What's Missing in Paul Chappell's Report on Music
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July 11 2015 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org)
Slippery Slope
The Summer 2015 edition of The Baptist Voice features a five-page report “Bible Principles for Music & Worship” by Paul Chappell, Pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church in Lancaster, California, and President of West Coast Baptist College.

Chappell’s report is being sent to churches and prospective students. Obviously it is an attempt to justify Lancaster’s music program in light of the controversy of the last three years. A copy of the report was sent to me by a concerned family with children who are approaching college age (a family that does not subscribe to
The Baptist Voice).

Pastor Chappell offers 15 principles and says these “express what I have learned thus far in my journey.”

1. Preaching is central in worship and evangelism.
2. Music is to reflect the holiness of God.
3. There is a true danger in over contextualizing church ministry.
4. Sacred music is for the purpose of worship, thanksgiving, rejoicing, consecration, edification, evangelism, and preservation of our faith.
5. I believe in the priority of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs as taught in the Word of God.
6. A hymn is a celebration of God based on Scripture.
7. Christian music should reflect the orderliness of God and its melodies and its rhythms.
8. The CCM movement as a whole denies the scriptural teaching to come out and be separated. (This is the shortest point with a mere two sentences.)
9. Music can be used in a moral fashion to glorify God or in a worldly fashion to glorify man.
10. New songs are commended and helpful in worship.
11. Using a song written by someone who is doctrinally different does not equal an endorsement of their position or doctrine. The real issue is not association but identification.
12. A song by a particular author can be used without that use meaning you are endorsing all the writings of that author.
13. People should not be showy or “breathy” in delivery or music, but I will not stifle normal expression in someone’s singing as unto the Lord.
14. Pastors of independent churches have liberty to follow the Holy Spirit.
15. I will give grace to those whose doctrine is clear and whose music is Christ centered and biblically worshipful, even where slight differences may be present.


Pastor Chappell makes some good points, but what is missing is both glaring and fundamental to the issue.


The fundamental issue is not whether or not there are a wide variety of acceptable music styles or whether or not there is an element of “personal taste” in sacred music. I certainly don’t deny that. I enjoy a wide range of sacred music from Hale & Wilder to the Marshall Family, from the staid old Protestant hymns that one can hear at Metropolitan Tabernacle in London to indigenous Nepali hymns that sound nothing like any Western hymn.

The fundamental issue is not whether a church uses guitars or a tambourine or a banjo, or whether people clap their hands, or whether they are quiet or boisterous.

The fundamental issue is not how the singers hold a microphone. Performance issues and singing styles are important, but they are not the fundamental issue.

The fundamental issue is not whether the music was written by Baptists or “fundamentalists.”

The fundamental issue is not even how much or what type of syncopation is acceptable within the bounds of sacred music or what type of chord sequences produce what kind of response in the worshipers. Syncopation and chording and other aspects of music structure are important issues and should be addressed by God’s people, but this is not the fundamental issue.

The fundamental issue is that contemporary worship music represents the end-time, one-world “church” with all of its apostasies and heresies and spiritual dangers, and those who mess around with this particular music are building bridges to a most dangerous world. These are bridges that will be crossed by individuals, families, and churches.

The fundamental issue is that the use of contemporary music is a slippery slope away from strong biblical convictions.

This cannot be refuted. The evidence is on every hand. We have documented this with more than 500 pages of information in the book
The Directory of Contemporary Worship Musicians, and in the video presentations The Transformative Power of Contemporary Praise Music and The Foreign Spirit of Contemporary Worship Music, all of which we have made available for free at the Way of Life web site. This information has been gathered by a musician, teacher, preacher, and missionary over a period of 40+ years.

Many men of God have issued this warning.

Ernest Pickering: “Perhaps nothing precipitates a slide toward New Evangelicalism more than the introduction of Contemporary Christian Music. This inevitably leads toward a gradual slide in other areas as well until the entire church is infiltrated by ideas and programs alien to the original position of the church” (
The Tragedy of Compromise: The Origin and Impact of the New Evangelicalism, Bob Jones University Press, 1994).

Gordon Sears: “When the standard of music is lowered, then the standard of dress is also lowered. When the standard of dress is lowered, then the standard of conduct is also lowered. When the standard of conduct is lowered, then the sense of value in God’s truth is lowered” (
Songfest Newsletter, April 2001).

Victor Sears: “Good fundamental Baptists and others that refuse the teachings of the charismatic crowd concerning tongues, signs, miracles, and so forth are now singing their music in our churches and preparing our people for the world, the flesh and the devil. It is the new Trojan Horse move ... to deaden our churches to spiritual truth” (
Baptist Bible Tribune, 1981).

Frank Garlock: “If a church starts using CCM it will eventually lose all other standards” (Bob Jones University chapel, March 12, 2001).

Bible-believers are most definitely influenced by the CCM crowd when they build bridges in that direction. We can see this on every hand over the past 20 years. The acceptance of contemporary music has been at the heart and soul of every example in which a formerly Bible-believing separatist church has changed its stance, and those examples now run into the hundreds. There might be an exception, but I don’t know of any. We have documented many examples in
The Collapse of Separatism among Fundamental Baptists, available as a free eBook from www.wayoflife.org.

The reason for this is that contemporary worship music is not just music. Even when its lyrics are biblical and its rock rhythm is toned down, it represents a philosophy of Christianity that is opposed to what biblicist churches stand for, opposed to a staunch, unwavering doctrinal stance, opposed to strict separation from the world, opposed to ecclesiastical separation.

I have never heard of an independent Baptist church becoming Lutheran through singing Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress” or Methodist by singing John Wesley’s hymns, but I know of MANY that have gone down the path of the contemporary philosophy through affiliating with contemporary worship music.

The writers of the old Protestant hymns did not represent a movement that was brashly opposed to old-fashioned Biblicist, separatist Christianity, whereas the contemporary worship crowd most definitely does. The old Protestants did not represent the end-time, one-world “church” in fellowship with Rome, but contemporary worship music most definitely does.

Dan Lucarini, author of
Why I Left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement: Confessions of a Former Worship Leader, says:

“NO ONE SHOULD DENY THE POWER OF MUSIC TO PROSELYTIZE! Pastors in particular must defend their flocks from false teaching, heresies and ‘ear ticklers’ who bring worldly sensuality into the congregation; you are right to point out how easily this comes into a church through worship music. IT SEEMS WISER TO DECLINE THE USE OF WHAT SEEMS TO BE A PERFECTLY GOOD SONG, RATHER THAN TO GIVE ANY HONOR AND HINT OF ENDORSEMENT TO THE COMPOSER AND HIS/HER MISSION” (Dan Lucarini, e-mail, May 24, 2009).


We are living in the age of end-time technology, which means that one can no longer use songs and hymns without the listeners being able to come into communication with the authors with great simplicity.

Even 30 years ago, it was not possible to easily contact and be influenced by authors of Christian music.

That has changed dramatically with the Internet.

Now if people in a Bible-believing church hear songs by Don Moen, Keith Getty, Stuart Townend, MercyMe, Darlene Zschech, Jack Hayford, Michael W. Smith, Twila Paris, Michael English, Steven Curtis Chapman, Geron Davis, Chris Tomlin, Graham Kendrick, Mandisa, or Rebecca St. James (all of which have been performed at Lancaster Baptist Church and West Coast Baptist College), they can easily search for that group or individual on the web and come into intimate contact with them -- not only with their music (played in "real" rock & roll style as opposed to the watered-down versions performed in churches that are only beginning to dabble with contemporary praise music), but also with their ecumenical/charismatic/one-world church philosophy and their hyper-ecumenical friends.


If one did not know better, one could read Pastor Chappell’s report about music and come away with the impression that his church is extremely careful about what music they use and that any use of music by contemporary musicians is extremely few and far between.

That is not the case.

The following are just a few examples of contemporary music that Lancaster/West Coast have used in the last few years:

“Hallelujah to the Lamb” by Don Moen (who thinks God is the author of the weird charismatic “laughing revival”)
“In Christ Alone” by Getty/Townend
“Word of God Speak” by MercyMe (a charismatic mystical song)
“Stronger” and “Shout to the Lord” by Zschech/Hillsong (performed by Lancaster’s high school mixed ensemble; Hillsong performed for Catholic Youth Day and Pope Benedict)
“Majesty, Worship His Majesty” by Jack Hayford (a Pentecostal Kingdom Now anthem; Hayford says God told him not to preach against the Roman Catholic church)
“Great Is the Lord” and “How Majestic Is Your Name” by Michael W. Smith (who has been “slain in the Spirit” and “laughed uncontrollably, “rolling on the floor ... hyperventilating”)
“Faithful Men” by Twila Paris (who works with the Roman Catholic Kathy Troccoli and with ecumenist Robert Webber, who promotes unity between evangelicals and Catholics)
“In Christ Alone” by Michael English (who spent the 1990s and early 2000s committing adultery with another man’s wife, bar hopping, dating a stripper, and undergoing “rehab” for drug addiction)
Songs by Steven Curtis Chapman (the most honored “high energy Christian rocker” of the 1990s who says he doesn’t preach “fire and brimstone” and describes God as “Lord of the Dance”)
Songs by Geron Davis (“Jesus Only” Pentecostal who denies the Trinity)
“I Will Rise” by Chris Tomlin (a member of an emerging church that seeks to build the kingdom in this present world)
Songs by Graham Kendrick (charismatic founder of the radically ecumenical Jesus March that includes Catholics and Mormons)
“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” by Chris Tomlin was performed at Lancaster Sunday morning, Oct. 9, 2011
“Not Guilty” by the jazz CCM artist Mandisa was performed at the 2011 Leadership Conference
“Above All Things” by Rebecca St. James (covered on West Coast Baptist College’s “For the Faith of the Gospel” CD)
“Glorify You Alone” by Gateway Worship
“Step by Step” by Rich Mullins (Lancaster Youth Conference 2012, Mullins was in the process of converting to Rome when he died)
“How Can I Keep from Singing” by Chris Tomlin (August 2012)
“Never Once” by Matt Redman (published on YouTube by Mark Rasmussen 2013)
“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Hillsong United (published on YouTube by Mark Rasmussen 2014)
“10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman (published on YouTube by Mark Rasmussen 2014)
“I Will Rise” by Chris Tomlin by Lancaster Baptist Choir Feb. 2014
“Nothing Ever Can” by Ross King by Lancaster Choir March 2014

The Directory of Contemporary Worship Musicians we have provided extensive documentation that these individuals and groups are one-world church builders and that using their music is to build a bridge to great spiritual danger.


I have warned that Chappell’s use of CCM will influence the next generation. It has already happened, and we have given specific examples of this.

The constant justification of his music standards and the pretense that they are “conservative” does not change the fact of what is happening at his church and school.

See the report “Next Generation Rocking at Lancaster Baptist Church,” and this is only the tip of the iceberg. (See the “Lancaster” section of the
Articles Database at www.wayoflife.org.)

We gave the example of Mark Rasmussen, Jr., son of Mark Rasmussen, Vice President of West Coast and probably the most conservative face at the institution.

I understand that Mark has been interning at a church this summer, but he is a recent graduate of West Coast and has long been a prominent member of the Lancaster Baptist Church music program. He and other members of the program publish soft rock renditions of popular contemporary charismatic praise songs on YouTube under the names of Mark Rasmussen, 5FriendsFilms, and OneCauseProductions, and they have been doing this for at least two years. After I warned about it in October 2014, some of the more glaring CCM pieces were removed from the web, but I have copies on file. If the music was acceptable, why remove it?


In a fashion which is typical for him, as I have observed over the last few years, Pastor Chappell uses his report as an occasion to take a cheap shot against those who have criticized his music.

He lashes out at his reprovers under cover of anonymity by refusing to identify the men of whom he speaks.

He calls them “pathological antagonists who are never completely satisfied” and contrasts them with “godly men.”

He says they use the music issue as a smokescreen for their own sin: “Sometimes arguments about music have been a smoke screen issue to hide a discrepancy, sin, or testimony issue in another area of someone’s life. Some of the most vocal regarding music issues tend to be the most unfruitful in other areas of Christian life” (Chappell, “Biblical Principles for Music & Worship,”
The Baptist Voice, Summer 2015, p. 17).

Who are these carnal pathological antagonists who use music as a smoke screen to hide their sin?

He knows exactly what men will come immediately to the mind of preachers who read his report, because of their vocal protests against Chappell’s music and philosophy.

What Pastor Chappell doesn’t say is that there could be men of good conscience before God, men with a good testimony, men who are fruitful in the Lord’s work, who are deeply concerned about his music philosophy because they are convinced that it is spiritually destructive.


The fundamental issue in regard to music is that unwise bridges are being built by men who should know better, and instead of repenting of it they are justifying it and slandering those who warn of their compromise.

At the same time, I thank the Lord for the many pastors who are resisting the tide and are not following the crowd. The following is one of the great many testimonies I have received from pastors who have written to me over the past couple of years:

“I especially appreciate your focus on the beginnings of CCM and the result of what it has become. You are right in saying that CCM is of the same spirit that has led to end time apostasy. No walls of separation, unity and oneness is its cry. I've noticed even in our church that when a young person starts listening to CCM, separation and standards sound silly to them. They begin to mold to the whole CCM mentality and I have found them to be bored with Bible preaching. Thankfully, there are young people here who desire to do right and know the dangers of CCM mainly because of your work on this. Thank you. It has been a great encouragement and help to me as a Pastor.”

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