Thursday, March 12, 2009
I know what I'm Talking About
Yep! That's me. In all my seventeen year-old glory. It was 1977, and I was on stage playing a Homecoming show to a crowd of over one thousand. That is a big rush for a high school senior. Suffice it to say, the music I was playing that night should not be heard in a Church.
Later, in college as a music education major, I played and sang for a contemporary Christian group called "Brightside." Then, in January of 1980, I trusted Christ as my personal Savior. I was raised in church and in a Christian home. But I simply "assumed the position" growing up. I had a religion, but not a relationship.
On January 6th, 1980 I was born again!
Not everything changed all at once, But, immediately God began to work on me about my music, (among other things, which shall remain, at this time, none of your business.) The truth is, the first time I heard a preacher say that rock music was "of the devil," I did not need to be convinced. I knew that already. But then I was taught that contemporary Christian music, (CCM) was just rock music with religious words. I was a musician, going to college on a music scholarship. I did not know much, but I knew music. And what I knew led me to the same conclusion. In 1982 I settled my position on religious rock music.
I went to Bible College in Arlington, Texas and joined Trinity Baptist Church. Trinity Baptist was known as the "legalistic church." They had standards. They had the right kind of music. They were on fire for soul winning. This was an exiting church. Now married, my beloved bride and I jumped in with enthusiasm.
Twenty seven years ago. I decided that worldly music had no place, in the church or in the life of a Christian. Many Independent Baptist churches back then held the same position. I saw kids get booted from Bible College for listening to CCM. I watched over the years as churches began to first, compromise in the area of music. When the music in a church slips every other standard will soon follow.
Now here is the problem. Today, I see some prominent, nationally known Fundamental Baptist churches performing music on their platform that would have gotten me kicked out of Bible College twenty five years ago. My college was not even that conservative. If it was wrong then to sing Amy Grant, (who Time Magazine called "the Madonna of Christian music,") or Sandy Patty, (who left her husband because she was having an affair with her road manager,) or Ray Boltz, (who recently announced his homosexuality before playing a concert at a Metropolitan Community Church,) or the Imperials, (who's lead singer left the group after he got saved in '81) or any other CCM group from back in the day, then it is wrong today.
It scares me to see great citadels of Fundamentalism raise up this kind of music. I still do not know much, but I know music; and I know where this will lead. There are churches who's conferences I once attended I will no longer attend. The slow slippery slide has already begun under new leadership. The Bible college kids who used to sneak out to the movies and listen to their CCM are now pastors. It is no surprise where they are leading their churches.
Pastors, its time to be honest. Quit worrying about keeping a crowd. My beloved home church, Trinity Baptist Church of Arlington, Texas still has the standards, is still on fire for soul winning and still has godly conservative music in all its programs. Are they dwindling? No! with an attendance of over sixteen hundred on any given Sunday, they are the among the largest Baptist churches of any kind in Tarrant County, Texas, (the middle of the Dallas, Ft, Worth metro area.)
If putting old CCM on the platforms of our churches is o.k. then lets allow our teens to listen to "oldies radio." If rock music is of the devil until its twenty years old or so, then what would be the problem? Is there an expiration date on sin? If it was carnal when I was twenty, and it was; then it is carnal today. Lets do some inventory in the music library. Lets teach our people the truth about music. Lets get back to Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Songs do not have to be old or slow to be good. But, they need to be spiritual. Fundamentalism has lost enough ground in my life time. Lets start taking some back. Just a thought. Thank you for reading.