Volume. XIX, No. 49
Sunday, 19 June 2005

From the Pastors Heart: CCM-Big Business

Stan Moser, former head of Word Records (the man responsible for signing Amy Grant) and CEO of Star Song Records, was one of the pioneers and most important executives in CCM. And after 26 years of involvement, walked away in November 1995 from CCM. In an article in Christianity Today, titled "We Have Created a Monster" (May 20, 1996 p. 27), about CCM Mr. Moser says:

In the beginning of the eighties, Sandi, Patti was singing Dottie Rambo songs in church concerts; toward the end of the eighties, she was singing at the Republican National Convention. We went from the church to Carnegie Hall, from the church to large, secular arenas, where Bill and Gloria Gaither would hold praise gatherings. . . . We as an industry weren't running away from the church at that time, but I do think we walked away, hoping to bring enough of the church along so we could still make a living; so we could still, basically, get rich. Materialism, a lot of it, crept in and started affecting our values. . . . There is a growing chasm between CCM and the church between what's actually happening in the real world of ministry, or even in the music ministry of the church, and what we're doing in CCM. In fact, I would probably be more inclined to call the industry commercial Christian music, rather than contemporary Christian music. . (http://www.av1611.org/cqguide.html)

There are not too many people who know that most of the major distributors of Christian music have been sold to secular companies. A few examples are Word, Sparrow/Chordant, Brentwood, and Zondervan. You may begin to wonder how secular businesses began to have appetites for Christian music in the first place.

Steve John Came is a Christian music recording artist. He posted his 107 theses on the internet and called CCM artists to reformation (if you want to read the whole text, find his article from http://www.worship.com/steve_camp_107_theses.htm). I’ll quote a bit of his theses as following:

. . . Out of love and zeal for Biblical truth and the desire to bring it to light, I come to you, brethren, burdened and broken over the current state of Christian music. . . This document is a call to Reformation - a clarion call to recover Biblical Christianity in the arts. Music is a powerful tool from the Lord Jesus to His church intended for worship, praise, encouragement, edification, evangelism, teaching, admonishing. And exhorting God's people to holiness, with always our chief aim "to glorify God and worship Him forever." But beloved, the serpentine foe of compromise has invaded the camp through years of specious living, skewed doctrine and most recently secular ownership of Christian music ministries. While I assert this, I recognize that there are godly men and women who love the Lord that work for these companies and record for these companies, but that's not the issue here. The crux of the matter is that the overall nature of our industry has dramatically shifted. . . . In the past several years there has been a non-so-subtle drifting away from Christocentric music to an anthropocentric music. Sadly this has resulted in various visible manifestations of spiritual sedition-- where currently, the CCM finds itself on a slippery slope sliding away at accelerated speeds from the Saviour, the Scriptures and the church.

Contemporary Christian music originally began unashamedly declaring Jesus Christ as Lord. Within a few years His name was replaced by several generic titles filtering out the name of God ultimately to the non-specific cognomen, "Love." This led to a multitude of synonyms: "The Man Upstairs"; "My Higher Power"; "Our Family Values Expert"; ad nauseam...ad infinitum. This Biblical illiteracy I've coined as theological ebonics - Biblical language diminished to cultural unintelligible chatter affirmed as profound, acceptable spiritual truth. . . . These are serious times, brethren, that call for real answers. This is not a time for duplicitous people, proclaiming a diluted message, from disingenuous ministries. . . . There is no greater love song to proclaim than the once for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Lord at Calvary, but yet others feel content to sing about the chaff of this world. What the New Testament church wrestled with the least is what our industry craves the most - money. How dare we think we can play politics with God, with His truth and with His church. We can't negotiate with sin no matter what kind of capital is at stake, and that really is the issue here. . . . Doing His work, His way, according to His Word, by His Holy Spirit.

You may also like to read the following report from Steve Rabey’s article, “Contemporary Sounds Move into Mainstream,” Christianity Today, May 15, 1995. “Financing has originated from a handful of secular labels and international entertainment conglomerates that have invested millions of dollars in Christian record companies. In the past four years, most of the major independent Christian labels have been purchased by giants such as EMI and BMG. Secular labels, such as Warner, Sony, Curb, and Arista, have started, or plan to launch, their own Christian divisions.” Since when did the world develop its taste for Christian music? Do the secular business men and women get interested in the proclamation of the message of Christ? Who is influencing whom through CCM industry? I must repeat myself that music is not amoral. Thus, when the world is interested in CCM business, my guard goes up. The following comment is from the website of the School of Psychology in Keele University (http://www.keele.ac.uk/depts/ps/pg/musicmscbroch.htm):

A piece of music can put you in a good mood, or it can move you to tears. It can make you want to sing and dance, or send you into a deep state of relaxation. It can sound orderly or chaotic, consonant or dissonant, interesting or boring, familiar or strange. Music affects people's lives in innumerable ways. It can influence how you spend your money, or even how you vote. It can help you to identify with, or cause you to feel rejected by, a particular social group. Most of all, music profoundly affects the everyday lives of professional musicians.

Even without lyrics, music can make us cry and laugh. Music has power to move our emotions as even secular science recognizes. Unfortunately, only Christians and their churches do not admit negative influence of music on our minds; and thus, they become defenceless. Study all other major religions and find out which of them degrade their religions by rock ‘n’ roll, pops, jazz, and other contemporary styles in their worship? Truly, Christian churches are at the edge of their downturns. Aha!

Lovingly, Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question 106: What doth the conclusion of the Lords prayer teach us? The conclusion of the Lords prayer, [which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen.] teacheth us, to take our encouragement in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise him, ascribing kingdom, power, and glory to him. And, in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen.

Please pray for Gods healing for Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Bro Kevin Tye; Sisters Wendy Gong, Myung Ki, Luan Price, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Aylin Hanin, Melissa Wong, Angie Yuen, Giok Yeos sister-in-law, Mrs Irene Turner, and all others who have been afflicted with winter illness. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (1Pet 5:7).

Please pray for a) Pastor Ki - as he ministers Gods Word in Korea; b) Cambodia Missions: Rev & Mrs Moses Hahn, Kompong Som B-P Church & Bible School (Sihanoukville), Bros Roth Phannith & Chhim Vanarith (Philip) as they share the Gospel with former Khmer Rouge leaders, Nuon Chea, Khieu Somphon & others (Paillin); Bros Joseph Lo & Matthew Thomas (Ebenezer BPC) as they serve the LORD in Glory BP Church in Phnom Phenh; c) Bro Hai Seng Lim Sketch n Tell ministry; d) Bro Surish Dharmalingam ministry in Laos. e) Expectant mothers good health for Sisters Michiko and Katie; f) Provision of job Bro Simon Yeo; g) Journey mercies Bro Raphael Ng (Spore) & Sis Serene Wong (Syd/Spore); Sis Wendy Gong (Adl); Bro Chee Chong & Sis Wendy Wong (Adl), Sis Marian Chan and her mother (Malaysia); h) Bro Chris Budimans wife and child to join him soon in Adelaide; i) High school and Uni students - assignments & exams this week; j) Session meeting today - for Gods wisdom and guidance.

Praise and Thank God for a) Blessed BSAG Prayer Meeting & Bible Study on Wed, YAF/Teens meeting on Friday; ICCC conference in Kangwon Province, Korea; b) Journey mercies - Dn Edwin DMello (Adl), Bro Yick Ho Lam (Spore/Adl), Sisters Peng Ha Yeo (Malaysia) & Purdee Yeo (Adl), and all participants of the ICCC Conference; c) Baby girl, Hannah, for Bro Srun Chivan & Sis Chin (Sihanoukville); d) Faith PC - Perth: worshipping at Dianella Community Centre, 18 Kerry Street, Dianella, WA, from today.

20th Anniversary Committee to be organised. Please see Dn Ngie Joo Gong, if you can assist.

Special Welcome to Rev James White to our pulpit today.

July - September RPGs, English & Mandarin editions, available on the literature table. Donation: $1 per booklet.

Church Directory to be updated. Please give your details to Sis Josephine Lee for inclusion in the new directory ASAP.



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