This article is from the blog of Machen White, found at: https://bjugrad2004.blogspot.com/2020/08/fundamentalism-then-and-nowccm.html
There are enough similarities between CCM type worship and the Golden Calf worship of Bible times to warrant the shunning of CCM by the people of God. First lets define CCM, and what better way to inform others about CCM than to publish what a CCM advocate says about it. According to afm.org “Christian Music has been around in some form for almost 2000 years, since the time of Christ. But what exactly is Contemporary Christian Music? Before the early 1970’s, Christian Music could be categorized as either Traditional Hymns, Southern Gospel or as Traditional Black Gospel styles. From the Peace Movement of the late 1960’s came a time of Christian revival for young people across the country. This concurrent movement was known as the Jesus Movement. From the Jesus Movement, came many new Christians who were anxious to tell others about Jesus, but found the traditional methods of sharing and worshiping restrictive and out-dated. Many of these Jesus People started ddddeveloping new worshiping and witnessing styles. An effort was made to write music which was culturally relevant or contemporary. The desire was to create music that would appeal to the current searching generation. Thus was born Contemporary Christian Music. From the early days of the Jesus Movement, new Christian singers such as Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill and Chuck Girard emerged to reach their generation. The name Contemporary Christian Music was coined to distinguish this style of music from the more traditional forms of religious music. The word contemporary has proven to be an appropriate [sic] description of this music over the last twenty years, as the styles have kept up with its secular counterpart. The ever evolving state of C.C.M. includes such diverse and contemporary styles as rock, jazz, blues, dance, metal, rap, alternative, new age, grunge, punk, thrash, death, gothic [sic] and industrial. Yet regardless of the form, the essences of all Contemporary Christian Music is the same-to share God’s love to the current generation in a way that can be both understood and enjoyed. This Contemporary Christian Music Hot Page is designed to be a current guide of the different C.C.M resources on the Internet. Any current information would be welcomed and encouraged to help keep this place, contemporary. As far as whether or not you agree or disagree with the particular spiritual [sic] condition of some of the artist listed here-Sorry- Deal with It! I hope that using this page, you will get as much out of Contemporary Christian Music as I have over the years.”* And now the stories of the golden calves from the Scriptures. First the scene of Exodus 32:1-35
Second, the story of Jeroboam 2 Kings 25:25-33 I believe there are some parallels between CCM type worship and golden calf worship (Exodus 32:1-35). First, both those who produce CCM and those who produced the golden calf have similarity in that they changed the proscribed way of worship to alleviate problems. The problem Aaron had was that the people were clamoring for a God that they could see. They said they didn’t know what had happened to Moses and so needed gods to visibly lead them on their way. Aaron caved and gave them what they wanted but still gave the golden calf the name of Jehovah and attached the history of Jehovah’s kind and great dealings with Israel to the golden calf. There, that would fix it. Aaron appeased a faithless agitated crowd with what would please their flesh, so solving his immediate problem. There was no seeking out the LORD for help to deal with the people, there was only dealing the problem in a desperate and godless fashion. The problem that Jeroboam needed to solve was that he thought the people would become loyal to another king as they went up to worship in Jerusalem, and this would cause Jeroboam to lose his kingdom and his life. He therefore made a plan which disregarded the instruction of the LORD about how to worship the LORD and went with it. It would be sufficient to have the people merely worship the LORD, he thought. And who would care about disobeyed details? So Jeroboam told the people that he had a better way. He made two golden calves and, like Aaron, said that they had brought Israel up out of Egypt. He set the Golden Calves up in Bethel and Dan. God had said to worship Him in Jerusalem. Again, God’s instructions on the way of worship did not matter as long as Jeroboam’s immediate problem was solved. And it was solved, alright. The people complied with Jeroboam’s plan. His kingdom and life and all he wanted to do were saved. But the Bible said he “made Israel to sin”. . Now about problems that Christians want to solve with CCM. CCM promoters commonly state that they perceived that were losing the church youth as these young people had gone to rock music and everything else associated with it. Kids weren’t coming to “boring church”. The church was losing its influence over the youth, and the CCM promoters set about to stop that.
They were going to make worship more appealing to the young rock music crowd. These concerned Christians were also going to make it easy for the unchurched to slide right into Christianity. There would hardly be a difference between the background music at the bars and the music at church. Those who hatched this idea are not embarrassed by their tactics. It is what it is. And the immediate problem was solved. Youth flocked to the concerts $$$ and started coming to church too. But the church service would have to be changed also. In all this, there was not a seeking of the LORD as to whether or not the sounds of the world’s music should be the sounds of the church’s music. Had they conducted even a small Bible study, they would have found that the mood of the world’s music–that of unbridled anger and wrath, sensuousness and lewdness, rebellion and sedition–were not moods the Lord approves of for His child. They would have seen that the Christian’s mind and heart are to be in a state of joy hemmed in by the fear and love of God. Anyway, the youth and some un-churched did show up at the church because of the new tune at church, and that solved the problem. Never mind what would happen to a youth not told to hate even the garments that were stained with sin. No the stained garments would be proudly worn on stage and in the crowd. And here is another parallel. Both Golden Calf promoters and CCM promoters have incorporated sinful practices of the heathen round about into their worship. The heathen surrounding Israel were taken up with idols. And so, naturally, not seeking the mind of the LORD on how to worship, the people took up with their own idol, the golden calf, And it became central to Israel’s worship of Jehovah. The heathen of that day also stripped themselves of their clothing and whipped themselves up into frenzies. The golden calf worshipers did the same as their heathen counterparts, according to the Scripture account. The heathen today, ever surrounding the Christian church, have their ungodly practices. And CCMers incorporate these sinful practices into both their public and private lives. Lack of clothing is signature for the heathen today. And lack of clothing is signature for today’s typical CCM performer. Also, the choice beverage of the worldling–alcohol– has now become the trendy beverage of the CCM crowd. This is the drink which the Bible says will bite like a serpent and sting like an adder, at the last. Taking on the sinful practices of the heathen is done when care is thrown off to worship in the way God proscribes. And yet there is another parallel between golden calf enthusiasts and CCM folks. Both groups have a similar defense concerning their changing the way of worship. God is still being worshiped is the defense of both crowds. Aaron and Jeroboam were careful to tell the people that the Golden Calves were Jehovah. Prayers were being made, Feasts were called. Priests were in abundance. And at the CCM concert prayers are made and popular religious leaders from mainline denominations are everywhere approving of the genre . God is being worshiped, they say. Another defense is that God doesn’t care about the details of how He is worshiped anyway. Surely the promoters of golden calf worship reasoned that the not-makingimages-to-worship thing was not important enough to follow. In like manner, promoters of CCM reason that the injunction to worship with a solemn and glad sound is merely nice out-dated poetry in the Old Testament and surely not binding to them and their music style They feel liberty to do their own thing. God’s instructions about worship is not important if the end goal is met, they claim. Finally there is another parallel that is not yet fully realized. We see in Scripture a pattern of judgment when men do not worship God in the manner He dictates. Judgment fell on those who erected the Golden Calf in the name of Jehovah there in the desert where the men of Levi slew three thousand and “the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.” God’s judgment also fell on Jeroboam in Israel, the Bible tells us. His kingdom was marked by ruin and strife and his lineage was violently cut off in four generations. In addition, the LORD in Scripture constantly brings up Jeroboam as one “who made Israel to sin”. Worshiping the LORD in ways contrary to the Scripture provokes the wrath of God. We should have fear of judgment for all who do not care to please the LORD in the way they worship. CCM folks are happy to worship, but the way in which they worship is not a matter of concern for them. The pattern of God’s judgment falling on those who do not worship Him in the way He has prescribed –and wholly separate from the ways of the world—should teach us that judgment is coming and perhaps is already falling. In conclusion, God’s people are called to a worship of the LORD that is wholly distinct from anything man could come up with. The way God wants us to worship is clearly regulated by the Word of God. Dress during worship, actions during worship, the mood of worship music, the message of the man of God, the ministers of worship are all addressed in the Bible. Aaron and Jeroboam foolishly and wickedly dropped concern about the way God would be worshiped and so have CCM promoters. Are you involved in by the CCM movement? Have you seen that its goal is to keep up with its ever evolving counterpart— rock, jazz, blues, dance, metal, rap, alternative, new age, grunge, punk, thrash, death, gothic [sic] and industrial. Have you realized that those in CCM claim their approach to God does not need to be checked by the Word of God? If you are snared by the deception of the CCM industry/genre, cast off this modern pattern of golden calf worship, and live by Paul’s admonition in 2 Corinthians “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1. Seek after the rich hymns the spiritual songs of a redeemed people. Seek out music that is distinct, and not a counterpart, from the secular, but truly sacred. Seek out the music that is appropriate for the worship of the Most High according to the Bible injunctions. Know the blessing of the Lord to which He adds no sorrow, and enjoy, yea, relish the truth of God as we worship His Holy Person.