Monday, November 25, 2013

In Defense of CCM

Posted by Elliott

The title of this post was hard to come up with because I have purposed to write about my personal defense of CCM (Contemporary Christian Music), but as I thought through what I would write I found that I really don't care about the future of CCM. I write this out of care for the families who have succumbed to this legalistic sedition that has been created by Satan. So, with this matter in view, let me say that my motivation for this post is the future success of many families whom I have come into contact, that they would not yield to endless divisions and deceptions that cause a lack of communion among the saints. All of this being said, if you find that my opinion is faulty, please correct me. I do not want to live in error.

I cannot even begin to address the hundreds of claims made against contemporary Christian music. Many of these claims would not stand alone, but unified they give the appearance of a cause. It is clear, however, that the entire conspiracy against CCM is shrouded in mystery. Nobody can give a unified answer as to why it is harmful for the Christian. One person says that it's the back beat, another may say sliding notes, "It's those African drums!" one says, another has wised up and says it is all of the above. Everybody has a different opinion as to why it is bad, and the only thing that matters is that you join the club, regardless of your reasons.

All of these approaches do seem to agree in one aspect. It is often taught that music has "power" or that it has a spiritual nature that transcends human understanding. This provides the perfect atmosphere for these conspiracies to take hold. Let me remind the reader that this is exactly what we would expect Satan to use. He has used the same mysterious cloak for numerous cults and other divisions among the church. This belief has no scriptural grounds. Many will cite 2 Kings 3:14-16 to provide a basis for the notion that music has power. But let's look at this passage briefly:

14 And Elisha said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee. 15 But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him. 16 And he said, Thus saith the Lord, Make this valley full of ditches.

 At first glance, one might presume that music has unknown powers that enabled Elisha to receive God's message, but upon further examination we should notice this part of verse 15:

"the hand of the Lord came upon him."

This tells us that it was not the music itself that enabled the prophet to hear from God, but it was "the hand of the Lord". We also should note that prophets are known for following seemingly strange impulses, as directed by the Lord. This gives us no basis for assuming that anytime someone plays an instrument he is being moved by something beyond himself or that the music is "spiritual" or has "power".
Another passage often cited is 1 Samuel 16:23:

23 And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.
This passage tells us only what we all can attest to as music can calm our emotions. The music was not the working force behind sending the distressing spirit away, the music refreshed Saul so that the spirit didn't have a hold on him. The proof for this is in 1 Samuel 18:10-11 where the music fails the test of supernatural mystical powers in its inability to send away the spirit:

10 And it happened on the next day that the distressing spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied inside the house. So David played music with his hand, as at other times; but there was a spear in Saul’s hand. 11 And Saul cast the spear, for he said, “I will pin David to the wall!” But David escaped his presence twice.

Even though David was playing his music, the evil spirit pressed upon Saul. Saul's emotions were not as easily calmed with his ever heightening rage against David and so the music didn't help him and the spirit still distressed him.
It is true that music affects the emotions, but I believe that it is plain to see that it does not possess any great mysterious power.

So often these types of things are adopted under the flag of personal conviction. That would be fine but it always grows into a moral absolute that is pushed on others. Suddenly, people are breaking fellowship with others because they disagree. You can be sure Satan loves it.
It is very saddening to see so many grown men, men who are serious about spiritual things, following after these ideas. Even more saddening to see numerous pastors let this thing become the very heart of their ministry. Instead of spreading the gospel and searching the scriptures to feed the flock, they are wasting their time proselytizing people to this fallacy.
Music is amoral. The music itself cannot be good or evil. It is a medium for conveying a message which might be good, evil or amoral.  Musical notes without a specific order are not really music at all.

God has given us music for many reasons, first and foremost, to glorify Him. But just as a beautiful mountain range brings glory to God and also delights the hearts of men, music is to be enjoyed. This goes against the old gnostic philosophy that everything in the world is evil and that virtue is only to be found in spiritual asceticism. Please, let's not adopt these Pharisaical standards that God never intended us to bear. Let's live in the full freedom that God intended us to have and not in any way bind our consciences with fables made by men.

This is my prayer for the church, that we would not sway to the right or to the left, but that we would remain in the center of God's will.
Elliott Alexander