REVISITING: What's Wrong With My Excuses?

This is my response to Jeff Godwin's "What's Wrong With My Excuses?" essay. The premise of his essay is to place himself in our shoes as Christian Rock advocates, and then shoot down our reasons for liking Christian rock. Unfortunately, he misses our motivations completely - as you will see! Our "excuses" are not excuses, they are REASONS - and they are JUST FINE!

The other side says My response

Every excuse in the book, no matter how ridiculous, has been given to show why C-Rock MUST be used to minister to youth and young adults. Let's look at ten of the most popular excuses and match them against the Bible. You be the judge. If the excuse matches the Word, then accept it. If not...

1.) They're going to listen to Rock music anyway! At least this is a better alternative.

The first part of that statement is a bold-faced lie. Not every new convert is as hard-hearted and rebellious as the CCM stars. Many young people are giving their hearts and lives completely to the Lord at salvation and have turned away from vile Rock filth. I've got a file drawer full of their precious letters. They recognize the difference between the holy and the profane, and are choosing holiness.

But what about the "better alternative?" Are you kidding? C-Rock looks the same, sounds the same and produces the same rotten fruit as its secular cousin: rebellion. It teaches kids how to love the New Age and hate authority. Some alternative.

A bold faced lie??? What part of "they will listen to rock music anyway" do you fail to understand?! I don't deny that there are a tiny minority who might feel exactly as he does, that Christian rock reminds them too much of their former life in the world. Therefore, they will have a conviction against it. I support their conviction - and encourage them not to listen to Christian rock. After all, they arrived at this conviction through the proper means. However, that leaves the vast majority of young people who will see absolutely no conflict whatsoever in listening to a particular musical style. I would remind Jeff that I have a conviction against opera style music (with its roots in filthy lust filled lyrics) or nightclub crooning solo style music (with its roots in seedy nightclubs filled with smoking, drunkenness, and picking up women for sex) - being in the church. But I don't force that opinion on anybody else. Neither should these kids - or Jeff - force their personal opinions on me - or us!

I think Jeff is a bit confused about the use of Christian rock. I use it as a tool of evangelism - to the LOST kids. Maybe Jeff should read my essay on being fishers of men! Whether or not Christian kids listen or not is almost irrelevant. Certainly the vast majority would prefer music stylistically similar to what they had listened to prior to salvation. If so - then Christian rock with good, Christ centered lyrics done by artists who have lifestyles worthy of emulation is preferable to secular rock. But as a tool to reach the lost - THAT is the primary purpose of Christian rock. Paul became ALL things to ALL men - within Biblical guidelines, so he could meet people where they were, at their point of need. If Christian rock is that point of need for the lost, then we better be grateful it is available as a took to reach the lost! And support it, and the musicians who perform it! For the Christian kids, it is just an agreeable alternative to the stodgy church music their parents worship to, and a Godly alternative to secular rock.

As for Jeff's file folder full of letters - remember that he, by the nature of his ministry, has responses from only the kids who agree with his point of view. If his viewpoint was typical of Christian kids, he should have rooms full of boxes piled to the ceiling, because Christian kids all over the country who are getting saved would be sending them. This is my personal opinion, but the 45 letters that he did publish sounded very suspicious to me - as though they were fakes.

2.) We have to use C-Rock because this is the music kids relate to today.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 tells Christians to SEPARATE from every ungodly work, not invite it home for dinner!

Here's the heart of the problem - the "relating" hoax is really about friendship WITH sin, not coming out from among them and being separate. Instead of "touch NOT the unclean thing", C- Rock says: "Touch it all you want to! We'll use it as a bridge to get to something better! Who cares if God forbids it? What does He know, anyway?"

Another point to consider: If you as a pastor, parent, youth leader, or church have to use gimmicks like "Christian" Rock to "relate" to youth, where does this leave the ministry of the Holy Ghost? Matthew 7:6 says not to throw pearls before swine. Yet we've got it backwards!

We'll dump Rock filth in the laps of God's people and call it a blessing!

A Christian" Thrash singer once told me I'd probably get my teeth knocked out if I went into the ghetto to witness. He said I'd have no chance of getting anyone to listen to the Gospel looking like that. (I was dressed in a shirt and tie.)

This man didn't know that two nights before, I was dressed the same way and shared the Gospel face-to-face with three lost Rock addicts. They understood the Gospel fine. Their hair, leather and studs didn't bother me, and my shirt and tie didn't bother them. It's the GOSPEL that does the relating, not Rock music or any other ungodly trick. The Holy Spirit's blessing is on God's Word, (John 17:17) not on pagan noise.

Do you know what those three headbangers told me during our meeting? They said, "Yeah, but it's O.K. for you CHRISTIANS to listen to Christian Rock, isn't it?"

Something's dead wrong in the way we're "relating" to the lost, Brother and Sister. The WORLD is mocking and laughing at us! They see through such hypocrisy in a minute; why can't WE? It's because churches have made friends with their chains (2 Peter 2:19). They've been too busy listening to "the experts" instead of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13 & 1 John 2:27).

Jeff's comments are based entirely on the assumption that rock music is sin, unclean, or filth. As you can read elsewhere in these essays, I have Biblical proof that this is NOT the case!

You would presume to reverse the scripture about throwing pearls before swine? I thought that taking the word of God and reciting it BACKWARDS was a trick of the Satanists! Of course that is not what you mean, you are calling rock music and musicians swine and young people "pearls". Thank you! This is the first time anywhere in any of your essays that I can find any evidence you love young people AT ALL! Most of the time you don't give them the credit for being the least bit discerning of spirits, at least where music is concerned. That is pretty insulting - a lot of the young Christian rock fans I have met could teach you lessons about scripture memory, resisting temptation, living Godly, separate lives, etc.

Your ghetto experience is interesting. It is also irrelevant to the discussion, but --- nowhere do you say that you actually went to the ghetto to meet with these men. If you did, I think you were fortunate not to get robbed or worse. There are exceptions to the rule, and sometimes you can get away with foolish actions, but in the vast majority of cases I would recommend a large, armed contingent to safely navigate through inner cities. Of course, the armed contingent could be angelic forces! In any case, the Bible admonishes us not to put the Lord our God to a foolish test. Going into an inner city dressed like you describe would definitely qualify as very foolish test.

I agree completely that the Holy Spirit is on God's word - that is the point Christian rock musicians are making to you: The message is there, in the lyrics. As far as rock music being "pagan noise", that is a matter of personal taste. Opera singing and nightclub crooning style music in the church sounds like pagan noise to ME!

The "headbangers" were absolutely right in pointing out the logical inconsistancy in your arguements. You were witnessing about rock music, NOT the Lord Jesus Christ! You said yourself that they understood the gospel. WHY didn't you stop there and lead them in prayer to accept Jesus and leave rejoicing that three more souls were added to the Kingdom? NO - you had to go on and start in on their music, and make that part of their salvation - a salvation of WORKS. LET THE LORD do the convicting and cleansing in their lives!!! They were NOT READY to hear about rock music. That is part of follow up - you needed to direct them to a local body and minister who could assist them in their new Christian life in the weeks and months to follow. Yes - secular rock is bad! But you don't confuse the issue of salvation with other issues. I have a list of non-issues a mile long: rock music, creation / evolution, Bible versions, style of dress, how many angels are on the head of a pin, what day of the week is the Sabbath. I wouldn't dare address any of them during a salvation experience - it confuses the issue and gives them information overload. But the worst aspect is that it adds WORKS to SALVATION!

3.) God created music, and everything God created is good, so Rock music must be good and godly, too.

Christian author LaMar Boschman's answer to this popular excuse is better than anything I could say. His reply is based on the scriptures found in Ezekiel 28:13 and Isaiah 14:11, which prove Lucifer's musicianship:

"The day Lucifer fell, music fell. Music that once was used to worship Almighty God now became music of an earthly nature, it became the music of the world and began to appeal to our lower nature instead of appealing to God and our spiritual man (that part of us that has been born of God). Music then, became corrupted. That anointed and powerful ministry of music that Lucifer had in heaven is now corrupted. That ministry is cursed. It now has a false anointing... He still has that same powerful ministry to create worship but now it is corrupted, and Lucifer uses that ministry to get worship for himself because he craves it..."

OK, then we better trash ALL music - right?! This quote refers to music in general, not just Christian rock!

Once and I hope for all - it is the attitude in the heart of the musician, and the one hearing the music - that determines its validity as a worship enhancement vehicle. NOT the musical style gestapo.

4.) Music is the universal language all young people understand, so we'll use Rock music to speak their language.

First of all, that's supposed to be impossible, because the doctrine of CCM says all music is neutral! But if it IS a language, then what is that music SAYING? This ad from CCM magazine is a perfect example of guilt-trip propaganda:

"Ask any youth pastor or any parent of a teenager and they'll tell you the same thing: Most of today's praise and worship music simply does not reach today's teenagers. We all know that music is the language of teens, and let's face it: most of the praise and worship music available today is a foreign language to them. That's why youth leaders are having such a difficult time getting their kids involved in their worship services. Says one youth director, 'As hard as I try, my kids just sit back with their arms folded when we begin our praise times.' In order to communicate effectively, you must speak the right language..."

Pastor and youth leader: if your young people are sitting on their hands during praise and worship time, the problem is in THEIR HEARTS, not the church's music! If you feed your kids the Rock and Rap slop they demand, they'll learn a new language alright - Satan's.

You know what? Once you start playing that game, they NEVER WILL BE satisfied, no matter what you do! "Give 'em what they want at any cost." Where's that found in the Bible? If you've got a youth group that's acting like poor, pampered little pouters, then demand their respect by refusing to cater to their rebellion.

In fairness to the kids, many youth won't give up THEIR idolatry because the youth leaders won't give up THEIRS! (Jeremiah 5:31). Incidentally, the kids aren't supposed to run the church! God gave the man behind the pulpit that responsibility, and he is subject to Jesus Christ (Titus 1:7-2:1).

Churches in general demand very little (if anything) from their youth today. There's plenty of busywork - plays, skits, pizza parties, roller rinks, bowling alleys and water parks. But where's the hard, dedicated service? It's gone the way of the all-night prayer vigil, the family altar and godly teens. Dead and buried.

The results are obvious - weak, spiritually flabby Christian youth with no roots. This eventually leads to a stiff-necked generation who proudly parade spiritual arrogance, all the while mistaking it for holiness. It's the trap of the Pharisee mindset: "We've got it together. We know what we're doing and NOTHING is going to change our mind."

Praise God for the holy remnant. Not ALL churches are this way (Isaiah 1:9). If you feel alone in your stand against 'Christian" Rock, be encouraged. The Lord Jesus is watching and your labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).

You talk about "guilt trips", and then you promptly proceed to lay one on the pastors and youth leaders who use Christian rock during their worship services!

Talk about confused ---- whoa - lets back up on the "doctrine of CCM"! When we say that "music is neutral", we are talking about the spiritual implications of a given style. Nothing more or nothing less. It is true that music can illicit emotional reactions, and that some reactions can transcend cultural boundaries. To build a whole theology or even doctrine based merely on emotional responses to music is ludicrous. When I hear "the fat lady" singing the church solo (usually badly), I have an emotional reaction. I wish she would get off the stage - because it grates on my ears and the tempo is so slow it is putting me to sleep. Unfortunately, this is the very time most churches crank up the volume to an ear shattering level. So, should I go build a doctrine based on typical church soloists? Of course not! I just don't like that type of music, plain and simple. I have the right to go to a church that doesn't subject me to that stuff. And - I would not inflict a rock band on you - I would encourage you to go elsewhere, because you would have a very negative emotional reaction to the rock music. Aren't you glad that there are churches with fat ladies singing? I am glad there are churches with rock bands. To each his own, and lets start loving our Christian brothers that worship differently from us instead of throwing stones at them. then maybe our worship will honor Christ. The musical style is neutral, it is a framework around which we can construct worship - or dishonor. No matter what the beat, the instruments used, or the pitch of the sound. Find me anywhere in the Bible where it says 4:4 beat is OK, but 3:4 with the anapestic short-short-long beat is sin. Then I will listen to you.

The ad in CCM magazine is a pretty accurate expression of the problem with most church music, but I disagree with it. It not only applies to young people, but to most adults under 50 as well! Whether or not you want to acknowlege it - the public's taste in music has changed. The classical and opera style of music has a very minimal appeal, and even the nightclub crooning and southern gospel styles are in serious decline. Before you lay another guilt trip on all of us - why don't you accept the possibility that your own musical taste is shaping your opinions? I have not seen one shred of Biblical evidence that Christian rock music is evil, in fact I have Biblical evidence that is IS valid.

As far as heart attitudes are concerned, you have just insulted a lot of very spiritually minded, Christ centered young people that I have known in youth groups. As a youth leader, I have formed close friendships with some of them, close enough to see if the fruit of the Spirit is present in their lives or not. It makes me a little angry when you insult my personal friends over their musical taste. This is not Christlike of you, and I will thank you to stop! You make some of the most Godly young people I know sound like "pouting" little babies. Guess what? My Bible still says that it is the meat eaters who are spiritually mature, not the meat abstainers. Elsewhere in these essays, I have admonished Christian rock fans not to flaunt their musical taste in front of you - the weaker brother. But I also ask you not to barge in where you are not wanted, looking for idol meat. You are likely to find it, but THAT is NOT our fault! We will practice our form of worship far from your sight, and will not disturb you. I refuse to be responsible if the very fact of our existance - those who worship Jesus Christ in Spirit and Truth with Christian rock - distresses you. THAT is a problem with YOUR heart, and it is called sectarianism. What an UGLY, unSpirit-Filled, unfulfilled life you must lead.

As far as being of the Pharisee mindset - be careful! The Pharisees were the ones who wanted to preserve TRADITION at all cost - not embrace some wild new idea - like REPENTANCE preached by John the Baptist. You sound more like a Pharisee than Christian rock fans. As for nothing changing my mind, read the whole apologetics page. The moment you have something to say, I will listen. So far, you have not had anything to say worth listening to!

5.) "No young person is going to stay in a stuffy" church. You've got to have some excitement! We've got to give the kids what they want or we'll lose them. Right?"

Wrong! If the only thing keeping the youth in your church is "Christian" Rock music, then let them go! If that's the glue holding the youth group together, you don't really have a youth group. To say that you must have Rock or the kids won't come is to dishonor and demean the drawing power of the Holy Ghost (John 6:44, 12:32). This ad for CCM star Morgan Cryar's music is a perfect case in point:

"Fuel On The Fire - A good pop/rock sound for the teen-age audience. The songs deal with youth issues and situations without being preachy."

Without being "preachy." To hear the CCM industry tell it, preaching the uncompromising Word of God is a fate worse than death. Someone might get turned off, and ruin their whole day. What does the Bible say?

"For the PREACHING of the cross is to them that perish I foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a PREACHER?" Romans 10:14

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; PREACH the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." 2 Timothy 4:1,2 (Emphasis author's).

If your church is dead, dry or 'stuffy," then let some of the starch out! The Church should never be an organization; it's an organism - a living, vibrant body of believers.

If your church is full of snoring pew bums, don't think young people don't know it. They can spot a phoney a mile away. Give those kids something scriptural worth respecting, and they will. Keep feeding them gimmicks like 'Christian" Rock, and you'll soon have contempt and rebellion coming out your ears (Proverbs 18:3).

SUBMISSION VS. REBELLION

The real battle is not about a musical generation gap, it's about SUBMISSION vs. REBELLION. Submission is the hallmark of the Christian life. Without it, all you have is counterfeit spirituality. To resist the devil, you must first be submitted to God (James 4:7). Since C-Rock fans aren't truly submitted, they'll never be able to resist Satan, no matter how often they sing "To Hell With The Devil" (by Stryper).

The classic hymns so despised by youth today were all about SUBMISSION; that's why carnal Christians want no part of them.

Songs like: "Washed In The Blood," "Haven of Rest," "Jesus Paid It All," "To God Be The Glory," "Lord, I'm Coming Home," "Victory In Jesus," "Have Thine Own Way, Lord," "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross," "Take My Life And Let It Be," "I Surrender All," "Jesus Is All The World To Me." These are all songs of SUBMISSION.

Here's a lyrical example from just one of them:

"Have thine own way, Lord/ Have thine own way/ Thou art the potter/ I am the clay/ Mold me and make me/ After thy will/ While I am waiting/ Yielded and still..."

Now read these C-Rock lyrics to see the difference between submission and rebellion:

ROCK THOSE BLUES AWAY - Bride

"I don't need nobody to ease my aching mind. Don't need nobody complaining all the time. I need to roll those blues, rock those blues away... Let me tell you honey, what I need. I need a smooth playing guitar in my hand. Listen to the rhythm of my band."

Lots of godly submission in that one, isn't there?

If none of this describes your church, then shout hallelujah to the Lord, and back your pastor 100%, because he's standing strong against deception!

The 1990's will see the most intense war for the souls of youth ever fought, and it's getting hotter by the day. The carnal, C-Rock supporting Church has already cut deals with the antichrist system (whether they know it or not). And they will cut many more in the weeks and months to come. Is YOUR church one of them?

OK - I let you rant on and on enough. Here are my responses to the many comments made.

Do you mean church cannot be exciting? Do you mean it can't meet the needs of the young people attending a youth group on their level? That is exactly what you are saying! Lets force the youth go to church with a downcast, sober, sullen, suffering, bored attitude and see how much they honor and worship Christ. I usually see more worship in one Wednesday night youth group worship service than I do in a whole year in the adult service.

Adult service: 4:4 hymns, and if the choir shuts up or the organ quits you discover practically nobody is singing. Not surprising, because most churches try to force everybody to sing soprano - and I got news for those churches: I CAN'T SING SOPRANO!!!! If the choir would give me a template to sing with (the low notes) I can belt out most hymns pretty well. Try to do it the music director's way - all soprano, and I get a hoarse throat. What are people concentrating on? TRYING to sound good against the natural tendency of their voice - NOT THE WORDS OF WORSHIP IN THE HYMN!!!! Also - the adult service puts everybody to sleep before the sermon by playing progressively slower and slower songs. That is stupid, because you need to get people's blood pumping and the brain oxygenated before you tell them to sit down for an hour. The way most adult services do it - it programs people to go to sleep. And they do, or at least their mind wanders due to poor circulation in the brain. The focus of the worshipper: STAYING AWAKE or WHO KNOWS WHAT DISTRACTION - not the LORD JESUS CHRIST

Youth service: Exciting, fun, easy to sing along with music. Lots of joyful noise - directed heavenward!!! Everybody is tapping their feet, dancing, moving around - so when it is time to sit down and listen to the message, the youth are ALERT and ready to receive the Word! I must confess that this is the exact reason I entered youth ministry - finally a worship service where I can focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, and not how tired and bored I am.

I have no problem with preaching. I agree totally with the scripture you presented. But does every moment of a youth service, in fact every moment of a young person being entertained, have to spent listening to preaching? That is utter nonsense and you know it! If that were true, no church should even bother having music, announcements, activities, fellowships, church business meetings, etc. Every single moment should be preaching. Right?! That is what you are saying! Morgan Cryer's album is ENTERTAINMENT for young people, not intended to be preaching.

DEFINITELY - let some starch out! Get the old outdated traditions and music out of there or you WILL lose not only your youth, but most of your younger adults as well! There is no room for Pharisitical ideology in a vibrant, growing body of believers!

Christian rock is a "gimmick"? Well, in some churches, maybe. It will NEVER substitute for dead, uninspired, un-Biblically based preaching from the pulpit or from the youth leader. PERIOD! It should merely be an adjunct to the youth ministry, a substitute for the music that will no longer reach young people. It serves the same purpose that hymns serve in the main service, as a way to life Holy Voices to heaven in praise of the father. And if you think rock music is all noise, well the Bible says make a joyful NOISE unto the Lord! If the young people are worshiping in Spirit and in Truth to music with a rock beat, you better think twice about quenching the Holy Spirit! Christian rock can also be a background to youth activities, the same as slower music is in adult activities. The youth wouldn't like the music at your fellowships, you don't like the music at theirs. So attend the activity appropriate for your age and quit casting stones at the other groups in your church!

As for submission vs rebellion - yes - if I were under your authority in a church, I would be in rebellion. Therefore, I would have the spiritual discerning to leave your church and find one where I could be in accordance with the leadership. SO WILL YOUR YOUNG PEOPLE AND YOUNG ADULTS! Don't sell us short just because you don't agree with us. There can and will always be people that disagree with you. Don't presume to pronounce judgement from on high unless you are sure you are the Lord Jesus Christ! But do continue to hold your opinion for those who agree with you. They need a place to worship as well, and I am glad you are there for them.

Your lyrical examples are valueless, because I could come up with a hundred examples of submission in Christian rock lyrics, and 100 examples of bad theology in hymns. That type of discussion is pointless - there have always been and will always be people writing bad church music. Fortunately, over time, the majority of it is weeded out by attrition.

I resent strongly you saying I have cut a deal with the anti-Christ. I have nothing to do with satan or his works. Naturally, I disagree that Christian rock is of satan, but other than that you and I probably have a lot in common. I have stood fast and taken unpopular stands against homosexuality, abortion, pornography, gambling, drinking, smoking, drugs, lawlessness, violence, hatred, and devaluing of life. Have you? I have been there - with pickets in hand, taking verbal and sometimes threatened physical abuse for the principles in the Word. How many abortion clinics have you picketed? Did you vote for Godly Christian men in the last election, or did you help elect moral degenrates (yes I am talking about a president that supports abortion, homosexual rights, euthanasia, and is immoral in his personal life). You would be surprised how many Christians voted for this man! Have you suffered job discrimination because you take a stand against gambling? Do you obey the speed limit without question, or do you have a radar detector? Who is compromising with satan? Me or you? I will be DEMANDING the guillotine when the anti-Christ comes to power, if my pre-trib views are wrong. There can be no compromise with the anti-Christ or satan. To die under the anti-Christ's rule would be an honor!

Actually - it seems to be the CCM / Christian rock listening young people and young adults who are doing the most for the kingdom. 15 years ago, when KSBJ came on the air in Houston playing CCM, I was upset that they devoted a big part of their day to a conservative talk show by Marlin Maddoux. I thought it didn't belong on a station that primarily played music for young people. I thought they would tune out - go back to secular station during the show, rather than listen to Biblical perspectives on issues. I was completely wrong! When he came to town with his "America Betrayed" rally - the audience was mostly teenagers! Teenagers did a lot of the leg work in defeating a homosexual affirmative action proposition in Houston - largely as a result of listening to that station. It is mostly young people and young adults who were in marches and demonstrations gainst abortion. Older people were conspicuously absent. Have they become complacent and lukewarm, content to be fed in their tradition churches without being salt and light in their community?

6.) No one can live under those kind of rules! That's too hard and legalistic!

This is the most popular excuse in all of CCM. Submission to God cramps people's style. Someone might actually have to give up their desires and change their lives to make them conform to God's will. How harsh of God to ask us to obey Him.

Fortunately, Jesus was willing to obey the Father and give up the glory of Heaven to come to a filthy earth and die for our sins. Because of Christ's obedience, we can have eternal life. Where would we be now if Jesus Christ had used excuse # 6? (We'd be in hell.)

2 Timothy 4:3 predicted a time when Christians will not endure sound doctrine (That time is here right now). Isaiah 30:8-14 says many of God's people only want to hear "smooth things." The CCM stars are fulfilling these scriptures! They're trading sound doctrine for slick, carnal compromise by telling masses of believers that:

A. Music is neutral.

B. Jesus was a "cool dude" who would never want you to have a boring day, and

C. It'll all work out in the end, as long as you "feel good" about what you're doing.

This is rank apostasy of the worst sort, but plenty of duped Christians are eating it up like candy. Why? Because it's just what they want to hear.

Legalism is defined like this: LAWS WITHOUT LOVE. Pursuing Biblical holiness isn't legalism; it's real freedom! Knowing the truth sets people free, according to John 8:31,32.

Here's the truth, if you'll receive it: C-Rock music and everything it represents is satanic because it blocks the path to self-denial, purity, holiness and total devotion to the Lord Jesus.

There's only one foundation, and that's Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). What we build on it is up to us. When that foundation gets cracked, weedy and full of garbage, it's time to clear aside the spiritual stumbling blocks and haul off the trash (Jeremiah 1:4-10). That's not legalism. It's repentance in action.

The central theme of #6 is "legalism". I have a different definition, which is so good that I put it on the main apologetics page) A definition of LEGALISM: "An obsessive conformity to a standard for the purpose of exalting self." The spirit of legalism is the spirit of FEAR. Fear of the new, the unknown, the untried. It is also the spirit of SELF: "I know better than you do what is best for you" - thoughts from Chuck Swindoll

I apologize for not being able to jot down the exact content of Chuck's "Insights" program of 4-14-98, but that was the spirit of what he said. I have no idea whether Chuck Swindoll opposes or is in favor of Christian rock, but given the thoughts above - if he applies those thoughts to the subject of music, I have a feeling I know where he would stand!

WHOA THERE!!! You quote Isaiah 30:8-14 and says that God's people only want to hear "smooth things" - this applies to positive words from pulpits instead of the message of sin and death - and repentance and salvation. I am not aware of any CCM artist who promotes the three points you list:

  • Music is neutral - no it certainly is NOT! But musical style is neither evil nor good in and of itself, and its interpretation is up to the taste of the listener.
  • Jesus was a cool dude, etc. ---- I would certainly like to think of Jesus as being able to fit into any social situation that is not sinful, and be a gracious guest - exhorting, uplifting, and teaching. That is exactly the Jesus of the Bible. Being in His presence was the unique privelege of only those who were alive when His earthly ministry was conducted. It is also the blessed hope of all of us who know and love the Lord - actually to be in His presence one day. And no, he was not in the least bit boring, unlike many preachers today unfortunately.
  • Any CCM star that says it will all work out in the end as long "as you feel good" does not get airplay on The Intro Live, because you are correct - that IS rank apostasy. Fortunately, most questions about songs that we play are related to a misunderstanding of a lyric, and not to apostasy. We do screen each song for lyrical content, and if we find something that slips through the cracks, we pull it immediately. I only wish churches were as quick to pull hymnals that contain apostasy. I have seen John Lennon's "Imagine" and George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" in hymnals - and I can assure you I did not attend those churches again! Every existing copy of those hymnals should be shredded.

Another central theme of #6 is the second to the last paragraph. And I can tell you that you have not proved your assumption! I am probably one of the most avid supporters of Christian rock that you will find. Is the Spirit present in my life? Not as much as I would like - I am a work in creation still. But lets look at the points you make:

  • self denial and total devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ - also referred to as dying to self and living for Christ. Look at the works listed under point 5 above and see if I am looking out for myself, or for number 1 (Jesus Christ). I am not nearly as successful or wealthy as I might have been if I even "played along" wiht the world, not making waves. I choose to make waves, because I won't stand idly by while the name of my Lord Jesus is dragged through the mud. I have even told superiors that their use of the Lord's name in vain is offensive to me. How many of you would have the courage to do that? I do not laugh at off color jokes, I do not go drinking with co-workers. I could do many of these things, or merely be silent, and not sin. But to me - I would rather identify with Christ than a secular ideal of "getting along". I would rather die to self than die without Christ.
  • purity and holiness - in youth work, I have been surrounded by young people, including females. I wish that I could say that young girls in the church are pure. They are not! I have been approached on more than one occasion by a very desirable young female, and turned her down completely - and the Holy Spirit has given me the exact words each time to avoid destroying her self esteem in the process. The Lord has given me a wonderful marriage and a beautiful daughter, and I am completely satisfied with both.

I am not saying these things to exalt myself - but as a testimony to the power of God through my life. Think twice before presuming to judge the Holy Spirit's work or the walk of another person. I might have a stick in my eye, but you better look at the board in your own first.

7.) I can't serve a God out of fear. Jesus is about love, and this music shows kids that.

There's nothing wrong with a good holy fear of God. Those who truly love God WILL fear Him. The awesome, knee-shaking fear of God is a theme conspicuously absent from C-Rock music. (See Daniel 10:7-10, Isaiah 6:1-5, Ezekiel 1:28, 3:23, Hebrews 12:18-21, & Revelation 1:12-17). The C-Rock crowd is a perfect picture of what happens to people when there is no fear of God before their eyes.

Psalm 40:3 says our conversion will put a NEW song in our mouth that will cause those who hear it to FEAR! (Does C-Rock do that? They're too busy dancing!)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, (Psalm 111:10). Only by fearing God can we know what true godly love is. The fear of God is as Biblical as John 3:16.

So fear of God is a theme absent from CCM?


Awesome God

Rich Mullins

When He rolls up His sleeves
He ain't just putting on the ritz
(Our God is an awesome God)
There's thunder in His footsteps
And lightning in His fists
(Our God is an awesome God)
And the Lord wasn't joking
When He kicked 'em out of Eden
It wasn't for no reason
That He shed His blood
His return is very close
And so you better be believing that
Our God is an awesome God

(Chorus)
Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power, and love
Our God is an awesome God

(Repeat Chorus)

And when the sky was starless
In the void of the night
(Our God is an awesome God)
He spoke into the darkness
And created the light
(Our God is an awesome God)
Judgement and wrath He poured out on Sodom
Mercy and grace He gave us at the cross
I hope that we have not
Too quickly forgotten that
Our God is an awesome God

(Repeat chorus 4 times)

Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power, and love
Our God is an awesome God

Our God is an awesome God
Our God is an awesome God

I can find lots more examples of the fear of God, but this example from Rich Mullins is one of the most important, because it consistantly ranks as one of the top three all time favorites of CCM fans! Of course, Jeff could always exercise the ultimate in bad taste and write an insulting essay flaming Rich Mullins (who was killed horribly in a tragic traffic accident 9-17-1997). I still feel this type of discussion is pointless. I can find lots of hymns where the fear of God is absent. A lot of hymns are very positive, and about love. Are they wrong? So what if you can find examples in Christian rock songs where the fear of God is absent? That doesn't prove your point any more than me finding hymns that are not about the fear of God. This debate is about balance. If no CCM or Christian rock was about the fear of God, then Jeff would have a valid point. The truth is - except for youth specific issues - the lyrics of Christian rock as well as are balanced over a wide variety of topics, including the fear of God.

Oh - I have to ask again - what is wrong with dancing for joy before the Lord? I suggest you look up the following scriptures:

  • 2 Samuel 6:14-16
  • 2 Samuel 6:20-23

Want to be like Michal, daughter of Saul? Just forbid people from dancing for joy before the Lord!

8.) There's more important things in the church to worry about than music.

Satan would love for you to believe that lie. If "Christian" Rock is in your church, you've already got deception, rebellion and soul pollution in the minds of your young people. Anything more important than that?

If church leadership will diligently look, they'll see that MUSIC is a prime key to the spiritual health (or sickness) of any church. Preaching, teaching and the Great Commission are all major elements of the Body of Christ. And so is music.

Don't ever sell it short.

I got no argument with Jeff here on the basic concept that music is vitally important in the worship of the Lord. My argument with him is that Christian rock is deception, rebellion, and soul pollution.

DECEPTION? I am NOT THE ONE who tried to mislead people into thinking that:

  • Audio Adrenaline sings "All of the answers will come from within" when they are actually singing "All of the answers are coming from Him"
  • The present lead singer of Whiteheart is guilty of child molestation, when it was actually a former lead singer
  • DC Talk is calling Jesus a "Freak", when they are actually calling themselves "Freaks"
  • Michael W. Smith uses Runes, when it is actually just a decorative font
  • The 77's recorded "Stairway to Heaven", when they never did!

And so forth. I just picked up a few examples of blatant factual blunders from my other essays. Do I have to go through my entire list here? Are all of these factual blunders just goof-ups on your part caused by lack of research, or are they a conscious effort at deception? WHO is the FATHER of DECEPTION - the Lord Jesus Christ or satan????

9.) Times have changed. It's time we changed too. The old ways don't work any more. We"ve got to update our approach and try something new. "Christian" Rock is the tool to better ministry.

Those "old ways" you are tossing onto the garbage heap just so happen to be God's ways. They've worked for thousands of years, and no matter what any C-Rock fan tells you, they still work today.

When holy servants of God pray and clearly preach the Gospel, the Holy Spirit still convicts hearts and draws lost sinners unto repentance. Souls are still being saved every day. Here's how God sees it:

Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16

Do you dare to claim you've got a better plan for soulwinning than outlined in the Bible? If you do, I'd like to hear it., because that means you're smarter than God.

Oh brother! To say that the "old ways" have been around for thousands of years is hilarious! I was privileged to be around at the 150th anniversary of a large Baptist church. They had a historical anecdote: when the church bought its first organ, it so scandalized some of the members that they BROKE INTO THE CHURCH in the middle of the night and stole the instrument. They threw it in the bayou! So the "old ways" haven't been around as long as you think!

What wins people to Christ is overwhelmingly seeing the spirit led, Christ centered RESULTS in a person's life. People are astutely able to spot phonies a mile off, and we in the church have provided them with some choice examples lately:

  • Jim Bakker
  • Jimmy Swaggart (an opponent of Christian rock, by the way)

So what, then are the "old paths"? Jesus gave us the Great Commission, and I see no reason to have anything newer than that! Paul taught us how to effectively fulfill the great commission. Jesus, as well as Paul, bent over backwards to cut through the garbage and get to the heart of the matter - the person's spiritual condition. Both rebelled against conventional wisdom to put themselves in places where people could be reached. Jesus going into the homes of tax collectors and reaching out to outcasts such as the woman at the well. Paul became "all things to all men", and so are the Christian rock musicians.

10.) As long as kids are getting saved, nothing else matters. So butt out, buddy.

When you reach this point in any discussion about CCM and all its ungodliness, it's time to stop., shake off the dust and move on. Any believer so bound will never understand the difference between the flesh and the spirit until God Himself makes it real to them.

They don't understand that fleshly lusts war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11). They won't accept the fact that flesh and spirit cannot peacefully co-exist (Galatians 5:16,17).

These are the people who go to dark "Christian" nightclubs and boogey all over the "Christian" dancefloor, while listening to "Christian" Rock. After all, the torture Jesus endured on the cross doesn't mean we can't have any fun. Right? God's heart breaks over such foolishness:

"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him." 2 Corinthians 11:3,4

The Church of Jesus Christ has ignored the obvious for far too long. Excuses can be made from now until judgment Day, but none of them will change one simple fact: there's nothing Christian about "Christian" Rock. You can make a list of excuses a mile long, but that's all they are - excuses.

My prayer is that you will see that God wants you to crucify your old flesh (Galatians 2:20) so Christ can live His life through you. I pray Jesus will change your affections form the inside out. Then you can learn to walk with God in ways you never thought possible.

It's the only way out of bondage, and I pray you'll take it.

Oh boy - talk about "rebellion" - your attitude here is really BAD!

I represent the "worst nightmare" scenario to your assumptions. A true man of God who has sincere, scripturally based opinions about Christian rock that are in direct opposition to your opinion. In order for you to refute me, you have to refute my scriptural support for the musical style - which I promise would not be possible. The Word of God stands - don't presume to alter it! Failing that, the only thing left for you to do is attack my walk by saying I don't know the difference between the spirit and the flesh. But I assure you - as much as any believer is capable, I am able to use the Holy Spirit to effectively battle the flesh - and be victorious. That statement must really bother you, because if its true, you are battling not only the word of God but also His Spirit, resident in me! Not only that, but you are battling the Christ centered authority of my pastor, who also believes the same way, for the same reasons. You are on very shaky ground, indeed!

The final blow to your tirade is: if I can produce even one convert to the Christian faith who is now sincerely saved through the ministry of CCM or Christian rock - it validates not only that artist's ministry, but also the entire style of music! That is something that you simply could not withstand - the entire intellectual foundation of your arguments crumbles into quicksand. And if you pin the foundations of your faith on this principle, you go down in that same quicksand.

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