Thursday, May 26, 2011

Contemporary Christian Music Movement

Well, if I've ever done anything to cut my readers (all 3 of them) this would be it! All though I would never desire to do so, this is something that has been on my mind a lot, and I can't let it go any longer!! Following is an article written by Dr. David Cloud from Way of Life Ministries about Contemporary Christian Music in Lancaster Baptist Church, home of West Coast Baptist College. If you want any more information on CCM, you can use the links in the header below, to see some of Dr. Cloud's articles and books.


Friday Church News Notes,
February 18, 2011,, 866-295-4143

For a while now we have observed with increasing concern the adaptation
of Contemporary Worship Music at Lancaster Baptist Church, home of West Coast
Baptist College. It would be very easy for me to keep my mouth shut about this
because of the close relationship I have with some of the people there and
because of the widespread support the school has from very conservative
Independent Baptists, not to speak of the many commendable things the school
stands for; but I can no longer remain silent in good conscience before God. It
is not a one-time problem; it is a pattern. For decades I have been warning
about the spiritual danger of Contemporary Christian Music and how that it
brings a lot of worldly baggage in its wake. It is not just music; it is a
philosophy of Christianity that breaks down the God-ordained barriers between
the church and the world. Any church today that is not aggressively resisting
CCM will eventually succumb to it, and probably sooner rather than later. The
evidence is all around us. The pressure toward compromise is too great; the
satisfaction that this music offers to the flesh is too intense. The
contemporary philosophy in this apostate hour is like a powerful flowing river,
and our churches are like small boats. Those that are not paddling fiercely
against the current will certainly be carried along by it. I don’t care what
else you are doing right; if you allow CCM a foot in the door you are on the
slippery slope of compromise. Like many others, Lancaster Baptist and West Coast
are saying the right things about being opposed to CCM, but increasingly their
actions don’t match the rhetoric. I strongly suspect that there are people in
the music department that love CCM and listen to it regularly. This is why they
frequently come up with toned-down CCM specials. They remove the heavy back beat
(though the dance syncopation can still be present in the piano style); there is
no drum kit, no bass guitar; but it is still CCM. The most recent example that
came to my attention was radical charismatic-ecumenist Darlene Zschech’s “Shout
to the Lord” performed as a special by the orchestra and two pianists and
available on YouTube. I urge Pastor Chappell and the leaders at Lancaster
Baptist Church and West Coast Baptist College to put a stop to the music people
who are digging in the garbage bin of CCM in search for something acceptable.
And don’t say, “It can’t happen here.” When I graduated from Tennessee Temple in
1976 it was in most ways every much as conservative as West Coast is today. In
music, it was more conservative. But they didn’t heed warnings and thought they
were too big to be criticized and shot the messengers instead of heeding the
reproof, and today Tennessee Temple is a Southern Baptist rock & roll
institution. I would challenge the leaders of Lancaster to bring in an expert
like Graham West of Australia to inform the people more properly about music.
The wisest standard for Christian music today is the standard that rejects CCM
lock, stock, and barrel. Lines must be drawn, and the safest line is the best
line. It is far better to err on the side of being too strict about music, as it
is one of the most powerful influences in modern society. There is an endless
supply of truly sacred music, both old and new, that doesn’t push the

Although I wouldn't usually put music like this on my blog, I'm doing it to emphasize a point, I don't encourage this music at all. (thus the post) Also, I don't want it to be said that I'm "picking" on WCBC, or Lancaster Baptist Church. I'm very disappointed in this, having almost gone to WCBC for my music major. And it's the only good college that has been brought to my attention that is bringing in CCM.

I hope that this has been a help and not a discouragement to you! Please pray for WCBC and LBC, as well as all IFB churches and schools as we are battling against Satan's temptations!


  1. Wow...thanks so much for sharing this! I had no idea that was going on at their church. I will definitely pray for them and other churches going through this!

  2. Hi Sarah!
    I followed this link from "Priceless Jewels" after reading part of the discussion you'd started about music.

    First, let me just say that I appreciate your heart and that you're obviously earnest about wanting God's best.

    I listened to the you tubes you had posted, comparing LBC's music to that of CCM. I think perhaps it had the opposite effect than what you were wanting. (sorry) It just confirmed to me that WCBC IS a God honoring collage. I confess I'd had concerns when I first read your post, but after listening I was reaffirmed in my first thoughts concerning the collage. Thank you for clearing up my confusion (even if it wasn't the way you meant to).

    You know, just because those songs are used by CCM artists, it doesn't automatically make them terrible. I think WCBC gave an excellent example of how they can be used in a very God- glorifying way.
    I've several times now heard CCM artists sing hymns in an ungodly way-- does that make the hymns unacceptable for future use??? (Amazing Grace, Jesus Loves Me, and It is Well with My Soul).

    This comment in no way is meant as an attack on you. As I said earlier, I believe you have a sweet heart for the Lord.

    Please just be careful.☺

  3. Rachel,

    Thank you for your comment, I can see the point that you're trying to get across. I must admit that these videos are probably not the best choices. My first choice video has been removed from the internet (makes you sort of wonder?!).
    I agree that just because a CCM group sings a song that doesn't make it bad. BUT, you CANNOT take a song that is originally written for CCM, and make it a God-honoring song.
    CCM is characterized by 1)syncopated dance rythms, 2)unresolving chords, 3)sensual vocal technique, and 4)repitition. In other words, the beats, chords, words, and vocal techniques such as sliding, and "squeaking".
    One song that is a good example is "Lord, I Lift Your Name on High", to me that song REAKS CCM (forgive the term!).
    When you listen to LBC, and WCBC, you might not always catch the CCM, they've been trained not to move their body, and not to slide or "squeak" their voice. But if you listen to their videos, for the most part, the only MAIN difference is the instruments used. They use what is called "adapted CCM". "To say you oppose CCM but use soft rock and adapted CCM is hypocrisy."
    Like a said before, I'm not trying to slam LBC, WCBC, or any one associated with that. But as Dr. Cloud pointed out: "The fall of IFB churches is a result of the lack of knowledge."
    Again, thank you for your comment, and I hope this helped out!


  4. All I can say is look up Ezra 3:13. I personally don't believe that the music at WCBC or LBC is in any way towards the Contemporary side. I just spent a week at their music camp, and everything was very God-glorifying and -honouring.
    Each person must set their own rules and standards, however, I do think that some folks are going to be rather shocked at the worship of Jesus when they get to Heaven. :)

  5. Amelia,
    Once again, before I say anything, I'm not trying to slam anyone connected to LBC, or WCBC. A verse I'd like you to look up is I Thess. 5:22. I don't know much about "Jesus Messiah", or "Shout to the Lord", other than if I heard the title "Jesus Messiah" I would connect it to CCM, but that's just me. But, and I know I said this before, "Lord I Lift Your Name on High" is pretty much established CCM!! And again, I would have never caught that listening to these videos, except someone showed me how to discern between CCM and Conservative Christian Music. LBC is very good (intentional or not) at taking a CCM song and making it "sound okay".
    Here is something I found on a website about Chris Tomlin, who is the artist for "Jesus Messiah"

    "Arriving rocks with inspiring, guitar-driven pop melodies reflecting the roots traditions of Austin, Texas, where it was recorded and home to the church Tomlin co-founded, Austin Stone Community Church."

    Does that sound Conservative, and Christ-Honoring?
    Here is a comment about his association with Willow Creek, a CMM group near Chicago.

    "Already, Chris and the band are playing this anthem to crowds receiving it enthusiastically, as at a summer 2004 Willow Creek Arts Festival."

    Here are some comments from Wikipedia on "Shout To The Lord"

    ""Shout to the Lord" is a popular worship anthem, written by singer/songwriter Darlene Zschech in 1993, published by Hillsong Music Australia."
    "It has also been covered by many other CCM artists including Carman, Don Moen, Rich Mullins, Michael W. Smith, John Tesh and Diante do Trono "
    "Shout to the Lord is a live praise and worship album of Christian Contemporary music by Hillsong Music."

    This is written proof, that these songs are CCM, written by CCM artists, for CCM groups. On these videos they have been adapted so that it fits in to a IFB church better but.... it's still CCM. I hope this helps explain some!

  6. Wow! That was a really great post, and I think you did a geat job defending your position! My Pastor just went over this in our church too!

    You are going to Fairhaven? That is so cool! My "brother" and another friend are both going there this fall! That is where I believe the Lord has called me to go as well, in 2 years when I graduate!


  7. Hey that's fine, Sarah!
    I just don't think that because a CCM writer penned the words that the song is wrong. As long as the music 1)proclaims Biblical truth, 2) preaches Jesus, 3) praises God, 4) prods the hearers, and 5) prioritizes the church; I'm fine with it.
    I do understand that others don't listen to anything penned by CCM singers, and that's totally up to you. I just don't personally think so.


  8. Silent Night, O Come All Ye Faithful, and other hymns that we all sing were written by Catholics.

    Abide With Me and Amazing Grace were written by Anglicans.

    Is it really necessary to agree with every iota of a songwriters theology and lifestyle in order to sing the song, or is it more important that the lyrics are God-honoring, theologically correct, and that we are singing with a worshipful and praise filled heart?

    The problem I have with CCM is the "rock music" background. But I believe that it is possible to take that away and sing God-honoring lyrics in a God-honoring way.

    For example, "In Christ Alone" and "How Deep the Father's Love for Us" and "The Power of the Cross" were written by a self-proclaimed contemporary christian artist. The lyrics are faultless, and I have sung both of those songs in our very conservative baptist church with piano and guitar background.(Look on Youtube for "how deep the father's love for us" first by sarah sadler, and then by steve pettit to see what I mean.)

    So to end my really long comment here, I believe that it's the lyrics, the way it is sung, and most importantly your attitude towards God when you're singing that are important, not who wrote the song. :)

  9. Anna Joy,
    Sorry it took so long to get back to you! I had commented but it must not have gone through.
    All I've got to say anymore (beyond what I've already said) is that although we could argue FOREVER about the rightness/wrongness of these songs, technically that's not my point. These songs due have a CCM flare to them, and a couple of years ago WCBC/LBC would never consider singing these songs. It's sad to see the slow, but sure, degression in their music standards.

  10. I'm just wondering how you know that they wouldn't have sung them several years ago? I've heard those styles for at least 10 years now, so where are you getting your information?
    Just wondering...

  11. Amelia,
    I'm sorry for saying that. I'm not positive that they haven't always done CCM. When I checked into WCBC as a potential for college, it seemed that their music lined up perfectly with my standards. There has been at least a slight digression. I'm not getting that from any source, It's just my opinion. :)

  12. No Independent Fundament Baptist ever listened to Anglican or Methodist Hymns and became an Anglican or Methodist because of it. On the flip side, many Baptist churches have left their fundamental stands because of the power of CCM. The two are not comparable at all.

    CCM is a whole other animal, it is the offspring of the Charismatic and Ecumenical movement, and it is the PRIMARY method of getting people into the Ecumenical movement and eventually under the allied banner of the Roman Catholic Church.

    MANY Baptist churches have left their conservative, fundamental stance because of the crippling influence of CCM.

    Frank Garlock of Majesty Music warns, “If a church starts using CCM it will eventually lose all other standards” (Garlock, Bob Jones University Chapel, March 12, 2001).

    The late fundamentalist leader Ernest Pickering gave a similar warning: “Perhaps nothing precipitates a slide toward New Evangelicalism more than the introduction of Contemporary Christian Music. This inevitably leads toward a gradual slide in other areas as well until the entire church is infiltrated by ideas and programs alien to the original position of the church.”

    Brook Baptist Church of Van Nyse, California. The church was a fundamental Baptist church that had over 9,000 members. In 1969 it brought drums into the church, and nine years later the church ceased to exist.

    Landmark Baptist Church of Cincinnati, Ohio was a conservative church in dress and music in the 1990s. In 2001 its pastor adopted CCM and it has completely changed. Completely abandoning its roots it now uses both CCM and secular rock music to entertain its teens.

    Bethlehem Baptist Church of Fairfax, Virgina was a separated, King James Only Church. But in 2002 it had a worship team led by four women and since then it has dropped all dress standards and is no long a King James Church. It now has rock groups like P.O.D. in which proudly say “Jesus was the first rebel. He was the first punk rocker going against all the rest of it,” and “I like Slayer. I like Manson. I like music and this dark imagery.”

    Temple Baptist Church of Detroit, Michigan was pastored by the legendary J. Frank Norris from 1935 to 1950 and Beauchamp Vick from 1950 to 1975. It was the most prominent church in the Bible Baptist Fellowship and was one of the greatest churches of the 20th century. In the 1990s its new pastor, Brad Howell, introduced CCM and eventually it became very ecumenical to the point of changing its name to Northridge Church. A survey told them that the term “Baptist” was too divisive.

    Highland Park Baptist Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee was the home of Tennessee Temple University. It was pastored by Lee Robertson since 1942 and until the 1990s was very conservative. It was a soul-winning, missions minded, King James Only church that supported 565 missionaries and gave 50% of its offering to missions. It operated by cash and all its buildings were paid for. Its Bible School had as many as 3,000 students in those days. In the 1990s things began to change, and by 2005 it was a full blown Contemporary church. In 2008 it changed its name to Church of the Highlands and in 2015 Tennessee Temple closed its doors forever.

    CCM is wrong on many levels, but today it is the most dangerous threat to fundamental Baptist churches because of the philosophy it brings with it. It is a “never judge” philosophy that completely destroys a church’s ability to discern and separate. It completely changes the people of the church from the inside out.

    1. Anon,
      Thank you so much for your comment... Everything you said was perfect. There were some things that I didn't know, and I appreciate the extra information.


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