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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Does Contemporary Christian Music Really Glorify God?

            I am a big fan of contemporary Christian music.   I'm a big fan of music period, but there is something about the concept of the music I enjoy having something to do with God and spiritual matters.  I like knowing that the music is somehow intended to lift us up to a higher spiritual plane and to make us think about the deeper meaning of the lyrics.   Does contemporary Christian music really do this effectively?

             We are told not to conform to the ways of this world.  Rhythm laden music is often associated with promiscuity and uninhibited behavior which can lead to alcohol and drug abuse.  The fans of many modern music styles are more prone to egocentric behaviors and trends like tattooing, piercing, and provocative clothing.  Combined with loud volumes, hypnotic lights, and elaborate performance presentations the music can become a thrill-seeking experience rooted in providing self indulgent pleasure.

            The values of the performers might even be questioned.  Some have had problems with substance abuse and have led what might be considered lifestyles of dubious moral integrity. The artists often succumb to the entrapments of worldliness and immorality while acting as proponents of Christian living.  In the end they are merely fraudulent examples of the Christian life they are supposed to be emulating.

My question up for debate today:

Does contemporary Christian music really glorify God?

        Is the genre really of any spiritual value?   Is it misleading millions into a false form of worship?  Has contemporary worship music trivialized our church services and perhaps even driven some away from God?
Has the music industry started to dictate values, practice, and even theology?  Is something like Handel's Messiah glorious, whereas the music of a group like Delirious actually kind of delirious like the name says?  Do you like Christian rock music?   What is your favorite type of Christian music and why?


  1. Without a questin of doubt my favourite kind of Christian music must be that of Daniel O Donnell.
    His inspirational songs are sung from the heart, he is a deeply religious person. I know him personally and have meet him on numerous occasions plus there is no question of him taking drugs, he has a clean life style so I say anything he sings about The Good Lord is sung with the utmost sincerity.

    Enjoy your day.

  2. God didn't dictate the style - he just said make a joyful noise! Our church plays contemporary music and it's so refreshing.

  3. There is some "Christian" music and/or musicians that do not glorify God. It's the lyrics that make the difference. Some songs can be taken in a secular way so it appeals to any genre. We do need to use discernment when listening to gospel music. Very thought provoking subject. God bless. Dr. Bobbi

  4. I would have a lot to say about this - if I was willing to weigh in on religion online - which I'm not.

    I do commend you for another great post though Arlee!

  5. Undercover, Mortal, and Rich Mullins still grace my ears now and then. If an artist's lifestyle affects someone's faith, they were unconciously looking for an excuse.

  6. Wow, Will made an excellent point!!! After all, people are imperfect and will fail us.
    If you think about it, secular bands with Christian themes are doing what we are all supposed to be doing - reaching the unsaved.

  7. I honestly feel that contemporary christian music glorifies God only if the individual listening to it feels that it does. It's a personal thing. I prefer the old hymns from our hymnals. While contemporary christian music sounds good to me at times, it just doesn't give me the same feeling as the old hymns at all!
    Love Di ♥

  8. I used to DJ at a Christian radio station reaching out to the kids. Some of the old hymns were actually re-written drinking songs.
    Music is a tool. Can be used for good or for evil. Problem with tools they are used by people. Music can lift us up. Music can tear us down. I do question motives sometimes. The case can be made that those that market and package worship music (in whatever form) are doing it for monetary reasons and if the "really loved God" they would give it away.
    Man...I have soooo many thoughts on this that really travel the spectrum.
    Question. If a waitress is a christian, is it her responsibility to witness (as some would call it - evangelize) to everyone she waits on? Or should she, as St. Francis would say, "go out and preach the gospel, and if you must, use words."
    Musicians play an important role in God's plans. Yes, this is an important topic. Dang...let me post a simple blog, instead of rambling her. It may be a day or two. LOL...
    Man, this is long...
    Be blessed. Be a blessing.
    DJ GlenMC

  9. Yvonne -- From what I've heard, the songs that Daniel sings are usually traditional or have lyrics that are pretty clear about what they are about.

    Alex -- Make a Joyful noise! Good point.

    Dr. Bobbi -- Thanks for offering your thoughts. I think you are right about this.

    Matthew -- Thanks for checking in anyway. Now I'm really curious about your opinion.

    Will -- You might be right in a lot of cases. But what about someone whose faith is not yet very strong or they are a new believer? They could get confused by messages sent by people they "trust".

    L. Diane -- the sad part is that there are a lot of entertainers and celebs that are reaching and influencing people with the wrong messages.

    Diana -- You have a point- our personal perspective and intent has more to do with what it is we hear. I like Christian music for positive entertainment value, but not for any theology or edification.

    Glen -- it wasn't that long of a comment! And it's Debate Day -that's what it's all about. Now I'm going to hold you to this. I'll be waiting to see your response on your blog. Good points made here so far.

  10. GLEN ~
    --> St. Francis would say, "Go out and preach the gospel, and if you must, use words."

    Man, I love that!
    I had come across that quote before, but for whatever reason, this time the arrow really found its mark! Thanks for posting that. A truly memorable quote that I can foresee myself using often in the future! Good stuffs!

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McD-Fens

  11. Man you tossed out a good one, so let me "toss this out."

    The question that needs to be asked and settled is, "What glorifies God?" That is the sole issue of our lives. Much of music including CCM does not glorify God. When anything, including music directs our attention to God and His glorious character or nature, it is something that is good and beneficial. When anything including music excites our "flesh" or our humaness then it is not beneficial, it is harmful and does not glorify God.

    Someone might say, "Is it wrong to "excite", cater to, please, or otherwise satisfy the flesh, or our humanness?

    I struggle with this myself. I have love country music. I love the guitars, especially a haunting steel, the fiddles, the drums, and the slow, soulful, broken hearted twang.

    It "excites", moves me how ever it is said in today's vernacular. So, I think, hmmm, lets not go there since it stirs up a part of me that I don't want stirred up, lets go to something that leads me higher in my love, devotion, appreciation, and understanding of God.

    I turn to "country-gospel." The solution right? I have my guitars, the steel guitar, the fiddles, drums, etc. But the beat, the sound, the tune whatever moves or excites my flesh.

    Again, the question is what is wrong with that, can't I enjoy something? Well, here is the issue, the flesh, our humaness, was crucified with Christ and put to death. (Gal 2:20) It was unrdeemable, useless to God and God at redemption gives a new nature, Peter actually tells us we become a partaker of the divine nature of God. So why do I want to spend time, money, and devotion on something that moves the very part of me that God determined was unredeemable and crucified?

    Spirit filled living is difficult and not for the weak. Daily putting the flesh to death is difficult at best. Music can speak to the crucified flesh or it can speak to the glory of God. I don't think it can do both. The question really is, where is my satisfaction - in Christ or in any style of music?

    What do I treasure? How do I evaluate what I treasure. What will I forgo to enjoy what I treasure?

    Christianity isn't for everybody, many people will trade a myriad of things for their soul. If Chrisianity were easy everyone would be a Christain. Be are told to count the cost, die to ourselves, daily pick up the cross, which is the instrument that crucified our flesh, ourselves, our nature, etc.

  12. Yes and no. I think there are some extremes out there that have crossed the line and I can't picture Jesus listening to it. As far as where that line is located? I think it's a personal matter of conscience and conviction. Good topic!

  13. I've always enjoyed inspirational music. Amazing Grace brings me wonderful memories of my great-grandmother and grandmother. I too love the old hymns.

  14. I believe God can be glorified in all types of music. Just as we each have/had a particular music style preference prior to accepting Christ, we're inclined to like certain styles better than others afterwards. I believe that Jesus was in the business of revealing Himself to all types of people. CCM reveals Him in a different way.

  15. Hello, Lee -

    My personal feelng is that what matters is how the listener receives the music. If they feel themselves being pushed away from God, they should try a different genre of music. If the music inspires and delights them, they should listen.

    I don't believe you can view all players of 'contemporary music' as either committed or not committed to God. As with all people, they come as a mix. If a non-committed person can play a drum and change a life, then they are in the right field, whether they know it yet or not. And if a non-committed person can find God while stumbling into a band that welcomes them for the effort, they are in the right field.

    If a listener can 'lose God' because he/she heard a drum played, one has to wonder how committed they were in the first place?

    Too, I've never believed Christians are perfect. We come in many stages -- some very new to faith, and some very solid. We must rely on one another to encourage and love the differences, not push the differences out.

    I really like contemporary Christian music. For me, it's about God, and the inspiration I feel when I listen. How inspired the players feel is between the players and God, I reckon. I certainly don't judge a person for playing any way they please to God. Ultimately, He's the audience. :-)

    - Corra

    the victorian heroine

  16. It's funny that you blogged about this, because we were talking about this at work today. I was saying how "Christian" music is merely a label. Sometimes I feel like, if you aren't listening to the "Christian" genre, that to some, it's "bad."

    Now, what makes it Christian? Any listener can break it down and change the lyrics to refer it to anyone else. There are Christian songs that mention "Him" and "Love". That could mean different things.

    I guess it's all in the perception of the listener. In my view, I think it does glorify. But then again, genres that aren't labeled "Christian" can glorify as well. :)Genres can also backfire as well. It's all in the listener's hands and how they translate it.

  17. Wow there are some good answers here and I can see merit in many of the points made. As usual, Gregg you continual to challenge with arguments that really make me look inward.
    But I see what everyone else is saying as well and like some of you have said it may well be an individual issue that must be addressed within and is ultimately between each of us and God.


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