What Is Wrong With Contemporary Christian Music? (A Clarification)

It has been noted that when one becomes Reformed, most of your Christian music gets thrown out. The reason is not due to some anger wrought within the Calvinist. Rather, it is due to a number of flaws within the CCM scene. So, what exactly is wrong with CCM? In my last post, I gave a prime example of what is wrong with CCM. I was accused of generalizing, and being vague. Therefore, I wish to state in detail, what I believe are some obvious flaws in the CCM scene.

Note: I understand that not all CCM makes the following mistakes.

1) The Contemporary Christian Music Scene is full of self. Our culture is adamant about promoting self. Everywhere we go, we are bombarded with the idea that one, beyond all things, should love one self. We are told that the self is good, if we can just bring about those attributes. Christianity on the other hand teaches that the self is sinful. That the self, or who we are by nature, is diametrically opposed to all that is godly. Ergo, opposed to the one and true living God. Christianity teaches that we should reject self, and love God. The world teaches that we should love “God”, but that god is whoever you want him to be. Unfortunately, so called “churches” are now promoting the same message that the world promotes- this is evident in the CCM scene. The songs that are written are full of lyrics about the way we feel, about what we want to do, and about our problems. This leads to a Christianity that is based on emotional experiences, rather, than the truth of scripture. Depending on how loud the guitar is strummed, that’ll dictate how loud I sing, and whether I cry or not. And If they aren’t based on our failures, they are drowned in lyrics about what we want to do for God. Doing things for God is good. But even better are the things that God has done for us in Christ Jesus. Those are the things that we ought to be singing about! If we compare the area of focus of the scriptures vs the CCM scene, we can see that one is focused upon God’s work, and the other on man’s. Psalm 147 captures this completely:

Praise the LORD!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
The LORD lifts up the humble;
he casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.

(Psalm 147:1-11 ESV)

2) The Contemporary Christian Music scene is void of any theological richness. “Jesus loves me”, “God is great”, etc, etc. These propositions are true (though how Jesus loves or If He loves the unbeliever is an issue Calvinists differentiate in).  As true as these propositions may be, they are void of any theological meat. It is true that God loves me, but, the ultimate question is in what way hath God demonstrated His love? O’ God IS great, but in what ways is He great? The simplicity is outstanding. The hymns of old, spoke in detail about God’s goodness towards His people. There could have been no confusion as to what God they were worshipping, because they hugged the cross in their lyrics. They sang about the attributes of God, His providence, election, His work in creation, His Tri-Unity (when was the last time you sang a contemporary song about the Triunity of God? Beside here).

3) The Contemporary Christian scene gets the Gospel wrong. ” God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” is what I like to call “The Osteen Gospel”. And this gospel pretty much sums up the gospel of the CCM scene. Nothing about the ultimate manifestation of God’s love- where Christ became man, taking man’s place on that cross, bearing the full weight of God’s wrath in order that sinners may be reconciled. Rather, the content is filled with a lonely god who desperately wishes that sinners may come to him, because he has a wonderful plan for their lives. Lets face it, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is missing in most of this music. This is the ultimate flaw. If we are not united by that message, then our worship is in vain. Artists who do not make the cross their ultimate focus in their music, are surely bowing the knee at another alter.



About lalvin1517

I'm married with two children and pastor McCall Baptist Church in McCall, Idaho.
This entry was posted in Christian Music, Contemporary Christian Music, Gospel. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What Is Wrong With Contemporary Christian Music? (A Clarification)

  1. Bob Gonzales says:

    In my opinion, you haven't succeeded in making a more cogent case. First, you need to reword your main points so as to avoid sweeping generalizations. It would be much more accurate and humble to say “SOME of the Contemporary Christian Music scene ….”

    Second, your first point sets up a false dichotomy. The Westminster Shorter Catechism speaks of man's chief end in both objective and subjective terms as “glorifying God and enjoying him forever.” Indeed, the two are interdependent. Calvin also made this point in the opening of the Institutes when he said we cannot truly know God unless we know ourselves and we cannot truly know ourselves unless we know God. What's more, the Psalmist often uses the first person personal pronoun and underscores the many blessings he had received from the Lord (e.g., Psa 18).

    Third, I listen to artists like Chris Tomlin, Casting Crown, Sovereign Grace Music, the Getty's, Matt Redman, etc., whose songs generally have a rich and solidly biblical vocabulary.

    In sum, you'd make a much more convincing case if you would make more qualifications and acknowledge what's good in the CCM scene.

    Humbly yours,
    Bob Gonzales

  2. Awretchsaved says:

    I think you need to read the note above point number one that says: “Note: I understand that not all CCM makes the following mistakes.”

    Second, I am not against any reference about “self”, as long as “self” is seen in a biblical light. CCM does not paint a biblical portrait of man (again, not all). Also, it is fine when the Psalmist speaks of the many blessings he received from the Lord, there is nothing in my first point that argues against referencing self, rather, it is when music is “full of self”, that it is in error.

    I listen to those artists as well (maybe not with so much consistency), with the exception of The Getty's. Again, see the note above point number 1.

    You'd not have wasted your time writing the above if you'd just read the note.

    In Christ, awretchsaved

  3. If I'm not mistaken that is Dr. Bob Gonzales of Reformed Bapist Seminary. 🙂

  4. We appreciate your commemts Dr. Gonzales and thanks for stopping by.

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