Contemporary Christian Music...What is it?

Ps 33:3 Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.
Let's find out what is CCM?

Has anyone ever asked you about CCM and you didn't know how to respond? Do you believe in your heart that it is what the Lord wants you to listen to, but others voice their opinion or dislike of it and perhaps took some scripture out of context to try to steer you to their side of the fence? 
Here is a Site that has a very rational and Christ like defense of ministry through modern Christian music. It also contains some fun satire, great testimonies, and links to many Christian music sites. Most of the following was from Atom Bigg's Site and used by permission on here to help shed some more light on Contemporary Christian Music....What is it? 

Atom's "Contemporary Christian Music: What is it?" Site can be found at: http://ccmwhatisit.bizland.com/


What is Contemporary Christian Music?

Contemporary Christian Music refers to several styles of Christian music 
that appeal to people who live in today's generation.  Praise and Worship 
music is written for use in church.  Christian Adult Contemporary music is 
written for inspiration and edification of Christian adults.  Christian 
Rock music is written primarily to inspire, encourage, and challenge 
churched youth.  Crossover music describes music written by Christian 
musicians with the intent of receiving airplay on mainstream radio 
stations.  Crossover music may or may not always be intended to relay an 
obvious Christian message but the lyrics are still consistent with a 
Christian point of view. 
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Pop Christian Music? Should Christian Music be popular?

It is true that CCM is the fastest growing form of music in the country. 
In the past 5 years Christian radio stations have multiplied faster than 
any other format.  Christian music now accounts for one out of every 20 
albums sold in this country (more than jazz, classical, and New Age 
combined).  The assumption is that “if its popular it must be wrong."  Was 
Jesus wrong when He was popular?  His miracles drew the crowds; His message 
changed their hearts.  He was popular but He never sacrificed moral 
principle to get there.  In the past, Christian musicians have produced 
music more than 5 to 10 years behind the current style trends.  Today they 
are not only keeping pace with the styles but even creating new trends! 
Because of the greater variety of music now available many Christians are 
setting aside their secular tunes and checking out Christian alternatives. 
Even some non Christians are now willing to give Christian music a chance. 
But as long as the message in the music remains the same CCM will probably 
never make it to the top of the popularity poles.  Nevertheless, many are 
listening.  What an awesome opportunity now exists to not only minister to 
our own people, but to present the everlasting gospel to a world that is 
lost.  Let us make the most of it! 
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Isn't Contemporary Christian Music worldly?Shouldn't we abstain from the world?

In referring to the evil in this world, we most certainly must abstain 
from it.  The Bible clearly forbids us from sexual immorality, greed, 
gossip, stealing, lying, murdering, pride, prejudice, etc.  CCM preaches 
inexorably against all of these kinds of vises.  However, the Bible does 
not condemn culture.  Jesus, our example, identified with the culture of 
the common people of the day.  He spoke the same language, wore the same 
clothing, celebrated the same customs, ate the same food, and probably sang 
in the same music styles as those around Him.  “The Word became flesh and 
dwelt among us”  (John 1:14).  From a historical standpoint it is well 
known that the Christian church had often been reluctant to accept organ, 
violin, and piano music into its worship because 1) these instruments 
produced “worldly” sounds and 2) they were not mentioned specifically in 
the Bible.  Years ago, in their zeal, members from one Southern Baptist 
church broke into the sanctuary late at night, removed the brand new 
“devil inspired” organ, and threw it into the bayou!  Well, today its the 
________.  May we learn from our past.  Meanwhile, let us seize the 
opportunity to transform  today's world.  We can deliver messages of truth 
to them through the music they are used to, will listen to, and can 
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Aren't the lyrics of CCM generally shallow?

The answer to this is “no.”  Just like the Bible CCM often speaks to 
real life situations, and does so from a God centered perspective.  Also, 
like much of the Bible, CCM may , or may not, mention the actual name of 
God or Christ.   CCM may speak of love, adoration, faith, anger, fear, and 
doubt.   CCM is often very relevant to what your teen may be going through 
in his or her spiritual journey and most teens can easily identify with it. 
The artists teens listen to are often young people close to their own age. 
Plus, the message spoken through music grabs the attention of the youth 
like nothing else will.  Lets ask this question:  How many sermons do you 
know of that youth are dying to get their hands on so they can listen to 
them over and over and over?  Welcome Contemporary Christian Music! 
Here are some examples of so-called “shallow” lyrics to some of today's top 
"You'll never find peace of mind in your pool of self.  You'll never find 
peace of mind in your sea of wealth.  You'll never find peace of mind in 
your [ungodly] rock n' roll.  You'll never find peace of mind if you sell 
your soul.”  (DC Talk) 
“I hear You speak and I obey, I walked away from the grave, I will never 
be afraid, I gave my life away, I'm obliged and I obey, I'm enslaved to 
what You say.”  (Audio Adrenaline) 
“If you want to get to heaven, you've got to count the cost, pick up your 
cross.  If you want to live forever, you better check the time, make up 
your mind.”  (Out Of Eden) 
“Today I will make a change, I will make a change today, purge my mind of 
mud and mire, cast all my gods away, and I am brand new today, I make my 
resolution.” (The Supertones) 
“I don't deserve this love but, I hear your voice, Lord, Jesus, ‘Go and sin 
no more...’” (Rebecca St James) 
“So I promise to be true to You, to live my life in purity as unto You; 
waiting for the day when I hear You say, ‘Here is the one I have created 
just for you.’” (Jaci Velasquez) 
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What's the difference between Christian Rock Music and Secular Rock Music?

Christian rock and secular rock sound very much the same.  Some stop here 
and draw the conclusion that “There's no difference.”  But the difference 
is unmistakable.  Bible based truth underlies the message of Christian 
rock.   Secular rock often revels in life without morality or God, may 
glamorize death and suicide, and often teaches sex outside of marriage as 
the ultimate.  Christian rock, on the other hand, says that God IS life. 
It preaches hope through the cross and heralds a Savior as the fountain
from which all joys find their greatest fulfillment.  In fact, it is for 
this reason, the Bible preaching lyrics, that secular radio stations give 
for NOT playing the majority of CCM: its message is a “turn-off” to the 
public.  Likewise CCM can be an ultimate “turn-on” to those who are 
hungering and thirsting for spiritual truth. 
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But I can't even hear the words!

It is true that in much (but certainly not all) of modern rock the 
instrumentation is the dominant feature.   But let us ask, “What is the 
dominant feature in classical music?”  What about any instrumental music? 
Clearly any music may be enjoyed just for the music's sake and this is not 
wrong.  However, the reality is that young people can and do listen to the 
words of Contemporary Christian Music.  Devoted Christian youth choose this 
music primarily because of the godly lyrics, not just the beat.  “There is 
no doubt,” states one parent, “that my little daughter will one day be 
singing along to her favorite songs.  I would much prefer they be lyrics 
that bring honor to Christ.”  May this be every parents wish for their child. 
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If my teen listens to Christian Rock, won't he develop a taste for Secular Rock?

The sad fact is that most teens develop a strong taste for secular rock 
before Christian rock is ever introduced to them.  After that Christian 
rock has very little appeal to them.  However, spiritually minded youth who 
grow up listening to modern forms of Christian music will generally hang 
onto the music they have grown to enjoy.  The music has fed their spiritual 
nature.  It has taken them through some rough times in their lives and has 
served to strengthen their walk with God [see “Testimony Of A Youth” at the 
end of this article]. 
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Doesn't the beat of Christian Rock make young people want to sin?

It is well known that the lyrics of secular rock n’ roll in general reveal 
attitudes of acceptance toward sin.  But what about the beat?  Many critics 
of CCM claim that a heavy, syncopated, or repetitious beat makes music 
innately evil.  They say that the beat gets into a person's body and 
arouses thoughts of sex and violence. However, no research has yet been 
found to support this.   In fact, music research does indicate that music's 
effect on moods varies greatly from person to person.  Music often simply 
reinforces whatever lyrics or picture theme (in the case of movies) is 
built around it.  Christian youth who have grown up on a diet of CCM will 
most often associate the sound of the beat with the lyrics they have become 
used to, lyrics of purity, holiness, and a call to service. 
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That kind of music really makes me feel uncomfortable.

No doubt, each one of us has experienced music that makes us feel 
“uncomfortable”.  Let's not stop here but ask ourselves the question, 
“Why?”  Is it because I'm not familiar with the music style?  Why do I feel 
suspicious toward it?  Let us remember that our feelings are not usually a 
safe guide.  Try asking more objective questions:  Are the lyrics 
consistent with Bible truth?  Do the musicians honor God?  Members of the 
early Christian church struggled with a very similar issue in regard to 
food.  Many felt very extremely uncomfortable eating food they knew had 
been offered to idols.  But the apostle Paul reassured them that this food 
was really ok.  A modern rendition of 1 Corinthians 8:4-9 in the context of 
music might read something like this:  “So then, about questions regarding 
contemporary music styles:  we know that the world's idols are nothing and 
that there is no God but one... But not everyone knows this.  Some people 
are still so accustomed to rock music being ungodly that when they listen 
to Christian rock they associate it with evil, and since their conscience 
is weak, it is defiled.  But our choice of music styles does not make us 
more holy...”  Are you willing to feel uncomfortable for the sake of the 
gospel?  What an opportunity we have to set aside our own personal feelings 
and allow others to be blessed! 
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Doesn't the Bible condemn Rock Music?

The Bible contains “everything we need for life and godliness”      (2 
Peter 1:3).   However, even Christian rock's most animate critics admit 
that the Bible contains no mention of a single evil music style or sound. 
Music was certainly around from the beginning of time.  But although it was 
used to promote both good and evil, by themselves the sounds of the music 
are and have always been entirely neutral.  In spite of this, more rules 
defining which music is acceptable and unacceptable have been contrived 
than there are music styles (see p. 8).  Shouldn't we use the same 
criterion for judging music that we use for everything else: “To the law 
and to the testimony”?  The Bible presents some descriptions of music that 
are, surprisingly, somewhat similar to today's rock music:  loud, lively, 
and intense.  Here is what the Bible says about music: 
“Sing unto Him a new song, play skillfully with a loud noise.” Psalms 33:3 
“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth; make a loud noise, and 
rejoice, and sing praise.” Psalms 98:4 
“Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; praise him with stringed 
instruments and organs.  Praise Him upon the loud cymbals; praise Him upon 
the high sounding cymbals.  Let everything that hath breath praise the 
LORD, Praise ye the LORD.”  Psalms 150:4-6 
“David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before 
God, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets.” 
1 Chronicles 13:8. 
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It is so loud, obnoxious, & abrasive.
It really grates on my nerves!

Statements like this are made about organ music, band music and classical 
music, as well as the sounds of rock.  Music is a very subjective 
experience.  We generally like what we condition ourselves to like.  The 
Bible speaks about praising God with “loud” music (Rev 5:9), “shouting” (1 
Chron 15:28), “crashing cymbals” (Psalm 150:5), and “dancing and 
celebration” (1 Chron 15:29).  Every person is certainly entitled to their
own preference in the area of music styles but they ought never to be 
presented as if they were God’s standards. 
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I'd just rather that my teens not know about Christian rock at all.

Some well-meaning Christian parents, in their effort to guard their young 
people from the influences of this world, have felt it best to shield their 
kids from Christian rock music.  Unfortunately, hiding Christian rock from 
your teens will often guarantee their gravitation toward secular rock which 
is readily available to them.  In fact, most kids are already establishing 
their musical preferences between the ages of 10 to 13. If your child has 
any spiritual interest at all then Christian rock will serve to reinforce 
the Biblical values you have taught him or her.  Testimonies of youth who 
listen routinely to Christian rock will assure even the most doubtful about 
the merits of this music.  It is time for our youth to mobilize, as in the 
days of the Great Reformation, combining enduring truth with the music of 
the times.  This music gives them courage, makes them strong in the Lord, 
and gives them a voice by which they can speak to the world! 
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Testimony Of A Youth

There was a time in my life when I was not a happy person.  I had a bad 
attitude towards life and my actions and words began to reflect that.  I 
know that some of it was just a part of growing up, but I also know that 
the secular music I was choosing to listen to was negatively effecting me. 

I got into Christian music after I attended one of my first Christian 
concerts.  I was blown away by the energy and excitement of it all.  I 
never knew how much fun being a Christian could be.  I began to buy 
Christian CD's, listen to Christian radio and of course attend more 
concerts.  I'm so happy now and excited about being a Christian. 

I look back on it all and I realize that secular music is filled with all 
of the stuff that I have chosen to stay away from like partying,  sex, and 
drugs.  So why should I be filling my head with that stuff?  I get so much 
more out of Christian music.  I listen to the lyrics and I think, "Wow! 
That is so my life!" I can relate to what the musicians sing about and I 
can apply it to my life.  And it has helped me become a  better person and 
encouraged me in my daily walk.  Stephanie, age 17 
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The Ten man made Commandments On Christian Music

(Please Note:  The following 10 assumptions are satirical only) 

I. The beat must not be dominant or be too fast (cuz the devil liveth in 
the heavy beat). 

II. It must not have too much syncopation (cuz the devil hideth in the 
irregular rhythms). 

III. It must not be “rap” or “rock n’ roll” (or whatever is 
new and popular). 

IV. The music must contain no distortions and the electric guitars must not 

V. It should not make me want to dance like david; if it does then it's 

VI. The music must not be more dominant than the words (but if it's 
classical then it's ok).

VII. You must be able to identify every word the first time through. 

VIII. The words must be straight from the dictionary    (i.e. no “ooh”s, 
“ah”s, “la la”s, “sha na na”s, or “oh ya”s). 

IX. You must not put religious words to a secular tune as did that man 
martin luther. 

X. It must sound “Christian” (to me that is). 

“Their worship is worthless, 
for they teach their man-made laws instead of those from God.” 
Mt. 15:9 
(A condemnation of music style is found nowhere in the Bible. 
Whenever it is presented from a heart that honors God it is very good.) 
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Contact Info:

WebSite: What is CCM?
Email: atom@valint.net
Snail Mail:
Atom Biggs 
P.O. Box 69 
Dixie, WA 99329
This article is used and modified with permission from Atom Biggs.
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