Thursday, February 21, 2013

Church Works Media

Many of you might be familiar with Church Works Media.

Even if you don’t know the name “Church Works Media” you might have heard hymns like “His Robes For Mine” or “My Jesus Fair.” Or you might have heard of the “Gospel Meditations” booklets (for Women, Men, and Missions, and some to come I think).

All of these (plus more) are part of the excellent ministry resource known as “Church Works Media,” headed up by my friend, Chris Anderson along with Joe Tyrpak.

Starting this week, the site has been redesigned and relaunched with some new features, including a team blog. This blog will include some excellent writers and thinkers, along with me. I promise to write. Others will no doubt cover the excellence and the thinking.

I encourage you to check out CWM and add it to your blog reader.

If you haven’t yet, incorporate some of these songs into your repertoire. You can download PDFs of the songs for free. Octavos are available for your choir. A new CD has just been released for purchase and soon will be available on ITunes I think.

Check it out, and pass the word along to some friends.


Kent Brandenburg said...


I'm curious about these things. I like a lot of the work that CWM has done. You seem now to be intimately involved. Not everyone would appreciate or accept this question, although it's absolutely sincere. We have bought CWM music. Why is it that they look to Bob Kauflin for an endorsement? Why advertise a Chuck Swindoll endorsement?

You write like you don't think music is amoral here. I've read two or so in the last year where it looks like you're making that point.

Larry said...

Thanks Kent for reading and commenting.

I am not intimately involved at all, so I can't answer either of your questions. Chris and I haven't talked about that.

But I will say that I don't follow why the morality of music is being brought up here. I don't think music is amoral, but neither does Chris (to the best of my knowledge), and none of his music is even close to broaching that issue. So I am not sure why you mention that here.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Larry,

I thought you were involved, because when I clicked on the link provided by you, I saw that you were involved in it, your named mentioned as a new contributor.

I didn't write much, because I thought you would figure it out easily from the amount I wrote. Let me explain. CWM quotes Kauflin as an endorsement. Kauflin believes music (notation) is amoral. I believe that Swindoll goes the same direction. Chris doesn't, but it confuses that issue as a non-issue. Maybe it is a non-issue and that would be the answer then. Some believe it, some don't, but it ultimately doesn't matter. "Kauflin's a good brother who has a slightly different view, and we don't see eye-to-eye on that, but no biggie"---that kind of thing. Maybe things don't work this way anymore. It has in the past. You wouldn't want to associate with Kauflin, because you wouldn't want anyone taking the same position on worship. You usually quote or ask for endorsements from people that you respect. Maybe if Kauflin likes it, people could take the CWM music, jazz it up to their liking, and sing the jazzed up version, since the lyrics are all that matter to Kauflin.

So that's it, Larry. I thought it would be something you easily could figure out. Thanks.

Larry said...

Thanks again, Kent. I wanted to get back to this after the weekend.

To the first, I am involved, but not "intimately" involved, which is the word you used. I was asked to participate about an hour or so prior to the announcement being made public. I wasn't even in the original list of contributors. So far as I know, about once a month or so, I may have an article published there. I am not privy to, nor involved in any discussion of other parts of CWM.I recommend it, not primarily because I will write occasionally for it, but because I think it serves church well. So my involvement is not intimate.

To the second, I understand what you are saying here; that wasn't hard to figure out. But your statement was about morality of music, not about who says something nice about something. Why bring up the morality of music in a post and a response that has nothing to do with morality. My guess is that if Swindoll or Kauflin thought music was moral, you would still have the same issue (please correct me if I am wrong). So the question seems to be not about morality of music, but about association.

I think your argument is, at best, a very strained type of argument. I don't know of any one (besides you apparently) who thinks that when someone says something nice about something, the something they say something nice about is somehow contaminated or compromised.

If Kauflin is wrong (and I think he is), that doesn't mean his appreciation of CWM makes CWM wrong. Nor does repeating his appreciation equal an endorsement of everything Kauflin says. I don't know anyone who would be confused by that. But perhaps I don't know enough people.

To me, what you are bringing up is a wisdom issue. And there may be wisdom in using or not using endorsements or comments in certain ways.

I would only say something similar to what I have said before, that if our preaching and teaching in the church from the Word is so weak that our members are at risk because Kauflin endorsed CWM at some level, then the problem is not with Kauflin, CWM, Chris, or whoever else. The problem is with the preaching and teaching. If our great hope is making sure that our people don't know that Kauflin or Swindoll said something nice about something we use, then we are indeed in far worse shape than I imagined previously (and there wasn't much room there to begin with).

But again, you brought up the morality of music, which doesn't fit here. Your complaint is about association, not about morality. Some could, I presume, jazz up CWM music (though it's style doesn't seem to lend itself to that), just like they have done with Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, Arise My Soul Arise, and a host of other songs because it's been done with virtually every song we sing. The fact that someone can do something to a song should not reflect on the song properly done. If that becomes the standard, we can only write our own music, and we must write it so badly that no one else will ever like it or sing it.

Thanks again for reading and commenting.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Everything you are saying may be true. It just seems new to me for people to be publishing those endorsements. That's where the amorality issue comes in---that's the big difference, I would think, on music, between Kauflin/Swindoll and CWM. Kauflin can write anything he wants and we can be happy for the endorsement, but if we write and ask him for the endorsement and then publish it, it is going further than an endorsement. If I wrote a book and I used Mark Driscoll for an endorsement, and he really did like what I was writing, would that be more than just unwise, but wrong? Mark Driscoll might endorse my book on his own, but if I asked for the endorsement and then printed it, isn't that different?

This is where I think a chasm is being jumped or bridged. This is new. It was once unacceptable. It seems now to be in the acceptability category among those who call themselves separatists.

Would you say that it is something new or is the way that fundamentalism has operated? If it isn't the way they operated, is this new way right, and the old way wrong?

Larry said...

Is it new? I don't know. Endorsements have always been published. I am not sure there has ever been a standard in fundamentalism for it. Who, besides fundamentalists, ever wanted to endorse a fundamentalist publication? I don't know. That fact that no one has ever done it (if in fact no one has done it) may be attributed to a number of things.

Is it right or wrong? I don't know. As I said, I think it's a wisdom issue in many cases, and it needs to be made based on a number of factors. It could be wrong; it could be unwise; it could be okay. Again, I can't imagine anyone thinks that an endorsement one way is an endorsement the other way, particularly an endorsement of everything.

But I think combining the two questions as if the answer to the first provides the answer to the second is faulty methodology.

As with the blood discussion, trotting out quotes (one way or the other) is not conclusive. Quotes simply show what someone says/believes. It does not show what they should believe, and certainly not what we should believe. It's a faulty methodology. It's arguing, in essencem that because a bunch of people said it, it can't be stupid. Well, that's just a bad argument. The thing in question may not be stupid; but the argument used to get there is fallacious.

I would say that many things that are "new" are good (and probably not even "new"). If the old way is bad then let's stop it. If a new way is acceptable, then let's accept it, whether or not we personally would do it.

Here, I think your standard is wrong. You standard does not appear to be "right vs. wrong," but "have we done it before?" It's a valid question to be sure, and instructive. But over the years, many wrong things have been said or done by well meaning people. They were still wrong. Many false standards have been raised by well meaning people. They are still false.

BTW, I am not sure if these were asked for or what. I just have no idea. Personally, I would be uncomfortable asking for an endorsement anyway, so this conversation is outside my previous thinking.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Larry,

It's one thing to "trot out" quotes and another thing to find one exclusive doctrine taught for centuries, and then see it changed, wouldn't you say? In your search for the new teaching through history is helpful. That's why we take historical theology, because of that importance. It's not the final authority, but it is authoritative, because of what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit's work in the life of believers. As well, Scripture teaches no total apostasy. Right is always right, in other words.

I personally believe we should always rely on historical theology as an important contributor. When we choose to ignore it in one case, even to downplay it, it's curious to me.


Larry said...

I agree with you on that, Kent, though it would be well nigh impossible to prove something was the "exclusive" teaching since we must rely only on records that are preserved (which means what isn't preserved can't be included). Furthermore, we must seek to find out what questions they were answering, and why they concluded as they did. In other words, it's not just "they said this," but "here is the question they were answering." That's why we see doctrinal development over time.