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What is wrong with Christian Contemporary Music and Rock?

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No double standard - I am also against worldly country music (which is also categorized under CCM by the music industry).

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No double standard - I am also against worldly country music (which is also categorized under CCM by the music industry).

The point is, music itself is amoral, it's how it's done and why. Trying to imply some sort of moral significance in a genre of music is akin to witchcraft which claims "magical" powers in objects and words. Jesus warned of observing the form of the law while ignoring the function when He said, "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man." [[bible]Matthew 15:11[/bible]]

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The notes may be amoral - musical styles are not. That would be like saying, horror novels are amoral. The words may be amoral - the setting they are put into express a moral style. The same with music. A B-Flat is amoral - a rock song, or hip hop song melody are not.

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The notes may be amoral - musical styles are not. That would be like saying' date=' horror novels are amoral. The words may be amoral - the setting they are put into express a moral style. The same with music. A B-Flat is amoral - a rock song, or hip hop song melody are not.[/quote']
There context and meaning which makes a movie a horror movie. There is no context or meaning which differentiates classical from rock from any other musical genre.

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Good observation. In fact, the lines are even more blurred. Many professional studio musicians refer to Beethoven as the father of rock, due to his heavy use of off-beat syncopation. Ever heard Beethoven's 5th on an electric guitar with the snare looping behind it? It is already a driving beat without adding any stylistic change.

So what do we do? Do we ban instruments? Oh, wait...that has already been done, hasn't it? :wink

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My understanding is that, to a great deal, the difference can be distinguished in the rhythm. A rock beat is one that emphasizes the second and fourth beat (in 4/4 time) over the first and third beats. A classical piece (a decent one -- they aren't all good) would emphasize the first and third beats.

This may be an overly-simplistic answer, but it has worked for me as a primary distinction. I have also observed the difference the two beats make. Have you ever watched a group of children listening to VBS/Kids Club music? Generally, if the music is simple and the correct beats are emphasized, they will jump up and down, do the actions, and pretty much act like kids do. However, if a rock beat is in the 'praise' song, those little children (who are too young to know what 'sensual' means) will suddenly develop a dance style in their gambols that looks surprisingly like the sensual dances adults indulge in.
Also, I used to work at a pizza joint, where the music was often the Top Ten picks off the radio. I liked high-energy pieces, like celtic or marches (when I could put on my music), because they helped me lift my feet a little faster. When rock dances came on the radio, though, I would find myself lifting my feet in an entirely different manner (and I don't even like that style of music). Different beats affect a person in different ways. The rock beat affects the body in a way that encourages sensual movements. Yes, we can take control over our bodies, and not allow ourselves to move with the music, but the fact remains that the very beat of this 'amoral' rock music is one that tends more to ungodliness than to modesty and morality.

Vir, I've never really examined Beethoven's Fifth that much. (My musical training helps me pick out a rock beat in modern music pretty easily, but syncopation in older pieces I find more difficult to distinguish.) Perhaps I should be taking a second look at my classical collection. You made a good point when you noted that perhaps classical may be more related to rock than we think. However, that does not make rock right. It would instead make classical wrong.

:2cents

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My understanding is that, to a great deal, the difference can be distinguished in the rhythm. A rock beat is one that emphasizes the second and fourth beat (in 4/4 time) over the first and third beats. A classical piece (a decent one -- they aren't all good) would emphasize the first and third beats.

This may be an overly-simplistic answer, but it has worked for me as a primary distinction. I have also observed the difference the two beats make. Have you ever watched a group of children listening to VBS/Kids Club music? Generally, if the music is simple and the correct beats are emphasized, they will jump up and down, do the actions, and pretty much act like kids do. However, if a rock beat is in the 'praise' song, those little children (who are too young to know what 'sensual' means) will suddenly develop a dance style in their gambols that looks surprisingly like the sensual dances adults indulge in.
Also, I used to work at a pizza joint, where the music was often the Top Ten picks off the radio. I liked high-energy pieces, like celtic or marches (when I could put on my music), because they helped me lift my feet a little faster. When rock dances came on the radio, though, I would find myself lifting my feet in an entirely different manner (and I don't even like that style of music). Different beats affect a person in different ways. The rock beat affects the body in a way that encourages sensual movements. Yes, we can take control over our bodies, and not allow ourselves to move with the music, but the fact remains that the very beat of this 'amoral' rock music is one that tends more to ungodliness than to modesty and morality.

Vir, I've never really examined Beethoven's Fifth that much. (My musical training helps me pick out a rock beat in modern music pretty easily, but syncopation in older pieces I find more difficult to distinguish.) Perhaps I should be taking a second look at my classical collection. You made a good point when you noted that perhaps classical may be more related to rock than we think. However, that does not make rock right. It would instead make classical wrong.

:2cents


So, tell me, on what beat should the emphasis be in a different time signature (3/4, 7/4, 7/8)? I'm not trying to argue for contention's sake, but is this a universal rule, or just one that applies to 4/4 only? In and of itself, the 4/4 usually uses a 4 beat bar pattern which is strong on the first beat, weak on the second, medium on the third, and weak on the fourth. I'm not so certain that I've heard a 4/4 rock song where the beat was accented on the second and fourth. The more common rock beat is referred to as the "heavy third" with most of the emphasis on the third beat, instead of the first.

I suppose I'm just curious as to how this came to be your understanding.

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All things in this world must be judged as to how to use it for God's honor.
Alcohol has it's place for proper use and improper use. For medicinal purposes it is God honored. For social purposes the honor is put on man and his social connections.
The Internet has a proper use and improper use. The proper use is, of course, broadly defined but everyone here knows that p*rn is not a God honoring use.
Music and it's use to honor God is the same as it is with all other resources this world offers us. Music in and of itself does not dishonor God any more than alcohol does. It is dishonoring God in accordance to how we use it. I have been in some youth services that use CCM. I have seen people in some services dancing to it's beat and the dance by some is very lewd. Again the music is not the dishonorable thing it is the lewd dancing to it's beat. The alcoholic drink is not the dishonorable thing, it is man's use of it.
My advice to anyone is that if the thing you use in your daily life causes you to sin, it is always best to repent of your misuse of it and put it away from you. Whatever that is and if you can not leave it alone you need to evaluate your need for Christ. The born again believer will have the HOly Spirit to remove all things in your life that will dishonor Christ and will help you discern the proper use of things that have a dual use of honor and dishonor.

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All things in this world must be judged as to how to use it for God's honor.
Alcohol has it's place for proper use and improper use. For medicinal purposes it is God honored. For social purposes the honor is put on man and his social connections.
The Internet has a proper use and improper use. The proper use is, of course, broadly defined but everyone here knows that p*rn is not a God honoring use.
Music and it's use to honor God is the same as it is with all other resources this world offers us. Music in and of itself does not dishonor God any more than alcohol does. It is dishonoring God in accordance to how we use it. I have been in some youth services that use CCM. I have seen people in some services dancing to it's beat and the dance by some is very lewd. Again the music is not the dishonorable thing it is the lewd dancing to it's beat. The alcoholic drink is not the dishonorable thing, it is man's use of it.
My advice to anyone is that if the thing you use in your daily life causes you to sin, it is always best to repent of your misuse of it and put it away from you. Whatever that is and if you can not leave it alone you need to evaluate your need for Christ. The born again believer will have the HOly Spirit to remove all things in your life that will dishonor Christ and will help you discern the proper use of things that have a dual use of honor and dishonor.


Good post. It is like I have said elsewhere on this board. The objects or materials are amoral, until the moral fiber of the user infuses with it in action, then it takes on the morality of the individual. Worship in music can be totally worldly, even with just a piano and straight, classical vocals, if the heart of the worshiper is not set on honoring God. On the other hand, an African church may have dancers in their congregation, that genuinely love and respect God and dance for His delight and glory. I submit that God is honored, in truth and spirit, much more by the dancers (in this case) than by the most stayed, reserved vocals on a 100 year-old hymn if that singer's heart is not focused on God. In a hypothetical situation where both worshipers are focused on God - which one honors God more? Herein lies the answer to Pharisaical hypocrisy.

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So, tell me, on what beat should the emphasis be in a different time signature (3/4, 7/4, 7/8)? I'm not trying to argue for contention's sake, but is this a universal rule, or just one that applies to 4/4 only? In and of itself, the 4/4 usually uses a 4 beat bar pattern which is strong on the first beat, weak on the second, medium on the third, and weak on the fourth. I'm not so certain that I've heard a 4/4 rock song where the beat was accented on the second and fourth. The more common rock beat is referred to as the "heavy third" with most of the emphasis on the third beat, instead of the first.


7/4? 7/8? Wow, I must be rusty at my music. I can't even remember those time signatures. :ooops
From what I remember, the strong beat should always be the first beat of the measure, like the example you gave of the usual 4/4 rhythm structure. I think I heard this explained by Frank Garlock in his video series, and then backed up the idea with my own observation. A 'heavy third' would violate this rule by emphasizing the third over the first.



The objects or materials are amoral, until the moral fiber of the user infuses with it in action, then it takes on the morality of the individual.


Do you remember the story I told earlier of the little children dancing around to a 'Christian' rock song? It is the music that affects them differently. They may copy the actions from older siblings, but it usually takes a particular type of music to bring it out. I know a child is as sinful as the rest of us, but, for most children (especially Christian ones), their 'moral fibre' is more pure (i.e.: unaffected by exposure to sin) than it will be at any later point in their lives. Do you honestly believe that it is the children who are corrupting that form of music, rather than the music corrupting the children?

I actually agree with Palatka's quote as well, but I suspect that I have a different interpretation of it than he means. Music, in the broad, general existence of itself, does not dishonor God. Rather, how we use it may be dishonoring to God. We use music, however, by creating songs. Do you know of any tunes that God wrote down for us to use? As far as I know, every musical melody or tune that is in existence was created by man from the basic building blocks of music that God created. Man may use those basic building blocks to honor or dishonor God. That is why certain styles of music can themselves be dishonoring to God -- they were created by man for evil, rather than for good.

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7/4? 7/8? Wow, I must be rusty at my music. I can't even remember those time signatures. :ooops
From what I remember, the strong beat should always be the first beat of the measure, like the example you gave of the usual 4/4 rhythm structure. I think I heard this explained by Frank Garlock in his video series, and then backed up the idea with my own observation. A 'heavy third' would violate this rule by emphasizing the third over the first.


Yeah, I've seen the video, and read the book. Didn't really want the t-shirt. :wink I like a lot of Garlock's sacred musi that he puts out, but I daresay he is probably no expert on the rock music field. That is like asking a jazz improv trumpet player to comment on playing classically-influenced John Williams pieces.

The objects or materials are amoral' date=' until the moral fiber of the user infuses with it in action, then it takes on the morality of the individual.[/quote']

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Just because the lyrics may be "good" doesn't make the genre of Rock good. It is evil, regardless of the lyrics. Oftentimes the lyrics just make it twice as evil.


That is like saying that Spanish is evil, regardless of what is being said. And lets look at the situation of good lyrics and "bad" music. Even if we except your assumption that Rock is evil, there are still problems with the idea the Christian rock is evil. In your theory this mythical combination of chords and rhythms is evil. But the Bible never talks about it. The Bible in fact says nothing about musical style at all. In your theory this musical style is more powerful then the message of God. Take one of the Psalms and put it to rock music and it is wrong?
And finally you theory goes against the Bible. In both Mathew 12 and Mark 3, Jesus casts out a demon from a man and the Pharisees accuse Him of being able to do that because He was Satan. Jesus tells them that this is not possible, Satan would be opposing himself. The situation is the same in Christian Rock. Even if you buy the idea that rock is inherently wrong (I do not) then Christian rock could still not be from Satan because he would be opposing himself, which Jesus said that he can not do.

I used to listen to the "hardcore" music when I was lost. I never was able to decifer the words to many of the poisionous garbage i allowed to enter into my ears. I was only listening for the 'music' and the feeling it gave me.


The difference is that I (and many other people) do listen for the words. If I do not know what the lyrics are I look them up. Do not assume that everyone is the same as you and has the same experience.

Notice the contemporary crowd, when their "singers" perform, what is the first thing you notice?


The music. As in the whole package, music and lyrics.

My understanding is that, to a great deal, the difference can be distinguished in the rhythm. A rock beat is one that emphasizes the second and fourth beat (in 4/4 time) over the first and third beats. A classical piece (a decent one -- they aren't all good) would emphasize the first and third beats.


Where in the Bible does it say that?

You'll notice that he also didn't preserve any of the Hebraic music of the Psalms - only the lyrics.


I think it is important to note that God preserved the lyrics to the songs, but not the music. That might be a clue to what is more important.

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I asked the same question in this forum a while back, because I'd never heard of there being anything wrong with music if it were a "Christian" band. Thankfully they are gracious here, and weren't impatient with me for asking (as I assume people sometimes start debates just to stir up trouble).

So I started to entertain the idea that maybe they were right, even though I'd never heard of it before. I really started paying more attention to the words of the songs on Sunday and how contemporary they are, in that a lot of them say "You"/"God"/"Him" less than "me" and "I"- the focus is in the wrong place. It's like the modern songs are about what God does for me, and how I feel, etc., not about worshiping God.

I also started paying more attention to my own music collection - Without the lyrics, you wouldn't even know it was Christian song. And with the lyrics, you never knew that for sure either.

I was convicted, and since then I have gotten rid of almost all of my music - "Christian" and non-Christian.

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I've been thinking about this issue a lot over the past couple months. Music is often judged as evil because it has a beat. So if we look at the beat itself, there is obviously nothing inherently wrong in hitting a drum. So then we have to move past that and say that it is sensual. So if it is sensual, what is the manifestation to prove it? Some people will groove and swing and possibly some vulgar moves as many rock stars have been known to do. So what if someone listens to that music and it might make them rock back and forth or tap their foot, but nothing vulgar or "sensual?" So if that is the case, is that music wrong for them? The Bible makes no clear statements as to judging the morality of music. Therefore, it must be on a case by case basis.

So, if I'm listening to a country song and I'm tapping my foot and enjoying the music but not doing anything sensual, is it still evil? If you say yes, then one must beg the question, why? How is the music evil when there is no Scripture to prove it and no manifestation to assign an immoral label to it. Sure, you can behave sensually to rock music, but what about if you don't? Then what? Hasn't the entire argument fallen apart? This is still something I'm turning over in my mind, but I don't find the arguments holding up anymore. Music is music, it can convey an idea using words. It can lift your spirit or bring you down. If a piece of music is encouraging you and has clean words, where is the sin at in the music itself? Mind you, these are all questions I'm asking myself, as well.

I think it can be compared to Paul's writings regarding meats offered to idols. The meat itself is amoral, you are free to eat it. But, if for conscience sake, you choose not to, then it is a sin for you to partake. If that association is a stumbling block for you or for someone in your presence, one should abstain for your own and your brother's sake. If it is not, it seems hard to say that it is anything more than just meat that has been used for evil purposes.

I'm just kind of putting a lot of my thoughts into writing and I haven't entirely sorted the issue out so don't throw stuff at me. :smile

P.S. I'm more convinced than ever that God wants us to worry about ourselves and our own hearts before Him without regard for what our brother is or isn't doing. Therefore, I'm not encouraging anyone to start listening to music with a beat, it is every man's responsibility to search his own heart before God.

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Dancing is generally described as a positive act throughout Scripture. I do, however, doubt that modern dancing is equivocal to Biblical dancing...then again, our cultures have no other similarities - why should our music and dance? As long as the dance is not lewd or provocative, I'm afraid Scripture is on the dancer's side.


Perhaps you should read more of the Bible. There are definitely some negative examples of dancing in there.

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C'mon Jerry, I even threw the word "generally" in there. :wink There is also negative examples of religious rites and traditions, but not all of them are bad. I was merely stating this obvious point, and apparently you were the only one who misunderstood it.

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My question is...then? What do we say to our fellow IFB brothers and sisters in Christ in Africa who worship with drums and dance? Don't ya think it is a cultural thing? Just asking. :smile

candlelight

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I've been thinking about this issue a lot over the past couple months. Music is often judged as evil because it has a beat. So if we look at the beat itself, there is obviously nothing inherently wrong in hitting a drum. So then we have to move past that and say that it is sensual. So if it is sensual, what is the manifestation to prove it? Some people will groove and swing and possibly some vulgar moves as many rock stars have been known to do. So what if someone listens to that music and it might make them rock back and forth or tap their foot, but nothing vulgar or "sensual?" So if that is the case, is that music wrong for them? The Bible makes no clear statements as to judging the morality of music. Therefore, it must be on a case by case basis.

So, if I'm listening to a country song and I'm tapping my foot and enjoying the music but not doing anything sensual, is it still evil? If you say yes, then one must beg the question, why? How is the music evil when there is no Scripture to prove it and no manifestation to assign an immoral label to it. Sure, you can behave sensually to rock music, but what about if you don't? Then what? Hasn't the entire argument fallen apart? This is still something I'm turning over in my mind, but I don't find the arguments holding up anymore. Music is music, it can convey an idea using words. It can lift your spirit or bring you down. If a piece of music is encouraging you and has clean words, where is the sin at in the music itself? Mind you, these are all questions I'm asking myself, as well.

I think it can be compared to Paul's writings regarding meats offered to idols. The meat itself is amoral, you are free to eat it. But, if for conscience sake, you choose not to, then it is a sin for you to partake. If that association is a stumbling block for you or for someone in your presence, one should abstain for your own and your brother's sake. If it is not, it seems hard to say that it is anything more than just meat that has been used for evil purposes.

I'm just kind of putting a lot of my thoughts into writing and I haven't entirely sorted the issue out so don't throw stuff at me. :smile

P.S. I'm more convinced than ever that God wants us to worry about ourselves and our own hearts before Him without regard for what our brother is or isn't doing. Therefore, I'm not encouraging anyone to start listening to music with a beat, it is every man's responsibility to search his own heart before God.


I went into a study of this too and came up with about the same result. It was also pointed out to me a long while ago that classical music was once the "Rock n' Roll" of it's time and people got excited and danced to it.

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My question is...then? What do we say to our fellow IFB brothers and sisters in Christ in Africa who worship with drums and dance? Don't ya think it is a cultural thing? Just asking.


There are African Christians who stay away from the drums and public dancing. In the United Stated, in the 18th and 19th centuries, drums were forbidden (ie. against the law) in black congregations in every state except for New Orleans. Those slaves coming out of Africa that got saved wanted nothing to do with drums in their worship of the true God - as they could see two hundred years ago what was wrong with them, as they came out of that. But today Christendom does whatever it wants and justifies it at the same time. Its okay as long as its "Christian" - it doesn't matter what it is, I can put a Christian label on it. How can you say my Christian rock and roll/country is wrong - it is "Christian" after all!!

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There are African Christians who stay away from the drums and public dancing. In the United Stated, in the 18th and 19th centuries, drums were forbidden (ie. against the law) in black congregations in every state except for New Orleans. Those slaves coming out of Africa that got saved wanted nothing to do with drums in their worship of the true God - as they could see two hundred years ago what was wrong with them, as they came out of that. But today Christendom does whatever it wants and justifies it at the same time. Its okay as long as its "Christian" - it doesn't matter what it is, I can put a Christian label on it. How can you say my Christian rock and roll/country is wrong - it is "Christian" after all!!


So, were we then (by denying them their culture) saying that white or Anglican culture is the only Christian culture? If so, isn't that slightly pious? If the answer is "no", then do you think the average conservative Baptist church in America would have been comfortable with the Hebrew dances done to glorify God? Or was that culture also not Christian? :lol

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So, were we then (by denying them their culture) saying that white or Anglican culture is the only Christian culture? If so, isn't that slightly pious? If the answer is "no", then do you think the average conservative Baptist church in America would have been comfortable with the Hebrew dances done to glorify God? Or was that culture also not Christian? :lol


I am referring to our missionaries in Africa. Specifically in Toga, West Africa. They worship with drums and dance. It is cultural, IMO.

candlelight

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Yeah, I knew to what you were referring. My question was more directed at Jerry's post, but is applicable to aid in the furtherance of yours. We go to Africa and say "You must get rid of your drums and worship only with the organ and piano, because that is how we did it where I came from." Yet, the irony is that if we were to send a missionary back in time to just after Jesus' death he would encounter cultural issues. I daresay that the morals of cultural dress were much higher then. Of course, the standards are still very high throughout the middle east, with obvious exceptions. The Hebrew style of worship (before I run this rabbit off the trail) would not have been similar or conducive to the western, Anglican-based congregationalism. That would not make it wrong, however. Yet a time-traveling missionary might even go so far as to teach that these native methods are wrong, and then wrongly use 2 Corinthians 5:17. Yet, I wonder if God doesn't actually want cultural diversity in the church as a way of reaching more than one type of people.

In America, we have it all wrong: we make them come to the church, when the church should really go to them. Just ask Jesus.

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Hi Ver. :smile You and I are on the same page with this topic. I was asking Jerry, as well. ITA...I believe that God does "actually want cultural diversity in the church as a way of reaching more than one type of people". This has always been my opinion. Christians are drawn to all kinds of diversity with music in the church...unless, it doesn't lift up the name of Jesus Christ...and glorify Him and only Him. :duh Others can argue with me...but, this is the way I see it. We need diversity in music...b/c we have a diverse world w/ music in cultural differences. The same goes for food and dress, IMO. BTW, as long as the dress is appropriate...according to the standards of modesty.

candlelight

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So' date=' were we then (by denying them their culture) saying that white or Anglican culture is the only Christian culture? If so, isn't that slightly pious? If the answer is "no", then do you think the average conservative Baptist church in America would have been comfortable with the Hebrew dances done to glorify God? Or was that culture also not Christian? :lol[/quote']

Who cares about "culture"? It is only good inasmuch as it does not conflict with God's Word.

Now I remember the context of the article. It was showing how laws were passed in black communitities against drums, except in New Orleans. As a result of being allowed there, New Orleans became the starting place of Jazz and early rock and roll. There were many saved blacks who rejected the idolatrous worship they came out of, recognizing that the drum beats these rockers were now using was the same as what these black Christians listened to/danced to, etc. when they were lost.

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