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Reply to a Pastor About West Coast: Good Fruit, Hamilton, Gaither, Pastoral Ignorance, etc.
November 5, 2014 -- (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143,
The following is an excerpt from a recent series of e-mails from a pastor about my warnings about Lancaster Baptist Church’s adaptation of CCM. I have left out portions of his e-mails in which he merely rehashes charges that I have answered in previous reports. He does bring out a couple of things I have not responded to publicly, though, as follows:


“I am not a regular follower of your material. However, I have several friends that are. They know that I attend conferences at Lancaster so every time you write something about them they send me the article via email.

“How about for once try practicing Philippians 4:8. Spend your time thinking on those things and
you won't have the time to criticize one of the most dynamic ministries in this country. I have been there, I have witnessed the Spirit of the people. I have witnessed the Spirit of the services. The hand of God is definitely on that place. You shall know them by their fruits is the promise from our Lord. Check into the fruit of their ministry. Old fashion, conservative, Soul winning, fundamentally sound churches are being started and pastored by men from that ministry.

“I was at SLC 2011. I came away amazed, excited, and motivated to do more for my Lord. Every single moment, every single message, every single song was a blessing to me and my family. I had NO CLUE who wrote or performed the song by Mandisa that you criticized. The idea of WHO wrote it never came to mind. It was not until I got an email from someone showing me criticism of Lancaster that I saw. I have no clue who Mandisa is and neither do I care. I don't have the time to research ever single song I hear a church use. If the words are scriptural, if the music does not violate scriptural principles, that is all that matters. I don't ask for a doctrinal statement on ever single songwriter.

“Let me ask you a question: Why do you know so much about the CCM movement and its artist? Some of the songs that you have condemned, I had NO idea who wrote the song or who performed the song, yet you seem to know everything about it. the thought about ‘who performs or wrote this song’ has never crossed my mind.

“Anglicans translated the King James Bible and heretics wrote many of our hymns. Be consistent brother, REJECT ALL HERETICS OR close your mouth!!! Quit picking and choosing which ‘heretics’ are ‘OK’ and which ones are not. You are double minded on this issue Brother. You justify it by claiming you know the ‘agenda’ of the CCM crowd. HOGWASH!! You simply have found a perceived fault and you Refuse to let it go until Lancaster does what YOU want them to do.

“Ron Hamilton, who is extremely conservative in his music, has praised the music ministry of Lancaster and was a part of SLC 2011. Now he is someone I believe we could both agree knows a lot about what is and is not acceptable music. After all, you have used his father-in-law’s statements against Lancaster.

“Jesus was clear that you would know His followers by their fruit. Looking at the past 25 years of God's blessings and after listening to the testimony of the mayor of Lancaster and other prominent men in that city, it is very clear that the hand of GOD is upon the ministry of Lancaster Baptist Church and West Coast Baptist College. God has used that Church to change a city. God has used that ministry to change the lives of thousands of people. God has used that ministry to plant thriving churches all over California.

“Why not attack Hyles Anderson? I have heard them use adapted CCM? Why not spend your time attacking Trinity Baptist? After all they don't even adapt it, they use it as it is. Why not attack Golden State? Why not attack the schools who use songs written by Gaither? You seem to have a fascination with attacking Lancaster. You can't mention the CCM adaptation without using them as your sole example.”


I am not "attacking" anyone. Preaching the truth in Christian grace is not an attack; it is a ministry. The Lord being my witness, I am trying to take a stand for the truth that will help Bible-believing churches in the ensuing generations. As a grandfather, I am deeply, deeply concerned about the next generation of churches. 

You are right that I have been hammering West Coast pretty hard lately, but it is only because of their wide influence and my deep concern about the direction of the fundamental Baptist churches. I have seen such a widespread collapse of biblical separatism and spiritual discernment in the past 40 years since the Lord saved me and I know all too well the transformational power of CCM.

Many motives have been attributed to me by various men, but they aren’t in a position to know.

As I have said before, there are indeed many good things at Lancaster and West Coast. I agree that there is good fruit. As recently as a couple of years ago I recommended West Coast in my short list of schools. But does the good they have done mean they are above being critiqued by God's Word? Does their good fruit mean that there is no possibility that they are doing something wrong that will bring forth bad fruit down the road? I am sorry, but your thinking is very shallow and unscriptural. Does the Bible say that a LOT of leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
Proverbs says the wise man looks at the future of something and not only at its present incarnation. “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished” (Proverbs 22:3).

As for Trinity, I have often warned about it. As for Gaither and the fundamental Baptists who use contemporary Southern Gospel, I have warned about that loudly and repeatedly for decades. There is an entire section of Southern Gospel in my DVD presentation "Music for Good or Evil." I have said that compromise is probably entering more IBaptist churches through contemporary Southern Gospel than through outright Contemporary Christian Music. As for Hyles-Anderson, I have warned about it more than any other Independent Baptist school. I consider it a man-centered cult. As for Golden State, I don't know much about it, but I do know that it isn't nearly as influential as Lancaster. 

I first heard of the influence of Lancaster's music in Singapore, then in the Philippines, then in Australia, then in Canada. By pushing the musical boundaries as they are doing, they are influencing many churches to push even farther. That can be easily proven and I have given some examples from time to time.

This is not a matter of one local church and its own business. It is a matter of a church that has influenced tens of thousands beyond its "borders." This is not a matter of a private issue that I need to discuss with a pastor. It is a very public thing.

As for your principle that it doesn’t matter if we adapt CCM from the contemporary charismatic movement and emerging church as long as the words are not unscriptural and we tone down the rhythm a bit, NOTHING could be more dangerous to the future of Bible-believing Baptist churches. Many men of God believe I have proven this in the reports “
Musical Associations and CCM Adaptation" and “Analyzing Adapted CCM Music.”

I stand by my warning that those churches that don’t take heed to this issue and that continue to flirt with CCM and continue to be ill-informed about its transformational power and continue to be uneducated about what it is and where it is coming from will be well down the emerging road within 15-20 years. In many cases, it won’t take that long.

As for your contention that you don’t have time to research every song that is sung at your church, why not? We have published information on many of the most popular contemporary worship people, which can be readily accessed at the Way of Life web site. With the Internet, it doesn’t take much time to do a little background research into the specials that are proposed to be sung at a church.

Do you really believe that it is harmless to use songs by rock & rollers and jazz musicians? Do you really think they are in tune with a holy God? Do you really believe that babbling charismatics and “culturally liberal” emergents are tuned into the Spirit of God in the “worship” music they are creating so that their material is safe for a Bible-believing congregation?

I am convinced that one of the fundamental weaknesses of a great number of independent Baptist churches is the lack of continual education on the part of pastors. One of the qualifications of a pastor is the ability to protect the flock from error (Titus 1:9-11; Acts 20:28-31), and this requires proper education and on-going education. I am not talking about the pursuit of a diploma at some degree mill in order to impress others with credentials. In fact, I am not talking about a seminary education at all. I believe that a man can be properly trained in basic Bible knowledge and knowledge of the ministry by his own local church if he is God-called, but he has to have a heart to build on that foundation through continual education. I am talking about a strong and constantly growing knowledge of God’s Word and an effective knowledge of what the wolves happen to be teaching at any given time, which is the product of serious study habits.

One of the fundamental objectives of Way of Life Literature is to provide seriously-researched materials to assist busy pastors in their ministries of educating and protecting the churches.
O Timothy magazine and the Fundamental Baptist Information Service, which is published by e-mail, contain a wealth of information about CCM and a myriad of other topics that are published to help preachers. These are certainly not published to make money, because we make no money to speak of on either of these ministries. Such materials have been made available, but it has been discouraging through the decades to witness the lack of interest in accessing and using such material on the part of so many pastors.

So many independent Baptist pastors aren’t real students and aren’t interested in the type of study that will prepare them to confront the spiritual dangers that are coming down the pike. I have learned that one of the most difficult places to sell seriously-researched books (such as the Way of Life titles on Contemporary Christian Music, the emerging church, contemplative mysticism, the New Age, New Evangelicalism, the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement, etc.) is at a preacher’s fellowship. Not every group of independent Baptists is equally guilty of this problem, but it is definitely rampant. The very fact that you, pastor, would glory in your ignorance about CCM and would question how I know so much about it, implying that my research is somehow wrong, proves my point. My pastor took our books a couple of times to the Southwide Baptist Fellowship annual conferences in the late 1990s and sold almost nothing in spite of the fact that there were hundreds of preachers in attendance and we offered the books at serious discount. I recall a pastor in Wyoming that was going to drop our missionary support when he learned that in addition to church planting we were having study books translated into the native language. I recall displaying my books at a pastor’s fellowship in Washington state in the early 1990s, and one of the preachers commented, “We don’t need more books; we need more preaching.” Bless his misguided soul, what does he think a good Christian book is? I think of a missionary who was given a brief tour of my 6,000-volume library and made only one comment and it was negative! His thinking was that it is largely a waste of time to build such a library when we could be spending all of that time in soul winning.

In contrast, we think of the apostle Paul who even in his old age and even in prison instructed Timothy to “bring the books”!

If the pastors aren’t properly educated and prepared to deal effectively with the onslaught of end-time apostasy, where will the people be?

As for Dr. Frank Garlock and and his son-in-law Ron Hamilton (Patch the Pirate), I’m not sure where they stand today. If required to state an opinion, I don't believe they could watch the online presentation of West Coast performing three adapted CCM pieces and say that this is acceptable. See 

It does appear that they have been quiet in the face of West Coast's compromise, and if it turns out that Garlock and Hamilton are actually saying that the adaptation of CCM is acceptable, they are wrong and they are going against what they clearly taught in the past. These men are definitely experts in music and Dr. Garlock in particular has laid a good foundation, as far as it goes, for judging the difference between sacred and contemporary music. I have a high respect for Dr. Garlock and am thankful for his stand on sacred music. In 2003 I published “A Salute to Frank Garlock,” though I don’t get the impression that he has done much serious new research and I was disappointed in his latest DVD presentation. It doesn’t deal effectively with the type of thing that is turning fundamental Baptists out of the way, which is flirting with soft rock and the adaptation of contemporary worship music. As for Ron Hamilton, many pastors in various parts of the world have spoken to me about the fact that his music standards have been slipping for years.

The bottom line is that Garlock and Hamilton are only men. They are not the be-all and end-all of the music issue. I personally know more about rock music from the inside out and far more about the charismatic movement and the emerging church and end-time apostasy and contemplative mysticism and the New Age and the collapse of separation among fundamental Baptists and such things than either of these men. Thus, I bring some things to the table on this issue that they do not have. Graham West and Tim Kelly, who assisted in the latest edition of our DVD series "Music for Good or Evil," not only have strong knowledge of music in general, they also have a background in writing, performing, and producing secular rock and pop, so they, too, bring to this issue something that neither Garlock or Hamilton bring. (West and Kelly are pastors.)

Further, Ron Hamilton gets money and prestige from West Coast, so he has a pony in this race. I think the same is true for Dr. Garlock. I am not saying that this is a factor in their refusal to speak out. The Lord is the only One who knows the motives of the heart. I am saying that it
could be a factor, knowing human nature as we all do.

I stand by the scriptural warnings in the article "
Musical Associations and CCM Adaptation". 

This article answers your statement about my allegedly not being consistent for not rejecting the Anglican-translated KJV or music by Luther, etc. You are comparing apples with oranges and your thinking is very dangerous. How many fundamental Baptist churches have become Lutheran by singing “A Mighty Fortress”? How many have become Anglican by reading the King James Bible? The answer, of course, is zero. But I can show you large numbers of once fundamental Baptist churches that have turned aside to the contemporary philosophy through using contemporary worship music. It has a transformational power, and a pastor can stick his head in the sand if he wants and use “whatever music blesses the heart,” but the transformational power is still there and the leaven still works.

I stand by the warning that churches that continue to flirt with soft rock and the adaptation of CCM will be well down the emerging path within 20 years if not long before.

Pastor, your e-mails are representative of 99% of the feedback I have received on this subject. They are characterized by emotional personal attacks, with a few shallow arguments tossed in for effect, rather than substantive replies to what I have written. Reports such as the aforementioned “Musical Associations and CCM Adaptation” and books such as
Contemporary Christian Music: Some Questions Answered and Some Warnings Given and video presentations such as Music for Good or Evil are not just thrown together. They are based on hundreds of hours of research and much earnest prayer, yet the vast majority of the responses have made no attempt to answer my warnings in a substantive way.

The response from West Coast supporters in 2011 reminds me of the response I received from Baptist Bible Fellowship preachers and church members in the early 1990s in regard to our warnings about Promise Keepers. They were angry; they were justifying compromise; they were misusing Scripture; they were largely cheap shots and personal attacks; they claimed that we have no right to criticize fellow fundamental Baptist preachers. It is instructive that within a decade from that point, the BBFI had capitulated to the Jerry Falwell-type contemporary New Evangelical philosophy.

The Lord bless you. Pastoring is a terribly serious job, and I pray that the Lord will give you sufficient wisdom to shepherd God's people properly in these days. 

David Cloud

copyright 2013, Way of Life Literature

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