Travis Clark Rocking Out
In March 2017, we published “A Plea to the Clark Family” about the contemporary direction of the music and philosophy of the Clarks of Solid Rock Baptist Church in Berlin, New Jersey. The plea was public, because their music and ministry is public and influential far beyond their local church. The Clark Family music used to be a simple bluegrass-tinged style, but it is moving far beyond that, and a drift like this has no bottom. We have seen it time and time again. I see this progression everywhere among those who love Southern Gospel. Important lines are being erased. One reason is that even a little Southern Gospel creates an appetite for jazzed-up rhythms and sensual vocal styles (e.g., scooping, sliding, breathiness, improvisation, vocal rasping). Another reason is that the vast majority of Southern Gospel singers have moved into the “progressive/contemporary” sphere, probably because that is where the real money and prestige is, and even the most conservative people are being influenced by the contemporary Southern Gospel crowd because they are letting the guard down and aren’t being careful enough about biblical separation. After listening to many examples of the Clark Family music, it became obvious that they are performing a lot of music from the world of contemporary Southern Gospel. They are building bridges to contemporary people the likes of Brian Free, Ricky Free, Jeremy Johnson, Joel Lindsay, Tony Wood, Mike Schultz, Jody McBrayer, and Billy and Cynthia Foote. There isn’t any serious difference between the world of contemporary worship music represented by the Newsboys and Chris Tomlin and Hillsong and the world of contemporary Southern Gospel represented by Brian Free, etc. It is all fleshly music that gets people emotionally addicted to the world’s music. And like all addictions, it is never satisfied. Further, the world of contemporary Southern Gospel is as ecumenical as the world of CCM. All of the people in contemporary Southern Gospel hold a “judge not, loosen up and don’t be so strict” philosophy of Christianity. Contemporary Southern Gospel yokes church people into association with the likes of the Gaithers and the National Quartet Convention, and a more radically ecumenical crowd does not exist. They preach a “let’s all get together and not judge” message. Recently Travis Clark teamed up with Mark Rasmussen, a graduate of West Coast Baptist College and a former prominent member of the Lancaster Baptist Church (Lancaster, California) music program, to produce a Christian rock song called “Chain Breaker.” The video is found below.
(Friday Church News Notes, September 21, 2018, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)
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