Sunday, March 15, 2015

Christian Music Wars - Part 2

It's time to drive the world, the flesh
and the devil out of our Churches.
I have been a Church musician all of my life. At eight years old, I was the Church organist in a congregation of about 150. At 14, I was heavily involved in preaching, singing and music ministry, holding weekend revivals even in my school years. At 19, I was a professional Gospel musician and performed on stage with almost every well-known Gospel group in those days. I played keyboard for many of the best-known Gospel singers in those days. And for almost thirty years, I literally pastored Churches from the keyboard, leading worship services from the keyboard or from the Hammond Organ, directing praise singers, chorales and choirs.

But today's Christian music has very nearly turned me against all Church music. I am absolutely nauseated and repulsed by the sickening shallowness and emptiness of modern Christian music, and the worldly, spiritually null-and-void phoniness of its musicians. I have eyes to see, and I can see the whole congregations of people standing there in a stupor, not knowing what to make of these near-meaningless songs. I have watched them over and over again. They don't sing along because the songs do not connect with them. When they do sing them, it is often a forced response, a desperate attempt to worship, despite the pathetic over-simplicity and dreadful redundancy of the lyrics of the songs being sung.

You could combine ten or twelve of some of the most popular "worship" choruses and still not have enough meaningful lyrics to convey a truly worthwhile scriptural message.

There are very few Gospel hymns written in the past 100 years that I have not played or sang at one time or the other. Thousands of songs. There is hardly a single song in all of the old songbooks that do not express some truly meaningful Gospel message. But the new songs are without precedent. Never in my life have I heard so much chanting, so much meaningless repetition, so many hard-driving, ground-shaking songs that say absolutely nothing of significant meaning. More songs than ever contain few if any complete sentences. Many of the most popular songs are nothing but buzz phrases repeated over and over and over and over and over again. They often have no sentence structure, which means that they do not convey a complete thought. There is no noun and verb, and that means nothing is actually being said.

Call me old-fashioned. Call me out-dated. Call me cynical or old-fogey, or anything else you can think of. I don't really care. But there is one problem. What I am saying is absolutely true. A vast majority of the Christian musicians of our day are almost completely biblically illiterate. Compared to the songwriters of the past, this generation is prayerless, godless, Bible-less, and clueless of the great doctrines and teachings of the Bible. Their lifestyles are devoid of real biblical sanctity. They are frivolous, worldly, and materialistic. They specialize in wall-pounding, earth-shaking drumming and bass thumping and dancing and jumping and flailing themselves in what is purported to be some never-before-seen, over-the-top, awesome spirituality. That would be laughable if it wasn't such a tragic deception.

They categorically dismiss virtually all the Christian music of the past because it is "legalistic," "antiquated" and "does not relate" to this generation. But there is a reason it does not relate, and that is because so many of this generation do not want to be bothered with the sober realities of godliness, holiness, piety, true Bible doctrines, or living the straight-and-narrow life. They are cement-headed about jumping and dancing to their shallow choruses, and viciously resist ALL the vernacular of historical Christianity.

Too many in this generation arrogantly believe that they have finally perfected worship, and that all other generations were helplessly and pathetically uncool. It is the Rehoboam Syndrome. Rehoboam was the son of King Solomon who categorically rejected the wisdom of his elders, and followed only the counsel of his own peers. The result was disastrous. Today's "Christian" sound stages are conspicuously absent of real godly elders. No elders for miles.

They are youth-driven. Inexperience-driven. Naivete-driven. Arrogance-driven. Presumption-driven. They believe that all the teachings of previous generations were ignorant and unlearned, and they are the first and greatest champions of true "grace" and "liberty." They demand that God does not require the keeping of any of His old rules anymore. They demand that they are free to live as they please as long as they confess Christ as their personal savior. Awesome worship, in their way of understanding, satisfies all the requirements of being saved. If you make good, hard-driving music, you are spiritual. If you don't make awesome music, you are irrelevant and uncool. But that is one of the biggest, fattest lies ever perpetrated or believed.

Today's Christianity could stand a complete purge of its music. It is arguable that one of the best things that could happen in today's "church" is to throw out ALL the music for a while and force everybody to sit and listen to hardcore, Holy Ghost-anointed Bible preaching for an entire year without music. At the end of that year, I have no doubt whatsoever that there would be a radically different view of both the role and usefulness of music in the Church. I guarantee you that after a full year of hard Bible preaching, a big part of today's Christian music and musicians would NOT be welcomed back onto the Church platform.

But WHY should it take a year of abstinence? Why can't we face the facts? There have been God-fearing, Bible-believing, Holy Ghost-filled, Jesus' name baptized believers somewhere on earth for 2,000 years. And they did NOT have million-dollar, music-driven sound stages. Preaching and teaching characterized the Church for two thousand years. Why have we turned Christianity over to the musicians? It was a terrible mistake that must be corrected immediately.

Let us search out men of God who will lead us back to God by the preaching of the pure, unadulterated Word, and without the endless sensual pounding and beat of the jungle. There are literally hundreds of powerful, truly awesome Gospel hymns and songs that beg to be sung again. Their messages are profound, convicting and life-changing, and have absolutely no use for the mind-numbing, trance-like chanting and heart-stopping pounding that is now considered indispensable.

We are responsible to God to re-sanctify the Gospel in our day. To separate the profane from the holy; the carnal from the spiritual; heresies from truth; deceivers from true men; phonies from the real; the worldly from the godly; compromisers from the truly consecrated; the defiled from the pure; the meaningless from the meaningful.

Then and only then can the Church begin again to actually be the holy Church - the Ecclesia; the "called-out," "chosen," and "separated" Church - that Jesus died for. Not a "Christian" nightclub, dance hall, or entertainment center that so many have now become. Ichabod. The glory of the Lord has departed, and they don't even know it.

See Part 1 - Christian Music Wars