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  • Pastor Paul Davis

CCM & ECUMENISM

The following excerpts are from “Contemporary Christian Music and Rome” & “Why we are opposed to Contemporary Christian Music”, articles found at wayoflife.org


“Contemporary Christian Music is ecumenical music. In fact, Contemporary Christian Music is one of the most powerful forces of the end-times ecumenical movement. It is the music of the ‘one-world church.’

“In his book Making Musical Choices, Richard Peck makes the following important observation about 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).

“NOT ONE popular CCM musician that I know of stands against ecumenism and stands boldly for ecclesiastical separation.

“Contemporary Christian Music is at home in the most ecumenical of contexts. The same music is perfectly comfortable and acceptable in a Roman Catholic retreat or a World Council of Churches conference or a charismatic ‘laughing revival.’

“Contemporary Christian Music is the music of ecumenical charismatic conferences, such as New Orleans ‘87, held in July 1987 … After four days of ‘renewal’ choruses and Christian rock, it was obvious that CCM was the preferred music of the 35,000-40,000 ecumenical-charismatics in attendance. Approximately 40 different denominations and groups came together under one roof, including Episcopalian, Church of Christ, United Methodist, American Baptist, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church USA, and dozens of others, including roughly 20,000 Roman Catholics. Roman Catholic priest Tom Forrest delivered the closing message and brought the mixed multitude to their feet when he called for unity: ‘We must reach the world,’ he cried, ‘and we must reach it the only way we can reach it; we must reach it TOGETHER!’ At those words the crowd became ecstatic, leaping to their feet, shouting, stomping, speaking in tongues, dancing …

“The music that held all of this confusion together was CCM. Youth Explosion ‘87 was held at the same time, and 5,000 young people were bombarded with a steady diet of unscriptural teaching, ecumenism, testimonies by sports stars and entertainment figures, and ‘Christian’ rock music. CCM is perfectly at home in the midst of such apostate confusion.

“The contemporary praise anthem ‘We Are One in the Spirit,’ which became the ‘banner song of the Jesus Movement,’ was written by PETER SCHOLTES (1938-2009), a Roman Catholic priest. He wrote the song in the 1960s while working as a parish priest at St. Brendan’s on the South Side of Chicago. In that capacity he worked with the modernistic Baptist preacher Martin Luther King. Scholtes’s motivation in writing the song was to find something that would fit a series of ecumenical events. The song has been sung by churches of every denomination and represents the ecumenical spirit that is creating the one-world church.

“When Pope John Paul II visited the United States in January 1999, many well-known contemporary Christian musicians joined hands with hundreds of thousands of Catholics to welcome him. Featured at a Catholic youth rally connected with the Pope’s visit, were DC TALK, AUDIO ADRENALINE, REBECCA ST. JAMES, JENNIFER KNAPP, THE WS, AND THE SUPERTONES (CCM Magazine, April 1999, p. 12). According to Music and Entertainment News, JARS OF CLAY was also scheduled to appear … A large group of nuns and Dominican priests ‘danced with abandon’ at the Supertones rock music. Each attendee received a rosary with instructions about how to pray to Mary.

“In July 2016, popular CCM artists demonstrated their radical ecumenical philosophy by participating in ‘Together 2016’ in Washington, D.C. Pope Francis delivered a video message to the crowd. The ‘Papa’ was joined by Hillsong United, Kari Jobe, David Crowder, Kirk Franklin, Jeremy Camp, Lacrae, Michael W. Smith, Passion, Casting Crowns, and Matt Maher (Catholic CCM artist).

“John Styll, the publisher of Worship Leader magazine (which has a distribution of 50,000), made the following telling observation: ‘You can have a pretty straight-laced but theologically liberal Presbyterian church using the same songs that are being sung at a wild and crazy charismatic church, but they use different arrangements and adapt the songs to their unique settings’ (Styll, quoted by Steve Rabey, ‘The Profits of Praise,’ Christianity Today, July 12, 1999).

“Why would a ‘theologically liberal’ Presbyterian church, which perhaps hates the old hymns about the blood and adds hymns about mother god and the social gospel to its songbook and which allows preachers to deny that Jesus is God and which thinks unrepentant homosexuals make fine church members, be attracted to contemporary praise music? Why would a Roman Catholic who prays to Mary and who praises God for purgatory (such as the popular charismatic priest Tom Forrest does) be attracted to contemporary praise music?

“In an interview with Christianity Today, Don Moen of Integrity Music said: ‘I’ve discovered that worship [music] is transdenominational, transcultural. IT BRIDGES ANY DENOMINATION. Twenty years ago there were many huge divisions between denominations. Today I think the walls are coming down. In any concert that I do, I will have 30-50 different churches represented.

“Ecumenical terms that permeate the CCM scene include ‘anointed,’ ‘the body,’ ‘united,’ ‘John 17,’ ‘tolerance,’ ‘non-critical love,’ ‘judge not,’ ‘no finger pointing,’ etc. These are terms that identify the philosophy of the End Times ecumenical movement described in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 and other passages. The End Times apostasy is characterized by a rejection of strong biblical absolutes and reproof and doctrine and by teachers who pamper instead of preach, who generalize instead of being specific, who are positive rather than ‘negative,’ who build self-esteem rather than call for repentance. ‘Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 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’ (2 Tim. 4:2-4).

“CCM is the music of ecumenical evangelism, as epitomized by the Franklin Graham and Luis Palau crusades. Billy Graham led the way in this. Consider this description of Graham’s 1997 crusade in San Antonio, Texas: ‘More than 700 San Antonio churches representing over 50 denominations have joined together for the Graham crusade, which hopes to attract South Texas youth with big-name Christian rock acts [Amy Grant, dc Talk, Charlie Daniels Band, Michael W. Smith, Steve Green, and Jaci Velasquez] and a Saturday service just for kids’ (Houston Chronicle, April 2, 1997).

“A typical Luis Palau evangelistic ‘festival’ was described by Contemporary Christian Music.com as follows. This one was in Seattle in 2003: ‘Musical expressions spanning from southern-fried rock, to smooth soul, to explosive hip-hop swirl through a crowd of over 150,000 Seattle residents nestled within the spacious Marymoor Park on a beautiful summer afternoon. Opposite the stage, professional skaters perform death-defying stunts in front of teens accented by multiple piercings and an arsenal of tattoos.’

“Contemporary Christian Music’s influence toward ecumenism is well stated by a man who at one time preached against it, Bob Larson: ‘Have you ever seen a bunch of young people (be they Lutheran, Presbyterian, or Baptist, charismatic or evangelical) setting aside their religious idiosyncrasies to jump and shout when Petra walks on stage? … The shared experience will send them back to their own churches LESS THEOLOGICALLY EXCLUSIVE. From that moment on, they are ‘not of this world’ with all of its petty ecclesiastical divisions’ (Larson, Contemporary Christian Music Magazine, December 1985).

“To characterize doctrinal issues that separate Lutherans and Presbyterians and Baptists and charismatic as ‘RELIGIOUS IDIOSYNCRASIES,’ as Bob Larson does, is ridiculous. It is not mere idiosyncrasies that divide these denominations but serious doctrinal issues. Some of these are the eternal security of the believer vs. the doctrine that a born again Christian can lose his salvation; believer’s baptism vs. infant baptism; Spirit baptism as a part of salvation vs. Spirit baptism as an experience subsequent to salvation; premillennialism vs. amillennialism; and a special priesthood vs. the priesthood of the believers, to mention only a few.

“The reason the contemporary praise music is so successful ecumenically, so universally popular in this apostate hour, is three-fold:

“FIRST, AS A RULE IT IS NOT DOCTRINALLY STRONG AND CLEAR. While there are exceptions, they are only that. CCM sings of Jesus and grace and love and salvation, but in such a doctrinally non-specific manner that the modernists can find their ‘Jesus’ therein and the Catholics, their ‘grace.’ False teachers use the same terms that Bible believers use, but they have a different dictionary. They sing about grace but they do not mean the free undeserved grace that comes through faith by the shedding of Christ’s blood without works or sacraments. They sing of Jesus, but it is not necessarily the thrice holy Jesus, the mighty God, the everlasting father, of Scripture. They sing of the Spirit, but it might be a strange one that knocks people to the floor and glues them there.

“SECOND, THE CONTEMPORARY PRAISE MUSIC IS POPULAR EVEN AMONG UNREGENERATE RELIGIOUS PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS THE SAME ROCK MUSIC TO WHICH THIS GENERATION IS IRREDEEMABLY ADDICTED. And there are all sorts of rock music, hard, soft, rap, you name it. People are so addicted to rock music today that oftentimes they do not recognize that music is rock unless it is of the most violent brand. I believe that if you took away the rock music, you would see an immediate and dramatic decline in the popularity of contemporary praise. Rock music is very powerful and moving in and of itself, and I am convinced that it plays a large role in producing the emotional high that modern worshippers are commonly seeking. Where would they be without their rock music?

“THIRD, THE CONTEMPORARY PRAISE MUSIC REPRESENTS THE POPULAR ECUMENICAL PHILOSOPHY OF POSITIVISM AND SPIRITUAL NEUTRALISM. One thing that is grossly and almost universally lacking from the lives and ministries of the creators of contemporary praise music is a forthright defense of the faith and an exposure of apostasy. Thus Contemporary Christian Music doesn’t ‘get on anyone’s toes.’ But defense of the faith and exposure of error is not an optional part of Christianity. To neglect this ministry is blatant disobedience to the Bible that commands us to ‘earnestly contend for the faith’ (Jude 3) … the influential names in Contemporary Praise Music have taken up the neutral ground that allows false teachers to prosper.

“The Bible describes massive apostasy at the end of the church age: ‘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’ (2 Tim. 4:2-4).

“Contemporary praise music is proving to be one of the most powerful glues to bring together every sort of church in this strange and wicked hour, regardless of its heresies. For reporting purposes, I have attended meetings of a wide range of denominations, Pentecostal, Charismatic, American Baptist, Southern Baptist, Willowcreek, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Anglican, Episcopal, and Roman Catholic, to name some, and the one thing they all have in common today is contemporary music.

“A final reason why we are opposed to Contemporary Christian Music is that when it comes into a church (or into the life of an individual) it weakens the church’s fundamentalist stance and results in a gradual lowering of standards of morality and doctrine.

“The late Gordon Sears, who had an evangelistic music ministry for many years and ministered with Rudy Atwood, was saddened before his death by the dramatic change that was occurring in many fundamental Baptist churches. He warned: ‘When the standard of music is lowered, then the standard of dress is also lowered. When the standard of dress is lowered, then the standard of conduct is also lowered. When the standard of conduct is lowered, then the sense of value in God’s truth is lowered.’

Frank Garlock of Majesty Music warns, ‘If a church starts using CCM it will eventually lose all other standards’ (Garlock, Bob Jones University Chapel, March 12, 2001).

“The late fundamentalist leader Ernest Pickering gave a similar warning: ‘Perhaps nothing precipitates a slide toward New Evangelicalism more than the introduction of Contemporary Christian Music. This inevitably leads toward a gradual slide in other areas as well until the entire church is infiltrated by ideas and programs alien to the original position of the church.’



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