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  • Pastor Paul Davis


Churches have for awhile offered two kinds of services: contemporary and traditional. The difference is in the music. Contemporary uses rock ‘n’ roll; traditional doesn’t. Church rock music is commonly called by other names such as “praise music” or “contemporary Christian music” (CCM) but it is rock ‘n’ roll nonetheless. The idea of having separate services has been adopted so members who object to rock music in church can be placated for the time being. As they gradually die off, the distinction between the styles of services can be eliminated. Blended worship - a combination of regular hymns and rock - is now in vogue.

Rock is a music style that promotes rebellion and sex. Its creators and performers have proudly proclaimed this fact for decades. They are not ashamed of it. In 1969, Time magazine expressed, “In a sense all rock is revolutionary. By its very beat and sound it has always implicitly rejected restraints and has celebrated freedom and sexuality.” Daryl Hall admitted that “The main purpose of rock and roll is celebration of the self” and John Oates confessed that “Rock ‘n’ roll is 99% sex.” Frank Zappa concurred: “Rock music is sex. The big beat matches the body’s rhythms.” Ted Nugent avowed, “Rock is the total celebration of the physical.” The only people who claim that rock is a morally neutral medium are Christians who like it. In reality, it is an affront to God’s holiness, and using it in worship at all is a grave mistake.

Church leaders offer rock music, not for Biblical reasons, but because people want it. A similar situation occurred in Exodus 32 - “the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us” (v. 10). Aaron capitulated and commenced worship that blended “a molten calf … an altar … a feast to the LORD … burnt offerings and peace offerings” (vs. 4-6). Paganism (a molten calf) was the central theme of Israel’s worship program; rock music is the central theme of contemporary worship. As Joshua approached the scene, he “heard the noise of the people … a noise of war … the noise of them that sing” (vs. 17-18) but he could not discern what he heard. Correspondingly, many contemporary churches are indistinguishable from night clubs or rock concerts. They use the same sights and sounds - low lighting and loud music. The “worship” felt at CCM services is the same emotional (and physical) charge unsaved people get at rock concerts. And like rock concerts, if they were to turn on the lights and turn off the music, the people would leave.

Another effect of the blended worship in Exodus 32 is that the people were “dancing” (v. 19) and they were “naked unto their shame” (v. 25). In Scripture, public nakedness is always a shame. “Naked” in the Bible doesn’t exclusively mean nudity; it means “not covered”, “not concealed” - i.e., not being clothed enough. Generally, CCM advocates place little or no emphasis on dress standards. It is especially common for female worship team members to perform on stage wearing provocative dresses or tight, revealing clothes in full view of the congregation. They are imitating secular entertainers who dress that way to tease and tempt men.

Israel’s festival met certain criteria often used to measure success: a huge crowd, unity of spirit, and emotional praise and worship. God’s assessment was sobering. To Moses He said “thy people … have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them” (vs. 7-8). God referred to Israel as “thy people”. Because His people had corrupted themselves, God no longer wanted them identified with Him. Moses, like any Bible believer who stands with God amidst compromise, found himself in the minority and saw the praise fest for what it really was - “so great a sin” (v. 21). The man of God cried out, “Who is on the LORD’s side? Let him come unto me.” A remnant answered the call - “And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.” That clarion call to separation echoes down to this age of apostasy: “come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (II Cor. 6:17).

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