Would the Psalmists Approve of CCM?

May 22, 2012

Many professing Christians today approve of the use of CCM. This article evaluates the propriety of that approval by directing attention to a question that every believer would do well to consider carefully—whether the authors of the Psalms would approve of CCM?

To answer this question, we should keep in mind some facts about the book of Psalms: God inspired a number of men to write the Psalms: David (75); Asaph (12); Solomon (2?); Ethan (1); Heman (1), and Moses (1); [no information or unclear information about the authors of the other 58 Psalms]. Together, these men have given to us the only inspired sacred songbook in existence.

Of these men, at least four were also instrumentalists (David, Asaph, Ethan, and Heman; cf. 1 Chron. 15:19). These four men produced at least 89 of the Psalms, so more than 59% of these inspired songs were written by men who also played musical instruments themselves. The Psalms, therefore, were not merely the product of poets or songwriters inspired by God to write lyrics for inspired songs.

If these inspired songwriters (and sacred instrumentalists) were somehow to hear the CCM of our day, would they approve? To answer this question, we should consider what God has taught us through them.

The first Psalmist teaches us that a man will be blessed (i.e., uniquely favored by God), if he will be characterized in the following dual manner:

1. Negatively, he does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful.
2. Positively, he delights in the law (Heb. instruction) of God and meditates therein day and night.

Because the Psalmist begins by characterizing the blessed man negatively with three expressions of what is not true of him, we must understand that these statements are the right place for us to start in answering our question.

To be blessed, we must not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. Our lives must not be lived influenced in any essential way by any ungodly advice, viewpoints, priorities, objectives, and practices.

How does this truth apply to the music that we use for our worship? It teaches us that we must not get our music perspectives or practices from those who are not like God.

CCM, however, was created by professing Christians who chose to incorporate into Christian music a style and type of music invented by ungodly people who created that style specifically for the purpose of promoting ungodliness. Because CCM was therefore created by those who acted contrary to the teaching of Psalm 1:1, which directs us not to live under the influence of the ungodly, we should hold that the Psalmists would not approve of CCM.

Confirmation of this assessment is seen by applying to our question David’s teaching in Psalm 2 about the counsel of the ungodly:

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us (2:1-3).

To understand the importance of these statements, we note that the first Psalmist provides no specific information about the counsel of the ungodly. David here thus gives to us the first specific information about that counsel when he teaches us that ungodly men (especially the kings of the earth and the rulers) have taken counsel together to promote rebellion against the authority of Yahweh and His Messiah.

From taking the teaching of Psalms 1-2 together, we learn that the inspired songwriters preeminently warn people about following ungodly counsel that incites and promotes rebellion against God. Applying this principle to music means that these two (if David did not write Psalm 1 as well) Psalmists would not approve in any way of music created by ungodly people for the purpose of promoting rebellion.

The people who created and advanced rock music have openly and repeatedly testified that the music itself—apart from the lyrics—was created for the purpose of promoting rebellion. Rock music, therefore, regardless of what words are sung along with it, is ungodly music because it was created by the ungodly to promote rebellion.

Those who created CCM—as well as those who have since promoted it—have thus advanced the use of music of which the Psalmists clearly would not approve. Because David wrote at least half of the Psalms, he is by far the most important musician spoken of in Scripture. Hence, we do well to give special regard to applying his teaching in Psalm 2 to this issue.

The believer, therefore, should heed the godly counsel of the first Psalmist and of David and categorically reject CCM as well as all other music that weds Christian words with ungodly music styles.

Rajesh

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