From the Author
My desire in this unpretentious
manuscript is to present a "principia" handbook for Christian students and
teachers in the light of their generation’s music. Five chapters are
dedicated to biblical principles in the context of our contemporary.
Biblical principles must be seen before we will see what is happening both
in the world and, more specifically, in the conservative churches across our
land. If these early chapters are not read, the following chapters will reap
no true appreciation and understanding, for out of "principle" comes
"conviction"; otherwise conviction is simply a bias or prejudicial belief.
The remaining chapters will focus on the subject of music itself. Three
chapters deal with the history and philosophy of secular rock, a more
pointed analogy of the world-wide powerful influence of the Beatles, and the
rise of deva music in
rock culture. Another chapter presents the history of music through church
history, followed by a chapter presenting the birth and growth of "Gospel
Music," and the final chapter deals with the history and present trends in
Fundamentalist music. A "Postlude" concludes my thoughts in the light of a
present need and future hope.
From the Foreword (by Rev. John Ashbrook)
Contemporary Christian musicit is the innovation of the hour in our age of church history. It has taken the Bible-believing church by storm. When a fundamental church adopts CCM as its musical style, it always moves into the new evangelical orbit. Where CCM comes, new evangelism follows, as certainly as the tail follows the dog. Reverent worship disappears, sound doctrine declines, and holy living is despised. Why is it so? This volume will give you the answer.
Dr. H. T. Spence and I share some things in common. We are both preachers' sons. Contrary to some others, we both seem to have had a happy life in the parsonage. We are both biblical separatistsbelieving in personal separation, ecclesiastical separation, and separation from disobedient brethren. So much for the things we share. We are also very different. He is a musician and a philosopher. I am neither.
When Dr. Spence approached me about contributing the foreword for this book on music, my first reaction was to decline as graciously as possible on the basis of not being a musician. My parents believed that every child should have an exposure to music. Consequently, I was sent to the same piano teacher who made a success of my sisters. After three years of disastrous recitals, it became obvious that either the teacher or the boy was not long for this world. I pled with my father to allow me to take another instrument, promising to faithfully practice his required hour each day. The trumpet was chosen, and I had a happy musical career as a devotee of John Philip Sousa. Despite the fact that I learned to play well, I was always a musical mechanic and never a musician. When I made my non-musical plea to Dr. Spence, he countered with the fact that he desired the foreword to be written by a separatist, not a musician. I was not about to deny that title.
Had I read the manuscript before accepting the responsibility, I might have declined on another premise. I am not a philosopher. My first week in seminary I sat in an apologetics class where the teacher used the word, "epistemology." I raised my hand and asked the professor to define the term. I was unprepared for his reply. He said, "Mr. Ashbrook, if you do not know the meaning of that word you do not belong in seminary." (That began a professor/student relationship which was profitable but less than endearing.) My education to that point was that of a chemical engineer and I never visited the part of the university where they defined epistemology.
The perusal of this book will convince you that Dr. Spence is a musician and a philosopher. His convictions are biblical in both areas. The first half of the book is a course in biblical philosophy related to the discipline of music. Like Paul's epistles, it is the doctrinal foundation for the practical application which comes in the latter chapters.
When I began to read the manuscript, I was finishing a twenty-two-week journey through the Book of Revelation in my preaching. In a ministry of forty-five years, this was my fourth detailed exposition of that Book. The realities of the Anti-Christ's coming kingdom, the evil spiritual Babylon of chapter 17, and the worldly Babylon of chapter 18 were certainly clearer than they were forty-five years ago. It is obvious that we are living in that age where world history is rushing to the conclusion of which John wrote. I believe that Dr. Spence has insight of the Lord in relating rock music to Revelation.
My father always said, "God's answer in a crisis is usually a man." He illustrated that truth with men like Moses, Elijah, and Paul. Dr. Spence points out that Satan has counterfeited this principle in his demonic enterprise. Satan has his men for the age just as God does. This is a truth which few have seen. Dr. Spence demonstrates the truth that the rock musicians of our age are a part of Satan's plan for attacking our culture, destroying logic, and preparing the world to accept the Anti-Christ.
Most of us have read a number of books on rock music. They present the raunchy history of a depraved musical form. Dr. Spence relates the history of rock music in several chapters. However, his point is not to show how bad it is, but to demonstrate how the development of this music has evolved to include all of the necessary themes to make it the consort of the one world church, the end-time opposition to God, and the worship of a man. (I am glad that the author is not an ex-rock musician, but a godly man viewing the subject from the mountaintop of biblical theology.) This is a valuable contribution.
There is a fine treatment of the concept of "the contemporary age." Each of us is called to minister in our age. Just as Luther lived in the age of the Reformation and had to face the opposition Satan provided in that age, so we live in the age just prior to the Anti-Christ and must face the Satanic program in our own contemporary age. We like to think that we would have been a success in other ages, but God expects us to do His Will in the age where He has placed us.
This book gives the brief course in hymnology that most of us missed in our college years. Because of the sinful nature of man, the course of all things in this world is downward over a period of time. Dr. Spence shows the progression of our church music from music to worship, music to teach, music to evangelize, music to enjoy, and finally, music to sell. Some will be offended by problems he sees with music we have enjoyed, but none can deny the progression and its conclusion. Innovation has always been an aim in music. Just as constant innovation has ruined the sound educational system of the past, so innovation has not been a friend in the realm of spiritual music. The theme of change, innovation, is prominent in our fundamental churches today. Be warned that innovation, in a world of sinful men, usually innovates in the wrong direction.
Yes, this is another book on contemporary music. But, it is not the same as most of the others. It takes its time in getting to the point by laying a biblical foundation and then tracing the extensive genealogy of CCM. It identifies the major writers and performers in the field. It names names. When the whole subject is before you, it looks at the problem through scriptural and eschatological eyes. In so doing it will open your eyes to a present danger which desires to claim your church.
Table of Contents
|Acknowledgments of Indebtedness
A "Prelude" to the Christian Study of Music
Chapter One: The Principle of Light for Music - An "A Priori"
Chapter Two: The Jamming of Light
Chapter Three: Our Contemporary - The Age
Chapter Four: The Philosophy of Our Contemporary Age
Chapter Five: Biblical Separation - An Imperative Guardian
Chapter Six: A Note of Caution in the Study of the Contemporary Music
Chapter Seven: The Philosophical Presupposition and History of Rock Music
Chapter Eight: A Biblical Perspective of the Beatles' Anthology
Chapter Nine: The Unfolding of Satanic Music in Our Contemporary
Chapter Ten: A Biblical Perspective of the History of Music in the Church
Chapter Eleven: The Birth and Growth of Gospel Music
Chapter Twelve: The Fundamentalist and His Music
A "Postlude" on the Matter of Christian Music
Selected Bibliography for Reading