Anglicans and CCM

Discussion in 'Arts, Literature, and Games' started by Religious Fanatic, Jul 26, 2019.

  1. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Active Member

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    I know most Anglicans prefer traditional music during worship over modern ones, but are most Anglicans necessarily against CCM (Contemporary Christian Music)? As a Protestant I grew up with CCM but like many was disenchanted with how pretentious or shallow most of it was. Of course, there are many exceptions, but lately what's left of CCM has been contaminated with liberal theology and the emergent church doctrines. Most 'indie' groups are promoting heresy and sites like BadChristian celebrate Christians who not only teach this, but discourage others from even trying to hold steadfastly in orthodox theology, or strive to become holier people and fight against sin. Too much of the whole "it doesn't matter whether I'm working on being good or not because we're all sinners anyway". This mantra is even being exploited by Christian rock and metal bands to try and seem 'edgy' because they want to overemphasize the fact that we're all wretched sinners saved by grace to cover up the idea of lukewarmness to being holier and more obedient in our lifestyles. U2 also apostasized by promoting gay marriage and abortion to appease the masses. And don't even get me started about Sufjan Stevens! I knew the guy was a fraud and a heretic from the beginning because of his eccentric Episcopal leanings. He was always touted as a 'savior' to Christian music, but it was obvious that he was not orthodox by any means and he certainly gives it away by endorsing LGBT and other liberal, heretical views.

    That's not to say all contemporary worship music is theologically inept or bad. I know many sincere Protestants and even Catholics of every sort who have been touched by these songs, and my relatives have certainly benefited from them, even if I was not in to the style. My family always despised bad theology or shallowness in what is promoted as 'christian music'. What is your view on it?
     
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  2. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    Use of CCM is prevalent in ACNA. I was sent to work with an ACNA church that was going to transition from the 1979 BCP to the 1928. I went down there and we discussed the one or two areas where they were quite confused by the book - mostly the lectionary. I went to their worship service and the priest was very high church but all of the music was CCM displayed on TV screens. It made an incongruous presentation to have the 1928 BCP supplemented by Hillsong, Chris Tomlin, and Michael W. Smith selections.

    Many of the local TEC parishes also have a 'blended' service. It is typically the over 50 crowd that wants this. The bands are always composed of older folks and the music they gravitate to sounds like Dan Fogelberg and John Denver material or Kansas if they want to be edgy. It gives men in their 60s a chance to whip out a 12 string guitar and play one more gig and women a chance to do their best Grace Slick or Carole King impersonation.

    The Hymnal the REC published in 2017 chose to include a few selections from the CCM scene; perhaps 12-15 in the entire volume. So, I guess my conclusion is that it's theoretically compatible with Anglican worship, but not usually done for the best reasons or done well.
     
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  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    Godly, Biblical lyrics are godly, Biblical lyrics.... regardless of the type of melody they're set to. And the reverse is true, too. A rector should take care to ensure that all songs in church convey Bible truth and glorify the Lord.
     
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  4. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Active Member Anglican

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    Yeah, CCM is ubiquitous in my diocese; my church may be the only one that uses exclusively a hymnal. As Shane and Rexlion mentioned, though, there definitely are some contemporary worship songs that can be sung well and fruitfully in the liturgy. You just have to find the wheat amidst the chaff, and make sure you don't imitate the performance-driven entertainment-driven worship of popular evangelicalism. We use the 2017 (REC) hymnal and I love the fact that it has a few modern songs! It even has a few gospel songs, which aren't my cup of tea, and my congregation definitely could not do then justice :laugh: but for those can sing them well I'm glad they're there.
     
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  5. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Active Member

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    Tomlin, Smith, and even Hillsong are some of the better worship music producers in CCM. I tend to feel that the holiest artists (based on what we know of them so far) write more mature and formal music like this, rather than smut like Christian rock. It's not that some Christian rock isn't edifying, Newsboys and Audio Adrenaline being noteworthy examples. It's just that it has ended up going the way the nutty fundie baptist preacher imagined it would, with the younger hipster bands apostasizing or making excuses for heresies and vulgarity to try and seem 'edgy', but is really just an attempt to find a loophole to let them do whatever they want. Derek Webb is a rather startling example of this cancer in CCM. The man finally rejected the faith entirely after boasting about hypocrisy in the church, saying Paul justified profanity by using the word 'skubala', talking about LGBT discrimination without making any distinction over whether he taught 'love the sinner and hate the sin' or just flat out acceptance of sin entirely, and ended up committing adultery on his wife while producing an album about family values. The corruption from people like this is really astounding. I saw it coming from a mile away and knew the man was bad news before any of this ever happened though. Don't fall for Sufjan Stevens either.

    Like I said, God can use modern worship. Christian pop and rock is virtually dead compared to what it was in the 80s and 90s, but a lot of people were being mislead and exploited into thinking they were supporting Godly people. I was close to the CCM world back in the 90s-00s and watched a lot of this buffoonery take place, even met many posers from these bands at concerts, and a few authentically Christian people. The reason modern worship has overcome the fake Christian music is because it was consecrated entirely to the church without the same pretentions that trash like Amy Grant's "Baby Baby" or hipster rock was penned for.
     
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  6. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Active Member

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  7. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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  8. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Active Member

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    Ah, this is true. Hillsong does get a lot of criticism. But then again, some bands who write 'edgy' dark songs about doubt ended up attempting murder like Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying. They tried to mask disbelief in false humility by seeming 'objective' but at the time they really had no faith at all. This guy from Hillsong does this, but in a different way. Scary.
     
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  9. Magistos

    Magistos Active Member Anglican

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  10. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Active Member

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    I understand this and am struggling with these issues at times myself. I heard about Joshua Harris' departure from Christianity. I am not exactly good at conforming myself to everything God wants. Sometimes I wonder if I even do it at all.
     
  11. Jeffg

    Jeffg Member

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    was disenchanted with how pretentious or shallow most of it was. Of course, there are many exceptions, but lately what's left of CCM has been contaminated with liberal theology and the emergent church doctrines. Most 'indie' groups are promoting heresy and sites like

    I totally agree !!! The contemporary stuff is very shallow. I've always had kind of a problem with it, and the word "shallow" perfectly defines it. No depth to it theologically. I have heard that the Lutheran LCMS checks the hynms/songs for it's hymnals for theological soundness. I definatly like that idea.!! I have noticed, as somebody else noted in a connected post that ACNA church's (at least the one I've gone to) seem to use Hillsong type songs. I have not asked why they have not bought the new hymnal (though they could use the LCMS hymnals of the LCMS church they are worshiping at)
    The contemporary stuff seems to be what I call "feel good" music intended to make the worshipers feel "happy happy joy joy.. I'm a CHRISTIAN" instead of using a hymn for what I perceive as it's inteded funtion : to teach the laity, and to worship/glorify God. There's not depth to it.
     
  12. Brigid

    Brigid Active Member

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    That is a really good article! I especially liked:

    [QUOTE=Put another way, the failure of the church isn’t so much of catechesis but of fortification — of building the pure moral courage and resolve to live your faith in the face of cultural headwinds.
     
  13. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Active Member

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    I am 100% opposed to “CCM” if that’s what we are calling it now. The great Anglican organist Herbert Howells warned of this crisis in a lecture delivered around 1970 on the sacred nature of church music. I positively refuse to set foot in any church that uses any form of CCM. I am also deeply suspicious of the CCM industry; I believe it is in collusion with several mainline Protestant churches; both the major CCM record labels and every mainline denomination except TEC is headquartered in Nashville; this reminds me of Boeing moving their corporate headquarters from Seattle to Chicago “to be where are customers are” (with United, American, and Southwest having hubs therein, and Delta having hubs in Cincinatti, Detroit, and the Twin Cities).
     
  14. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Active Member

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    Also on a personal note I have to say I suspect CCM to be unscriptural on the basis of the Regulative Principle; I have yet to hear any CCM song that for me met the criteria of “decently and in order”, and while the radical Covenanting Presbyterians like the Reformed Presbyterian Church of the USA demand a capella exclusive Psalmody on the basis of the Regulative Principle, I disagree; I see other Biblical canticles and original hymns, provided they are decent and in order, like Te Deum Laudamus, being acceptable, and the instruments enumerated in Psalm 150 and only those instruments are acceptable (which I believe would allow a harpsichord or clavichord due to the fact these instruments pluck their strings, but would prohibit a piano; organs are acceptable, as are the timbrels used by the Ethiopian Orthodox debteras or cantors for time keeping when singing the Divine Office).

    Speaking of which, the Cathedral Office of Byzantium used at the Hagia Sophia until the Fourth Crusade only sang the Psalms, the Scriptural Canticles, nine of them to be precise, and a handful of exceedingly ancient hymns like the Trisagion (“Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Have Mercy On Us”), and also in Thessalonica, Athens, and a few other places until Turkocratia.

    If an Anglican parish were to vouchsafe to sing only the Psalms and Canticles expressly featured in the Book of Common Prayer (of which the 1979 has a lot), I would feel reassured in going there. If, lacking a pipe organ or a Hammond organ, they decided to go A capella, I would support that. And if they decided to only use a mix of Anglican Chant (which is tonal) and Plainsong (which is basically Gregorian chant, and usually just modal), I would go for that. But in general the best standard to ask yourself when it comes to liturgical music in an Anglican parish is surely this: does this music carry on in the tradition of Byrd, Tallis, Charles Wesley, Samuel Sebastian Wesley, Bairstow, CV Stanford, George Dyson, Herbert Howells, Healey Willan and Francis Jackson? Would Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, or for Americans, our Anglican Presidents, want to sing this hymn? And above all else, is this music of sacred origin, written in the traditions of the Church to glorify Christ both in its sound and by its lyrics? Are we sure this is not rather the mere adaptation of 20th-21st century popular music with nominally Christian lyrics?

    I don’t even want to hear Jazz in the Church, and I love swing music. The closest I could come to that would be African American Spirituals or the Shape Note music of some types of Baptist churches in the South using a mode of singing called the Southern Harmony, because these, while inspiring secular, popular compositions, were originally developed as Christian hymnody.

    But even then I would still protest them in the context of the Anglican Rite. Anglicanism has a rich liturgical patrimony and this includes music as much as it includes said services and the Prayer Book. I am Orthodox but I don’t want to impose Coptic Tasbeha or Byzantine Chant on the Church of England; in like manner a Charles Wesley hymn would freak me out in the middle of a Russian Divine Liturgy. These rites, which are all of equal beauty and value, represent each culture’s way of glorifying Christ through music; all of the best music in the world, for example, the work of Johann Sebastian Bach, is rooted in sacred music, which is why we still sing Gregorian, Ambrosian, Mozarabic, Coptic, Syriac Armenian, Georgian, Ethiopian and Byzantine Greek melodies composed more than a millenium ago (Ethiopian church music is notated and some of it has been carbon dated to the 600s), whereas the popular sailor’s songs Arius wrote new lyrics for to get sailors to spread his heresy around the Empire are long forgotten (although I suppose it could well have been Yo-ho, yo-ho, a Roman’s life for me). :duel:
     
  15. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    Being an early music enthusiast who plays the harpsichord and clavichord it was interesting to see you mention these instruments. (The strings on a clavichord aren't plucked but rather struck by brass tangents which resemble the end of a flat ended screwdriver.) Clavichords are whisper quiet and aren't suitable for use in worship. If they're heavily amplified they end up sounding rather like honky-tonk pianos.

    I could see the harpsichord working quite well for an intimate gathering, perhaps for Evening Prayer or Compline with some Byrd or J.S. Bach being played as voluntaries. It would work rather well in the Lady Chapel at my parish church. I've been asked to lead an evening service later in the year so it's something I might consider and I have a portable instrument I could use.

    Harpsichord.jpg

    Curiously, the 16th Century Sternhold & Hopkins Metrical Psalter which was often bound together with the BCP uses the term 'virginals' in its rendering of Ps. 150. Virginals are small cross strung harpsichords but in 16th century England the term was also used for harpsichords generally.

    His praises with the princely noise
    of sounding trumpets blow;
    Praise him upon the viol, and
    upon the harp also.

    Praise him with timbrel and with lute,
    organs and virginals,
    With sounding cymbals praise ye him,
    praise him with loud cymbals.

    I generally don't like CCM and it doesn't really fit in with the regular liturgies used at my parish church. I do however sometimes include a more restrained worship song at the Eucharist or use some contemporary music at occasional special 'one off' services. Some members of our congregation particularly like songs by Graham Kendrick but one of our died in the wool traditionalist ladies hates them with a vengeance. (I'm inclined to agree with her!) One morning at church she suggested that I read a book called '50 People Who Buggered Up Britain' as it included Graham Kendrick and in her opinion Kendrick was indeed responsible for buggering up church music. I nearly choked on my post-Communion coffee on hearing an elderly lady use the 'B' word in church!
     
  16. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    To me there are really a couple of issues.

    1. The lyrics of a great deal of contemporary church music often seem light and subjective, and whilst I don't want to only sing Immortal Invisible I don't want to lose this great repertoire of music and exchange the profound for the inconsequential.
    2. Often the music has come from other sources, and I know one that we sing goes to music to which many of us sang a bawdy ballad. It is one of the reasons I link chant, Anglican or Gregorian, because the music is born of the liturgy to serve the liturgy.
    3. I am dead against using contemporary secular music inappropriately in worship, and I recall being horrified to here the lector announce as the gradual of the feast of the Ascension - leaving on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again. I think I have never been back to that parish, just by the way.
    Let all mortal flesh keep silence ...
     
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