Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Is CCM really appropriate?

Catching up on reading blogs, here is an interesting commentary on a LCMS youth retreat in S. California
We on the left coast have just experienced (unfortunately) what these men from Water’s Edge have to offer by way of preaching as their “Missions Pastor” (Travis Hartjen) led the Pacific Southwest District Youth Gathering this past weekend in San Diego.
The “worship band” hailed from one of our not-so-confessional SoCal churches and played the top 20 CCM Dove award winning hits almost exclusively. Most of these songs emphasized, yep you guessed it: I, you, me, and we giving some lip service to God or Jesus. I have no problem with rock music as I am a musician that plays in a rock band here in San Diego. But I DO NOT play it on Sunday in my church. Everything has its proper place. Looking at the authors of the songs offered at our DYG I found them to be: Anabaptist, Pentecostal, and always Arminian. Thankfully, they did play one hymn, “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” and I sung it with gusto!
As always, the most obvious difference with CCM is the rock band and the musical format, but the theologically important difference is in the lyrics.


Vicar Josh Osbun said...

I would contend that the music format is of equal theological significance as the words. Text and tune do not exist in mutually exclusive worlds.

There is a nasty rumor flying about that Martin Luther wrote a number of his hymns to popular bar tunes. The truth of the matter is that he tried this once. But what he discovered is that the people singing it could not remove the associations of the bar tune despite the Christian text. And so he wrote a new tune and never tried it again.

The tune is the vessel in which the text is carried, and so it can effect the theology just as much as heterodox and/or heretical words.

But that's just splitting hairs. I whole-heartedly agree with your final assertion! I was just providing a little bit of clarification.

Ephrem said...

Just today I read another interesting article on this same subject:

I am much more welcoming of CCM in youth rally settings than in an actual liturgy. On the other hand, when the songs go on and on, repetitively, I find myself wondering if all that enthusiasm is a little forced.

9.West said...


Thanks for the comment on the proper role of the music. I think it would be fascinating for you to knock down the bar tunes rumor in your blog, so we can all drink, er, link to it!


My question with CCM for "youth" is this: if this is the way we get them into the church or keep them engaged, don't we have to follow through and make it part of the day-to-day service? It seems to me that using it only at youth rallies will not help weekly church attendance, which is what we need to pass the faith to the next generation.