Musing on Music’s Power part 2

Some great comments on this morning’s “music” post led me to this link for The 107 Theses, “A Call for Reformation of Contemporary Christian Music” by Steve Camp. (Thanks Anna! and all the rest of you who took time to share your thoughts!)

Here’s a little taste from the Steve Camp site, he shares this to build up to the fact that CCM is seriously close to being on the downgrade, if not already slipping:

Charles Hadden Spurgeon spent the final four years of his life at war against the trends of early modernism, which he rightly saw as a threat to Biblical Christianity. Spurgeon wanted to warn his flock about the dangers from moving away from the historic positions [of the truth]. ‘Biblical truth is like the pinnacle of a steep, slippery mountain,’ Spurgeon suggested. ‘One step away, and you find yourself on the down-grade. Once a church or individual Christian get on the downgrade,’ Spurgeon said, ‘momentum takes over. Recovery is unusual and only happens when Christians get on the ‘up-line’ through spiritual revival.’ History has vindicated Spurgeon’s warnings about the down-grade. In the early part of the twentieth century the spreading of ‘false doctrine and worldliness’-theological liberalism and modernism-ravaged denominational Christianity throughout the world. Most of the mainline denominations were violently if not fatally altered by these influences. A hundred years later, we are seeing history repeating itself again… ‘False doctrine and worldliness’-the same two influences Spurgeon attacked-always go hand in hand, with worldliness leading the way. Christians today tend to forget that modernism was not first of all a theological agenda but a methodological one. (John F. MacArthur, Jr. Ashamed of the Gospel (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 1993), 21-23, emphasis added.)

And this from the same source:

Os Guinness is “spot on” when saying, “[we have seen a change] from an emphasis on ‘serving God’, to an emphasis on ‘serving the self’ in serving God.” The object of faith is no longer Christ, but our self-esteem; the goal of faith is no longer holiness, but our happiness; and the source of faith is no longer the Scriptures, but our experience. Christian music currently reflects this. We are producing a generation of people that “feel” their God, but do not know their God.

There’s a lot more good thought provoking stuff over there, I encourage you to check it out.

Musing on Music’s Power

Here’s a hot topic for you, let’s explore how the culture has influenced Christians through music. I’m inviting you to chime in with your own personal opinion. 

 

This past Saturday night, I happened to hear Ravi Zacharias on Christian radio—his topic taken from his “Leadership Workshop on Worship” (CD 209). The following quote immediately caught my attention:

“When Lucifer fell, he fell directly into the choir loft.”

Funny? Here are a couple of verses about the scheming of Satan:

  • 2 Cor. 2:11, “…in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”
  • 2 Cor. 11:14, “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”

And read Revelation chapters 2 and 3 for more on Satan, and for God’s wake-up call to churches. Stuff like “Synogogues of Satan” and “the few people who have not soiled their garments…” All directed to churches. When you think about music, and how powerful it is, doesn’t it make sense that Satan would see it as a great way to infiltrate Christianity? Especially as the trend for Christian music has historically been to borrow from its secular counterparts?

 

Look how divisive the subject of music is. For starters, the praise and worship time has greater importance now than it ever has. Song time crowds more and more into the sermon time. Church shoppers are wanting the whole package…and good preaching sometimes takes a back seat to good music. Some churches have had to adopt separate services to please their members. Hymns only for one set, CCM (contemporary Christian music) for the other. Some agree that you can listen to whatever you want on your own time, but in church the tone needs to be more reverent. So where is the line drawn regarding the form of worship? Can we Christians remain in touch with the culture without sacrificing to its gods?

 

I admit to a history of struggling when it comes to claiming a stance on CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) and Christian rock, having enjoyed both. Our church music service is a blend of mostly CCM with a hymn or two here and there. It’s not out of the ordinary for our worship team to play guitar along with the keyboard or piano, and recently, one of the worship teams added their drum machine to the background (very subtly)…and I liked it. But that’s a response I’m struggling with and it spawned my post here about music. I want to know what God thinks and says about it in a church setting.

 

For interest, not necessarily to prove any points, here are a couple of verses on praise music. Eph. 5:19 says,

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”

And Col. 3:16,

“Teaching and admonishing in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

If our church suddenly went to hymns only, I’d sincerely miss the CCM. And I wouldn’t want to have to choose between the two. (That said, I’ve been in churches where the CCM resembles more of a boyfriend/girlfriend love song than a praise song to the Lord, and I recoil from that with all my heart). 

 

I also fail to appreciate Christian book stores whose music section is full of posters of Christian rock groups with sneers, males with earrings, and other secularly appearing similarities to rock groups. Kutlass, for instance. What would be the Biblical culture’s equivalent? “Come get drunk on wine during communion?” Maybe worshipping God ritualistically, Roman-style? Do we really have to “become” the world in order to win the world?

 

What about the new trend for alternate music that’s neutral? Switchfoot, Reliant K…at first thought it seems admirable…one step in the right direction, but is it just going to become a genre of American “good” apart from God? (Subject for another post…)

 

Ravi Zacharias closed his message with a word picture along these lines. Would you give your spouse your favorite music on CD for their birthday, even knowing they hated it? (Okay, sure, we can’t be positive as to what form of music God loves and hates, but…the question is worth pondering.)

 

What do you think?