I'm quite sure that most professing fundamentalists still wouldn't allow for rock music in their church services. Even if much of fundamentalist worship isn't acceptable to God, they won't use rock music at their churches. But I do believe that the relationship to rock music has changed in fundamentalist churches. Before they were sure that the Bible taught that rock music is wrong. Now you hear even some of the most conservative of the fundamentalists say that its difficult to judge whether it's wrong or not. To many now, it's just a preference they have, not playing rock music, but they would have a hard time explaining why they shouldn't allow it. They often sound tentative in their opposition to rock music.
What is the evidence that I see that says that rock music is becoming or already is a non-issue in fundamentalism?
Here's what I see. Rap music is played at the Together for the Gospel conference and professing fundamentalist men get together with those men at that conference. Some of the music at the same event is played with rock music. Most of the primaries find rock and rap acceptable. They may not like it personally, but most of their churches play it. That's not a problem for them.
MacArthur isn't criticized by fundamentalist leaders for the rock music played at his church. The Resolved Conference plays rock music for the young people that come---this is a Grace Community Church conference. That doesn't stop fundamentalists from fellowshiping with MacArthur and Grace Community Church. You don't hear this as a criticism coming from major fundamentalist leaders.
You will see at SharperIron, which represents a large segment of young fundamentalism, that there is stronger argumentation for rock music than there is against it. Some of their blogroll don't have a problem with rock music. They may not like it, but they aren't against it. Nobody suffers any repercussions for supporting rock music or fellowshipping with it. It's reasonable now not to have a problem with rock music at SharperIron. SharperIron is much more against the doctrine of perfect preservation than they are against rock music. Anti-perfect preservation is nearly at an essential doctrine with the rock music being a liberty.
You don't hear fundamentalist leaders writing this: "rock music is evil," "rock music is wrong," or "rock music is sinful." If they say anything at all, you hear or see them saying that it is a non-essential and a liberty issue.
Probably the major voice in fundamentalism against rock music now is Scott Aniol. You know Scott is against rock music. You can tell that Scott is not a favorite among the fundamentalists because of that. He is not respected by many because of how strong he is. And yet, when he talks about rock music, you will not hear him say that rock music is sinful, wrong, or evil. In a sense, I hate to say it because I like Scott's stand, but he tip toes around the issue. In a recent conversation on his blog, he and a colleague talked about how that cultures should be learning from each other and allowing other cultures to reveal our blindspots.
Promoted fundamentalists are friends with those who listen to and promote rock music. You see Dan Philips, one of the Pyromaniacs, go to a Chicago concert and promote rock music of various forms, secular and "Christian" on his blog. And he gets zero criticism from fundamentalists. None. Chris Anderson of SharperIron and in with fundamentalism and SharperIron, even Bob Jones University, considers him a friend. Rock music doesn't break friendships with fundamentalists. It's totally a side issue any more.
Why Is Rock Music Becoming a Non-Issue in Fundamentalism?
First, fundamentalism is being influenced much by conservative evangelicals. This is obvious. They want to fit in with those guys and mostly those guys use rock music in their churches. That's got to be overlooked.
Second, young fundamentalists listen to Christian rock and even secular rock. Fundamentalists know that. They don't want to come down too hard. I hear from credible sources that most kids on Christian campus are listening to rock music.
Third, the universal church belief and the consequential belief about unity has ditched rock music as an issue. If all believers are going to get together and most professing believers are using and listening to it, there's not going to be that unity they think we're supposed to have. So rock music has become a casualty of Christian unity.
Fourth, the people who do preach against rock music are not respected. Many of them use the King James Version and that is more odious to many fundamentalists than rock music. They would rather have rock music than KJVO. I sense this personally. It's easy to pick up. The major leaders that themselves don't like rock music preach all around the issue without actually saying the words "rock music." Kevin Bauder at Central is one of these. You know he's against it, but you don't hear him come right out and say it.
Fifth, fundamentalist churches had already started thinking about the audience, when it came to their choice of music. They weren't thinking so much about the unchanging nature of God as they were what people liked and what people would feel. Without the right purpose of music to anchor them, they have veered away from the right purpose. Some of that is seen in the influence of Patch the Pirate and certain fundamentalist 'evangelists' upon fundamentalist music. To their credit, some fundamentalist leaders, like Bauder and Aniol, understand the similarities between some of the Majesty Music and rock music. It's harder to oppose the rock, at least for them, when fundamentalists have entertainment oriented music themselves. The trite lyrics and show-tune music of revivalists in the midst of even conservative fundamentalists make fundamentalists seem as guilty. This kind of music has been acceptable in even the Bob Jones University branch of fundamentalism and the relations between those forms and rock music is very close in the minds of a Bauder and Aniol, among some others. If they were going to come down hard on rock music, they likely feel they would need to disparage a huge chunk of those with whom they have the closest affiliations.
There are probably more reasons, but these above are the major ones. I don't mind being wrong. But I think I'm right here. Rock music has become a non-issue in historic fundamentalism. What do you think this means for the future of fundamentalists?