We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Another book to pass


This book for giving away has no cover to show — it’s just blank greenish cloth (hardbound).  The spine has the title.  It’s a book that ended up with me when a good friend passed away, and I already have an expanded version.

The title of this one is Unger’s Bible Handbook, by Merrill F. Unger.  Moody Press, 1966.  Subtitled “An Essential Guide to Understanding the Bible.”  It’s a compact book, 5X7 format,900+ pages.  It was apparently originally with a local church library and they discarded it along with other books, which would have been picked up by congregants.

As with previous books I’ve given away, this offer is only for those in the U.S.A. — due to postage costs elsewhere!  Give me your name and address either in the comment box (it won't be published) or send me an email at jude3.gctwm@yahoo.com

Friday, November 17, 2017

CCM Changes the Gospel


Though the acceptance of popular culture (and in the case of music, pop music) within the Christian church is now an established fact, its very normality across the face of virtually every variety of Christian theological persuasion is telling.  In a climate of extreme multiculturalism, pluralism, and relativism satiated with the notion that music is value-neutral and worldview-free, church music has been cut off from history, tradition, theology, aesthetic norms, and ultimately the Word.  The result has been a breakdown of church music standards along with a collateral weakening in other areas of life as well.  The problem with Christian pop music is that pop changes the gospel!  The musical medium remakes the message into a reflection of pop’s own music.

Calvin M. Johansson, Evangel University.  Forward to “Measuring the Music: Another look at the Contemporary Christian Music Debate,” by John Makujina

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good:
Some interesting history of the Lutheran Church’s changes from Roman Catholicism.



God’s blessing is not for sale, and tithing is not for the Christian.


When was Jesus born?  Four years ago I did my own post about the possibilities.

The Bad:
All that is wrong about Russell Moore.  Why is he not yet booted out of the Southern Baptist Convention?

You just have to love those Methodists; they’ve been permitted all sorts of unbiblical, heretical acts (women in the pulpit, homosexuals in the pulpit, homosexuality supported, social gospel, sanctioning of abortion, etc) yet unless the full denomination permits the “marriage” of two members of the same sex, then this assembly won’t perform real marriages.

An example of why you should avoid Paula White.

Another reason to dislike Chris Tomlin’s music.

The Anglican Church should quit calling itself “Christian.”  Especially when you have this sort of leadership!

The Ugly:
More about the false “Passion Translation” of the Bible.  Seriously, run from this translation.

Proof that Todd White and Kenneth Copeland are NOT Christians, but they are minions of Satan.

Perry Noble and the guy defending him are both blaspheming the name of God. Noble is really a dangerous wolf, and horribly arrogant as well.

The humorous 


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

More Song Issues


I really like the assembly we are currently attending, primarily because of the very good teaching, good leadership, and mostly friendly people. However, I really get tired of all the “radio” songs the music leader chooses for worship.

I call them “radio” songs because they are songs which are normally only heard on the radio or purchased with a CD.  They were never written to be sung in a congregational setting, rather they are written for being performed by a singer.  Unless you are someone who either purchases these performers’ CDs or hear them on the radio, you have no clue what the music is when they put the lyrics on the overhead; you are expected to just learn the music as you go regardless of how difficult it may be for congregational singing.  (I know, those boring old hymn books just don’t help to manufacture emotion the way these “CCM” songs do.)

Today I’m giving two examples of what we sang as a congregation this past Sunday (I didn’t sing them because I had no clue about the music).  

One more thing:  We don’t need “bridges” in congregational music; the band doesn’t need a solo performance because it isn’t about them, rather it is supposed to be worshipping the Lord.

We Will Remember, by Tommy Walker

Chorus
We will remember, we will remember
We will remember the works of Your hands 
We will stop and give you praise
For great is Thy faithfulness
(REPEAT)

You’re our creator, our life sustainer 
Deliverer, our comfort, our joy
Throughout the ages You’ve been our shelter 
Our peace in the midst of the storm

(CHORUS)

With signs and wonders You’ve shown Your power 
With precious blood You showed us Your grace 
You’ve been our helper, our liberator
The giver of life with no end

(CHORUS)

When we walk through life’s darkest valleys 
We will look back at all You have done
And we will shout, our God is good
And He is the faithful One

Bridge
Hallelujah, hallelujah
To the one from whom all blessings flow 
Hallelujah, hallelujah
To the one whose glory has been shown

I still remember the day You saved me
The day I heard You call out my name
You said You loved me and would never leave me 
And I’ve never been the same

Chorus
We will remember, we will remember
We will remember the works of Your hands 
We will stop and give you praise
For great is Thy faithfulness
(REPEAT)

What I can’t show here is that in the next to last verse the song leader raised the octave and volume as would be done by a performer — how is the congregation supposed to know to do that?!?!?  Also, the band got louder at that point to where it crescendoed with loud drumming.  This crescendo with loud drumming also took place in the last verse.

I don’t have a problem with the lyrics of this song, it’s just that this is not appropriate for congregational singing.

The other song, Sovereign, was by Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, et al (of course).

Sovereign in the mountain air
Sovereign on the ocean floor
With me in the calm
With me in the storm

Sovereign in my greatest joy
Sovereign in my deepest cry
With me in the dark
With me at the dawn

In your everlasting arm
All the pieces of my life
From beginning to the end
I can trust you

In your never failing love
You work everything for good
God whatever comes my way
I will trust you

Sovereign in the mountain air
Sovereign on the ocean floor
With me in the calm
With me in the storm

Sovereign in my greatest joy
Sovereign in my deepest cry
With me in the dark
With me at the dawn

In your everlasting arm
All the pieces of my life
From beginning to the end
I can trust you

In your never failing love
You work everything for good
God whatever comes my way
I will trust you

God whatever comes my way
I will trust you

All my hopes, all I need
Held in your hands
All my life, all of me
Held in your hands
All my fears, all my dreams
Held in your hands

All my hopes, all I need
Held in your hands
All my life, all of me
Held in your hands
All my fears, all my dreams
Held in your hands

In your everlasting arms
All the pieces of my life
From beginning to the end
I can trust you

In your never failing love
You work everything for good
God whatever comes my way
I will trust you

God whatever comes my way
I will trust you
God whatever comes my way
I will trust you

As with so many of Tomlin’s songs, notice how much “me” focus there is. And it just goes around and around ad nauseum.  Tomlin never impresses me with his writing, which in my opinion shows a total lack of imagination.  

Again, this song should not be used for congregational singing!  But, hey, we can get the band going and manufacture some more emotion with his stuff!

Remember, the purpose of joining together in the assembly is not to be entertained, not to have our emotions driven.  We are there to worship corporately, so let’s have some meaty and meaningful songs to sing.

Monday, November 13, 2017

September Dawn


On 11 September 1857, Mormons, pretending to be Indians, along with some Indians they talked into joining them, massacred over 120 men, women and children from a wagon train at a location in Utah known as Mountain Meadows.  This massacre is little known outside of those who study the history of Mormonism.  

The real dastardly thing about the massacre was that after days of attacks the Mormons and Indians (few of the latter) were losing too many men and were not making any headway.  So under orders from higher ups, John D. Lee approached with a flag of true, told the wagon train members that the Mormons were there to protect them from the Indians, and the only way they could do that would be to have all weapons put into a wagon, have small children in another wagon, the women and other children walking in a separate group from the men, and all would be escorted to a safe location.  Instead, once they were all disarmed and separated, the Mormons killed them all except for the small children who they believed wouldn’t be able to tell the story — the children were then given to Mormon families to raise.

In 2007 a movie, September Dawn, was made about the massacre.  Overall the story it told was factual but, as normal with Hollywood, they put in some characters which weren’t there (and a wee bit of exaggeration used with the tirades of the “bishop” in the story) and left out some important parts.

The movie never showed around here, and I understand it was only out for a very, very short time; I believe this was due to pressure from the Mormon Church.  However, the DVD was released in 2008 and I purchased it.  I found it amusing that it got an “R” rating (probably due to pressure from the LDS) for violence, when so very many PG-13 movies have even worse violence!

In order to add some drama to the plot the script includes a “Romeo and Juliet” love story.  But they really didn’t show that the wagon train was under attack for several days before the dastardly deed was done; just one comment had one of the besieged talking about how it “has been four days.”  The movie showed the first attack, and after that attack the members of the wagon train talked about being low on ammunition, but they weren’t low until after days of being attacked.

The movie showed the Mormons on horses riding next to the men they shot, while in real life the Mormons were walking next to the victims.  It also showed the firing squad at the end in the open, while in real life they were hidden from public view so they couldn’t be identified and possibly have their families put in danger.

A lot more details bothered me by being lacking or being over-done (and some being anachronistic), but overall the story was an excellent way to alert the public to the REAL history and beliefs of the Mormons.  

For those interested in some thorough examinations of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, I recommend the following:

Mormonism Unveiled or Life & Confession of John D. Lee (with an appendix history of Brigham Young).  This book goes a very long while before discussing the massacre, but the reason for Lee writing it was to expose all the perpetrators of the massacre before he was executed as the scapegoat.

Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows, by Will Bailey.  He has some exposure in the extras on the DVD.

White Flag: America’s First 9/11, by Wayne Atilio Capurro

The Mountain Meadows Massacre, by Juanita Brooks

American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857, by Sally Denton

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Modern Day Prophets


Too often I have read of different charismatic and New Apostolic Reformation Groups (e.g. IHOP) having their own “school of prophets.”  What I’ve also learned is that none of their prophets ever have a correct prophecy!

As I was reading 1 Peter, I came across this familiar passage in chapter 1:21:
For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man…

This time when I read it I had to ask, aren’t these schools of prophecy nothing but the will of men?  I guess that pretty much explains why their graduates are false prophets.

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Wonderful Cross — Theft of Isaac Watts’ Song


This was addressed somewhat in a post back on 1/25/11, but since we sang this song in church yesterday, I’m going to address it again, with a wee bit more commentary.

Isaac Watts had a great hymn (and I like it best to “Hamburg” rather than “Waly, Waly”) titled, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”  Here are the lyrics you will find in most hymn books:

When I survey the wondrous cross 
on which the Prince of Glory died; 
my richest gain I count but loss, 
and pour contempt on all my pride. 

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, 
save in the death of Christ, my God; 
all the vain things that charm me most, 
I sacrifice them to his blood. 

See, from his head, his hands, his feet, 
sorrow and love flow mingled down. 
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, 
or thorns compose so rich a crown. 

Were the whole realm of nature mine, 
that were an offering far too small; 
love so amazing, so divine, 
demands my soul, my life, my all.

Several years ago I discovered there was another verse, which would be between the 3rd and 4th verses in the above, and here it is:

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o'er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Notice that the hymn has a theme with an overall progression to the climax of the song, even if we remove the verse which is normally left out.

Ah, but what if you are a modern musician whose imagination isn’t as good as that of Watts’ and you want to make some easy money?  Well, just steal his song and add a chorus to it!  And what does Chris Tomlin get? More money and popularity!

Let’s look at what Tomlin did with his “The Wonderful Cross”:

When I survey the wondrous Cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain, I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

See from His head, His hands, His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ever such love and sorrow meet?
Or thorns compose, so rich a crown

Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
All who gather here by grace, draw near and bless Your name

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all

Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
All who gather here by grace, draw near and bless Your name

Well, his performance version adds some more repetitive lines, which aren’t normally sung in church (and so not included here), but look at what he did by dropping out that important 2nd verse — he disturbed the flow of the theme in Watts’ song.  Oh, but his chorus is where the “praise band” gets to really show their stuff as the people sway too and fro!  Oh, and see the part I put in bold?  Well right there the music leader had to up his volume and raise the octave — probably because that is the performance way it was done (I’ve never listened to it — and I refuse to sing that perverting chorus!).

Really, just what was added to the theme of Watts’ song with that chorus?  Absolutely nothing, and, in fact I think it disturbs the original theme and adds a wee bit more self-focus!

I really, really wish church music leaders would get rid of all these “radio song” versions that really aren’t meant for congregational singing — I mean, who knew you were supposed to increase volume and pitch on that last verse?!?!?

One last thing: I have absolutely no respect for such lyric writers who steal from old authors just so they can add a chorus and enrich themselves unethically.  Besides, when music leaders use this stuff, aren’t they fostering the theft of intellectual property?