See The Message of The Bible
Picking out a random phrase or two, all too many think 'love' was Jesus' core message. Unfortunately, although ‘love’ featured strongly it was not Jesus’ central message. He never stopped talking about the "kingdom of God", a phrase used over 50 times in the four Gospels alone. He even said that the proclamation of the Kingdom was the reason He was sent to earth (Luke 4:43). But what and where is this kingdom? Far from being outdated, out of touch, and largely irrelevant to modern society, Christianity promises exactly the utopian world most men and women can only dream of. Most people (if they think about it at all) heaven is some ethereal place 'somewhere out there'. It isn’t! According to the Scriptures He intends to establish His kingdom right here on earth. It will be a place of peace and safety, where there will be no crime, war, hunger, disease, and above all - no death. In other words, a world most men and women wished they live in.
Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. Eze 22:26.
"For those whose eyes have not seen and whose ears have not heard, Contemporary Christian Music, or CCM as the insiders call it, is essentially conventional rock or pop music with the lyrics changed to protect the innocent" (James Chute, The Milwaukee Journal).
"This release is chock full of straight ahead, full throttle grinding and pounding. It's the type of sound your parents will hate". (CCM Magazine Sept 1988. Review of ‘Brides’, "Live to die")
CCM is a multi-million dollar industry, owned and operated by non-Christian organizations making good off gullible Christians. They combine their worldly styles with Christian words to produce a syncretic, watered-down, anemic brand of Christianity.
Even CCM artist, Michael Card, admits that much of CCM — is not Christian:
"The lyrics of a good number of the songs don’t betray anything specifically Christian —they may have some moral message, but not a lot of the big songs are identifiably Christian. . . 'What happens to the message when we start getting the music to as many people as possible?' There is an essential part of the gospel that’s not ever going to sell. The gospel is good news, but it is also bad news: 'You are a sinner, and you are hopeless.' How is a multimillion-dollar record company going to take that? That’s a part of the message, too, and if that’s taken out—and it frequently is in Christian music— it ceases to be the gospel." (Can't Buy Me Love, Christianity Today, May 20, 1996, p. 25)
Now, the industry is celebrity-driven. The song is almost irrelevant.The focus is on the person, and songs have become disposable." (Can't Buy Me Ministry, Christianity Today, May 20, 1996 (p. 22).
Additionally CCM magazine says that all music is created equal….
"The Christian Rocker’s Creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all music was created equal, that no instrument or style of music is in itself evil, that the diversity of musical expression which flows forth from man is but one evidence of the boundless creativity of our Heavenly Father. (CCM Magazine, Nov. 1988, p. 12).
But is this true?
The only people in the world who argue for the amorality of music are Christian people who want to sing it or listen to it. All secular performers realize that it is moral. They know that it is actually communicating a message of sensuality and rebellion. (See Voices of Rock) … What the Rock artists say!)
Letters of the alphabet are neutral, but once you put them together to form sentences you communicate. The same is true of music. Notes are neutral, musical scores are not! (See Power of Music)
I feel like we’ve come here to get a message across to the kids, and in effect, to change society, which is why we think we must communicate with them on some of their own terms. We will get as high energy and progressive as is necessary, if that’s what it takes to capture their attention…. If there is ever going to be an understanding of the Christian message, it must be integrated into our entire society." (Michael Blanton, one of Amy Grant’s managers, CCM Magazine, Feb. 1989, p. 18).
We are told by the religious rockers that we must look and sound like the world in order to reach the youth of this generation. They say, many young people will not listen to the gospel or come to church so we must meet them on some common ground. That common ground is rock and roll. In other words, they are saying that preaching of the Word of God is no longer sufficient for both young and old. If this is true, then we should open bars in order to reach the multitudes of drinkers. We should open porno-shops in order to reach those who engage in smut. (Alan Yusko and Ed Prior)
Spurgeon once addressed this issue. saying..
"This is the suggestion of the present hour: if the world will not come to Jesus…shall not the church go down to the world? Instead of bidding men to be converted, and come out from among sinners, and be separate from then, let us join with the ungodly world, enter into union with it, and so pervade it with our influence by allowing it to influence us. Let us have a Christian world…
In 1998, because of the obvious pseudo-Christian lyrics flooding the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), the Gospel Music Association (GMA), for the first time in their 30-year history, created lyrics criteria for the eligibility of Dove Awards. The 1998 definition stated:
Gospel music is music in any style whose lyrics are:
- substantially based upon historically orthodox Christian truth contained in or derived from the Holy Bible;
- and/or an expression of worship of God or praise for His works;
- and/or testimony of relationship with God through Christ;
- and/or obviously prompted and informed by a Christian world view.
13 songs were disqualified from the Dove Awards because they did not meet the lyrical criteria, two of which were the mega-hit "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer and "Love Me Good" by Michael W. Smith!
However, Michael W. Smith opened the 1998 Dove Awards, the previous year, singing "Love Me Good", which was a number-one song on Christian radio and in Christian book shops.
Two of CCM’s biggest hits were "canned" from the Dove Awards because they couldn’t meet the criteria, which caused the Gospel Music Association to make a major revision in the standard. (GMA did allow Amy Grant's Behind the Eyes in the Dove Awards, and a song that was completely devoid of “explicitly Christian lyrical content” became the 1998 Dove Award's, Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year!)
"The Christian music industry has been unsure how to categorize Grant's latest offering, so much so, in fact, that the GMA and Christian Music Trade Association (CMTA) initiated a re-evaluation of existing guidelines for GMA Dove Award eligibility and sales chart placement." (Christianity Today, Dec., 8, 1997, "Where's the Gospel?")
"Responding to the backlash that ensued last year after the Gospel Music Association implemented lyric criteria to determine an album or song's Dove Award eligibility, the organization has revised the statement, and plans to take a different approach to the upcoming Dec. 2 screening process of entries submitted for nomination." (CCM Update, GMA Loosens Reins on Dove Awards Lyric Criteria, November 15, 1999)
The lyrics criteria for the eligibility of Dove Awards now reads…
Gospel music is music in any style whose lyrics are:
substantially based upon historically orthodox Christian truth contained in or derived from the Holy Bible;
and/or apparently prompted and informed by a Christian world view. (emphasis added)
There were two critical changes in the new wording…
1) The word "obviously" was changed to "apparently"
The substitution of the word "obviously" by the word "apparently" is troubling when one considers the meaning of the two words. The word "obvious" means "easily seen, recognized, or understood; evident; lacking in subtlety". The word "apparent" means "according to appearances, initial evidence, incomplete results, etc.; ostensible rather than actual"
Now the lyrics are subject to the Dove committee’s "judgment" as to what is "apparently" Christian.
"[The committees] will be using their own judgments because there is no amount of wording we can create that will make a black and white decision possible if there's a judgment call," (GMA President Frank Breeden. CCM Update, GMA Loosens Reins on Dove Awards Lyric Criteria, November 15, 1999). (Emphasis added).
There is no question of ‘judgment calls’. Truth is not measured by the man, but by the Word of God and just like everything else, spiritual songs are to be judged by the only true standard we have... The Bible. They have to be consistent with Biblical revelation and sufficiently clear so as to convey the truth plainly with the words focusing upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
"The shift to "apparently" does solve a lot of problems, said Marie Lehman, director of corporate events & artist relations for Word Entertainment and part of last year's pop/contemporary subcommittee. 'It's not so cut and dried. That was our big problem last year. Unless you know the heart of the songwriter, how is it 'obvious' from what point of view the song was written?'" (CCM Update, GMA Loosens Reins on Dove Awards Lyric Criteria, November 15, 1999). (Emphasis added).
According to the Gospel of Luke ‘the heart of the songwriter’ should be pretty obvious from the lyrics that he/she sings…
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Luke 6:45 (Emphasis added).
2) Two key lines were dropped.
GMA dropped the two lines that specifically define the lyrics as Christian!
and/or an expression of worship of God or praise for His works;
and/or testimony of relationship with God through Christ;
According to the Bible God-approved purpose or use of music is primarily for worship, praise, edification, and the teaching of doctrine (e.g., Exodus. 15:1,2, 20,21; I Chronicles 15:27,28; 16:9,23; II Chronicles 20:21,22; Psalms 95:2; 105:2; Acts 16:25; Ephesians 5:18, 19; Colossians 3:16). Over fifty psalms were dedicated to the chief musician to be used in worship, and in heaven the 24 elders and angelic beings will also be using music in worship (Revelation 5:8 ff). Our music is primarily an expression of a Spirit-filled life, not really intended as a tool of evangelism, although it can have this result.
The end purpose of Christian music is to glorify the Lord.