“An then He said, ‘Here comes the church of America now, to be previewed.’… I almost fainted. “51
Religion (and its multitude of accouterments) has always been a big business. That is legitimate and acceptable, because it is through the ‘business’ of religion that churches are built, Bibles and other materials are printed, pastors and missionaries are supported, and host of other worthy endeavors are maintained. But when, in the practice of religion, Divine guidance is by-passed, then Christian orthodoxy and devotion are left totally vulnerable to the manipulations of corporate profiteers. Subsequently, being spiritual and being led of the Holy Spirit cannot always be looked upon synonymously. “ God moves by His Spirit, not by the amount of money or talent in the church.”52
Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) is an industry, and, as in all industry, its motivation is subject to the bottom line –$$$. With millions of dollars at stake in this highly competitive market, the majority of performers and recording companies do not hesitate to pattern themselves after their more-popular secular music counterparts, including rock artists such as those previously mentioned. As a result, the inherent Heavy Metal message of rebellion, and the Soft Rock smoke screen of New Age love have been so cleverly incorporated into the substance of Christian music that it now represents 90% of the tapes and disks being offered today at your favorite local Christian bookstore.
Most pro-rockers who write on the subject of Christian music use the same line as Steve Lawhead does in his book, Rock Of This Age: “Rock communicates to the rock generation. It has the ability to reach a population that has grown up with it.”53 But the question then becomes, “Reach them with what?” A perusal of the reviews that Christian artists and groups have been given in the pages of various CCM magazines may shed some light on the subject:
MICHAEL SMITH –
“Smith, with synthesizers blaring, drums blazing, and guitars screeching, sent a young crowd into a frenzy from beginning to end.”
“With sweeping strobes lighting the stage and crowd areas, Smith took the stage with some twirling dance steps that sent the crowd into rocking frenzy.”
“Lyrically, the only difference between Amy Grant’s love songs and, say, those of Olivia Newton-John, is that often Grant’s pronouns come with capital letters…”
“It is important to understand that some lyrics are implicitly Christian while others are explicitly Christian…You trust the Jesus in them – even if they are singing about life and love, like in “Baby, Baby” [Grant’s hit song that recently topped both the Christian and secular music charts].”
“And rock they do. Their ninety-minute stage show includes all the outward trappings of secular metal – the sass, style, and bombastic bone-jarring sonic barrage of such secular acts as Motley Crue, Ratt, Iron Maiden, or Judas Priest…”
LOVE LIFE –
“I… was very impressed with the band’s original, blues based commercial material. The band showed its [musical] ability with a couple of acoustic-oriented songs and even a cover [re-recording] of the Beatles’ hit, ‘A Hard Day ’s Night.”’
KIM HILL –
“It’s really encouraging to see someone who loves to sing in non-Christian venues, avoiding the ‘Christianese’ in so much of [today’s] Christian music.”
The purpose of sacred music is to turn a person’s heart and mind towards God. Notwithstanding that CCM is (naively, perhaps) dedicated to that end, the fact remains that sincerity is not a test of Christianity. God’s work must be done God’s way!
Remember, Satan is an imitator, and his game is to counterfeit every move of God. But he is powerless unless she has an instrument (person) to work through, so he recruits his volunteer army from every race, creed, and walk of life – even from the ranks of unmindful Christians. And that is why we can see in the performances of contemporary Christian musicians today echoes of the Judas-like deception that ushered in the Age of Rock’n’roll in the first place. But no matter how much they try to make it fit the sacred mold, it will never feed the soul of a truly born-again Believer. As Jesus testified in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
When we can’t tell the difference between sacred music and worldly music, when the songs that are being sung in the sanctuary of the church could just as effectively be sung to one’s lover, then it’s time to stop and ask ourselves a very important question: “Who is really being worshipped here?”
I heard them other day
on the radio, singing,
"When the Saint's Go Marching In," in ragtime,
"When I See the Blood," in boogie woogie.
What a disgrace!
Do you think a holy God can listen to that and be just,
and not judge it?
~ William Branham
- THE.HANDWRITING.ON.THE.WALL_ JEFF.IN SUNDAY_ 58-0309M