Confronting Contemporary Christian Music
Books : Music
Confronting Contemporary Christian Music H. T. Spence A plain account of Contemporary Christian Music, its history, philosophy, and future; highly researched, with convincing evidence. A Christian View of the Philosophy of Music is a companion set of sermon tapes on this controversial subject.
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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.

The title of the book, Confronting Christian Contemporary Music, may seem somewhat forthright. But we are living in a time when this music has the manner of Goliath, the uncircumcised Philistine, coming before the Camp of God. As young David of old, the giant CCM must be confronted with the stones from the brook of God’s Word. It is not only a philosophical battle; it is a spiritual one. May God dispel the fear and timidity among His people, so that they may rise up and confront this carnal, uncircumcised music invading our churches, for it is bold in its sounds and unseparated in its message.

From the Foreword (by Rev. John Ashbrook)

Contemporary Christian music—it 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 separatists—believing 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"

General Principles of Light
The Electromagnetic Spectrum
The Various Forms of Light
Spiritual Light
A Presupposition for Light
To See and Know My Age

Chapter Two: The Jamming of Light

Philosophical Approaches to Broadcasting
External Broadcasting - A Jamming Effect
Spiritual Jamming
Present-day Jamming

Chapter Three: Our Contemporary - The Age

The World System Versus the Age
Unspotted from the World
Conformity to This Age
The Subtlety of This Age
Music to Manipulate the Mass
Changing the Culture of an Age
The "Flesh" of an Age
The Apostasy of an Age
The Insanity of an Age
Approving and Reproving in Our Age
The Infiltration of an Age

Chapter Four: The Philosophy of Our Contemporary Age

Criteria for Truth
A New Concept of Viewing Truth
The Changes Taking Place
The Changes in Philosophy and Hope for Utopia
The Enlightenment Period and Its Way of Thinking
Existentialism: An Enemy to Reason
Man's Nature is Bent Toward Self-destruction and Suicide
Music is Philosophy
Music and Its Manipulative Powers
The "New Ways" - A New Society

Chapter Five: Biblical Separation - An Imperative Guardian

The New Man Created in True Holiness
The Principle of Biblical Separation
Divers Seeds Corrupt the Fruit
The Mixing of the Seeds
The World's Hatred for Division and Separation
The Pedigree Birth
Where Is the Pedigree Today?

Chapter Six: A Note of Caution in the Study of the Contemporary Music

Chapter Seven: The Philosophical Presupposition and History of Rock Music

Rock Music's Beginnings
The Crossover to the White Sector of Society
The Early Reactions to Rock
The Mutation of Rock Music in the 1960s
Bob Dylan - The Mind Manipulator of the 1960s
The Beatles' Appearance in America
Technology and Its Contribution to Rock Music
The Introduction of Drugs to the Rock Culture
Religion and Decadence: Part of the Fabric of the Rock Culture
The Rock Culture Being Brought into the Home
Jesus Christ, Superstar - Rock's Interpretation of Christianity
Tommy - Rock Reinterpreting Christ
The Sex Pistols and Madonna
Michael Jackson - The Human Deified
Rock's Mutation - Rap Music
Country-Western - Part of the Rock Culture
The Next Frontier - New Age Music
Some Concluding Remarks

Chapter Eight: A Biblical Perspective of the Beatles' Anthology

Appointed Men in History
The Beatles' "Anthology"
A Note on Biographies and Autobiographies
The Beatles - In Prophecy?
The Dark Past of the Famous Four
The Haircut and the Name
Brian Epstein - Their Manager
Their First Appearance in America
The Change Was to Come
The Entrance into Eastern Religion
The Hippie, Drug, and Eastern Religion Message
Their Message of Surrealism
Lennon's Meeting of Yoko Ono
The Uncovering of Their Theology
Present Western Civilization

Chapter Nine: The Unfolding of Satanic Music in Our Contemporary

The Mouth of Satan
The Workings of Satan in History
Lucifer's Fall
The Dragon of History
The Early History of Rock Leading Up to Satanism
1970s - The Decade of Satanic Music
The Titles Became Doors to Hell
The Lifestyles of Satan's Oracles
Backward Masking
The Symbols of the 1970s
Living in the Dark Room of Satan

Chapter Ten: A Biblical Perspective of the History of Music in the Church

The New Song
The Psalter
A New Testament Embellishment to the Early Church Hymnbook
The Enlarging of the Early Church Hymnody
The Protestant Reformation and Its Contribution to Church Music
Two Basic Approaches to Reformation Music
Martin Luther's View of Church Music
Other Reformers and Their Views of Music
John Calvin and the Reformed View of Music
English Hymnody
The Longing for Perfection in Europe
Handel and Bach
Haydn and Mozart
The Methodist Contribution to Christian Hymns
Other Writers of the Eighteenth Century
The Revival Preaching and Music of the 1800s
The Musical Ministry of Ira Sankey
Fanny Jane Crosby
Philip P. Bliss
A Postscript in Observation

Chapter Eleven: The Birth and Growth of Gospel Music

The Sunday-Rodeheaver Era
Early Commercialization of Gospel Music
Southern Gospel Music
The Eclectic Spectrum Emerges in Gospel Music
Black Gospel Music
The Jesus Movement and Its Music
The Recent Decades of Gospel Music
The Powerful Personalities of CCM

Chapter Twelve: The Fundamentalist and His Music

My Introduction to the Fundamentalist Movement
The Music of the Early Fundamentalists
The Emphasis Upon Evangelism
The Early Influence and Subsequent Changes of Musical Ministries
Other Sounds in Fundamentalist Music
Influences of the Neo-Evangelical Music: The Soft, Non-offensive Sound
The Steve Green Issue
Fundamental Radio Stations
The Christian Youth Camps and Children's Churches
The Danger of the World's Teaching Our Children Music
Concern for CCM in Other Countries
A Note of Warning
A Final Word on Endtime Music

A "Postlude" on the Matter of Christian Music

Selected Bibliography for Reading

General Books
Books Dealing with the Age