Prominent BJU-Associated Pastor Defends Use of CCM

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Brian Fuller, Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, Concord, New Hampshire, recently defended the use of contemporary worship hymns in his blog. This church has been called “the flagship of BJU-FBF (Bob Jones University-Fundamental Baptist Fellowship) in New England.” The church’s Christian Leadership Conference on March 31 featured Jim Berg of BJU and Matt and Christy Taylor of the Wilds. 
Pastor Fuller writes:  “If I recall correctly, it was at our 2003
New England Leadership Conference that Dr. David Parker sang How Deep the Father’s Love for Us to a capacity crowd of New England fundamentalists. A chorus of hearty ‘amens’ followed this theologically robust text and appropriate tune by Stuart Townend. That was 2003. This is 2012. You see, 2003 was a somewhat blissful time when the ‘association’ or ‘source’ question of the original style of modern hymns wasn’t being necessarily fingerprinted. That benevolent spirit of heartily affirming the truths of these modern hymns has all but evaporated, unfortunately. Frankly, as a believer I feel a little ‘robbed’ that the spiritual gift I received in hearing that hymn back in 2003 has now been flagged as a potential stumbling block to other believers. Beyond the ‘offense’ objection, I have discovered that there seems to be a political element to this issue. In attending conferences and fellowships, I have noticed the ‘source and association’ issue of modern hymnody is raised with rapidity and frequency. If not stated explicitly, the attitudinal implications of some of the discussions are that there is little room at the table for a difference of opinion. A pastor’s ‘true-blue’ separatism might be questioned if he discerningly embraces these modern hymns. There is a definitive suspicion that is detected from others about your teetering on the ‘slippery slope’ if you view the source and association elements as mostly irrelevant, illogical or extra-biblical” (“Of Modern Hymnody at Trinity, Feb. 13, 2012). 

Fuller went on to defend the Getty/Townend “contemporary hymn movement” as being (allegedly) different in character than the Contemporary Christian Music field. 

In this he is dead wrong. As we have documented in
The Directory of Christian Worship Musicians, Stuart Townend is an out-and-out Christian rocker, a radical charismatic, and a rabid ecumenist who associates with Rome and promotes the Alpha program and is therefore building the one-world church. By their intimate and non-critical association with Townend, the Gettys have demonstrated that they are one in spirit. 

The people who are writing the “contemporary hymns” are not separated from the wider field of CCM. They are ALL holding hands. They are ALL the same rebellious spirit. NONE of them are friends of a fundamentalist position. ALL of them are avowed enemies of biblical separation. ALL of them have an ecumenical, charismatic mystical agenda. This is not mere opinion. We have studied these things “from the horse’s mouth” for nearly 40 years and have carefully documented our warnings. 

To not consider “the source” of the contemporary music is unscriptural foolishness. God’s Word forbids us to associate with end-time apostasy. We are to touch not the unclean thing. To be careful about associations is the very heart and soul of biblical separatism. 

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

The use of CCM is definitely a “slippery slope” toward compromise and error, and those who are playing with it are playing with fire. 

This warning has nothing to do with “politics.” I can’t speak for others, but I know that my motive in warning against the slippery slope of CCM is a passion for the truth that I found in Christ. 

CCM is the sound-track of end-time apostasy. It is a bridge to the “broader church” with all of its ancient and end-time heresies. 

The aforementioned thinking is dangerous and ill-informed, but it probably represents the majority position today. The corner has been turned in regard to fundamental Baptists and Contemporary Christian Music. Twenty years ago, the majority of influential IFB preachers condemned it in no uncertain terms. The trumpet was giving a clear sound. Today, the majority of influential IFB preachers are justifying its use and questioning the motives of those who still reprove it. Since so many fundamental Baptist preachers are crowd-followers and man-respecters, it is not surprising that the philosophy of justifying the “adaptation” of contemporary worship music has spread so rapidly. This is further evidence of the collapse of separatism. 

It is popularly argued that if we are to be “picky” about musical associations then we would have to discard Luther’s or Wesley’s hymns, but that holds no water. The old Protestant hymns were exceedingly different in character from contemporary worship music. The old Protestants weren’t building the end-time one-world church, but the CCM crowd most definitely is. The old Protestants condemned Rome boldly and were separated from her. 

The world represented by Stuart Townend is the world of rock & roll, charismatic mysticism, C.S. Lewis,
The Shack, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the emerging church, The Message, Brennan Manning, Christian homosexuality, Leonard Sweet, Rick Warren, contemplative prayer, unity with Rome. 

I don’t know of even one instance in which the use of a hymn by Luther has transformed a Baptist church into a Lutheran church, but I know of large numbers of cases in which fundamentalist churches have been converted to a contemporary philosophy through the use of CCM. 

I don’t know of one instance in which the old Protestant hymns acted as a bridge to the world, the flesh, and the devil, but I can point to many young people who have discovered contemporary worship music to be a bridge to these things. 

And it always started with the softer,  less controversial stuff. 

We live in a different world today because of technology, and the technology allows people to easily communicate with and associate with musicians. Even when Luther was alive or Charles Wesley or Fanny Crosby or whoever, if you sang their music in a church the members had no way to develop an intimate association with the hymn writers so that they could sit at their feet and be influenced by everything they believed and represented. That is not true today. They can read their blogs, browse their Facebook pages, follow their Twitter accounts, listen to their music on YouTube. They can read their blogs, browse their Facebook pages, follow their Twitter accounts. They can surf the links from these musicians to their friends and associates and be influenced by the whole world of contemporary music. 

There is no doubt that this is happening in churches everywhere because of the carelessness and ignorance and lack of wisdom on the part of so many leaders. 

Contemporary worship music is a bridge to many dangerous things. It has transformation power. If the influence doesn’t come overnight, it will come eventually. If it doesn’t come to the older people, it will come to the younger ones. If the contemporary philosophy doesn’t permeate the church in this generation, it will in the next.

For those of us who do still believe in biblical separation and therefore agree that lines must be drawn, why can’t we agree that the lines should be drawn at the safest place? Why not “approve things that are excellent” as opposed to borderline and questionable (Phil. 1:10)? Why try to find something good within the dangerous world of contemporary worship music? Is that wise? Is that godly?

For the sake of the next generation, we need to keep
all contemporary influences out of our churches and homes, and we need to do the work of serious education that will protect the people. 

Instead of mocking and sidelining and blacklisting those who are warning about these things, we need to listen carefully and treat them as wise friends of truth rather than fools and enemies. 

(See the
free eBooks “The Collapse of Separatism among Fundamental Baptists,” “The Directory of Contemporary Worship Musicians,” “The Treacherous Waters of the SBC and Evangelicalism,” and “Why Most Independent Baptist Will Be Emerging,” which are available at the Way of Life web site.)