Encouraging a higher standard for Christian music

Posts tagged ‘gospel music’


True Worship

This sermon/teaching was recommended to me and I must say it’s one of the best I have heard on this subject.

The balanced approach to the subject of music and worship in the church is refreshing.

Highly recommended!












I could not download it,

so here is the link: True Worship by Tim Pruitt



Is This True Worship to God?


Is this type of “worship” God-centered? Do you consider it to be true worship to the one true living God, The Lord Jesus Christ?


If you have any further comments or questions after voting, you may use the comments sections below. Thank you!



Godly Sorrow

But when it comes right down to putting what you say you believe into practice, and willing to confess the wrong, they don’t do it. It just isn’t there. They don’t have it. Well, that’s real conviction. That’s what we need. We’ve long left that, a long time ago, and swapped it. Prayer, and–and confession, and conviction, we swapped it for emotion, a shaking, or a jerking, or a jumping up-and-down. That’s the reason there is no holding tight, ’cause there is nothing there to hold them, until you come upon the basis of God’s Word, of godly sorrow, ready to repent and make anything right, and do what’s right, ready to live right. I don’t care what the people say, or anything else, you live for yours, for Jesus Christ and what He said. Then you take a church like that, coming back, there is a possibility of it coming. -William Branham JUST.ONCE.MORE.LORD 12.01.63



Godly Sorrow

1. Once my sorrow was for the pain of all I stood to lose

And yet my sin remained.

This sorrow, born of my pain,

Kept my heart from turning back to Him again.


Chorus 1&2

Sorrow for my sin brings my soul such pain.

Yet this pain I know can lead my soul back to him again.


2. Now my sorrow is for the sin that gives offense to God

And stains my soul within.

This sorrow of godly pain hopes

I never give offense to Him again.


3. Godly sorrow became the start of the path

That led to a mighty change of heart.

This sorrow out of love helps me find the way back to Him again

Chorus 3

Sorrow for my sin brings my soul such pain.

I know can lead my soul Godly back to Him.

Text:  Steven K. Jones

Music:  Sam Cardon

Artist:  Felicia Sorensen

Changing Hymns

For years now Indelible Grace has been at the forefront of the new hymns movement, setting old hymns to new music. Their stated purpose is:

 “Our hope is to help the church recover the tradition of putting old hymns to new music for each generation, and to enrich our worship with a huge view of God and His indelible grace.”

Frankly I am not sure what is meant by “tradition”.

They also claim:

“But our true goal is even more ambitious. We want to be a voice calling our generation back to something rich and solid and beyond the fluff and the trendy.”

They go on to say…

“We want to remind God’s people that thinking and worship are not mutually exclusive…”

“We believe worship is formative, and that it does matter what we think.”

No, probably not as long as we feel good right?

“We believe that this theological poetry is supremely suited for expressing the seeming paradoxes of the faith that drive us to worship. Our prayer is that Jesus would be made more beautiful and believable, and we have found few things better suited for this than hymns.”

After listening to a few of the songs below, I did not find myself driven to worship, nor did I think Jesus was made more “beautiful and believable”. Is that the purpose of a hymn – ‘to make Jesus more beautiful and believable”?!

Here is a trailer of the documentary video Roots and Wings: The Story of Indelible Grace and the RUF Hymns:

One definition of a hymn is “…a lyric poem, reverently and devotionally conceived, which is designed to be sung and which expresses the worshipper’s attitude toward God or God’s purposes in human life. It should be simple and metrical in form, genuinely emotional, poetic and literary in style, spiritual in quality, and in its ideas so direct and so immediately apparent as to unify a congregation while singing it”.[2]

Robert Cottrill, a long time contributor to the Cyber Hymnal, wrote in his excellent article 30 Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing:

  “Occasionally, sing a hymn to a different tune than the one employed in the hymn book. (The Metrical Index can help with this. See my article About That “Metrical Index”.) Make sure the tune fits the word emphasis of the metre, and the mood of the words.”

It is not a bad idea if done correctly. Indelible Grace Music claims this was a tradition of the early hymn writers and uses as justification a claim that Wesley’s tune to And Can It Be was originally a bar tune. Mr. Cottrill however, correctly concludes in his article “Barroom Tunes…Again!” this was not common practice, nor was it condoned.

Luther, Wesley and others were greatly concerned that Christians should not be singing the songs of the world. They certainly would not condone using something that would remind people explicitly of immoral conduct or a sinful lifestyle. Down through the centuries, many Christian hymn writers have laboured to keep the church’s music distinct and separate, recognizably different from the secular music of the day.

In the final analysis, we mustn’t use the practice of others as our standard. We cannot say, “Because some hymn writer did this, it is permissible for me to do the same.” The bottom line is that our ultimate standard is Christ (Eph. 4:13), and the principles of God’s Word (cf. Lk. 16:15). When Jesus met with His disciples after His resurrection, Peter, curious about what the future held for John, asked, “Lord, what about this man?” The Lord’s answer affirms a basic principle of personal responsibility: “What is that to you? You follow Me” (Jn. 21:21-22).


If The Holy Spirit inspired the writer, what is the inspiration to change it?

What do you think? Should Hymns be changed?

“Christian” Bands

Claiming Musicians as One of Us

“I heard that the lead singer’s dad was a missionary….”

“I think the bass player has “Jesus” tattooed in Hebrew on his side.“

“I’m pretty sure they were a worship band for a church somewhere in Tennessee. Or maybe it was California?”

“Yeah, man. I’m positive. The band is Christian…. “

“Oh really,” you respond. Sitting a little taller in your coffee shop chair, excitedly playing with the idea along with the rims of your thick black-rimmed glasses. “This it it,” you think to yourself, we’ve got someone on the inside, someone successful, someone who can prove that someone can be Christian and talented.

The idea produces more goose bumps than the night you sang “Amazing Grace” holding hands around the campfire.

So you order some songs on iTunes and start listening. I mean really listening. For the Spirit-infused lyrics. For the biblical illusions. The love-songs-that-are-really-about-Jesus that you somehow missed before.

Oh yes, you hear it now. They’re not just talented. They’re anointed.

It’s high school all over again, and the cool senior with the tattoos just walked into Wednesday morning prayer. We Christians have finally made it.

Notable Secular-Christian, Christian Musicians.

Jon Acuff already wrote about arguing about the faith of U2, but the list of Secular-Christian, Christian musicians is longer than the Levitical laws.  Such reputable artists include Collective Soul, OneRepublic, Justin Bieber, Jessica Simpson, Regina Spektor, The Fray, Miley Cyrus, Jewel – the list holds no prejudice to genre or style. If Google says they’re Christian, then it must be so.

Creed was driving the train for years with star-struck Christians climbing aboard — Five Iron Frenzy t-shirts quickly being replaced by Scott Stapp looking pensively towards the sky with arms wide open.

Mumford and Sons was the main addition to the list from 2011. Songs like “Awake My Soul” and “Sigh No More” leading countless people to the Lord, of this we are sure. Sure “Little Lion Man” and its chorus of F-bombs confused the equation a bit. But those F-bombs were nothing more than explosions of authentic-emotional-truth. Nothing more. And when in doubt, we’ll just turn that song down in the office. Problem solved.

But why? Why is it so tempting for us to throw the Christian label on musicians who have purposely tried to avoid it?

Three Reasons We Quickly Claim Secular Musicians as One of Us

1. Evangelism Made Easy
No longer do we have to coax friends to church or a Christian music festival to be touched by the spirit. No, now we can just slip on that Regina Spektor CD, sit back, and watch the conversion-magic happen.

“Do you hear it?”

“Hear what?”

“Oh, you’ll know.”

“Know what?”

“Just keep listening…”

2. Guilt-Free Music
The days of giving away all our “secular” CDs after coming back convicted from camp are over. Now we can listen to our favorites, as they are merely undercover agents for the Lord. Buying a CD is like giving money to the ministry smuggling Bibles into a communist country. We can support their secret mission with every $9.95.

3. Cool Christianity
All the angry bearded men with megaphones and signs about hell. All the do’s and don’ts, lest you be judged. All the “Christian” music. All the strikes against us can be demolished with just one Mumford and Sons chorus at the proper volume.

It’s the best of both worlds: Good music and great God. The only thing that can throw a monkeywrench into the whole thing is when one of the bands we’ve claimed makes a point of saying, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. We are not Christian.” They go beyond the traditional faith disclaimer of “We’re not a Christian band. We’re a band of Christians” and actually say, “We are decidedly not down with the king.” At that point, well, we’ll take our albums and go home.

Content that we still haven’t found what we’re looking for.


What is Worship?

This video illustrates some very important points about worship, and what we perceive worship to be. Someone could close their eyes, half-heartedly listen to the words and “feel” the “spirit”..

We must be very careful that our worship is not just some kind of feel-good manifestation of the flesh or even our human spirit, but rather our whole being yielded to Christ for His Glory.

Sometimes when we worship, we don’t really mean it. What would it look like if we were to sing what we really meant? This was an illustration from a sermon about worship at First Orlando Worship, and it struck a chord.




“Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose—all this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable.” – William Temple

Great Things are Quiet Things

William Branham from the message entitled What Hearest Thou, Elijah? [audio versionprintable version] in Los Angeles CA April 12, 1959 at the Angelus Temple 

Let the dew of heaven fall upon my thirsty soul,

Let the dew of heaven fall on me,

Blessed Holy Spirit come and take complete control;

Let the dew of heaven fall on me. 

Joy Unspeakable | God’s Eternal Glory

Hear that still small Voice, that depths of something that comes into the human heart that takes all foolishness away from you. It takes all the world away from you. It makes you hate the things of the world and love the things of God. That’s the depths. That’s the pool that reflects the stars of God’s eternal glory. That’s the thing that brings forth tears to the eyes, brings joy unspeakable and full of glory. It makes you stand when all other things will fail you. When sickness comes, or even death itself, it’s still got the reflection of God’s blessings in it. That little pool that’s deep and reflects the heavens, not the riffling noise of the water. Riffling waters are not very deep. It’s still water’s that runs deep.

What Does Thou Here? | A sermon preached March 1st, 1959 in Jeffersonville, Indiana, USA by William Branham

Joy Unspeakable

Barney E. Warren, 1900 | Copyright: Public Domain | Scripture: 1 Peter 1:8  

  1. I have found His grace is all complete,
    He supplieth every need;
    While I sit and learn at Jesus’ feet,
    I am free, yes, free indeed.

    • Refrain:
      It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
      Full of glory, full of glory;
      It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
      Oh, the half has never yet been told.
  2. I have found the pleasure I once craved,
    It is joy and peace within;
    What a wondrous blessing, I am saved
    From the awful gulf of sin.
  3. I have found that hope so bright and clear,
    Living in the realm of grace;
    Oh, the Savior’s presence is so near,
    I can see His smiling face.
  4. I have found the joy no tongue can tell,
    How its waves of glory roll;
    It is like a great o’erflowing well,
    Springing up within my soul.


Here’s nice rendition I found on youtube:

12 Keys in Our Choice of Music

Music choice is important. But how are we to evaluate the music in our lives? Here are twelve major principles, based on the Word of God, which can help us, as Christians, to do so. They can be applied to any music, but they are worth considering in relation to the music we use in the services of the church, both what is presented from the platform, and what is sung by the congregation.

1. HUMILITY. In the complexities of understanding and evaluating music, none of us has all the answers (cf. Rom. 12:3, 10; 14:1).

2.UNIQUENESS. We are each different as to the music in our lives, and with respect to how it affects us (cf. Rom. 12:3-6a; I Cor. 12:14, 27).

3. INTEGRATION. Earthly things can have a valid place in our Christian lives, as we assess them biblically and use them wisely (cf. I Cor. 7:31; I Tim. 6:17b).

4. ORIGIN. The source of a piece of music can affect it in significant ways (cf. Prov. 15:2, 28; Lk. 6:45).

5. TRADITION. The wise person appreciates the heritage of the past and will continue to employ it and be enriched by it (cf. Deut. 32:7; Jer. 6:16; contrast Acts 17:21).

6. PURPOSE. The purpose of the musician and of his music will influence how it is used, and therefore how it affects us (cf. I Cor. 9:25; 10:31; contrast Phil. 3:18-19).

7. BALANCE. Music with its various elements in balance reflects the nature of God and accomplishes the purposes of God (cf. I Cor. 14:33, 40; Tit. 1:5a).

Such elements include: melody, harmony, rhythm, tempo, and dynamics. If there are lyrics, the music should serve as an appropriate vehicle to enhance their message.

8. SEPARATION. We must not, with our music, encourage or glorify that attachment to this sinful world that God hates (cf. II Cor. 6:14-17; I Jn. 2:15-17).

9. ASSOCIATION. Communication problems arise if the music accompanying a Christian message is associated in the mind of the hearer with a corrupt and sinful lifestyle (cf. I Cor. 8:4, 7; 14:8; 15:33).

10. EFFECT. Music is a medium of expression (in a sense, a language) which can communicate with powerful effect (cf. I Sam. 16:23; Col. 3:16; and see Gal. 6:7).

11. MESSAGE. The message a song delivers depends upon several components working effectively together:

Words + Music + Performance + Musician’s known lifestyle + Social context = the Total Message of a Song (cf. Ps. 139:15-16; I Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:16).

12. RESPONSIBILITY. Music is a stewardship from God that we are responsible to use according to His will and purpose (cf. Deut. 12:29-31; Lk. 16:15; and see Est. 4:14; Acts 13:36).

Editor’s note – This article was written and originally published by Robert Cottrill the editor of http://www.wordwisehymns.com.

Fathomless billows of Love!


Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight
Rolls a melody sweeter than psalm;
In celestial strains it unceasingly falls
O’er my soul like an infinite calm.

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!

Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

What a treasure I have in this wonderful peace,
Buried deep in the heart of my soul,
So secure that no power can mine it away,
While the years of eternity roll!

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!

Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

I am resting tonight in this wonderful peace,
Resting sweetly in Jesus’ control;
For I’m kept from all danger by night and by day,
And His glory is flooding my soul!

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!

Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

And I think when I rise to that city of peace,
Where the Anchor of peace I shall see,
That one strain of the song which the ransomed will sing
In that heavenly kingdom will be:

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!

Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

Ah, soul! are you here without comfort and rest,
Marching down the rough pathway of time?
Make Jesus your Friend ere the shadows grow dark;
O accept of this peace so sublime!

Wonderful Peace, lyrics by Warren D. Cornell
Here are 3 versions,  midi, choir, pianist, soloist.
Please leave a comment which is your favorite and why.
  1. http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/w/o/wonpeac1.htm
  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrzNN1NIS18
  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=najxNnM6OH8
  4. http://espace.wheaton.edu/bgc/audio/cn026t0236a.mp3 – George Beverly Shea Nov 16, 1949


O Lord, great Jehovah, how we love You, because You first loved us.  And so loved us when we were sinners that You gave Your only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe on Him would have eternal life.  That we know we’ve passed from death unto life, when we have fellowship one with another, and love one another,
and the blood of Jesus, Thy Son, cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Father, let the Holy Spirit
wave after wave, sweep over our souls,
and cleanse us from the things of the world. Come into our hearts, Lord, and not only be Saviour but be Lord.  Take our intellectuals and cast them from us, Lord, if they’re contrary to Your Word.  Let us see only Jesus, and Him crucified.
Let us walk
not according to our guidance of our mind,
but by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Grant it, Father.
We love You and we cherish You and we throw all of our heart open Lord. Let the King of glory come in.
“Lift up, ye everlasting gates, and be ye lifted up; and let the King of glory come in,”
taking full possession as Saviour and Lord, as King, as director, as governor,
as giver of peace,
as director of our path. Grant it, Lord.  We ask it in the name of Him that taught us all to pray like this:


“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth,

as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us of our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen.”

-William Branham – Door To The Heart – Phoenix, Arizona March 12, 1960

~ Chapter 10 ~ Music – The Sound and the Unsound

by Rebekah Smith


C H A P T E R  T E N


“Let me go into a person’s house, and let me see what kind of music they listen to; let me see what kind of books they read and what kind of songs they sing and what kind of pictures they have in their house. I can just about tell you what the nature of that person is.” 59

We live in a vibrating universe. Each individual voice and instrument produces tones, which vibrate at an established frequency. As these  frequencies reach our ears, they cause our eardrums to vibrate in the same pattern as the source of the sound, thus allowing us to identify it.

This acoustical principle is referred to as sympathetic vibration – the ability of one body to cause another body to vibrate in sympathy with it.60 We can apply the principle of sympathetic vibration to our musical natures as well. In order for music to ‘speak’ to us, it must respond sympathetically to something that is within our being.  It must vibrate to the same frequency as our emotions. In other words, a person responds to the music to which he is attuned, and conversely, the kind of music he produces reveals what he is.

So, let’s get personal. What does your music say about you? Does the water around you feel a little warmer now than it did at the beginning of this article?  If so, then maybe it’s time for you to change your tune.

Did you know that the Bible makes more references to a ‘new song’ than it does to a ‘new man,’ ‘new heavens,’ ‘new earth,’ or ‘new creature?’61 And that means new in kind, not just in sequence.  A new song can only be sung by those who have been redeemed through the Blood of Jesus Christ.

In the past, the Devil may have tried to trick you into believing that music is neither moral nor immoral. He may even have misled you into thinking that the Message of Christ can be preached effectively through rock music. Don’t yield to Satan’s deceptions any longer. May your testimony be like that of the Psalmist David:

“And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God; many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.”


Editors note:
Taken from the magazine ONLY BELIEVE (no longer in publication). The regression of music amongst our churches is a cancer which, if not properly dealt with, will suck the true Life out of The Church. This downward spiral is caused by a lack of discernment and a general lowering of standards by a generation wanting something new and different rather than stand fast, and hold to what is tried and true, proven, and right. Many have failed to heed the warning expressed in this article. Innumerable groups, bands, and various musical artists spawned forth since Brother and Sister Smith published this article in December 1991, [Vol. 4, No 3].  No doubt the Christian artists she named [here] gave birth to groups like: MercyMe, KutlessNewSongSidewalk prophets The David Crowder band, Casting CrownsJeremy Camp, and Third Day to name only a few. If Brother Branham called people like Pat Boone, modern day Judases, obviously these are too. What kind of person feeds off these groups, and promotes their demonic inspired lyrics and music within our churches? I pray this article will help someone.  – [DM – discerningMusic]

~ Chapter 7 ~ Music – the Sound and the Unsound







C H A P T E R  S E V E N


“… they call in the spirit by the rhythm of the music.”37

Evil is contagious, and the wave of demonic spirits which The Beatles and The Rolling Stones unleashed in the 60s had become an unstoppable flood by the 70s. But that was nothing compared to the whirling maelstrom of the 80s as rock expanded its repertoire even further into the realms of grotesque darkness.

Satan, who recognized the vulnerability of a human being’s auditory senses, equipped his disciples of chaos and disorder well. Through the use of the latest space age technology, amplification became the essence of rock’s roar. The electric guitars, keyboards, and drums that were a part of every performer’s arsenal, gave musicians the ability to duplicate the hazy confusion and distorted visions that accompanied their psychedelic drug trips, while at the same time suffocating the senses of the listener with a heavy, steady, throbbing, mind-deadening, ear-popping beat.

Satan has now sent his troops into all the major fields of cultural entertainment.38The fact is that unless you are deaf and blind, it is virtually guaranteed that rock music has, in some manner, affected your view of the world. We may not be willing to admit it, but each of us is manipulated daily by the persuasive techniques of the advertising media – through radio, television, films, billboards, magazines, newspapers, product packaging, etc. And advertisers routinely utilize the popularity of rock stars and rock musician the promotion of products and services.

Millions of young people today wake up every morning to rock music. They drive to it, study to it, play to it, eat to it, and go to sleep to it. Studies show that between the 7th and 12th grades, the average teenager will listen to and watch 11,000 hours of rock music and rock videos – more than twice the time they will spend in class!39And all the while, today’s rock musicians continue to raise cain in performances that are often openly occult and increasingly bizarre.

Rock’s addicts are being virtually controlled by music, from the way they dress to the way they view and understand everyday issues of life. The National Review magazine has declared: “Rock’s sheer pervasiveness makes it the most profound values-shaper in existence today.”40 How? For the purpose of our study, we’ll need to take an even closer look at the many guises of today’s rock music.

HARD ROCK vs SOFTROCK – First of all, not all rock music is the same. It is important to keep in mind that through the years there have been dozens of rock-relatives added to each branch of the Rock family tree, far too many to name. However, there are two dominant genes under which we can identify and categorize each new offshoot.

Since the rock battle began nearly 40 years ago, Satan’s main assault force has been a double-headed changeling that operates under the twin identities of Hard Rock and Soft Rock. If the sick displays of psychotic behavior that make up a large part of the Hard Rock scene are not your style, then welcome to the world of Soft Rock, where themes of universal love (lust),peace, and the brotherhood of mankind color the lyrics, along with cleverly-worded references to the excitement of doing drugs.

Soft Rock (alias Pop Rock, alias Contemporary Rock) is the offspring of The Beatles’ music, and much of the blame for what is now known as the Sexual Revolution can be placed directly to their account. And the older rock gets, the lower society ’s  standards sink. In the three decades that have passed since T he Beatles arrived on the scene with their seducing message of drugs and immorality, our world has seen an alarming increase in sexual crimes, abortions on a massive scale, epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases (including the plague of AIDS), along with rampant drug addiction and all the depravity that goes with it. Many of today’s most popular entertainers, such as George Michael, Carly Simon, Prince, Madonna, Dino, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, and Barry Manilow are Soft Rockers. Soft Rock has become the ‘elevator music’ of the 90s, and, like it or not, we are being bombarded with it on every hand.

Hard Rock was introduced into music’s family tree by the first, and still reigning, kings of satanic rock, The Rolling Stones. By  flaunting behavior that the Scriptures plainly identify as being demonic possession (and yet today is dismissed as mere artistic showmanship), rock bands are being catapulted overnight into the coveted spotlight of mega-stardom. Performers and songwriters candidly confess to receiving the inspiration for much of their music at seances, saying, “What we do is what we’re about. If it comes out demonic, that’s what we are.”41 Thebands will often choose a name to spell out its motive and intention: Styx (in Greek mythology, one of the rivers of Hades); Iron Maiden (a hideous, medieval torture device); W.A.S.P. (short for “We Are Sexual Perverts”); KISS, (meaning“ Kings In Satan’s Service”); Twisted Sister; Judas Priest; The Grateful Dead, and Black Sabbath are but a few out of many hundreds.42

In today’s rock message, absolutely nothing is forbidden – sex, drugs, witchcraft, murder, suicide, spiritualism, Satan worship, homosexuality, sado-masochism, sodomy. It is a monster that has adopted the nickname Heavy Metal –once a literary synonym for torture, but now it is used as an umbrella term for a legion of snarling ghouls, including the newest blasphemies of Shock Rock, Satan Rock, and Armageddon Rock. Rock’s voice has never been louder or more evil, and it is not just for listening any more. It is for watching too. With the advent of video and MTV, the intensity of rock’s assault has been multiplied, and today, partaking of the hard rock experience is like stepping into the middle of an epileptic seizure. It is beyond human control.

IDENTIFYING ROCK – All music uses rhythm. For instance, a waltz rhythm is ¾ time, and goes like this: ONE two three ONE two three. For a stirring march written in 2/4 time, you would count: ONE two ONE two. The conventional way to count 4/4 time is as follows: ONE two THREE four ONE two THREE four.

Technically speaking, the rhythm of rock is 4/4. But all the normal conventions and principles of sound music have been laid aside, and here the accent is placed on the offbeat: one TWO three FOUR one TWO three FOUR. In addition, there is usually a highly accented “backbeat” coming between the regular beats creating what is known as “syncopation.” In his book, The Day Music Died, author and former rock performer Bob Larson writes, “Syncopated rhythms evoke the most sensuous response from the human body, particularly when they are electronically accentuated.”43

Rock music is written (and performed) to be felt, as well as heard, and one essential instrument for this type of music is the electric bass guitar. Its super-amplified low frequency vibrations give rock that gut-level intensity that preys on sensory perceptions. The tempo can be fast or slow, but if the beat is rock, the fundamental response will be erotic.

A second key to identifying rock music is repetition – words, choruses, instrumental parts or chord patterns that are repeatedly played or sung throughout the song. As any educator will tell you, repetition is one of the most effective teaching tools that can be employed. And when you consider the neurotic, profane, and suggestive words that are being fed into the brains of even very young children, it’s “no wonder people are going crazy. That’s enough to drive a human being crazy.”44

A third important characteristic of rock can be its volume. As if the over-amplified, buzz saw screams of guitars, and the wild, incoherent vocals of the performers were not loud enough already, rock performers and fans enjoy their music best when it is cranked up to 100-plus decibels of sound (approaching the threshold of pain, where the body becomes completely disoriented).  Such an intense, steady pounding can quickly cause the mind to lose touch with reality and even induce various stages of trances. The psychological principle being applied here is this: The louder the music, the more vulnerable the listener becomes to the lyrics being sung.

The last aspect of rock that we are going to review is the fact that it can have all the characteristics we have already mentioned (heavy beat, repetition, extreme amplification), or , it can have none of them! That is because rock has long ceased to be any one thing, and has denominated into a multitude of sects and schisms, each reflecting its own version of the aesthetic principle that masterminded its creation. And every new revelation that the prophets of rock can produce will echo a resounding “Amen” in the ear of a true rock believer somewhere. No matter what musical principle that is applied to make it happen, the spirit will find a witness.

WHO WRITES THE SONGS? – As we have just learned, it is the beat of rock music that pulls the emotional trigger of its listeners, but, undoubtedly, it takes lyrics to produce the gun. The battle for men’s souls is being fought in the mind, so let’s take a look at some of the ideas that young people are being fed daily by the disciples of rock:

At the beginning of the song, there is the sound of little children shouting, “I don’t want to go to that place!”  Then the singer begins to howl his deadly sermon:

“I’m the Lord of the wasteland

I gather darkness to please me

And I command you to kneel

before the God of thunder, and of rock and roll.

The spell you’re under

Will slowly rob you of your virgin soul…”

GOD OF THUNDER, from the album“Destroyer” by KISS 4

Fairly straightforward, wouldn’t you say? Rock groups today don’t mince words when it comes to paying homage to the Devil and spelling out his evil intent. Many of Hard Rock’s offerings are more incantation than song. A 1982 album, “The Number Of The Beast,” by the Heavy Metal group, Iron Maiden, contains such sentimental ditties as “Children Of The Damned,” “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” and “Run To The Hills.” Fellow rockers, Black Sabbath, sing such distinctly inspired songs as “Nativity In Black”:

Now I have you with me, under my power

Our love grows stronger with every hour

Look at my eyes and you’ll see who l am

My name is Lucifer, please take my hand. 46

There are sure to be those who, right now, are saying, “I’m not a devil worshipper. I don’t listen to the words; I just like the music.”  Unfortunately, to such a statement there can only be one response: You are still guilty – by association. In a sermon entitled “Why Are We Not A Denomination?”  the prophet, William Branham, accurately describes the situation: “If you hang around with somebody that is a thief, you’ll soon be a thief yourself.  My old Kentucky mammy used to say, ‘If you lay down with a dog that has fleas, you’ll get up with fleas, too.’…. You’re known by your company.”47

Are you wondering whether Soft Rock should be included in that warning?  The answer is “Yes,” because that particular flea infestation is far, far nastier (and more sneaky) than most people suspect. Let’s take a look.

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

IMAGINE by John Lennon

“Imagine”  was written nearly 20 years ago, but the philosophy, which it applauds, remains as a central theme of today’s Soft Rock. It is termed Humanism, and it doesn’t sound really bad, does it?  After all, we would all like to see an end to wars and strife, and a reign of universal peace and prosperity. But let’s face it, man’s idea of peace is just not the same as God’s idea of peace. The humanistic hypothesis of  “unity through diversity”  is an exercise in self-deception. Unequal yoking is sin. And how can there be peace without the Prince of Peace?

Humanism  –  the belief that man, rather than God, is the sum and measure of all things – is one of the founding tenets of a faith called New Age. New Age (also called Age of Aquarius) is not a passing fad, and the only thing ‘new’ about it is the vocabulary. The movement itself is older than Hinduism and Buddhism; it is older than the oracles of ancient Greece and Egypt; it is as old as the serpent in the Garden of Eden, who beguiled Eve with the words  “ … and ye shall be as gods.”

In some way, New Age has touched you, too. You’ve heard its philosophers, viewed its art, read its literature  –  probably without knowing them as New Age. You may even have participated in its therapies and shared in its rituals. But you have most certainly listened to its music.

Since John Lennon (the Beatle who once enjoyed the title of priest/king of the Aquarian Age)48 wrote the song “Imagine,”  New Age music has broadened to include everything from reggae to contemporary rock, and is most often played on those radio stations denoted  ‘easy listening.’  However, record companies do not take lyrics into consideration when they classify a type of music, so the only styles which you will find labeled ‘New Age’ in the record stores are the increasingly popular ‘meditative’ and ‘ambient’ music. Often performed on sitars or other Eastern instruments, critics call it the ‘audio valium’ of the90s, largely because it claims to transport souls into a kind of cosmic cohesiveness.49

Topping the list of popular artists who champion such lyrical humanism are those who have joined together to preach the gospel of rock-in-the-service-of-mankind. Through fund-raising extravaganzas like “We Are The World” and Live  Aid, the New Age dogma of “All is One, One is All”  is being legitimized and assimilated deeper and deeper everyday into the general culture. For Christians, this may be the most deceptive and dangerous hybrid that rock has ever produced. The music is enthralling; the lyrics are intriguing, but guess who writes the songs?

I’ve been alive forever,
And I wrote the very first song.
I put the words and the melodies together,
I am music,
And I write the songs.

I write the songs that make the whole world sing.
I write the songs of love and special things.
I write the songs that make the young girls cry.
I write the songs, I write the songs.

My hold lies deep within you,
And I’ve got my own place in your SOUL,
Now, when I look out through your eyes,
I’m young again, even though I’m very old.

Oh my music makes you dance
And gives you spirit to take a chance,
And I wrote some rock ‘n’ roll so you can move.
Music fills your heart,
Well, that’s a real fine place to start.
It’s from me, it’s for you,
It’s from you, it’s for me,
It’s a worldwide symphony.

I am music, and I write the songs.

I WRITE THE SONGS, written by Bruce Johnson and performed by Barry Manilow.

ROCK’S KISSING COUSINS – Just in case you’re thinking, “Thank God I’m a country boy (or girl),” there’s something you need to know. The land of country music is no longer a place where the deer and the antelope play and the skies are not cloudy all day. Some of the most obscene, sex-ridden lyrics heard today are being sung in the key of N – which stands for Nashville.

For those who grew up on country music and mistakenly believe that the good ol’ boy hasn’t changed much through the years, it’s time to take another listen. As Al  Menconi writes in his book Today’s Music: A Window To Your Child’s Soul, “If you take away the booze, the fights, the adultery, and the self-pity from country music, there would be nothing left to sing about except your mama and my pickup truck!”50

Of course, there is one strategy commonly practiced by artists of the Nashville sound that many staunch Christians consider to be very noble, and that is the singing of a well known hymn as the closing number in a country music program. This particular form of hypocrisy was born on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, and for more than 60 years country musicians from Roy Acuff to Barbara Mandrell have been using spiritual songs as a form of musical mouthwash to soothe the taste buds after several courses of filth have been served and consumed. In reality, such pseudo-spiritual placebos have nothing to do with Christianity.

The latest offering to be laid on rock’s altar is a form of chanting known as Rap. There is no melody line (so technically it cannot be considered music), but the monotonous beat that accompanies the spoken verse offers a straightforward lesson in rhythm – Rock.

Rap began on the streets in lets-see-who’s-the-baddest bragging contests among black teenagers. Consequently, it should come as no surprise to hear rappers today contend that in order to really rap, what you need is a boastin’ attitude. Once again, such selfish egotism and downright arrogance bears no resemblance to any Christian ethic.

Although many of today’s popular rappers proudly take a verbal stand against drugs, they invariably glorify gangs, crime, and violence (including sexual brutality) in their performances and recordings. All in all, Rap is Heavy Metal in disguise.

Editors note:
Taken from the magazine ONLY BELIEVE (no longer in publication). The regression of music amongst our churches is a cancer which, if not properly dealt with, will suck the true Life out of The Church. This downward spiral is caused by a lack of discernment and a general lowering of standards by a generation wanting something new and different rather than stand fast, and hold to what is tried and true, proven, and right. Many have failed to heed the warning expressed in this article. Innumerable groups, bands, and various musical artists spawned forth since Brother and Sister Smith published this article in December 1991, [Vol. 4, No 3].  No doubt the Christian artists she names here gave birth to groups like: MercyMe,KutlessNewSongSidewalk prophets The David Crowder band,Casting CrownsJeremy Camp, and Third Day to name a few. If Brother Branham called people like Pat Boone, modern day Judases, obviously these are too. What kind of person feeds off these groups, and promotes their demonic inspired lyrics and music within our churches? I pray this article will help someone. (the pictures are mine) – [DM – discerningMusic]

~ Chapter 4 ~ Music – The Sound and the Unsound






C H A P T E R  F O U R


“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:19

For three centuries, a flood of humanity poured into the New World. The willing came from Europe; the unwilling came from Africa. They were master and slave, and nothing has ever exacted such a heavy price on the conscience of a nation as the institution of slavery in America. But from the agony and suffering of the black captives was generated a heroic faith that, over the years, was given a voice that would echo across the land for all generations to come. To the slaves they were known as  ‘sorrow songs,’ or ‘anthems,’  but within white communities they came to be called  ‘spirituals,’  and in them America found its truest, most original, and most influential musical expression.

In the plantation states of the south, newly arriving slaves were expected to learn English and to adopt the professed religion of their owners. But the emotional and mystical ways of heathen, tribal worship could never be replaced by the bone-dry traditions of European faith. And neither could the rhythms, chants, and tribal stomps of the African culture be confined by the structured singing of psalms and hymns . “The spirit will not descend without a song,” was a saying the slaves carried with them from the motherland, and it was in music that the brutalized Negro found a means of liberation.

The enslaved people found much within the Judeo-Christian tradition to identify with and anchor their hope: The Hebrews’  four centuries of bondage in Egypt; the Israelites’ captivity in Babylon; Daniel in the lions’ den; and Elijah ’s journey to Heaven in a fiery chariot. They learned the hymns of their white masters then rewove them with the remnants of their African history to produce expressions of freedom through song that became the focus of both their spiritual and social life.

The majority of the slaves worked under the overseer’s lash, cultivating the cotton and rice that were the mainstay of southern industry. Often they were forbidden to speak to one another while working in the fields, but since their fieldwork required unified effort, they were allowed to utilize the African tradition of worksongs to coordinate their activities. These creative leader-and-chorus rounds were sung with so much musical mastery that they defied notation. Often the song was fashioned by combining verses from the Bible with portions of hymns, sermons or prayers they had heard in church. But in the fields there was also every opportunity to invent new songs and tunes, drawing from their new found faith in a Christian God who could not only break their bonds of sin and suffering, but offered Heaven as a homeland. Best of all, He wasn’t confined to a white church, nor did He negate the humanity of the black man. They heard a promise of freedom, and they made it the theme of their songs.

God told Moses, o’Lord!

Go down into Egypt, o’Lord!

Tell ol’ Pharaoh, o’Lord!

Loose my people, o’Lord!

In 1735 an English clergyman by the name of John Wesley sailed for the New World to proselytize the heathen Indians in the colony of Georgia. After three years, he acknowledged his failure as a missionary and returned to London, determined to find the missing element in his spiritual walk. Then one day, as he listened to a reading of Martin Luther’s preface to Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, he felt that his “heart was strangely warmed,” and a new dispensation of the church was ushered in.

Nowhere did they embrace the new tenets of a faith that was being called ‘Methodism’ more rapidly than they did in the colonies of the New World. Wesley’s teaching of a Second Blessing (also termed Christian Perfection or Sanctification) was “the fuse that set off a keg of repressed religious ecstasy throughout America.”14 Stoking the fires of the revival that came to be known as The Great Awakening was Methodist evangelist George Whitefield and other circuit-riding preachers who traveled endlessly throughout the colonies expounding the doctrine of absolute holiness and attainable perfection. Their preaching style was bold and dramatic, which gave them limited access to the pulpits of the more traditional churches, so they resorted to preaching outdoors. Camp meetings (or bush meetings, as they were sometimes called) changed the structure of worship services for most rural churches in the young nation.  ‘Fire and damnation’ preaching encouraged a new freedom of expression for the believers. They shouted, they prayed, they danced, and they sang like never before.

Once again, religious revival was accompanied by a stirring of the musical waters. Like Luther, Wesley was a songwriter and publisher. His first hymnal, The Charleston Collection of Psalms and Hymns, published in 1735, was the first hymnbook ever published in North America. Wesley’s greatest concern was that singing should be both spiritual and have good musical quality. His instructions to the congregation included admonishments to “ Sing All, Sing Lustily, Sing Modestly, Sing in Time and above all, Sing Spiritually.”15 And it was in the unstructured style of the frontier camp meeting that spiritual singing came of age.

Long before blacks themselves were admitted to white society, they shared a lively, if somewhat uncomfortable, coexistence that was brought about through the cohesive forces of shared religion and music. Along with the increasing number of traditional hymns which were being penned by proficient songwriters such as Charles Wesley and Isaac Watts, Negro spirituals were becoming a major part of the huge revivals and camp meetings of the 1800s. Here the spirit and personality of the black world was not segregated from the white culture. Although white and black worshippers were normally kept separate, “their voices and music could mix, echoing from camp to camp, feeding a musical union whose product would sweep the world.”16 One observer at an early camp meeting wrote:  “As the excitement increases, all order is forgotten, all unison of parts repudiated, each sings his own tune, each dances his own dance, as he leaps, shouts and exults with exceeding great joy.”

They had found something real, and it was a revelation inspired by a new understanding of Scriptural truth. And that, in turn, generated a new brotherhood of holiness and sanctified churches – forerunners of the twentieth century Pentecostal Revival that was to explode on Azusa Street in 1906.

But not every abused and humiliated black man found solace in Christianity. There was just too much magic in the  ‘old ways’  that wasn’t compatible with the new-found faith, so the old faith endured, hidden until the late nineteenth century and the period of Reconstruction that followed the Civil War. Then, a new branch appeared on music’s family tree, and it was called ‘The Blues.’

Although it descended directly from the emotional fervor of the spirituals, the only thing the blues had in common with its spirit-pleasing parent was its ancient roots. Every type of carnal indulgence became the theme of the blues singer: Crime, adultery, prostitution, gambling, alcohol, and imprisonment. Ties with the African elements of syncopation and rhythmic momentum were renewed, taught, and performed by both black men and white men who had listened and learned from this new musical voice. “It is here that the blend of cultures once again began to generate something permanent and prophetic, a rhythmic vitality and melodic gift that would eventually produce ragtime and jazz.”1

Coinciding with the beginnings of blues, ragtime, and jazz, religious music was also undergoing a metamorphosis. In 1875, songwriter Ira Sankey published a hymnbook entitled Gospel Hymns and Sacred Songs and the term ‘gospel music’ was born. Sankey and his partner, the revivalist Dwight Lyman Moody, intended for their songs  “to implant the gospel in the hearts of the people”18 by suppressing emotional outbursts and passionate singing.

But, while Sankey and Moody were able to influence their initial development, gospel songs soon developed a character of their own, and this time it was  “a coolly calculated commercial endeavor designed to capitalize on the enormous appeal of the Negro spiritual stylings.”19

In 1921, a young blues and jazz piano player by the name of Thomas Dorsey attended the National Baptist Convention and was overwhelmed by the force of the music he heard being performed. For “Barrelhouse Tom,” it was the handwriting on the wall. He would write religious music, and he would call his songs ‘Gospel.’

Dorsey wrote over a thousand tunes, including  “Peace In The Valley”, “Search Me Lord,” and “Precious Lord Take My Hand.”  “It was music that not only reflected the preaching and testifying heard in black Baptist and Methodist churches as well as the growing number of  ‘sanctified’ congregations across the country. It also made brilliant and liberal use of the melodies, harmonies, and rhythms of Dorsey’s blues and jazz background.”20

Touring the Midwest and South in the late 1920s, he performed his music and sold the sheet music for a few pennies apiece. But Dorsey’s voice lacked the conviction and excitement that was necessary for gospel singing, and he knew that if he was going to succeed he needed a new sales technique. He created the first female gospel quartet in history, and soon became a promoter of gospel performers as well as a publisher of black gospel music. He was well on his way to earning for himself the title “Father of Gospel Music.”

By the mid-thirties, several styles of gospel music were being popularized on the church and revival concert circuit. One of the most enduring was the gospel quartet – four or five singers who established their identity through vocal stylizing (such as a featured bass or falsetto) or through dress (porter’s uniforms, white tuxedos, etc). There was also the ‘gospel chorus’ of all-female hand clappers, dressed in choir robes and backed by a thundering piano or organ. And soon the professional gospel artists, such as Mahalia Jackson and Rosetta Tharpe began to make a name for themselves.

By the beginning of  World War II, the careful repackaging of slave spirituals was complete. This new image of  ’gospel music’  had been sprinkled liberally with the glitter of  Hollywood and parlayed into a powerful and wealthy musical empire.

Editors note:
Taken from the magazine ONLY BELIEVE (no longer in publication). The regression of music amongst our churches is a cancer which, if not properly dealt with, will suck the true Life out of The Church. This downward spiral is caused by a lack of discernment and a general lowering of standards by a generation wanting something new and different rather than stand fast, and hold to what is tried and true, proven, and right. Many have failed to heed the warning expressed in this article. Innumerable groups, bands, and various musical artists spawned forth since Brother and Sister Smith published this article in December 1991, [Vol. 4, No 3].  No doubt the Christian artists she names here gave birth to groups like: MercyMe,KutlessNewSongSidewalk prophets The David Crowder band,Casting CrownsJeremy Camp, and Third Day to name a few. If Brother Branham called people like Pat Boone, modern day Judases, obviously these are too. What kind of person feeds off these groups, and promotes their demonic inspired lyrics and music within our churches? I pray this article will help someone. (the pictures are mine) – [DM – discerningMusic]

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