The following important warning is from Confronting Contemporary Christian Music by Dr. H.Talmadge Spence:
"In 1973 a Neo-Evangelical movement swept across America called 'Key '73.' Many of the evangelical denominations, including the Pentecostals, joined this movement, believing it would be the strongest evangelistic thrust to date in our country. An extensive invitation was sent out for new music to be written that promoted the message of 'Key '73' with several stipulations: the words righteousness, judgment, holiness, repentance, and several other biblical terms were not allowed to be used, and THE LYRICS WERE TO BE OF A POSITIVE NATURE. There was an intentional effort made to write NON-OFFENSIVE songs. A number of these were produced that year through this evangelical effort, strengthening the move away from biblical, doctrinal standards in the music.
"By 1972, Bill Gaither, a member of the Nazarene Church who started his public music career in Southern gospel, was experimenting with a disco form of music, and because of the reaction from the more moderate element of the evangelical spectrum, he started the Bill Gaither Vocal Band in order to further his music in the strong contemporary vein. It has only been in the last few years that he has returned to his Southern gospel roots and conventional style, especially in his reminiscing Gospel-sing videos. He is the man who promulgated the 'praise' music which was at its height during the mid 1980s and early 1990s. ITS INFLUENCE IS NOW AFFECTING THE BORDERS OF THE FUNDAMENTALISTS' MUSIC WITH THE CHARISMATIC SOUND IN A NUMBER OF CHORUSES SUNG IN THE CHURCHES AND YOUTH CAMPS. No, we are not against praise, but such an emphasis with certain types of music can be a ploy to make us leave off taking a stand against the apostasy of our time. Gaither's song 'Get All Excited' was written to pull the people away from speaking against anything that would cause division among 'God's people,' specifically doctrine and biblical concepts of separation. It truly intimidates the child of God in taking a stand in his church that is drifting away from the Word of God. The Charismatic leaders are regularly reminding us that the Book of Psalms is truly a hymnbook dedicated to praise. But we must carefully read this precious book: praise is often in the context of battle themes, imprecatory prayers, overcoming those who are against God, and instruction of godly living in opposition to carnal living. THE BATTLE THEME IN PRESENT DAY FUNDAMENTALIST MUSIC COMPOSITIONS IS CONSPICUOUSLY ABSENT. The term apostasy is never mentioned. The melodies and arrangements are progressively lacking strength and literally CREATING THE 'SOFT SOUND' IN CHURCH MUSIC.
"One of the characteristics that should be upon the hearts of Fundamentalist music leaders is the hope for balance in the repertoire. When the 'easy listening' and the 'soft sound' flow steadily from the pens of the music composers, the music will definitely produce soft and weak Christians. We were told back in 1969 that the 'music is the message,' not just the lyrics. MUCH OF THIS SOFT AND PRETTY SOUND IS COMING FROM FEMALE ARRANGERS TEACHING IN OUR CHRISTIAN COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES. God made the feminine gender soft and pretty. And her tendency in history has been to write from that perspective. A few women in the past have written lyrics with strength and fewer have written melodies with strength. In this age when love and softness on apostasy have practically become the perfume of the modern Church, our dear Fundamentalist ladies who are part of the music ministry must be careful that they do not contribute to this 'falling away' with their published, weak arrangements of once strong hymns. SUCH MUSIC ENCOURAGES PASSIVITY ON THE BATTLEFIELD. WE ARE IN DESPERATE NEED OF STRONG MELODIES BEARING ALONG STRONG LYRICS, FEEDING STRENGTH TO THE WARRIORS FOR CHRIST" (Dr. H.T. Spence, Confronting Contemporary Christian Music, 1997, pp. 142-143; Foundations Press, P.O. Box 1166, Dunn, NC 28335. 910-892-8761).
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