Chris Tomlin: King of Worship Music

March 25, 2014 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org)

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Chris Tomlin is one of the most influential contemporary worship songwriters, having been called “the king of worship music” and “the most-sung music artist in history. He is the author of “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)”, “We Fall Down,” “Holy Is the Lord,” and “How Great Is Our God.”


More than 125 of his songs are being used in churches around the world. The CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International) estimated that between 60,000 and 120,000 churches are singing Tomlin’s songs (“Chris Tomlin, king of the sing-a-long,” CNN’s
Belief Blog, March 9, 2013). Howard Rachinski, CEO of CCLI, says that “in the United States on any given Sunday, 20 to 30 million people would be singing Chris Tomlin's songs.” As a result, he is a multi-millionaire, having sold 4.2 million albums, 6 million digital downloads, and receiving millions in royalties via CCLI from churches that use his music.

Relevant Magazine said of him, “Whether he’d claim it or not, Chris Tomlin is a prophet. As quickly as he records an album, it becomes the lyrical theology of our generation. His songs are sung in churches around the world, sculpting our doctrine and shaping our ideas about God” (“Christ Tomlin: Paving the Way,” June 24, 2008).

This highlights the danger of using contemporary worship in Bible-believing churches. Do such churches really want people like Chris Tomlin to be their prophet and the shaper of their doctrine? Do they want their youth influenced by such men?


Tomlin holds the unscriptural ecumenical philosophy that is typical of the CCM crowd. 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).

There is definitely uniting power in contemporary worship music, but this is an evidence of its apostasy rather than its spiritual authenticity. Bible-believing Baptists and Bible-believing fundamentalists don’t want to be united with charismatics and the “broader church,” as it is often called, because we are forbidden to do so. God’s Word teaches us to take doctrine seriously. We are to allow “no other doctrine,” which is the strictest possible stance (1 Timothy 1:3). We are to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to us in Scripture (Jude 3), and we are to separate from those who teach doctrine that is contrary to the one true faith (Romans 16:17). We are warned that in the last days multitudes of professing Christians will be apostate (2 Timothy 4:3-4). They will turn away their ears from the truth and will be turned unto fables, and that certainly applies to the charismatic movement with its gibberish tongues, learnable tongues, spirit slaying, holy laughter, and its blind ecumenical philosophy. And it applies to Rome’s fables such as the papacy, the mass, the saints, and Mary as the Queen of Heaven.

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. Its objective is not just to preach the gospel to lost souls but to “redeem” the city of Austin, which is definitely
not what the apostles sought to do in the Roman Empire.

Tomlin has a close association with Roman Catholicism.

Catholic Matt Maher wrote Tomlin’s hit song “Your Grace Is Enough,” and Maher and Tomlin co-wrote “Crown Him (Mastery)” and “Your Grace Is Enough.” Maher’s goal with his music is to unite “evangelicals” with Roman Catholicism. He says, “The arms of St Peter’s are really big” (“Catholic rocker Matt Maher finds cross-over appeal among evangelicals,”
Religion News Service, May 17, 2013). He says that God has called him “to write music with Protestants and be in ministry with them,” and, “What’s fantastic about it is we’re all Christians from different denominations and we’re learning to understand each other.”

Tomlin invited Roman Catholic Audrey Assad to perform on his 2009 Christmas tour and album and sang her song “CWinter Snow” as a duet.

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).

Chris Tomlin, “the king of worship music,” is using his music to build the one-world “church,” and nothing could be more unscriptural and spiritually dangerous.

For more on this subject see
The Directory of Contemporary Worship Musicians, which is available in print edition and in a free eBook edition from www.wayoflife.org
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