*before I begin, allow me to say that I am not in any way posting this to be rude about certain groups, their talent and etc, nor am I saying that everyone who listens to CCM (which means Contemporary Christian Music) is sinning because of this and I am better than them all. This is simply a post about my own beliefs and convictions about this style of music, and if we can truly worship God with it.
This is a post that’s been laid on my heart for awhile now, but I haven’t really had the courage to post it, honestly. I’m one of those Christian’s who love turning up the radio and hearing happy, fun songs that people say are about God. Mandisa, TobyMac, Newsboys, Third Day, Casting Crowns, you name it, I’ve probably either bought their CD, or been happy when they came on the radio and sang along to their songs. (rather badly, I admit.) For a year or so, I’ve been wondering what the difference is between mainstream Christian music and normal, secular music. And how many of these songs that we call Christian, are actually Christian? The very word Christian means to be Christlike, to be centered around God and to follow Him. But are these bands really following Christ? Even the ones that sing more conservative music, are they true Christ-Followers, or would they rather be singing at a pub? And if they are really not very Christ-like or Christ-Centered, should we be singing along to the songs, attending their concerts, buying their merchandise..? After all, one of the things we’re warned the most against in the Bible are the false prophets, vanity and Pharisee’s. How many people are out there singing songs that we claim as “ours” that really have no business being under the genre “Christian Music”
Now, I’m not saying any of these things to be hypocritical, or to be a Pharisee myself. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be singing Christian music as a career just because they sin – everyone sins, therefor if that was true, no one should be singing, and we know that’s not Biblical. Yes, we are called to worship. Yes, singing and worshiping the Lord is very Biblical! I’m happy that Christian music is getting it’s place and more people are hearing about the Lord, but I must wonder…is the kind of Christian music that we know so well really Biblical? Is it taking us down a bad route? I know so many people that started out listening to modern Christian music bands just like I listed above, and then slowly, they started switching over to secular music. And you know what? It was so easy for them to stray from Christian music to secular music because..well, let’s face it, what’s the difference?
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Awhile back, I had the opportunity to attend Winter Jam, a very popular Christian music concert full of speakers and popular bands. I can’t remember the exact bands, but I do know that TobyMac was going to be there. Out of curiosity, before I signed up to go, I went onto YouTube and searched “Winter Jam Concerts” and “TobyMac Concerts” just to get a taste of what I was going to see. At first, I thought that it would be a nice place to worship the Lord and lift up our voices…but honestly? I couldn’t even hear the singers because the girls were screaming so loud I couldn’t even hear, people were yelling, dancing and jumping around. Now, I’m not going to say that worship is bad and I’m not going to say that we aren’t supposed to get excited about God. King David danced for the Lord, just like many others. I love seeing people moved by Christ and lift up their arms, say Amen and be moved to tears by Him. But this…this didn’t seem like that. I’m not judging the people who went, or judging Winter Jam as a whole. But I’m curious – could you see Jesus Christ Himself coming down and dancing to TobyMac with us? It seems sinful to even downgrade Him to that. I’m not putting these people down or saying that they don’t love Christ, but I ask them – what’s the difference between you and other bands? Are you taking the narrow path, or are you squeezing in with the world with a toe in the Christian side just so you can label yourself as a Christian band? I challenge you all to go look up your favorite Christian bands and search the lyrics and scroll through all that you can. Are they strongly Christian, or are they just mentioning God at random, or do they talk about Him at all?
If I’m going to listen to Rock Music, I’ll listen to Rock. If I want to listen to Rap (which will never happen, just a by the way.) I’ll listen to Rap. And ditto for every other genre. These worldly genre’s have no place in my church, in my heart, or on my radio.
A few years back, my mother, brother and I went to a Jeremy Camp concert at the church that we had been attending. As the music started, we began realizing something – we weren’t in the middle of a God-fearing crowd worshiping God. They were worshiping Jeremy Camp. They weren’t having what a lot of people call a “glory spell” they were so consumed by emotions based on the secular music that they probably wouldn’t even notice if Jesus walked up on the stage. We shouldn’t base our faith and worship on emotions – emotions are important, yes, but we should be reverent while worshiping our Lord and Savior. We got up and left the concert before it was even close to being over, knowing that the Lord was not present. There is no reverence in Contemporary Christian Music. Would you say that TobyMac is worshiping God reverently whilst he stands on a stage dancing and rapping? I wouldn’t. When I think about true worship, I think about the people who have stood for Christ, fought the good find, and fallen on their knees full of humble admiration. I think about King David, praising with his Psalms.
For an experiment, let’s compare secular Christian music to two things – Psalms, which are the songs of Biblical times, and hymns.
First things first…TobyMac’s song, Eye on It. I highly recommend going onto youtube and listening to this song whilst reading the lyrics I post, because it’s not just the lyrics that are very secular, but the tune and the way he sings and dances. Christlike, or it is focused on emotions, rock, and fitting into the worldly form?
“I set my eyes to the west, walkin’ away from it all
Reachin’ for what lies ahead, I got my eye on it
I see my sweat hit the ground
I put my foot in the block
This is the race of my life
And I can’t wait for this shot
‘Cause I can feel the wind at my back
Chest is pumpin’ like a heart attack
Feet are moving and my mind is locked
Pressin’ on with everything I got”
This is labeled as one of his newest Christian songs, but I have to ask…where is Christ? If we heard that song, we could fit it into anything. We could make it secular. If I may be bold – this is not Christ-Centered.
Next up…a Psalm written by David. (This is Psalms 13, for anyone who wants to read more.)
“How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.”
But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.
Is it just me, or is this extremely different than TobyMac’s song and pretty much every other CCM song? This is completely based on the Lord and it is full of reverence and true praise.
Next, the hymn Come Thou Fount, written by Robert Robinson. Robert wrote this song at 22 years of age. This is proof to me that the secular movement should not be based completely on age. I do realize that this song was written in the 1700’s, yes, times have changed, but the Bible never does. This is proof that young people do not need secular music. What they need is true worship and to learn how to reverently love the Lord, not themselves. Worship is not meant for us or our enjoyment, it is meant for God.
“Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it;
Seal it for Thy courts above.”
Now, let’s compare. I’m not comparing these based on my own feelings, but by the facts of the matter. Which is more like Biblical worship? The hymn. The hymn has the most in common with the Psalm written by the man after God’s own heart, Kind David. TobyMac has absolutely nothing in common. CCM is based on us,for us, and our emotions. True Biblical songs are based on God, reverence, worship and HIM and His power. It is not to be danced provocatively to, it is to be sang with admiration for our King.
I end with this…if you were to go meet King Jesus today and He asked you to sing for Him, would you want to sing the secular music we know? And in Heaven, where it says we will worship and sing…do you think we’ll be rapping to TobyMac, Newsboys and Mandisa?