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THE SPIN ON CCM AWARDS
A CRC REPORT
WWW, September 27, 2006 - Recently, Christian artist JAH Pickney posted a news item on the Dubroom Messageboards, wherein he announced how he was nominated for the "Marlin Awards". These awards are given to major players in the "Reggae" branch of the Christian Industry, also called "Caribbean Gospel" or "Gospel Reggae". 

The posting obviously turned into a very interesting discussion about the idea of having such "Gospel Music Awards". Are these awards a proof of the fact that the Christian Industry is just that, an industry, or can bilical justifications be given to such ceremonies?

A report.

What are these "awards", anyway? Why are they given? The answers depend on who you ask, obviously.

According to JAH Pickney on the Dubroom Message Boards, the awards are a way for Christians to "honour" other Christians. He sees "the Marlin Awards and the community at Gospelreggae.com as well as some other things" as his "church" and "support". And subsequently, he claims that he sees "the Marlin Awards as my church saying "thank you for the ministry that you have."

One aspect isn't subject to debate, though. That aspect is formed by looking to the names of the winners. A quote from "Lion of Zion", the major outlet for "World and Reggae Music" released by the CCM Industry:

Mark Mohr was also honored that night with the foreign achievement award for his significant contributions to Caribbean gospel music. A long biography on Mohr was read before he collected his honor. Mark is best known for pioneering gospel reggae with his group Christafari, and as president of Lion of Zion Entertainment and his GospelReggae.com webstore. Earlier in the week Mohr lead a session at the Marlin Global Gospel Music Summit Workshop where he taught a classroom full of Caribbean Gospel performers how to become successful independent artists. (SOURCE)

As we have thoroughly documented Christafari, we know exactly where they stand for. When the "Marlin Awards" choose to "honor" the self-proclaimed "founder and leader of Gospel Reggae" for the things he stands for, even letting him "teach a classroom full", we have a clear indication of the nature of the "Marlin Awards".

How does "Lion of Zion" look to such awards? In the book "The Mystery of Christafarianism", we have quoted Scott Whelan, then one of the workers of "Lion of Zion". This organization is self-described as "pioneers and trail blazers of the Gospel Reggae genre". He was asked, what he thought about the "Dove Awards", a "Christian" version of the Grammy Awards.

(...) the awards ceremony can help the genre grow and introduce it to non-believers (...)

A Dove win or even nomination can have a significant positive impact on press/promotion, airplay, consumer and retailer awareness, distribution, festival/concert appearances, etc. which all lead to greater sales. (SOURCE)

One could say: "What's the big deal? We all know where awards are for". And indeed we do. Scott Whelan perfectly described how the Awards are a way to "help the genre grow", with the purpose to "lead to greater sales". And, it's obvious how "introducing non-believers to the genre" will "lead to greater sales" as well.

Awards ceremonies are basically a way for the entertainment industry, to reach greater sales for the products and producers. Celebrities, super-stars are being identified for what they are. When they create products which have some kind of success, they will get an industry award.

The idea is, that people will buy products by "award winning" artists because some impression is given that award winners are "the best of the best". And appearantly, evangelizing has turned into "introducing non-believers to the Gospel genre".

So, is there something wrong with "Gospel Awards"? And why?

To get some answers, a look at the discussion around these "Marlin Awards" may very well turn out to be quite revealing. For there is one thing which differentiates the Grammy Awards from such ones as the Dove Awards or the Marlin Awards.

You guessed it: it has everything to do with Christianity. And wuith that, it's not about music. Dove and Marlin are specifically aimed at the Christian Industry. And so, an in-depth discussion about the Marlin Awards is a principal discussion about the very existance of a Christian Industry.

When Christianity is a way to make money, it's obvious how Award Ceremonies are neccesary. When Christianity is a way to make money, it's obvious how there is a Christian Industry.

A look to the Marlin Awards website will confirm how this is all about industry and business. Here are some quotes, directly from the website (emph. CRC):

There are seven industry professionals representing seven countries who will once again serve as judges to determine nominees as well as winners for this year’s awards. "Unlike with most music awards where nominations and winners are determined by mail out ballots, nominees and subsequent winners are skillfully selected by a panel of carefully chosen industry professionals representing seven countries. This process though intense allows for all submissions to be given equal opportunity as each album or single is listened to, categorized and then professionally considered for a nomination and ultimately for a Marlin Award," according to awards President Kevin Harris. As with past awards, judges are comprised of recording artists, songwriters, producers, engineers and radio announcers

(...)

The Marlin Global Gospel Music Summit is designed to meet the spiritual as well as the artistic needs of recording artists, worship leaders, psalmists, songwriters, producers, managers as well as other industry executives.

Topics include:
The Business of Gospel Music – (Industry Luncheon)
How to Write and Publish A Great Song
The Role of an Artist Manager and Booking Agent
How to Package and Promote A Great Product
We will also introduce the Global Media Panel – featuring radio announcers and promoters from throughout the Caribbean, the US and other countries around the world.

The jury are "industry professionals". This is mentioned twice, in what can only be seen as a description of an industrial award. The industry, wherin these professionals work, isn't the Music Industry though. 

It's the CCM or Christian Industry!

And that changes everything...

In the mind set of the Christian Industrialists, everything which is done in that industry is labeled with "annointed", "sanctified", blessed" and so more. They apply certain ideas from the Bible and transform it to fit their works.

Artist and other industry professionals are seen as "ministers". In western Christianity, "minister" is a word to describe "clergy". It's the ruling class in a religious system where the so-called "layity" obeys the clergy, as the clergymen are the ones who practise religious rituals and activities. The layity pays the clergy so the clergy will rule over them.

Of course, this system is completely against the description of Christianity as found in the New Testament in the Bible they claim to uphold. According to the Bible, Christianity or the Church are all of the same class. One is the Head, and that One is Jesus Christ. Every Christian is a "minister" with a "ministry". There are watchmen, teachers, deacons, elders, and many more functions. 

In the Bible, a "minister" is not an "industry professional", and there were no systems to give them "awards". Ministers provided services to the Church, but never were these services bought or sold as products. No minister in the Bible ever chargeed money for his services. Sometimes, ministers received financial support so that they could live, but this support was not the result of selling their services.

There is a big difference between receiving support and selling your products. To charge money for products, is to be involved in business.

In America, there are many "ministries" who ask you to pay "gifts" for which you will then receive a book or a video or something like that. This is a trick to stay away from tax laws, but everyone knows that it's just business.

And so, we have to really look to this from a Biblical perspective. Does the Bible actually speak about this? Does the Bible mention people who sell their products to the Church rather than providing them for free while trusting that the Good Lord provides in their daily needs?

I shouldn't be a surprise to find out that indeed, the Bible does talk about this.

In fact, the apostle Peter even warned the faithfull against false teachers who "will make merchandize of you". And Jesus Christ Himself whipped the merchandizers out of the Temple Yard and said: "You have made my Father's House into a den of thieves". He told them to go and do their business on the market place and not in the religious places.

But according to the Christian Industrialists, Christianity is a little bit different then how it is described in the Bible. It seems, like they are only using biblical terms to describe their rather unspiritual activities.

An example.

The claim is made, that the awards are "designed" to "meet spiritual needs". There are producers and... "psalmists". And yes: they're all described as "industry executives".

There is no doubt: The Christian Industrialist boldly proclaim how they are indeed involved in an Industry wherein the very Christian Life (livity) is the basis for that industry. 

When you read on, you will find descriptions of just about everything but spiritual needs. There are seminars on how to become a succesfull artist and reach greater sales, for example. How to package and promote your products.

No matter how many times the Christian Industrialists admit the fact that they work in and for an Industry based on the faith in Jesus Christ. No matter how often they boldly claim how they're working to "introduce non-believers to the genre" in order to "reach greater sales". No matter how often the Bible has warned against false teachers who will make merchandize of the faithfull. It seems like many Christians are completely blind to the blasphemic nature, even when it's spelled out in their face.

It's not only the consumers, the people who are told that they should only buy products made by the Christian Industry for their entertainment. 

Many Christian Artists are fooled, too.

This is where JAH Pickney enters. As reported, he posted an announcement on the Dubroom Messageboards wherein he announced how he was nominated for the Marlin Awards. In the debate that followed, he did the best he could to explain where he was comming from, why he would accept the nomination and even decided to visit the ceremony itself at the Diplomatic Center in the Bahama's.

We must say, that a big respect for JAH Pickney is definitely on it's place here. He posted and debated, where most "GospelReggae Dot Commers" only curse and insult everyone who critisizes them from their own (quote) "safe environment". 

This article, therefore, is not about JAH Pickney at all. We do quote some of his (public) statements from the lenghty debate on the Dubroom Messageboards, though. That is, because JAH Pickney is one of the few who actually has the guts to debate about this. We encourage everyone to read the debate in fullness. We think, that JAH Pickney is a very sincere person, and even though we believe he is sincerely wrong, we don't question his faith.

And so, we asked JAH Pickney to help us out in the writing of this article by looking as to whether we accurately describe his position and opinnion. 

Unfortunately, he refused to do so. He wrote (emph. CRC): 

"I don't want to take part in the article you are writing. Mostly because I don't want to be involved in something that may look bad on the Marlin awards and the artists involved. They are my brothers and sisters and amazing friends. As Stitchie said the awards were keys to open many new doors - please do not put new padlocks on those doors with this article. Do not harm the name of these artists by harming the Marlin Awards."

So, what's the matter?

Why is it so important to not "look bad on the Marlin Awards"?

And how does this relate to Biblical Christianity?

Let's start at the beginning.

We have allready seen, how workers in the Christian Industry look to themselves as "ministers". Their work is their "ministry". They believe in a two-class religious system wherein the "ministers" or the clergy have a full time job being Christian and the layity "supports" the ministers by buying these minister's products.

We have also seen, how these "ministers" are the ruling class in a two-class religious system. In this system, it's forbidden to critisize the "leaders". You can read stuff like "everybody has to obey the leaders" and so more.

Never mind from the fact that such a two-class system cannot be found in the Bible as according to the New Testement every Christian is a minister with a ministry. Never mind the fact that a ministry is not an industrial unit which produces goods that the layity must buy.

They just call themselves "ministers".

So, are they?

Is it biblical to organize "awards" for "ministers", based on the judgement of "industry professionals"? Asking the question, is answering it.

Let's place it in a Biblical setting. Take the Apostle Paul, and the Apostle Peter. Add to that, a young man called Timothy who was building churches in close cooperation with Paul. 

Can you imagine these three to be nominated for "awards"? Can you imagine these three teaching how to "package and market" their spiritual ministries? Can you imagine how they would speak about the flock of Jesus as a "fan base"? Can you imagine these three selling their services on the market place?

In the public debate on this subject, these questions were asked to JAH Pickney. He explained: "I believe that we should heed Peter's warnings against false teachers. However, not every profit making ministry is a greedy money-driven apostasy. Money is a necessity to continue to be able to minister and it is written in the word of God that teachers and ministers need to be financially supported".

But the question is not, as to whether ministries can receive financial support to do what they are doing. An industry doesn't ask for "support", it sells products. It makes something into merchandize, as a principal. And in the case of the "Christian Industry", the very product is Christianity.

Now, we all must eat. That's why we must work, when we can. There's nothing wrong with being an artist, selling your music as a product with the intention to get some money for your daily bread. Like Paul made tents for a living, so are there Christians who make music for a living. 

So yes, a Christian can be in business. And while (s)he is doing that business, (s)he should do it in a Christian way. 

When we look closely, this is exactly what the Christian Industry is doing. It provides Christians and those who claim that they are Christians with a job.

But instead of doing business in the marketplace, the Christian Industry takes business to church and transforms a spiritual livity into a marketable product.

Jesus whipped the businessmen away from the temple yard and told them to do business on the marketplace. The Christian Industry whips the businessmen away from the marketplace and puts them inside the Temple of God: the Church.

And so, the Christian Industry is a literal fullfillment of the following prophecy (emph. CRC):

"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you:" (2 Peter 2:1vv)

Just how do the Christian Industrialists make merchandise of the faithfull? Let's take a look to what Peter describes as "damnable heresies" and "feigned words".

We allready established, how there is a huge difference between receiving financial support and receiving money as the result of industrial enterprises. Financial support comes from people who have money and who believe in the ministry the support. Profit comes from people who have money and have bought a certain product.

Could it be a damnable heresie to believe how your income as an artist is actually financial support for your "ministry"? Especially, since this income is not the result of the Holy Spirit of God telling people to support one or more ministers, but the simple result of selling products in a slick marketing campaign?

Everyone can do it. With the right marketing strategy, you can sell about anything. It has nothing to do with spirituality, nothing to do with the Holy Spirit leading people to financially support a minister. In fact, it is a carnal imitation of a spiritual practice.

You cannot force the Holy Spirit to provide financial support, He does so out of His Own decision. Just like the Holy Spirit answers prayers, He also provides.

Peter, Paul and Timothy did not have to sell their spiritual services in order to get financial support. They did not have to go to seminars where they were taught to "package and promote the products", et cetera. The Holy Spirit simply led people to support them, and in the case of Paul he even worked a normal job as the maker of tents.  

Jesus said: "Freely you have been given, so freely you have to give", when speaking about Christianity.

So, could it be a damnable heresie to speak about Christianity as an "Industry"? Could it be a damnable heresie to organize events wherein "ministers" are "honoured" by "Industry professionals"? 

Jesus Christ clearly said: "do not work for the honour of men". We can read numerous time, how "all praises go to JAH". Awards are nowhere in the Bible. Rewards are there, but they are given by JAH Himself on Judgement Day. 

A look to the program of the Marlin Awards, their own public statements, reveals that everything just radiates that one thing: "industry". They even don't care about the spiritual contents of the so-called "ministries"!

But according to JAH Pickney (emph. CRC), "The Marlin Awards have come from a very spiritual point of view with it. They say that the awards are not meant to be a competition or to judge the validity or substance of an artists ministry, however they do want to recognize and honour talented musicians who have dedicated their lives and music to the most high."

So admittedly, it's not about the ministry, not about the spirituality. Where the Bible clearly tells the faithfull to continually judge the validity or substance of ministries (keyword: Bereans), the Marlin Awards are not looking to that. 

But still, they claim that everything is completely in line with the Bible. JAH Pickney describes his experiences as follows (emph. CRC):

In the Bahamas we were treated. They served us - they refered to the weekend as "ministering to the ministers of music." There were workshops with speakers to help us in different aspects of ministry. It was a time of networking with others, and growing in the Lord through each other's testimonies and stories. It was Christian fellowship. When I sang there it wasn't evengelical but edifying and encouraging other Christians and sharing with them the ministry God has given to me. The Awards (which was only one day of the 4 day weekend) was their way of saying "thank you for being obedient to God and spreading His gospel through quality Caribbean music." Although our true treasures will be awarded in Eternity it is still nice to be appreciated and honoured on Earth.

"Ministering to the ministers"? 

"Nice to be honoured on earth"?

Is that really "Christian fellowship"? We can't see how it is. The Bible clearly condemns all these things.

There were "workshops with speakers to help us in different aspects of ministry." We have allready seen what these speakers did. According to the Marlin Awards website, they were teaching:

The Business of Gospel Music – (Industry Luncheon)
How to Write and Publish A Great Song
The Role of an Artist Manager and Booking Agent
How to Package and Promote A Great Product
We will also introduce the Global Media Panel – featuring radio announcers and promoters from throughout the Caribbean, the US and other countries around the world.

We think, that it's clear how this Christian Industry has no biblical basis and fullfills the prophecies concerning false teachers making merchandise out of the faithfull.

Many artists are fooled, and perhaps even the organizers of the Marlin Awards are also not completely aware of what they are doing, spiritually. They follow the principal, that everything with a Christian vibe is to be seen as a "ministry" just because there are Christian words used and the producers claims to be a Christian too.

The CRC is known to be very critical when it comes to what is known as "Christianity". We speak out against the Christian industrial Complex, because we want to defend the faith, to keep it pure. We hope to be able to reach out to those Christians working in the Christian Industry and help them coming out of the Babylon that it is.

We're not against anyone personally, we're not attacking anyone either, we call for an open and fair debate with the Christian Industrialists and their supporters. 

But these debates remain to be kind of rare. Don't bother look for them on the vaious websites of the Gospel Reggae Industry, like GospelReggae.com and their competition at Dancehallgospel.com

And so, the debate with Jah Pickney is a rare gem for truthseekers. We believe, that he did the best he could to use the right words to express his position. 

Even though we are shocked by the reasons why he refused to help us providing you with an accurate report of the debate, we do believe that he should be respected for speaking out about his position. 

We think that everyone can see for themselves just how accurate this article is, by simply going to the debate on the Dubroom Messageboards and read over the pages.

We hope and pray, that Jesus Christ will use this article for His glory and honour. 

It is time, that people start waking up and realize that they are used by false teachers who trick them into becoming merchandise. It is time, that people start being consciously aware of the fact that not everyone who calls Jesus Christ Lord, is actually one of His disciples.

It is time, that people stop being afraid over what their friends might say, stop being afraid over their public image.

It is time, to be pure. To look what actually is a ministry, to realize the huge difference between the Christian Industry and true Christian livity (way of living).

It's time, that Christians actually follow the teachings of Jesus Christ instead of making their own charicature of Christianity by turning the House of God into a den of thieves.

Jesus said: "Freely you are given, so give it way for free. Watch out for the spiritual slavedrivers who turn the flock of God into merchandise. Do not work for the glory and honour of men."

Sela, so shall it be. Amen.

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