As an unsaved child and junior high, high school, and college student, I listened to a wide variety of music, including heavy metal, soft rock, and pop. Growing up in an Indian home, I also had very extensive exposure to Hindi music, especially music from Indian movies.
Music was an especially vital part of my life from about junior high onward. At one point, I even wanted to be a lead guitarist and vocalist for a rock band.
In college, I took guitar classes and lessons and longed to learn how to play rock music. Although I tried very hard to learn how to play it, I never was able to figure out how to play the rhythms of that music. Most of the few rock solo parts that I did learn to play, I learned from a few close friends who also played guitar.
In contrast to my very limited success in learning to play rock music, I was able to develop extensive abilities in note reading and strumming and picking chords for songs that did not have a rock beat to them. In addition, considerable exposure to classical music during these years, both through my guitar lessons and through close connections with many college friends who were classical musicians, developed a deep love and appreciation in me for classical music.
Although I had listened to many different styles of music in my life, I did not have much exposure to Christian hymnody before I was saved. In the years leading up to my conversion, I did attend services occasionally at an Assembly of God church, but I have no recollection of the music that I heard on those occasions.
Shortly after I became a Christian, I began attending services regularly at an independent Baptist church in Cookeville, TN. In that church, I first experienced extensively Christian hymnody and other sacred music that was sung and played in a way that was distinct from all the music (except for the classical music and the other sacred songs that I had heard before) that I can recall ever having heard prior to that point in my life.
My experience of this new music was not just that I was singing words that I had not sung before—there was an entirely different feel to this music. This sacred music did not bring back to my mind the earlier styles that I had saturated my mind with over the years.
Now, after 23 years of being immersed in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, I am readily able to detect a difference between what I first heard in my first church and what I hear today in Christian music sung and performed in contemporary styles. Whereas the former never recalls to my mind secular music that I have heard, CCM readily does so.
As one who first had his mind immersed for many years in the world’s music and then immersed for many years in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, I find it regrettable that good brethren assert that CCM is acceptable music for divine worship. Not having the background that I have, many of them do not understand the harmful effects that the musical styles of CCM—regardless of the words—are having upon them.
Furthermore, even after years of being a believer, I find that I still have within me a deep affinity for rock music, pop, and other music that is played and sung in worldly styles. Based on my extensive experiential knowledge of the world’s music and of sacred music that is clearly distinct in style from the world’s music, it is clear to me that CCM has no place in the life of a dedicated believer and should be eradicated from every church that desires to glorify God in its worship.
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