Archives For CCM

In First Corinthians, Paul emphasized that the Corinthians must not be idolaters by playing idolatrously as the Israelites did in the Golden Calf Incident (1 Cor. 10:7), which including their producing demonically influenced music on that occasion (1 Cor. 10:18-20 applied to Exod. 32:17-18). In addition, the Pauline emphasis in this passage included a command to flee idolatry (1 Cor. 10:14).

Moreover, we find this emphasis reiterated in Second Corinthians when he again instructed them that they must not have anything in common with the unrighteousness and darkness of idolatrous unbelievers:

A Reiterated Pauline Emphasis

2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Because Paul reiterated this vital emphasis, we must heed what he emphasized to the Corinthians by properly applying it to our music!

Application to Our Music

Like the Corinthians, we must reject all the unclean things (2 Cor. 6:17) that reprobate idolaters as inventors of evil things (Rom. 1:30) have made, including musical forms sourced in demonic influence upon them in their idolatrous worship (Exod. 32:17-18; cf. 1 Cor. 10:7). We must not have any fellowship with such unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11).

The Battle for Kingdom Music

The vast majority of biblical content about music is not explicitly pertaining to music in the Church. Properly understood, all that the Bible says about music, however, is about music in God’s eternal kingdom. Therefore, we need to engage in The Battle for Kingdom Music because engaging in the battle for Christian music is too narrow a focus to treat properly what Scripture reveals about music.

Of course, in the battle for kingdom music, we must use Scripture to address the problems that we have in Christian music today. In particular, we must explain why God does not accept in His kingdom the use of rock music and music related to it.

Why Rock Music Is Not Acceptable Kingdom Music

To do so, we must help believers understand that the Bible does not teach that God created all musical styles or genres. We also need to explain to them why it is not biblical to hold that music without words is inherently neutral, amoral, or good.

Beyond that, we must make known that God has given categorical prohibitions to His people that completely preclude them from borrowing any music from wicked people who have crafted their music for wicked purposes or used it for wicked purposes. Many rock musicians have testified that they have designed their music to promote evil so we must reject it entirely.

Furthermore, we have testimonies from rock musicians that their music is demonic or sourced in demonic influence on them. God commands Christians not to have anything to do with anything sourced in or connected with human contact with supernatural evil. We must therefore completely reject all rock music and music that is derived from it or based upon it.

In order to fight the battle for kingdom music properly, we must give ourselves to prayer and the ministry of what God says about music that is fit for His kingdom. As God brings it to mind, I would appreciate prayers for God’s good hand to be on me for this ministry.

Do any ungodly ways of playing music exist? How can we know if there are any such ways?

By considering whether demons influence humans to play music in ungodly ways, we can answer both of these questions definitively!

Do Demons Influence Humans to Play Music in Ungodly Ways?

Demons incorrigibly and irredeemably oppose God. They are especially intent on denying Him the glory and worship due His name.

On every possible occasion and in every possible way, they seek to influence humans to worship in ungodly ways.

God has commanded that humans use musical instruments to worship Him. We, therefore, must hold that demons unceasingly seek to influence humans to play worship music in ungodly ways.

Only by presupposing that there are no ungodly ways to play music in worship can we deny that demons influence humans to play music in ungodly ways. Holding such a presupposition, however, does not have any biblical basis.

When, therefore, humans engage in activities that put them in fellowship with demons and subsequently produce music, we must hold that they play it in ungodly ways. Of course, we could not hold this view if a passage provides explicit biblical evidence that humans played music in godly ways in spite of demonic influence on them.

A Biblical Account of Demonically Influenced Music

In the Golden Calf Incident (GCI), humans in a worship context consumed what was offered to an idol (Ex. 32:6). When they did so, they came into fellowship with demons (1 Cor. 10:18-20).

After they had consumed the sacrificed foodstuffs, they produced music (Ex. 32:17-18). Because Exodus 32 does not provide us with any evidence that they played their music and sang in godly ways, we must hold that they did so in ungodly ways.

Again, the only way to escape this understanding is to presuppose that there are no ungodly ways to produce music in worship. Because such a presupposition does not have any valid basis, we must hold that the people in the GCI played demonically influenced music in ungodly ways.

Conclusion

Demonically influenced music does exist; in fact, the Bible provides indisputable evidence that demons have influenced humans to produce music in ungodly ways. Holding that there are no ungodly ways to play music, therefore, is an indefensible presupposition and position that we must reject.

A professional CCM musician recently made the following revealing comment to an online article about CCM:

I’m a professional musician who has and does work with some of the most well known CCM artists. I’ve done tours, recorded on their albums , etc.. I can tell you first hand that it’s about the bottomline, not Jesus. The hypocrisy is rampant. And I will say many are not believers. I was on a tour bus one year with a well known act and I was mocked for reading my bible. I was yelled at by the drummer for calling out heretics on TBN. Many musicians like myself who work in the CCM market are not believers. They all call themselves Christian’s, but their words and actions betray them. And the biblical ignorance is beyond breathtaking. There ate [sic] true believers players and artists alike, but far and few between.

This article provides telling information about CCM. The comments are especially informative.

Many Christians today are quite dismissive of testimonies from secular rock musicians and music authorities who have said that rock music is perverse music that should be rejected, especially by Christians in their ministries. These believers argue that unbelieving musicians and music authorities are unable to judge spiritual truth accurately concerning whether rock music is fit for use in ministry.

I have previously presented evidence from two passages that counters this dismissiveness by pointing out that lost people were reliably able to give testimonies about spiritual realities. Judges 7 provides additional evidence to hold that unbelieving people can accurately assess spiritual realities.

Judges 7:13-14

During the period of the judges who ruled over Israel, the Lord directed Gideon to be His deliverer of the Israelites from the Midianites (Judg. 7:7). To alleviate possible fearfulness on Gideon’s part to carry out this mission (Judg. 7:10), the Lord directed him and his servant to go and hear what certain men in the host of Midian would say (Judg. 7:10-11).

The record of this incident reveals that an unsaved man in the camp of the enemies of Israel remarkably interpreted the spiritual significance of a dream with striking accuracy:

Judges 7:13 And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. 14 And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.

Observing what transpired, Gideon was moved to worship God for the testimony that he had received through these two lost people:

Judges 7:15 And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.

The biblical record of this incident is yet another passage that shows that lost people have given accurate testimonies to spiritual realities in spite of their being unbelievers. Just because people are unbelievers does not automatically invalidate anything that they say about the spiritual significance of any event or the spiritual fitness of any practice.

Conclusion

Christians should not dismiss the validity of testimonies by secular rock musicians and music authorities about the perverseness of rock music and its unfitness for use in Christian ministry simply because these authorities on music are unbelievers. Judges 7:13-14 and other passages provide evidence that doing so is not a right approach to such information.

Ryan Martin has written a helpful critique of the musical state of at least some sectors of evangelicalism.

Using passages about meat offered to idols to support the use of disputed musical styles in worship is a great misstep for several key reasons. The following treatment briefly explains four of these reasons.

Whenever a human offers an animal in sacrifice to an idol, he sins against God. We must consider carefully what is always true about any animal that an idolater offers in such sacrifices.

Divinely Created

Scripture explicitly states that God created all animals (Gen. 1:20-25), including those animals that idolaters have offered in sacrifices to idols. Scripture provides no such statements about any disputed musical style being created by God.

Divinely Declared to Be Good

Scripture explicitly states that God declared all the animals that He created to be good (Gen. 1:21, 25, 31), which obviously includes the animals that are offered in sacrifices to idols. Scripture provides no such teaching about any disputed musical style being good.

Divinely Authorized for a Specific Purpose

Scripture explicitly states that God authorized humans to eat all animals as food (Gen. 9:3), which applies therefore to all those animals that idolaters have offered in sacrifices to idols. Scripture does not anywhere say that God has authorized the use of any disputed musical style for any use.

Divinely Commended for Christian Use

Scripture explicitly states that God has commended Christian eating of the meat of all animals (1 Tim. 4:3-6), so He has commended Christian eating (in a context that does not involve eating in a worship context meat offered to idols) of those animals that idolaters have offered in sacrifices to idols. Scripture never says that God has commended for any Christian use any of the styles of music whose use in worship is widely disputed among God’s people.

Discussion

We have explicit biblical basis for holding that God created as good all animals and authorized their use as food for all humans. Directly from Scripture, we also know that He has commended the use of those animals for food for Christian people who choose to eat them.

We have no explicit biblical basis for holding that God has created as good any disputed musical style or that He has authorized any human use of these styles. Moreover, Scripture does not reveal to us anywhere that God has commended their use by Christians for any purpose, especially for worship.

Because of these essential differences between the biblical data concerning the animals that have been offered in sacrifice to idols and the musical styles that are widely disputed among God’s people, applying passages about meat offered to idols to the issues concerning the use in worship of these styles is a great misstep. In order to apply the passages about meat offered to idols legitimately to the issues concerning disputed musical styles, believers must prove explicitly from Scripture that those musical styles are directly comparable in the ways treated above to the animals that have been offered to idols.

Conclusion

Scripture explicitly provides four key bases for rejecting as faulty the use of passages about meat offered to idols to support the use of disputed musical styles in worship. These passages do not provide any support for using these disputed styles in worship.

Long before there was any rock music, classical guitarists such as Fernando Sor and Andrés Segovia earned widespread acclaim for their fantastic musical abilities. These virtuosos played instrumental music that was recognized all over the world for its musical excellence.

When rock music became popular in the US, the electric guitar was at the forefront of the popularity of that style. The classical guitar, however, had already existed for more than a century and a half by that time, and it never was and never has been the symbol of rock music.

To reject the use of the classical guitar so as not to associate oneself with rock music is a seriously flawed perspective that has no historical or biblical basis (see this post for an explanation) to support it. Christian churches today should not reject the use of the classical guitar out of an erroneous notion that to use the classical guitar is inherently to play rock music, CCM, or any other music that they deem to be unacceptable music for corporate worship.

Whether we should accept testimonies about demonic influences on human musicians is a disputed matter. Scripture provides several passages that help point us to the correct view about this important issue.

The Servants of Saul

After the Holy Spirit departed from Saul, God sent an evil spirit on Saul to afflict him. Saul’s servants somehow were accurately able to know and testify that an evil spirit was afflicting him:

1Sa 16:15 And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.

 16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.

We are not told that these servants were prophets, which would imply that they had special abilities given to them by God that ordinary people did not have. The available data points to ordinary people correctly being able to make the assessment that a demon was afflicting a human being.

Unspecified People

Some unspecified people accurately identified and brought to Jesus many that were demon-possessed:

Mat 8:16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick.

On another occasion, some unspecified people brought to Jesus a man who was mute because he was possessed by an evil spirit:

Mat 9:32 As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.

 33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.

These presumably ordinary people accurately assessed that this man was possessed and afflicted by a demon.

A Canaanite Mother

A Canaanite woman implored Jesus to heal her daughter who was cruelly afflicted by a demon:

Mat 15:21  Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

 22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

This Gentile woman who likely was an unbeliever was able to know correctly that her daughter was suffering terribly at the hands of a wicked spirit!

A Distressed Father in a Multitude

Jesus healed a demon-possessed son of a father who came to Him to deliver his son who had been terribly afflicted by the demon from his childhood:

Mar 9:17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;

 18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.

 19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.

 20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.

 21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.

 22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.

 23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

 25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.

 26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.

 27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.

This sorely distressed father accurately knew that his son had been tormented by a demon for years.

Discussion

These five passages plainly attest to humans being accurately able to assess demonic activity in humans. None of the passages gives any indication that the people who did so were prophets or other special people specially gifted by God to be able to do so.

This biblical evidence therefore teaches us that we should not hold the faulty view that ordinary people cannot accurately assess whether demons are afflicting or possessing humans or influencing them in other ways.

Application

The biblical data treated above does not support the notion that humans who testify about demonic influence upon themselves and others that led them to produce rock music and other ungodly music cannot reliably do so because humans cannot reliably know whether demons have influenced humans or not. Given that we have various testimonies that certain people’s rock music was sourced in demonic influence upon them (see the footnotes in this post for some of these testimonies), we should accept such testimony as authentic and reject rock music categorically.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past several years, I have participated in numerous, often-heated discussions with people on-line about the propriety of using rock music and CCM in Christian worship. Several people have raised the issue in these discussions of my not defining what CCM, rock music, etc. mean.

To understand whether defining these terms is vital in the CCM debate, it is necessary to consider several lines of biblical reasoning.

The Divine Example in General of Not Defining Terms for Sinful Practices

In many places in Scripture, God instructs His people about sinful practices that they must not engage in. Strikingly, God routinely does not define any of the terms that He uses in such instruction!

For example, consider the following passages of divine instruction concerning sinful practices:

Leviticus 20:27  A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

God did not provide any definition here of what a wizard was nor did He explain specifically what activities such a person engaged in that were sinful or what made those activities sinful.

Deu 18:9  When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.

10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,

11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

God used many different terms here to denote obviously differing sinful practices of the Canaanites, but He does not define them. He did not explain any specifics about why these things are abominations, and yet He expected His people to understand and obey exactly all that He is saying in these prohibitions.

The Divine Example of Unchanging Use of the Same Undefined Terms for Sinful Practices

Not only does God routinely not define terms denoting sinful practices of corrupt humans, but also He repeatedly uses the same undefined terms to instruct His people on repeated occasions spanning various amounts of intervening time between those occasions.

Exo 22:18  Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Deu 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,

1Sa 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

2Ki 9:22 And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?

2Ch 33:6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

Mic 5:12 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:

Nah 3:4 Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

Gal 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

From the time of Moses to Jehu to Micah and Nahum to Paul, God has condemned witchcraft and related sinful practices but never once defined them! This data shows that God used the same undefined terms unchangingly to condemn the same sinful practices of various groups of wicked people over a vast span of time.

Furthermore, this data shows that such unchanging use of these terms was fully legitimate in spite of whatever changes may have happened in the “genres” of these sinful practices over the 1500 or so years spanned by the periods that these verses cover.

The Divine Example of Using Undefined Terms concerning Sinful Musical Practices

Of specific relevance to the issue of defining terms in the CCM debate are Scriptural statements about music that similarly do not define the terms used.

Isa 23:15 And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot.

16 Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered.

God speaks in this passage about singing as a harlot but does not explain at all what such singing is like. Obviously, He expected every reader of these words to be able to know what such singing was like without His having to define the terms or explain what makes such singing sinful.

Ezekiel 33:32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song [Heb. sensual song] of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.

In this passage, God related that Ezekiel’s ministry to His sinful people was like as a sensual song, but He does not explain what comprised such a song or what specific elements of it made it sensual.

These two passages show that Scripture speaks twice about sensual music but does not define either time what such music is or why that music was sensual. God expected His people to understand what such music is like without His having to define it or explain at all what it was like.

Conclusion

The Scriptural data treated above clearly shows that God does not think that terms denoting the sinful practices of people have to be carefully defined in order to prohibit them and that those practices have to be explained thoroughly concerning what specific things about them make them sinful. Nor does God think it is invalid to use such undefined terms to refer to the same sinful practices in spite of any supposedly necessary changes in their “genres” over a vast period.

Concerning the CCM debate, the biblical data about God’s not defining terms denoting sinful practices, both in general and specifically about music, teaches us that it is not vital to define terms such as CCM, rock music, sensual music, etc. to be able to speak about the unchanging sinfulness of such practices over extended periods. Scripture does not support the contention that we cannot condemn rock music, CCM, etc. unless we first define them carefully and do so accounting for changes in the genres of these sinful musical practices.