The Transformational Power of Contemporary Praise Music

This multi-media presentation, featuring a wealth of still pictures, audio and video clips, describes the power of Contemporary Worship Music to change the character of a “traditional” Bible-believing church. We document the dramatic changes that are happening among fundamental Baptist churches and analyze the reason why contemporary worship music lies at the heart and soul of the changes. We show that charismatic/ecumenical contemporary worship musicians such as the Gettys and Stuart Townend are actually targeting “conservative” churches for transitional change through “contemporary hymns.” The transformational power of the music is two-fold: It lies in the music’s underlying philosophy and in the character of the music itself. We first document the philosophy of CCM, which is a doctrine of license under the guise of a more relaxed, grace-filled approach to Christian living and theology. On the musical side, we examine the elements of contemporary worship, every aspect of which is designed to create a sensual, mystical emotional experience. As Michael W. Smith says, contemporary music “helps you enter into the presence of God.” The major elements of this experience are the syncopated dance rhythms, unresolving chord sequences, sensual vocal techniques, electronic modulation, the rise and fall in intensity, and the repetition. We illustrate and analyze each of these elements with music performed by a large fundamental Baptist college. (This video presentation is also distributed as part of the Music for Good or Evil video series.)
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