In my last post, I made the case that Contemporary Christian Music (in general) has grown shallow and must tap into the richness of the history of music in the Christian church in order for it to be a force for the gospel in the future.

In the comments, Grant made a succinct and insightful point that is worthy enough to post here:

Classical music, much of it anyway, was church music when it was written. The church used to be a bastion and financier of fine art. What happened!? I see a couple of reasons: a need to be “relevant” and the rise of top 40 CCM radio.

They kind of go hand in hand. Years ago now, Christians had the idea to make church more comfortable for non church-goers. Great idea, but it led to the need to somehow make Christ relevant to the culture (thereby saying Christ isn’t relevant to the human condition?) and we had to have the Christian version of everything. In my opinion, CCM songwriters were strongly tempted to dumb down lyrics to appeal to a wider audience. Then, it became even cooler to be a Christian band who wasn’t a Christian band (i.e. signed to a secular label). This just turned up the pressure on CCM bands and radio stations to really water down a Christ-centered message to make it easier for bands to get into a secular label.

The cycle continues today. The result is music that is neither interesting nor earth-moving. Jesus becomes analogous to our boyfriend and the concept of the true, broken human condition is moved into the shadows.

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7 thoughts on “A Bit More on Contemporary Christian Music

  1. Thank you for your articles on the CCM. I have experienced in my 70 years the many changes that have taken place in the church, and this movenment has been the most phenomenal.
    Why I Left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement,by Dan Lucarini; and
    Can We Rock the Gospel? by John Blanchard and Dan Lucarini are excellent sources
    for insight.
    The Lord bless you as you seek His wisdom and truth, and write about it.

  2. In that sermon by John MacArthur I posted on the previous blog, he makes an excellent point. Worship music is not for the unsaved or the unchurched. It is for believers to use in order to prepare their minds and hearts to receive the Word of God. Those in our congregations may not “approve of” the music they hear, but that’s the same thing as the “things of God” being “foolishness” to them. In time, when their minds and hearts are right, the music we should be singing will sound altogether different to their ears.

    I, for one, am for as being as unlike the world as can be rather than emulating it.

  3. Just to be clear, I’m not trying to attack CCM, I am trying to point out the direction I think some art is headed. Think of it as a rebuke done in love. I really enjoy a wide range of CCM, but I find myself turning off KLOVE more and more.

    Part of that doesn’t have anything to do with the content of the songs. It has to do with the fact that they are not a local station. As I grow older, I find that I’m looking for more unique content, crafted by those who want to make something really great. I see most Top-40 stations as antithetical to this as, by definition, they play only what’s popular (or what record labels tell them is popular). This combined with the conglomeratization of radio into large, national stations takes away a lot from the local experience. Where’s the person on KLOVE telling you what traffic is like near your neighborhood? Where are they commenting on local news items or even being involved in the local community?

    My feelings about this subject come from a lot of different things, not just the content of the songs.

  4. Great points, Grant. Thanks for chiming in again. And yes, to everyone else, I hope this post didn’t come across as Grant “attacking” CCM. I think his words stand to show that he is simply making a point about trends and fads (through his eyes) in the Christian music arena.

  5. It seems to me that this whole conversation is not so much about CCM as it is about Christian radio and its audience. Radio programmers play the music that market research shows their audience wants to hear. If no one wanted to hear “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs, they wouldn’t be played on the radio. CCM and Christian radio are for-profit industries, after all. The sad fact is, the Christian radio demographic is asking for and buying that music.

  6. David, you make some interesting (and true) points. I think that Christian radio has created CCM. They are synonymous in my mind. That might not be the case with everybody, but that’s how I see things.

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