A Musical Journey

The topic of music in the church is considered a “hot button” issue. In writing this, I am not trying to spark a controversy; rather, I would like to share with you my own evolution where music is concerned. Some people will be able to identify with me while others won’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about.

When I was a small child, my first introduction to music was the music of Ron Hamilton. The Adult Choir of the church I attended always sang songs from Majesty Music. The Children’s choirs always sang Patch the Pirate songs. The congregational singing was always hymns. The only instrumentation that was used were the piano and organ. I began singing in church when I was very small. I was so small, that I can remember that a special stool was put behind the pulpit whenever I was supposed to sing, so the congregation could see me better. I usually sang hymns or songs from Patch the Pirate. I always loved music and singing!

As I was growing older and reaching my teenage years, my family started going to an IFB church that used Southern Gospel (SG) music. That church was considered to be “liberal” because of their choice of music. I liked the music. It was upbeat and lively. The organ and piano were still the only instruments that were used, but they were played in a fast-paced way. I continued singing in church. I had started taking piano lessons a few years before, so I was able to play for some offertories at church.

When I reached college-age, we moved our membership to another IFB church. In addition to the piano and organ, this church used guitars. I had never heard guitars used during the worship service before, but I quickly grew to like it. It added an interesting dimension to the congregational singing. We sang hymns, SG and also some songs from Patch the Pirate.

Upon leaving the IFB denomination, I started attending a large Southern Baptist Church. It was a bit of a culture shock in the area of music! The church used SG and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) for the special music. People used tracks that had all manner of instruments accompanying their singing. They also had background vocals. I had been used to all music being “live.” Hearing people use sound tracks was very new to me. The congregational singing was also different. We sang hymns, some CCM and some choruses. The instrumentation was piano, organ and guitars, but they also added flute and violin.

Because I love to sing, I joined the Adult Choir as soon as possible. I was also able to sing some special music. The choir used sound tracks. Never before had I sung with a sound track, but I did not mind. I was singing with a group and if that’s what the choir director and the rest of the group wanted to use, who was I to say anything about it? When I sang special music though, I played the piano and sang most of the time. On occasion, one of the church’s piano players would accompany me.

After I had been to this new church for a few months, they brought in a drum set to be used during the congregational singing. To be honest, I was very uncomfortable with that. As I worked it out in my own mind, I realized that the SG artists use pianos, guitars, drums, etc. They also traveled around to different concert venues (some of them churches) to perform their music. If they could do it and SG music was something that was sanctioned by some sectors of the IFB, then what was so wrong with using drums during a church service?

After I had been going to this church for a few months, I started seeing notices in the church’s bulletin for a new Choir Director for one of the Children’s Choirs. I thought about it for a few weeks. I had been a member of Children’s Choirs when I was a child. I had helped in a Children’s Choir when I was in college. I had a musical background. I kept getting the feeling that I was supposed to volunteer for the job. When I talked to the church’s Music Minister, he agreed to let me be the new Children’s Choir Director. (I have jokingly told him before that since I was the only one who came to him, he probably knew he would have to take what he could get. He has assured me that as soon as I talked to him, he knew I would be the right person for the job.) As we talked about my music preferences I told him that I was familiar with Patch the Pirate and SG. I was surprised to learn that he was also familiar with Patch the Pirate and even had some of their books in his office. I wanted to start out teaching the kids from something that I was familiar with. He wisely counseled me to start out with something the kids would be familiar with, which was CCM. I was still learning the songs and choruses. I was hesitant, but took his advice and started learning more about that type of music, so I could teach the kids. We used sound tracks exclusively, for that first year. It helped that I had been singing along to sound tracks with the Adult Choir.

By the time the second year rolled around, I knew a bit more about what I was doing. I incorporated some hymns into the music that we did in class. Some of the kids did not like it as much at first, but as we kept going through hymns and CCM, they learned to like them a little bit more. I also incorporated more “live” music into the program that year. Some of the ladies who played the piano for the services, played for some of the Children’s Choir Specials. Most of those types of specials were done with Patch the Pirate materials. I still have many of the books and cassette tapes from when I was growing up. So, I was able to teach the kids a wide variety of Christian music for the six years that I directed Children’s Choir.

Something that I was completely appalled about was choreography. I had always associated choreography with dancing. The church wanted the Children’s Choirs to put on two musicals each year–one at Christmas and another in May for the end of the year. (We took a break from the Choir during the summer.) Each musical used choreography. I am not a dancer. I have never danced and definitely never seen anyone dance in a church musical. I was literally scared that I would have to teach the kids how to dance. Thankfully, my assistant for that first year, offered to be the choreographer. I was very glad because I could then focus on the music and drama portions, both of which I was familiar with. As I watched my friend work with the kids and teach them the choreography moves, I was again faced with the fact that what they were doing was not wrong. Most of the choreography was just different hand-motions. I could remember singing songs with hand-motions in my Children’s Church when I was younger and also when I worked in Children’s Church. We sang songs like “Deep and Wide,” “Zaccheus,” “Father Abraham,” etc. This was basically the same thing. Once in a while, a particular song called for a little more foot movement, but for the most part, it was just hand-motions. I had to ask myself, if choreography was so wrong, then why did I do it as a child in my IFB church? Why is it okay to teach kids some hand-motions to use while singing in Children’s Church, but it’s not okay to use in front of the Adults?

After my first year, my assistant became the Director of the other Grade School age Children’s Choir. (The church had three choirs. There were two for the 1-6 grades and a preschool choir.) We still worked together on every musical. I directed the drama and music portions of the program and she directed the choreography. Some of the songs that we did were greatly enhanced by the choreography. I can remember one musical in particular where the kids were getting in a “time machine” and they took the audience to different decades…the 40’s, 50’s, 70’s, 80’s, etc. Each time period had a song that went with that time period and some choreography to go along with it. That was definitely one of the best musicals that I have ever directed!

Since November of last year, I have been going to a much smaller SBC church. They mainly sing hymns; however, they are starting to sing more CCM as well. The only instrumentation that is used is piano, organ and guitar. But, the church has acquired a set of drums, and will most likely start having drums be used on a regular basis. I have no problem with that.

When I sing special music at my new church, I nearly always play the piano to accompany myself. A few weeks ago, I volunteered on a Sunday morning, to sing that Sunday night. (The group that was supposed to sing that night, was not going to be able to.) I practiced many different songs at my piano that afternoon. Nothing seemed to work. I have a few sound tracks that I keep on hand in case I should ever need them. After listening to one of them, I instantly knew the song I was supposed to sing. I had never sung a solo with a sound track until that night. It was a little awkward for me, but I enjoyed it. I will probably give myself a break once in a while and let a sound track be my accompaniment. I still love to play the piano, so I won’t give that up entirely.

My musical journey has been long. My eyes have been opened to many things that I never thought I would experience. I have confronted things that I was taught were “just not done” in church. To my knowledge, no Scriptures exist that tell us exactly how music should be played in a church setting. I know that most of the time, it is the pastor’s own preferences that set the precedent. For myself, I enjoy listening to SG, CCM, and every once in a while, a Patch the Pirate tape.


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Updated: January 5, 2013 — 10:50 am


  1. More I.F.B. hypocrisy! ? I just watched a YouTube video so somebody at Crown College near Knoxville, Tennessee playing a guitar in their worship service! Yet, if southern baptists used that in their worship services, it’s evil! Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4lFRFcq4BU

  2. I also come from an IFB church, but my experience is a little backwards! I’m only 14, but a friend showed me this site. I truly enjoyed reading about your musical preferences ?

    I originally came from a SB church, from the time I was born until I was 12. I listened to all types of gospel and classical music (I have never really liked pop, rap, etc., but I would listen to CCM.) I sang at church as a younger child, I did specials all the time. I was saved at that church and called to the mission field.
    When I moved, the only Baptist church we found near was our current church. We didn’t know it was an IFB church until about our 4th visit. I had grown to absolutely LOVE this church. After we were members, my musical perspective completely changed. I no longer wanted to listen to CCM. I was reading through my bible one day and found a verse (I forgot where it is found exacty) in Psalms that says “Worship him with spiritual songs and hymns,” and I just stopped listening to it.
    We use guitars, mandolin, piano, and organ in our services. My brother and I play multiple instruments, so we are constantly doing oferatories (We are twins, so people think it’s adorable for us to get up there and play together, we play the same instruments: Clarinet, Trumpet, Violin, and Piano/Organ).
    I am a song writer, and I never use tracks. To be honest, I don’t know if I would ever be able to. It would be a COMPLETELY different experience for me! My brother and I write the songs together and song them. We may just make a CD sometime soon.
    I only wear skirts now because this church has influenced me so much. I was also having troubles with bullies, so I’m homeschooled now. I believe God does wonderful things for me each and every day.
    (Please don’t think this is me trying to correct you. I just wanted to tell you about how God has done a work in my life ?)
    God Bless You!

  3. Jamey, I was really hoping you’d write back stating WAS THAT YOU??? The lady behind you was me!!! but I knew it was a really long shot. Well I do hope that lady visits again tomorrow and I can talk to her and ask her to please, please, please record the songs she sings in her church and put them on youtube or maybe better yet, godtube.

    Well if this ever goes, I’ll just say I really must be too old to enter anything on this site as I keep getting errors, saying I entered the wrong captcha code and I know I did it right. Too Old

    1. LOl! Ral, you’re too kind. If I had been sitting behind you, you probably wouldn’t have been able to hear me singing. I have a quiet voice and don’t project enough unless I have a microphone in front of my face. I hope you were able to see that lady again.

      And don’t worry about the captcha’s. I don’t think they like me either. 😉

  4. My IFB experience totally did me in on all Baptist churches even though I’ve attended Baptist churches for over 65 years. Now, I cannot see myself ever going to any church other than a Calvary Chapel although I’ve read about a few bad Calvary Chapel pastors. Last Sunday, we noticed that someone had placed their Bibles in the row that we normally sit, so we moved up one row. Some teens sat in the row we used to but then must have left and sometime afterward, some visitors sat right behind us. The closing song was Jesus Messiah. I had never hear of that song before but the lady behind me sang it so beautifully and I discovered it as a very worshipful song, it was so very beautiful. My wife later commented that that lady sang like an angel. I chatted with her after the service ended. She said they were visiting and that she is the worship leader in their home church. I told her that she sang that song so beautiful. I hope the visit tomorrow as well and I think we’ll sit up one row and hope they’ll sit behind us again. I looked the song up on youtube but the only one who sang it was Chris Tomlin. I listened to him sing it a little bit but had to turn it off as it sounded too much like so-called Christian Rock and that kind of noise, I do not like.

    1. Chris Tomlin is one of my favorite CCM artists. If you want to hear some very worshipful songs by him without the beat, I would recommend “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” and my favorite of his, “How Great Is Our God.” I listen to him alot on Sunday mornings as I am getting ready for church. He puts me in the mood to worship.

  5. “Rules and penalties not grace and love”

    WoW! Doesn’t that sum up so much of what is called Christianity!

    Thanks, Jason (Love it, gonna use it!)

  6. Well, this topic hits me deeply. I am a preachers kid and grew up in a fundamental baptist church. My dad was the music director there for a very long time. Ron Hamilton was one his college propessors whom he idolised. Those who liked roch music or CCM were looked down upon. When I was around 20, my parents had the Hamiltons over for dinner and I was invited. I remember that I became upset when I wasn’t able to sit with them so my parents arranged it so I could. I think I was inwardly hoping for approval. Durring dinner, they hardly spoke to me and I felt that I wasn’t there.
    This further reinforced my need to leave the church and find God in a meaningfull way. I went to another church and started teaching myself the guitar. Music is a wonderfull outlet to me and I have played in praise bands. It is unfortunate that I was taught that rock music was wrong because it drove a wedge between me and my parents and it made me feel guilty about worshiping God. Now even 15 years later I still have shame and guilt if I worship God in a way that is meaningfull to me in the presence of my parents. Is this what God wants from us? Do you think God is smiling down on you because you made someone else feel guilty or bad about themself? Are you looking down your nose at other people in order to avoid looking at your own sin and flaws? I have been there and played that game. It was a game and not Christianity. It was rules and penalties and not grace and love. Well, I am a flawed person who has sin and problems. We all do. God made me this way and I am his beutifull creation. I am no better than anyone else although sometimes I want to think that.

    1. Jason,

      I completely understand. I’ve played the game as well. I’ve looked down on and judged people who didn’t listen to the “right” kind of music. I’ve thought I was better than those who I thought were wrong. Now, I listen to that “wrong” music, and I know there are people who look down on me because of it.

      Music is a wonderful outlet for me as well. I’m always listening to some type of music. I don’t try to force my preferences on anyone, and I no longer let anyone force their preferences on me.

    2. IFB knows everything right? That’s what they think. Some pastors even say that buy only products from Christians including your underwear! Buying from unbelievers puts you equally yoked with those unsaved people by giving in to their ungodly made products! Next time those guys tell me again that I am in a wrong profession (a musician), I will tell them, “hey you wanna borrow my Black Sabbath records? I can include my Petra records too, or maybe my Stryper albums, that ought to be good!” Little did they know Black Sabbath released a song called After Forever that says that Jesus is the only way to salvation…

  7. Ral,
    I’m so glad that you have found a church that you like. I have been praying for you. I’m sorry you’re getting the “cold shoulder” from your former church members, but it is something that I (and I’m sure others who read articles on this site) have gone through as well.

    As for the music, it took some getting used to for me as well. I didn’t know any of the songs at first either, but I quickly learned them and now I love to sing them.

    I will continue to pray for you and your wife. 🙂

    1. Here’s a list of songs sung often at the church we will be going to now. They come from a lady who told me a great deal about this church. She told me to google the song I want to learn. I began with the first one “10,000 Reasons”, It’s beautiful. I love the song. Since I’m hard of hearing, I never heard the words of contemporary music before, now I can sing along with the words:
      10,000 Reasons, Beautiful Lord, Blessed Be Your Name, Boundless Love, Everlasting God, Give Thanks, God Is Here, God Of Wonders, Hallelujah To The Lamb (I think I know this one), How Great is Our God, I will Follow, Indescribable, Jesus Hold Me Now, Jesus My Redeemer, Majesty Of Heaven, Mighty Is The Power Of The Cross, Mighty To Save, Our God, Psalm 23 (I know the verse), The Best Of Worship, The Name Of Jesus, Unfailing Love, Your Grace Is Enough.
      I feel I’m going to love this church. Jamey, thank you for praying for me and I’m quite sure I can thank others on this list, too.

  8. LOL! Yes, drums are loud. At my old church, when I sang in choir, I was on the end, right next to the drums. They were loud when I stood on the stage. But, the drums kept me on beat when we were singing. The few times where I did not stand in the choir loft, they weren’t nearly as loud, but complimented the other instruments.

    I’m glad you were able to go to a different church. I’ve been praying for you.

    1. Jamey, I wanted you to know that we soon will not be considered Baptists – unless I heard wrong or my wife forgets; I don’t always hear everything my wife tells me and understand less, plus, she is rather forgetful but with this said, I believe I understood her to agree that she will submit to my wishes, since I submitted to her wishes regarding the same (Church), prior. I understood her to say that the church we visited yesterday, she liked it and after I said that it was like a breath of fresh air, she said we will continue to go to that one. I certainly hope that’s what was communicated as I absolutely do not want to return to the IFB church we’ve been members of for maybe five years of so. We agreed that if anyone should ask us why we left, that we’d simply say “I’d rather not discuss that”. as we do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings nor do we want to spread discord amongst the brethren. This move will be a total break away from the Baptist church. The non-denominational Christian church is in the neighboring town of Coolidge yet fairly close to Florence (actually located in a ranch area, a maybe 3 or 4 miles from Coolidge. Now, instead of fully dreading Sunday mornings, I look forward to next Sunday and being able to live peaceably amongst church friends as I know there are people in this Christian church that live in the same community where we live yet our neighbors who go to the IFB church are extremely unfriendly with us. They were friendly when we were in church together but strikingly unfriendly on the homefront. Regarding music in the Christian church, it’s like what you describe here in this column and I don’t know any of the songs they sing as it’s contemporary music. The musical instruments are guitars that are not overbearing, so I was able to hear the singers. My wife loves contemporary music. We partook of communion yesterday for the first time in a mighty long time.

  9. We visited another church last Sunday morning, one that I had checked out the sermons of, on the Internet and was almost certain that I would not care to attend but we did anyway. I saw someone I knew leaving the first service (I didn’t know there were two services). I think I said somewhere else that I am very hard of hearing. After we sat down, my wife told me that my friend said they were having a special that day (not the regular service, I hadn’t heard him say that). When it started, some people walked up front and picked up musical instruments (one was the drummer and he started. It was loud enough for me to hear. When the guys with guitars began moving their hands on their instruments, I didn’t hear them but I could tell they were playing them. Then I saw a lady begin to sing (I didn’t hear anything but the drums, no voices, nothing but drums). There were word on a big screen, if is was a song, I could not tell as I never hear a song with those words before and I did not see anyone in the audience singing but people were raising their hands. when the noise ended, a guy walked up front and sat on a stool and began to talk, I didn’t hear but possibly two words he spoke, more than an hour had gone by. he went back to sit in the front row and the musicians and singer went back up front, the drums started and all was like the first time, all I heard were the drums, nothing else. The noise ended and another guy went up front dressed in a plaid shirt and shorts and holding probably a Bible. he began talking quite a long while, I may have heard 3 or 4 words he spoke. I have absolutely no idea what was said during the full two hours. Oh, they did show one hymn on the screen but still yet, no one in the audience seemed to be singing, just the one lady up front but I did not hear her over the drums. After we got home, I was looking through the material we were given and saw something that was absolutely wonderful. It talked about small groups in the neighborhood. That was so good to me because the folks that I know, go to the IFB church and they will not have anything to do with me because I’m termed a “weak Christian” because I used to attend all the services but quit doing so – even though not all of them ever attended all the services. Apparently if one never had attended all, they are still okay. Well I put this in the Music Group but there wasn’t a whole lot about music (just loud drums).

  10. Here’s another song that I heard this morning. We sing this one in church. It is so very powerful and I get goose bumps every time I hear/sing it. It is “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” by Chris Tomlin. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbe7OruLk8I

  11. I know of many CCM artists who sing hymns. They do sing songs that glorify God and give the Gospel message. Here is Crystal Lewis singing “It Is Well With My Soul.” This is by far my favorite arrangement of this song.

  12. Steve, everything you said about CCM is just a bunch of garbage and nonsense.

  13. Steve

    I don’t think I want to be as charitable as Jamey.

    I think you are a dried-up, sour legalist of the worst kind! (tell us what you really think Greg)

    “There is no bigger fakes or imposters who masquerade as Christians than Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) singers. What a bunch of sellouts.”

    “Of the thousands of CCM bands, incdividual artists and singing groups, not one of them preach the gospel of Jesus Christ on their websites”

    My goodness you get around alot. You know “EVERY” contempory group and “EVERY” singer. Based on this statement I guess I’ll go ahead and call you a LIAR, because that is what you are! And who in this world are you to judge “ALL” of them?

    “The CCM industry is of the devil”

    I want to say badly that you are of the devil, but I’ll stop short of that! I will say that these lies that you have written in this post about CCM music and it’s artists is about as hateful a thing as I have seen in quite awile, from someone that professes to know the Lord even!

    I’m sure, or at least hope you have heard of such a thing as the fruits of the Spirit, yes even your KJV has them, please take a couple of days and read about the fruits of the Spirit, and meditate about them, and then come back and read over this vicious, accusatory, lying post of yours and see if you might not think you have been hasty in your comments.

  14. LOL! Brian, I completely understand. I don’t like all of Majesty Music’s stuff either. I was very careful about what songs I taught the kids. For instance, one of the songs I taught them was “Cherish the Moment.” That’s a nice sentimental song and I thought the parents and grandparents would enjoy hearing it. The kids sang the first two verses and I sang the third verse. There was not a dry eye in the Sanctuary when we finished.

  15. Steve,
    Thank you for your comment. I’m going to try to answer you, but I’ll probably only hit the high points since your comment was so long. I hope you don’t mind.

    You wrote “Your own words reflect the danger of neglect of Scripture.” I haven’t neglected Scripture. In fact, in the last year, I’ve been in the Word more than at any time in my life. All I said was, I haven’t found any Scriptures that tell us definitively how music should be done in a church setting.

    “You were always first in the premise of the music…you contemplated, you enjoyed.” I’m not exactly sure why you wrote that. Everyone has different music tastes. Of course, a person is going to gravitate towards what they enjoy listening to.

    The definition of contemplate is “to view thoughtfully.” I contemplated different things regarding music because I was confronted with them. I did not just jump in without careful thought, first.

    Also, this was a story of my own musical journey. I wasn’t writing about anyone else’s musical tastes. I even said at the beginning that some would be able to identify with me and I knew that others wouldn’t.

    “Of the thousands of CCM bands, individual artists or singing groups, not one of them preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ on their websites.” This sounds like a statistic that you’ve heard someone else say and you are repeating.

    As far as salvation, I wrote out my salvation testimony and it was published to this site in August. Here is the link if you would like to read it. https://baptistdeception.com/lessons-learned-her-testimony/

    “When we sing Hymns in an IFB church it is because it preaches the Blood of Jesus, it preaches scripture, it does not glorify man But gives god the Glory.” I don’t have a problem with hymns. In fact, I like to put together different hymn arrangements for when I sing in church. Sometimes, I sing those. My SBC church sings mostly hymns. In the last few months, we have started singing a bit more CCM, but it is still mostly hymns.

    I am very choosy about what I listen to. I don’t like every CCM song. I don’t like every SG song or group either. But, I don’t automatically reject a certain song if it’s CCM. There are CCM songs that preach the Blood of Jesus, preach Scripture and glorify God instead of man. Those are the ones I like to listen to.

  16. I absolutely strongly dislike Ron Hamilton (Patch the Pirate), Frank Garlock and Majesty’s music with a passion! 🙁

  17. very intriguing story….
    within your story of your music adventure you see the result of the warning god gives in scripture,,,
    1st so you know my daughter is a music major. went from playing viola to guitar (electric and acoustic) to piano. she is a natural and she saw god working in her life in regards to music..
    you made a statement saying you have seen no scripture in regards … your own words reflect the danger of neglect of scripture… let me show you…
    you stated You enjoy…
    You were always first in the premise of the music… you contemplated, you enjoyed. your forgeting what God stated…
    first commandment,,, Love god with all our heart mind and soul… … the next point is Col_3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord
    take note to this verse…….. let the word of Christ …. singing unto who?? our desires wants? no singing unto the lord… you see
    the meat of those songs hymns psalms and spirtual songs are songs that Glorify God.. when you sing ccm or “band” type music its first self glorifying.. appealing to the flesh….. 2nd usually is a watered down doctrine a false gospel… let me give an example to this..
    There is no bigger group of fakes and imposters who masquerade as Christians than Contemporary Christian Music [CCM] singers. What a bunch of sellouts!

    Of the thousands of CCM bands, individual artists and singing groups, not one of them preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ on their websites.

    At their concerts, the only message given is to open one’s heart to allow God’s love to fill the emptiness. That is a false Gospel not taught in the Bible. Opening one’s heart to allow God’s love to fill the void is not the Biblical plan of salvation. In fact, it’s a road to Hell. Judas was a follower of Christ, one of His very Apostles, and yet Judas went to Hell when he died. Following Jesus is NOT the way to salvation. Opening one’s heart to God is NOT the way to salvation. Joining a religious group, getting water baptized or committing one’s life to God are NOT the ways to salvation. The CCM industry is of the Devil.

    If any CCM artist or group were to preach the Biblical Gospel as it is supposed to be preached, they’d lose all their fans. The Bible teaches that all humanity are wicked sinners, deserving of punishment by God in hellfire, forever. We all deserve to go straight to Hell and burn, in torment, for violating God’s holy Law. Even the most noblest and upright amongst us deserve to burn in Hell forever. You won’t hear CCM singers warn their fans about hellfire, judgment or the wrath of God against all Christ-rejecters (Psalm 7:11; John 3:36; 2nd Thessalonians 1:8-9). They propagate a warped message, which is NOT the Gospel.

    The good news is that Jesus paid our sin debt, and we can be saved if we’ll BELIEVE on Jesus as the Son of God, the Christ, to forgive our sins; but if one does not acknowledge their guilt of sin before God, for breaking God’s commandments, then they cannot be saved.

    The Bible also warns that adding any self-righteousness voids one’s faith as invalid, for true faith excludes all forms of self-righteousness (Romans 10:3-4; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). The Biblical Gospel includes the rejection of trusting in good works, sacraments, church membership, water baptism or any other forms of self-righteousness to get saved. Jesus plainly taught that a person must be BORN-AGAIN to enter into Heaven (John 3:1-7). CCM singer, Michael Smith, propagates the errant teaching at his concerts that fans merely need to invite Jesus into their life to be saved. That is a false Gospel.

    Salvation is NOT inviting Jesus into one’s heart. Salvation is a dirty, guilty, rotten sinner coming to God the Father through faith in His Son, Jesus, as the Christ, the Son of God, to forgive their sins. Salvation is coming to God through His Son to be forgiven of one’s sins. If there is no genuine acknowledgement of one’s guilty condition before God, then there is no need for a Savior. Salvation requires the admission of one’s guilt as a sinner. Salvation does NOT require ceasing from living a sinful lifestyle, for that would be self-righteousness.
    Salvation is not a reward; it is a free gift (Romans 4:5-6; 6:23). If there is genuine conversion, then God will work in that person’s heart through His Holy Spirit and a change will occur (2nd Corinthians 5:17). A changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance and not a part of the ROOT of saving-faith. All God requires for salvation is childlike faith in Jesus as the Savior, because of His work of redemption, as payment for one’s sins. We are saved by faith alone in Jesus as the Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 3:24-26).

    CCM artists deceitfully profess to be Christians; but in their concerts, on their websites and in their music, they fail to preach the Biblical Gospel. The producers who control the artists would neither allow, nor tolerate it. Despite all their lies, excuses and masquerading, the truth cannot be hidden—CCM performers are sold out to making money, loving the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:43). Their music is void of truth. Their concerts are void of truth. The only message preached is a vague, obscure, watered-down ecumenical Gospel which calls for ecumenical unity, at the expense of doctrinal integrity. They embrace all faiths, all doctrines and claim that God’s love supercedes all else. Consequently, Catholics and other false religious cults continue to be the biggest fans of the CCM industry. Catholics are the biggest fans of the CCM industry! That is because CCM propagates a false Gospel and is the enemy of Jesus Christ.
    so when we sing Hymns in an IFB church it is because it preaches the Blood of Jesus, it preaches scripture, it does not glorify man But gives god the Glory…. wonder why you were convicted while walking in the changing music? ever think the Holy spirit was telling you something? thats why we are to not grieve the holy spirit

    1. Steve wrote:

      Of the thousands of CCM bands, individual artists and singing groups, not one of them preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ on their websites.

      It took me all of about 3 minutes to find this on one of my favorite CCM artists Crystal Lewis:

      BEAUTIFUL SAVIOUR [from the album “see”]
      © 2005 crystal lewis

      beautiful Saviour
      beautiful King
      in my broken heart
      You did a beautiful thing
      who am i that You’d be mindful of me?
      beautiful Saviour
      beautiful King

      i’m humbled
      by your gracious gift
      i’ve stumbled too many times to be worthy of it
      yet You pursue me
      and lavish me
      with mercy, forgiveness and grace

      My, what horrendously devilish lyrics those are eh? I think you need to worry about your judgmentalism before you try to find the speck in someone else’s eye.

      1. I love that song!!! It’s very beautiful!

    2. LIAR and another product of a blind leading the blind! Sorry about your mind Steve. You just made a fool of yourself by being too judgmental and not understanding what are you judging about. What you said – you just heard it from somebody else!

  18. I believe I found Dying Testimonies that Greg spoke of, on the Internet. This one:
    226 — JOHN BUNYAN
    “We shall meet ere long to sing the new song, and remain happy forever in a world without end.”

    I know of this. I don’t believe it falls in the category of part of the promise although it could I suppose. One evening after going to bed, I was praising God in my prayer closet. Continually praising God for the way He used me (I refer to the personal ministry I was involved in), as I continued to praise God, I drifted of; it was as if I was in heaven and singing a new song. It was a very beautiful song. As I began to awake, I was singing that song, I reached for a note pad and pencil I kept next to my bed and I write down the words to the song. I could not write the music since I don’t know how to do that. when I was fully awake I looked at what I wrote down and wondered about the words because it was not beautiful to be then as I remembered it was when I sang the words in another place (very similar to what I perceive as heaven). I noticed that I had rested better than I ever had before (I was fully rested). The song had a much better meaning in heaven than it does on earth. I knew people would laugh at the words, so I destroyed them. I do remember what the song was about but I’m not going to say as no one would understand. I do believe however that each person will sing a different song (their new song) in heaven. It had to have been a heavenly experience, I have no other explanation. It’s just something for me to ponder. I do know that God inhabits the praises of His people.

  19. I wonder if someone can tell me why fundies hate experiences that some people have with God showing them something for a particular reason. I’ve shared my experiences with people in other churches as well as folks who don’t go to any church. But it was really a huge problem in the IFB church. I would love to be able to share when asked but now I cannot tell as promised, anyone who is or ever had experience in an IFB church. I believe the reason God allowed me to see what He showed me is because I would tell a lot of people about it and that I did. I’ve never had the experience any other place but the IFB church and I don’t understand why. Clearly, my pastor hated what I had on my web site and also some people who visited the same IFB church as they used to be members but moved away. I gave those people a card I had at the time that was related to my web site, they apparently looked and acted very strange to me in the next service. They went up front to talk to the pastor but I can only speculate what about. I need the help of someone who had been in an IFB church longer than I have.

  20. Greg,

    Brian Free’s group is Brian Free & Assurance. I just didn’t feel like typing all of that out. I figured if I just named the lead singer, you’d know who I was talking about. I’ve seen him in concert, too. I’ve also seen the Crabb Family in concert. I like Please Forgive Me as well, but my favorite of theirs is The Reason That I’m Standing.

    I would love to play more than one instrument. I have always wanted to play the violin.

    There’s a particular CCM song that I listen to a few times a week. It is quickly becoming my favorite CCM song. It’s by Avalon. The name of it is Everything to Me. Here’s a link where you can listen to it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ywzlq2AiAuM

    1. Jamey – I just got around to listening to the Avalon song………beautiful! That was my Sunday morning treat!

      How could some man, any man, stand in a pulpit and condemn a song like that, that speaks so beautifully about our Savior! But worse, how and why did I listen and believe them for as long as i did?!! I’ll tell you why, it’s because men are sinful, and unfortunately we like to follow a leader, and at the heart of legalism, there’s something that tells us that we’re just alittle bit better than some one over there. “Look at us we don’t like……….whatever the MOG says we don’t like!”……I am glad to free from so much legalism. “Where the Spirit of the the Lord is, there is freedom”

      1. Yes. It is a wonderful song.

        The IFB condemns such songs purely because they are CCM and they think that CCM is of the devil. I have actually witnessed occasions where SG artists have recorded a CCM song, and then the pastor would allow that particular song to be sung in church.

        I listened to the IFB for a long time too. Anything that the pastor said he was against, I was too. I’m also glad that I my eyes have been opened.

  21. Greg, here’s the locations of your group singing:
    Blessed Jesus Hold My Hand: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIJ9mDB8Vug
    Thank You Lord: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtiRRG0uPe8
    . I searched Google for Shenandoah Baptist Boys and they popped up. Also popping up was the SFL forum. I joined it but I later deleted all my routes to it as I’m really not interested in it. I know I can find it again (as mentioned above). I did enjoy seeing and listening to Lester Roloff though, I have some cassette tapes of him (quite sure of that however). I didn’t know he was a fundie. I sent a note to Steve regarding your wonderful offer.

  22. You know how the Spirit puts a song on your heart each day. Well so far today, I’ve been singing (in my spirit, the only way it sounds good), Blessed Jesus Hold My Hand.

  23. Ral – The songs you mentioned are all good ones. I particularly like “The Love of God” and I want to do it in our group, but it sort of difficult to put a bluegrass arrangement to it. And “Beyond the Sunset” is a beautiful song.

    I was wondering if you had located those videos of us, they were not authorized (we don’t care though) but the sound is somewhat sketchy, and if you don’t have good speakers you can barely hear the base guitar. Again, we sell CD’s privately, so you won’t find them in the stores, and they only get played on the radio stations that we send them to. But if you send me your address, happy to send you one!

    I have a book that my mother gave me from the late 1800’s, titled simply “Dying Testimonies” by S.B. Shaw. It is a fascinating, first hand account look at folks as they are dying and the things they say, it leaves no doubt that there is spiritual element involved. But one must be careful as to how much value we place on “testimonies” I have always enjoyed “testimony time” in churches, but too often in IFB circles it would become a “look at me how spiritual I am” And in Pentecostal circles (I have many Pentecostal friends and play often in their churches) the tales get even larger, and I must tell you I take it all with a grain of salt.

    The story about your mother is very interesting, and of course I’m very curios about what you saw, but I don’t want you to break any confidences to tell us.

    1. Steve, can you share some of the “Dying Testimonies”? After the experiences I had, I’d love to know what they are. I also had other experiences as part of my personal ministry was that of visiting people at the VA hospital in Phoenix, years ago. Some of those guys told me of near death experiences. I had prior, received permission from VA staff to visit the people in there.

  24. Jamey – Love Brian Free as well, went to see him a couple of years ago, I think it was Brian Free and Assurance back then. To tell the truth I don’t keep up with SG like I once did, but I still do love it. I think “Please Forgive Me” has to be one of my favorite SG songs done by the Crabb’s.

    I play guitar with this group, but when I was searching for a group to get into, I was hoping to play banjo, but these guys already had a good banjo player, but they didn’t have a lead guitar, so even though I had never really played BG style lead guitar, I figured I could learn. I can also play bass, and some mandolin.

    I love the sound of acoustic instruments!

    Paul – Josh Groban is one gifted man! Beautiful voice!

  25. I’ll get real close to my promise without saying anything about it. Let’s travel back to somewhere around 1960. I was living in Phoenix, had a fairly good job (for back then anyway). My parents had moved to Colorado. My mother was sick in MN but the doctors had no idea what was wrong with her. After moving to CO, she got better for a while but got sick again. She went to the doctor there but they couldn’t find anything wrong. After they lived in CO a while, I asked them if they would move to Phoenix, pick out a house and make the down payment and I’d make all the payments. They took me up on that deal and found a very nice small, two bedroom house in a nice area with 14 full-grown date palms and a few citrus trees in the yard. Mom felt better for a while and then got sick again. Her doctor in Phoenix wanted to do exploratory surgery, he found that she was full of cancer. He called dad to tell him that she cannot possibly live much longer. Dad asked me to go to stay with her at the hospital. I happened to be looking right at her face when she passed. Sorry but I cannot break a promise, I cannot tell you what I saw with my own eyes but I did tell a whole lot of people about it in detail, when I went door-knocking. Some people of the cults were stunned at what I told them. I’ll say this though, there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind where she went. Years later, we had adopted some kids although they lived with their parents. We adopted them as our grandchildren. It was solid then and is still solid, they call us grandma and grandpa and we get together on Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as some birthdays (for the older ones). When the two we adopted were a little older, their mother died of cancer, the dad took them to be with their mom and afterward, they begged him to take them to grandma and grandpas house. When they entered our house, the oldest one (the girl), yelled, saying that they “were with their mother when she was dying and we don’t want to go where we KNOW our mother went.” I explained the Gospel to them and asked if they want to pray to receive Jesus, the girl said yes but the boy didn’t understand, he was younger. She said that their mom was screaming and begging them to remove the awful creatures that were on the walls and ceiling around her, an exact opposite experience than what my mother had. When one is close to death, they often see spiritual things that others cannot see, oops, I shouldn’t have said that, well that’s not part of the promise. I realize the IFBers here may not like this post of mine but it’s very truthful.

  26. Thank you Jamey & Greg. Greg, I love your music and listen to the two songs you have on yotube each day. I’m with you Greg, I have absolutely no use for any rock music. After listing to SBB several times, I discovered the Chuck Wagon Gang and am listening to them right now. I tried my best to locate a CD by SBB but apparently there are none. Even though I can’t sing, I love to. A very long time ago, I purchased a little green song booklet by the Old Fashioned Revival Hour Quartet. I kept it in the glove box of my car. When I left home and got work in Phoenix, guess I was 19 or 20, There’s a very nice place called McDowell Mt Park where back then, I could drive off the road and into the park, a long ways from earshot of anyone (I think). I’d pull out my little green booklet and sing the songs as loud as I cared to. Some of my favorites were “It’s Real”, “Living For Jesus”, “Take My Life And Let It Be”, “This World Is Not My Home”, The Love of God”, “Beyond The Sunset” (this one was sung at my mother’s funeral at her request, Dec 1963 – this is another great story but I can’t share it here, my pastor hates it and it’s part of the promise.

  27. Thank you Greg! Now, I’m singing Crabb Family songs. LOL I love their music as well. Another favorite SG artist of mine is Brian Free. I sing alot of his songs as specials in church. I love anything from Casting Crowns as well. They are one of my favorite CCM groups.

    What instrument do you play in your bluegrass group?

  28. A recent song that I’ve really enjoyed is “You Are Loved” by Josh Groban. If there is one song that I would want Father to be singing to me from His heart, it would sound like this one.

    “You Are Loved” – Josh Groban

    Then of course, there’s Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up”.


  29. I love music, love the piano and thought I might like to learn when I retired 3 yrs ago, but haven’t started yet.

    I play bluegrass gospel music, and have been with the same group for 13 years, we play all over at local churches. We’ve played for most of the denominations except for catholic, not because we wouldn’t, but because we haven’t been invited.

    Love SG, some CCM, one of my favorite CCM groups is Casting Crowns, and I particularly love the Crabb Family, though they have been broken up for awhile, Jason Crabb is an incredible talent! My son, who is in college, plays hard-rock christian, and I gotta tell ya, I don’t like it. His group “In Search of Reason” have been blessed to play Creationfest the last two years.

    Ral, I’m with Jamey, post here whenever you like, enjoy hearing from you!

  30. Ral,
    I’m glad that you commented. I was hoping when you said you weren’t going to comment anymore, that wouldn’t be true. I’m also happy to read about your love for your wife. 🙂

    I like to listen to Southern Gospel as well. When I sing in church, it is usually a Southern Gospel song. I don’t think I’m that great of a singer. I only do it because I love to do it!!!

  31. Oops, I meant that I lived in S.W. VA, in Buchanan County (where my wife grew up), I married a Hillbilly, I met her in Colorado where she was taking care of an older sister who had cancer. She was my brother’s babysitter and I met her the evening I got to my brother’s home, spent the next day with her, got a date for the next day and at that time, I proposed. (Something I cannot elaborate on because of a promise I made my current pastor, came into play here and I knew she was the one for me). My wife is a wonderful wife, mom, an excellent grandmother and a wonderful great grandmother and I love her dearly. After 8 1/2 years working in an underground coal mine, I just had to move back to my favorite part of the country (Arizona) and I still love Southern Gospel music. I didn’t intend to write on this site anymore but you touched on a great love of mine.

  32. Why not put some of your music on this site? I love Southern Gospel. When I lived in the hills of S.E. VA years ago, I would sit out in my car and listen to Sunday Down South. I never could carry a tune but love to sing when no one is around or when others drown me out.

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