I remember calling a minister of music in Charleston on the phone to learn what type of music he allowed for his congregation. Every time I asked for the style, he would use a Christian marketing term like “eclectic blend”, “praise and worship”, and so forth. I kept asking if it was more like the style of jazz or soft rock, but he would never answer. I gathered that he was ashamed to admit that he was truly using jazz or soft rock for his congregation, but that was a different era only fifteen years ago.
Today’s musicians, on the other hand, are far more bold. They are aggressive and in your face about their love for rockin’ music in the name of GOD. They will admit that they use jazz and rock for their congregation (style names derived from terms that originally were slang for the act of fornication). It’s amazing how far the people of GOD in the United States have come … and it shows in everything from their continual decrease in membership to statistics regarding how many pastors struggle with internet porn addiction. It also shows in our national health as America crumbles from within as the lights of professing believers are waning and slowly being extinguished. Yet, to hear many of them speak, they are “right with GOD” and thankful for “grace” (whatever that means to them these days).
It’s amazing how often Christians will lie to themselves if they have a clever justification to help them, such as a moral-sounding marketing name provided for the crass, sensual products being sold these days by non-Christian companies to the believers (or false converts) who desire them. The products may include “christian” movies with swear words and filth or it may just be the music of the devil wed to Christian words.
Back in the 1970s, such music was called “christian rock”, but that didn’t go so well, because people knew that rock music was the devil’s music. In the 1980s, the term “contemporary christian music” was used and it worked effectively enough to sell millions of records. Then came the “praise and worship” marketing phrase, followed by a plethora of other gushy descriptions of music that offered a more morally appealing way of describing music composed mostly of soft and pop rock with some ambiguous lyrics which could mean anything from “love for one’s significant other” to “love for GOD”. Most sounded like the former due to the groans uttered as the song was sung, although some had more respectable lyrics accompanying the breathy, torch-like voices and occasional groans or sensual communication of the voice. Then harder and harder genres of rock were pushed forward into congregations. Today? Most people these days seem to care less about what they do in GOD’s name with the exception of the more conservative congregations, but that is changing with the latest strategic marketing ploy.
Today, “modern hymns” is the new strategic marketing buzzword, and it appears it was coined specifically for the fundamentalist and conservative evangelical crowd. This crowd once banned all Amy Grant music from their congregations and schools in days past, but today they openly embrace Kristyn Getty, a lady who groans in the microphone like Amy Grant or Olivia Newton-John and who even styles a similar look to Amy Grant. Back in the day, no one in conservative circles were allowed to “clean up” the songs of such individuals and use them as choir numbers, because they could send a message to the vulnerable youth that such artists were acceptable. Also, it was difficult for the minister of music to explain how he learned about the tune in the first place. Songs by dead people were acceptable, because they could no longer have an influence upon the youth.
Today, this same crowd who cried “foul” against Amy Grant, Sandi Patti, and Steve Green are now using the songs of the Gettys, Sovereign Grace, and other similar artists in their congregational choirs as well as in their sound recordings. It’s amazing to see how many of those who once wrote books or gave seminars against rock and religious rock music have rushed to create their own “modern hymns”, hoping to also benefit financially from this new popular genre. This craze of “modern hymns” seems to have a larger audience than historic hymns. In fact, traditional hymns were oftentimes penned by hymn writers who endured severe trials for Jesus or who gave their lives in martyrdom in later years. Yet this generation is a generation who knows so much better than older, conservative generations, because we have been enlightened beyond the pale, and now realize how unneeded and unrefined former generations of conservatives were who disallowed Amy Grant songs; therefore, en masse, it appears the conservative movement is now ready to embrace Kristyn Getty songs and other “modern hymn” composers as though their music affords some type of special grace.
What changed? Many say that they feel the words of these “modern hymns” are superior in their Scriptural content and text. Others say that they really don’t have to “clean up” some of the songs, but we all know that’s not true. The truth is that Steve Green probably had better theology, Christian evangelism fervor, and lyrical content than both the Getty duo or the charismatic, ecumenical Sovereign Grace ministries (who coincidentally was founded by Catholics and have a lot of morality issues in their leadership these days and lots of complaints from disillusioned members due to such matters not being disciplined). That’s not an endorsement of Steve Green since he also resorted to using soft rock, but it is an honest assessment of his music against much of the “modern hymn” singers today.
What an excellent example of how marketing can deceptively sway the masses (if it weren’t so tragic and pitiful). Of course, the new conservatives will never admit that they have been deceived. Instead, they credit their changes to the new awareness they have for showing “grace”. A new “grace” that seems to have increased the divorce rate of those professing believers into figures that compete with the lost world that they are supposedly trying to convert (with Baptists having the highest divorce rate of any Protestant denomination and ironically they’re some of the biggest fans of all the new modern church music today).
This generation hates to hear music that sounds like the royal courts of heaven, but instead they adore music that sounds like a nightclub or a brothel house or sex symbol Olivia Newton-John from the 1970s (which describes most of the “modern hymns” today which are not modern at all). Today most church-goers are no longer interested in how their music is affecting others. They have little interest in discussing or even listening to others discuss topics concerning avoiding “strange fire” (most don’t even know the story in the Old Testament regarding “strange fire”). What they do in GOD’s name is based upon what they think and little to do with what GOD requires.
In my opinion, this generation is worse than any previous generations in history. If cleaned-up “modern hymns” lead the youth across a bridge to more rockin’ music or to charismatic, ecumenical organizations, they will not think anything more of it. If their pop and hard rock music offends GOD as they perform the sounds of Satan and sensuality in GOD’s name, they could care less.
I don’t know of any generation in the entire breadth of history that played the music of the devil in their congregations, and the practice is not isolated but widespread through almost every church. Those who say that Martin Luther played “bar tunes” are uneducated at best. Furthermore, the tunes in the bars of Europe and even pagan courts sounded glorious like the angels singing compared to the crass, sensual fare being produced in churches today. The subject of music is discussed in much detail in the article at this link; however, it doesn’t just stop with music. There are literally a multitude of other vices being performed in the name of GOD today besides sensual music. Music is just the more indicative of a person’s attitude toward GOD and an easy way to perceive the pride, greed, self-love, and rebellion of a person. These attitudes are oftentimes justified as “godliness” under the guise that they’re just living a life of “grace”.
GOD gives grace to avoid sin, not grace to run back into the world and entangle ourselves in its sensual pleasures again. How many of this new generation of church attendees touting the name of Christ are even believers? They like to say you can’t judge a tree by its fruit, because they say such talk is legalism, but what does Jesus say?
“Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance” – Matthew 3:8
“A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 7:18-21
I say that this generation of church attendees, who claim to know Christ, have forgotten Who He is, His demands, and His character. GOD killed people in Scripture for sacrilege such as wedding together evil with His Holy Name. When Jesus saves us, He doesn’t just save us from hell, but He also saves us from sin. This generation is not content with merely jumping back into the world from which they supposedly were redeemed, but they also want you to join in their escapades or they will quarantine you, ignore you, and treat you as though you have the plague. This generation reminds me of the generation of Jesus’ day. Jesus predicted that they would pay the price for their rebellion through the infamous massacres of A.D. 70 and the Dispersion. Jesus described them this way:
“They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.” – Luke 7:32
If those touting His name so high are truly converted, why are they so upset when you refuse to endorse their favorite music or why do they grow rebellious when you speak to them about such matters? Why do they love to wallow in the filth of the world still? Why do they ignore you and isolate you and refuse to show love to you if you fail to leave your conscience at the door?
“For if after they have escaped the pollution of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” – 2 Peter 2:20-22
It matters little if their favorite ministry and its staff approves their actions. It matters little if their pastor throws them the bone of “eternal security” if they say a sinner’s prayer. It matters only what GOD says, and He says that, while works are futile, repentant faith that shows forth fruit will allow us to see the kingdom of GOD. False conversions, false grace, and empty faith will not.
Yet when confronted with their sacrilege, blasphemy, and lifestyle that is patterned completely after the unregenerate world around them, they have the most clever and intellectual justifications of their sin, as well as self-righteous, scathing condemnations for those who fail to step into line and agree with them.
The wrath of GOD is brimming to the top. Sodom and Noah’s era are examples of what GOD will tolerate. Will He hold back His wrath from this generation much longer?
I believe it’s about to rain on our world.