Friday, April 27, 2012

LET THE REDEEMED PEOPLE OF GOD SAY SO - BUT LET IT BE A NEW SONG WE SING
...a sad fad: "God is my Girlfriend" songs

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A Mighty Fortress" is one of the great hymns of the church. The melody is powerful, passionate and moving; the lyric, thorougly biblical; the message, timeless; and unashamedly theocentric. Why isn't the CCMI (Contemporary Christian Music Industry) today taking a lesson from the great masters like Luther, Watts, Wesley, etc. and writing songs that are God-conceived (doctrine), Christ-centered (worship) and Spirit-controlled (holiness)? What is the latest trend being churned out today "ad nausea" in CCMI? Read on to find out.

Past secular hits are currently being sung to represent our Lord Jesus Christ; and they are nothing more than “God as my girlfriend songs.” Some examples are: “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”; “Free Ride”; “Love is the Answer”; “You Raise Me Up”; “Love Lifted Us Up Where We Belong”; “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You”; “Maybe I’m Amazed”; “Because You Loved Me”; “Everlasting Love”; “In The Air Tonight”; “I Want to Know What Love Is”; “I Believe I Can Fly”; etc. Parroting what one Christian radio network likes to say, "Boring, for the whole family." Taking past secular hits and changing the original meaning of the song to now make it seem as if they're about Jesus because a Christian happens to be singing it is ludicrous. It not only violates the "original intent" of the meaning of the song by its author; but it is just as foolish as if some CCM artist recorded a remake of the great Beatles classic, "Hey Jude", and then tried to spiritually justify it by saying it is about the little epistle before the book of Revelation. Could you imagine if some secular artist took "Amazing Grace" and said it was about a female seductress? The Christian community would be up in arms... and rightly so. But why is Christian radio and the CBA (Christian Booksellers Assoc.) so accepting of these poorly done "covers" of classic pop hits passed off as legitimate representations of Christianity? I am convinced that this is CCM's failed attempt at "Sister Act Three" - artists superimposing a religious meaning to a secular lyric that was never intended in the first place to appeal to people in making the faith more acceptable.

The Bible never suggests, implies or condones that the redeemed people of God are to sing an old song of the world to the Lord as an act of worship with the only justification is that we simply "say" it is about God. A praise team at a local church in Nashville used for a while "I Want To Hold Your Hand" as a worship chorus (I heard this when visiting the church one Sunday). The Bible commands us, beloved, to sing "a new song to the Lord." “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so… (Psalm 107:2a).

Here are some of the references in the Word of God to sing "a new song" to the Lord:

1. Psalm 33:3, Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

2. Psalm 40:3, He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.

3. Psalm 96:1, [Worship in the Splendor of Holiness] Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!

4. Psalm 98:1, [Make a Joyful Noise to the LORD] A Psalm. Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.

5. Psalm 144:9, I will sing a new song to you, O God; upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,

6. Psalm 149:1, [Sing to the LORD a New Song] Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly!

7. Isaiah 42:10, [Sing to the LORD a New Song] Sing to the LORD a new song, His praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants.

8. Revelation 5:9, And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,

9. Revelation 14:3, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

The Greek word for new is “kainos”; in the LXX it is associated more with the subject of music than any other in Scripture. “New” here doesn’t mean new in style (country, rap, rock, classical, jazz, pop, etc.); it means new in nature, quality, kind or character. The new music of the redeemed people of God should distinctively be new in content, intent, purpose and function. We are new creations in Him and therefore what we sing in worship to the Lord and speak to one another in "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" should reflect our new lives in Christ and more importantly, the Lord of our new lives--Jesus Christ the Righteous. This word "kainos" is also used to speak of "A new commandment" in John 13:34: "a new creature" in 2 Cor. 5:17; and "a new covenant," in Hebrews 8:13. As a result of being born again in Christ, we are completely new nature... new creations. This is how dramatic the change is for our music in the Lord as well. Singing "a new song" flows from the life of God's regenerated people and should evidence that newness we have in Him.

What makes music Christianly? A few brief things I'd like to mention (with more to follow in a follow up article). It must speak first and foremost about the Lord (Ex. 15:2); has as its theme the Word of God (Psalm 119:54); finds its highest expression in worship and praise (Psalm 98) bring glory to God (Psalm 103); exalt Christ (Rev. 5:9-14); is rooted in Scritpure (Col. 3:16-17); and comes from a Spirit-filled holy life (Amos 5:21-24; Eph. 5:17-21).

If Scripture speaks to all of life, then our music may too. But, it must be from a distinctive biblical worldview. When a Christian writes a love song, it should be different than say what Elton John would be singing about. Song of Solomon and Esther are two great illustrations here: both books never mention the name of the Lord; but one speaks undeniably of His love expressed in the physical union between a husband and a wife; and the other speaks of God's sovereign moving within the political realm of a nation.

Music, by divine design, is a powerful medium. No one ever buys a commentary, book, or magazine and commits the entire thing to memory, do they? But with a song, if it is well crafted, within a few listens it will be in your heart and mind permanently. You don’t even have to try and memorize it—it will take lodge in you. That is why, as believers in the Lord, we must be careful what kind of music content we listen to and then guard our hearts and minds in the Lord from a steady diet of messages, themes, ideologies or influences that do not come from a biblical worldview and could even lead us away from our devotion to the Lord. Strangely, I am more concerned on this point about Christian music than I am with secular. A song that represents a wrong view about the character of God, His gospel, the nature of Christ, or distorts His Word is much more dangerous than just a song about the human condition and the depravity of man. In other words, TBN has done more harm to the cause of Christ than Jerry Springer.

It is no “accident” that the greatest passage in the Bible on the authority and veracity of Scritpure is Psalm 19:7-11, is a song. The longest chapter in the Bible that speaks of the Word of God, Psalm 119, is a song. The greatest volume of biblical truth on the character of God is the Psalms. We will even enjoy music in eternity as we sing with all the redeemed from the four corners of the world, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world.” And we will also hear the Lord sing praise to the Father in the midst of the redeemed congregation, according to Hebrews 2:12. Can you hardly wait?

So to all of my CCM associates out there, use your talents for the Lord. Don’t be ashamed to sing a new song for Him rather than an old song of the world trying to get a crossover hit so that you can gain a wider market base and sell a few more CD’s. Listen, the world makes better music without the Lord than any CCM does--and they won't confuse you spiritually as well. But CCM artists have the privilege of doing something that secular music cannot do, sing about the Lord Jesus Christ, His gospel, His Word and make music that will erupt in praise, worship, adoration and glory to our God.

James is right, “our life is a vapor” – it comes and goes so quickly, even if we live our three score and ten and then some. In the end, may we live our vaporous lives for the Lord each day with Him in mind; doing all for His glory. If we should eat and drink to the glory of God, how much more should our music, the new song of the redeemed, be to glorify and honor Him? (And I sing for an audience of ONE.)

Shake Me to Wake Me,
Campi
2 Cor. 4:5

34 comments:

Sparks said...

Audience ONE....I am reading a book "When God Builds A Church" by Bob Russell of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY. Read the chapter on worship last night which said that worship should be approached with God as the audience, the worship leader as the guide and everyone else as the "performers". Despite being around the church from a child (47 now) I can't remember ever having worship described that way.
Certainly changed my perspective.

Breuss Wane said...

CCM will have arrived when they can cover "and redeem" "Shook Me All Night Long", "Toxic", "Jesse's Girl", "The Other Woman", "Super Freak", "All I Wanna Do...", "What's Love Got to Do With It". Then they'd really be making a statement: the lower you go the higher the redemption. :-)

Dan Edelen said...

This is a big one with me, too, Steve.

But let's be honest here: the glory days of CCM are over. You're not going to see a company like the early Sparrow Records anymore because the industry is controlled by giant secular media houses. You don't have guys like Billy Ray Hearn hand-selecting the artists that go on his label. That's why so few of the "older" acts in CCM still have recording contracts.

You're not going to see a prophetic voice like you (or like Keith Green or Rich Mullins) being pursued by a record company today. They don't want to hear anything like that--not bubblegum enough. I suspect the only way for artists to survive who are singing songs for adults with some depth of faith is to go to an independent label or pursue more "cutting edge" distrubution techniques via the Web.

Steve, maybe you can answer this question. Why are none of the back catalogs for the older 1970-1990s artists available through sources like Apple's iTunes Music Store, Real Networks, or Napster? Someone's missing out. I know that there is older CCM that honored God that was never digitally preserved--I'd love to look up some of those old songs now that my LPs and cassettes are toast, but they're basically gone forever, it seems.

We may be able to make the case for more adult, more theologically deep music if some of the older CCM that was deep started selling well online. The only way the secular media houses will give us what we really want is if it sells. Maybe that's too cynical, but it sure seems to be the case. How do we make that happen? If people are only buying dross and that's what's being groomed down the channel, then I don't have a lot of hope that things will change.

Sparks said...

Hey...after all Rick Warren rocked down to Purple Haze at their anniversay.

tiara said...

T H A N K Y O U !

Okay this one hit a nerve for me also. I have been a music junky from childhood. I was saved at a young age in a non-christian home, so therefore the christian music of my early (saved days) was my life-line. The strong convictions of past CCM artists helped me develope my strong, moral relationship with Christ.

I am now 33, a momma to 4 girls and am pretty ashamed of the music that my children have to listen too. We only allow christian in our home, but how very sad that I have to weed out even some CCM artists. I stand by my convictions and I know God will honor me for this.

I am embarressed(sp?) as a woman and a christian how we are being represented by some artists. I would rather they not take the "I am a christian" road, and just do their thing.

In my eyes it is as bad as these secular young women i.e. Jessica Simpson and Brittany Spears telling the world they were good church girls, and they love and believe in God. Hello----can't serve two masters here.

Okay, off my soapbox here. This was a good post. Nice to see their are others that share my conviction also.

It is pretty sad, though, Steve, when you only have a choice from about 5 people for some good God music!!!!!

Alexander M Jordan said...

Hi Steve:

I agree with your general points about CCM music-- it follows after the world so often, imitating styles, and in this case, re-making secular songs into supposedly Christian ones.

Yet as a songwriter myself, I have questions about whether every song I write must follow the guidelines for making music Christianly that you mention.

For example, suppose in a particular song I want to speak in the voice of a secular character, for the purpose of dramatizing problems with the secular worldview?

Or suppose that I myself am wrestling with doubts or struggles-- for example, the Psalmist David bared heart and soul, revealing that believers have struglles with their faith and don't always hvae all the answers figured out, or can be tempted at times to express emotions towards God that don't sound "perfect".

Besides the tendency of modern CCM to go to the world for inspiration, my other problem with it is the general lack of innovation and creativity, musically and lyrically.

I would rather hear a song that, like one of the Psalms, is honest about the relationship with God that is being portrayed, than one which feels it must present a perfect, Scripturally and theologically sound sentiment.

Don't get me wrong--I know how important right doctrine is to right living, I'm just saying that the creative process seems to require some freedom-- writing a song isn't like writing an essay-- but I have heard songs that didn't really move me because I felt that they weren't coming from the heart of the artist but were more about trying to convey a Christian idea.

Also, is it not possible for a Christian singer/songwriter to choose perhaps, to participate in a secular environment, with the hope of reaching the non-believer, rather than "preaching to the choir"? Say that you are a ballet dancer, a classical composer or a fine artist-- in such art forms the expression of Christianity would be more subtle and indirect. In the same way, might not a Christian musician seek to express his or her faith in a similarly subtle fashion, yet without compromising Biblical intergrity?

Sparks said...

"Alexander M Jordan said...

Also, is it not possible for a Christian singer/songwriter to choose perhaps, to participate in a secular environment, with the hope of reaching the non-believer, rather than "preaching to the choir"?"

Larry Norman? www.larrynorman.com
From what I've read of Mr. Norman, that certainly appears to have been his intent.

Paul Schafer said...

Steve,

Thanks for answering my questions further. I didn't realize you would make it into a blog post!

GeneMBridges said...

Thank you so much, Steve for your insights. Because of this trend, at least one of the local PCA congregations in my area has taken to writing and using some of it's own music for use in worship services, although they do use other sources from time to time. As a result, they've becme known as "Those hippie Calvinists." They've found (to the horror of other, more traditional congregations in their session, a way to successfully blend the regulative principle and contemporary, original music and song. Who'da thunk it?! :D

What I wouldn't give for a CCM "Oldies" Station here. About the best we get is the broadcast of "Streets of Gold" on Sunday nights between 6pm and 8pm.

Matthew2323 said...

Some of the licentious in the church today justify this behavior (stealing pagan music) saying that past generations of the Church are guilty of this too! (As if that made it acceptable to God.)

I have heard men say that the tune to 'Amazing Grace' was formerly a bar tune. Also, in the new movie 'Luther', when Luther's soon-to-be-wife and the other nuns are being smuggled away in beer kegs, the cart driver is whistling the tune to 'A Mighty Fortress'.

So, my question is this: Did our brothers in the past use music that was formerly used by pagans? If so, is this any different than is being done today?

I do believe, as you do, that God's heart is greived over the rubbish that is passed off as 'christian music'! I just do not have enough knowledge of Church history to answer people who make this claim.

GeneMBridges said...

Matthew,

When I hear that argument, and I have often heard it, I generally ask this question,"Which of the Christian hymns was adopted the actual lyrics of the pagan 'original?'" In other words, the tacit assumption is usually that the tune = "the song." A complete song includes both lyrics and the tune. It's one thing to import an entire song into our musical tradition and to import the tune to which a song is sung and create completely new lyrics.

If we follow the logic that a tune is synonymous with the whole song, then "My Country Tis of Thee" and "God Save the King/Queen" are the same song. Notice the Psalter in the Bible is a collection of lyrics, not the musical notes.

Breuss Wane said...

>From what I've read of Mr. Norman, >that certainly appears to have been >his intent.

That may have been his intent, but only "the choir" listens to Larry Norman... and it's been that way from when he first started.

Bhedr said...

I woke up to this when my little son who was listening to so-called C-rock in the backseat of the car and I the far too trusting father just let anything "Christian" in the door. Bouncing around with his headphones on he sung out a vulgarity about Marylin Manson that I used to hear in the military.It was a band named Reliant K. My little boy then tried to convince me that it was meant in a good way. It broke my heart and I knew after that day something needed to be done in my house.

You are doing a wonderful work Campi. I couldn't agree more and I would stretch your comment about TBN to say that youth groups are now doing more to damage the country than Jerry Springer.

Rick said...

I too dislike that argument that Luther and Wesley used the old 'barroom' tunes. Good answer above. I also think it is wrong to take a 'rock' tune and sanctify it with godly lyrics-- the music must be reverent as well as the lyrics. There may be a place for such a tune, but it is not in a worship song.

I'm nobody, but if anyone is interested, I wrote a short piece-"Worship with Substance" and it can be found here:
http://www.bamboobell.squarespace.com/contemporary-vs-traditional/

Thanks for your stand on this issue Steve.

2Tal said...

Excellent!
Thank you so much for writing God immersed songs that sound absoutely nothing like the world!

Jeremy Weaver said...

Steve wrote;
"Music, by divine design, is a powerful medium. No one ever buys a commentary, book, or magazine and commits the entire thing to memory, do they? But with a song, if it is well crafted, within a few listens it will be in your heart and mind permanently."

Most of the theology I learned in youth came from the 'Stevies'. Steve Camp and Steve Green.
I think that learning from them helped me to understand the relationship between theology and doxology. Our theology should inform our mind, lives, and our hearts (worship). In other words, I read God's revelation of Himself in Scripture, believe it, live it, and worship Him for it.
Another great post by 'Mr. Reformation'.

Breuss Wane said...

>Did our brothers in the past use music >that was formerly used by pagans?

>I too dislike that argument that >Luther and Wesley used the >old 'barroom' tunes.

The notion that Wesley and Luther incorporated bar room tunes into their lyrics is an urban legend.

Bhedr said...

You said:That may have been his intent, but only "the choir" listens to Larry Norman... and it's been that way from when he first started.

........?........?
......ah ha ha ha ah ahha

Bhedr said...

Dan Lucarini, Masters and Makujina say those are old folk tunes.

Lived in Hong Kong a bit and went to British school and some of those tunes of lore found there way into the hymnal as well. We sang them at school.

littlegal_66 said...

Glad to be back from vacation so that I can sit at my own desk and comment on this topic! (My travelblog coming soon).

This article and topic is so very near and dear to my heart. This epidemic is spreading to other areas of Christian music, as well. There are actually a few "parody" songwriter/artists who base their entire ministries on re-writing secular hits and quote: "making them Christian." This is a frightening trend. Apologetix is one such group (www.apologetix.com), with songs like, "Apostle Me" (Keep On a Rockin' Me); "Hotel Can't Afford Ya" (Hotel California); "Spirit Inside" (Spirit in the Sky); "Second Timothy (Sex and Candy); You Booked Me All Along (You Shook Me All Night Long); "Mrs. Protestant" (Mrs. Robinson); "Get Found Tonight" (Get Down Tonight-Kool and the Gang); "Learn Some Deuteronomy" (Pour Some Sugar on Me); and the list goes on. You'll have to check it out for yourselves to believe it. Clips are available on their site.They have re-vamped quite a number of the Beatles' (whom I love) tunes, as well.

Ron Perry (www.ronperryhappydays.com) is another "Christian parody artist" making the rounds out there, under the CD series, "Sanctified Oldies." Some of his songs are "Holy Spirit" (Pretty Woman); "He's So Good" (You're No Good); "Jesus, I'm Yours" (Baby, I'm Yours), etc. (There are clips available on his site, also). Both of these artists have appeared on....you guessed it: TBN. One reviewer claims that Mr. Perry "sanctifies" secular hits by "changing just enough words to turn the song into a praise tune." Say what?!

Mark Bradford's "Righteous Pop Music" series (markbradford.com), of which there are eight volumes thus far, is targeted to children, for use in children's ministry. (Clips available). Some of his titles are: "Hey, Job" (Hey, Jude), "Sanctuarian Rhapsody" (Bohemian Rhapsody), "Fifty Ways to Follow Jesus" (Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover); and "Let's Get Spiritual" (Let's Get Physical).

Now, color me reactionary, call me old-fashioned, and label me closed-minded, but when you take songs originally of a highly suggestive nature, songs about seduction, adulterous affairs, one-night stands, etc., and claim that you have somehow "sanctified" them and transformed them into songs that bring honor to God--especially if you are going to market them for use in children's ministry--I just don't get it. I think the line's been crossed. Am I missing something, here? What do you guys think?

(My apologies for my wordiness!)

Brad Irons said...

Steve,

You are a great blessings and have been since I picked up the song "Father and Higher" when we were both much younger.

After reading your post, I do have a question. I wanted to sing a thank you/love song to my wife for standing by me in the early stages of music. . I don't tend to write these songs well myself. After much searching (including your own "I'm Committed to You, Baby"), I chose "Faithfully" from Journey (sorry!) One of my friends was saying, "this would make a great Christian song. Just change a few words and we can make it about God. " No way! I refuse to sing God songs like "You Light up My Life", "Some Kind of Wonderful" etc.

But do you think it's ok to cover this song, and sing it to my wife with no pretense that it's to her! Not doing some weird wordplay that makes it equally applicable to God. I don't know if you'll answer this but if other bloggers do, I would appreciate it. - Blessings!

MARK JOHNSTON said...

Good post Steve-- you know that there is something wrong with your Christian radio station when they are playing not only secular songs redone by Christian musicians, but when they are playing the likes of Bruce Springsteen on their station during Christmas. The bottom line is that ( at least the one in Atlanta) most of the big stations are owned by the secular media and money is the driving force for what is being played. Here in Atlanta they promote their station as " safe and fun for the family" and I don't really have a problem with that promotion, but I would not put a whole lot of stock in some of the things that they play.

Matthew2323 said...

Breuss,

Thank you for the update. I had a sense that the accusation was mere "urban legend".

Would you (or anyone) happen to have a source for this? A church historian that has written on the subject of how music has been used by the Church in the past?

Thank you kindly!

Breuss Wane said...

Here's a place to start:
http://www.ctsfw.edu/library/faq.php#02

http://www.wfn.org/2002/08/msg00102.html

http://www.gbod.org/worship/default_body.asp?act=reader&item_id=2639

http://www.albertasynod.ca/resources/worship/adoramus/20010900.html

SJ Camp said...

Luther was a very accomplished classical flutist. The melody to A Mighty Fortress and other great hymns were in the style of the day but were original compositions.

He didn't take a beer-drinking song while enjoying some of Wittenberg's finest.

He sang a new song...
Campi

Bhedr said...

Matthew 2323,

You can read John Makujina's "Measuring the Music" or "Worship in the Melting Pot" by Dr Peter Masters who is now preaching in Spurgeons ol house. Both are informative and Masters is opinionated. just take the info and Judge for yourself.

Luthers referance to why does the devil get all the good music had to do with Romes gregorian chants.

One little bit of trivia:
Did you know that the puritans only sang melody on Sundays as they felt harmony distracted from worship?

You can also listen to Dr Masters speak on things like ecstatic worship at
Freedomministries.uk.org

Much valuable info there as well as some...well...like Steve was saying somewhere,"Eat the meat and throw away the bones." We do that with the puritans anyway.

I also have a friend named Dan Lucarini who wrote a little of this history in Why I Left CCM...
It is a good book with meat in it and a few bones. He has a grounded view of the Holiness of God and His soveriegnty.

Matthew2323 said...

Brothers,

Thank you for the information.

It was always distressing to hear people make those accusations and have nothing to say in response. The context of the accusations always came when someone was trying to validate the notion that "any" type of "music" was acceptable in the worship of God. These were the same folks that wanted to brush God's holiness under the Romans 14 blanket of "disputable matters". Very greivous indeed!

Seeing the sad state of the Church today really burdens my heart to pray for revival even more!

Open heaven, Lord!

Bhedr said...

http://www.freedomministries.org.uk/

Hear Dr masters preach on this site. As far as Jeff Godwin, he may have interesting stuff on his video but he's a little like Rod Sterling on the Twilight Zone.
Browse around here but keep in mind it's from England and they have a bit differant mindset than we.

Ransom said...

SJ Camp said:

Luther was a very accomplished classical flutist. The melody to A Mighty Fortress and other great hymns were in the style of the day but were original compositions.

Heh. I was going to correct you - Luther was a lutist, not a flutist - but it turns out he actually played both. So never mind. :)

Regarding the question of whether Luther adapted "bar tunes," it appears that someone has confused tavern songs with songs written in "bar form" - a particular metrical structure used in German hymnody. "Bar form," in other words, describes the literary structure of the lyrics, not the source of the tune.

Reform said...

Campi
A fun and helpful article. I have never heard that before "God as my girlfriend songs." Sad but true.

I was listening to a CCM radio station and heard an American Idol from last year, Chris Daughtry, being played. I didn't know he was a Christian. When I called the radio station and asked them about it, they said that they didn't know either. But, even if he wasn't a believer the song was so nice they would still play it.

URGH!

Thanks again,
RR

The Seeking Disciple said...

If we are the kingdom of God and the kingdom of God is not of this world (John 18:36; Luke 17:21) why do the songs coming out of CCM sound much like the world and not unique to the kingdom? Are we not aliens and strangers (1 Peter 2:11-12) so should not our songs, our lives, our language all be different to the culture we are in?

ebtrumpet said...

I enjoyed reading your post. Have any of you heard the music coming out of Sovereign Grace Ministries? Bob Kauflin is the head of the Music Ministry there and the goal is to create music that is doctrinally sound, emotionally evocative and aesthetically pleasing. All are attributes that honor God. It is contemporary in style (drums, guitar, stylized vocals) however the content cannot be mistaken for anything but Christian and Reformed at that!

The songwriters write music that is appropriate for Sunday corporate worship and for private worship at home or in the car. Check out Sovereign Grace Ministries for samples and a statement on why they do what they do.

It is a breath of fresh air in the midst of all the negative things said about modern Christian music.

Beethovensings said...

I haven't listened to "Contemporary Christian" music in a long time. I was peripherally involved in the business in the 80's and 90's. The management, marketing, and over-riding desire to be "hip" sickened me. The music was good for a while, but the industry's obsession with being "cool" compromised the music.

Steve, I came across your 107 Theses a few months ago. It was kind of like the first time I heard Rush Limbaugh, 17 years ago. Hope was lost until I heard someone publicly articulate what I had been thinking all along. In your theses, you deliberately and precisely identified everything that had been bothering me, and I'm sure many others, about the Christian music industry.

We should be the standard bearers. I don't know why the Christian community (generally speaking) is so preoccupied with being "liked." In music and in politics (now there's a phrase you don't hear much), we compromise the message when we take our eyes off the goal. We shouldn't expect earthly praise or acceptance. We are called to be different. Our choices, as artists and as American citizens, should reflect that.

Marie said...

Hi Steve,

I've seen some of your writing around the net before, and I wanted to chime in that I agree with you as well. I am now in my late 30's, and, having come to the Lord in college, always liked CCM (back then, the big names were Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, and pre-sellout Amy Grant). I still listen to the former two.

Fairly recently, my eyes have really been open as to how much CCM has changed. One of my blogs is a ministry to women with eating disorders (I ama biblical counselor, and have a book coming out this fall), and some of these young women have described some of the groups that really "speak" to them Doing a little research, I have come across a sub-genre called "Christian Emo" ("Chremo"), and I am appalled. Even some of the fairly benign stuff (Barlow Girl) is encouraging them in their self-absorption and morbid introspection. When I was a teen, no one knew what "cutting" was. Now, CCM has songs about it (I am certain that some of these girls get ideas from the media itself).

Anyway, I would like to link you to my general theology/apologetics blog, if you don't mind. If you want to do a link exchange, taht would be great!