Contemporary Christian Music and Homosexuality
Homosexuality is a growing trend within the CCM movement. It is not a new thing, but formerly it was fairly hidden.
In the 1997 edition of The Gospel Sound, which first appeared in 1971, Anthony Heilbut said, “The gospel church has long been a refuge for gays and lesbians, some of whom grew up to be among the greatest singers and musicians.”
In 1998 gospel star Kirk Franklin said that “homosexuality ... is a problem today in gospel music--a major concern--and everybody knows it” (Church Boy, pp. 49, 50).
More recently Douglas Harrison, a homosexual who grew up Southern Baptist, said, “... you can’t swing a Dove Award without hitting upon evidence of the longstanding, deep-set presence of queer experience in, and its influence on, Christian music culture at all levels” (“Come Out from among Them,” Religion Dispatches, April 30, 2010).
James Cleveland’s (the “King of Gospel”) homosexuality was an “open secret” and he died of AIDS.
Marsha Stevens, who wrote the popular song “For Those Tears I Died” and has been called “the mother of Contemporary Christian Music,” was one of the first to come out of the closet. In 1979 she divorced her husband of seven years by whom she had two children, because she had “fallen in love” with a woman. Stevens and her lesbian partner formed Balm Ministries (Born Again Lesbian Music) through which they produce praise and worship albums and conduct training seminars. Christian Century called her “a Jesus-loving, Bible-believing, God-fearing lesbian Christian.”
Stevens’ ministry is recommended by Mark Powell, Professor of New Testament, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, and the author of An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music. He states: “The Mother of Contemporary Christian Music continues to capture hearts for Jesus. Argue interpretations of Scripture and debate the ethics and origins of homosexuality all you want--no one with sensitivity to things of the Spirit can deny God is using Marsha Stevens to bring the love and mercy of Christ to people whom God apparently has not forgotten.”
This is a description of the “spirituality” that is paving the way for the antichrist. It is the spirituality of the emerging church. It is a spirituality that is non-dogmatic and non-judgmental. It is not based on the absolute literal teaching of Scripture but on the ephemeral feeling of the fallen human heart.
Stevens claims to have been saved in 1969 when she was a teenager. This is how her salvation is described at her web site:
“In 1969, Marsha Stevens was a troubled adolescent when she had her first conscious encounter with Christ while participating in a Bible study group. In the vision this encounter evoked, she saw herself walking with Jesus near a deep blue river and this experience both changed and saved her life. Following it, she composed the folk hymn, ‘For Those Tears I Died (or Come To the Water).’”
This is not a biblical salvation testimony, and it is no wonder that she has become apostate. To see oneself walking with Jesus near a deep blue river and thinking that Jesus died for our tears is not the same as confessing oneself a wicked sinner deserving of hell, repenting of one’s sin, and trusting the blood of Christ for forgiveness.
In light of the shallow evangelism that is prevalent both within evangelicalism and fundamentalism and the lack of caution about accepting church members (the Bible standard is a clear new birth testimony), it is no wonder that homosexuality is a growing problem.
In 2004, Southern Gospel favorite Kirk Talley’s homosexuality was made public after someone tried to blackmail him with photos he had posted at a homosexual chat site. Talley has sung with big-name groups such as The Hoppers and The Cathedrals and has won a string of awards. He wrote the Southern Gospel favorites “Step into the Water,” “He Is Here,” “Serenaded By Angels,” and “If He Hung the Moon.” His homosexual outing didn’t end his Southern Gospel career. Between May and November 2010, he has 17 engagements listed on his schedule, including those at four Nazarene, one Baptist, and five Methodist churches.
In 2008, Clay Aiken, a Southern Baptist who was a runner-up on the American Idol contest in 2003 and has gone on to become a multi-platinum recording artist, admitted publicly that he is homosexual. He appeared on the cover of People magazine under the headline, “Yes, I’m Gay.” A Baptist Press article about him in May 14, 2003, was entitled, “A Baptist Lauded for Work with Youth,” and the Biblical Recorder, the North Carolina Baptist Association’s paper, reported that Aiken’s church, Leesville Baptist in Raleigh, gathered together to watch the very worldly American Idol after their Wednesday night Bible studies. (We wonder how much attention they gave in those studies to passages such as Romans 12:2; Ephesians 5:11; James 4:4, and 1 John 2:15-17?) In People magazine, Aiken, referring to his baby boy that was conceived through in-vitro fertilization, said, “I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things.” What is commendable about rejecting one sin (lying) for another (sodomy)?
That same year popular contemporary Christian musician Ray Boltz revealed that he is homosexual. Boltz told the homosexual magazine The Washington Blade that he has been a homosexual since he was a kid (though he was married for 33 years before his divorce and has four children). He said: “If this is the way God made me, then this is the way I’m going to live. It’s not like God made me this way and he’ll send me to hell if I am who he created me to be” (“Ray Boltz Comes Out,” Christianity Today, Sept. 12, 2008). This is a great deception. The only sure word from God is found in the Bible, and the Bible calls the male to male sexual relationship (“men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another”) “vile affections,” “against nature,” “unseemly,” “error,” and “reprobate” (Romans 1:26-28). It is obvious, then, that God did not make Ray Boltz a homosexual and that he could renounce it if he really wanted to.
Jennifer Knapp, a hard rocking Contemporary Christian musician, came “out of the closet” with her lesbianism earlier this year (2010). On Larry King Live, April 23, 2010, she said the Bible’s teaching against homosexuality is based on faulty translation and interpretation. When asked if she thinks the Bible speaks against homosexuality, she replied, “Well, I think there is plenty of evidence in my exploration of my faith through the sacred text of the Holy Bible that I have definitely recognized that we are somewhat at the handicap of our own interpretation against homosexuality. In the long run I don’t have the greatest deal of problems with it because I’m not the only person in the universe that has ever looked at a different interpretation.”
Let’s see if this works. Leviticus 20:13 says, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination...” There is certainly no problem with the translation, and the interpretation looks straightforward to me.
Let’s try another passage, this time in the New Testament. “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet” (Romans 1:26-27).
Again, the problem for the homosexual is neither with the translation or the interpretation.
As the famous agnostic Mark Twain reputedly said, ‘It is not the things that in the Bible that I don’t understand that trouble me; it’s the things that I do understand.”
Elsewhere Knapp complained that the verses against homosexuality are “clobber verses.” Indeed, the Bible is full of verses that clobber our sin, not just the homosexual’s sin but everyone’s sin, and the reason for this is that God wants us to repent and be saved!
The fact is that every individual is born a sinner, but God is not the author of sin, and He offers redemption through repentance and faith in Jesus’ atonement. “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. ... But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference” (Romans 3:19, 21, 22).
In light of Kirk Franklin’s statement 12 years ago that homosexuality is a major problem today in Gospel music (Church Boy, p. 39) and in light of the rapid growth of homosexuality in society at large, it is obvious that we have seen only the tip of the iceberg of this problem so far.
In : Music