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CCM Email Response
By Gary F. Zeolla
I recently received a lengthy email from someone criticizing me for my practice of listening to Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), especially my listening to Christian hard rock and white metal while training for my powerlifting competitions in my home gym, as heard in my workout videos. The emailer’s comments are way too lengthy to publish, but the following is my not near as lengthy response. The reader should be able to get the gist of the emailer’s comments from my comments.
I want to congratulate you. You receive the award for the longest email I ever received from someone commenting on one of my articles. When I copied and pasted it from Microsoft Outlook into Microsoft Word, it was ten pages long. That is how long the two-part article I just posted on my politics website was when I wrote it in Word, before I formatted it for posting on the website. That article took me four days to write. If you’re interested, it’s posted at: Racist, Racist, Who Is the Racist?
I sure hope you did not spend four days writing this email to me, as I could summarize much of it in one sentence—“CCM makes me feel bad; therefore, it is bad.” To that, I could respond, “CCM makes me feel good; therefore, it is good.” And that would leave us at a standoff, with no way to determine whose “feelings” are correct, if it can even be said that feelings are correct or incorrect.
Don’t get me wrong. Feelings are not to be dismissed. I think I know what you are saying when you say you feel a demonic presence when hearing Christian rock music. I probably felt the same way when I tried to read the Quran (or Koran) many years ago. I mention that experience in the first article I wrote about Islam for my Christian and politics websites (see Islam Claims). But I did not stop there. I then proceeded to present many Biblical, historical, and logical problems with Islam in that article and the other articles I have written about Islam.
That is the pattern for all of my writings. I might mention my feelings or experiences, but that is just by way of introduction or illustration. I defend my positions and claims with Biblical, scientific, historical, Constitutional, logical, or whatever non-emotional evidence is appropriate for the topic at hand, as seen in the above “Racist” article.
In the case of CCM, in my three-part CCM article, I mention my feelings and experiences with CCM and mention how it has been a great boast to my spirituality and walk with the LORD. But I then quote Scripture verses to support that position, while pointing out there are no contrary verses. You mention the passages I quote, but you in no way refute my use of them. And you do not quote any verses supporting your position that CCM is “demonic” and “worldly.”
For instance, I compare Psalm 150 and Daniel 3 and comment that the same musical instruments are used to praise the LORD and to praise Nebuchadnezzar’s idol. As such, it cannot be said that any type of instrument is sinful. You reply that neither passage mentions instruments like electric guitars and electric keyboards that rockers use.
That is of course true. But it is also true the Bible the mentions handwritten letters but not email, but you obviously do not have any qualms about using email. I would assume you also have no qualms about using the myriad of other modern-day conveniences that are powered by electricity. Thus, you cannot claim that the use of electricity somehow transforms an otherwise godly device into an ungodly one.
The one logical argument you use, that churches that use old hymns are more-theologically sound than ones that use CCM, might be true in Estonia where you live, but it is not true here in the United States. I have attended many churches both here in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area and when I lived in Denver, Colorado that were theologically sound and which utilized CCM. In attendance were both older and younger people.
Meanwhile, most mainline Protestant churches use old-fashioned hymns, but they are generally theologically liberal, which is to say, they deny just about every essential doctrine of the Christian faith. They are mostly composed of older people, as such churches are dying here in the USA. Thus, it would seem it is hymns that are “dividing,” not CCM.
As for charismatic churches, though I disagree with many of their distinctive doctrines, they are generally conservative when it comes to the essentials of the faith. If I had to choose between the two of them, I would take that over the liberal churches.
For what I mean by the essentials of the faith, see my ministry’s Confession of Faith. A church that agrees with these doctrines would be theologically conservative, while one that denies them would be theologically liberal.
As for the dress of Christian heavy metal bands, I can remember Stryper being asked about this very issue. They responded that it was the standard “costume” for heavy metal bands, just as there are standard costumes or uniforms for other aspects of life, such as for police officers or football players, or me needing to wear a singlet for powerlifting contests.
But the important point is, just as the Bible never condemns any particular type, form, or style of music, it also never condemns any particular type, form, or style of dress or clothing. Now, I do make a case that it would be unbiblical for a Christian to dress in sexually alluring or scantily clad manner in my God’s Sex Plan books. And in those books, I mention that the Bible specifically forbids men dressing like women, and vice versa (Deut 22:5). But that is it. Nowhere does the Bible mention dress styles in general.
However, there is a passage in the Apostolic Fathers that does mention dress. These are the writings of the Church leaders of the late first through mid-second centuries. They are not inspired, but they do give us insight into the teachings and life of the Church of that time. That is why I translated them as a sort of “appendix” to the New Testament (see Analytical-Literal Translation of the Apostolic Fathers).
In one of these books, The Epistle to Diogenites, is the flowing passage:
1For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. 2For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. 3The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. 4But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life (5:1-4, bolding added).
Thus, early Christians most likely dressed just like those around them as appropriate for their profession. Music is not mentioned as one of the things that do not distinguish Christians from non-Christians, but given all else that is said, it could easily have been included. The writer goes on to say in what ways Christians are distinguished from non-Christians, but music is not one of them. Thus, early Christians most likely did not listen to different styles of music than non-Christians.
To go on, you say you agree with me in quoting Romans 14, but you seem to miss the point. You are indeed “judging” me with your email, trying to guilt me into giving up listening to CCM and even to give up powerlifting, if it means having to listen to CCM to get psyched up for training. You even make it sound like I need to make a choice—to follow the LORD or to continue to listen to CCM and to powerlift, if that means listening to CCM.
However, that is a false dichotomy, as there is no evidence whatsoever that listening to CCM while powerlifting or otherwise is contrary to the Word of God. Such a dichotomy should be reserved for behaviors for which there is clear and undeniable Biblical prohibitions, like premarital sex, as discussed in my Sex Plan books.
It bothers me greatly if you have used this same tactic on others, trying to guilt them into giving up something they enjoy but which you do not “feel” is good but for which you have no solid Biblical evidence to support your feelings. That is legalism, pure and simple, the kind that has turned many people off of the Christian faith.
In this case, it is even worse, as you are trying to guilt me into giving up something that is not only not spiritually depressing but is spiritually uplifting, that of CCM, while powerlifting is a great boast to my emotional and physical health.
To those ends, and to answer your questions about my current health situation, see my bio on my personal website. It also mentions CCM.
Finally, I found it surprising you were able to watch my workout videos. I recently stopped posting them, as, due adding SSL security to my websites, they appeared to no longer be working. But now they seem to be working again, so I have begun to post workout videos again.
Also, be sure to note the new URL for my Christian website:
www.Zeolla.org/Christian/ and for
my fitness website:
The above email response first appeared in the
Free Darkness to Light
It was posted on this site September 1, 2019.
Ethics, Spirituality, Christian Life
Contemporary Christian Music
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