Is C-Rock (“Christian”
Rock), CCM (Contemporary “Christian” Music), and CCW (Contemporary
“Christian” Worship) scriptural? I believe these forms of “worship” can be located
in the scriptures in several different locations. I will use only one scriptural instance here:
Exodus 32:6 And they rose up early
on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and
rose up to play.
Exodus 32:7 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt,
have corrupted themselves:
Exodus 32:17-19 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted,
he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. 18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for
mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. 19 And
it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed
hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.
This by no means
is an exhaustive study about CCM, C-Rock, and CCW. By no means do I leave out “country music” purposely.
I simply leave it for another time. But, let me say this, in my “younger” days (before I had
accepted Jesus as my Savior) I was a promoter of Country music. What this means is I brought well known country
music stars (some former “rockers”) into cities for performances. I witnessed first hand what goes on
behind the scenes. Not all the performers were “upstanding spiritual saints”, and not all were what you
would consider the “dregs” of life. Unfortunately, the "flavor" of
country music has also become part of many churches' "worship"
My concern, today, is for Christians
to wake up and quit being supportive of the types of non-God honoring music that is PREVALENT
in MANY CHURCHES today. L.W.
I. MUSIC: NEUTRAL?
The foundational philosophy for “Christian”
Rock (C-Rock), Contemporary “Christian” Music (CCM) and Contemporary “Christian”
Worship (CCW) is the idea that music is neutral or amoral and that any style of music can be used in the service of a
holy God. Consider the following examples:
A. “...we need to stop advocating one
music style over against another. Our tradition, our style, our renderings have to do with ourselves, not with God.”
--Anthony Gentes, The Worship Thought, July 2003.
B. “There is no such thing as ‘gospel
music.’ Every style and form of music can become gospel, whether it’s jazz, pop, rock ‘n’ roll, or
rap.” --Don Butler, Gospel Music Association
“There is no style of music that can’t be enjoyed by Christians.” --
D. “God speaks through all different kinds of musical styles” --Bill
There are some questions
that need to be asked about whether or not music is neutral, and whether or not it is a language:
1. Why is it that music can be used to create different
If all musical styles are neutral, why
is it that music can be used to create different emotion? In the old silent movies era, there were no words to the movies
except the text shown on the screen, but the musicians (sometimes a lone pianist or organist; sometimes an orchestra) could
create feelings of fear, hate, happiness, sorrow, romance, anger, indignation, tension, uncertainty, merely by changing the
style of music. If there was a scene with the bad guy slowly sneaking up on the unsuspecting, sleeping heroin, the music would
be tense and gloomy. If upbeat classical or peppy, march music was put to that type of scene, the movie would be like a comedy,
because the acting would be saying one thing and the music would be saying something different. Different emotions can be
created with different styles of music for the simple reason that music is NOT neutral.
2. If all musical styles are neutral, why do taverns and night
clubs always play a certain kind of music? The reason this is
the case is because music is not neutral, and taverns and bars play a kind of music that fits the lifestyle of that setting.
Music is a language.
If all musical styles are neutral, why did the old bluesmen believe that certain kinds of Rhythms caused women to be morally
example, Professor Longhair’s (see Wikipedia) boogie-woogie piano music is said to have caused women to “jump
and wriggle” in a lascivious manner. Robert Johnson, one of the pioneering bluesmen who died young because of his
womanizing, said of his blues rhythms: “This sound affected most women in a way that I could never understand.”
B.B. King, one of the biggest living names in the blues, said in his autobiography, “The women reacted with their bodies
flowing to a rhythm coming out of my guitar…” Those are powerful statements about the effect of a specific kind
of music and rhythm. Were the bluesmen confused about their music? No, music is not neutral; music is a language.5. Why do these secular rock lovers describe
the heavily syncopated rock rhythms as sexy, primitive, seductive, rough, hardcore, naughty, loose, wild, and hypnotic?
What do they know, or what are they admitting, that the C-Rock, and the Contemporary “Christian” Music
crowd denies? They are admitting that music is not neutral and that the heavy backbeat of rock & roll is sensual.
This tells me that music is a language.
4. If all musical styles are neutral, why do rock musicians claim that their heavily
syncopated rhythm is sexy?Following are just a few of the many quotes we could
give along this line:
“Rock music is sex.
The big beat matches the body’s rhythms” (Frank Zappa of the Mothers of Invention, Life, June 28, 1968).
B. “That’s what rock is all about--sex with a 100 megaton bomb, the beat!”
(Gene Simmons of the rock group Kiss, interview, Entertainment Tonight, ABC, Dec. 10, 1987).
“Rock 'n' roll is 99% sex”
(John Oates of the rock duo Hall & Oates, Circus, Jan. 31, 1976).
‘n’ roll is pagan and primitive, and very jungle, and that’s how it should be!” (Malcolm McLaren, punk rock manager, Rock, August 1983).
E. “The great strength of rock ‘n’ roll lies in its beat ... it is a
music which is basically sexual, un-Puritan,...
and a threat to established patterns and values” (Irwin Silber, Marxist, Sing Out, May 1965).
“Rock and roll aims for liberation and transcendence, EROTICIZING THE SPIRITUAL AND SPIRITUALIZING
THE EROTIC, because that is its ecumenical birthright” (Robert Palmer, Rock & Roll an Unruly
G. “Rock and roll is fun, it’s full of
energy ... It’s naughty”
(Tina Turner, cited in Rock Facts, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum).
and roll was something that’s hardcore, rough and wild and sweaty and wet and just loose” (Patti Labelle, cited in Rock Facts, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum).
I. Rapper Missy Elliot’s 3rd album, “Miss E ... So Addictive,” is described as “a
seductive cocktail of quirky rhythms and hypnotic beats.”
6. If all musical styles are neutral, why does one of the foremost experts
in drumming claim that certain rhythms can alter the state of one’s consciousness?
Mickey Hart, drummer for the Grateful Dead, has traveled the world researching the power of drums. In his book Drumming
at the Edge of Magic he observes: “Everywhere you look on the planet people are USING DRUMS TO ALTER CONSCIOUSNESS.
… I’ve discovered, along with many others, the extraordinary power of music, particularly percussion, to influence
the human mind and body. . . . There have been many times when I’ve felt as if the drum has carried me to an open door
into another world.” Why does Hart say this? Because he knows that music is not neutral, that certain
music and certain rhythms produce certain results, that music is a language.
If all musical styles are neutral, why would a voodoo priestess say that her gods respond to certain rhythms? Consider
this quote carefully: “The rhythm is more important than the meaning of the words. Our gods respond to rhythm
above all else” (a Macumba priestess in Brazil, quoted in African Rhythm & Sensibility). The voodoo priestess
says this because she knows that music is not neutral and that certain rhythms interact with the spirit world. What a loud
warning to those who have ears to hear!
8. If all musical styles are neutral,
why did the 1960s LSD new age guru Timothy Leary say, “Don’t listen to the words,
it’s the music that has it’s own message.” (Leary, Politics of Ecstasy).
Leary said this because he knew that music is a language.
If all musical styles are neutral, why did Jimi Hendrix, one of the foremost experts in rock rhythms, claim that certain music
creates a certain atmosphere? “Atmospheres are going to come through music, because the music is a spiritual
thing of its own” (Jimi Hendrix, rock star, Life, Oct. 3, 1969).
If all musical styles are neutral, why did Howard Hanson, who directed the prestigious Eastmen School of Music for 40 years
say: “Music can be philosophical or orgiastic. It has powers for evil as well as for good”. (cited from
Frank Garlock’s The Language of Music; Dr. Garlock is a graduate of Eastman and sat under Hanson). (NOTE:
"Orgiastic = of orgies; relating to or similar to an orgy." Remember Exodus 32 at
the beginning of this expose.)
II. IS IT IMPORTANT FOR CHRISTIANS TO HAVE THE
RIGHT MUSIC IN THEIR CHURCH AND WORSHIP OF GOD?
1. If all musical styles are neutral, WHY DOES THE BIBLE SPECIFY THAT BELIEVERS SHOULD SING
A CERTAIN KIND OF MUSIC? “Speaking to yourselves in psalms
and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).
The word “spiritual” means set apart for God, different from the things of the world. A tavern
or nightclub owner would never play sacred psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs over the music system, even if the words were
not included. It would create the wrong atmosphere. Why, then, should believers borrow the music that tavern owners use to
entertain and lull or stir the drinking crowd to their lascivious pleasures?
If all musical styles are neutral, THAT MEANS THAT THE DEVIL HASN’T CORRUPTED MUSIC, but such an idea is nonsensical.
The devil hates God and has attempted to corrupt everything that God has created. He is called “the god of this world”
(2 Cor. 4:3) and “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph.
2:2), and he has corrupted "religion", literature, art, fashion -- you name it. Music is one of
the most powerful influences in society. To think that the Devil has not corrupted music to his own wicked purposes and for
the enticement of fallen man is contrary to everything the Bible teaches us.
If all musical styles are neutral, WHY DID JOSHUA DISCERN THAT THE MUSIC COMING UP FROM THE CAMP OF ISRAEL WAS “A NOISE
OF WAR”? (Exodus 32:17). If music is neutral, how could he make any judgment at all about the
nature of what he was hearing?
4. If all musical styles are neutral, WHY
DO CHILDREN REACT DIFFERENTLY TO VARIOUS KINDS OF MUSIC?
person asks the following, “Why did my children behave properly during the traditional morning service, but jump around
like they had ‘ants in their pants’ for 45 minutes during the loud rockish night service at a church we were visiting?”
III. SOME QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Question: Do you mean that drums and guitars are wrong?
A musical instrument is not wrong in and of itself. It depends on what type of music it is used to produce.
Drums are used in orchestras and in military bands and in rock bands, but in an orchestra the drums are used sparingly
to assist rather than control and overwhelm the music and in a marching band the drums are used to produce a natural or straight
beat, but in a rock band the drums are used to pound out a sensual back beat that the rockers describe as “sexy".
Question: Do you mean that churches should only use music that was written in former times?
Answer: No, there is a lot of good sacred
music being written today. Majesty Music and the Wilds and Northland Baptist
College and Faithway Baptist College and many other groups have produced some excellent sacred music.
It doesn’t matter when the music was written but the style in which it is written and whether or not it is sacred or
worldly, whether or not the message of the music fits the message of the lyrics. Do not forget the old hymns: "There
is power in the Blood"; "Now I belong to Jesus"; "Teach me Thy way, O Lord; and many others.)
IV. MY CONCLUSION:
A. Music is not “neutral”.
B. The Music of C-Rock, CCM, and CCW is “amoral”?
Music is a language and, in the Christian realm, the message of the music must match
the message of the lyrics. There are many styles of worldly music that preach a message that is contradictory to the Bible and therefore
cannot be used in the service of a holy God.
The following is the testimony
of a man who left the contemporary music scene after having led contemporary worship teams in two churches:
“I am now convinced that God will not accept our worship when it is offered with music styles that are also used by
pagans for their immoral practices. If I am wrong, why was He so harsh in judging Israel when they sacrificed to Him using
the pagan high places and rituals? He is a jealous God. If you grasp this principle alone, it will change for ever the way
you lead a worship service. … The true heart of worship is the heart that bows before God and submits to His Word,
no more and no less” (Dan Lucarini, Confessions of a Former Worship Leader, p. 57).
2. There is no such thing as "Christian rock"
music, just as there is no such thing as "Christian adultery", or "Christian homosexuality".
When it is rock, it is NOT Christian. There is only One Christian Rock, and that Rock is Christ! (I
we not think we have to become like the world to reach the world!" (II
Lewis R. Woodard
(Thanks to David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information
Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, for some of the information in this article.)