Why I Love Frank Garlock and Ron Hamilton

tract.jpgRecently, I allowed myself to get caught up in online debate about the compilation of songs on a CD.  On further reflection, I think it was a waste of time.  However, blogging can be quite passionate.

Anyway, given the negativity of the discussion, I decided to put a positive spin on the subject.  The CD is published by Majesty Music out of Greenville, South Carolina.  Majesty Music is a sacred music publishing company founded by Dr. Frank Garlock.  Dr. Garlock is an incredible musician, playing with a symphony orchestra as a boy and studying at the Eastman School of Music.  While he doesn’t carry an aura of academia, he is brilliant, especially in the area of music theory.  He served for a number of years as a music pastor in one of the larger Independent Baptist churches in the Greenville area.  His son-in-law, Ron Hamilton, is known around the Christian world as “Patch the Pirate” due to a patch he wears over an eye lost to cancer.  Ron is a songwriter who has been used by God in the character development of literally thousands of children through his unique ministry.  He has a wonderful family and currently serves as a music pastor in Simpsonville, South Carolina.  Dr. Garlock’s wife Flora Jean and daughter Shelly Hamilton complete the inner core of the Majesty Music songwriting team.  Many of their long-time friends have also worked and helped with the ministry.   Majesty Music has put together numerous recordings and published many musical collections for singers and instrumentalists.  Earlier in his ministry, Dr. Garlock traveled extensively teaching music seminars around the country and chaired a graduate program at a large Christian College.

Okay, that is just off the top of my head and not meant to be a complete or detailed history of the company.  The fact is: they’ve been busy, and God has allowed their business to prosper, both within the United States and also abroad.  Dr. Garlock spent a long time editing a new hymnal, Majesty Hymns, which you will find in many fundamental churches in the United States.

Okay, a little more background info: The Garlocks and Hamiltons are friends of mine, and longtime friends of my wife’s family from South Carolina.  I have spent time talking with each of them about ministry issues and practical issues.  I have shared meals with them.  In my formative years in high school and college, these men (and women) had a large influence on me, particularly as a church musician and pianist.

Here’s the disclaimer: I don’t agree with everything that Dr. Garlock teaches in regards to music.  I have stated such disagreements before on this blog and others.  I also don’t currently use much of their music.  I don’t have their hymnal in my church.  I don’t remember the last time I bought a Patch album, although I have many of them.

Having said that, I still want to make this point: I love Frank and Flora Jean Garlock and Ron and Shelly Hamilton.  Let me tell you why:

  1. These men love their God.  It is not just in word; it is in deed.  I have seen it first-hand.
  2. These men love the Church.  They have devoted their lives to giving the Church new music with which to praise God, educate children, and challenge sinners.  They are still devoted to this task.  They host annual seminars to help to equip pastors and lay musicians in their service to God.  They love to inspire them.
  3. These men are humble.  They carry no airs about them.  They realize they are fallible.  I have seen both men in different settings publicly admit mistakes.  They do not relish praise from men.  They don’t strike back when others attack them.  I remember writing to Ron as a teenager because I was concerned about a couple of songs on his “Patch Goes West” cassette.  He took the time to send me a personal letter and explain his reasoning in a very sensitive and caring way.
  4. These men love people.  They are accessible.  They are servants and generous to others.  They always have time for children.
  5. They are not profit-driven.  I have witnessed numerous occasions where Dr. Garlock has given away merchandise to someone who couldn’t afford it.  They have always given a very generous discount to missionaries.  They live very modestly and are generous to the cause of Christ.
  6. They are concerned about the influence of the world on church music.  While I will not agree with all the conclusions Dr. Garlock has reached in this area.  I respect his piety for God’s worship.
  7. They embrace creativity and are not afraid to try new things.  I see this as a positive part of what Majesty Music is.  Shelly, especially, has always sought to broaden her knowledge of composition and arranging and apply that learning to published works.  Some people will not appreciate the styles or sounds of various recordings, but many do.  They are not stuck in ruts as often as other music publishers seem to be.
  8. Regarding the whole “pirate” thing: I think Ron would be the first to say that a pirate is not a good person and that the history of such characters is replete with ungodliness.  However, with the pirate patch that he wears, it is a natural reaction from children to call him a pirate.  Ron has never, to my knowledge, promoted any aspect of pirating that is evil.  He sails a fictitious ship, refers to the Bible as his “sword” and that’s about it with the pirate thing.  Most people are willing to accept the title as he has defined it through his recorded adventures.  If you want to make a big deal out of it, fine.  Piracy is evil.  But Patch the Pirate is not.
  9. Family is a priority for these men.  Their families have experienced trials and struggles like any normal family, but keeping their family together and growing in the Lord has taken priority over other “successful” ventures.  When his constant traveling began to affect his family, Ron pulled the plug on his busy itinerant schedule and took a pastorate locally while his kids grew up.
  10. These men (and women) are partly the reason that I am in music ministry today.  Their love of the Church and their love of music was infectious to a seven-year-old boy who sang a solo (“Rejoice in the Lord”) for the first time in his church after hearing Ron’s testimony and song.  I have enjoyed the piano instruction from the Hymnplayer series and the piano recordings and arrangements that Flora Jean and Shelly have done.  They motivated me to work hard to become a good pianist and use that skill in my church.  I even remember dressing up like Patch the Pirate and leading music services in my garage for neighborhood kids when I was in elementary school.  These people helped to fuel in me a gift that I was just beginning to recognize, a God-given passion for pastoral ministry.

Anyway, I say all that to say this: I don’t always agree with Dr. Garlock and Ron Hamilton.  In fact, I have some strong disagreement.  But I will stand side-by-side with them as ministers of the Gospel.  At times, they deserve criticism, as we all do.  They are NOT, however, causing irrevocable harm to our churches or our children.  They are a blessing to both.  And to me.


25 responses to this post.

  1. FWIW, I would not disagree with much (if any) of what you have said about them personally. I’m sure that all the people involved are genuine and sincere, and have had positive impact. They have in mine as well (although the extent of my wife’s involvement with them was that she sang “Keep Your Sunny Side Up” with Patch in a grade school production at Grand Rapids Baptist Academy as a child.

    What I don’t understand is why we could discuss, say, the polity of John MacArthur, or John Piper’s views on the Holy Spirit, or whether or whether Kevin Bauder should speak at a Presbyterian seminary, or if Jason Janz should have spoken at the GodBlogCon- and not many would feel compelled to defend such men personally or feel like they had had their reputations slandered. It would be a discussion based on principle, and whether or not we agreed and why.

    Why can’t this be true when it comes to beloved Fundamentalist musicians?


  2. Posted by David Thatcher on November 11, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    What is important to remember here is that Frank Garlock and Bill Gothard were the men who took the argument against modern music from “that demon jungle bunny beat” to a psychologically-based, Biblically proof-texted “position”. In doing so they are guilty of teaching error and sowing the seeds of discord.


  3. Posted by David Thatcher on November 11, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    make that psychology-based


  4. Because Greg, despite calling them “beloved” I see very little of it (love) in posts from you and those like-minded on this subject.

    Sure, love means speaking the truth even if it hurts, but love also means “believing all things, hoping all things.” The constant barrage of skepticism and pessimism with regards to organizations like MM to me is unsettling. We can address their errors, and I have. We can talk about principles, and we have. But to engage in mockery and satire with regards to Christian brothers is just not where I believe the Lord wants me to be.


  5. Posted by Rebecca on November 11, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    Thank you for such well-written support. While I may not have a current “friendship” with the Hamiltons & Garlocks, I learned much about the Lord and what true humility is from them. I worked at MM for nearly 5 years, before the Lord moved my husband (and myself) into full-time ministry. The Lord has blessed this family and their ministry over and over again.

    I don’t believe that much of the debate that has taken place over the last week has been Christ-honoring, and it has been discouraging for me to see what Christian men and women do in the name of a discussion or debate. It seems to me more about “stirring up strife”, but maybe that’s just my female point-of-view.


  6. Posted by Tom on November 12, 2007 at 7:42 am

    I am a former student of Dr. Garlock’s taking music theory from him when he taught at BJU; was in his vesper choir for 4 years and I take credit for Ron and Shelley getting married as I talked Ron into changing choirs when he was a student living next to me in the dorm. I have not seen any of the discussion on MM and I will say that I have used their music in the past. I much prefer the Trinity Hymnal to their’s as my heart is blessed each Sunday as our church sings from that Hymnal. Good theology appeals to the mind and heart.

    That being said, I agree that Dr. Garlock is a gentleman in all areas. We had the pleasure of having the Garlocks in our home several years back. I was impressed by the way Dr. Garlock took the time to speak to each of our 3 children individually asking genuine questions of interest as to what was going on in their lives. He did not need to do that but that is the kind of individual that I have always known him to be. He even compared his psoriasis with my daughter’s to see whose was worse. She really appreciated that he took the time to take interest in her. Do I agree on all that he teaches in regards to music? I truthfully must say that I do not. But he is a man who loves the Lord and seeks to serve Him with the talents intrusted to him


  7. […] 12, 2007 in After Hours, The Blogosphere Recently, an online friend of mine has mentioned that he feels he has wasted time in a conversation with me. Frankly, that’s a bit disappointing, particularly because he seems to think that in the […]


  8. Brian,

    I’m not sure how I’m supposed to “show love”- do you expect me to do a post like yours? Should I do a post on “Why I Love Billy Graham” after I disagree with his position on separation?

    It seems to me that when these accusations of “not being very loving” come up is when it is somebody we know and love or have “been a fan of.” I have appreciated and benefited from MM’s ministry since I was a child. But it would not be loving them or those I influence if real concerns with some of their recent decisions and trends (appearing regularly in Hammond, tendency to blur lines between entertainment and ministry more and more) were not mentioned. Frankly speaking, I don’t see many others doing it.

    I would welcome personal interaction with someone- anyone- from MM on this. I can assure you I would not be brusque, rude, or obnoxious- even if we didn’t end up drawing the same conclusions.

    I mean, come on- we disagree all the time, Brian. Do you really think I don’t love you?


  9. Thanks for all the nice things you said about me, Greg. I would do a follow-up about you here, but then people might start throwing up with our syrupy sentimentalism. 😉

    I think I expressed what I wanted to say about the lack of charity in posts about Majesty Music, etc… It strikes me that many of these posts are not just about principles to be discussed and concerns to be aired. Rather, it comes across to me with a heavy dose of sarcasm, skepticism, and pessimism about these people who are in our spiritual family. It’s not the “what is said” that bothers me; it’s the “how it’s said” that makes me want to stick up for people like MM. It’s the little side comments that are made. The way that such thoughts are lauded and encouraged at places like Remonstrans.

    As I said before, I’ve commented many times on the disagreements I have with Garlock and others in the realm of music philosophy, sometimes very strongly so. And, I’ll be the first to admit that I have stooped to posting comments that were skeptical and pessimistic about brothers in Christ–things that contradict what I learn of love in places like 1 Corinthians 13.

    Yet, there seems to be a steady diet of mockery toward these brothers. I don’t like it. It makes me laugh sometimes, unfortunately, but it’s not what I want to spend my time on.


  10. I would object to the accusation of mockery. This isn’t a matter of heaping derision on them. Think of it like an editorial cartoon- someone who made such a point against the president, for example, would not mean that they hated the country- in fact, in some ways, it could demonstrate one’s passion and love by the time they took to know the situation and even have an opinion about it in the first place.

    Satire and parody are legitimate devices. In the case of the fake CD cover, many seemed to struggle with exactly what I saw to be the problem with the Renfrow CD. I thought one good way would be to reword the promo for the Renfrow CD slighty (adjusting the main performer, and the theme and selections of the album) to something more obviously ridiculous but obviously mismatched (as I think the selections on the Renfrow CD are as well).

    Nothing would bring me greater joy than to see even a public statement and explanation of recent moves (such as the Hammond appearances, the Renfrow CD, etc etc). As it stands right now, they seem to be above criticism. I’m not sure that’s a place any of us should aspire to be, whetehr we think the criticism is purely motivated or not.


  11. mock·er·y

    1. ridicule, contempt, or derision.
    2. a derisive, imitative action or speech.
    3. a subject or occasion of derision.
    4. an imitation, esp. of a ridiculous or unsatisfactory kind.
    5. a mocking pretense; travesty: a mockery of justice.
    6. something absurdly or offensively inadequate or unfitting.


    [Origin: 1400–50; late ME moquerie < MF. See mock, -ery]

    —Synonyms 4. mimicry.

    Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
    Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.


  12. Exactly. I hold no contempt for Mr. Garlock, Hamilton, or Renforw. I do take exception to some of their choices and practices.


  13. Okay, good. I’m glad to hear that.

    What would you say about my comparison of your satire and parody to the description of love in 1 Corinthians 13? Do you think satire and parody can complement true love or are they opposed to it?


  14. I don’t think that these methods are incompatible, no (though they could be used in an unloving way).

    You might have a stronger case if I had anything to gain from this- perhaps promoting my own recordings or music company. You might have a case if I was gloating or taking delight in what I perceive to be bad choices. You might have a case if I was promoting rumors, innuendo, or flat-out lies.

    But whatever else you might say- I am not responding to anything that is not public and verifiable. I am not responding as one taking gleeful potshots from “the outside” (like, say, “we” might do to a CCM artist). I am not raking in any dough selling subscriptions or receiving donations.

    Why do I say what I say? Because I love God. Because I love Fundamentalism and people who have been under its influence. Because, frankly, I love the goal I perceive Hamilton and Garlock, et al have attempted to pursue over the courses of their lives. and I would wish that their company would make decisions that would aid in realizing that rather than responding to the appetites of perceived clientèle.


  15. Posted by Sam Hendrickson on November 13, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    Basically Greg critiqued the ideas and the methodology of MM. He did not impugn anyone’s character personally. I understand the need to remain biblical in one’s remarks, and often in my attempts at humor, etc., I fail or am perceived to fail in that regard. But Greg was expressing love–love for the Cause of Christ…That is undeniable…

    In fundy blogdom, ideas and methods get critiqued (and the people promulgating them are left alone), and yet often I see you, Tetreau, and others respond as though the person got gored, instead of his ox (his ideas, methods, etc.)

    In one discussion at SI, men who held similar views (incl. Greg and I) were having our views critiqued by a lot of posters. No one attacked me, Greg, or other sympathizers–just our ideas. Someone came on and made apologies, and hoped that we weren’t “hurt” in the whole discussion. I recall both Greg and I making comments that we weren’t “hurt” and that it was strange to speak that way because we were in the sphere of ideas, not personalities. It is what I have perhaps carelessly referred to as the “Oprah effect.”

    When is it loving or unloving to question other Christian’s ideas and methods? When is it wrong to wonder if (rightly motivated or not) someone is doing damage to the Cause of Christ through ignorance, misguided thinking or carelessness?

    Thanks for taking my post…


  16. I respectfully disagree, Sam.

    You said, “When is it loving or unloving to question other Christian’s ideas and methods? When is it wrong to wonder if (rightly motivated or not) someone is doing damage to the Cause of Christ through ignorance, misguided thinking or carelessness?”

    It’s unloving when the “questioning” and “wondering” becomes unloving. Love is pretty well defined in the Scripture, don’t you think?


  17. Posted by Sam Hendrickson on November 16, 2007 at 10:30 am

    Brian, I guess we get to agree to disagree. Unlovingness is being credited to Greg for his willingness to express his love for Christ and His Church. Why is anyone’s critique of Greg’s desire for caution in the area of sacred music not seen as an unloving response to his desire for caution?


  18. I guess we have quite a different idea of what loving Christ and His Church means, Sam. I guess I fail to see the legitimate place for satire and parody when it comes to confronting Christian brothers. You guys obviously do. We disagree.

    I would encourage Greg and others who share his assessment of this latest CD to please contact Majesty Music and Ken Renfrow and express your concerns to them directly.


  19. Posted by Buck on August 4, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    It appears that most of you just don’t get it. It is not wht Frank Garlock, Ron Hamilton or you think about music that matters one bit. It is what God says that is Truth. People talk about being devisive. What is more devisive than the Gospel of the Lord Jesus? I don’t care waht music you like or don’t like. All I care is what music my God creats and ordains. Next to food, music is a fleshly obsession for most people. Fat preachers try to proclaim Jesus and self discipline. Worldy musicians playing music designed to enflame the passions of the flesh try to proclaim a humble “submissive to His Father’s will” Jesus. Both are anathema. Try to take obsessive eating and worldly music from most Christians and they will turn into junk yard dogs. They vilify what the Bible describes as Godly music, hymns psalms and spiritual songs, and call those so inclined as narrow minded. Yes so is the Gospel the narrow way. Broad is the way to destruction and narrow is God’s way and few there be that find it. Get off your platform and on your knees and ask God what music honors and blesses His name. Be willing to accept His answer and He will reveal to you the Truth. It will look and “SOUND” like Jesus.

    Left the world for Jesus.


  20. Posted by PhilipT on August 31, 2008 at 3:02 am


    I find your comment interesting and thought-provoking. I once held very strong convictions against music styles different from those in my comfort zone, but I began to realize that my standards could not be explained to others or forced on others. They worked for me, but they were not absolute because they were not all clearly delineated in the Bible. I still listen to the same music as I did before, but am not so quick to condemn a song unless I have something specific to point to (profanity, racism, self-help theology, drug use, etc.). Some of the questions that led me to this position were the following:

    First: What exactly what enflames the passions of the flesh and can I show this either by solid logic or by some scriptural passage? Is it found in the repetition of phrases, number of beats, tempos, decibels, or specific meter? Does it provoke that response universally and can I prove that response factually? What does the Bible specifically say about music? What are solid biblical criteria for determining if an act (including listening to a specific song) is sinful or not?

    Second: What do I mean when I use the term “world” or “worldly,” and is my use of these terms aligned with the Bible’s use of them? Furthermore, does my application of this term to the musical realm correspond to how I apply the term to other realms of common decision-making (clothing, recreation, hairstyle, transportation, communication, etc.)?

    Third: Because something is wrong with a song, is the whole genre bad? Furthermore, how do you define “rock music”? What about other genres with similarities to rock such as blues, jazz, pop, gospel, and “popra” (the Celtic Woman/Josh Groban pop/opera stuff)?

    Fourth: How do I deal with other devoted, Spirit-filled, Christ-loving, fundamental Christians that end up comfortable with things I’m not comfortable with after great prayer and Bible study on the issue?

    What I ended up finding is that I was uncomfortable with any song that seemed like it had a beat in it because I had grown up that way. Other good Christians who were not taught this from childhood did not find these problems with certain songs. I also found that I was constantly calling genres/songs worldly because they were either (1) modern or (2) associated somewhere down the line with other songs/genres that were unbiblical. My use of “worldly” could not be applied to other areas of my life. I could not avoid wearing suits because sinful people somewhere are wearing suits; I could not avoid driving a four-door sedan because it was modern. Neither of these criteria for the term “worldly” was actually working in real life. Also, my generalizations of “rock music” were confronted with specific facts (e.g. Josh Groban is not a rock musician and performs songs that, to my knowledge, do not contain immoral lyrics). I realized that I was trying to assimilate too many genres into one term (“rock”) so that I could define them by another term (“worldly”) that I could not define properly.

    There was a time when I would have considered the very words I am writing as liberal and evangelical propaganda, but now I have evaluated my positions and seen them to be merely traditions. I, for one, still find my traditional Christian music and classical music comfortable and stay within my comfort zone; however, I find neither biblical precedent nor solid reason for trying to condemn other believers for their broader comfort zones. That being said, I also don’t have any trouble counseling teens struggling with listening to things like Rihanna’s “Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded” and telling them specifically what is wrong with what they are listening to. Furthermore, I still can find problems with the utilitarian (end justifies the means) or “draw the world” mentality for the use of certain kinds of modern music in the church (btw “traditional” Christian music can be used in a utilitarian manner as well). In other words, a willingness to be understanding of other Christians’ comfort zones coupled with a proper understanding of the terms involved in the issue at hand does not erase the presence of right and wrong/proper and improper, it simply puts them in much more defined areas. Attacking other Christians for their participation in what I find uncomfortable (but not truly and obviously sinful) only serves to advance a “touch not; taste not; handle not” [listen not?] mentality condemned by the Bible (Col. 2:21-22).

    I admire your passion brother Buck, I would just ask you to consider these questions. If you disagree with my conclusions, I at least appreaciate your honest consideration of my comments. I do not intend anything to be seen as a personal attack on you or the music you listen to — I’ve been right where you are Buck! Thanks man…I hope this wasn’t too obnoxiously long (brevity comes hard for me).


    • Posted by Gary on August 2, 2009 at 6:42 am

      PhilipT says: “I find neither biblical precedent nor solid reason for trying to condemn other believers for their broader comfort zones.”

      PhilipT should notice what is not in the bible for a biblical precedent:

      There are different hebrew words for drum and tamborine. So it’s not clear that the hebrew word for the common drum is mentioned in the bible at all. It is clear that, in comparison to human voice, stringed instruments and wind instruments, drums are not a prominent part of any music sound described in Old and New Testament passages on music. The tamborine is rarely mentioned and never in the temple worship.

      IMO, the effect of beating drums (typically repetitive) is primarily toward the sensual (marching, dancing, moving). IMO, sensuality conflicts with true spirituality and as Garlock and other studies show is not conducive to clear thinking. Be sober, be vigilant…

      Let’s not be glib and disregard the pervasive use (and unholy use) of drums in our degenerating culture. Drums were not always so pervasive in the popular music of the western culture. Why is that?

      For another biblical perspective on drums, you might want to look up the word Tophet in 2ki 23:10. There, you’ll find another biblical context for drums that’s not so holy. Tophet’s name may be based on the hebrew word Toph = drum. It’s the place where they burned children to Molech. It may be that drumming was used during this (as would be the case for much pagan worship today), ostensibly to cover the screams of the burning babies.

      No musical instruments, except the voice are mentioned in the New Testmant worship. Spurgeon noticed the lack of musical instruments in the New Testament a few generations ago and decided that, to be biblical, their church would exclude all but vocal music from the worship services.

      It seems like Spurgeon was closer to the mark than the big band sounds in todays mega churches, saying he appreciates the spritual nature of NT worship more than the ‘immature worship’ of OT Israel with instruments. http://godsbreath.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/spurgeon-differs-from-todays-baptists-on-church-music/

      If we’re just going to use sheer volume of scriptural references on musical instruments, though, we’ll see relatively little or nothing of drums. God seems much more interested in the voices of congregational singing.

      Clearly, God created rhythm and it exists in all music (along with melody and harmony) with or without drums beating. I’m pointing out that there is relatively little mention in the OT of drums compared to other instruments (you can search BibleGateway for sing, trumpet, flute, harp, etc..) as well as I can) and there is no mention of any instruments in the NT worship. The biblical rarity of drums is not reflectied in popular Christian music produced today, where drums are used almost incessantly. Such is is not the case historically in the worship music of the 2000 year old Christian church.

      IS using drums in the church is wrong? Not necessarily; they just lack biblical support.

      Why did God prohibit the sound of hammers in the construction of the sacred temple?

      “In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.” 1KGS 6:7

      Matthew Henry comments:
      “It was to be the temple of God of peace, and therefore no iron tool must be heard in it. Quietness and silence both become and befriend religious exercises: God’s work should be done with as much care and as little noise as may be.”

      God is gracious and probably allows liberty in this area. IMO: We’re not witnessing liberty today in western Christian church worship, we’re witnessing ignorant, licentious behaviour dressed up in spritual rags. Some, like Buck, call this worldliness.


    • Posted by BUCK on December 3, 2010 at 7:58 am

      Thank you for your kind and revealing comments. In no way am I talking about imposing my preferences, likes or dislikes on anyone. And it is true that all of us are on a journey and to condemn others who are sincerely seeking is to condemn oneself. The left out commidity in this discussion is my assertion that while I believe God created music in the beginning, he is not the creater of all music now. I am so dismayed that “mature” Christians cannot discern the spirits as scripture demands. Have we so walked with Jesus that we cannot tell the difference in what glorifies Him and what simply enflames the flesh? Does the music produce the fruit of the spirit, love (God’s definition), peace, joy, longusuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance or does it lusteth agains the Spirit. Yes, my carnal flesh likes jazz but I assure you I know what better brings me into communion with the Savior and what promotes a different world view. I know the Jesus who died on the cross finds no harmony of Spirit with dissonant rap nor syrupy CCM which in the end promotes the musician rather than the Master. And yes, much of what we dare call traditional “gospel” music does little to drive us to the cross or glorify God. I used to travel with a gospel group for years, not as a participant but a “roadie”. To our credit, we tried. Practically put, I’ve never seen any music that did not meet the scriptural pattern of Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs ultimately do anything but produce self promotion, division, competition and worldliness. Is that the litmus test for music. Of course not. But can those who so adamately defend their position show us lasting fruit? To not understand God’s standards for the beat, melody, and rythmn is no sin. But to not know the heartbeat of the Savior is potentially deadly. Do I believe those in the CCM etc. movements are sincere and good people. Sure, for many of them. Show me one scripture that says sincerity of belief in something is enough. Read the post by James June 24, 2010, it says it all.


  21. Posted by James on June 24, 2010 at 1:09 am

    I recommend his seminars to anyone confused about the Christian standard for music.

    I met Dr. Garlock for the second time this week, and sitting through his seminars, I expected to be lulled to sleep with things I already knew and a bunch of what I anticipated would be overzealous and under-backed nonsense, such as I had encountered before on the subject.

    I was really amazed at what I heard and saw and how it was scholarly, as well as Biblically-based, and that it correlated with most of what I had learned throughout my life. Drawing from sources in and out of the Christian community, Dr. Garlock makes a compelling case that “Christian Rock” is just rock and not Christian at all.

    I had been to a Men For Christ rally and been impressed at his vigor and youthful energy, considering his age, but it was not until later that I became convinced to stay away from CCM.

    I came out of a CCM background. I was never a performer, but I helped with setup and takedown for many performers and groups in my high school and college years, and I met most of the big names in CCM up through the late 1990s.

    I participated in several campus ministry organizations on small and large campuses, even going on retreats and mission projects with them. All of these organizations had a few things in common; They took a modern, though hard-core and devoted, approach to evangelism, praise and prayer; They operated a learner-friendly (No, I will no longer say “seeker friendly”) environment, aimed at drawing the lost in with things they would like, so the Gospel could be ‘sneaked-in’ through a fun, party-like atmosphere; They often kept tally of how many people had supposedly gotten saved through their ministry, though few of these returned for a serious Bible Study; They were content with most ANY version of the Bible (no, not the New World “translation” or the Berkely edition); They used CCM almost exclusively, and one staff pastor even referred to the SACRED Hymns as ‘moldy oldies.’

    That last point and that pastor’s contra-Biblical fixation with “speaking in tongues” (I doubt any in his entire denomination have a clue what that phenomena really was) caused me to step back and consider which ministry to be more involved with, and in weeks of deep prayer (many hours a night, often interrupting sleep at a sense of urgency to pray), I began to encounter accounts of demonic manifestations occurring through the tribal drumbeats whence come the base rhythms of CCM, and I also found linguistic insights which confirmed accounts I had heard of improper “speaking in tongues” . . .

    I began to watch more closely and observe the sensualism practiced in CCM performances, particularly those of artists I had met in person. One of those later played a role in a movie where she actually disrobed, and many of her CD covers showed very provocative images of her. One band I had met at a CCM festival in Washington was in town for a concert, and I got tickets. I took my Dad, and I was humiliated at the scant mode of dress of the girls, the behavior of the young people (very provocative) and the inaudibility of any lyrics or even instrumentation over the amped-up bass line. This was a night club scene, and it was under the guise of a Christian concert. It was not a minor band, either. If I mentioned the name, literally every CCM listener would recognize them.

    That was still not enough to convince me.

    I played my CCM music during closing work at the restaurant I managed, and one day, my very pagan friend sat me down in his car and asked me about my music. I put my CD in, and after a few songs, he pulled it out and said ‘no, don’t listen to that. It makes a lie of everything you have told me about Christians. It makes you look like all that makes you good is just a facade.’ I didn’t understand.
    He added ‘That’s OUR music, not yours. You’re just slapping a Jesus theme over music that is raw [sensuality]’ . . . This very un-Christian coworker proceeded to echo everything that 3 Pastors had told me about CCM.

    It wasn’t enough.

    After I got a driving job and was spending 10 hours a day behind the windshield, listening to CCM on the radio, a friend referred me to a station which played only sacred music. They had a station in town, and I stopped in to ask about various CCM bands . . . they said they had standards. I thought they were snobs. My pastor challenged me to stop listening to CCM for 6 weeks, and I figured it couldn’t hurt. I love classical music, and I was inclined to listen to anything I regarded as truly Christian. I got tapes and discs of sacred hymns, studied the history of their composers and segregated myself from CCM. It was a long 6 weeks, I thought . . . at first . . . 3 weeks into it, I walked into a coffee shop with CCM playing and became almost nauseated by it. I felt oppressed and needed to stop to pray before heading down the road. After several more experiences like that, I did not go back to listening to CCM, and I made it a standard in my house. My wife deeply resented me for it for many years, but I refused to back down. I would not allow that demonic influence in my home, as I had been doing. I had been failing in my God-given duty to protect my family. No more.

    Finally, sitting in on his seminars while we weren’t too busy counseling kids on how to be saved (a delightful task, no matter what it distracts from) I began to see the bigger picture and understand just how important it is to choose the right music.

    Remember that those who do not love God will not help or encourage you to serve Him. Remember that you don’t overcome a fleshly appetite by indulging in it.

    Listen to what this man has to say, and consider it. Read the Biblical references he cites. But most of all, pray earnestly for wisdom before you do either. You will see.


    • Posted by BUCK on December 3, 2010 at 8:40 am

      Absolutely right to the heart of God. I’m so thankful to find a fellow Christian who can with much prayer and study discern the Truth. With an open heart and a willingness to follow God (and reject error) it is true what you said, “You will see”. But how many really care enough to make the life corrections and choices to walk with God? I can always find someone who will support my erroneous position. Do we really love God and the things of God or religious acceptance? [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Many Blessings.


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