It is almost becoming a common event for someone in the Christian music industry to affirm homosexuality openly. Vicky Beeching, the author of the song “Glory to God,” is the most recent to admit to this choice in her life. One slight difference with Beeching is that she has studied theology at Oxford. Beeching, who left the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) scene to become a television commentator, made the following comment about how she views God and the homosexual lifestyle. “I feel certain God loves me just the way I am, and I have a huge sense of calling to communicate that to young people.” This is the most disturbing aspect of this move within the industry. There is a growing acceptance of homosexuality and homosexual marriage – not in the world – but within what should be an industry that embraces evangelical biblical doctrine.
As an example of this kind of thinking you only have to turn to comments made by the former editor of Contemporary Christian Music magazine, Matthew Paul Turner, who said the following about his support of gay marriage when asked why he voted against Tennessee’s marriage amendment. He made it clear that he did not believe that homosexual behavior was sinful. He said he might be wrong but in his own words said, “I'd much rather be wrong and pursue grace and open acceptance than right and be arrogant and cruel.”
First of all please understand that I do not hate homosexuals. My heart goes out to them and desires for them to be saved and drawn out of this sinful lifestyle. Also understand when I say this, I say it knowing that God called me out of heterosexual immorality when I was saved. It is not that I consider myself or my views superior to theirs. I needed to be rescued from my sin, just as I am stating they need to be rescued from theirs. So I do not come from an angle that says, “Your wrong and I’m right.” I come from saying, “My behavior was wrong and God rescued me – your choice is wrong too and God wants to rescue you too! The reason I, or anyone for that matter, can say this is because the Scriptures teach that homosexuality and heterosexual immorality is sin. And here is where I have my core concern for the Christian Music industry.
My core concern is that too often, the Christian music industry is far more interested about “music” than it is about “Christianity.” It is far too much about our experience than it is about the Word of God. This has been the case for several decades now. The unfortunate reality that we are seeing today is simply the fruit of an activity done more and more out from under the Lordship of Christ and the authority of Scripture. Early in the rise of Christian music this was not the case. The early years of Christian music was dominated by people who wanted to sing about God, about His Word (often singing His Word), and about how God had saved them. It was all about music that spoke often of God – openly of God – and radically about loving and serving Him. Now much of our Christian music could be about God – or – it could be about your girlfriend. Too often we find little focus on God and far too much focus on us – or honestly, on how God makes much of us.
You might be wondering how all this fits into the current trends in the Christian Music Industry today? Here is where the problem lies – in the lack of a strong theological background in those making and producing it. Go back a few hundred years and look at those writing much of what we sang in the hymns. You will find among them people with very strong theological backgrounds. You will also find among them people who wrote songs to be sung in times of corporate worship than in a performance or concert. They also made much less money for what they did – therefore for many of them – theirs was a labor of love. Today, there is big money in the Christian Music industry. Their percentage in the music market is rising substantially. Thus entities like Word Music and others have far more “music industry people” than they do “church-loving, theology-driven song writers.” The difference you see is pretty amazing when it comes to God-centered, God-focused lyrics. It truly matters when people are passionate about their relationship with Jesus Christ. It truly matters when people are taught the Scriptures and taught so that they grasp sound doctrine.
Where is the Christian music industry? I would submit to you that even though they can effect “some” change through their music, the real issue has much more to do with where the church is today. When the church is no longer living in radical obedience to God and His Word, this will eventually be reflected in its music. When the church is no longer standing fast in sound theology, it will be reflected in its theology in music, or the lack thereof). When the church is no longer standing for clear biblical morality, it will be reflected in those who minister (or in too many cases perform) through music. What we have here is not a problem primarily with the Christian music industry but with how the church’s heart is reflected in it. The Christian Music industry is simply reflecting where the church is in our day.
The reason we are seeing the CMI (Christian Music Industry) struggle with moral issues is because the church itself is struggling as well. The church is struggling with these issues because it no longer lives with the Lordship of Jesus Christ as its rudder. This leads to a church that does not submit itself to Scripture as the absolute authority in faith and practice (which includes moral stances upon the Scriptures, rather than on the prevailing culture). There is a problem – but that problem in not in the CMI at its core. The problem is where the church is in our day – in desperate need of a revival of biblical Christianity. If you have read of the ongoing downgrade of biblical Christianity in the CMI – then step back and take a breath before calling down fire upon them for what is happening. There is a root to all this, and I honestly believe that it is the lack of biblical Christianity in the church. This root system will point us to a loss of our first love for Christ. It will point us to an abandonment of the Scriptures as authoritative and instructive to every aspect of our lives and culture. It will point us to the general malaise of apathy and hard-heartedness toward God’s Word, and indeed, toward God Himself. Saints, I realize that I sound like a broken record on this, but what we need is true revival where we address our own hearts first. If there were true revival where our hearts turned back to God – these issues would eventually be addressed because of the change happening in our lives as a result. May God do this work in us – so that what affects the church most is not music icons in search of fame and fortune – but men and women who love God with all their hearts, live according to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their lives, and submit to the moral, theological, and practical rule of Scripture in all that they do.