Sunday, September 18, 2011

Was David Cloud Right in His Exposure and Reproof of West Coast Worship?

David Cloud recently produced the following video exposes of the music of West Coast Baptist College and Lancaster Baptist Church in Lancaster, California. To show how out-of-touch I was on this issue, I didn't even hear about it until about three weeks ago,when the whole shabang actually started in March of this year. Once I did, I found that it had exploded online with other Cloud articles, discussion on fundamentalist forums, blogs, a multitude of emails positive and negative sent to Cloud, and at least one answer from Paul Chappell (which Cloud answers here).

First, here are the presentations by David Cloud. You'll be able to figure out what he's doing.



I hate this stuff by West Coast/Lancaster, even if it weren't written and performed by CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) groups. I hate what they do. I hate the way they do it. I hate the philosophy of ministry that it represents. I hate the way it misrepresents the God of the Bible. I hate the way it deceives the people with whom it is involved. I hate what it does to churches. I hate the way that it harms and even ruins discernment. I hate the way that it perverts a biblical or true understanding of spirituality and love. I will not tolerate it. I will have nothing to do with it. I hate the way that it endorses false worship for churches. It's disgusting.

Second, what about Cloud's point? Is it wrong to do what West Coast does, that is, adapt the CCM songs to fit their view of God? I don't think it matters for West Coast, because they already know what they want, and if a CCM group doesn't write it for them, they will either write it themselves or find it somewhere else. However, it should be tell-tale to anyone that West Coast finds it necessary to dip into or borrow from the CCM world to fulfill their goals. I believe there is understandable reasons for this. These CCM performers know what they are doing with their music. They contrive and choreograph emotions and feelings with their music to produce an fraudulent, imitation experience of spirituality that fools the participants. And then what the CCM people want to get happens to be some of the very same that West Coast wants. The biggest difference is the smoke. West Coast misses some CCM smokiness. Taking away the smoke is like putting lipstick on a pig.

CCM (A) has taken their stuff from the world (B) and now West Coast (C) takes theirs from CCM (A). If A = B and A = C, then B = C. They get deniability about the world. That's it. They didn't get it from the world. And that's supposed to mean something. If it means anything to you, check your IQ.

People are not satisfied with biblical, true manifestations of spirituality. They covet a tangible interaction with God. They want "more" than faith. The CCM claims authenticity and gives a placebo. West Coast rents out the CCM toolbelt.

The CCM is very much akin to the recent phenomena of Conversations with God. A man has written what people want to believe an authentic experience with God must be. Because it is what people want to hear or think, they believe it. The feelings manufactured by CCM of whatever variety, including the West Coast style, easily fit the sensation people would register as genuine. They are ready to believe it. It parallels the power of suggestion of the hypnotist.

The feelings conjured by CCM aid in numerical growth. People seek either signs or wisdom. The music titillates the senses, convincing that something real has occurred. Besides that, it is sheer gratification. People like it, like they want candy instead of vegetables. And the growth itself further fools the adherents. God must be working, the same God who gave the feeling during the music. For some, if they've got to go through church anyway, they would rather enjoy it. And it will be easier to invite the world if the world likes better what it's hearing. In the end, God "gets" to take credit for growth caused by CCM. He gets associated with CCM. Think He likes that?

The music does make provision for the flesh. It does build a bridge to CCM. It does endorse the CCM "artists." But those are the least of the problems with what West Coast does. West Coast drags God's holy name through their muck and mire. It profanes the truth. It uses carnal weaponry. It feeds the flesh. It makes provision for the flesh. It brings the world into the church. It perverts church growth. It presents a false God. It offers false worship.

CCM music works for West Coast. What works for West Coast is what's important. If it works, it's good to do. It's good because it works. If it didn't work, it wouldn't be good. This is the kind of reasoning that justifies it.

I don't think that associations here are the major issue. What is major is the music itself and the stink hole from which West Coast constructs its pipeline. That says a lot about West Coast and what they think of God. I'd be happy to have West Coast listen to what I'm writing here, but I'm afraid they would marginalize it and figure out a way to ascribe psychological problems to me so that they can keep going the way they're going. After all, they probably have more people in their bathrooms at one time than we have in our whole church service.

Remember the NEA funded Andres Serrano exhibit where he sinks a crucifix in a jar of urine and calls it "art"? The CCM music is the urine in which its "artists" float the person and work of Christ. They use a profane element to express a sacred teaching. Am I leaving you in doubt about where I stand on this?

I don't know that David Cloud and I have the same view of worship. From this encounter, I know we're closer than what I am with West Coast. By far. He is right on West Coast though.


Unknown said...

It's also weird, because the singers and the people don't know how to "get into" the music. They sing and perform stiff-like. Since they have adopted CCM music, they should adopt the "groove" too, why hold back? BTW, Soundforth does the same thing adapting music from the Gettys and Towend (UK CCMers/"modern" hymn writers).

d4v34x said...

That profane crucifix display was Andres Serrano. Mapplethorpe was otherwise perverse.

Bobby Mitchell said...

I agree. It is truly sickening. I would like to say to PC/WCBC "Why halt ye between two opinions.". They need to decide what they are and be that. Be the rockstars or not. Make a choice. Pick a side. Baal or Jehovah. CCM and New Testament separatism cannot co-exist. It is the yoking of an ox and an ass. It even looks and feels silly- the mannequin-like style of singing songs that were intended to get a body moving. If this is the music they want why not ditch the dresses and suits and get out the faded jeans and hipster tops. Again, make a choice.

d4v34x said...

I have to say that I don't think it's adequate to say "they take their stuff from the world." Various hymn tunes have influece from outside the realm of the strictly religious. The difference would be the divide between pop and higher art.

Along those lines then, I don't think it's fair to lump "In Christ Alone" or a couple of the Gettys' songs in with Casting Crowns and Michael W Smith as Cloud does.

Finally, there's a reason people "dip into or borrow from the CCM world". We ought to be able to express our praise in 1) a contemporary idiom that is 2) acceptable to God in both quality and style. Where does someone go to get that? The options are limited.

Steve Rogers said...

I agree wholeheartedly with the analysis given here and know Bro. Cloud has gone to great lengths to keep this issue about the Biblical doctrines of music/separation, not personalities.
Because of my conviction regarding the local church, I can honestly say that I have no concern what Paul Chappell does as under shepherd at LBC. The reason that this junk needs to be exposed is that he is peddling it to the sheep of other churches thru his blogs, music, books, and college. He wants public influence as another IFB pope, but without public scrutiny of his compromise. Boiled down, send me your sheep (students), your staff(conferences) and your $(music,books), but don't question my doctrine. Those that have, have been attacked personally, including myself.
Many IFB clones defend Chappell blindly, repeating the same old fundamentalism minimalism that music/separation are non-essentials. In this particular camp, "soul-winning" (I use that term loosely) covers a multitude of sins.

William Dudding said...

Much of CCM is just popcorn junkfood that feeds nothing more than the emotions. Totally agreed.

However, what I find unfair in the treatment that CHAPPELL is receiving is that the same "guilt by association" standards are not applied to many of the older revivalist songs and hymns that were associated with what was considered worldly in their day. I was shocked when I read some of the stories behind some of our favorite hymns. Unitarians and Catholics who wrote some of them.

So if you are going to call CHAPPELL a compromiser...check your own hymnbook or better yet...only sing Scripture and compose tunes that cannot reflect any lost culture's style in any timeframe. Unless time removes association...then we gotta argue over how much time?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hey D4,

When I say stuff from the world, I'm saying style, manner, medium, and the world system, not something other than a church. "The world" isn't the planet or even things you find there, like microwaves. I'm talking about it like Rom 12:2, the zeitgeist, the spirit of the age.

The bottom line isn't that we must find some new voice for our music, but whether it honors and represents and worships God. Does He like it? I think you know these things. We can write a fresh tune that represents God, I have no doubt. There are many out there. If we can't write or find them, then use the old tunes, which to people today are new, because they don't even sing them anymore.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Bill, Bobby, Steve,

Thanks. I agree.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I didn't read all of Clouds articles. As much as I can, I agree with you about the revivalist stuff, which is why we sing from a psalter and use Trinity Hymnal, Baptist edition.

In post, I say that the guilt by association thing is not the major problem. I devalue that argument. However, 1 Cor 10 spends a lot on association, saying its a legitimate problem. But the association, I believe, that is the problem is with the underlying, unbiblical philosophy that shows up in the music. This takes God's name and associates it with that.

At the end, I put a bit of a disclaimer with David Cloud, because I can't say for sure where he is at. He probably isn't right where we are at, but I believe he is right here.


d4v34x said...

Thanks for clarifying the sense of "world" you were using.

Gary Webb said...

We use "Living Hymns" edited by Al Smith at our church. One of the reasons we purchased it was because it had over 800 songs in it. We learn new songs from it fairly regularly. However, there are many songs that we do NOT use because of their doctrine, even though they are popular songs among IFB. Also there are songs in it we will not sing because of association, regardless of the words, like the few songs by Bill Gaither. And, of course, no Southerner who is a Biblical Christian should sing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" if they know the writer and knew what she was expressing in the words of that song.

William Dudding said...

"no Southerner who is a Biblical Christian should sing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" if they know the writer and knew what she was expressing in the words of that song."

Oooo...that sounds interesting. I'll need to find that one out. I wouldn't sing it simply because it was the Yankee theme song of the Civil War. The American founded in 1776 died in 1865 when the North won. Anyways, now I'm totally off topic!

Don Johnson said...

Just a note on association... It is true that some of the older hymns have questionable surroundings, but it when the 'association' argument is made, it is primarily current associations that affect the situation.

Sure, Bernard of Clairveaux was a Catholic, but his hymns are so far removed from that association in the minds of the hearer that it doesn't become a problem of a contemporary Christian saying, "Oh, so Catholic songs are ok, then?" If we were using contemporary Catholics, we might be called into question.

And yes, Horatio Spafford was... well, a bit of a nut. But... it's ancient history.

The association argument primarily has relevance when it is relatively contemporary. And it isn't the primary or best argument, as Kent noted.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Anonymous said...

If there is such a problem with CCM, why don't people stop talking about it and stop just autimatically assuming things about them and why does someone not just simply go interview someone? You know, be around the people so you can see the real them! If you all have so much of a problem with CCM, contact them and ask to speak with a manager isntead of just sitting around typing and talking about it. If they are so called Christians then they just might take what you have to say into consideration...

Anonymous said...

Reading the article and the comments leads me to declare "UNBELIEVABLE!" I, too, detest the world's styles that have infiltrated the church. Thankfully, the video included both the WCBC presentation and the CCM version of the song. If you cannot hear and see the difference between WCBC's version of the song and the CCM version, you really need to prayerfully ask the Lord why you have such a critical, blind spirit! The only thing similar was the WORDS -- and the songs had some powerful lyrics.

I applaud WCBC for knowing how to take a song and "fix" it.

For those of you who disagree with this, I would challenge you to really research some of your favorite hymn writers and tell me: do you agree 100% with all their doctrine? Do you align yourself with the denomination they represented? Do you agree with all that took place in their lifestyle? (Spurgeon got into debates from his own pulpit over smoking -- he was in FAVOR of his cigars!) What do you do with their hymns that are theologically incorrect yet have stood the test of time and still get sung in most of our churches? Why do you still sing the vast majority of Christmas carols when the most popular ones are full of error?

If you will crucify and slander WCBC, I think we need to be fair and do this across the board. Perhaps, it really needs to start with the person looking back at us in the mirror!

KJB1611 said...

Dear Anonymous,

WCBC kept the fundamental error of the music--the worldly beat pattern. That was unchanged.

I would commend to you the resources from Music Education Ministries on music, here:

Perhaps those that detest the worldliness of the WCBC music are not the ones who are blind.

The argument that many Christmas carols have bad doctrine and are unscriptural, but they are sung, so WCBC music, which is likewise unscriptural, should also be sung, is very poor. The answer is to not sing anything unscriptural, obviously.

Do you know of one Baptist church that has become Lutheran because of singing "A Mighty Fortress is our God"? But how many Baptist churches have become neoevangelical and worldly because of bringing in "soft" CCM? Should that not tell us something?

Anonymous said...

Yah, some things never change. They slandered Luther because he incorporated popular music meaning likely bar tunes into the hymns his people sang. Did you know that?

David danced half naked before the Lord and his wife despised him for it. Ends up she was wrong.

If you want to actually reach the lost, I suggest not using songs that they simply don't know, and you use them simply because you've been raise in them.

Peter and Paul would likely find your tunes very foreign, let's not pretend otherwise.

YES, let's use songs and hymns that glorify God and teach correct doctrine, NO, let's not pretend that the Baptist hymnal is some how holier than what many contemporary Christian Songwriters are writing.

Back in the 60's and 70's the Jesus People were reaching lost drug addicts with their "unholy" music, and Bible studies, Where were you Baptists then?

The Psalms say to praise God with a six stringed harp. At least these guys are coming closer to that than you.

Anonymous said...

Dear KJB1611.

Just so you know, the way that Martin Luther wrote Ein Feste Burg (A Mighty Fortress) was way more upbeat than the dirge that you guys have in your hymnals. That version comes from JS Bach, and his "Reformation Symphony. The original has a syncopated "worldly beat" to it, a way better arrangement than your hymnal as many Lutheran organists can tell you..

This is very easy to prove. Go get a Missouri Synod Lutheran Hymnal, or a German one, and look at the hymn there. Have your organist play it. hear the worldly beat.

Anonymous said...

I used to attend a baptist church and even attended West Coast Baptist College. I find the way of IFB to be so outdated and wrong. The way they preach standards as biblical when it is not. The way piano and an orchestra is the only instruments allowed during "congregational singing". The more I think about it, rock and roll started with the piano, so why is it allowed? Why do we draw the line at a certain point and not all the way? Why do we sing hymns? just because they were written a long time ago? whats wrong with music that is written today? is it not inspired just as much as "hymns" written long ago?!

So without using an Independent fundamental baptist mindset, can you please explain to me why IFB's are this way, or am I supposed to follow blindly?

I honestly would like to know.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Anonymous #3,

I'm sorry that you did not get good instruction at West Coast Baptist College, although I'm not surprised. A biblical basis for conservative worship is here:

In the articles:

The Law of A Sound Mind, by Peter Masters—A Demonstration of the Centrality of the Rational in Biblical Worship and Christian Service

The Feminization of Christian Music, David Cloud

What Kind Of Music Should Be Used in Church? Kent Brandenburg

How Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism Are Teeming with Ecstatic and Demonic Influence, Kent Brandenburg

Why “Blended Worship”? Kent Brandenburg

The Foreign Spirit of Contemporary Worship Music, David Cloud (E-video)

The Transformational Power of Contemporary Praise Music, David Cloud (E-video)

Music Education Ministries

The Biblical Philosophy of Music & the Essential Theory of Rhythm, Pastor Graham West of Music Education Ministries

if you honestly want to know, you will get the answers there.

Anonymous #1 and #2 appear to be more interested in mockery than getting real answers, for the sake of Anonymous #3, who indicates that he really wants to know, consider the following:

Number one: the statement about Luther using bar tunes is ignorance;

Number two: the "half naked" thing is simply reading into Scripture what it does not say.

Number three: I actually grew up in a secular environment and after being saved my freshman year in college came to reject CCM because it is un-biblical. So it is simply entirely false that I believe in traditional music because "you've been raise [sic] in them."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3 here...

Currently I'm attending a church that uses CCM, in fact i've been playing in the worship band. I've played guitar my whole life, but was never allowed to use it in the church for any reasons because it represents "rock and roll". And at this point i'm still very curious...

My mindset was very IFB for the longest time because of how I was raised. Female visitors would wear pants to church, and I could already feel the judgement on her. What's sad was I was judgemental also. Supposedly pants on females are not modest so its a sin, and it was even preached against in my church. Now that I'm grown up, I don't see any problem with it. To me its like, get with the times. If someone in the 17th century walked into an IFB church today, i'm pretty sure it would be very odd for them to see the way a church service is. So why are we stuck in a certain era where we can only sing hymns? Surely David in the Bible, if he heard the hymns that we sing in church, would think its odd also. I know I sound redundant here saying all these things, but I'm tired of living my life to a standard.

I feel like in IFB I always have to live by these really strict rules that aren't biblical, which takes away the focus of me living my life for Christ. Since I've been serving in my new church, which by the way would be shunned by baptist churches, because the church used to be a baptist church, in fact the pastor of the church I grew up in was saved in this church. getting back to my point, since attending this church, i've never been so curious to learn God's word, and I've never felt such real Christian love from the other church members. I used to think CCM was of the devil, then I realize that the people I serve with in the worship band truly have their hearts aimed at Christ, and the congregation worships and its an unreal experience every sunday.

I know what you're thinking, there is drums and guitars, but thats not the focus of our worship. When you really concentrate on God and you sing the lyrics and worship in your heart I dont see how this is wrong.

In the end I respect IFB for all its worth, after all its my heritage. I'm just not IFB anymore. We're brothers and sisters in Christ anyways, and we're living this life by faith that we have that blessed hope. I can agree to disagree if you think I'm living the wrong way, but someone who is genuinely longing to learn more, I felt the IFB teachings was holding me back.

I hope you can respect that, I'm always open to what you have to say. After all we can learn from one another.

Thank you.

p.s. my name is kevin by the way.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Kevin,

In addition to the resources I mentioned already, I would commend to you:

You can find out there why the Bible teaches that women should not wear pants.

Please also read Do You Want to Worship God? here:

Thanks. Charity hopes all things, and so I trust that you mean it when you say you are sincere.

MissionsMuse said...

Thanks for the article Pastor Brandonburg. Was a blessing to see you also use the Psalter. We introduced them at two of the churches we've pastored, and now in Zambia. A wonderful way to obey Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. I've been observing this issue for almost 30 years. As a 10 year old child I sat on the curb and argued with my contemporary minded friend who was also a PK ("preacher's kid") about Amy Grant. He tried to use the "music is a bridge" argument. I remember telling him "a bridge goes both ways," and years later, sure enough, Amy walked over that bridge to the world. I agree that the association argument is weak. The heart of the issue is that Biblical worship must reflect the nature and character of God. Those arguing for relevance or powerful lyrics seem to have missed the point that music itself is a language, one that God put into the very vibrations of the atoms. Thank you for trying to direct the sincere inquirers to truth, and for taking a little heeded but much needed stand. You are an encouragement to me. God bless, Brother John Shrader, Missionary to Zambia

KJB1611 said...

Dear Bro Shrader,

I am delighted to hear that you are singing the psalms. If you have not already been there, let me commend to you for a lot of resources related to psalm-singing.

Anonymous said...

If David Cloud is the author of this article I see alot of hate in his heart and that most certainly does NOT come from the Lord. repent brother

Kent Brandenburg said...


If you were Spirit filled, you'd have no problem not being anonymous, because of the boldness you would have. God doesn't give the spirit of fear. That's one. Two, your calling his exposition of this false worship, hate, is identical to what I hear from Charismatics when I critique their worship. They always call on a lack of love. What is missing is sentimentalism. You are sentimental. David Cloud is the one loving, and saying nothing is hatred. Your total lack of discernment in this area is what you need to acknowledge. And again, your anonymity shows that you lack the biblical faith and confidence.

Anonymous said...

do rock music is for worship??
have some research..
about rock music.

rock is not for worshiping God,
"CCM" use the rhythms of the world.
the things that belongs to the world is only for the world and the things that belongs to the Lord are only for the Lord.

imagine your partner giving you a flower that belongs to her/his another man/woman, what will be your reaction?

putting a godly lyrics in a worldly music is just a blaspheme against God.