“...a resistant and insidious strain of narcissism, an addiction to jesusy entertainment, and a self-soothing pseudo-gospel.”

"Keith and I would likely have diverging ideas about how to fix this problem, but he’s absolutely right about this. Moving away from a sung liturgy, the Psalter, and robust hymnody has largely turned the service of Word and Table into a Christian parody of the rock concert." - Ponder Anew

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Bert Perry's picture

If I'm reading the gentleman's blog correctly, he's a music traditionalist who chooses to emphasize the poetic and lyrical deficiencies of most CCM--a point with which I agree--but commits the basic logical error of confusing the deficiencies of some/most CCM/Hillsong/whatever with all.  Aristotle would not be pleased.  

Another thing that might be interesting would be to take a sample of the hymns you no longer find in hymnals--the vast majority, for example, of those by the Wesley brothers and Isaac Watts--and subject those to the tests that Mr. Aigner proposes--which facets of theology were covered by these hymns, and how do their poetic devices stack up?

My guess is that you would yet see a difference in poetic devices/meter and content, theologically speaking, of the lyrics, but it might not be quite as stark as it seems to Mr. Aigner today.  So part of what's going on is that proponents of ancient music benefit from the simple fact that forgettable music of the past has largely been, thankfully, forgotten.

Another factor that we ought to consider is that not all older music is good--we can start with that favorite "whipping boy" called "In the Garden", which would work really well for CCM, except for having a fairly consistent meter.  

Put another way, I keep yearning for the possibility that proponents of various musical styles in the church would consider what the purpose of music in the church is (I suggest "to communicate the Word of God to the people of God in lyric form" as a start), and what factors help to do that. 

By insisting on liturgical music from pretty much the 16th to the 18th or 19th centuries, however, Aigner seems to almost deliberately torpedo the discussion.  And that's a shame, as I'm also a great lover of ancient church music.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Mark_Smith's picture

It isn't "style". It is content and focus. Most of the top CCM, the stuff you never listen to but plays 24/7 on KLOVE is devoid of theology. The other day I turned over to KLOVE when I saw a bumper sticker for it. No joke, the song playing was called Bulletproof. You are bulletproof in Christ. Catchy song? Yes. Play it in Syria to the Christians over there being crushed...

Bert Perry's picture

Mark, it's worth noting that in my first comment, I specifically noted the lyrical deficiencies of most CCM.  To wit:

lyrical deficiencies of most CCM--a point with which I agree

Maybe.....work on the 'ol reading comprehension, bro?  My point is, again, that I don't think that we ought to use the example of some (or even most) CCM to preclude the use of all CCM/modern church music.  The author's syllogism is as so:

Some/most CCM is spiritually vapid

This song is CCM

Hence, this song is spiritually vapid

Draw out your Venn diagrams; you will find that this syllogism is faulty, at least if you do them right.  The author also brilliantly illustrates his own logical mistake by endorsing the organ (not referred to in Scripture) while disdaining the "band", which actually does have instruments mentioned in Scripture.

Regarding the song you mention, yes, I'd agree it's a rather clumsy interpretation of the "armor of God" passage from Ephesians 6, and we might even say it's in some degree of error because Ephesians 6:16 says that one will be able to quench the fiery darts, not that the fiery darts have no chance of hurting us whatsoever.  Something of an important distinction there, agreed.

But that said, let's go back to Aristotle, let's go back to the Venn diagrams; do the flaws of some CCM impugn all modern church music?  Logically speaking, the answer is no.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Rob Fall's picture

I agree with the opinion that it is musical fluff. I do see much of its criticism is based on its use during regular church services. I do think it is best sung after the evening meal out on the porch or on the lawn.

Bert Perry wrote:


Another factor that we ought to consider is that not all older music is good--we can start with that favorite "whipping boy" called "In the Garden", which would work really well for CCM, except for having a fairly consistent meter.


Hoping to shed more light than heat..

TylerR's picture


His polemic tone will unnecessarily anger those who disagree, will convince nobody on the other side, but will please his audience. In short, his article accomplishes nothing.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Larry's picture


I wouldn't call Aigner a musical traditionalist. I think he is a musical conservative who came out of the SBC/Wheaton (I believe) and saw modern worship and CCM as banal and self-centered (he uses some other words for it). His position is considerably more involved than objecting to poetic and lyrical deficiencies. It's about the whole aesthetic of Christian worship and the worship industrial complex (I think he calls it). One of his major themes is that this is not just a matter of preference, as so many like to say. 

I have read Aigner for several years and find it to be rather harsh but provocative usuallyt in a good way. Will it convince those who disagree? Perhaps not, but the approach might be as good as any. People need to hear what he is saying and give it serious consideration even if, in the end, they don't agree. Too many people are unwilling to even ask the questions. As we have found here, a great many are unwilling to consider any type of argument or even suggestion outside their very narrow view.

These are the times when this comes to mind: