We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Music Evangelism Is WRONG

Although I do feel there may be some place for reverent music in an evangelistic setting, as an act of worship by believers, any dedication of a service or meeting to musical evangelism (whatever the style) falls under Paul’s condemnation of persuasive methods that drain the cross of its power (1 Corinthians 1-2).

Further, since music can be a powerful emotional catalyst, it has the tendency to underemphasize or neglect the cognitive involvement that is vital in making a decision for Christ.  Music has powers of its own, powers of persuasion and sentimentality that often counterfeit the work of the Holy Spirit.  Even some CCM promoters like J. Nathan Corbitt have acknowledged this:

Because of its power to motivate, music has a tremendous appeal. For this reason, music is often used as an attractive part of proclamation events. Crusades, evangelistic rallies, and revivals often feature a soloist or music group who will appeal to the musical tastes of an audience.  At the same time, music can also be manipulative. The power of music to affect the emotions can create an atmosphere in which people respond solely out of emotion without cognitive understanding. Like people who may be motivated by advertising to change brands because the tune is catchy, people may be motivated to change religions because they like the music—and they never understand the meaning of their decision.

John Makujina, Measuring the Music, pg.29


Fred said...

I couldn't agree more with your assessment, Glen!

Matt Wingler said...

Hi Glen,

Here's my question...Do you believe that it is unbiblical to have a service (like a Sunday night service) strictly devoted to worship music?


Crystal's Ministry Updates said...

I have to say God uses many things to reach people....so I disagree here but it isnt going to hurt our friendship.....maybe someday i will see things as you do....but im not there yet.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


If the service is a church service it shouldn't be evangelistic. The church assembled has never supposed to be for evangelism, rather it is where believers meet. So there is nothing wrong with a service of just hymns among Christians, and we meet with other couples for what we call "hymn sing" evenings. But to set up something for evangelism using only music, I think is dead wrong.

God can use anything to reach people -- he used the Mormon Church to reach me. But just because God can use things that doesn't mean we should just use anything hoping God will use it. The problem with music evangelism is as the article points out -- emotional manipulation. And how do you preach the Gospel plainly by a concert?

Crystal's Ministry Updates said...

You know, with all due respect,I am not talking about false doctrine being spread such as the mormom church et all. I am not writing this out of a place of anger or bad attitude or anything. Just because the gospel is communicated in song does not mean that it is being communicated for emotional manipulation. God has used music both hymns and CCM to minister to me in some very difficult places, used the truth of His word in it to convict me of sin at times etc. And I'm glad my parents played those old vinyl Maranatha records etc when I was growing up, because along with them reading the word and those songs the truth was planted into my heart------and not necesarily from emotion. David ministered to Saul with the harp---did Saul get saved? Most likely not--but music had a place of very real ministry. And Im not into the cotton candy fluffy repetetive junk----just as there were good and bad hymns, there are good and bad modern CCM songs, ones that are biblically accurate and deep and ones that are not. Id rather my unsaved cousins listen to the Christian songs of Lecrae for example than the heavy metal and other secular junk that is out there. Sometimes when you listen to a song You KNOW if the person that writes and sings it is the real deal in their relationship with God because there is a depth that cant be explained any other way---emotional or not. Preaching can be just as manipulative but we dont stop preaching and sharing the gospel. Anyway, again I say this out of calmness,
gentleness and respect. Praying you had a blessed Thanksgiving.

Crystal's Ministry Updates said...

Glenn, Out of all respect, yes music has emotion behind it--hymns do as well. And maybe yes, some people do respond out of emotion at concerts, but who knows if seeds are being planted and eventually they will chose to trust Christ later? And also maybe a handful DO truly understand it and trust Christ--then it is worth it so by ALL means preach the gospel over and over and over! The time is getting shorter. We have the privilege and responsibility to share the gospel here on earth and wont be able to do it in heaven---by then it will be too late! We must do it here. So I say yes, preach it at concerts and no the goal of all CCM music is NOT manipulation--no one can make a blanket statement like that.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


You really need to go back to the context of the citation, as well as the context of comment about God using Mormonism. Let’s hit the latter first. 

You claimed that God can use anything to reach people, making a pragmatic conclusion therefore that using music for evangelism is just fine regardless of the results because, after all, “God can use anything.” My point was that, yes He can, but that does not mean that we then can go willy-nilly using whatever we feel like using to preach to people, no matter how bizarre the methods may be.

Now, the context of the passage, as well as the discussion is not about personally listening to CCM. The context is USING CCM or music in general as the METHOD to evangelize; e.g., concerts, bringing in bands, etc to invite people to so that by listening to these bands/concerts, etc they will be evangelized, regardless of the lyrics, etc. That is called “bait-and-switch”; you get them on an emotional high so they will go to church but when they get to a normal worship service suddenly the entertainment isn’t there. There is also the old saw which says, “What you win them with is what you win them too.”

Music is a very powerful too and every single “evangelistic” concert, etc, works on the emotions to manipulate people into accepting whatever message is being put out. As noted in the citation, Paul condemned “persuasive methods” for preaching the gospel. The WORD is what leads people to Christ, not music.

Again, the citation is about music evangelism and a method of supposedly preaching the Gospel to the unsaved, and NOT about a Christian (or even an unbeliever) listening to such music for personal devotion, etc.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


I just came across you second comment and had already posted, so I’ll respond to your second one.

Again, the point is not that SOMEONE might be affected towards the Gospel at a concert, etc, because God can use it, rather the point is that using concerts, etc for evangelism is wrong-headed. The vast majority of CCM, with its bands very similar to rock bands, etc, does indeed have a goal of raising emotions. The proof is the reactions to people at said concerts.

Are there good contemporary songs? Yes, such as those by the Keith Getty/Stuart Townend team, but these are not what are paraded at “Christian” concerts. But again, we aren’t talking about just concerts or “radio songs” in general, we are talking about when the stated PURPOSE of a concert or a production at a church, etc, is for evangelism.

Jesse said...