My Reply to Daniel Lucarini’s BJU Chapel

Daniel Lucarini spoke on music at Bob Jones this morning. Or, rather, he spoke on discernment and separation and danced around any specific application, relying instead on his audience’s crystal-clear notion of what he does and doesn’t believe we should listen to. Hey, we all know what Mr. Lucarini is trying to tell us: music with “a beat” somehow displeases God, and we need to stick with “classical” music because God likes it better. Worried that this might be a flying leap of logic? Don’t worry–Lucarini quoted a bunch of Bible verses!

Titus 2:11-14 quite obviously precludes rock music for the Christian!

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Mr. Lucarini implied that us young folks who enjoy Sovereign Grace, Casting Crowns, Hillsong and the like are indulging fleshly lusts. We haven’t submitted our desires to God. We listen to this music because we “like the tune” (and the lyrics are “ungodly”, or at the least, vapid and weak). Mr. Lucarini has indeed been out of the CCM world for a long time–much too long. He ought to know that the reason my generation has rejected a hymns-only approach is that a lot of CCM these days is Spirit-filled, sober, beautiful and joyful. In short, his description of today’s worship styles is embarrassingly false. It’s the caricatured vision of evangelical churches that BJU and other fundamental places push out of pure ignorance.

Mr. Lucarini would like us to believe that CCM is wrong because it’s “popular with the ungodly”. That’s utterly elitist. Classical music, too, is popular with unsaved people. Mr. Lucarini and BJU simply prefer high-class “ungodly people” (King’s Singers, Shakespeare actors, Presidents, opera performers, etc.) to those who don’t fit within their socio-economic boundaries. This doesn’t surprise anyone who’s attended or merely driven by BJU; it’s a place for the clean, the intelligent and the gentile. It should come as no surprise that they endorse the music of the upper-class. And of course they have to “find” their position in the Bible. After all, all of their standards are right from Scripture, right? Right??

Having ransacked the Holy Writ and found no texts which adequately treated his subject, Mr. Lucarini proceeds to offer us the guidance and counsel of learned Christians of all ages. Today we discovered that Augustine hated (and, presumably, hates) CCM. Lucarini reassures us that he “sought the wisdom of his elders” so he could be sure of wisdom. And what if I found a different set of “elders” who would seem to (anachronistically) support CCM? I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard. By the way, I must sadly report that Mr. Lucarini brought us no other hidden historical facts. We must continue in ignorance of Abraham’s view on Twitter, Paul’s thoughts in the field of human cloning, and Thomas Aquinas’ favorite TV shows.

Mr. Lucarini is quite convinced that every Christian ought to agree with him. Early on in his Christian walk, he says he decided that

“We should learn to deny ungodly music. Now what is that? Well, it’s actually not that hard to figure out. I think sometimes we tend to make it a little bit harder than it is. For me, ungodly music are [sic] the styles of the ungodly! And they’re popular with the ungodly because this is music that enables or feeds their lusts”

Mr. Lucarini (and I hope you’re reading this), there are quite a few of us who love God and His word who do not agree with you at all. It will not inevitably follow from prayerful meditation and study that we will ever do so (despite your implication). We don’t really care how many languages your book has been translated into, either. Especially that Greek one…

P.S. I wrote this post with The Beatles, The Killers and U2 playing at a high volume.

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103 thoughts on “My Reply to Daniel Lucarini’s BJU Chapel

    1. Gareth

      I don’t know how to reply to this so I’m sorry if it’s in the wrong place. I am currently reading Dan Lucarini’s book. I picked it up in our local lirary and my first thought in responce to “Why I left the CCM movement” was “I’ve never heard of him, he’s probably bitter about not being successful” however,, as worship is very important to me I felt I should read it in case he did have something important to offer. I’m currently 2/5 of the way through the book. Having read this response to his book and part of what he says in the book I’m not sure what to think, I really believe there is something wrong with church at the moment, it certainly doesn’t live up to what the Bible shows of how church could be. However, the one thing I would say, Dan Lucarini is certainly more gracious about those he criticises than those who criticise him, I’ve never met him or the person who wrote this response but he seems a much more honourable man but then that could just be the fault of a system that allows people to mouth off their opinions without the thought that has to go into a published book. I’m sure there will be people out there who hate me for saying this but don’t forget the Bible says consider others better than yourself and Romans 14:1 “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarrelling over disputable matters.” then perhaps the lost will see the love we are supposed to have for each other instead of the back biting and bitterness.

      Reply
  1. SunnySide

    WOW! Clint, that’s all I can say:) WOW! Once again, you’ve hit the nail on the head and written in an elegant, readable, well-informed way; and it’s a topic that I whole-heartedly agree with….I am daily ministered to by the music styles you refer too.

    Thank you again for your words. I wish I could express myself like this. Are you sure you want to go to law school????? You’d be a FABULOUS journalist, author, teacher, or even “preacher”miss ya kid

    Reply
  2. Leslie Bowman

    I just have 2 questions:
    1. You have shared Mr. Lucarini’s “implied” interpretation of Titus 2:11-14….what is your interpretation of that passage and how does it apply to what we think on and live and act by?
    2. Mr. Lucarini shared one passage that he lives by and makes choices by….putting all preferences aside, what Scripture would you base your lifestyle choices on, if any?

    The reason I ask you is because you have shared your opinion with us :)

    Reply
    1. Clinton Verley Post author

      Hi Leslie! Those are the questions, aren’t they?

      My interpretation of the passage probably doesn’t differ from Mr. Lucarini’s all that much. But he needs to realize that you can “renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives” without adhering his narrow musical standards.

      Reply
  3. Jordan

    Outstanding. I’m curious to know exactly which part of St. Augustine’s corpus he consulted to reach that conclusion, since one of the controversies through which St. Augustine made his name was with the Donatists–a group that believed in, uh, separating themselves from compromisers. I’m not kidding.

    Reply
  4. Dave V

    Very well written post really exposes the problem that is currently causing a serious rift valley right down the center of fundamentalism today, and in fact right down the middle of most churches that teach the BJU philosophy of traditionalism in the area of music or any other cultural expression. The problem is that when the impressionable youths grow up enough to ask the appropriately tough questions, the answers are “because” or “of course this is how it is” or “if you were as discerning, wise, santified, as I am, you would agree with me” Instead of the answer actually being about the substance of the truth that these issues should be decided by. The projection of the norms of man-created church culture onto the scriptures results in just as much damage to the authority of the word as the secular culture questioning its validity. When the text doesn’t support your position you have to expend a lot of effort in mental gymnastics to avoid saying “maybe I was wrong”

    The music of Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns, Third Day, Sovereign Grace, etc. has put many people who perhaps used to have a good excuse for avoiding contemporary worship music in a tough spot. Their former arguments based on willful ignorance can no longer be supported by reality. The theological quality and style/feel of those artists produces a focus on the scriptures and a proper view of God much more thoroughly than many of what some refer to as “the old hymns” which are really nothing more than poorly written expressions of popular religious chiches from the era of Oberlin theology, emotionally driven holiness revivals, and circus showmen like Charles Finney.

    Reply
  5. Ben

    Clinton,

    Dan’s conclusions on music from Scripture may not be completely valid for every Christian. However, he is a born again Christian and as such must follow the guidelines the Spirit has impressed on his conscience. It would be a sin for him, and others who have similar standards, to listen to music that violates that standard. There is nothing wrong with him drawing the line where he does and sharing his thoughts from Scripture.

    Your critical response makes me think of Psalm 1, where is it said that the blessed man does not sit in the seat of the scornful. The whole tone of your article was scornful, especially the last line: “P.S. I wrote this post with The Beatles, The Killers and U2 playing at a high volume.”

    Godly men may write an article respectfully disagreeing with another brother in Christ and giving logical reasons why, but Godly men do not bash on other believers and do not rub things in the face of the convictions of Christians who desire to take a stand in the World.

    Your article shows your character to be scornful and unloving and your unwillingness to tolerate and respect the opinions of another Christian shows your immaturity. You have a lot to learn.

    Reply
    1. Clinton Verley Post author

      @Ben:

      Dan’s conclusions on music from Scripture may not be completely valid for every Christian
      Then he shouldn’t be taking this platform, in this manner, to announce these conclusions. Let’s not pretend that BJU or Lucarini are gently sharing their personal convictions and leaving each believer to decide for themselves. No. Lucarini tried to show that God Himself is not pleased by CCM or rock music. You can’t have it both ways.

      There is nothing wrong with him drawing the line where he does and sharing his thoughts from Scripture.”
      Correct. However he is drawing the line for ALL of us, and if he’s going to take that role (and boast about how prolifically he’s done so) he should at least do his homework. His depiction of CCM bears no resemblance to reality.

      Your critical response makes me think of Psalm 1, where is it said that the blessed man does not sit in the seat of the scornful
      But having scorn for an idea does not make me _a scorner_. Christ Himself had alot of scorn for alot of people and ideas–mostly, for religious folks who tried to stamp their personal tandards with God’s authority. Sound familiar?

      but Godly men do not bash on other believers and do not rub things in the face of the convictions of Christians who desire to take a stand in the World.”
      True. I admit the line about listening to rock while typing this was unnecessary and pretty juvenile. But at least I didn’t say that God likes my music and no one else’s.

      Your article shows your character to be scornful and unloving and your unwillingness to tolerate and respect the opinions of another Christian shows your immaturity. You have a lot to learn.”
      And suddenly being caustic is ok with you ;)

      Reply
    2. Clinton Verley Post author

      @Ben: By the way you and Dan are both brothers in Christ and I love you both. I could shake hands with you and look you in the eye with no problem, even while disagreeing with you strongly. Sound good?

      Reply
      1. Ben

        Clinton,

        There’s a difference between rebuking someone personally about something they wrote (what I did) and taking another Christian’s name and smearing it in a public post (what you did). Your article is bypassing Matthew 18 and what it has to say about biblically confronting a brother.

        If you walked up, shook Dan’s hand and repeated the last 2 paragraphs of your post to his face, you wouldn’t be doing it with a smile. And he wouldn’t be receiving it with one, either.

        From reading just that one post you wrote on Dan’s message, I would agree more with your music standards than his. However I doubt that Dan, as wrong as he may be, would ever publicly demean your name the way you did his.

        Proverbs 22:1 – A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches. We should be preserving, not smashing, the names of our fellow Christians. That’s bigger than what music we like.

    3. Dave V

      If they are not completely valid for every Christian, then he should shut up!

      Drawing the line where he does is fine, but he is not sharing his thoughts from scripture, in fact the scripture has very little if anything to do with his words. “Christians who desire to take a stand in the World” need to do so on the foundation of Biblical truth, not some made up foundation of their own willful ignorance.

      You appear to be referencing Romans 14:23 when you say it would be a sin for him to violate his arbitrary standard. You must have forgotten the context seen in the previous verse. “So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.” 14:22-23

      From earlier in the chapter,
      Not eating (not listening) might be a valid way to avoid conflict with a brother who has a particular view, in that if Clint were to give Dan a ride somewhere in his car, perhaps the proper thing to do would be to not put on U2, the Killers, or the Beatles knowing where Dan stands, but the passage does include Paul’s admonishment as to the appropriateness of the behavior in question, as well as his desire to see peace and edification. Sharing a contrarian viewpoint on disputable matters, or addressing the lack of biblical support for a person’s public statements does not constitute scoffing or unloving. In fact, tolerating the type of extra-biblical tripe that is filling this particular sermon would be irresponsible and is against my convictions. By teaching in this way, he is damaging the faith of others, he is setting up young people for a serious intellectual and spiritual crisis, and Dan is also abusing his authority and the respect that he may well have earned by abandoning a biblical viewpoint for one that is steeped in cultural relativism and a faulty method of exegesis.

      Clint may have used satire and even a bit of sarcasm, but its pretty clear the the scoffer you reference is an unbeliever. A dangerous and careless thing for you to accuse a brother of. In fact much worse even than your proposition that Clint is in the wrong for disagreeing with Dan’s message.

      Reply
    4. Jonathan

      Very well put. If you disagree with us, I can respect that. But when you become antagonistic of us in your disagreement, you have crossed the line into not loving your brothers in Christ, which is sin.

      Reply
  6. Clinton Verley Post author

    @Ben:
    I’m not spoiling for a fight here–from you or from Dan.
    Mr. Lucarini made his comments in a public forum and
    was not shy about them. I’m doing the same as far as I
    can tell (though my puny blog is hardly what you’d
    call “public” :) ). I really haven’t smeared him at all
    unless you consider saying he’s flat wrong “smearing”.
    And despite what you’ve said I would have no problem
    saying all of this to his face. I’m sure he’d say the same,
    and that’s good.

    Reply
  7. Truth Stands Scrutiny

    Ben, Clint has not smeared Mr. Lucarini’s name. He has only exposed his philosophy (from his message, publicly preached at BJU and posted on SermonAudio.com) and challenged it with his ideas and facts. He has not attacked the preacher personally.

    Matthew 18 speaks about a brother who has offended you privately. Dan Lucarini has preached a theory that to many of us has no Biblical basis. It is good to dissect it in public (as he preached his message in public) and examine it.

    Reply
  8. LMcC

    I have to laugh when someone from BJU or supportive of it brings up Matthew 18. As a graduate, I can attest that the BJU system honestly has no place for true Matthew 18 practice. Everything is either “turn people in without giving a chance to defend themselves” for petty things or “brush it under the carpet” for the serious stuff.

    That said, I’m with Truth Stands Scrutiny here. Public message, public response.

    Reply
  9. Jen

    Yep, Matthew 18 was never followed in my four years at BJU. In fact, administration appeared to encourage the opposite.

    Reply
  10. Serafina Lengel

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    Reply
  11. Pingback: I want to hear your career stories! « Mildly Insightful

  12. Dan Lucarini

    Hi Clinton, just to let you know that I read this blog post. Next time you want me to read something, feel free to let me know that so I don’t have to stumble across it 4 months later. I’m very easy to find! twitter/journey2worship or my ubiquitous email address that’s all over the Web: danlucarini@msn.com

    To anyone who criticized Clinton for expressing his opinions about me, pls give him a break. He’s entitled to give a public response to a public message like mine. I may not agree with Clinton’s personal views but he seems like a sincere young brother in Christ. And I don’t think Matt 18 applies to our discourse here.

    Blessings in Christ,
    Dan
    Col 3:16

    Reply
    1. Michael Kreger

      Dan,

      I read your book (Why I Left…) at a point in my life where I was coming under personal attack for not being contemporary enough. I was leading five songs per service. Two or three would be contemporary hymns or chorus songs, and the others would be traditional hymns. We had a drum set that we played with whisks instead of sticks, so we had a steady rhythm that was not at all overpowering. I allowed different instruments along with the piano as well. But none of this was enough for the rebels, and their attacks got bigger and worse. And so, having lived through that horrible experience (seeing them force us out, and then seeing the church die in the next couple of years), I could understand your argument, even while I disagreed with you regarding complete abstention from contemporary music. I believe your heart is in the right place, and I thank you for what you have tried to do. I wish more young people would think about what you said, and consider their own heart motivations and behaviors, just as I wish those who are adamantly opposed to all music (insisting that we still sing “Shall We Gather at the River” every couple of weeks) would reconsider their motivations and behaviors. I wish we would approach each other in humility and love, rather than in scorn and hate.

      The old and the young NEED each other. We (I’m young at 41, dangnabbit!) need the knowledge and wisdom of the older folks, and they need the energy of the younger folks. It is a very bad trend for our churches to have separate services, or for the church to split into separate age-based congregations.

      Reply
    1. Dan Lucarini

      Roger, very kind of you to say that. To me, nothing said on this entire post (least of all my comment) deserves ‘legendary’ status (in the way I might think of legendary). I also thought Clinton breathed a few of his own ‘fresh breaths’ throughout. Credit where credit is due.

      The issues Clinton and I have both raised are part of an authentic, gritty, and very global discussion going on between brethren. I call it a family feud, sinners saved by grace, trying to live for Christ and working through the inconsistencies of our various worship practices.

      This gets ‘messy’ and sometimes caustic/sarcastic or even snarky. After discussing the subject with over 4,000 readers including many like Clinton over the past 4 months (which by the way is why I am not ‘purely ignorant of today’s CCM or worship styles’ as someone claimed here), I think I’ve heard it all!

      The grace of Christ be over all.

      Reply
      1. Clinton Verley Post author

        Thank you for your comments today, Dan. I appreciate your graciousness, especially since I’ve criticized your position pretty harshly here. While not in the least retracting those criticisms, I’m pleased we’re able to write in the same space without getting nasty. Feel free to respond to any of my criticisms if you feel they’re incorrect.

    1. Dan Lucarini

      I’ll take ‘very nice’ any day, Roger! Bless you! Here in this post, Clinton seemed to lump me in with BJU as if we had somehow mind-melded and I was in lockstep with every music argument he disagrees with, which I suppose is a fair albeit hasty assumption, as Dr. Jones did invite me to speak at Chapel and I’m glad to be a friend of the University family. One can presume I must agree with BJU!

      However… (and in life, there’s usually a however) if you listen to the Chapel message intro (Clinton kindly provided the link at top) I made it clear where I came from and then expressed bemusement at being called ‘the poster boy for BJU’. LOL.

      I do hold my own views on music and worship that may not necessarily reflect all the views of any group that invites me to speak. For example, my church includes a few Getty and SGM songs in our repertoire, which by the way I openly shared at the evening talk to the music students and faculty. That remains a delicate subject within our churches and colleges. Let’s not form a circular firing squad when discussing it.

      If you get a chance to read my latest book (shameless plug alert but I’ll send Clinton a box of candy for letting me advertise), you’ll discover that I think we have ALL placed way too much emphasis on music in worship and the problem is not ‘contemporary v traditional’ but endemic. Titled It’s Not About the Music, my music friends are a little nervous about this.

      Reply
  13. Brandon Layton

    Clinton Verley,
    Daniel Lucarini was addressing ‘Christian’ music standards. Daniel Lucarini cited scripture as his resource for his standards and encouraged students to do the same. The definition of Christian is Christ-like. Christ-likeness can be defined as being consistent with the life of Christ, the lifestyle or culture of Christ, and the teachings of Christ. Accepting this definition, the only acceptable place from which to derive Christian musical standards would be from the Bible – the entirety of which is relevant.

    2 Timothy 3:16 – 17
    All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

    From what scripture do you derive your standards, Clinton Verley? What music do you consider Christ-like? What music do you consider to be anti-Christ, or counter-Christ? What scripture do you have to show us? What is your music? The Beetles, The Killers, U2…and I think it is a fair assumption that there are many more, both past and present?

    The Beetles made it very clear that they were atheists. They attacked religion, specifically Jesus Christ, and Christianity habitually. Several of their songs, and one entire album were about drugs.

    The Killers…well let’s just look at one of their songs…this site gives an explanation of the songs meaning. I have pasted an excerpt below:
    http://www.lyricinterpretations.com/The-Killers/When-You-Were-Young
    “Usually young latin american girls imagine their future husbands like Jesus (while in other ethnic groups, children may imagine their lovers as a prince)… And this girl has found a man who “doesn’t look a thing like jesus” because he cheated (as shown in the music video) on her and that’s something Jesus wouldn’t do (if he ever were together with someone) but “talks like a gentleman” He really isn’t that bad, he just made a mistake.. “they say the devil’s water It ain’t so sweet, you don’t have to drink right now, But you can dip your feet every once in a little while”
    It’s NORMAL for humans to sin once in a while.”

    As for other bands, I cannot speak for all, but most lead very immoral lives, are involved in drugs and alcohol. Many artists and critics themselves have professed that “rock music is all about sex.” Many sing chiefly about immorality (Lady Gaga), but even the ones that sing “innocent” love songs (Taylor Swift) do not present love from a biblical worldview. Instead it is based on lust, and self-gratification. Is this edifying music (constructive in truth)? Is this Christ-like music? Is this Christ-pleasing music? Is this Christ honoring music? Philipians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

    Music is an expression of a culture. Culture is a collective system of beliefs and values. Judging from the artist’s lifestyles, and the lifestyles of their fan base, what is the culture of contemporary (rock) music? What are their beliefs and values? Do they represent a Christ-like culture? Present, if you will, the verses that you use to support your music as being “Christian.”

    Here are some more verses to consider:

    Titus 2:12-13
    For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
    1 John 2:15-16
    Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
    James 4:4
    Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
    Ephesians 5:11-16
    For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

    The CCM bands that you mention are relatively conservative in comparison with the broader genre, but in many cases, the CCM music is virtually indistinguishable from its secular counterpart. The artists look the same, dress the same, sing the same, dance the same, imitate their stages, and their concert audiences respond the same way to their music. They imitate the culture of the world because they share the same beliefs and values of the world.
    CCM is not new…it has been around for thousands of years. The first occurrence can be found in Exodus chapter 32.
    And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play……
    And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.

    The Israelites called there God “the LORD” (which is Jehovah). They attributed unto their Jehovah the actual works of the LORD. Their words were very biblical…but how did they worship their Jehovah? They worshiped him after the manner of the world’s worship of their gods; with lascivious dancing, music, and immorality. Were they worshipping the real LORD? No, they were worshipping a false god…and idol that pleased their lusts. There are many similarities between CCM artists and the people of Israel. They sing about Jesus, they attribute to Jesus many of His works and attributes, and yet they worship Him with the culture – beliefs and values – of the world. Are they actually worshipping Jesus? No. They are serving ‘a jesus’ that appeals to their lusts-an idol. Why, Christians, would we seek to pattern our worship after the world’s music, when the culture of the music is counter-Christ? The more conservative bands that you mentioned, Casting Crowns, etc. though they do not imitate the world’s ‘look’ they do imitate their music in an effort to appeal to their culture. They use the music that is created by/and appeals to a culture which is counter-Christ and try to use it to worship Christ. Is this edifying? Is this scriptural? Should Christians employ the services of the world to worship God?

    Jamess 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself *unspotted from the world.*

    1Peter 1:15-16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (Holy means set apart)

    Clinton Verley, what scripture do you use to support CCM?
    James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
    Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
    Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

    Traditional Christianity has a long history and selection of “Spirit-filled, sober, beautiful and joyful music.” The lives of these fathers of the faith give testimony to the purity of their beliefs and values and therefore the culture of their music. Perhaps to you, “psalms, spiritual songs, and hymns” refers to CCM. Paul says that you should lean on the teaching of spiritual elders who are strong in the faith and have lived the faith and their lives have born the fruits of their faith (in this instance, Paul). Paul also commands to lean on the holy scriptures. So once again, I ask for you to show your music standards from the scriptures.
    2 timothy 3:12-15
    Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
    As you mentioned, you can find “elders” of your own who take your side. Paul has something to say on that as well.
    2 Timothy 4:3-4
    For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

    Clinton Verley, evidenced by this post, as well as your Facebook account (multiple occurrences), you make a habit of slandering Bob Jones University and other conservative Christian organizations (i.e. Michael and Debi Pearl) You accuse them of being heretics, elitists, deceivers, and manipulators – malicious and unfounded attacks. Present, if you will, scripture that supports your views, so that we may judge which view is consistent with the scriptures. Dan Lucarini presents his views from scripture. Bob Jones presents their views from scripture. Michael and Debi Pearl present their views from scripture. You disagree? Where is your scripture? Or is it scripture that you disagree with?

    (Romans 1:30) Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful …How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:2)

    Clinton Verley, you do not represent those with whom you disagree honestly. You do not express your disagreement respectfully. You do not base your disagreements on scripture, nor seek scriptural approval for your disagreements. (Malicious, debating, malignant, whispering, backbiting, despiteful, proud, without understanding, and unmerciful.) If you know Christ then how can you continue in these things? You ought to repent before God and then you owe Bob Jones University, Dan Lucarini, and everyone who has read this blog an apology for your discord.

    Reply
    1. Clinton Verley Post author

      We’ve been reading “The Battle for Christian Music” a bit too much haven’t we? Hm. I’ve heard it all before, and I reject it. Thanks for taking the time to write all that, but I know all those arguments already.

      Reply
    2. Clinton Verley Post author

      What do you mean? You supposedly have “scriptural support” since you quoted a bunch of verses above. To me, you’ve wrenched those verses out of context to mean what YOU think they ought to. Just like Mr. Lucarini did. I don’t feel the need to defend myself against THAT.

      Reply
    3. Kara

      I’m not going to address your whole tireade there, Mr. Layton, but one point I will address as it is a fault MANY MANY of the “anti-CCMers” make. And it’s one that makes me upset, because it shows the utter ignorance of our generation of fundies.

      You mentioned the lifestyle of the bands Clinton (and I, for the record) enjoy listening to. Tell me, do you listen to Tchaikovsky? Or are you more of a Mozart and Beethoven guy, perhaps? Do you know the lifestyles that these men led? Both Mozart and Beethoven are believed to have died from either AIDS or another STD. Tchaikovsky was openly gay.Do you approve these lifestyles? I’m assuming in your narrow-mindedness, you do not. Think and research before you post ignorance, will you?

      Reply
  14. Brandon Layton

    I mean, Clinton, that Christians should have biblical derived views and principles. If you reject my verses and conclusions, then it would be most beneficial for you to present your biblical views and principles from scripture…I think that would help everyone see where you are coming from.

    Reply
    1. Clinton Verley Post author

      And if I ever feel like writing to detail those standards, I will. This post is to point out error in a publicly spoken message, not to lay out my philosophy (though, of course, there’s some overlap).

      What I will NEVER do is quote a list of verses and then say “See? Only MY methods are ok, and no one else’s”. That’s just rubbish. That’s trying to force direct application out of a subject the Bible is quite open on.

      Reply
      1. Brandon Layton

        Clinton, Christ quoted scripture to rebuke the devil. Christ quoted scripture to expose the pharisees. Paul quoted scripture to correct both the legalist and the worldly.

        2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

        According to this verse (and a couple other passages) the scriptures supply guidence in every aspect of righteousness. Not only is it complete enough that through them a man may be perfect, throughly furnished unto every good work, but also clearly enough that we can have confidence to reprove, correct, and instruct. Dan Lucarini and many others have believed this verse and following it, have applied it to the issue of seeking righteousness in music. They have sought out and presented scripture that applies to music and relevant topics such as culture (collective beliefs and values).

        You have not provided scripture and therefore you have not exposed, rebuked or corrected any error. All that you have done is sneer at Dan’s biblical creed and scoff and conservative, Bible-based music standards.

        The Christ-like way to expose error is to rely on scripture. Since you felt like exposing conservative music standards, I trust that you will feel like supporting your claims with scripture.

  15. Brandon Layton

    Titus 2:1 & 2:7-3:11
    ¶ But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine…In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you…Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
    ¶ These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

    Reply
    1. Clinton Verley Post author

      Dude, I own a Bible too. And I believe it, same as you. Why can’t you accept that we just have different views on worship and move on? You’re not going to convert me to your standards by quoting more verses, sorry.

      Reply
      1. Brandon Layton

        Certainly we have different views, and certainly we shall move on. But you and those who have read your blog should understand that:
        Different views on truth = different views on worship.
        Different views on worship = different god.

        That is why there is a battle for Christian music and that is why it is so important.

        John 4:23-24 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

      2. Clinton Verley Post author

        So your position is: those who choose different styles/instruments with which to worship God have 1)a wrong view of God 2)a wrong view of truth. Am I understanding you correctly?

      3. Shoes

        HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! It’s so important? How many times does Jesus Christ adress it in the Gospels? Please include scripture? How many? how many?

      4. Kara

        BTW, I just noticed in your severely flawed logic that everything is “different view” when when we get to God it’s an entirely different God… wow. again. You’re twisted “proof-texts,” narrow-minded interpretations and musical ignorance is going to lead you to say we have different Gods? That’s a very serious accusation there, dude.

  16. Brandon Layton

    No, I mean that God’s Word is truth(John 17:17). To disagree so opposingly on exposition of scripture (especially over matters of the culture of Christ and the Christ-like church) is a serious difference on perception of truth. Since truth is a requirement for proper worship, an incorrect view of truth would result in an incorrect worship. Incorrect worship cannot be accepted by God. Therefore, to disagree over worship, based on perception of truth, is to serve different gods.

    Reply
      1. Brandon Layton

        Consider Cain and Able. Both brought a sacrifice (which was a form of worship) seeking the acceptance of God. Both had pure intentions. Both had different perceptions of what pleased God (different perceptions of truth). One was based on actual truth. One was based on error. One was accepted. One was not. One was worshiping Jehovah, the other was worshipping an idol (a god after his own imagination, according to what pleased him)

        This illustrates the principle that perception of truth alters worship, and that the manner of worship changes the object of worship. Truth, God’s word is absolute, and there is a singular, intended meaning. God does not give the “spirit of confusion but of peace, and sound mind.” God promises that His word completely equips believers to make completely righteous decisions in every matter. Therefore it is crucial for everything a Christian believes and practices to be firmly grounded in biblical doctrine and principles and have a thorough knowledge of their references and context. By this means we can have confidence in our righteousness before God as well as instruct, reprove and correct others.

        The scriptures were Christ’s and Paul’s source of authority when they taught and the scriptures command that we likewise teach with the same authority. Of course there is a “right” view and a “wrong” view, or else there is no reason for any doctrine in the church apart from “Jesus loves you.” But since there is much more that God expects of His people, He left the entire scriptures – many of which focus primarily on righteous living.

        2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
        Titus 2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

        Clinton, you have not supplied any evidence that the scriptures that seemingly condemn secular contemporary music (the Beatles) are incorrectly exposited. You have not supplied any evidence that the scriptures that seemingly support abstaining from CCM are incorrectly exposited. You have not provided and scripture to support your endorsement of your professed Christ-like music (the Beatles, etc.) You have not provided any scripture that supports the churches embrace of CCM. If you were to present such scripture then we could seek out which is true and indeed biblically sound. All that you have done on this blog is reject the truth of the scriptures presented to you. Based on that evidence alone, it is logically concluded that you have a different perception of the scriptures (truth). Therefore our worship is different according to the degree of the difference of truth (from the views expressed on this blog, the differences are polar). Therefore, it must be concluded that we serve different gods.

      2. Clinton Verley Post author

        Your logical leaps are breathtaking.

        1.) I have not presented, from a 2,000 year old book, verses that specifically condone my favorite artists/styles
        2.) I am not taking a “biblical” approach
        3.) We have “different views of truth”
        4.) I am worshipping “a different god”

        From The Beatles to apostasy in 4 easy steps! Fundy logic at its best. Nice work here, Brandon!

    1. Kara

      Brandon,
      1. Your automatic assumption that our music preferences determine the Christ-likeness of our churches is ridiculous.
      2. Your automatic assumption that we have an incorrect view of truth is beyond arrogant, because you feel that your interpretation of the Bible is the only correct truth. Mind-blowing arrogance.
      3. “Disagree(ing) over music” automatically means that one way is correct and one way is very very wrong. I can guarantee you I can find at least one person in under 5 minutes who believes even your music standards are too liberal. Who’s right now?
      4. “Different gods” …. …. WHAT?!?! That’s all I have to say about that.

      Reply
  17. Beth

    Everything we have is unacceptable to God. That’s why Jesus came. Now we are clothed in His righteousness and we have His Spirit to guide us into all truth.

    Brandon–do you think it is possible for someone in China or Africa to have different music standards and still love God?

    Reply
    1. Brian Fisher

      Quick questions for the haters( brandon anti-ccmers ect)

      1. Is rock music a sin? I want only a yes or no on that answer, nothing but a yes or no.

      2. I find it funny how the haters keep asking clint to use scripture on something like music which the bible is not clear to say yes it is wrong or no its fine. But what the bible does say is that there alot of gray areas that we have to figure out for ourselves( pual talks about this issue when he talks about eating meat at the temple/from the temple, for some it is wrong for others fine) that lays the ground work out that there are thing good for some and bad for others.

      Now here is the kicker haters, the Bible is very clear when it needs to be, there are alot of times it says “do not do X” and we know not to do that. But what I loveis that the Bible never says anything about music, but the New testimate is very clear about about drinking Eph 5:18 says “be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Now lets look at that, very simple kiddies it says “Don’t get drunk!” but it never says don’t drink. But the haters don’t like to listen and change a very simple thing to grasp to mean “Don’t drink ever! you sinner” so they ignore what the Bible says there but it says NOTHING about music, and yet they somehow twist things to say it’s wrong. Thing is the bible is pretty clear and easy to understand, but sinful haters like to twist it to make it what like.

      Also to second what kara said about history, you say the “style” of music that the haters use is Godly, what did people use for music for the 1600 or so years till this style of music came into being. You do know all classical music is “pop” music of a few hundred years ago. To say there is a magic few hundred year of music that is what God wants and nothing out of the other 3000 years of human kind works has zero reflection on history, logic, or the Bible.

      Quit hatein’ haters!

      Reply
      1. Dave

        I believe Waltz music is sinful, and I have never been able to worship with the Organ – too distracting and just makes me want to go roller skating.

        No one seems to care about my weakness when it comes to these matters.

        Of course I am right, and I posted all the same verses as the haters above, but no one listens, they just keep pushing their high church and revivalist drivel on me and telling me to worship with it.

  18. Jon W

    Jumping into the middle of these sort of things is not my favorite thing to do, but here goes. I think the majority of this argument boils down to this: is music amoral? Let me explain. There are two choices, music is moral, that is it can be categorized as right or wrong or music is amoral, that is it cannot be categorized as right or wrong. Lets start with option 1. Music is moral. This means that certain styles are acceptable to God because they are right and certain styles are not acceptable to God because they are wrong. Rock music is wrong. Those who worship God with rock music are either worshiping some other “God” or are not really worshiping at all, being to conformed to the world to accomplish any real worship. Option 2, Music is amoral. This means that music cannot be categorized as right or wrong. Classical, Pop, Rap, Rock, Jazz and what-have-you it doesn’t matter. Music is a tool and one can use that tool to glorify God or not. Personally, I’m going with option 2 and here’s why. First, I think that if music was moral, there’d be more evidence/guidance in the Bible as to figuring out what music is right and what music is wrong. The Bible is silent on the issue. How, exactly, can we choose what music is right and what music is wrong if there are no verses that get close to breaching this issue. However, the issue of worship is touched on quite a bit. A previous illustration of Cane and Able was used and I think it was invalid. Cain brought an offering of the produce of his farm. The Bible specifically states that Able brought an offering “and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions.” Essentially, Cain brought a common offering, Able brought his best. I think this particular passage applies to not profaning, that is making common, God with anything less than our best, not the way we worship. I think a better illustration of that would be the example of Nadab and Abihu who were consumed with fire from the Lord after offering “strange fire.” However, in this instance God specifically commanded them not to do this. There are no such specific commandments when it comes to what kind of music we should use. Though, as was previously mentioned, Paul gave a whole discourse on eating meat that had been offered to idols. Some people were fine with eating it, some believed it to be an affront. Paul said that if you are with someone in the latter group, don’t eat the meat. He even went so far as to swear off meat forever if it meant keeping his fellow brethren from stumbling. Let me offer you the following illustration: Jack plays the saxophone. He endeavored to play a song during his church’s worship service. The current music pastor was a former jazz trumpeter. To him, the sax was a jazz instrument that reminded him of times that he’d personally rather forget. To Jack, the sax was just an instrument, one that could be used to glorify God through song. Jack’s music pastor talked to Jack about his conviction and concern that others might feel similarly. Though saddened at the loss of the possibility of ministering in that particular capacity, Jack happily obliged and was more than willing, instead, to minister through a vocal ensemble. What I’m trying to say is this: if a certain music style prevents you from worshiping God, by all means stay away from it. If you know a particular music style prevents a fellow brother from worshiping God, by all means do not subject him to it. If you feel that a particular music style prevents you from worshiping God, but you know that it does not prevent a fellow brother from doing the same, by all means do not dogmatically impose your personal convictions on him.

    Reply
    1. Clinton Verley Post author

      Excellent comment, Jon. The Cain and Abel illustration SOUNDS so valid-but it’s begging the question. God clearly commanded them to worship a certain way, and Cain didn’t. To use this illustration in the area of music-and I’ve heard it done SO many times-is to assume as God’s command the very thing the Bible leaves so unclear. It’s fallacious in the extreme.

      Reply
    2. Brandon Layton

      Jon W,

      I appreciate your civil and gracious reply. Thank you for keeping your arguments to what the scriptures have to say, as this permits us to have a meaningful discussion.

      Is music moral or amoral? Music is an art. Art is an expression of a culture. Culture is a collective system of beliefs and values. Culture (beliefs and values) is subject to morality, therefore, expression of these same values are also subject to morality. Since music is an expression of culture, it must also be subject to morality.
      Exhibit A: please watch this entire video. The Beautiful People – Marilyn Manson.

      The beliefs and values of the artist are expressed in this music. The culture of the artist is corrupt, and therefore their expression is corrupt. If any particular piece of music is immoral, then all music must be subject to morality and therefore cannot be amoral. After establishing the morality of music, as Christians, we must turn to the only source of Righteousness.

      I would like to emphasize that we can be sure that the Bible gives us guidance on how to walk righteously in the eyes of God in every aspect of life, for the Bible tells us so (2 Timothy 3:16). This must, therefore, include music. If we do not see verses that say “no rock because it’s bad” it does not mean that there is no guidance, but that the guidance is not in the form for which we are looking. Rather than categorizing every song, artist, or genre that would ever exist with a check or X, the scriptures set up a framework of righteous culture vs. worldly culture. The scriptures provide many verses that command Christians to come out from the culture of the world and be holy (set apart). The scriptures provide many verses telling us that to embrace, befriend, or associate with the culture of the world is to be an enemy of God. Again, culture is the collective system of beliefs and values. The culture of the world is found in Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. In other words, the culture of the world ignores Truth and instead pursues the desires and imaginations of their hearts. The culture of the Righteous, is to walk according to Truth (the scriptures – which foundational theme is glorifying and giving thanks to God).

      Secular singers do not have Truth. Therefore their beliefs and values are not subjected to the truth. Their songs do not promote a Truth-based philosophy or perspective on any aspect of life (work, authorities, love, marriage, sex, morality, humility, etc.). Instead they generally promote a philosophy which is counter-Truth and serving man’s desires – idols (A song does not have to speak of explicit fornication to be “bad” but simply present a philosophy that is inconsistent with Truth). Any music that is of the world’s culture and promoting of the world’s culture cannot be of God’s culture, is therefore worldly and ungodly. Of such, a Christian should not have any part. (Hereby, from the Beatles through Lady Gaga, and even some of Disney, a vast majority of secular music – regardless of genre – is worldly and ungodly)
      Philippians 4:8 Whatsoever things are true…think on these things.
      Psalms 1:1-6 Blessed is the man who walketh not after the counsel of the ungodly…
      2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
      James 5:13 Is any merry? Let him sing psalms.
      Ephesians 5:6-20
      Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

      In very brief summary, these verse command Christians not to be under the influence of the world but under the influence of the Spirit (Truth). Paul then tells us that the way we are filled, drunk, or under the influence of the Spirit (Truth) is to be constantly indwelled with musical scripture (psalms, hymns, etc) and giving thanks to God (the exact opposite of the Beatles, etc.)
      Jos 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
      Ps 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
      Ps 63:6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
      Ps 77:12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
      Ps 119:15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
      Ps 119:23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.
      Ps 119:48 My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.
      Ps 119:78 Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.
      Ps 119:148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.
      Ps 143:5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.
      1Ti 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

      Since we see that the righteous (Spirit influenced) meditate on the word of God and are indwelled with musical scripture, we now want to “prove that which is acceptable” and search the scriptures for instruction concerning worship. Before we begin this, I would like you to understand the events of Cain and Able. Cain was a farmer and when he offered unto the Lord, he brought what pleased him, and that which he did best. The scriptures do not suggest that Cain’s sacrifice was not accepted because he didn’t bring the best fruit that he had. The word “fruit” could also be translated “first-fruits” in which case would later become feast and tithe of the Law of Moses. The interpretation of profaning does not fit in context. If you read Genesis 3 and 4, there is no record of God instructing them how to sacrifice. The fact that Cain expected to be accepted suggests that God had not given direct command. However, God still held Cain accountable which suggests that God had given guidance. Likely this could refer to the fact that the wages of sin is death (Gen 2:17) which Cain should have known. Since the consequences of sin is the predominant theme of Genesis 2-4,this interpretation is more consistant. This brings us back to my original point on this passage: different perception of truth alters worship. Different worship alters the object of worship.
      This is the Strong’s page on Genesis 4:7. The verse would perhaps be better translated, “If you had done pleasingly, then you too would have also been exalted.”
      If thou doest well , shalt thou not be accepted ?
      ‘Accepted’ being translated in the KJV-rising 7 times, dignity 2 times, excellency 2 times, accepted 1 time, highness 1 time, raise up 1 time.
      1) elevation, exaltation, dignity, swelling, uprising
      1a) dignity, exaltation, loftiness
      1b) swelling

      So what does the scripture say about worship? Well, we know that Christians should avoid all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). We know that we are to be set apart from this world, a purified, holy people (Titus 2:14 & 1 Peter 2:9). We know that we should not mix the beliefs and values of this world with the doctrine of Christ (Matthew 9:17) We know the results of the Children of Israel in their incorporating the world’s methods of worshipping their idols into worship of Jehovah (Exodus 32). We know that we should seek to follow the precedence of our Fathers of the Faith (2 Timothy 3:14). We have around 1000 years’ time over which the music of the men of God has changed very little. Their lives and the fruits of their ministry testify to the righteousness of their music, being consistent throughout. We know that the doctrinal creeds of many of these CCM artists are not in agreement with scripture (including separation from apostasy) For this reason, Paul would have denounced them as false teachers or rebuked their error. All these guidelines are provided in scripture to aid in our decision of God pleasing worship and weigh in favor of continuing in the music which is “proven acceptable” and abstaining from CCM.

      Now we must address “grey areas.” There are three things that Paul tells us about “grey areas” that we must understand. First, (1 Corinthians 8:8) the only “grey areas” that Paul references are amoral. Meat, in and of itself does not give you spiritual benefit, nor are you spiritually hindered if you do not partake. Second, “grey areas” are not about whether or not anything is lawful, but whether or not it is expedient or edifying. It is NOT that Paul didn’t want Christians with looser standards to annoy or upset Christians with more strict standards, but that Paul did not want a good (fine/ok) thing (such as eating meat) to cause a brother to turn to idolatry. Finally, even in these “grey areas” there is scripture to guide you (2 Timothy 3:16, 1 Corinthians 1, 6, 8 & 10).

      With this understanding, supposing (against all evidence to the contrary) that CCM is acceptable, the fact that it mirrors the secular, worldly style, sets up a stumbling block to those who struggle with the pull of the world’s idolatrous music. (Generally speaking, those who listen to CCM are also heavily involved in Secular Contemporary/worldly music – Clinton Verley being a prime example)

      Amazingly enough, this is an abbreviated presentation of the scripture and principles of which I base my creed. I hope that this provides you with further insight into my previous statements and edifies your own convictions. If you have further comments, I would be delighted to discuss them.

      Reply
      1. Jon W

        @Brandon
        I think you missed my point. Let me illustrate with the sport of basketball. First, I think we’d both agree that basketball is not evil in and of itself. But! if basketball takes priority in your life, then it most certainly is bad in that sense. Let me just emphasize my point: Basketball is not in and of itself evil. Second, I present to you Wilton Chamberlain. I think he’s the best center to play the sport. He still holds numerous records. For example, he is still holds the highest one-game scoring record of 100 points. He was known for playing every possible minute of every game, even averaging more playing time than there was in the two halves because he played during all of OT as well. Being tall and rather bulky and enjoying the sport of basketball myself, Wilt was kind of someone I aspired to be like (as far as basketball was concerned). Being an unstoppable basketball force would be kinda cool. Then my brother filled me in on a little important tidbit: Wilt Chamberlain is probably one of the most immoral people to walk the face of this planet. “He was a lifelong bachelor and became notorious for his claim to having had sex with over 20,000 women.” (I am quoting from wikipedia here). Wow! What a shocker! That stunk! I thought he was cool! I wanted to score 100 points in a single NBA game! But guess what? I still play basketball. Heck, I even enjoy the sport. Chamberlain was not the best guy and he used basketball for not the best reasons. That does not make the sport bad. I think you can see where I’m going with this . . .
        There are definitely people out there who write songs that do not glorify God. I think that has been demonstrated time and time again, even on this very page several times. From what I understand, you are saying that because there are immoral people who use rock music, nobody should be able to use it? Let me reiterate that I still play basketball. . .
        So, if rock music is not amoral, then if you play, just the music, for people who have not been exposed to the current culture (lets say these people exist and are readily available for this example’s sake) then they should easily come to the conclusion that, in so many words “That’s just wrong!” If they come to that conclusion, that means that something is inherently sinful in either the instruments used, or the composition (tones, beats, rhythms, etc.). Do you claim that any “rock music” instruments are inherently sinful? Why? because Marilyn Manson used them? (Remember, Wilt Chamberlain once touched a basketball). If not, you must be saying that the composition is inherently sinful. Why? Because they raise up carnal desires in our flesh (so to speak)? I, honestly, have never been subject to this particular phenomenon. If you claim neither of these statements to be true, then you must rely on revelation from the Holy Spirit to ascertain music’s morality, because obviously those who aren’t indwelt with the Holy Spirit are fine with it. I present to you this: I have come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and I, along with many others, have not come to this revelation.
        Honestly, I think that music is amoral because it is just logically so. The words are the problem. Immoral words lead to immoral songs. We associate the music played during these immoral songs with the songs themselves and relegate that style only to immorality. However, I believe that music is amoral. It is only a tool, like basketball can be, to be used for God’s glory or not. That is for us to decide.

  19. Dave

    wow, just wow.

    This is epic. Or it would be if it wasn’t so sad.

    @Brandon Layton
    “Michael and Debi Pearl present their views from scripture”

    You lost me right there. I stop listening to arguments from people who demonstrate such a deplorable lack of discernment

    Reply
  20. FormerFundy

    I just came over from SFL to read this post. All I can say is…holy cow!

    People like @Brandon Layton are the main reason I am a FormerFundy… They are masters of proof-texting and twisting scriptures to support their unsupportable ideas, using ridiculous logic and mental gymnastics.

    Bottom line, with all the bytes of data you’ve wasted, @Brandon, you have still to show where in the Bible it plainly (key word here..plainly) shows that music…any type of music…is evil. You can’t do it.

    Clinton, you have a new reader. Keep up the great work! God Bless.

    Reply
  21. Brandon Layton

    Jon W,
    Again, I appreciate your civility. Since you haven’t provided any insight on your personal music habits, I don’t have a foundation for interpreting your application. I want to clarify your points before I respond. If I understand your last post correctly, you believe that all instruments and styles of music by themselves are amoral. The “morality” factors in only when lyrics are added…Is this what you mean? What about styles of singing? For example, if the song “The Beautiful People” was played and sung identically but with “Christian” lyrics, how would this fit into your analysis? Is the style of music as it is performed in that song amoral? Is the style of singing amoral?

    Also, are you presenting your argument for “Christian” Contemporary, Secular Contemporary…or both?

    Thanks, I look forward to your reply.

    Reply
    1. Jon W

      @Brandon
      Yes, the words are the vehicle of the singer’s message. Music might be able to communicate emotions, e.g. some music “sounds happy” some music “sounds sad,” but you’ll be hard pressed to find music that “sounds sinful.” Any preconceptions about the meaning of a particular music style are based on our associations of that style with other things.
      As to applying Christian lyrics to the music of “The Beautiful People” I have this to say: I don’t particularly care for that genre of music, but that is me. If somebody really liked that style, but the words were glorifying to God would you say that listening to that music would be wrong? I’d say no because I believe music to be amoral, if you think that the music of “The Beautiful People” is wrong, I’d suggest that that is because you associate it with the lyrics (and also, their writer) and if they are immoral, you deem the music to be. Then that feeling is extended to all music of the same style, which I believe is a tad hasty (see above basketball/Wilt Chamberlain illustration).
      As to the style, I’ll admit I didn’t actually watch the video of “The Beautiful People” for many reasons (I don’t like music videos much to begin with, those guys kinda creeped me out, etc. ad nausea), but they had a definite way they sang that song, true. I’ll say this: the style of singing (i.e. facial expressions, tone of voice, that sort of thing) can have a dramatic affect on the words, which as I stated before, is where the message is really communicated. Which is why I always like when people smile when they sing about things like how wonderful God is, because if you’re frowning when you’re talking about heaven, I won’t believe you’re sincere!
      As to my arguing for CCM or “SCM” (if you will) I’m not precisely sure what you’re asking. I think the same kind of concepts apply to SCM though. If the words (and message) are not glorifying to God (for example, songs whose content deals entirely with sex, songs that are blasphemous, songs that encourage bad things, etc. etc.), don’t listen to those songs.

      Reply
      1. Brandon Layton

        Jon W,

        You compare music to basketball…basketball is a sport or activity, not an art or expression and therefore may not be the best example. However, we may be able to find a better parallel. Let’s use another “activity” which might also classify as an art since it is an expression. Sex was created, ordained and described by God as being “very good.” However, man, in his godless state, has devised ways to make every good thing also evil by removing/replacing God’s will and purpose in creation.

        Music, as I have before mentioned, is an expression of beliefs and values. This being the case, the singers are counselors. The Bible tells us very simply what counselors to reject and remove ourselves from and what counselors to be disciples of.

        Psalm 1
        Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

        The biblical definition of “ungodly” is not some sickening, disturbing, sexual or sadistically evil feeling, but rather the lack of constancy with the will of God. The will of God can be found in the cumulative of the scriptures. For this reason, a vast majority of secular music of all genres is evil. In varying degrees they all promote a form of godlessness, paganism, or idolatry. Similarly, CCM artists, as a whole, do not have biblical creeds but reject the scriptures authority on many fronts – one of these being the lack of separation from apostates.

        Another point to consider is that music must be viewed in its entirety – music plus lyrics. Music is an art – expression of beliefs and values – and therefore, all its components are designed to communicate a singular message. Since the secular bands (The Beatles, etc.) and CCM bands (Casting Crowns, etc.) discussed in this blog (as well as a majority of their genre) are lyrical, music is best judged by the entire product (music + lyrics) not as individuals.

        In conclusion, this blog was not created to be about “Christ-likeness” in music. It was created to condemn using biblical discernment in music and those who promote it. Unfortunately, this theme has been continued by the commentators who frequently use scornful, slandering speech without providing a biblical rebuttal accompanied with a biblical case for their music. In reference to the scriptures, the general message promoted on this blog is that the scriptures are irrelevant (2 Timothy 3:16) void of guidance, (2 Timothy 3:17) and the love of God without restraint (2 Corinthians 5:14-20). Whatever your convictions are, and however they may differ from mine, I hope we agree that the scriptures are Truth, relevant, and full of applicable guidance. There is “Christ-like” music and ungodly music and the collective body of the scriptures is the compass.

      2. Clinton Verley Post author

        BL, you said “this blog was not created to be about “Christ-likeness” in music. It was created to condemn using biblical discernment in music and those who promote it.”

        No. You’re wrong. I haven’t replied to most of your writing because it’s the same drivel I’ve heard countless times. I won’t let this stand, though. You’re just wrong.

  22. jeff

    Your review seems more of lashing out than a review, as if we do not need any discernment when it comes to music.

    Reply
    1. Clinton Verley Post author

      We definitely need discernment. We need discernment to see through the shoddy reasoning of Mr. Lucarini’s message and to develop a real, honest way of looking at music. One that’s not founded in cultural elitism.

      Reply
    2. Jon W

      @Brandon
      Your suggestion that sex provides a better parallel to music is not entirely valid. God closely mandated sex. It is well known, based on the Bible, what is wrong and what is right concerning it. The same, obviously, cannot be said about music.
      You make a broad, sweeping statement that not only is the vast majority of all secular music evil, but also CCM “as a whole” do not have biblical creeds and also “reject the scripture’s authority on many fronts.” Honestly, there is a lot wrong that statement. I’m just gonna tell you that’s wrong. A cursory glance at any “about us” page of a good portion of CCM artists will refute that statement.
      You say music is an art. Let me present this to you: would you say that paint is moral? I wouldn’t. However, just as a painter uses paint on canvas to convey a message, a musician uses music. They are both amoral tools, albeit music is the better sounding of the two. Why is the morality of Mozart or Chopin never discussed? Because they’re played on “acceptable instruments”? No, I submit that that it is because there are no words.
      Also, I must express my displeasure about your comments concerning the lack of a biblical rebuttal. More specifically, Your use of scripture. Some of the passages you use make sense, but others don’t make too much sense. You have quoted a lot of verses about how the Bible is inerrant, how God’s Word does not return empty, how God is holy, and many others. These can be easily agreed upon! However, you quote others and then make broad, sweeping applications from them and, I feel, taking them out of context.
      The fact is, music is a “grey area.” There’s no getting around that. Many things are dealt with very directly in the Bible (see the 10 commandments for instance) but music is not one of them.

      Reply
      1. Clinton Verley Post author

        Correct. You don’t get to claim your argument as the “biblical” one simply by quoting tons of verses which are related to that argument ONLY via your interpretation. Such nonsense.

      2. Brandon Layton

        Jon W,
        We have been civil thus far, and I appreciate that and would like to continue in this pattern. We have also stuck to the issues and explained our disagreements and counter positions

        1) I did not say that sex was the ultimate parallel to music, but only that it was closer comparison than basketball because the scripture is not silent on music and because man can make it evil.
        2) The reason I said that a vast majority of secular music is evil is because evil is the lack of consistency with God’s will.
        3) CCM artists as a whole do not practice any form of separation. (If you can direct me to a group, then I would like to know. Also, if you could provide a group that you feel has a strong Biblical stand on their “about Us” page, then I would like to be directed toward it as I was unable to locate one in my search) I further conclude that because they generally do not publish a doctrinal statement or creed, and because they sing for churches and denominations that appoint gay bishops, believe that everyone gets to heaven their own way, and accept evolution, etc. it must be concluded that they do not hold the scriptures as an authority in separation, nor in any of the areas that their hosts transgress the scriptures.
        4) Any art is an expression of beliefs and values and therefore subject to morality.
        5) Our counselors are not to be of this world, but the scriptures. (Psalm 1)
        6) If I have quoted scripture that you do not understand or suspect is quoted out of context then please look it up and study it yourself. If you still disagree then please present what you have found so that we can discuss it. Then we can all benefit and judge from the scriptures what is true.
        7) The Bible gives guidance on topics that are relevant to music regardless of interpretation. God is not “grey” in His purpose, nor is He “grey” in His judgment. God has a specific purpose for all things and has given His word so that we may know with confidence what is righteous.

        Biblical Truth is the only thing that should really matter to Christians. Discussing scripture and interpretation should be the main point of concern for the Christian. The time and study involved in a biblical discussion is well worth the effort if Truth is the main concern.

  23. Miranda

    I graduated from BJU four years ago and was raised in a family that totally buys into the view that all ccm/rock is wrong and unbiblical… in fact my dad is currently forcing my 16 yr old sister to read Dan Lucarini’s book. Being raised by parents and in churches with this mindset I started out as a mindless sheep when it came to music and never questioned the validity of their beliefs. Then, I graduated and heard music from the likes of Chris Tomlin, the Getty’s, Sovereign Grace, Hillsong and others. Once I actually heard their music and how glorifying to God it was (and no, I surprisingly had no lustful thoughts while listening to God being praised as indescribable, unchangeable and the creator…) I realized that everything I had thought about CCM needed a major re-vamping. I work at a christian store currently and therefore hear all new CCM music and while every now and then there is a band I don’t care for I think that most of them obviously love and serve God and there music reflects this.

    Also, I find it hilarious that people like Dan Lucarini and the BJU hierarchy point out that rock stars are evil, atheists, have bad words etc. to condemn rock music as a whole but have no problem selling music from Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the BJU bookstore. I bought it there, and having sat through all 5 1/2 hours of Die Walkure I can say for certain that it is entirely heathen and ungodly in its words and message.

    Reply
    1. Clinton Verley Post author

      The hymns-only-are-ok approach definitely relies on ignorance of other styles. And of course you’re not allowed to do research and find things out cuz then you could be sucked into the wicked sinfulness of rock! Egads!

      Reply
  24. John

    Why not just do a simple Biblical comparison between the music utilized in pagan worship and the music utilized in the worship of God along with the corresponding physical responses?

    Pagan Worship – Daniel 3:9-11 “…the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship…”

    True Worship – Psalm 150:3-5 “Praise Him with the sound of trumpet… lute… harp… stringed instruments… flutes… loud cymbals… clashing cymbals…” Oh yes, I almost forgot v.4a “…timbrel and dance…”

    It would appear that true worship is pretty much like pagan worship musically based on the instrument lists for each. Well, with the exception that worshiping the true God seems to require a percussion section and dancing.

    Having graduated from BJA in the 70s – the Frank Garlock “Big Beat” days – I don’t know whether to be appalled or amused that conversations over musical style still generate so much wasted energy and venom. Especially, as Miranda noted, in a place where Wagner and Shakespeare (among others) are held in such regard… Sad. Very, very sad….

    Reply
    1. Miranda

      I find that when it comes to music and art BJU (and others of similar persuasion) is incredibly hypocritical. They lecture every year on modesty but have practically naked statues in the FMA – I have several friends who were incredibly offended by that. If you get married in the War Memorial Chapel you have to follow VERY strict dress standards but they had huge naked paintings on the walls. You can’t go to the theatre and watch Narnia but you are required to tour a gallery of naked paintings and watch productions of Shakespeare (I love Shakespeare but still not at all godly, much more ribald than many movies). MANY classical musicians (with a very few notable exceptions) were anything but christians but they are sold in the bookstore and listened to freely while Chris Tomlin is banned…

      Reply
      1. Jon W

        The whole “pornography and art” thing is a whole separate debate, but I definitely see your point. Here’s my take on it: BJ standards are acceptable to me, but I think that they hold them for very wrong reasons. If you want to listen only to hymns and music that “checks” that’s fine by me. If you’re of the impression that the only good music is written by that “Watts” guy, that is A-OK. But if you’re trying to tell me that I have to follow those standards because you do, it’s at this point that we hit the all important snag. I think that BJ holding strict standards on certain things like that lets a greater demographic attend its classes without fear of being subject to music that makes them uncomfortable (but there are some hymns that make me uncomfortable for several reasons, that, however, is for another time).
        Essentially what I’m trying to say is this: if they want to hold strict standards to allow more people to attend, that’s fine, but if they try to pass off their stricter standards as inspired, biblical truth, then we have a problem.

  25. Jon W

    @Brandon
    1)The thing is, scripture is pretty silent on the subject of music. There is no verses clearly laying out what music we should listen to, only how we should live our lives and the such. The Bible surely presents concepts that can be applied to music, yes. The fact that man can make it evil was one major point of the basketball comparison. My point was that even though man can use music for the wrong purposes, this does not ruin it for the rest of us.
    2) That’s an interesting definition of evil. I’ve usually thought of it as more of a spectrum. Essentially, evil is characterized by evil things (immorality, wickedness, malevolent, etc.) not that evil is just defined as “not good.” Now that I understand what you were saying, are you suggesting that we should not listen to any secular music?
    3)
    a)If you’re looking for a biblical “creed” or mission statement written by CCM artists, you’re probably going to be looking for a while. I don’t think that those are necessary to take a “strong Biblical stand.” In fact, I think all that’s necessary to take a strong biblical stand is a biblical lifestyle and (hopefully) equally biblical lyrics.
    b)Do you enjoy the music of John Rutter? I do. I like some of his arrangements a lot. However, he described himself as “not particularly a religious man.” I still really like his music and the words were great. His arrangement of “Be Thou My Vision” is still one of my favorites. Does his not taking a biblical stand make all of his music anathema?
    4) My point was that, while art’s expression is subject to morality, the tools to do so are not. music is a tool, and therefore not subject to morality.
    5) I’m not particularly sure what this was a response to, but yes. We should plant our roots in the Bible. Definitely.
    6) Maybe when I get out of school.
    7) The term “grey area” as I understand it does not mean that the Bible is utterly silent on it. I don’t think that’s true about anything. However, there are other passages that are applied more broadly to a Christians life (as opposed to, for instance, the command “Thou shalt not kill,” that’s pretty clear and concise as to its meaning). It is in the interpretation and application of these other passages that the lines of black and white start getting a little less clear.

    I believe music to be amoral and as such, if a believer can honestly worship God through a given music genre/style, then he should be able to. If a believer is unable to do the aforementioned, then don’t. Also, we should always be ready and willing to “stricten” (if you will) our standards to prevent fellow believers from stumbling by listening to music that makes them uncomfortable and/or hinders their worship of God.

    Reply
    1. Clinton Verley Post author

      You have my admiration for being so patient and answering all these posts. Me, I’ve been hearing this same bogus arguments so long that I’m kinda burnt out.

      Reply
    2. Brandon Layton

      Jon W,

      Apparently we going in circles as our points are becoming repetitive, but ultimately we are stuck on point 6. Since the scriptures are the basis for the Christian, apart from them there is little to discuss. If you ever do research the scriptures that I’ve used please contact me. I would be pleased to discuss it.

      My email is:
      bandslayton@inbox.com

      Reply
  26. Joel

    I get a very nasty vibe from you in reading your original post and your responses to others. You chide people for even suggesting that “a 2000 year old book” would have anything to say about the music you listen to but still claim to be concerned about the scriptures.

    You mention that you reject the hymns but don’t offer any reasons why. You quote no scripture nor even scriptural principles to support your view while admonishing Mr. Lucarini’s use of the bible to support his.

    You finish off your post with a defiant statement of listening to several secular bands (one of which, the Beatles, was well known to be openly hostile to Christianity) as you wrote the post. I heard Mr. Lucarini speak a few weeks ago and found him to be very knowledgeable, humble and tactful. I also found his use of scripture to be accurate and applicable. Sadly, I cannot apply any of those statements to your post because it appears to me as the rant of someone who has had their personal preferences called into question. You words are nothing more than opinion stated in a mockingly definant manner.

    You give the impression that you’re not actually interested in submitting your musical tastes to God and would rather mock anyone who suggests even the need to do so.

    I used to be where you are. I used to be that cocky university student who thought he was well-versed in the world and thought anyone who came against my music was a stupid out of touch fundy. And before you write me off as someone who is too long out of touch with CCM…I sat front row center for Downhere two years ago. I saw Steven Curtis Chapman less than a year ago. I still have a Pillar t-shirt hanging in my closet which I wore a couple of days ago. I have Toby Mac and Decemberadio CD’s currently in my car and a ton of other CCM on my ipod and in my CD collection. This is an issue that I am currently working through and I think Lucarini makes a lot of sense.

    I am interested in submitting my musical tastes to God even if I don’t like where that might lead. The bible is clear that there are certain ways God wants to be worshipped and certain ways He does not. If all I am interested in is defending my own preferred style of music, worship then becomes more about me and my preferences than it does about God. I have been in the churches where people will walk out if the music isn’t to their liking. I have seen the conflict and damage caused when people insist on their own preferred style and that the church cater to what they want to hear instead of submitting themselves to God and I have been an active participant in that conflict. Just because I like something or have my own opinion that there’s nothing wrong with it doesn’t mean there isn’t nor does the support of thousands of Christians mean something is ok by the virtue of that fact alone. The bible tells us to flee imorality, to not sit under the counsel of scoffers and mockers, to fill our minds with whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. CCM aside, does the music of the Beatles, the Killers and U2 fall into these categories?

    Reply
  27. Susan ball

    I hate ccm I am to the point where I have to find a new church the alter area looks irreverent it looks like a rock and roll concert I grew up in the 60s and never liked the stuff what do we classical music lovers listen to in church it is not fair to us

    Reply
  28. Pastor Dave

    I have several questions for you. Did God make music? Was all that God made good? Does Satan corrupt what God has made? If you answer yes to these questions, then I have two more for you. Can Satan corrupt music? What would corrupt music sound like? The point here is to get you to think objectively. If you are a Christian, and music is obviously a big deal to you, you must wrestle honestly with defining what corrupt music is and avoiding it, as the Bible you claim to believe says we are to avoid even the appearance of evil.

    Reply
    1. Michael Kreger

      Pastor Dave,

      Your questions are good ones. If you have some objective, clear, precise Bible verses telling us what is “corrupt” music, I would be very happy to hear them.

      I have studied long and hard on this issue. I have read the Bible looking for proof texts on this issue. I have done word studies, looking for proof texts that would support some of the “conservative” positions on this topic. I found nothing to justify the “conservative” position on issues such as rhythm patterns and the like. All I find is stuff about “what things are good, pure, lovely, of good report,” or Ex 15:20 or Psalm 150. NONE of these passages support the “conservative” position.

      I have come to the following conclusion:

      Accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

      One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

      But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written,

      “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me,
      And every tongue shall give praise to God.”

      So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

      Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

      Reply
  29. Pastor Dave

    If what you are looking for is some scripture that says what specific styles of music are wrong, I think you know that does not exist. The Bible deals in principles we can follow that provide guidance for all ages, in all places “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: II Tim. 3:16 Scripture that speaks directly of rock music would have had no meaning for Christians as recently as 100 years ago. If we agree that Satan corrupts what God makes and that God made music, therefore Satan corrupts music, then we at least have a starting point that we agree on – there is such a thing as corrupted music. What is left to do, is figure out just what corrupted music is.

    You cite a lot of scripture that appears to grant license where the Bible does not speak specifically, but I doubt that you would agree that it is all right for your wife ( if you are married) or your mother to go out with other men, so long as there is no adultery involved. Yet, the Bible only speaks in principle as to why this is wrong, i.e avoiding even the appearance of evil.” I Thess. 5:21

    Likewise when Eph, 4:29 says that we should “let no corrupt communication proceed out of our mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying,” we can easily understand that it is telling us that vulgar, profane, unholy, critical, unkind, violent, explicit etc… words should not be part of our speech. We can also apply this to the music we listen to. This one verse alone would disqualify most rock music based just on the lyrics. It would be ludicrous to suggest that what the Bible says is wrong to say, is OK to listen to. Obviously, if we are listening to it, much less paying for it, we are encouraging others to violate scripture to suit our own taste.

    The Bible does not tell us what words are wrong to say, other than taking the Lord’s name in vain, but rather, it gives us principles to follow that work as equally well in giving us guidance with 21st century language as it did in the 1st century. Verses that stress kindness, modesty, reverence restraint, wisdom, patience in our words tell us what we should say and by default, what we should not say – the antithesis of these things. How much of rock lyrics promote this antithesis of biblical speech?

    So what about the music itself? When Jesus confronted the maniac of Gadara he asked him his name. The demon possessed man said, “I am legion for we are many.” Jesus did not question the man. He told the truth about his own demonic condition.
    LIttle Richard, one of the innovators of rock and roll said, “This is the devil’s music.”
    Maybe you never heard that, but I have talked with others on the music issue who simply brushed this off. “Just because Little Richard said that doesn’t make it true,” they say. The fact is though, the Christian who likes his rock and roll doesn’t like hearing what the inventors of the genre had to say about it. Like the maniac, these innovators are the authority of their own position. On what basis can we say otherwise? Look up quotes of rock musicians like Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. You will see open confession of a godless and wicked perspective on life. On what biblical basis do Christians justify supporting and even appreciating those who seek to destroy the very principles we claim to base our faith and life on?

    Back to the original point. We have established that Satan corrupts all that God has made, including music. So what music has he corrupted? I have a rule that I try to follow, though I am not perfectly consistent in applying it myself. If it is popular with the world, it is probably corrupt, because, “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life is not of the father, but is of the world.” I John 2:16. That is easy enough to understand.

    I know that leaves me open to the criticism that lollipops, soda and nursery rhymes are popular with the world, so they must be evil too. But that comeback does nothing to address the reality of the issue we are discussing, whether rock music conflicts with biblical principles. If lollipops, soda and nursery rhymes do, then we should get rid of them too.

    One other point about “Christian” rock. When Jesus met the maniac of Gadara he did not impart his spirit on him while leaving the demonic activity in place. In other words he did not sanctify the man without removing the demons. Putting Christian lyrics to rock music is putting God’s spirit into the devil’s music (remember that is what an inventor of rock called it, not me). There is no scriptural precedent for sanctifying the unholy by adding what is holy to the profane.

    There is a lot more that can be said, but if this does not at least spur your thinking that perhaps rock music and it many derivatives, are at least some of the music Satan has corrupted, then I don’t think any other arguments would.

    I hope this is helpful to you.

    Reply
    1. Michael Kreger

      Okay, that’s fine. You went EXACTLY where I expected you to go. Down to the gnat’s eyebrow.

      1 Thess 5:22 (Abstain from all appearance of evil) is also translated (and better understood to say), “abstain from every form of evil” and “reject every kind of evil” and “abstain from evil [shrink from it and keep aloof from it] in whatever form or whatever kind it may be.” The point of the verse has been misconstrued for YEARS to say, essentially, that we cannot do anything if anyone, anywhere, anytime, thought that the activity was evil or even LOOKED like it MIGHT be evil. We got silly enough to say that we couldn’t eat at Pizza Hut because they serve beer there. We couldn’t drink IBC because it came in colored bottles, and might be mistaken for beer. Girls couldn’t wear pants to go skiing because someone might think they were a bunch of dudes (can someone please explain why some people have a problem with women wearing “men’s apparel” such as pants, but have no trouble with them wearing “men’s apparel” such as button-down shirts or t-shirts or socks or sports shoes or gloves or scarves or knit caps or jackets?). We were supposed to separate from the Gaithers and Billy Graham because they ate with publicans and sinners. Bah and humbug. The Pharisees had nothing on us with all our extra-biblical rules that quickly became tests of fellowship and spirituality!

      I don’t like rock music in the church. I had some stuff rammed down my throat that was appallingly bad on multiple levels. The people who did the ramming were hateful people who did immeasurable harm. And so, in the painful aftermath of my experience, in which these people destroyed my church and left me a spiritual orphan since 2005, it would be easy for me to cherry-pick passages that support my point of view, and attack their music rather than address the heart issues that drove it all. And, failing to find Biblical support for my points, I COULD go to the World and use it as my authority. But I don’t think it is right to do so. That’s why Romans 14 is so important to me; because it helps me remain on an even keel. Anyone can say anything about anything. Personal preference is not doctrine. Even Little Richard’s testimony is not doctrine. I am not bound by his words. If I were, I would end up in some VERY strange places!

      The Bible tells me to live peacably with all men, as much as I am able to do so. I have learned from experience that I cannot live with those who play certain kinds of music in church, whether it is Big Daddy Weave or Ron Hamilton. Both of them set my teeth on edge. That is my personal preference…not doctrine. If others want to do their thing, that’s fine with me. We are still brothers in Christ, but we need to live in separate towns (or separate houses, at the very least). But if they try to ram their personal preferences down my throat again, to invade my town or house and force me to do what they think I should do on non-doctrinal issues such as this, then we’re going to have a fight. But the music isn’t the problem in this case. It is the hatred and arrogance that is evil.

      I prefer to follow the advice of Jesus, who, when told of those who did God’s work even though they weren’t walking with the twelve disciples, told his disciples to settle down: “Do not hinder [them]…for he who is not against us is for us.” I have seen people using music forms that I can’t tolerate (because I was introduced to those songs by people who were hateful, which means that I will always connect those songs to those people), and worshipping God. These people are demonstrating every last bit of the fruit of the Spirit, and so I give thanks to God. They will reach people that I will not reach. I don’t have to like their music. It’s NOT a doctrinal issue, not matter HOW many sermons Frank Garlock preaches, and no matter what Little Richard says.

      Bottom line: phrases such as “music that Satan has corrupted” are nothing more than personal opinion on musical forms, and we know that opinions on musical forms have always changed over time so that what was once considered evil (such as organ music, or instruments of any kind, or harmonization (yes, really), or synchopation, or lyrics that aren’t direct quotes of the Psalms) are now considered classic parts of our biblical worship. You and I have absolutely NO biblical basis to claim otherwise. We should just leave it at that. If you are blessed by Ron Hamilton and Frank Garlock and the music from Bill Rice Ranch, more power to you. Be fruitful and multiply. If I am blessed by Steve Green and the Gaithers and Petra (the ballads, please!) and the Gettys and Stuart Townend and the like, then I hope my Christian brothers could be happy for me and quit trying to convert me to the One True Path of Righteousness.

      Reply
  30. Pastor Dave

    I think Joel’s reply is very insightful. I’ve never been a fan of CCm or rock. People like Joel, who are or have been are willing to hear instruction that is biblically based and do not have their minds already made up against all biblical counsel. The difference in tone of his post and MIchael’s is a direct reflection of the heart, which is where the real battle always lies.

    Reply
    1. Michael Kreger

      Grin. That’s pretty comical, because we are basically saying the same thing.

      You can’t get away from the bottom line, if you want to pretend to be interested in the Bible’s opinion, which is that any disagreement on this topic comes down to a disagreement over OPINION (assuming we are talking about Christian music in the church, and not the music of the Beatles of the Killers or U2). Malachi says that certain types behavior and certain offerings of worship are unacceptable to God. If you can discern which type of MUSIC is being referred to in that passage, I’d love to hear a precise, unambiguous dissertation. We have already established that you cannot do so. So, we should then refer back to Romans 14, and quit condemning each other over a non-doctrinal issue!

      You are correct. The heart is the problem. I have just as much trouble with the heart of hatred that destroyed my church because I refused rock music (I was the music leader, and I LIVED Lucarini’s book) as I have with the heart of hatred that is willing to destroy people who refuse to sing all hymns all the time.

      Reply
    2. Michael Kreger

      I had another thought as soon as I hit “post comment.”

      In 1992, I was on the BJU Eastern European Musical MIssion Team. We went around Europe for two months, ostensibly to educated the poor, benighted Christians about the evils of Steve Green and Sandy Patti, but mainly to preach the gospel wherever we could find a place to set up and sing. To fulfill our stated purpose, we conducted three or four music seminars in local churches. During one of those seminars, in Oranienburg Germany, a man stood up and asked,

      “Does BJU use the music of Tchaikovsky?”

      Dr. McCauley responded,

      “Yes, we do. In fact, we have had entire concerts devoted to Tchaikovsky’s music.”

      The man then asked,

      “Tchaikovsky was a homosexual and a blasphemer. Why, then, is it okay for you to promote Tchaikovsky’s work, but it is NOT okay for me to listen to music written and sung by my Christian brothers and sisters?”

      Dr. McCauley gave a loooong pause, and then (because he is a good, honest man with a proper understanding), he said,

      “On some issues, we must simply act as the Holy Spirit leads us.”

      Which is what Romans 14 teaches. Not every issue is a pure dichotomy between Right and Wrong.

      Peace. Quit picking fights. We have plenty of more important issues that are more worthy of our righteous indignation.

      Reply
  31. Joel

    I have really enjoyed reading the exchange between you two. I found quite a lot in both of your positions that I agree with and I think you guys probably agree on more than what you might realize.

    I have found the posts of both of you extremely helpful. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Michael Kreger

      Exactly. We agree a WHOOOLE bunch. I’m willing to bet we would even agree on close to 99% of what songs we would prefer to use in church. We agree that the Bible has precious little guidance on this topic…only some general principles. It seems to me that our only real disagreement is over whether OTHER people ought to be limited to what WE prefer to use.

      Lucarini makes some very good points, based on what he did to other believers, which things were also done to me and my friends. His only fault, in my opinion, is that he elevates personal opinion higher than it should be elevated, and says that NOBODY should EVER use CCM simply because he used it as a weapon against a congregation. In this, I think he goes too far. If he wants to abandon CCM himself, I have no problem with that. I wouldn’t offer a beer to a recovering alcoholic, either.

      As has been said many times before, ALL music is CCM when it is first written. And most of it will be winnowed out over time. I have some old hymnals in which I find two or three good songs. The rest have been forgotten already. The same thing is happening with the CCM of the past forty years. Some songs will join our Church-wide anthology of great Christian music, while others will serve their purpose for a period of time, and others will be adopted by some denominations or congregations but forsaken by others, and others will be forgotten by EVERYONE as soon as possible. The key is for the leaders to sit down with their Bibles and their songbooks, and scrub the songbooks to eliminate unsound doctrine if necessary. My rules for church music were pretty simple:

      1. The text must have sound doctrine.
      2. Musically beautiful/aesthetically pleasing to the overwhelming majority of the congregation (this will vary from church to church).
      3. Achievable. Singable by the congregation (this will also vary from church to church).

      If a song met the first two but not the last, we reserved it for special music. This system worked very well.

      Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

      Reply
      1. Lena Smith

        Thanks for the nice comments. I personally just want to add one more point to your rules for church music – The song should have God’s characteristics, for example: long-lasting, as Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The hymn songs that we’ve been singing have lasted for more than 100 years, while some contemporary songs that were popular in 1990s might never be sung anymore. One contemporary song that really fulfills these criteria, to me, is “Shout to the Lord”.
        Hope everyone had a nice Christmas time with family! May God bless :-)

  32. Joel

    Those are some good points. I haven’t read Lucarini’s book but heard him speak in my church this past summer and had never heard of him before. I very much enjoyed hearing him speak and I talked with him for quite a while afterwards. I think I could agree with your one fault that you find with him. He mentioned in his talk about certain types of music just sounding worldly and making the listener want to move their body in certain ways. While I agree with that in principle, I don’t think that we can make absolute statements on which types of music are the ones that fit into this category because it can be vastly different for different individuals. I am open to biblical correction on this though if I am missing something an applicable principle.

    I also agree with Pastor Dave in that Satan can and does corrupt music but, as I see it, this corruption takes the form of lyrics which reflect either the beliefs, real life, or fantasy life of the author which then influences the listener. I don’t know that it’s possible for Satan to corrupt sound itself. It’s true that music can evoke certain emotions (movie soundtracks for example use this idea for massive effect) but I don’t know that just musical sounds can be inherently corrupt.

    While I have no problem with using some types of CCM in church (The Getty’s for example), your point 1 is I think something that many worship leaders overlook or place in a much lower priority to how “catchy” the song is. Music in the church then quickly becomes about me and my preferences and we get people complaining that they didn’t get anything out of the service because they didn’t like any of the songs. If allowed to continue, those attitudes foster further discontent and animosity. I have seen that so many times in so many churches. Music becomes the center of the church and preaching takes a distant back seat.

    I think too that there are some genres of CCM that may be ok to listen to in your home or car that don’t really have a place in a church worship service but that’s something I’m currently processing through.

    Reply
    1. Michael Kreger

      That last point is a very interesting one indeed. Malachi is the touchstone. God criticizes the people for the quality of the offering they brought, and suggested that they present it to their governor to see if HE would be pleased with them (rhetorically, telling them “ain’t no WAY he would be pleased with them). The idea is that it would have been perfectly acceptable to use that lame or blind lamb for their own meal, but was NOT acceptable to present that defective lamb as worth-ship to God. What we present to God should be special; our very best. And that’s about as far as I think it is safe to press the metaphor.

      Reply
  33. Naa

    Very sad that the efforts of one man to move so called Christians from the love of all things worldly has been received by a “Christian” who thinks listening to rock bands are ok. Please check your salvation and repent before it is too late.

    Reply
  34. John P.

    Apparently this thread has a life of its own and refuses to die. It was always a source of ironic amusement while attending BJ in the 70s to have Frank Garlock provide his annual lecture warning about rock music’s insidious effects due to its emphasis on illicit sex, drugs and the occult, then being required to attend performances of Shakespeare’s plays with plots built around …well, illicit sex, drugs and the occult. So nice to see some tired old arguments never die in some circles. I guess that’s why they’re called circles.

    Reply
    1. Joel

      I’ve never been to BJU (I don’t even know where it is) and I’ve never heard of the person you speak of. To tell you the truth, the contradictory teachings of some guy from BJU don’t particularly interest me anyway. We all have various logs and specs in our own eyes and that was possibly one of his. What does interest me is what the bible says regarding things in the Christian life such as worship and entertainment. Some Christians seem fine with letting the secular world set these standards for them but I am not. This thread refuses to die because some of us are very new to this issue and are still working through it to this very day. I don’t know Mr. Garlock or anything he ever said so I must admit that I don’t really see how the inconsistencies in the teachings of a man you heard speak 40 years ago completely negates one side of this issue today.

      Reply
  35. Bill

    “I don’t know that it’s possible for Satan to corrupt sound itself.” Yes, that!

    As kids, we weren’t permitted to see ‘good’ movies because the theaters also showed bad ones, yet how many Christian organizations hopped on the latest tech bandwagons such as TV, video, satellite feeds, the internet, etc. You know what has driven most entertainment-based technological innovation in the last couple of decades? The one thing that permeates every form of art, communication, entertainment, and technological innovation? Porn. Apparently good movies and bad shown in a theater is wrong, but when delivered over the same satellite (or TCP/IP network), it’s OK.

    Satan is the ‘father of lies’, and other than that, I can’t think of anything else attributed as his creation. If Satan’s use of something spoils it for our use, then nearly every modern convenience we have should be off-limits, and not just certain styles of music.

    Reply
  36. musreader

    To the writer of this little piece – You say you love God and His Word – easy to say, hard to do – in fact impossible without His help through His Spirit. If you love Him as you say, do you expend the same amount of energy exhorting folks to read the Word, to be filled with His Spirit and pray without ceasing? Do you read and memorize the Word more than you listen to your music? Some people’s problem is that they allow the music to substitute for the real thing. There is no adequate substitute for the crucified life, the Spirit, the Word, earnest prayer.
    A true disciple for Jesus is not recognized by their preferred music, but rather a quality of life. Remember, we can “understand all mysteries and knowledge, and have faith so as to move mountains” – but “without love, we gain nothing”.

    Reply

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