JEFF GODWIN'S TECHNIQUES BRIEFLY EXAMINED.
I had intended to take a brief look at some of Jeff Godwin's writings, find some glaringly obvious half-truths and misinterpretations and come back with a well-reasoned scriptural rebuttal. However, as I waded through the introduction and first chapter of "What's wrong with Christian Rock", I found that there was so much misinformation and double standards in this tiny segment of the 281 page book, that a 'brief look' would not suffice to undo all of the discord caused therein. Instead, I have opted to go through what I see as being some very notable points for concern.
The introduction to the book poses the question: "Is 'Christian' rock controlled by Satan?" This is a salient question and the best starting point for any treatment of CCM whether for or against. In Jeff's book the errors start from a bad answer to this question. Mr Godwin claims that "Satan OWNS 99% of what passes for Christian music today (emphasis his)". Furthermore, he claims that 'the Devil is the power source behind" CCM. In his book his aim is to prove that Satan has his hand in every type of music under the sun. He contends that the only music that it is impossible for Satan to touch is, "true, scriptural, Godly music that brings real praise and honor to God".
As defenders of Christian rock, we agree that Satan is not in 'true, scriptural, godly music'. In fact we contend that our music fits such a description. We believe that using a culturally relevant form of music, with lyrics geared to point the soul to Christ is scriptural and godly. Godwin believes that CCM is 'one of the greatest deceptions of our modern age'. We could not disagree more. The fact that some people have had bad experiences at CCM concerts and that they do not enjoy the music does not give them the right to judge the type of music. In fact, Godwin makes some very harsh statements. As early as the second page of the introduction to his book he makes this statement: "'Christian' Rock is the music of ANTICHRIST! (Emphasis his)"
In attributing CCM variously to the Antichrist, Satan, and a whole host of other created beings throughout the book, Godwin makes the most common mistake of them all. This mistake is when he attributes creative power to the Devil. We must be on guard that we do not give undue credit to the evil one! Where does the Bible tell us that Satan creates or owns anything? My Bible tells me that the Earth is the Lord's and everything in it (Psalm 24v1). When we give creative power to the Devil, we are falling right into his trap, and we are giving him a foothold in our lives. Satan does not own any type of music!
The very worst thing I see in Jeff's diatribe is his propensity to fly into hurling insults. He says in an episode of loving humility "the C-Rock and CCM 'fruit' is rebellion and the fans are full of it". In another unbelievable turn of logic he compares CCMer's to Adolf Hitler of all people! He refers to secular artists as "chumps" and calls any reply we have to him as "hogwash". In fact, to make it clear that he doesn't want to comply with Christ's purposes in John 3:17, Jeff refers to Elvis as "a sex pervert, drug addict and pathetic tool of Satan". In a long passionate speech, Jeff calls every CCM fan, "angry, confused, denying and deluded".
It seems that Godwin feels he has a gift for seeing into people's hearts. I got the impression from the Bible that only God can do that. Jeremiah 17v10 says: "I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to every man according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings". [Unfortunately, Godwin cannot plead ignorance on this issue. When he came to my city with his presentation, he quoted this verse and the preceding from memory!]
This means that we cannot tell people that they are confused and deluded! Again Jeff tells us that we have "a hardened heart and spirit", and charges us with "self-righteous pride". We are called "victims", accused of "rebellion" and are informed that we are "brainwashed"! This is quite a lot to swallow even before Jeff launches out into his main attack! He even calls us "Ugly"!
The worst thing is, the fact that, in the entire book, only once does he actually give any indication that he actually loves young people at all! We have to wade through until the sixteenth chapter on page 235, where he calls the letters he gets from reformed CCM kids "precious". Two observations though: -
1) They are only the letters of ex-CCMer's.
Does Jeff not love and care for those he is trying to reach?
In John 3:16, the most memorised verse in the Bible, God's view concerning the world is revealed: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son". As Christians we are supposed to follow the example of Christ. If Christ loves the world, then so should we (and that's from the KJV!). Yes, we are to hate the sin, but we are to love people (1John2:15,16; Jude v23). I'm sorry, but if lashing out at people and seeking to offend them is your only logic and defense, then you have no defense.
2) They are only letters - what about the people?
Are the letters precious only because they agree with his viewpoint? What about the youth who penned those "precious letters"? Are those kids not precious? If a man's ministry is not motivated by love then it's not suitable to be given the designation of 'ministry'. If love and charity (another KJV word) are absent, all we can offer is some debating society!
Having been involved in the KJV-Only debate and also that of CCM for quite a few years now, I can say that I am nothing short of disappointed at the shameless use of circular reasoning. That is, arguing from a conclusion. On the very first page of the book we are told that:
1) All secular rock is controlled by satan
2) Satan owns 99% of today's Christian music
3) The Devil is the source of the power behind CCM
4) Satan is the God of CCM
On the second page we are told:
1) That CCM is sin and wrongdoing and that it is full of compromise and wickedness.
2) CCM is full of occultism, witchcraft, New Age and blasphemy.
3) CCM is one of the greatest deceptions of the modern age.
4) Christian Rock is the music of the Antichrist.
My point is simply this: all of these above assumptions and condemnations are in the introduction to the book. Therefore, if one goes into an examination of something with one's mind already made up, they are arguing from a conclusion. I do not believe this to be a valid mode of argumentation. Conclusions based on a preconceived premise are not worthy!
In the first chapter of the book, Jeff bases his opinion on a lengthly comment that came straight from the mouth of KISS singer, Paul Stanley. This begs the question, though: are KISS to be considered the final authority on such matters? Mr Stanley's comment wasn't even so much about music as it was about hermeneutics. I seem to remember the Bible telling me that the things of God are "spiritually discerned" and that such a gift does not belong to unbelievers (1Cor2:14). Oddly, Jeff seems to know more about secular rockers than CCMer's!
Jeff quotes ministers, Bob Dylan, Alan Bloom, The Toronto Star, Elvis, The Beatles, Dr David Noebel, Mick Jagger, and a plethora of others to make his point! Most of these are either secular or extremely fallible sources. Then, after establishing his point using these people and publications as his sources, he takes obscure snippets of the Bible and throws them in so that he can say - 'it's in the Bible'. It's quite Ironic that when Jeff quotes the Beatles, it is Okay, but when DC Talk do its a grievous sin!
The thing that probably disturbs me most about all of this is the fact that Jeff is one of the gentler variety of critics! At least Jeff admits his bias in the introduction of his book! Most other critics defending this bias try to masquerade under the banner of open-mindedness and scholarship.
Link to Jeff's material below:
CCM fans, don't attack these guys like they attack us, lets talk to God about them (pray) and believe God will do something Great!
In Christ and His amazing love, Tom!!