01 December, 2005

Contemporary Christian Music

Since someone commented on this blog criticizing the choice of music that old school Presbyterians use in worship, I thought that it would be appropriate to show my readers the kinds of music that CCM is putting out today.

Many young Christians are into very worldly music and attempt to reason it away using Kuyperian principles that they learned while attending Calvin College. Friends and dear readers, music is very sacred.

My children will not listen to the current rock and roll type music that calls itself Christian. Let us look at some of the covers of those CDs that all the kids are into and attempting to get their God fearing parents to spend their hard earned money on:

These should speak for themselves! Feel free to comment.


Mark said...

Wow... that's quite the collection. Funny stuff.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever sat down and really listened to Third Day, Jars of Clay, the Newsboys, Casting Crowns, Switchfoot and the like? My guess is No. So before you critize them, listen to them. You'll find their music worshipful and relevent to today's youth. In fact, Sitchfoot has expanded their music ministry to the secular realm. Jars of Clay relesed a CD that is does rearrangements of the old hymns and it is excellent. Casting Crowns was nominated for an AMA. Third Day is just awesome. There are too many great things to say about them. They are great musicians and their lyrics honor God. Newsboys has released a series of worship music that have lyrics comprable to any of the great hymns of faith. In fact, Contemporary Christian Music is one of the fastest growing types of music. It can be used as a tool to introduce others Christ. Of course, they have to understand their sin and a need for a Savior. But, God can use this music as a means to get them thinking about spiritual issues great.

Notliberal said...

Before you criticize homosexuals, engage in sodomy with one. Isn't that the logical conclusion of anon's comments? Oh wait, that homosexual was nominated for an award, he must be a-ok!

Just because modern "Christian" music is popular doesn't make it right or ok. Our standard has to be scripture not what sells the most records. It seems to me anon that you need to argue in favor of such music by using scriptural refrences, prove to Nate that he is wrong. I'm certain that if you are able to show his error in scripture that he will repent.

As for the album covers, there is a poster out there of Little Richard that says something like Once a Homosexual, Now a gospel singer!

Joe Schelling said...

I love this topic! What seperates "Christian" and secular music? The "Christian" scene has the Dove Awards (AMA Grammy), though they don't "lift people up",they have CCM (Rolling Stone, Spin), there own charts, videos, dance steps, etc. All these things to seperate themselves from the secular secene? In an effort to do so they jsut change the names of this stuff.

As a former youth director of a church, I saw teenage boybands and youung girls dresses like Brittney and N'Sync the only difference is they might talk aobut "God" or prayer, but the lyrics hold no theological weight.

To me, there is no real diffference between the Chirstian and secular secens. The biggest difference is that pop-Christians music, again in my opinon sounds horrible. You can get just as much sanctifying messegase from secular music than CCM.

Anonymous said...

NL What the does christian music have to with homosexuality? Nothing! Their music is based on a lot of scripture references. Too numerous to name. Maybe our youth should dress like old farts. Is that more Christlike? Christian music is a means of reaching out to the culture without compromising the scriptures. If you actually listened to it, you'd see that. I guess I'm going to burn in hell for listening to rock music both Christian and Secular. I watched to the AMA's and I was proud to see that they actually recoginzed the nomonees for the best Christian group. They did not even show the winner in the Alternative division. NL needs to confess his sin of being arrogant and judgemental towards others who don't think like himself.

Notliberal said...

I'm simply stealing Rush Limbaugh's notion of demonstrating absurdity by being absurd. Apparently Anon is unable to grasp it, I can't be bothered.

So now we have music that is based on scripture refrences "too numerous to name." Would you mind naming one or two? Furthermore, the argument presented by Nate and I supposed myself has little to do with the content of indivudual songs, it has to do with the movement as a whole. I don't believe that this pop-Christian music movement is based on anything scriptural. You have to prove to me that Christian rock is not in violation of scripture. I would enjoy seeing your attempt at doing this.

Kids aren't saved with rock music. All of these churches with their fancy rock bands and all of these records don't do a lick of good at saving anyone. They're entertaining but they don't save. You save folks by teaching them meaningful things about Christ and His saving blood. I fail to see anything meaningful coming out of so called Christian rock besides mild entertainment.

On another note, who in the world cares about silly awards shows. Does it really matter that some secular group gave an award in a so-called Christian catigory? Does it matter if Christians held their own award show? All of that stuff is pure vanity not to mention worship of celebrity. Impress me with scripture, don't impress me with awards.

shawn said...

Nathan I thought these would come under Christian Liberty...

You can't step on my conscience or my CD collection.

Who can resist the Rev L.J. London anyway.

Anonymous said...

NL you are a jerk!!! Of course Christian music does not save anyone. It is simply a tool for presenting the gospel. What kind of music do most normal teens and young adults listen to? Classical no rock music. There is absolutely nothing sinful or unscriptual about this type of music. You know why the musicians produce such a hgh quality product? It's not so they can become rich and famous, but to glorify God through using the gifts and talents they have given them. Don't you do the same that's assuming you have any except for being a first class idiot.
Silly award shows- I enjoy listening to music and spend a lot time doing so. That's why I watch them.
Sean- I agree with you. This falls under Christian Liberty. No one is any more or less spiritual for singing music with or without instruments.

Notliberal said...

If I had a nickle for everytime some anon on the internet called me a jerk I would be a millionaire by now. On the bright side, I'm an officially a first class idiot. I wouldn't want to be stuck with the riff raff in second class.

Getting back to the topic at hand, anon continues to not answer the question or provide citations requested. You claim there are numerous scripture quotes backing your position, care to cite just one? Oh wait, you would rather go on a tirade of name calling and finger pointing than jump into scripture to back your position.

Jeff said...

My guess is that anon and notliberal are missing the humor in his post. I know for a fact that the owner of this blog listens to CCM (Derek Webb perchance?).

Mark said...

Jeff is right... Nate even mentioned listening to a Jars of Clay CD in one of his previous posts. In fact, the same CD that anonymous mentioned.

Am I the only one who thinks that Merril Womach looks a lot like Jon Voight?

Lydia said...

Amen, Jeff. Lighten up anon. Nate found much humor in this post. Nate does enjoy some (SOME) Christian music. He does not use it to worship God and that is the difference. Many Christians go way overboard when it comes to Christian music and using it improperly in the worship of God.

This is suppose to be a blog with edifying discussions. Not unnecessary name-calling.

By the way, I do not consider a band that uses the Sabbath day to have their own "worship service" to be "just awesome" (Third Day). Sure, I enjoy their music, but are they serving God according to His Word and obeying his commandments?

That's all, folks.

Nate said...

No ad hominum arguments allowed.

We can all discuss CCM like mature adults.

In order to really discuss it we need to establish some principles:
1. How are we to worship God?
2. Can we have music that is used to entertain?
3. How does CCM do either of these and is there a line that should not be crossed?

By the way anon, The other night I stayed up late to watch Switchfoot bc I knew that they were going to be on The Tonight Show. (What a great opportunity to present Christ crucified to millions of viewers, right?)
I put the closed caption on so that I could read the words to the music (I did not want to miss ANYTHING!)
Christ was not mentioned ONCE!
What was mentioned was that they were depressed and felt alone in the world until they looked up to the stars.
What does that mean?
Was that evangelism?
How does that point to Christ?
Does that point to anything?

I was sorely discouraged. This seems to be the trend when CCM artists move into the secular realm. They lose focus on Christ and become "spiritual", which of course is politically correct you know.
Example: Amy Grant, Switchfoot, U2, MXPX...the list goes on.

I love good music too, but we have to judge a tree by its fruit.

Notliberal said...

Hey Jeff, do you really think I don't know what Nate is up to? Come on now.

Nate said...


Do you think that you could sing us SOMETHING SPECIAL?

gretchenjohnson said...

Merril Womach was friends with my parents. They had his record, I'm sorry to say, and the next thing you know our basement turned into a meth lab. By the way, his face is like that because of a plane crash. No doubt he was on drugs.

Merrill said...

Don't make fun of me, I'm fragile

Merrill said...

I was in a plane crash on Thanksgiving

Anonymous said...

what music do you listen to now? what music stations do you listen to in the car?

C-Rocker said...

ok i read the brian schwertley article on worship;
he says that "The Calvinist wing of the Reformation argued that whatever is not commanded by Scripture in the worship of God is forbidden. Anything that the church does in worship must be proven in the Bible"
and yet several months ago, this same interpretation principle was mocked for saying that the Sabbath is not on Sunday???
here is the quote from this blog

-Is this a valid interpretation principle? Without the OT, the NT means NOTHING. Baptists have been trying to pull the wool over our eyes for years with the principle 'if it's not repeated or expressly stated in the NT again it's invalid.'
-Go ahead and try to make sense out of Acts 2:39 without Genesis 17.

"No record of people keeping the Sabbath before the time of Moses, or before the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai"
-So lack of an example, thus proves invalidity? I defy you, ironically to your own principles of interpretation, to show where that interpretive principle is in Scripture. (i.e., it ain't there

Nate said...

I listen to all sorts of music. At times I like to kisten to CCM, often I will listen to Psalms, Harry Connick Jr, Derek Webb, Caedmons call, sometimes classical.

In my car I listen to talk radio. I need to have my mind stimulated at all times. Music stims emotion for me....its a very powerful tool.

When listening to CCM it HAS TO HAVE SOUND DOCTRINE in the words. Otherwise I find it to be 100% useless. I would rather listen to quality pagans than poorly done Christian music.

Artistic quality + sound Doctrine + pleasant to the ear=
Not much....but I do listen to some.

Nate said...

The Sabbath issue and worship are two separate issues.
That is why God has them under the fourth and the second commandment.
I am not sure that I follow your logic.

As for the principle which we call the RPW (regualtive principle of worship) the most basic text is
Deu 12:32 What thing soeuer I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
This text is the basis of Presbyterian WORSHIP (we are not talking about entertainment, JUST worship). We do those acts of worship which God commands in scripture and we do not add anything else.

Nothing added, nothing diminished.

Presbyterian (old school) worship is very plain and simple.
We pray, sing psalms, read the Word, preach, collect alms, and administer the sacraments (Lords supper and communion) when needed.

We are very simple IN WORSHIP. That does not mean that we do not love musical instruments, other music besides the Psalms, laughter, and all things lovely...just not in worship.

Maybe you should come to a worship service some time and see what it is like. Most are quite pleased and blessed by it.

what's wrong with Christian hip-hop said...

i agree that we should only do what the Bible says, not extra biblical suggestions...
but one question? doesn't the Bible not teach we should sing hymns and spiritual songs as well as psalms? it seems you are not doing everything God is pleased with?

Nate said...

Xn Rock and Roller,,

Why don't you just come over and we can discuss this over an espresso?

Please let me have that question for you....
What do you think hymns and spiritual songs are?

You can email me directly as well.

c rapper said...

sorry, i didn't mean to attack you personally. that was wrong of me. please forgive me.

Nate said...

Crapper or Crocker,

I am not offended, can you answer your question please.

c-rocker said...

a hymn is a song, a sacred song in praise, devoted to God
and a spiritual song is a song belonging to the Spirit of God...
so there are things to be sung that are not just psalms.
ephesians 5:19

Nate said...

Comment 28:

If a spiritual song is a song given by the Holy Spirit then it is a Psalm. These are the spirit inspired songs.

Inspired means breathed of God. I do not think that CCM can claim that God breathed those songs into them...David can, he says "my tongue is the pen of a ready writer".

The Psalms are the Spiritual Songs.
(see Psalm 83, 87, 88, 92, 108, 120-134)

The common Greek translation of the OT in the times of Christ was called the Septuagent. The common name of what we call The Psalms was in the Septuagent: Psalms, Hymns, Spiritual Songs.

That was a common title for the Psalms. If you parouse the book and look at the prescripts you will see that there are a lot of titles given for these songs, but they are ALL PSALMS.

If the NT church was to sing other songs, why do we not have any preserved? (I know, argument from silence...but still a good one....we have the OT song book preserved, where is the NT one?)

Mr. Baggins said...

My undergrad degree was in piano performance. So I must weigh in here a bit. CCM is like the "Holy Roman Empire" according to Voltaire, (neither HOly, nor Roman, nor an empire). I firmly believe that CCM is not contemporary (it's all 70's music, mostly. If there is more modern stuff, it hasn't hit most churches yet). It is not Christian. The lyrics are about "me, me, and me." It's all about how *I* feel, rather than about worshipping the one and only God of the universe. There are exceptions to this ofcourse, since some CCM is based directly on Scripture passages. But CCM is not true music, in my opinion. Musical phrases are *exactly* like linguistic phrases: they have an up and a down. There is a *shape* to the melody. This is characteristic of all good hymns. This is *not* true of CCM. The melodies tend to stay in the same place with an unbelievable number of repeated notes.

The real question is, "should church music be distinct or worldly?" The old piece-of-crap argumentation here is that Luther used bar tunes, so therefore we should use the world's music. Well, first of all, that is historically false: Luther *wrote the tunes himself.* What people are confusing here is bar tune with bar *form*. Bar form is aaba.

Is the church service an evangelistic service, or is it for the people of God? I believe it is the latter. So, we should have a separate music.

Droll Flood said...

"The Sabbath issue and worship are two separate issues.
That is why God has them under the fourth and the second commandment.
I am not sure that I follow your logic. "
-Nate, he was citing me. Excellent answer (I agree), however I would make them out to be 'exclusive' to each other in an absolute sense. Biblically/ confessionally speaking one of the right uses of the Lord's day is to sing psalms... I apologize if you have to take garbage from others on my account.
-Wow, high number of comments.

michael w smith said...

mr baggins, since you are so qualified, maybe you can help us out. from what i have read in this blog, the only "music" that should be sung are psalms. But how do we know the "music" of the psalms? that wasn't inspired. so whatever psalter you are using, it is man's thinking on the music to the words. do you understand what i mean?
if this is correct, then who cares about luther's songs, or wesley's songs, or even John Newton's Amazing Grace. that isn't worship...according to the words in this blog...
i am quite confused on how we can say that worship is different than songs giving God glory?
isn't that what worship is supposed to be doing???

Nate said...

I would like people to begin to use their real names or their blog names.

We can thank God that he has given us the liberty to create our own music that glorifies and enjoys him.

The words are inspired. The tunes are not.

Anonymous said...

I get so tired of this debate in Christian circles. It's my conclusion that the 'church' is filled with Pharisees that cannot discern between heart and head.

Pharisees so convinced that their tiny view on style somehow excludes the God-given creativity that is given to humans. Humans who, for centuries, have discovered new ways to express themselves using different instruments.

Music style has nothing to do with whether the music is acceptable to God. It doesn't matter if it's Jazz, Rock, Heavy Metal, fuddy duddy, flutes, funk, they are all acceptable styles. It's your heart that makes something acceptable or not.

Get a *gasp* Heavy-metal band to sing the words 'Jesus is Lord'. If they sing those words from their hearts to God, my friends it is acceptable worship.

Get an old lady to play on an organ and sing 'Jesus is Lord'. If she sings those words and she has a bad heart then the words mean nothing, just words. But the Pharisees will be happy, they still have control.

Get a group of Aboriginals playing a didgeridoo and banging two sticks together, but let them play and sing to Christ those same words from their hearts and I can guarantee that their worship is accepted.

Worship = Heart. Heart bad, worship bad. Heart good, worship good. Music style is irrelevant.

Using arguments on 'how it's been done in the past' are irrelevant. In bible times they did not have computers, they wrote on clay, skins, parchments. Using your same 'logic' does that mean that using computers to share faith is somehow deemed 'not worthy', not acceptable, because they "only used parchments in days of old". Wake up!

Dear Pharisees, wake up, times changed. God uses people and music styles that you will never like because he's interested in reaching people not securing your control and traditions.

That's what the issue really is, you maintaining control of people.

Drop your traditions and get in touch with God.

Nate said...

Friend who will not reveal his name:

I appreciate your zeal, but would please give me some biblical warrent to back up your comments?

It seems that YOUR tradition of getting on with the times is authoritative. Yet you give no biblical warrent for it.

Sounds like the Pharisees- the traditions of men over the laws of God.

BTW, I do not believe ANY musical instrument should be used in worship- except the heart strings that Paul speaks of.

Anonymous said...

Nate, if that's your name, or is it a pseudonym?

I choose not to go through the registering process. I have nothing to hide, just could not be bothered. However, if it makes you feel better you can call me 'Hulk'.

It's truly a sad thing to see a Pharisee in action. They always take the joy out of everything. That's their trademark. Measuring, to the nth degree everything, but failing to see the big picture.

If life is full of music and dance, then obviously it's not of God. I mean we all know that life was meant to be bland, grey, narrow.

They always use some derivation of, 'if it's not in the bible then it's not of God'.

My friend, there are a lot of things not in the bible. Your narrow-minded interpretations are breath taking. you are a stunted pharisee (pharisees always are). Trapped in their tiny boring little world. Scared of colour, life, laughter. Everyone else is always wrong, they can prove it, they have a list.

What do you say of technology? I guess we've progressed beyond 'their way of doing it' in biblical times.

So you make use of our God given abilities when it comes to technology, But when it comes to music and musical instruments you twist it in some amazing pharisaical way and pronounce that musical instruments shouldn't be used?!!

The Bible does not say anything about using computers or the internet and yet here you are using these 'tools' that somebody, using their god given mind, invented/discovered.

Who was the maker of musical instruments in Genesis, I think it was Jubal, Was he sinning when he discovered musical instruments? What about David, the cad, how dare he play his harp and sing to God out loud! the impudence!

Is it sinful to use our mind to discover our world and then to use those findings (such as musical instruments or the internet) to then honour him? I think it's called 'loving God with your mind'.

Good on you for using the bible to check your course, bad on you for lacking the mental aptitude to be able to apply it in real life situations.

As for the 'traditions of men over the laws of God' I laugh at your narrow-minded suggestion.

Show me where it says you should not use instruments in worship. I'll point out your conservative pharisaical tradition influencing your INTERPRETATION of what is written.

Also, show me (in the Bible) where God speaks against using different music styles.

Show me why it was ok for Jubal to discover musical instruments, I presume the purpose of musical instruments is to then play music. Lyrics go with music, so I PRESUME that it's ok to thank God using the gift called music?

I bet you don't dance Nate, is it because you're too holy or have your pharisaical traditions bound you up?…you know, NO JOY allowed, we're worshiping God here!!!

I hope that you are able to discern between what God says and what you'd like him to say. They are worlds apart.


Nathan's Wife said...

Whoa, HULK.

Seems to me you need to get your facts straight.

Nathan enjoys instruments, dancing with ME, computers, technology, etc. We have a very happy, colorful life attempting to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

His point is that he does think instruments should be in WORSHIP, according to Scripture. As in on the SABBATH DAY, we worship God according to His WORD and believe that nothing should be added to the commanded way of worship given in Scripture.

I direct you towards studying the regulative principle of worship. I think reformed.org or .com has information about it. RPW

Your judgements were harsh and false. Because of the desire to worship God according to Scripture, and not add anything, or take away anything, Nathan lives a dark life, bleak, gray?

You clearly do not know what you are talking about.

I suggest that you take your uncharitable dealings elsewhere. Attacking just to attack based on false evidence is unproductive.

Anonymous said...

No offense.

If Nate doesn't want to use instruments in worship he is free not to. That's his style.

However, there is no problem with people using instruments in worship, as David clearly did.

As mentioned previously, God does not speak against music style. To suggest that using instruments is somehow an inferior form of worship is blatantly wrong and offensive.

Do you not think that people that use instruments also want to worship God according to Scripture and not add or take anything away?

I am merely pointing out that God has given us minds to worship him with. Music is a gift from God and using it in Worship, even on the Sabbath, is in no way wrong or inferior. You are trying to be exclusive and divisive.

I have sung without instruments and touched God, but I have also sung with instruments and touched God.

God loves Hulk's worship with instruments too. It is loud, honest, thankful and grateful.

When it comes to worship the following is true 'Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart'. Remember that before putting down anothers heartfelt worship.

I have no problem with people singing to God without instruments. Neither do I have a problem with people using instruments to worship God. Music style is irrelevant.


Nathan's wife said...

* I meant to say DOES NOT think instruments should be in worship...