The Battle in Religious Music


Music was created to be a language of the human spirit. It was never meant to be called the language of the soul. Man is a spiritual creature and singing is one of man’s highest ideals. Life without music and singing would be dull and empty. Not only is music a language of our human spirit, it is also a primary language of our worship. The human spirit is our direct line of communion with God. Spiritual singing unites us to Him for fellowship and life. “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).

Singing was ordained by God to be full of Him, His words, and answers that satisfy our daily longing after Him. Modern music is similar to Modern art and Modern living, it is full of questions with very few answers. It is like a painting full of color with no capturing scenes. Modern music is almost totally the same theology as the “positive thinking” ideas of Robert Schuller. Rick Warren calls his church, “The flock that rocks.” You are not likely to find a liberal church that is now called “The Emerging Church” that sings Gospel music. Modern/Contemporary music is the music of churches that have left the fundamentals of Holy Scripture.

I have spent about two weeks trying to listen as much as possible to music from both the Gospel styles and the Modern styles. As I have listened, I have kept extensive notes. I use these two terms to cover the many variations of each category. Please understand that I know there is a little decent music in the Modern variations, and there are some very bad songs and styles in the Gospel variations. My words are not meant to sweep with a broom that is too broad, but I must speak truth.

While listening to Gospel music, I have found an overwhelming abundance of themes straight out of Holy Scripture. Here are some of the actual words that fill the songs: Calvary, forgiveness, being Born Again, repentance from sin, and the consequences of living an unholy life are constantly present. The Blood of Christ is also a constant theme. The Born-Again life of happiness and holiness is heard over and over. Terms like “straight and narrow,” “whosoever will,” “Jesus Christ died for one and all,” and “He set me free” are sung in many songs.

There is an extremely strong presence in Gospel singing of the prophetic messages in the Bible. “The Rapture,” “the sounding of the trumpet,” “going home with Jesus,” and “in the twinkling of an eye” are some happy themes often heard. Our future robes of “spotless white” and the great “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” are never forgotten. In fact, after one straight session of only ninety minutes, I had heard every theme I could name out of the Holy Bible. By listening to Gospel music — including Southern Gospel, Church Hymns, etc. — you will get an understanding of the Christian life, along with the great truths that we believe and love. It’s easy to understand that Gospel singing is going to be the music of any strong Bible-believing church.

Listening to the Modern music has really been an education for me. I find it almost impossible to explain my experience. I have not heard one whisper of prophecy in all the Modern music to which I have listened. I heard the Blood of Christ casually named one time. I made a note for myself after a full hour of listening, “One hour and not one word of His blood or Calvary, not one word of repentance or sorrow for sins.” That hour had been nothing but “praise and thanks” that gave no valid understanding of what brought them to such a state of ecstasy. Believe me; the “state of ecstasy” had been on a pitch above normal even for a Pentecostal like me.

After Sirius XM, I tried the Billy Graham station in Black Mountain, NC, and all the songs were of no understandable difference. I heard one requested song that was played for a woman in the hospital. The theme was, “I waited for you today, I needed you today,” but there was never an answer given to that lady’s needs. As I said earlier, the only answers in the Modern music I heard was to just “praise Him” regardless of the situation. It’s like praising someone that you have really never come to know in the great revelations of the Holy Bible. It was religious “positive thinking” saturating every song.

It appears to me that once an individual is hooked on Modern/Contemporary music, there is no turning around. It is soulical music and it creates a strong religious satisfaction and bondage that defies escape. It’s religious noise that drives the human emotions wild. It’s a “god” without standards, convictions, or adherence to Biblical truth. Their response is “I just like it so, leave me alone.”

I have come to believe more strongly than ever that Gospel music is music that is full of answers, while Modern/Contemporary music is full of vain repetitions. While most of the questions are not bad, modern theology and music has forgotten how to proclaim God’s straight Biblical answers to human life. Gospel music is Christ-centered and Bible-centered, while Modern/Contemporary music is man-centered and emotions-centered. Gospel music is the source of great joy because it blends the answers with the questions. Gospel music is also full of praise, but with great understanding of the God and Christ we are praising.

I know this article is incomplete because no one person has all of God’s answers. Please be a part of discussing this article by going to our Internet and adding your own postscript. It is located at the bottom of the page containing the full article. I will be reading your opinions and watching for what I expect will be a healthy discussion. The URL for this article, “The Battle in Religious Music,” is Please be a part of these discussions.

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139 thoughts on “The Battle in Religious Music

  1. Another big difference between the old hymns and Gospel music and today’s choruses is that the old songs, which are filled with biblical doctrine and assurance, will carry you through the worst times in your life.

    Songs like “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” “Farther Along We’ll Understand Why,” “The Old Rugged Cross,” and stanzas like this one: “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquity, surely He bore our sorrows, and by His stripes we are healed,” …. songs like those help build strength, hope, endurance and trust in the really tough times.

    The praise choruses that repeat a trite phrase over and over and over ring hollow when your world falls apart. You need a solid anchor. The biblical assurances in hymns and good Gospel music give you that anchor.

  2. I agree with your article. As a Born-Again Christian I have had experience with both contemporary and gospel music. Gospel does focus more on salvation while contemp focuses on edification. The question often arises on who or what are you edifiying? If it is God, then the songs need to reflect that, but more often than not they don’t. As for comment 1 you do injustice to the scriptures by a partial quote.(John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.)(1 Cor 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?) Nowhere in the Holy Bible does it say to “judge not”. We are to Judge according to rightousness and be aware the same applies to us.

  3. I have no problem with singing from the hymn book. In fact, I enjoy it. I got no major problems with modern contemporary as long as the message of the Scriptures are clear. I do however, disagree with some of Mr. Chamber’s staunch standpoints on Christian music.

    Keep in mind when you are trying to reach out and bring new Christians to God and salvation through his son Jesus Christ, you are teaching and introducing people to the Christian way of life who have probably been listening to nothing but “secular” music their whole lives.
    If you cannot reach out to these people and relate to them with a style of music they are more closely familiar with, you are missing one of the tools you need to carry a positive message about the Word of God.

    Sometimes you have to get through to people on their level first or something nearer to without sacrificing your own integrity in order to maintain their interest…If you approach a group of young people who are into hard rock and approach them with a Gospel music CD…you will be blown off by them immediately and lose their attention. If you turn them on to a Skillet CD, now you may get their attention.
    It is then, you can spark their interest and get them headed in the right direction. Once they’ve come around for awhile more in the sense of being a Christian it is much easier to get them to learn the types and origins of Christian music and come to know and appreciate all types of Christian music.

    As a guy who once was into nothing but hard rock, heavy & death metal style music, I speak from experience. I will continue to serve God the best way I know how, ask God for what it is and where it is I need to be and currently that is my service of playing drums in our Church’s Praise and Worship band that plays mostly modern contemporary Christian music. God Bless!….Thanks!

  4. Wow! The more that I read of these comments, the sadder I get…I suppose that God inspired writers to write “great hymns of the Faith” from only around 1700 to 1900 and then stopped! When will folks admit that this is all about preference? It is all about the style of music that you personally like…One of the previous posters writes, “The praise choruses that repeat a trite phrase over and over and over ring hollow when your world falls apart. You need a solid anchor. The biblical assurances in hymns and good Gospel music give you that anchor.”…this is a biased statement! How many “hymns” have “trite” choruses that are sung after each “verse”? There are many powerful hymns and many powerful contemporary songs…There is nothing wrong in doing some of both…You certainly wouldn’t want your pastor to preach the same old sermons would you? You would want something fresh and new every week! Why must music remain stagnant? Some of those hymns were bar tunes that were taken into the church with “Christian” lyrics…when the organ was first introduced into church services, there was an uproar! let’s get off the music bandwagon…

  5. I guess I will just start right in. I have been thinking about what you have written about the difference in the music ever since I read what you wrote on Monday. I have really begun to listen to the new songs more and really listen to the words and I will tell you that an hour of your time was not enough. The songs have all about Jesus and being saved and praising Jesus. They talk about His dying on the cross for all of us and one really sticks out for me, Casting Crowns-The Altar and the Door. You really might want to listen to that song. I love most music even classical as well as the old Hymms. Different generations have always had different music from their parents and grandparents so this really isn’t anything new. I am a 56 year old woman and I love the new music and really believe you need to rethink about whether you feel the Bible says it is wrong. God said: Make a joyful noise unto the Lord. That is exactly what I hear in the music.

  6. Christian rock may seem innocent to some, but after I listened to the testimony of John Todd
    on utube, I think not. According to his testimony Christian rock was started by the music industry
    which is full of Satanists, After the Churches had the kids burning their rock albums back in the 70’s or 80’s the Satanists were afraid with all the rock being burned that there would be a huge revival. He said every witch knows that rock music is nothing but a spell. He says the difference between christian music is the words & rock is the beat. He has several utube video’s out there that are very informative. I have listened to several of them & they are very eye opening.

  7. With all due respect … Is this another example of “Things are not as good as they used to be”? Or, “Back in the day”, “When I was growing up.”

    Many times we can tell where someone is living by the examples they use.

  8. First, I’d like to thank you for the article, Mr. Chambers, I always look forward to reading your commentary’s on the Rapture Ready website. I’m almost 56 years old, and grew up in a Baptist church where I learned to love the messages of the hymns that we sang. Those hymns did teach me about God’s love, salvation, and care for me, and most still bring me to tears when I hear or sing them. Regarding contemporary Christian praise and worship songs, I have to disagree with you, though. I see the same themes in them as I see in the hymns, but now when I sing my focus is on praising the God who loves me, saves me, cares for me, cares about me, protects and guides me. I was saved at the age of 12, and I have grown closer and more intimate in my relationship with God in the last 10 years than I did in the almost 44 years before…due mostly to the awe and wonder that I experience in His presence each time that I hear or sing a praise/worship song to Him.

    The first thing I thought of when I read the comments about praise choruses that repeat over and over, was that it’s going to be pretty difficult for those that don’t like that when they get to heaven…because that’s exactly the praise that’s mentioned in Revelation. Revelation 4:8 tells us of the four living creatures before the throne of God, and “Day and night they never stop saying: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Over and over and over.

    I’ve wondered at times whether our Christian songs, hymns, and spiritual songs are now preparing us for what is very close at hand…our redemption draweth nigh!

  9. I too love gospel music in the traditional genre. However, some music done under that umbrella needs just as much scrutiny as contemporary christian music. I believe we should be responsible to examine all music that reaches our ears, trying each against the same standard, that of Christ. What are we to think of an “old” hymn set to modern arrangement? Is it unacceptable simply because a new tune was used? I have personnaly be blessed by many such new arrangements. Also, I have to agree that the composition of edifying music did not come to an end 30, 50 or 200 years ago. Thank you for your article.

  10. Having moved from the West Coast where in a great Pentecostal church growing by 300 NEW converts a year for over 5 years and where we had a choir and from 500 to 700 people on Sunday night,and a lot of people from other churches visiting,our Pastor retired and the new Pastor dropped our “old way” of having a mixture of old and new songs.His change to morbid black curtains,5 member praise team dressed in black sweaters and pants ended our growth(and Sunday night service) and then to a big loss in members,some of whom complained and were told to leave.I never ONCE heard the Blood or Cross or Rapture mentioned in song.Well,maybe once.I have gone in my new area from church to church because of only praise music and having to stand in one church for 1 hour & 15 minutes and sing only 6 or 7 songs.Realy!Hard to believe.Drive now 41 miles one way twice on Sunday and once on Wednesday to a small town,small Pentecostal church.Yes,a couple new songs at times,Pentecostal happy songs,clapping and joyous shouting and song books.I have been stunned by reading again the words in the music of the song books.I had almost forgotten.Powerful,rich,Biblical,great.Often after our singing with clapping,shouts of praise and some times a message in tongues and interpretation of such amazing beauty and grace,people walk up front for prayer and healing.I have never seen such miracles.Hospitals and doctors exams and 3 bottles of pills and being nearly incapacitated and then an annointing by the pastor and laying on of hands by all,I was healed.Oh,and another man with the same condition was prayed and annoited with me that night was and healed and is STILL healed.Over 6 months ago.It’s gone,I’m healed.It’s honoring the Blood,the Cross,the Word and our soon Rapture with beautiful music that stirs our faith for healing.Jobs found,marriages saved,kids reclaimed.EVERY week.Just a little country church,and plain loving people.Hard working farmers,working folks.No one is ever ashamed or embarrased to ask for prayer and annointing and all gather around and pray.So normal.Even dinner on the grounds,imagine that.Wednesday night we kneel and pray over every request.Every one.Even annoint and pray if requested.Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting.I would drive 100 miles one way just to be able to see the healings.Now that’s praise in action.It’s old time,out of fashion and Pentacostal at that.Can’t wait for Sundays and Wednesdays!OH,we don’t announce that there will be a healing service next Sunday evening or an evangalist is coming,it’s when ANYONE requests it at any time.Saw a man walk up front as the Pastor was starting to preach and the pastor stopped, stepped down with a bottle of oil and people gathered and prayed,we sat down and then he started his sermon again.A cry for help was answered by our Lord.Why wait.It’s the Holy Spirit’s way it seems.

  11. Thank you Mr. Chambers for your comments. While I have not conducted a “formal” study of music, and I am no musician, I must agree with your preliminary conclusions. One responder mentioned that your article was nothing more than “Things are not as good as they used to be”? Or, “Back in the day”, “When I was growing up.” Well, I must respectfully disagree strongly. The nature of man’s society without God is one of decline. Just as with the second law of thermodynamics in the physical realm so it is spiritually – we live in a fallen world that must be contended with. As Christians we must contend for the faith which, in part, means holding to Scriptural principles like centering our lives (and music) directly on God. What I see today is just so much trite lame music that really says nothing (which in fact means that it is drawing direct attention away from God!). We are not here to feel good; we are here to share the glorious good news of salvation with a lost and dying world. Our music MUST reflect our relationship and comittment to that goal.

    So, thank you for your comments. I appreciate your faithfulness to holding to the pure milk!


  12. I think the title (The Battle in Religious Music) is very apt and telling. We have been and continue to battle over the music in our churches. The battle over music seems to be growing and not fading. Will the battle come to an end or will it grow and cause more problems? Just by reading here and other places, it seems to me that the problem will not go away soon. Like other problems and controversies in church history, good people come down on different sides of the issue. When our chuch history is looked back upon, it will be one of the many things that diluted our message to the world that salvation is found in no other name. We seem to think that our personal opinions of music are worth sacrificing everthing else for.

  13. First off, why did you call it a “battle”? Why should there be a battle between a form of worship and praise to the Almighty, just because of the style of praise.

    I respectfully extremely disagree with your article. I grew up with Traditional Gospel hymns, love them. I also have listened to a lot of “modern” Christian music and I love that style of music even more. It ALL worships God.

    I am dismayed by the people who insist that “modern” Christian music is from the devil, just because it doesn’t conform to their ideas of what Christian music should sound like. They listen to people who say the music industry was started by Satanists. That sounds like medieval thinking. That is how the people that carried out the inquisitions portrayed themselves. If you didn’t conform to their way of thinking, then you were a heretic. Even God doesn’t specify how music should sound. The same music industry people also make traditional music into cds.(?) Everyone knows that God uses nonbelievers for the good of His people, and a lot of people can now hear good old Gospel hymns or upbeat Gospel hymns on cds distributed everywhere.

    All of the songs I will recommend sing about Jesus, his sacrifice on the cross, and other spiritual necessisties for us imperfect humans. These are from my favorite cd called “Seltzer – Modern rock to settle your soul”:
    “Liquid” sung by Jars of Clay (about Jesus dying on the cross for us)
    “I’m not the king” sung by Audio Adrenaline (about King of kings bleeding)
    main chorus “I am not anything..without the King of kings”
    “Jesus Freak” sung by dc talk (my son and I’s personal fav)
    “Forever” sung by Third day (my absolute fav…about His love for us forever)
    At the end of the cd after the last song and a 1 min 45 sec pause of silence there is a song that my newphew, who died when he was 14, listened to over and over called “Set me Free” and it is really cool.

    I am fifty years old, and I’ve sung tons of Christian songs. I’ve never heard one yet that doesn’t praise God and all of his glory and/or everything having to do with God, even “modern” music. I’ll have to admit that rap and hard core rock are not my style, but I’m sure the majority of the songs are pretty mainstream Christian music, just not played or sung as we might want to hear. Jesus specifically did say something about removing the huge log out of our own eye, before scraping the twig from our neighbor’s eye. When one person’s intrepretation of the Bible is considered to be infallible in his eyes, what is that? Is that like the Catholics believing that the pope is infallible, which we know that he can’t possibly be. Only God and Jesus are infallible. Yet some people act as if their intrepretation of the Bible is the only correct way. And I hear the same type of intolerance from people who insist that modern Christian music is not the correct way to sing to God, or that is has to contain certain words/phrases popular in the older music. That’s just plain silly.

    When I sing along to my cds, I’m sure God hears me, just as he hears everyone who sings for Him. He soaks it all in. His creation is worshipping him, each individually different as he made us. There is no battle between different styles of music, just misunderstanding.

    Lift up your voices !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THANK YOU GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. I have three teenaged daughters and I totally understand what your article is saying. I have heard the so called music in question finding it void of answers myself. It does praise God, but it doesn’t give what in my church we call “Meat” God is an awesome God for sure and he sent his Son Jesus to die for us, and music should include that. Having a long drawn out song with few words and lots and lots of drums, and musical instruments is not going to save souls. Having a song with the Gospel will touch hearts and souls. Don’t get me wrong I would rather my children listen to any Christain music instead of seclur anyday but if its soul searching your looking forward to gospel music is the way to go.

    Why would a person who knows better want it any other way! We are to pray always, and keep Jesus in everything we do, that includes music ect. Thanks for your encourgement and something I myself have always had thoughts on but around some you can’t always talk about if you don’t want to “Offend”. I am getting to a point in my Christain faith I don’t care if I step on toes!! Satan wants me to sit on the side lines but I am not going to anymore!!

  15. I will tell you that I grew up in a traditional baptist church, went to church every sunday, sunday night & wednesday night all my life growing up. I sung the same traditional songs over & over. It’s funny that as I got older I would hear one of the traditional songs, & suddenly understand the words & what the song meant. As a child, I just sung the songs but never paid attention to what they meant. As I got older & grew in the Lord, having been saved when I was 13- I fell in love with a lot of the non-traditional & contemporary gospel music. I think it’s the same with contemporary music as anything else, some you will like, some you won’t. Yes, some don’t talk specifically about Jesus & the Cross or how to get saved, but this music is also for the already saved & many who listen to it, like it because it is PRAISE music. Not all music has to be music to “save” everyone who listens to it or ” teach them”. There’s nothing wrong with Praise music. I have learned to pour out my heart to traditional & contemporary music because of contemporary music. I greatly enjoy your articles & the fact that you are open minded, but I believe you need to listen to a lot more of the non-traditional music to really understand. I personally love Hillsong. May God Bless you!!

  16. Thankyou so much Joseph Chambers! I read all your articles at the Rapture Ready Home Website faithfully along with Nearing Midnight weekly from Todd and Terry religiously. Your article about music hit the nail on the head. I have felt this way since the Hymns were taken from worship services and the Hymnals gathered dust in the pews. The Hymnals are still there but I do not know why? It saddens me terribly and I am left empty and disappointed without them. There is nothing on this earth that can send the Spirit of God rushing through one from head to toe like the Hymns and good old Gospel songs. Now even the preaching is compromised and watered down. No message of sin, eternal fire, prophecy or salvation. Very seldom comes an alter call if one would call it a meet me after the service and will talk about it style. My God in Heaven this is just as Jesus said it would be in Rev. Chapter 3 and the seven churches. We are in the last day seventh church or have been for some time now only it gets more pronounced as we get closer to the Rapture and Tribulation kick-off. I sadly cannot find a church in our area that sings the Hymns or Gospel songs. I just write them out and memorize them to sing to myself and family when inspired. I love the Lord Jesus and it breaks my heart to see these days filled with such corruption and despair. I just keep my focus on the Blessed Hope up yonder and the blast of the trumpet soon to call us out! Keep On Keeping On!

  17. Jay & Angela Taylor

    Dear Mr. Chambers,

    My wife and I enjoy your writing so much. The unique expression of your passion for the Lord and Holy Scripture touches us in ways that restore proper perspective, bring joy, comfort, and remind us of where our focus should be. So it is with the music. My wife and I are in our forties and have seen and heard the emptiness of the so-called praise songs that people seem to cling to today. How or why I’ll never know. There is nothing there to grab hold of.

    Conversely, the old hymns in gospel music provides an “invisible means of support,” a lifeline as you go out into the world. Some could actually get saved with songs like Only Trust Him, My Redeemer, Salvation Salvation, Come Thou Fount to name a few. They remind us to “take it to the Lord in prayer,” “look to Jesus,” of the victory we have in Jesus and that our God is a mighty fortress. They give us words with substance, meaningful words with which to cry out to God when we need strength and protection, or beautiful words with which to sing thankful praises unto our God.

    Gospel music is delicious, satisfying as a cold drink of water on a hot day or air to breathe when you’ve been too long under water. It is our opinion that shepards who protect their flocks guard the music tenaciously. The area of music is one of the first places snakes slither in.

    Thank you sir for your unwavering stand upon the precious Word of God.
    Jay & Angela

  18. I understand your point, and contemporary religious music must be sifted to find appropriate songs, but they can be found. I would love your opinion of these songs.
    “By His wounds” by Third Day:

    ” The Revelation song” by Phillips, Craig, and Dean.

    “Midnight Cry” by The All Star Choir

    “Everything to me” by Avalon.

    “Come Just as you are” by Crystal Lewis

    “On my cross” by FFH ( Far From Home)

    I would like your opinion of these songs, mainly because I really like them, but also because I can’t really find anything fundamentally wrong with them. I do enjoy the classic hymns too, but these newer songs speak to me also.
    Thank you,
    Patrick O’Rourke

  19. Great article….I had been listening to my favorite hymns and gospel music and enjoying them much…have to admit, that I am almost 60 years old. Have been through the Jesus music era from the 70’s and 80’s. There is a great difference from my music and that time and that of today. A co-worker loaned me a bunch of cd’s of todays modern/contemporary Christian music. I listened and was overwhelmed by the loud music that blocked out the vocalist. A few of the artists had voices that sounded sensual and breathy. I did not walk away feeling uplifted as I do listening to the old gospel standards. In fact when I returned the cd’s, the person that loaned them to me was surprised that none of them ministered to me. Oh well, thank goodness, I kept my old cassettes and lp’s. Another conversation about music took place between I and a young Christian co-worker, when I told her I love the old Hymns, her reply was she didn’t know what a Hymn was…that speaks alot about how far the world has changed considering gospel music and not for the best either.

  20. Today’s Gospel Music is just like the people in a worldiy sence, they call on God without our
    Lord, Savior, and Redeemer Jesus Christ(John 3:16 and John 14:6)tell’s us why Jesus is not contempararary. At the Name of Jesus Christ, demons flee, true Gospel Music sing’s, to the Lord God Almighty, while Modern/Contemparary music, sing’s to the peoples, so the record can rise’s on each of the record chart. But the truth is, that Jesus Christ is being put out of home’s, schools, Church Members are unfruitful one to another, and some Pastor’s are teaching, there is more than one way to get to Heaven. That’s why contemparary gospel music creat religious satisfaction, and drives the human emotions wild, because the word of God has been complemised.
    Theologhy is “out” because Baby Boomers did not want doctrine or theoretical teaching in the Church. They want practical topics that will help them live for Christ. As a result, doctrines has taken a back seat.

  21. Like my pastor says, if the music makes you feel like dancing, it has no business in church! Yes, the old hymns are not simply ‘better’ than that corrupted stuff, it is the difference between acceptable worship of God or unacceptable human-centered garbage.
    “It is well with my soul”, “the old rugged cross”, “faith of our fathers”, “nothing but the blood” etc. These are the hymns we need to sing.

  22. Thanks brother for your great article! I also think that another problem with the music in the church is related to this concept of “music ministry”, where do you find that in the New Testament? We all as the Body of Christ “shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth” and nowadays we suppose to have “worship experts” that have brought the whole show business from the world into the church!! Just think about it, concerts (a person or a band on stage, all the lights on them, people cheering at them not at God, paying money to be there), t-shirts, souvenirs, fan clubs, tours, tv shows, radio interviews, all the propaganda exalting the “christian star”, even music awards , etc, etc, etc, one has to be blind to don’t see the real sad state of most of the church in this area. It’s been just another Trojan Horse that has to makes us think about the apostate church of
    Rev 3:17 “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”

  23. “Christian Music” used to be limited to single voice chants. Anything else was considered “of the devil”. I listen to both the “old” and the “new” styles of music. I enjoy them both and find value in both. To “Battle” over the inevitable changes in style of prise and worship music is something that has been going on for centuries (or longer). The Lord tells us through Paul not to quibble over little things which divide us, something the church(es) began doing immediately after Christ went to the cross. (I am of Appolos, I am of Paul….). And so it continues. As christians we need to unite, not let ourselves be divided over musical styles (AGAIN!). To quote one of my favorite contemporary christian songs: There is a redeemer, Jesus, God’s own Son, Precious Lamb of God Messiah Holy One !! By the band Kutless
    Grace and Peace be unto all in Christ our redeemer! – Mark

  24. After I saved i kept listening to Rock and Roll along with CCM. after about 10 years i tried to get away from secular rock music by replaceing it completely with CCM, it always failed. I continued in this for another 7sh years. Once i removed CCM from my life I was able to remove secular rock music. The CCM just gave me the desire to listen to rock. I ocassionally when skimming stations stop on a old song i used to love but the sprit will not let me enjoy it, praise the Lord. During that time I went to a Awana siminar, and one of the speakers was talking about music so I went to that class. He said that no christian could listen to secular rock so I completely ignored him since I knew I was saved, what he should have said is no christian can have a close walk with God while listening to the worlds music. I lost a lot of time with the Lord that way. I have a lot of regrets with secular music and CCM, while listening to them I grew very very slowly. My family has paid a high price for my sins, since with worldly music comes worldly people. It is also hard to “turn” children once they are almost grown.

  25. Let’s by a show of hands, show who have listened extensively to both Traditional and Contemporary music. I have. I like some old hymns. But they just as the new ones are/ were written by men. They will never have the meaning of scripture. Mr. O’Rourke has listed some excellent songs that are full of the things you talk about. There are many songs that use scripture as a basis of the song. I think this article along with opinions are from people who are nervous about the change in the music. One poster said, “if the music makes you feel like dancing, it has no business in church”. I say “Seriously? How legalistic can you get?” Worship is about the heart of a person. If a person can worship God without using the exact words you would like who has the problem you or them?

    I would like to echo what another poster said. I guess only the 1700 and 1800’s are the only era to listen to or sing music from.

    I wonder what TV some people watch. Secular???

    What about David dancing?

  26. Dear Brother…
    While your attempts to differentiate between what is God-honoring and what is man-pleasing are most sincere, the “god” of this world (satan) has retained his official status as “spiritual party-pooper”.
    From the beginning, music, regardless of genre, has had an optimal effect on the senual man. As a child, I did “swing and sway” to Sammy Kaye. As a teen, I “rocked and rolled” to “Elvis the pelvis”.
    Today, at the ripe old age of 70, while I may have shadow memories of the afore-mentioned, thanks to the saving Grace of Jesus Christ, I have edged forward in the marvelous will of God. Indwelt by the Holy Spirit and conceding to the power thereof, I am compelled to agree with your assessment of what we call Godly contemporary Christian music. To make a long story short…”a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” In my traditional hymn book the Blood of Jesus Christ,which redeems me from all my iniquities, is praised in 81 of these beautiful standards. To hear the Blood mentioned in the contemporary music field is a rarity, if not an oddity. It’s the BLOOD that saves. Therein I rest my case. God bless.

  27. I cannot agree more with you.. Your conclusions are totally correct. I also have been frustrated with the music that has been played in most of the radio stations. I believe that the words that must come from our mouths must be, besides praise, the message of a God that has love us so much, that He gave His Son. The event of the death of Jesus Christ has opened an opportunity for us to receive salvation. I say that has opened an opportunity, and not that has saved us all, because the saved will be only the ones that come from the darkness to the Light, the ones that received Jesus Christ as his Savior and live according to his Word.

    I am not against music that worships God, but I do agree with you that the main message of God must be in our mouths, in worship, in song, in writing… well in every stage and part of our lives.

  28. Mr. Chambers would it be possible for you to publish the names of the songs that you listened to? Both sets, Gospel and “Contemporary”? I am afraid that otherwise the article becomes completely subjective to your listening ear and I can not form an independent opinion otherwise.

    Looking forward to the set list,


  29. AMEN! Thank God for giving you this discernment, this is so needed in these times when deception is escalating at a rapid pace within the Body of Christ. My prayer is that the Lord will give you boldness and clarity of thought to continue to address this, to His glory! Be confident of this “that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6)

  30. My family attended an Italian Pentecostal church for the first 1 years of our walk with the savior. We would only sing the well known hymns and nothing else. It amazes me that even though our present church sings modern songs full of repetition and little substance (they dont’ even attempt to rhyme anymore) they don’t move me a bit towards worship or praise of our great God. I have little choice but to try to worship in spite of the music and words. While I drive, many times the old gospel songs come to me and I have a time of praise and worship by myself, which is grand. The Question – “What can take my sins away?” The answer – “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” While remoting thru the 20 odd “christian” stations on Direct TV, I’m saddened at the complete garbage (I’m being kind) that passes today for praise and worship. It may appeal to the young and the flesh, but it does little if anything to speak the gospel in song/music to our hearts and spirits. Lord help us when the hymns are gone with the wind.

  31. Prophecy is being fulfilled:

    1st Timothy 4:1
    “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;”
    (Most CCM is the work of ‘seducing spirits’ and the ‘doctrines of devils’)

    2nd Timothy 4:3-4
    “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.”
    (This discribes the CCM crowd in a nut-shell.)

    CCM is of the flesh:

    Romans 8:5-8
    “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
    For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
    Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
    So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

    Galatians 6:7-8
    “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.”

    Examples of godly Music:
    The John Marshall Family
    The Stouffer Family
    The David Karpenko Family
    Sonya Chittum
    Bryn Riplinger
    The Anchor Men Quartet
    The Outreach Quartet

  32. Thoughts prior to commenting:
    God loves unique and each of us is created uniquely.
    Wide is the path that leads to destruction and many are on it in this world.
    Many in the past have used secular music for sacred song establishment – parodies.
    Can the foot say to the arm I have no need of you? And does the eye say to the head I have no need of you?

    As a whole in terms of depth of singing, it appears the hymns are much better.
    Nevertheless, how can any one person possibly like all the Christian music out there? A rhetorical question to be sure. So need to keep that in mind as we head into the music side.

    I think the area that tells me what I need to know about hymn music and CCM music is how does the new CCM music interact/interweave with hymn music?
    What I’ve found is that CCM music is causing a huge disruption in the worship music realm between old (hymns) and new (CCM).

    Having said that, I can see by the behavior that CCM is proportionately disruptive.
    We need to listen to our Christian elders and consider with diligence what they think and say regarding CCM music. Then, we need to listen to the younger generation and find a balance between the two, that although is not perfect, since we are still in our corrupt bodies, is a balance that works.
    The younger generation **as a group** do not like hymns at-all… period.
    So we look at the hymns and we find that hymns are basically bible in song format.
    Sooo, we have a problem here in younger generation behavior given that hymns are intense bible and as a group the younger generation prefer and defer to CCM, which in many cases is a watered down version of bible concepts.
    Perhaps CCM music is good from the growth perspective for a Christian in that it is a part of the journey to maturity and the meat of the Word.

    In any case, I like many of the hymns and I like many CCM songs.
    So my thought is to find a balance that works and since each church as a part of the body of Christ is also unique, we need to allow other churches the latitude to combine the music as they see fit.

    One thing is for sure, with over six billion people in the world, I’m glad I do not have to think so hard about why five billion people do not like me and what I need to do to change that so only two billion don’t like me… lol
    Same with CCM and hymn music.
    It’s good to talk about, but at the end of the day we’re all growing in Christ and we’re not the person we were yesterday and tomorrow we will not be the person we are today. =)

  33. It is hard for me to receive this message as I feel that God uses music of different forms and types to Reach hearts… and to inspire believers to do exactly what you are complaining about. God inhabits the praises of his people… It is what he longs for… The world turns on its axis so there is always someone awake to priade him…. David praised God extremly… God doesn’t inhabit a type of music, he inhabits our praises…. Also we are to sing Psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs,,, We all know what the Psalms are and Hymnsl ike amazing grace and more are glorious,,,, But what is a Spirituak song… It is something that comes from our hearts that relate to our spirits and give voice to the CHrist in us…. Sometimes the old songs are so full of cliches that people are turned off by the lingo… we need to be creative when reaching out to the lost…. and if a SPiritual song sticks around for long enough and ages, it becomes a hymn….. anyway, i am not trying to cause problems but to believe God isn’t using the music of today is a mistake….. i prefer quieter praise music that lifts us into the heavenly realms to praise him…. however our website is a little more uptempo….. we also write songs that represent our life experiences…. anyway God bless

  34. 1. there is no way one person could like every type or style of praise music, worship music, gospel, or any other variety fo christian songs to include hymns.

    2. Not all hymns are biblically sound either but they are still used in church after church every Sunday morning, and are clung to because that is what the congregation is used to.

    3. God likes different flavors, and although vanilla is great, sometimes I like choclate, or even mango…etc.

    4. I Love the Lord with all my heart, but there are some styles of music I don’t particularly like, does that make them less holy, or less “christian”, just not my cup of tea.

    5. Not all christian music is for worship or praise, some is an alternative to modern secular music dealing with themes of everyday life and may not neccessarily have references to God, but have a positive message non the less.

    6. Some Christian bands travel the country playing in secular places reaching out to the lost with music that sounds to the ear like secular music, but when you read the lyrics it’s a totally positive message…they reach many people for God every year. (Pillar, Demon Hunter, Skillit, etc.)

    Jesus said go ye into all the world, not stay ye in all the church. Jesus hung out with theives adn sluts and liars. The lost and fallen world is not pretty but go we must. Play the Gaither’s homecoming CD at a biker bar and see how many you reach, yet put on some harder music that fits their style…you may reach someone you woudl not have. Don’t hange the message, just a different interpreter.

    When evanglists go to other countries they speak to crowds through a translator, that is what soem of these bands are. They are God’s interpreter to the lost who would continue to be lost if not for these bands.

    Lastly I just want to say that I don’t really have an opinion either way, however, I think people should keep in mind that just because I like Toby Mac not everybody will. The body of Christ should spend more time helping the hurting, saving the Lost, and being Christ to this lost and fallen world than trying to figure out which band or artist tells the whole truth. every christian has a different walk that includes the artists making these records as well. Maybe the message isn’t the full gospel message cause that is not where they are at.

  35. Hi!
    The subject of Christian music is one that is near and dear to me as I have give it a lot of thought during my lifetime as well as prayer. I was raised in a conservative Christian Pentecostal home and was taught from the time of my birth that all Christian rock or CCM music was of the devil and never to listen to it. All my family ever listened to was southern gospel and we even left a church because they began to play the modern music. As I grew older, God began to deal with me on this subject and to see my error. I began to attend a Church of God church and they played a lot of the modern worship music as well as the hymns and older songs. The pastor of this church is a wonderful grounded man of God that loves the Word and is not liberal in any way and only uses the King James version of the Bible. He began to speak to me about this subject and I began to pray very hard on this issue. I began to see that music in all different styles can either glorify God or be in error. I have heard some hymns in my church hymnbook that are not very spiritual but some are same as the modern music. God does not look at the style of music, only the heart and the lyrics. Some CCM music is nothing but entertainment but some is not. I challenge you to listen to these songs and tell me you do not feel God in them.
    I Can Only Imagine by MercyMe
    Cry Out To Jesus by Third Day
    Potter’s Hand by Hillsong
    East To West by Casting Crowns
    How Great is Our God by Chris Tomlin
    Our God by Chris Tomlin
    Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin
    Praise You in the Storm Casting Crowns

    I could go on and on. Praise God He has shown me the truth! It doesn’t matter whether I am praising God with Made To Love You by tobymac or He Touched Me by the Gaithers, I still feel the same Spirit! I have personally been to concerts and seen the heart that these artists like Chris Tomlin and tobymac have for the lost and count them as beloved brothers and sisters. I will be praying for you brother and that God leads you into truth as he did me.

  36. Another thing that comes to mind on this subject is that for every new generation the older generation has always condemed their music as being of Satan. I read in my history book that when the first organ was intoduced in the church in the 1800s that the elders were outraged at the wordly instruments in the church house. Music has evolved and changed hundreds of times and it was continue to change in the future. What is consistant is our praise of God and our love for His Son Jesus!

  37. Hi Mr. Chamber,

    I just wanted to thank you for your article. My husband and I feel the same way. Gospel music just has so much more to offer. It’s all about getting the Gospel out. When I was a sinner I listened to rock, rap and everything else you could think of. When I first got saved I listened to contemporary Christian music because that was the beat I was used to. Then, as I grew deeper in the Lord, the more wordly it began to sound to me. Not to mention finding out about the way some of them lived, “no different from the world”. Some of them even sang both the worlds music and so called Christain music. I don’t mean to say that they are all worldy and unsaved but if they look like the world and act like the world and fellowship with the world, they are worldy. To really come out from among them and be ye seperate really does mean paying the “whole” price of being different and set apart. When the person is really saved and living free from all sin, it will show up in their music and even in their appearence, their countenance. They won’t want anything in their music but the depth of the Gospel message because they will only be concerned about winning the lost. Its almost time for the Rapture and the deepness of the truth is the only thing that’s going to set the people free so lets dive into the deep!

  38. Dear Pastor Chambers: I read with interest your pamphlet on religious music. Your approach was mainly on the text or lyrics of the songs which is, of course, the message one wants to get across. However, the music MUST say what the text says and that takes someone who knows how to write good music. How many times have we heard the “professional” singer/composers say that God gave them the song. Most of those songs should be kept between themselves and God. I have a chapter in my book, “Why Christian Lead Defeated Lives” Vol. II, dealing with today’s praise and worship music. After looking over the comments sent to you, I find they are opinions on what they like or don’t like and stories about their experiences. I have seen none with any credible knowledge of the music itself. Today’s “sacred” music has adopted the styles of the secular music written mostly for children who know nothing about what is good music. The standards have been lowered over the past 18-20 years and churches are expected to adopt this “music” or lose their young people. Hogwash! The following are my comments on this: Today’s music is sans (void of) melody (it is a succession of notes without direction, rambling, void of purpose, strange, unsingable interval relationships) sans harmony (awkward chord progressions, unresolved dissonance, monotonous and overly repetitive) sans rhythm ((excessive syncopation and irregular and monotonous rhythm patterns, strong syllables on weak beats eg. where one has to sing jeSUS instead of JEsus) sans form (wandering, no feeling of balance or phrasing–goes nowhere and when it is done it just stops–unfortunately not soon enough) sans quality/timbre (in regard to the singers voices that are course, groveling, nasal, harsh, unbalanced, bellowing, screaming, etc.) Recording companies, publishers, radio and TV stations are actually fostering and pushing this poor excuse for music. A large number of the performers are musically ignorant but call themselves musicians even though they have learned only three chords or play by ear. Texts should have balance. It takes a lot of time, thought and knowledge to put together a good text. Most today put any old words down and some phrases or thoughts ramble on with no balance and have to be jammed into some kind of rhythm pattern. When writing music a knowledgeable person knows how to use repetition, syncopation and dissonance and these must be used with discretion because they can achieve both negative or positive results. The message the music alone is sending could be seductive, violent, confusing, circus-like, or irritating and many other undesirable emotional feelings. So even though a text may be good, it’s message may not be coming across the way it should. There are good standards that apply to music of any era but unfortunately are not adhered to in today’s music very often. It’s critically important that the music say what the text says. People like or dislike songs but don’t know why. Usually it’s because of the previous reasons mentioned. One thing to consider–we can’t let children run the show–what do they know? We should be teaching them quality and bringing them up to a higher level and not dragging the rest of us down to theirs.
    (I feel I speak with credibility after 60 years of a music profession as public school music teacher, private teacher, writer, director, composer, performer–organist and pianist and choral director in many different kinds of churches using traditional music, gospel, praise and worship , etc. I have written over 500 pieces of music all of which have been performed and have three degrees in music, B.A., M.A, (in music education) M.M. (in music theory and composition.)