Light shows, well rehearsed performances, world tours, screaming fans, fan clubs, groupies, big business pushing sales, effective marketing campaign, and the possibility to earn awards all describe what drives many modern bands in their quest to become legendary in the music world. Today, many Christian musician artists are virtually no different than the world’s counterparts. Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) artists have fan clubs, groupies that follow them, professional marketing, big name record labels, online stores, and memorabilia for sale. They perform using the same entertainment format as their non-Christian bands. So what’s the difference between non-Christian and Christian bands? Oh, that’s right, most CCM artists have traveling pastors who speak a word during the show, and they sing/worship God.
I’m a firm believer that with enough mob mentality you can convince many people to say virtually anything. Most CCM concerts are full of entertainment and void of any real form of teaching/preaching the Gospel of Christ. They are big on emotional worship, heart gripping stories from their speakers, and praising God, but are they truly obeying the Lord and His Word? I’ve discussed this subject in the past only to have many people disagree with me because they say “Christians need an alternative to the world’s entertainment; there is nothing wrong with the way that CCM artists worship.” Why do Christians need an alternative to the world’s entertainment that is a mirror image of the world? If you give me the right setup with the right entertainment, I can wear a group of people out to the point where mob mentality will lead them to say just about anything I want them to say including, “Jesus, I accept you.” The emotionally charged environment along with the need to be accepted will lure many to “repeat after me” because they want to be part of what’s going on. If you take the time to break down the format of almost all CCM concerts, it’s easy to see that everything is just part of the show. Everything that is done during the concert is to promote the band so that people will buy their products.
I have no problem with using electric guitars, drums, etc. in our music services. My problem is how CCM is literally no different than what you see at any other concert. Sure, there are no alcohol sales and vulgar slogan signs, but what is the real difference? When these CCM artists come to town they setup their portable store and fan club booths, have photo ops, speak at local Christian radio stations, sale tickets, and set out to make as much money as possible all in the name of Jesus. We must face the truth, and the truth is CCM is big money and big business. Many in this industry only slap the name of Jesus to everything, when in fact they are more concerned about meeting deadlines and getting better contracts. The old saying, “Time is money, friend,” sums up the marketing machine driving many CCM artists. It’s all about the money, the fame, and keeping your record label happy with all the green that is pouring in! It’s not only CCM, many Southern Gospel singers are in the same boat. The Christian music industry is a marketing machine that is driving ecumenical theology and false teachings. Feel good messages of hope, unity presented as the ultimate showing of love, and peace through praise/worship are the hooks that are peddled in order to lure in more customers.
I’m not saying that all Christian music artists fall into this category, but I do believe many of them are lured into this business by fame and wealth.
Ephesians 5:1-21 (New International Version)
1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a] 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:
“Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.