christ the King in Brighton, United Kingdom. It is a charismatic church that promotes the radically ecumenical Alpha program. He says that he is excited that “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” is used “by all sorts of churches.” He describes the “extraordinary manifestations of the Spirit” that have occurred during his charismatic worship (S4W.com). This refers to demonic/fleshly mysticism such as spirit slaying, holy laughter, and shaking.
The VINEYARD CHURCHES, which were led for decades by the late John Wimber (1934-1997), have had a wide influence on contemporary praise music. Wimber himself, who was the manager of the secular group The Righteous Brothers before his conversion, wrote many popular songs, and many of the Vineyard churches are noted for their influential music groups. The Vintage Vineyard Music series is advertised as “Vineyard’s all-time worship classics THAT CONTINUE TO BE SUNG CROSS-DENOMINATIONALLY IN CHURCHES AROUND THE WORLD.” Wimber conducted “signs and wonders” conferences in various parts of the world, teaching the error that effective evangelism requires the working of miracles. Wimber spread great confusion by allowing for extra-biblical revelation. The Promise Keepers movement was founded by men involved in the Vineyard, including founder Bill McCartney. Though Wimber was not Pentecostal, he accepted and popularized many false Pentecostal-type practices, including “slaying in the Spirit,” prophecy, “words of knowledge,” and Pentecostal-style faith healing. Wimber was a radical ecumenist who frequently spoke on the same platform with Roman Catholic priests and apparently saw no serious problem with their doctrine. In 1986, Wimber joined Catholic priest Tom Forrest and Anglican Michael Harper at the European Festival of Faith, an ecumenical meeting in Birmingham, England. The Festival leaders sent the pope the message, “We are ready to join you in the united evangelism of Europe” (Australian Beacon, March 1988). Wimber actively encouraged the reunification of Protestants with the church of Rome. “During the Vineyard pastors’ conference, he went so far as to ‘apologize’ to the Catholic church on behalf of all Protestants ... He stated that ‘the pope, who by the way is very responsive to the charismatic movement, and is himself a born-again evangelical, is preaching the Gospel as clear as anyone in the world today’” (John Wimber, Church Planting Seminar, audio tapes, 5 volumes, unedited, 1981, cited by Pastor John Goodwin).
DARLENE ZSCHECH and her HILLSONG worship band recently performed for the Catholic Youth Day in Sydney, with the Pope present. The lyrics to Zschech’s “Holy Spirit Rain Down” (which is included in the new Baptist Hymnal) begin: “Holy Spirit, rain down, rain down/ Oh, Comforter and Friend/ How we need Your touch again/ Holy Spirit, rain down, rain down.” Where in Scripture are we instructed to pray to the Holy Spirit? To the contrary, the Lord Jesus Christ taught us to pray to the Father (Mat. 6:9). The charismatic movement is not in submission to the Word of God and does not care one way or the other that there is no Scriptural support for this type of prayer, but shame on Baptists who follow in these presumptuous and disobedient footsteps. Zschech’s song “I Believe the Presence” from her Shout to the Lord album preaches false Pentecostal latter rain theology. The lyrics say: “I believe the promise about the visions and the dreams/ That the Holy Spirit will be poured out/ And His power will be seen/ Well the time is now/ The place is here/ And His people have come in faith/ There’s a mighty sound/ And a touch of fire/ When we’ve gathered in one place” (“I Believe the Presence” from Shout to the Lord).
WARNINGS ABOUT ADAPTING CONTEMPORARY PRAISE MUSIC INTO FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCHES
I want to give three warnings about this.
First, it is a bad example and a potential bridge to CCM.
To adapt from the field of CCM gives people the idea that CCM is safe. Churches that borrow from CCM are probably not spending a lot of time warning about it.
Second, it can create an appetite for sensual, worldly music.
Those who borrow from CCM, listen to CCM. If the music people in a fundamentalist church are adapting songs from CCM, they are doubtless listening to it. That is a dangerous thing, because the rock music that permeates CCM is very sensual and addictive. It creates an appetite for the profane and spoils one’s appetite for the sacred.
Pop and dance music has emphasized a heavy back beat since the turn of the twentieth century. It is called the anapestic beat, which is description of poetry that uses three syllables with the emphasis on the third--da-da-DA, da-da-DA. In music, the anapestic back beat emphasizes the off beat. It goes one-TWO-three-FOUR or one-two-THREE, one-two-THREE. This is in contrast with a “straight” or march beat, which has the emphasis on the first beat or on each beat equally--one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four, or ONE-two-three-four, ONE-two-three-four.
This backbeat is the chief characteristic of the modern pop music that Contemporary Christian Music imitates. Consider the following quotes from three of the founders of rock & roll:
“I felt that if I could take a ... tune and drop the first and third beats and accentuate the second and fourth, and add a beat the listeners could clap to as well as dance this would be what they were after” (Bill Haley, cited by Charlie Gillett, The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll, p. 14).
“I dig that rock and roll music/ it has a back beat; you can't lose it” (Chuck Berry).
“It’s the beat that gets to you. If you like it and you feel it, you can’t help but move to it” (Elvis Presley, cited by Steve Turner, Hungry for Heaven, p. 35).
The rock musicians themselves describe their music as “sexy” and they claim that the sex lies in the heavy back beat. Social scientists agree. Consider just a few examples:
Jan Berry of Jan and Dean says, “The throbbing beat of rock provides a vital sexual release for adolescent audiences” (cited by Ken Blanchard, Pop Goes the Gospel).
Rapper Luke Campbell of 2 Live Crew says, “The sex is definitely in the music, and sex is in all aspects in the music.”
John Oates of Hall & Oates says, “Rock ‘n’ roll is 99% sex” (Circus, Jan. 31, 1976).
Robert Palmer said: “I believe in the transformative power of rock and roll … this transformative power inheres not so much in the words of songs or the stances of the stars, but in the music itself—in the SOUND, and above all, in the BEAT” (Rock & Roll an Unruly History, p. 12).
John Lennon said: “Because it is primitive enough and has no bull, really, the best stuff, and it gets through to you its beat. Go to the jungle and THEY HAVE THE RHYTHM and it goes throughout the world and it’s as simple as that” (Rolling Stone, Feb. 12, 1976, p 100).
Allan Bloom, author of The Closing of the American Mind, observed: “... rock music has one appeal only, a barbaric appeal to sexual desire” (The Closing of the American Mind, p. 73).
Jimmy Hendrix said this of his music: “Perhaps it is sexy ... but what music with a big beat isn’t?” (David Henderson, ‘Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky: The Life of Jimi Hendrix. p. 117).
Simon Frith, author of Sound effects, said, “Rock ... expresses the body, hence sexuality, with a directly physical beat and an intense emotional sound ... it is the beat that commands a directly physical response. ... We respond to the materiality of rock’s sounds, and the rock experience is essentially erotic” (Sound Effects, New York: Pantheon Books, 1981, pp. 12, 16, 19, 164).
Dr. David Elkind, chairman of the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study at Tufts University in Massachusetts, said: “There is a great deal of powerful, albeit subliminal, sexual stimulation implicit in both the rhythm and [the] lyrics of rock music” (The Hurried Child, Reading, Mass.: Addison Wesley Publishing Co., 1981, p. 89).
Frank Zappa of the Mothers of Invention said, “Rock music is sex. The big beat matches the body’s rhythms” (Life, June 28, 1968).
Gene Simmons of Kiss said, “That’s what rock is all about—sex with a 100 megaton bomb, the beat!” (Entertainment Tonight, ABC, Dec. 10, 1987).
Observe that these statements do not refer to rock music in general or to the lyrics, but to the rhythmic back beat in particular.
The sensual and sexy back beat has been the chief characteristic of worldly dance music since the beginning of the 20th century. It characterized all of the streams of music that fed into rock, including ragtime, boogie woogie, jazz, honky tonk, and Caribbean.
We agree with Dan Lucarini, former contemporary praise leader, when he says: “I am now convinced that God will not accept our worship when it is offered with music styles that are also used by pagans for their immoral practices. ... He is a jealous God. If you grasp this principle alone, it will change for ever the way you lead a worship service” (Lucarini, Confessions of a Former Worship Leader, p. 57).
To borrow from and adapt from the field of CCM is a dangerous thing, because the rock music that permeates CCM is very sensual and addictive.
Third, it is disobedience to God’s command to separate from error.
The Word of God says, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17).
Separation from error is God’s prescription for spiritual protection.
The overwhelming majority of Contemporary Christian Music is produced by Charismatics, and the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement is unscriptural and spiritually dangerous in the extreme.
Consider the 2008 Southern Baptist Hymnal, which contains many songs written by Charismatics and published by Charismatic music companies such as Integrity, Maranatha, and Hillsong. About 75 of the top 100 contemporary worship songs are included. For example, songs by Jack Hayford, David Ruis, Paul Baloche, and Darlene Zschech are included. These popular worship leaders are extreme charismatic ecumenists and hard Christian rockers.
The Charismatic movement is not in submission to the Word of God and does not care one way or the other that its mystical experiences and associations are contrary to Scripture, but shame on Baptists who follow in these presumptuous and disobedient footsteps. Shame on Lifeway for giving Charismatics a powerful forum to influence Baptist churches, and shame on the Southern Baptist Convention for allowing Lifeway to do these things.
And shame on fundamentalists who are dabbling around with CCM and thus ignoring God’s command to separate from error.
The Bible warns that “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” This is true for sin (1 Cor. 5:6) as well as for false doctrine (Gal. 5:9).
PLENTY OF EXCELLENT SACRED MUSIC AVAILABLE
There is an absolute wealth of sacred music available, both old and new. There is no reason why Bible believers should dig around in the garbage bin of CCM in an attempt to find something wholesome. We don’t need to borrow things from the Charismatics. We don’t need help from the worldly crowd.
See the Way of Life article “Suggested Sacred Music Recordings.”
For more information we recommend The Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements: History and Doctrine (book), Contemporary Christian Music: Some Questions Answered and Some Warnings Given (book), and Dangers of Contemporary Worship Music (DVD), which are available from Way of Life Literature.
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