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The Concession Stand
by Paul Landkamer
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Originally, I dove into fighting the arguments against contemporary Christian music. I almost got angry at the stupid accusations thrown at a musical style that has, and will continue to bring people closer to Jesus. Itís said the beat is evil. The music promotes immorality. Itís not what God wants. Itís more difficult to sing than hymns. The syncopation is bad for us and goes against the bodyís natural rhythm. OK, here I go again, with my mouth agape at the claims. And the claims are unsubstantiated. The evidence amounts to only opinion.

Rock-bashing is the same as the King-James-Version-only mentality. If KJV-only is a valid stand, that means the non-English-speaking world is doomed to not having Godís word unless they learn English, and archaic English at that. I sense some toes being stepped on. Not long before the KJV Bible came out, people were being excommunicated and executed for making unholy translations into vernaculars. I wonder if there was any flack over translating the Bible into Latin from its original Greek and Hebrew languages.

Like the vernacular reaches more people, different musical genres reach more as well. And donít try to tell me to separate the lyrics from the music and then condemn the whole because the music doesnít fit your idea of Godly. Thatís like taking the ink from the pages and condemning the Bible because the paper isnít holy.

Itís fine not to like a style of music. Itís fine to like traditional hymns (which, incidentally, were at one time NOT traditional). Thereís too much evidence that the music is not evil like many claim. Personal testimony, which canít be refuted, is just one such form of evidence.

I have a testimony that contemporary Christian music, rock and its related genres in particular, brought me into a closer relationship with Jesus. Itís served to sharpen my discernment skills. Itís helped keep my mind on Godly things and even helped me quit lots of foul habits with no withdrawal. But Iíve written my testimony on other occasions. Itís time to hear some testimony from others.

OK, Iíll admit, I used another form of evil to collect these testimonies. Yes, I used the Internet Ėeven MySpace.com! I also put out a request for testimony at Xianz.com. and used it, as well. Read what some friends have to say:

(bold print for emphasis)

Hi Paul,
While I'm not sure I can say I was saved through Christian Rock, it has drawn me closer to Jesus, I know that it is almost all I listened to when I was initially saved. Bands like Barren Cross were just awesome (I give away my age). The one band and song that I can honestly say impacted me most was by The Violet Burning - called The Harlot. That song brought me to tears, and really made me realize how I prostitute myself to this world everyday. If you get an opportunity to listen to that tune, check it out.

The bands available to Christians now are just incredible! The talent and the availability of the music on internet radio stations is a great way to bring a conversation with an unbeliever around to Christ...


Hi Paul,
I really don't have a "Testimony" so to speak but I am a musician of 25 years. It has been my experience that it is the lyrics that make the difference not the music. If the lyrics glorify and lift up the name of Jesus, and the songs have a message of christian ethic or experience that shows how the Holy Spirit works in us then it's effective to draw people to salvation. If the lyrics are sensual and humanistic lifting up the goodness of mankind then it is effective to deceive. It has nothing to do with science really. After all the Lord tells us to "Make a joyful noiseÖĒ
Peace Brother,

Hey Paul, preaching to the choir is always good practice for when we have to preach to world. And I love good conversation on such topics anyway, it increases our knowledge. Your right though, if it is distracting from the things of The Word then by all means leave it. The same as an alcoholic, to him drinking anything is sin because of his problem or addiction.
Perhaps we just need to change the approach or deliverance of a message and understand that many people are old fashioned, afraid of change, or just plain closed-minded. Here is my thing, I will continue to write and play the music God has given me and I won't compromise The Word or the faith. People have to see us in our humaness and the grace we live under because then they will see the peace we have. And that in itself will bear the light we have in this clay cracked pot we call our bodies. Many of these people just misunderstand the working of the body as the apostle Paul spoke of it. It is best to avoid vain argument and understand their weakness of faith or understanding but for us to live in the freedom we have in Christ Jesus.
Yes, I know, preaching to the choir! Like I said, it's good exercise! Personally I don't care for hard rock these days but I do enjoy being a part of a live jam session. I would not be the musician I am if it were not for the orchestration of The Lord to make me that way by my experiences and understanding of the doctrine of grace. And, for the scientists...God has used me and my music to bless many people and even bring them to know Jesus or rededicate their life to him, one being my own brother! I don't think the scientists know what they are talking about.

Peace my brother,
CCM music & my salvation Message
I am really busy this week and will be on vacation next week, but I will send you my testimony of how God used a top CCM music group to save my life (not an exageration) and then used me to minister to them when they really needed it. CCM isn't really "rock", but it's POP. God used Touched by an Angel and The Left Behind series, both also seen as evil by many in mainstream religion, to get me to where my path would cross with this CCM group. I will email them to see if they (the members of the group) so see if they will allow me to use their names since I know them so well. I don't think they will mind, but you just never know.
If you don't hear from me in 3 wks, I wouldn't be offended if you send me a reminder message. Esp since it sometimes takes awhile to get them all to read their emails and reply.
Forgot to mention that I love alternative Christian music too, and the Reliant K song "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been" is one of my life songs.

ÖI don't know what else to say. I know God has changed my life through praise and worship like Hillsong, I have worshipped to their music and felt God's presence in my life. Just the other day I was going through some depression, and I listened to hillsong and worshipped to it. I could feel as I was listening to it that wall were being broken down, my depression lifted the more I sang to the Lord. The Awesome annointing that is on this music does not seem to be disrupted by the 4/4 drum beat or the rock and roll guitar that they sometimes use. Worshipping God with music that is based on the 4/4 time sig has only improved my life
Luke B.

I grew up a pastor's daughter so you can imagine what kind of music my parents listened to. Anything from traditional hymns to Southern and Bluegrass gospel music. But I do NOT like those styles of music. If I don't listen to secular country music, why would I listen to Southern Gospel or Bluegrass Gospel music? I grew up listening to Journey, Foreigner, Styx, Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, and throw in a few songs from a select group of metal bands and there you have my taste in music. People assume that if a song "sounds" like what is found on secular radio, then we shouldn't listen to it. But they're focusing on the "style" of music and not the lyrics that are being sung. I heard someone say a few years back, "point out which note on the page is a sin to play and I'll quit playing that note." You have to appeal to what the individual person likes to hear. If they like hip-hop, then give them Christian hip-hop music. If they like metal, then introduce them to Christian metal bands, and so on, and so on. I'll take dcTalk, Newsboys, Kutless, and Jennifer Knapp over Squire Parsons, Bill Gaither, and the Crabb Family ANY day. It's like eating. People know what they like to eat. If you hated broccoli (which you may, I don't know) you wouldn't want someone to force you to eat it just because it's good for you. God can and does use any style of music He wants to bring someone to Jesus. He speaks through the words of the song. The God I serve is not limited by what style of music is being played. To keep someone from listening to the kind of Christian music they want could keep that person from receiving the message and/or blessing intended for them.

(shortened version of faithwriters.com article):
Yes, Bob Dylan literally saved my life at its darkest hour, even though he didn't know it of course since we never met and probably won't this side of the river. What's more, he did it through what some misguided souls insist is...gasp!.."Devil Music". (insert drumroll/fanfare here)
Even though I'm more often irrepressibly cheerful, at that time life's alligators had pretty much chewed me up and kept trying to spit me out. On top of everything else, I was in the deepest throes of menopause and probably just short of homicidal on occasion.
For about two solid weeks, all I could do was careen blindly through the day, then crash into bed at night with all of Dylan's gospel cd's on max repeat while I tried to figure out how best to dispose of myself.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum, as it often does if given a chance. That music, especially songs like "I Believe In You", "Slow Train Comin'", "Saved", "Property of Jesus", "The Groom's Still Waiting at the Altar", "Trouble" and so on applied the pure balm of Gilead to my tortured soul until I dropped off to sleep.
Next morning I'd still be alive and kicking, however feebly, with fresh determination to take care of business for sure that night. Then I'd somehow survive that day too and collapse at night again with renewed determination to carry out my darkest plans this time without fail.
But I couldn't leave without saying goodbye to my Zimmie the only way available to me, could I? So I'd put on all his gospel music yet again, with the same determination as always. Got the same result, too.
Woke up resentful to still be wasting air, as I saw it then, but at least I kept waking up. Eventually the peace brought by this dear man acting as God's own agent, singing of pain and redemption as no one else on earth can, won out AGAINST the worst the devil was trying to do.

Forget those silly formulas people concoct to "prove" some kind of music is devil worship in disguise even while it glorifies any aspect of the Holy Trinity. I could devise a cockamaimie formula to prove somebody's a monkey's uncle and it would be just as worthless and dangerous.
Forget about messin' with Texas, too. Around me what you gotta worry about is messin' with my Zimmie.


Listening (and singing) to Christian rock at High Wycombe was a way for me to continue worship when I wasn't able to go to church. Superchick kept me from getting dragged down by reminding me that other things were of far more importance, and getting upset/deflated wasn't going to help anything. Audio Adrenaline helped remind me to practice what I preach. Newsboys reminded me I wasn't alone here. Allan Lorton, Rebecca St. James, and Aptcore provided worship leadership. Aptcore even helped inspire several worship poems. And by sharing Christian music, people became aware of why I do some things I do... Such as talking to [a friend], who said she'd be too scared to travel alone. I pointed out that when you don't have a fear of death, you become hard to scare.

Basically, you could ask me for a song by song testimony for all the songs I enjoy. Some would have more than one instance tied to it.

Love ya, Daddy! [My daughter :) ]

The testimonies given without any bold text are included to show Iím not the only one who adheres to these arguments for CCM. Sure, some Rock-bashers will say we canít use those arguments, but their reasons donít stand up. It simply comes down to a matter of personal taste. One other argument I heard is that we enjoy the music, therefore, itís fleshly, and when we become part of Godís Family, we have to shed our old fleshly self. The shedding is true, but that guy who liked classical music should then have to switch to what style, rock? The insincere girl who loved the hymns even though she didnít believe would have to switch to what Ėrap?

I couldnít help it, but in Sunday School the other Sunday, we were in Job and I couldnít help but see Jobís three ďfriendsĒ as rock-bashers. In all sincerity, they gave their reasons Job must have been harboring some sort of sin. Though each had tastes of good counsel, they were wrong. Eliphaz, the voice of experience; Bildad, the traditionalist; and Zophar, the legalist: they were all good with throwing around convincing-sounding arguments. Evidence is quite often interpreted incorrectly. Neither Experience, Tradition, nor Law have proven CCM to be a tool God doesnít use.

Hereís where I make my concession. If CCM doesnít speak to you, or if the rock-backing of the lyrics offends, donít listen to it. If CCM is going to split your church, you should probably not adopt CCM. Not all CCM is suited for corporate worship where mixed age-groups and cultures might worship. My concession is: though CCM isnít proven to be evil nor to promote immorality in all listeners, itís not right to sing or listen to it in every situation. Itís one of the many tongues God gave us. If a certain tongue will offend, or is not understood by the listeners, donít do it. Respect your brother or sister.

As always, let your music help keep your focus on Jesus!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Frances Perkins 15 Jun 2006
This article reaches deep into a subject of critical importance in today's world. It's good to hear from other folks' experiences. Unless we listen to one another in prayerful discernment, we cheat ourselves of a great source of strength. With old slewfoot doing his worst to separate (divide and conquer) God's people, we need unity and compassion more than ever. That said, if the world wants none of what you have, when you've taken all pains to treat them with the care and respect other human souls need and deserve, don't let it get you down. Just ROCK ON!


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