Our Church youths are deeply influenced by Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). Even the Roman Catholic Churches are hit badly by this growing love for CCM. How will it affect us, and is it condoned in the church?
CHARISMATIC MUSIC PERMEATING THE CHURCHES
Updated July 12, 2006 (first published May 30, 1997) David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist
It is a strange but true fact that many Bible-believing churches that are strongly opposed to charismatic DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE are being influenced by charismatic MUSIC. In attending charismatic churches and conferences through the 33 years since I have been saved, in an effort to analyze this influential movement, I have observed that one of its key elements is rocky music. The charismatic world has given us "Christian" jazz, "Christian" rock, "Christian" rap, even "Christian" heavy-metal and goth.
The jazzy church music can be found almost everywhere today. Charisma magazine, February 1994, made the observation that "Today, praise music has entered the mainstream. Songs that were only sung in charismatic churches a few years ago are now heard throughout mainline and non-charismatic churches."
This is an accurate observation. Since the early 1970s, many churches have traded in their traditional hymn books for praise songs accompanied by electric guitars and drums. Many others, though not bringing the actual rock band into the sanctuary, use accompaniment music that incorporates the rock rhythms. The accompaniment tapes, in fact, are commonly produced by the very ecumenical charismatic crowd of which fundamentalist and Baptist churches warn their people.
Billy Graham crusades, once noted for the heart-warming traditional Christian music of George Beverly Shea, now feature hard rock music and charismatic-style "praise" choruses. Consider the following description of the 1992 National Religious Broadcasters conference, the participants of which include a very wide representation of professing Christians: "The lyrics of much of the music were doctrinally flimsy. There was a soft rock version of Handel's Messiah, and a Black NRB concert had the people standing, dancing in the aisles, and emitting high-pitched ecstatic gibberish" (Christian News, Feb. 10, 1992).
In his book Making Musical Choices, Richard Peck makes the following important point about the modern church music.
"Aside from its commercialism and its increasing resemblance to the world, contemporary Christian music is becoming a religious melting pot. Some in the community admit that they are not believers. And while this is still an exception, CCM IS PROUD OF ITS ECUMENICAL AND CHARISMATIC SPIRIT. THIS ECUMENISM EXTENDS OPEN ARMS TOWARD APOSTATE PROTESTANT DENOMINATIONS AND THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH" (Making Musical Choices, Bob Jones University, 1986, p. 86).
THE HISTORY OF JAZZY CHURCH MUSIC
Though jazzy music has begun permeating non-Pentecostal churches only in recent decades, it has been a part of the Pentecostal movement from its inception. Consider the following overview:
"Shortly after it began to emerge in 1901, Pentecostalism sensed through some strange form of intuition that success would come through emotionally-charged music. The first pattern was jazz. Speaking of the years 1901 to 1914, Howard Goss said, 'Without it (jazz) the Pentecostal Movement could never have made the rapid inroads into the hearts of men and women as it did. Neither could we have experienced a constant victorious revival over the fifty years' (The Winds of Change, p. 212). He also noted: 'It was generally not the conventional church-hymn singing of that era. Entirely unpretentious, there appeared to be neither poetry nor musicianship in the composition. But, there was something far more effective than either. ... WE WERE THE FIRST, SO FAR AS I KNOW, TO INTRODUCE THIS ACCELERATED TEMPO INTO GOSPEL SINGING' (Ibid. pp. 207,208).
"The Pentecostal leader should know for he was the most prominent among the early founders of the Movement. He was the leading organizer of a nation-wide gathering of Pentecostals held at Hot Springs, Arkansas in April, 1914. He was elected General Superintendent of the Pentecostal Church Incorporated and served as the General Superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church until 1951" (Wilson Ewin, The Pied Piper of the Pentecostal Movement, Wilson Ewin, 1986, pages 49-51).
The following is a description of an interracial convention of Pentecostals in Cleveland, Tennessee, in September 1929:
"The spirit moved some to dance, others to speak in the unknown tongue, to shout, to jerk, or to fall in a dead trance. Mourners in ever-increasing numbers fell on their knees, elbows in a folding chair, at the altar, while the exhorters clapped hands to the time of the music … After half an hour of this, the singing came to an end. Also the instrument strummers, worn out, dropped out one by one, leaving only the piano player and a tambourine whacker, whom I could not see, to carry on the STEADY AND ALMOST TERRIFYING RHYTHMIC NOISE. Terrifying because it impressed me as being the production of the wild, subconscious human animal, one which we seldom come upon in such frightfully self-regimented herds. But the extreme mesmeric orgies of such primitive groups have been often enough described. And after all, my purpose is simply to make clear HOW THE INDIGENOUS SONG MERGES INTO THE HYPNOTIC RHYTHMIZING USED IN THIS INDIGENOUS TYPE OF RELIGIOUS PRACTICE" (George Pullen Jackson, White Spirituals in the Southern Uplands).
Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944), founder of the Foursquare Pentecostal Churches, incorporated jazzy music into her elaborate, sensuous church programs. A contemporary made the following analysis of her success: "She threw out the dirges and threats of Hell, REPLACING THEM WITH JAZZ HYMNS and promises of Glory" (Morrow Mayo of The New Republic, quoted in Robert Bahr, Least of All Saints: The Story of Aimee Semple McPherson, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1979, p. 267).
Many of the early rock & roll musicians observed the connection between the music they heard in Pentecostal churches and rock music. Ronnie Dawson, one of the 1950s rockabilly stars, started playing electric guitar at an Assemblies of God church. Of rockabilly he says: "It's very similar to the Assembly of God kind of church music, and things that I had taken part in in church" (Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' Roll, p. 15).
With the onset of the charismatic movement since the 1960s, which is basically the ecumenical branch of Pentecostalism, THE "JAZZED-UP HYMNS" HAVE GONE MAINSTREAM and have swept throughout much of the Christian world.
INFLUENTIAL PENTECOSTAL-CHARISMATIC MUSICIANS
The following are just a few of the Pentecostal-Charismatic personalities behind the "jazzed-up hymns" that are being used in non-charismatic churches. The large majority of the Christian rock musicians are associated with the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement, and practically none of them are separated from it --
* JACK HAYFORD, author of the song "Majesty"" and many other very popular worship songs, is pastor of Church-on-the-Way Foursquare Church, the Pentecostal denominational which was founded by the female pastor Aimee Semple McPherson. Jack Hayford is the influential Pentecostal pastor of Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California, and the author of many popular books and contemporary praise songs, including "Majesty."* Hayford belongs to the Four Square Pentecostal Church, a denomination founded by a woman, Aimee Semple McPherson, in direct disobedience to the Word of God. "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" (1 Tim. 2:12). Christianity Today magazine calls Hayford "The Pentecostal Gold Standard" (Christianity Today, July 2005), but when his theology and practice is placed under the microscope we find that his position is not the untarnished gold of Scripture but the rust and corrosion of extra-biblical "revelation." Speaking at St. Louis 2000, for example, Hayford told of how his daughter approached him one day with a concern about her "tongues speaking." She was afraid that she was speaking mere gibberish, but he encouraged her that the believer must first learn to speak in baby tongues before he speaks in adult tongues. (I attended this conference with press credentials and heard Hayford say this.) There is absolutely no Bible support for such nonsense and it denies the Pentecostal's claim that the Bible is his sole authority for faith and practice. Biblical tongues-speaking is not something that be learned; it is supernatural gift and there is not one example in the New Testament of someone learning how to speak in tongues. At the Promise Keepers Clergy Conference in 1996 Hayford urged the crowd of 40,000 to "dance in the Lord," saying that he learned the dance in Africa and that later the Lord said to him, "May I have this dance?" An eyewitness called it "an African witch-doctor dance" (Bruce Caldwell, "Following in the Footsteps of the Apostate Presbyterians," Christian News, March 11, 1996). Nowhere in the Bible do we find God dancing with His people. Further, the Bible plainly warns, "Learn not the way of the heathen" (Jer. 10:2). Hayford claims that he got his radical position on ecumenism directly from God. He says that in 1969, as he approached a large Catholic church in Southern California, God spoke to him and instructed him not to judge Roman Catholicism. He says he heard a message from God saying, "Why would I not be happy with a place where every morning the testimony of the blood of my Son is raised from the altar?" ("The Pentecostal Gold Standard," Christianity Today, July 2005) Based upon this "personal revelation," Hayford adopted a neutral approach to Catholicism, yet upon the authority of the Bible I know that the message that Hayford heard was demonic. The atonement of Jesus Christ is NOT glorified on Roman Catholic altars. The Mass is an open denial of the doctrine of the once-for-all atonement that we find in the book of Hebrews. Note what the Vatican II Council said about the Mass: "For in it Christ perpetuates in an unbloody manner the sacrifice offered on the cross, offering himself to the Father for the world's salvation through the ministry of priests" (The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, "Instruction on the Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery," Intro., C 1, 2, p. 108). This is only a small part of Rome's wicked heresies, and it is impossible that God would encourage Jack Hayford to look upon the Roman Catholic Church in any sort of positive, non-judgmental manner. If Hayford based his theology about the Roman Catholic Church strictly upon the Bible, he would never fall for such delusion. Hayford has acted on this "personal revelation" by yoking up with Roman Catholic leaders in conferences throughout the world. For example, he joined hands with thousands of Roman Catholics, including hundreds of Catholic priests and nuns, at the North American Congress on the Holy Spirit & World Evangelization in St. Louis in 2000. Hayford also has a close relationship with heretic Robert Schuller. He spoke at Schuller's Men's Conference at the Crystal Cathedral in March 1995 and in January 2005 and endorsed Schuller's 1996 autobiography, My Soul's Adventure with God. In 1982 Schuller published Self-Esteem the New Reformation in which he twisted Bible theology to conform to his heretical humanistic psychology. According to Schuller, To Schuller, sin is "any act or thought that robs myself or another human being of his or her self-esteem" (Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 14). Schuller's christ is "self-esteem incarnate" (p. 135). His new birth is to be "changed from a negative to a positive self-image" (p. 68). His hell "is the loss of pride that naturally follows separation from God" (p. 14). To Schuller, the most destructive thing is to call men lost sinners and thereby injure their self-esteem (Christianity Today, Oct. 5, 1984). Schuller is a universalist who believes that all people are the children of God. (For more about Schuller see "Evangelicals and Robert Schuller" at http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/evangelicalsschuller.htm ). The song "Majesty," lovely though it is, promotes the unscriptural "kingdom now" philosophy, in which Christians are thought to be able to exercise kingdom authority over sickness and the devil in this present hour. This is what the words "kingdom authority" refer to in Hayford's song.
* JOHN MICHAEL TALBOT is a charismatic Roman Catholic who prays to Mary and believes in tongues speaking, dreams, and other forms of extra-biblical revelation. In his book Simplicity, Talbot stated: "Personally, I have found praying the Rosary to be one of the most powerful tools I possess in obtaining simple, childlike meditation on the life of Jesus Christ." The Rosary is largely a prayer to Mary as the Queen of Heaven. In 1996 Talbot produced an album jointly with fellow CCM performer Michael Card. Of this venture, Card testified: "Doing this project has enabled us to become real friends. And along the way, the denominational lines have become really meaningless to me, and to John, too" (CCM Magazine, July 1996). It is painfully obvious that doctrinal truth means nothing to these CCM performers.
* BILLY RAY HEARN is the Executive Director of the very influential Sparrow Corporation. His ecumenical spirit is evident in the following testimony: "John [Talbot] and I immediately developed a special bond--musically and spiritually. Even though he became a Franciscan Catholic and I was a Southern Baptist, we understood each other and loved each other in our differences" (from the cover to one of Talbot's CDs).
* SHEILA WALSH is a member of a charismatic congregation and frequently "performs" in charismatic settings. Together with roughly 20,000 Roman Catholics, she participated in the North American Congress on the Holy Spirit & World Evangelization in New Orleans in 1987.
* TWILA PARIS, popular CCM singer, has been associated with the charismatic-oriented Youth With A Mission (YWAM) since 1976. In an interview with a YWAM leader in New Orleans in 1987, I was told that a large number of the short-term workers with YWAM are Roman Catholics.
* PAT BOONE is a member of Jack Hayford's Foursquare Pentecostal Church. In 1996 Boone released an album of heavy-metal rock songs under the title "Pat Boone in a Metal Mood -- No More Mr. Nice Guy." There were songs by openly demonic rock groups such as Alice Cooper, Guns N' Roses, Ozzy Osbourne, and Judas Priest. On April 15, 1997, Boone's pastor joined him on a Trinity Broadcasting Network broadcast with Paul Crouch and defended his heavy metal album.
* Popular CCM singer SANDI PATTI is a member of the Church of God, Anderson, Indiana. Though not Pentecostal herself, she moves freely in Charismatic and ecumenical circles. In 1987 she performed for Pope John Paul II prior to his mass in the Los Angeles Coliseum.
* CCM trumpeter PHIL DRISCOLL attends an independent charismatic church and continually appears at Charismatic-Pentecostal churches and forums. He trumpeted, for example, at Kenneth Copeland meetings and at the radically ecumenical Washington for Jesus rallies. He has also been featured at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.
* DINO KARTSONAKIS, popularly known simply as DINO, was the piano player for the divorced Pentecostal healer-evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman and frequently appears on the Trinity Broadcasting Network program with Paul and Jan Crouch.
* CARMAN is extremely popular, even in fundamental Baptist circles, but he is a charismatic-ecumenist and his unscriptural Pentecostal theology permeates his music. In his song "Satan, Bite the Dust," Carman claims that he has "been sent with a warrant from the body of Christ" to arrest the devil and to run every unclean spirit out of town. He claims to have the authority to cast out "depression, strife, disease and fear." In this strange song Carman asserts, "Satan, you coward, you molester of souls, I command you to appear." The Apostle Peter, though, tells us that even the angels do not bring railing accusations against the devil (2 Peter 2:11). Nowhere in the New Testament Scriptures do we see the Apostles and early Christians speaking to the devil in this manner. Carman then says: "I represent a whole new breed of Christian of today. And I'm authorized and deputized to blow you clean away." This is a probable reference to the New Order of the Latter Rain theology which claims that Christ's return will be preceded by a miracle revival whereby Christians will perform miracles and exercise kingdom authority over the powers of this present world. Some of the "prophets" which were popularized by John Wimber and the Vineyard movement, men such as Paul Cain, claim that God is raising up a "new breed" of end time Christian who will take authority over the devil.
Carman's theology is not only wrong, it is nonsense. He has not blown away the devil. He has not bound the devil. He has not arrested the devil. He has no power to command sickness to depart. He can pray and ask God to remove sickness, and God answers according to His will, but he cannot demand that sickness be healed. No Christian can. When Timothy was sick with frequent infirmities, the Apostle Paul did not command those infirmities to depart. Paul did not curse those infirmities as demonic. He did not say, "I bind out, foul infirmity." No, he said: "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities" (1 Tim. 5:23). I will be glad to take any Charismatic preacher with me into a hospital and we will demonstrate right there which of us is doctrinally correct in this matter. If a Christian has the power to bind the devil and to cast out sicknesses, let's see it. Carman is confusing the minds of God's people and leading them away from the truth with his false doctrine.
In typical Charismatic style Carman rebukes the "demon of alcoholism" and the "spirit of infirmity," demanding that these "demons" depart. He proclaims, "We lay hands on the sick and they recover." In another song, "Our Turn Now," Carman exclaims: "World, you had your turn at bat / Now stand back and see / That it's our turn now / Some things gonna change / We're gonna bind the / Devil at every hand by / the power of Jesus' name." This is unadulterated Charismatic kingdom now, dominionism theology.
* The very popular DON FRANCISCO moves in the most radical charismatic circles. In November 1986, for example, he had a concert at Vineyard Christian Fellowship Southeast, Denver, Colorado. The Vineyard movement, founded by the late John Wimber, has promoted such unscriptural notions as continued prophecy, slaying in the spirit, miracle evangelism, and the laughing revival. Francisco's music is a mixture of "folk, rock and blues" music (from the cover to his Early Works album). He teaches the positive-only philosophy which is typical of the charismatic-ecumenical-new evangelical movements which are permeating Christianity in these apostate last hours. Consider his testimony: "I knew from my own experience that PAINTING A PICTURE, RATHER THAN POINTING A FINGER, was a much more effective way to get the Gospel into people's heads and hearts." It is strange that the Apostle Paul did not understand this. Consider his sermon to the unsaved pagans on Mars Hill. He preached against their idolatry and warned them of judgment to come (Acts 17). Sounds like "finger pointing" to me, not finger pointing in the sense of a holier-than-thou attitude, but finger pointing in the sense of proclaiming God's righteous judgment and calling men to repentance. Consider Paul's presentation of the Gospel in the book of Romans. It begins with God's holiness and His condemnation of man's sin. Only after this "finger pointing" is completed, does he get to the good news that Christ has made the atonement for sin. The love of God is not even mentioned until chapter five of Romans. The preachers in the early churches did not have the philosophy of modern Contemporary Christian Music. In fact, preachers only 50 years ago did not have this philosophy.
* CLAY CROSSE, one of the top 30 CCM artists of 1998, reveals his ecumenical philosophy in the song "Saving the World" --
"So many preachers / So many churches and denominations / Got their opinions and their documents / And statements and beliefs / and sometimes there's a miscommunication / And we complicate the truth / And convolute the story / But as far as I recall / I do believe it all comes down to a man dying on a cross / Saving the world / Rising from the dead / Doing what he said he would do / Loving everyone."
While it is true that the denominational divisions have complicated the truth and that there is miscommunication between professing Christians, Crosse leaves his listeners with the false and dangerous impression that doctrine and statements of faith are unimportant and unnecessary, that all that is important is the central fact of Christ's death and resurrection. The words to this song reflect the ecumenical philosophy of organizations such as Promise Keepers and March for Jesus. We must put aside doctrinal disputes and have unity among all who "love Jesus." This ecumenical philosophy lightly passes over the Bible's warnings about false teachers. It ignores the Bible's prophecies of worldwide apostasy. It fails to address Paul's warning that there are false christs and false gospels.
* THE VINEYARD churches, founded by the late JOHN WIMBER, have had a wide influence with their praise music. Wimber himself, who was the manager of the secular group The Righteous Brothers before his conversion, wrote many popular songs, and many of the Vineyard churches are noted for their influential music groups. The Vintage Vineyard Music series is advertised as "Vineyard's all-time worship classics THAT CONTINUE TO BE SUNG CROSS-DENOMINATIONALLY IN CHURCHES AROUND THE WORLD." (As of 1990, 52 of the 53 songs in the Vineyard Songbook did not mention the cross of Jesus Christ.) Wimber conducted many "signs and wonders" conferences in various parts of the world, teaching the error that effective evangelism requires the working of miracles. Wimber spread great confusion through his allowance for extra-biblical revelation. Music groups from the Vineyard movement have performed at the influential Urbana youth conferences, sponsored by the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, since 1990. A Charisma magazine report on Urbana '90, noted that "delegates swayed and clapped to the beat" of the 11-piece Vineyard group. The music group had the young people raise their hands for "prayer for inner healing." (A Roman Catholic priest led one seminar at Urbana '90.) The Promise Keepers movement was founded by men involved in the Vineyard. PK founder Bill McCarthey is a member of a Vineyard church in Boulder, Colorado. The pastor of that church, James Ryle, and Randy Phillips, another member of his church, also are leaders in Promise Keepers. Ryle teaches that God is still raising up prophets in the churches and claims to receive many revelations from God through dreams and visions. In 1990 he claimed that he saw in a vision that the Beatles got their magically-popular music sound from an anointing by God, and that God eventually removed His anointing because they abused it. God allegedly implied to Ryle in the vision that He would place that same anointing upon musicians "in the church" in these last days.
Wimber frequently spoke on the same platform with Roman Catholic priests and apparently saw no serious problem with their doctrine. In 1986 Wimber joined Catholic priest Tom Forrest and Anglican Michael Harper at the European Festival of Faith, an ecumenical meeting in Birmingham, England. The Festival leaders and the 8,000 participants sent the Pope of Rome a message: "We are ready to join you in the united evangelism of Europe" (Australian Beacon, March 1988).
Wimber was a featured speaker at the North American Congress on the Holy Spirit & World Evangelization in Indianapolis, August 1990. In that forum he joined hands with roughly 12,000 Roman Catholics, including countless priests and nuns. A Catholic mass was held every morning of the convention. I was present at this conference with press credentials and heard Wimber speak.
In October 1991, the John Wimber conference in Sydney, Australia, featured Catholic priests Tom Forrest and Raniero Cantalamessa, as well as Catholic layman Kevin Ranaghan. At Indianapolis '90, which I attended with press credentials, I heard Tom Forrest say that he praises God for purgatory. Cantalamessa is the papal preacher at the Vatican. Ranaghan claims that the Roman Catholic Church alone contains the fullness of God and truth and that the Pope is the infallible head of all churches. In spite of their blasphemous heresies, these men were featured by Wimber as Spirit-filled men of God.
In his church planting seminar Wimber said there is nothing scripturally wrong with the Catholic practice of seeking healing through relics: "In the Catholic church for over a 1,200 year period people were healed as a result of touching the relics of the saints. We Protestants have difficulty with that ... but we healers shouldn't, because there's nothing theologically out of line with that."
Wimber was not only open to Roman Catholic doctrine but actively encouraged the reunification of Protestants with the church of Rome. "During the Vineyard pastors' conference, he went so far as to 'apologize' to the Catholic church on behalf of all Protestants ... He stated that 'the pope, who by the way is very responsive to the charismatic movement, and is himself a born-again evangelical, is preaching the Gospel as clear as anyone in the world today'" (John Wimber, Church Planting Seminar, audio tapes, 5 volumes, unedited, 1981, cited by Pastor John Goodwin).
DAVID RUIS is a popular song writer in the Vineyard movement. His song "Break Dividing Walls," calling for ecumenical unity, is widely used.
LINDELL COOLEY, the former music director at the Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida, calls his music Vineyard music.
The 1997 catalog from Vineyard Music features a "Winds of Worship" series which includes CDs from Toronto and Brownsville, focal points of the "Laughing Revival."
* The very popular and influential INTEGRITY MUSIC company (Integrity also owns HOSANNA MUSIC) rose out of the Charismatic movement and the music it spreads to 117 countries is of a Charismatic nature. Integrity recently recorded an album at the Brownsville Assembly of God. Don Moen is the "creative director" for Integrity. In an interview with the Pentecostal Evangel, a magazine published by the Assemblies of God, Moen described the power of the Laughing Revival music in these words: "Because something is imparted when you listen to this tape. I don't want it to sound spooky or mysterious, but there's something powerful about embracing the music of the revival. The fire of the revival can stir in you even as you listen to the songs that took place at the Brownsville revival" ("Don Moen Discusses Music at Brownsville Assembly," Pentecostal Evangel, November 10, 1996). The "revival" to which he refers is not a biblical revival; it is a "revival" in which people become drunken and stagger about and fall down and are unable to perform the most basic functions of life. The pastor at Brownsville, John Kilpatrick, testified that took him a half hour just to put on his socks when he was "drunk" with the Brownsville revival spirit. He has lain on the church platform for as long as four hours, unable to get up. His wife has been unable to cook their food or clean the house. Whatever this "revival" is, it is not something that is Bible based. Yet Moen testifies that this spirit can be imparted through the music.
Integrity's Hosanna! Music worship tapes include songs by ROBERT GAY, who records music from alleged prophesies given by charismatic "prophets." Gay has written hundreds of choruses, and many of them have been professionally recorded. Integrity has produced twelve of Gay's prophetic songs. Gay claims that the Holy Spirit gives him visions for his songs. Gay is connected with Bill Hamon's Christian International network of supposed prophetic ministries, which promotes the deception that God is continuing to give revelation through prophets and apostles today. Hamon claims that God will soon raise up new apostles who will operate in the miracle-working power of the first-century apostles and who will unite the churches and denominations. He claims that the Laughing Revival and Promise Keepers are part of this restoration process (Hamon, Apostles, Prophets and the Coming Moves of God: God's End-Time Plans for His Church and Planet Earth, Santa Rosa Beach, CA: Christian International, 1997).
* Another church that is influential in the contemporary praise movement is HILLS CHRISTIAN LIFE CENTRE in Sydney, Australia. The worship leader is DARLENE ZSCHECH. The senior co-pastors are Brian Houston and his wife, Bobbie. Brian Houston's book "You Need More Money" teaches the way to prosperity through giving and "kingdom living." Houston says, "If you believe in Jesus, He will reward you here as well [as in Heaven]" ("The Lord's Profits," Sydney Morning Herald, January 30, 2003). When asked by the Sydney Morning Herald reporter why the church is so successful, Brian Houston replied, "We are scratching people where they are itching." That is right out of 2 Timothy 4:3, which is a warning of apostasy, of people who itch for a new kind of Christianity and of preachers will scratch this illicit itch. "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."
Zschech's song "Shout to the Lord" is used widely in contemporary worship circles. The album by that title remained No. 1 on "praise and worship charts" for over 30 weeks and is still in the top 10. It won Song of the Year at the Dove Awards in 1998. It has been estimated that it is sung by 30 million Christians around the world.
Zschech is not only a "worship leader" herself, but she trains worship leaders. The annual Hillsongs Conference, for example, draws hundreds who sit under her teaching. In 2001, 600 attended.
One of Zschech's themes is the importance of unity, which, of course, is the false ecumenical philosophy. For example, she makes the following comment about the album "You Shine" — "There is a new sound and a new song being proclaimed across the earth. It's the sound of a unified church, coming together, in one voice to magnify our magnificent Lord" (from the album cover).
She gives no warning about the fact that vast numbers of churches are apostate and that the Bible says that unity apart from doctrinal agreement is wrong. The New Testament warns repeatedly that the end of the church age will be characterized by apostasy and spiritual confusion rather than faithfulness to the truth (i.e. Matt. 24:3-4, 11, 24; 1 Tim. 4:1-5; 2 Timothy 3:13; 4:3-4; 2 Pet. 2:1; Jude 3-4). That is precisely what we see when we look at Christianity today. Yet, the authors of most of the modern praise music give almost no warning about apostasy.
In an interview with Christian Leader magazine, March-April 2002, Zschech said she had a vision about the importance of unity:
Q. What do you envision for the future of the contemporary worship movement?
Zschech: You know, I had this vision a few years ago of how God saw the worshippers and worship leaders, linked arm and arm – the "musos," the production personnel and everybody that is involved in the worship of God. There were no celebrities out in front. We were all together in the line just walking together. It was how I imagined God's heart for what we are doing. We were all in line, and we were slow, but we were all walking around and we weren't leaving anyone behind. We were taking everyone with us. But then I saw a picture of what it is like now, and although we were arm in arm, there was a struggle going on. People were running forward in pride while others were shrinking back out of insecurity. There was very little movement because of disunity. I think that means we've got to become strong people so that we can stand strong together. God says he will bless us, and when God says "blessing" it's an out-of-control blessing, but that only comes when we are bound together.
This is a vision of her own heart, because it is contrary to the Scriptures. The New Testament nowhere says that God's blessing is out of control or that it only comes when professing Christians are "bound together." To the contrary, the Bible says God's blessing is always under control, always orderly, never confused. "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints" (1 Cor. 14:33). "Let all things be done decently and in order" (1 Cor. 14:39). Paul instructed Timothy to allow "no other doctrine" (1 Tim. 1:3). That is an extremely narrow approach to doctrinal purity, but it is the apostolic example that we are to follow until Christ returns.
This strict biblical attitude about doctrine is 180 degrees contrary to the philosophy of those who are creating the modern praise movement. They teach that the Holy Spirit cannot be "put in a box," meaning we cannot be sure how He will act and that He can create disorder and confusion. They teach that doctrine is less important than unity. They teach that women can be leaders. These philosophies are in open and direct rebellion to the Word of God.
In 2003, Darlene Zschech participated in Harvest '03 in Newcastle, NSW, north of Sydney, Australia. The ecumenical rock concert, which featured U.S.-based evangelist Greg Laurie of Harvest Ministries, brought together a hodge-podge of churches, including Presbyterian, Assemblies of God, Anglican, Seventh-day Adventist, Church of Christ, and Roman Catholic ("Hunter Harvest -- Rock Evangelism," http://members.ozemail.com.au/~rseaborn/rock_evangelism.html). A participating Assemblies of God pastor stated, "The bridge building going between churches has been awesome." In reality, it was spiritual confusion and open disobedience to the Holy Scriptures (i.e., Matt. 7:15; Rom. 16:17; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; 2 Tim. 2:16-17; 3:5; 4:3-4; etc.). The Word of God commands us to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3), yet the aforementioned denominations each have dozens of heretical doctrines that are contrary to that faith, including the false gospels of baptismal regeneration and sacramentalism, both of which are under God's curse in Galatians 1.
In a 2004 interview with Christianity Today, Darlene Zschech again expressed her radical ecumenical philosophy: "I've been in the Catholic Church, in the United Church, the Anglican Church, and in many other churches, and when worship is offered in truth, this sound emerges-regardless of the style. It's the sound of the human heart connecting with its Maker" (quoted by Michael Herman, "Zschech, Please," christianitytoday.com, June 4, 2004). She doesn't explain how worship can be in truth in the context of denominations that teach grievous doctrinal error.
There is also the false Pentecostal latter rain theology in some of the Hillsong music.
"I believe the promise about the visions and the dreams/ That the Holy Spirit will be poured out/ And His power will be seen/ Well the time is now/ The place is here/ And His people have come in faith/ There's a mighty sound/ And a touch of fire/ When we've gathered in one place" ("I Believe the Presence" from Shout to the Lord).
THE "JESUS ONLY" MUSIC CONNECTION
Many of the most popular "praise songs" today were composed by men and women involved with the Oneness Pentecostal movement, which denies the Trinity and which baptizes only in the name of Jesus. A recent article in Charisma magazine (June 1997) noted that "most popular praise anthems sung in charismatic and evangelical churches today were composed by Oneness believers." The article gave these examples --
DOTTIE RAMBO, who was raised in a Oneness church, wrote "Behold the Lamb" and other songs.
JOEL HEMPHILL wrote "He's Still Working on Me."
LANNY WOLFE wrote "Greater Is He that Is in Me."
Songwriter GERON DAVIS wrote "Holy Ground" and "In the Presence of Jehovah."
The contemporary Christian recording group PHILLIPS, CRAIG AND DEAN is composed of three Oneness ministers.
The song "Mercy Seat," which is sung nightly at the Brownsville Assembly of God "revival" in Pensacola, Florida, was written by United Pentecostal Church (a Oneness group) worship leader MARK CAROUTHERS.
We witnessed the worldliness associated with the charismatic movement when we attended New Orleans '87 with press credentials. The leaders of that massive conference (more than 40,000 in attendance) brought in secular jazz artist Pete Fountain to entertain the crowds. In introducing Fountain and his band, fresh from their performances on wicked Burbon Street, the chairman of the conference, Vincent Synan, had the crowd of charismatics "give Pete a hand." Synan then had the crowd "give Jesus a hand." What the holy Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible had to do with this worldly mess, we have yet to figure out. The formalities over, the band proceeded with its concert of secular jazz while the charismatic crowd danced in the streets. The fact is that Fountain was playing exactly the same type of music that the charismatic groups were performing throughout the conference.
We reject the philosophy which suggests that the music which stirs up lust and wickedness at a rock concert or in a bar room or a jazz hall can be sanctified for the Lord's use. We believe worldly music produces worldliness, sensual music produces sensuality. Most Contemporary Christian Music does not produce holiness of life and separation from the world. In the 1980s, Pentecostal preacher David Wilkerson changed his position on jazzy music and began to lift his voice against Christian rock. In his book Set the Trumpet to Thy Mouth in 1985 he said:
"One of the reasons God's Spirit was lifted from the Jesus Movement of the last decade was their refusal to forsake their old music. They gave up pot, heroin, alcohol, promiscuous sex, and they even gave up perverted lifestyles. But they refused to give up their beloved rock ... Amazing! I say its hold is stronger than drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. It is the biggest mass addiction in the world's history. ... rock music, as used and performed in Christian circles, is of the same satanic seed as that which is called punk, heavy metal, and is performed in devilish rock concerts worldwide."
In 1991 Wilkerson gave the following warning: "About five years ago I became disheartened when many pastors opened up their churches to rock concerts. Teenagers went wild, dancing in the aisles, going straight out of church and into back seats of cars for sex. Parents wrote to me brokenhearted, saying, 'My teenager was on fire for God. Then our pastor and youth pastor brought in these wild groups, and I lost my son. He is backslidden. He got an appetite for occult music right in our own church.'"
We use Wilkerson as an example here, not because we agree with him completely in theology, but because he himself is a long-time Pentecostal leader and yet he recognizes the danger of this type of music. We agree with this assessment and we would urge our readers to avoid the worldly Contemporary Christian Music which incorporates the same rhythms one can hear in a bar room. Worldly music will produce worldliness.
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting" (Galatians 6:7-8).
"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. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" (1 John 2:15-17).
KIND PRODUCES KIND
Further, we are convinced that music which is produced by ecumenists and which is used to promote charismatic experience and ecumenism, cannot be used to produce sound Biblical faith and practice. By the laws which God put into this world, Contemporary Christian Music will produce in kind. Like produces like. The Bible warns, "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners" (1 Corinthians 15:33). If we associate closely with those who are disobeying the Word of God, we will be infected with their disobedience. Be not deceived. The church which gravitates toward ecumenical charismatic music will be moved away from a strong Bible stand. There is a spiritual power behind the Contemporary Christian Music.
Though we do not agree with the aforementioned quote by Integrity music company creative director Don Moen in calling the Brownsville phenomenon a revival, we do agree with his assessment that the spirit of the Brownsville meetings is imparted somewhat through the beat music which is being used there. In our visits to various Charismatic churches and conferences for our reporting through the years, we have observed that the music is always the same. It is a fleshly combination of beat music and mood music; you can dance to it and romance to it. On a video that I have in my library, Brownsville Assembly of God music director Lindell Cooley noted that he could sing some of the "revival songs" to a wife or a girlfriend. It is a sensual music for people who are seeking experiences and who are living a sensuous type of Christian life.
We are not saying that simply listening to the Vineyard- or Toronto- or Brownsville-type music will knock people to the ground and cause them to start exhibiting Laughing Revival manifestations. We have heard of that happening, but it is more likely that people listening to this music will pick up the unscriptural philosophy behind it. The philosophy is one of non-judgmentalism, ecumenism, a carnal "love" divorced from righteousness and judgment.
It is the worldly people in fundamentalist Bible-believing churches who are drawn to the ecumenical-charismatic beat music, and it reinforces their carnality and draws them even further from their church's biblical standards. Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) encourages carnality, and carnality draws folk to CCM.
In a perceptive article on the music at Brownsville, Pastor Joseph Chambers makes the following comments:
"The music minister at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida, Lindell Cooley, defined the music of the 'revival' as 'honky music.' That word is an excellent description of Beatle's music, as well as Pensacola's music. The dictionary defines 'honky' as an adjective, which means 'cheap entertainment or jangly piano music' (Chambers English Dictionary, W&R Chambers, Ltd., 1990, p. 683). Jangly music is dissonant, described as 'not agreeing or harmonizing in sound, a combination of musical sounds that call for resolution or produces beats' (Ibid., p. 412). This is clearly Beatles' music and it is an excellent description of the music that has invaded the church. Instead of quieting the human spirit, as music was created to accomplish, it arouses the human spirit and guides the person into unfamiliar realms of the emotions. It is perfect for creating altered states or a hypnotic condition. It is clearly music designed to do the opposite of what our creator ordained.
"There are two main songs that appear to help drive the Pensacola impartations. The first is what appears to be the theme, The River Is Here. ... This song is New Age to the core. It is void of truth, treats God in a generic fashion, and suggests that God's grace and glory flows from a river. Notice the term, 'And all who touch it can be revived.' Standing in the Brownsville church, I watched almost everyone dance, jump, jerk, shake, or swoon to this song. It captured the crowd, but it absolutely was not the Holy Spirit. After forty-five years of [experiencing and practicing] Biblical worship, it clearly showed no kin [to true worship].
"The other song is on the opposite side of the pendulum. The above song is hypnotic in a mood-altering fashion. The second song gets you read to be zapped. It is named We Will Ride, and is usually sung right before Evangelist Hill takes the services. ... I have no way of knowing the mind of the composer, but it certainly does not fit historic theology.
"Jesus is not riding a white horse, but is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will ride this horse after the Rapture and the Great Tribulation when He returns to fight the Battle of Armageddon. Revelation, chapter six, suggests a White Horse rider with a crown and a bow, but this is judgment against the wicked and is certainly not when the saints ride. Most Bible teachers call this rider the Antichrist or the going forth of righteousness and judgment.
"This appears to be in perfect accord with the theology of the Vineyard Church and their Joel's Army of conquerors. It is called Dominion Theology and denies the traditional Rapture of the church. The words of these two songs are certainly confusing, but the spirit ... is even more dangerous. Why would we even consider this kind of music to sing to the Lord Jesus Christ? The truth is that we would not, because this music is not sung to Jesus Christ; it is sung to a new Jesus and by a totally different spirit.
"The transition from honoring the Lord Jesus with singing and praise to honoring a false Jesus takes place first in the soul. The worshipper is not conscious of this transition and may be absolutely sincere and honest. The best way to notice that this transition has begun is the new arrogance and unapproachableness of those passing through this paradigm. The word paradigm describes the New Age idea of transition between two world views. ... It's easy to make the transition. Leave your theology at home. Don't question the big name who is dispensing this power. Open up and drink. Do not ask questions, for questions and Biblical reasoning is a solid block against this change. Even a young Christian with little experience is a stalwart against this deception if they cling to the Word of God and refuse to be swooned by the crowd controllers. ...
"Dr. David A. Noebel said of the Beatles' Music, 'The hard fact is that in this present revolutionary era, heavy beat music has become the catalyst for the young radicals in their announced plans not only to destroy Western culture, but to dethrone God. And few can really deny that the Beatles have and are playing a strategic and crucial role in the spiritual and cultural demise of the West and in the proposed destruction of Christianity throughout the world' (David A. Noebel, The Beatles, A Study in Drugs, Sex and Revolution, p. 8).
"The Beatles' music has now finished duping the world and is now in the sanctuary" (Joseph Chambers, "Beatles' Music at Pensacola," The End Times, March-April 1997, p. 3).
Pastor Chambers is an old-line Pentecostal and we differ theologically, but we are thankful for his stand against the charismatic rock-mood music and we agree with his assessment of the music at Brownsville. Rock music cannot be sanctified for the Lord's use because it is fleshly and does not minister to the spirit. I am not speaking merely of the words; I am speaking of the rhythms. Before I was saved in 1974 at age 23, I lived a very wicked lifestyle and my music was rock music. Rock music fits a wicked lifestyle. Rock music perfectly fits the bar, the dance hall, the night club, the pool hall, the house of prostitution. Rock music fits the tavern but it does not fit the Lord's house. It was created by rebels who brazenly love those things which God's Word says are evil. After I was saved I desired God to purify and use my life, and one of the first things He dealt with was my music. I knew that I had a choice: I could love the world or I could love the Lord. God's Word tells me that I cannot serve two masters. I cannot say I love the Lord when I love those things which the Lord's hates. "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" (James 4:4). It was a real struggle with the flesh to give up rock music, because I absolutely loved it and I had listened to it practically every waking moment for many years. I found that when I did turn my back on rock music and stop listening to it for personal pleasure, I learned to love wholesome music. It took a little time, but my perverted taste in music was transformed. Ever since then, I have had a holy hatred of rock music. I believe God did this in me. The Charismatic crowd loves experiences. Well, I have had some powerful experiences, and learning to hate rock music was one of them.
I realize the whole world has been taken over by rock music. I realize that it is impossible to get away from it entirely. It is everywhere, in the shops, in commercials, at every sporting event, you name it. To get entirely away from rock music one would have to go out of the world, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:10. He told us that this is not God's will. We are called to be IN the world to witness to the world, but not OF the world to be influenced by the world. It is like a boat. It is right for the boat to be in the water, but it is wrong for the water to be in the boat. While I cannot get entirely away from rock music as long as I remain in this wicked world, I do not have to willfully bring rock music into my life. I have often praised the Lord that one blessed day I will finally and completely be delivered from all rock music. You see, I don't believe there is any rock music in Heaven. I do not believe the holy Lord of Glory likes rock music. I believe it is unclean, and no unclean thing will enter into God's paradise (Rev. 21:27). Until that Day, I will endure whatever amount of rock music I am forced to hear along life's way in this present evil world, and at the same time I will strive to keep rock music's unholy influence out of my life, home, and church.
Someone might be saying, "You are impossibly old fashioned and out of date; the times are passing you by and you will soon be all alone and lacking all influence like an old fossil." If that is the case, so be it. I don't care if all of the professing Christians in the whole world decide that rock music is a proper medium for the service of God. (This won't happen, praise the Lord.) I refuse to go along with this foolishness. Rock music is carnal at best and it cannot be sanctified for the Master's use.
We do not believe God is the author of the charismatic movement, with its ecumenical goals, its false doctrine, and its strange unscriptural phenomenon. The Bible tells us He is not the author of confusion. We believe there are saved people within the movement, but the movement itself is unscriptural. We believe, in fact, that this is part of a movement prophesied in Scripture as the end-times apostasy which will result in a one-world harlot "church." This is described in many New Testament passages (i.e., Matt. 24:3-4,11,24; 1 Timothy 4:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:1-13; 4:4-6; Jude 3-16; 1 John 2:18-19; 1 John 4:1; etc.), culminating in the description given in Revelation 17-18. That there are genuinely saved people in this movement is implied in Revelation 18:4, which says: "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." God calls His people out of the end-time apostasy. We, therefore, reject the charismatic movement AND ITS MUSIC .
I'm praying for an understanding if my own composition "I thank you Lord" is considered CCM. It sounds pleasant to the ears but have no biblical verses in it. Written with my feelings and own conviction, and not from any biblical text, I sincerely do not know if its wrong. I had prayed hard to God to give me a song during the time of its composition, and I composed this song. Could this be an answered prayer? This song that I composed lifts up my spirit in times of uncertainty, in times of hardship, pain and sorrow. Its like a tribute to God for taking me out of blindness and into the light. Its like my prayer to God. If anyone could give me feedback on my song, I would be very grateful.
My dear brothers and sisters in christ, always be careful of the songs you listen too...
Pray for me. Thank you and God bless you all.
Monday, August 28, 2006