Archives For CCM

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

In 1992, Tim Fisher wrote the following about CCM:

Christian Rebellion?

If it is true that rock music is the music of rebellion, then it follows that Christian rock music is the music of Christian rebellion. Christian rock exploits the generation gap that the secular rock culture has done so much to establish. The early arguments in favor of Christian rock pointed to it as a tool to draw masses to Christ and into the church. Twenty-five years of observation have shown just the opposite to be true. CCM is robbing our churches of their young people and turning them against their authorities—parents, pastors and Christian school teachers. CCM is breaking apart Christian colleges and organizations. It is polarizing the church into CCM supporters and nonsupporters. Pastors tell me regularly that no theological issue is breaking up their churches and causing people to leave like CCM.

—The Battle for Christian Music, 84-85

Is “Christian” rock “Christian” rebellion?

After the first 5 classes of my 15-week class on acceptable music for corporate worship, my students have learned specific Bible answers to each of the following 20 questions. How many of these questions are you able to answer?

  1. What 5 truths about the book of Psalms show us that music is important to God?
  2. What are the 9 periods that span all that the Bible teaches us about music?
  3. Does the Bible teach that Jubal invented the musical instruments that he played? Explain your answer.
  4. How do we know that music without words is not neutral or amoral? Discuss at least 2 passages that teach us this truth.
  5. Who is the most important human musician in Scripture? In what ways does Scripture stress his importance?
  6. What two passages teach us that human culture making activities are not guaranteed to produce things that are good just because the product was made from good things that God made? Explain how they teach us this vital truth.
  7. How does Scripture teach us that no musical instrument is inherently evil? Which book specifically teaches us this truth and how does it do so?
  8. Who is the earliest recorded person to command God’s people to sing to the Lord? What else is important about what this person did when this command was given?
  9. What are the four lengthy song texts that are in the first ten books of the Bible? What is one specific truth about God that all of these songs emphasize about Him?
  10. What passage teaches what a musical instrument is and what characteristics music that is ministered must have in order for it to be fit for ministry? Explain its teaching about both of these points.
  11. What key passage stresses that we cannot follow the practices of wicked people in what we do in worshiping God with music?
  12. What passage teaches us about the power of instrumental music to affect humans and angels? How does it teach us this truth?
  13. Why is Psalm 40:1-3 not the salvation testimony of a lost person who became a believer?
  14. Why is Genesis 1:20-21 important for our understanding of music?
  15. How do we know that music is not a human invention?
  16. What key passage commands us three times to use musical instruments in divine worship? What else does it teach about the use of musical instruments in worship?
  17. What key passage commands us five times to sing praise to God? Who is commanded to do so in this passage?
  18. Who are the four classes of living beings that Scripture records engage in musical activity? List one passage for each class that records such activity.
  19. What passage teaches us that demons influenced humans to produce unacceptable music for corporate worship? How does this passage teach us that demons played a role in what took place on this occasion?
  20. Why is rock music not acceptable music for corporate worship? What passages show us that it is an ungodly style of music?


Tim Fisher expresses well the importance of singing Scripture in worship:

We have departed so much from the Word of God and the instruction of Scripture that probably not one church in a hundred ever sings Scripture at all! What a shame, since the New Testament tells us specifically that we ought to be using Scripture in our worship songs (not just scriptural thought, but Scripture). The only church hymnals in existence until 100 years ago were either primarily or totally Scripture passages or paraphrases. Songs of “human composure” were not even allowed in public worship until the nineteenth century. How far have we departed from the biblical ideal in such a short time! I am not advocating a total return to the Psalters, but I am insisting upon some return to songs of Scripture.

The Battle for Christian Music, 46


Lord willing, I will begin teaching a 15-week Bible college class Acceptable Music for Corporate Worship this Thursday! Through this class, I hope to disciple several Spanish students to know, understand, and do what the Bible teaches about this vital subject.

The students in this class will read the book of Psalms and La Batalla por La Música Cristiana, the Spanish translation of The Battle for Christian Music by Tim Fisher. They will memorize select passages about music, They will also write a paper on what the book of Psalms teaches about acceptable instrumental music for corporate worship.

I praise God for the opportunity to teach a college-level class on this subject!

Balaam professed that the Lord was his God (Num. 22:18). Yet, both Testaments record that he was a wicked man who harmed God’s people greatly (Num. 31:16; Rev. 2:14).

God gave profound authentic revelation about the Messiah through him (Num. 24:15-19). God has even inscripturated that revelation for all time in the Bible.

Theologians have rightly used the authentic revelation given by God through Balaam in spite of his wickedness. We can and should learn doctrine and edify one another through the recorded oracles of Balaam that God has given to us in Scripture.

Similarly, God’s people have used songs or musical pieces that accurately convey truth about God even though they have been written by otherwise perverse people.

Given that the former practice (using divine revelation given through Balaam) is indisputably proper, are there any valid reasons to hold that it is improper for us to use good music that has been produced by ungodly sources? Should Christians use good music from ungodly sources?

This fairly recent article (2012) explains the origins of rock music. It is not written by a “wacko” fundamentalist with an ax to grind—the author is a rock musician.

Reading this article (and many others like it) should make clear to any Christian the ungodly origins and nature of this musical style. God demands that we “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph. 5:11), including any such musical styles.

Note: I did not watch any of the videos that are in this article and would recommend strongly that you do not do so either.