Why I Left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement

I just finished reading the little book by Dan Lucarini bearing the full title of:  Confessions of a Former Worship Leader:  Why I left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement.

This book was initially published in 2002 and I read it shortly after it became popular.   I’ve read quite a few books about the “music wars” since then but none as simple and easy to grasp.  This book is by no means the end all for those debating or struggling over the issue or CCM (Contemporary Christian Music), however it is an excellent starting point.

Lucarini writes biographicly of his personal experience in CCM and how he finally decided to leave it.  He was a self-proclaimed “Rock-n-Roll” rebel who got saved at age 23 and soon after saw the wisdom in forsaking the Rock culture for Christ.   However, within a few years he was leading worship in a church and he along with other musicians began to push the music towards the rock style.  He details how this happened slowly and how he and others justified their choices and convinced themselves that they were the spiritual ones while the “Traditionals”, as he calls them, were legalists and Pharisees.

Arguments are made against CMM from both logical and Biblical sides and these are mostly valid, but other books handle that more persuasively.  (Lucarini teamed with John Blanchard to write Can We Rock the Gospel in 2006 and then in 2010 came out with It’s Not About the Music: A Journey into Worship.) The strength of this book is the personal and insider side of the story.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in studying the issue of music in the church.  It is a particularly good starting place for those new to the discussion.

I’ll leave only a few samples from the book:

Dangers of misplaced passion

If you put hot-blooded males and females into a passionate rock music group, there will be strong temptation for sexual sins.  CCM styles facilitate an atmosphere where female’s innate desire to have emotional intimacy with a man can easily be achieved.  The problem is, most of the time that man is not her husband. (p71)

Lucarini quotes Tozer.  I love that this quote comes from 1959.

A.W. Tozer was blunt in his assessment of this pseudo intimacy:

Much of the singing in certain types of meetings has in it more of romance than it has of the Holy Ghost.  Both words and music are designed to rouse libidinous [lewd; full of lust].  Christ is courted with a familiarity that reveals a total ignorance of Who He is.  It is not the reverent intimacy of the adoring saint but the impudent familiarity of the carnal lover. (p.73)

Finally, I think this chart contrasting traditional and contemporary worship is interesting.


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