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

Monday, May 30, 2011

Worship Songs Compared

Yesterday in church we sang some contemporary “worship” songs at the opening of service and closed with a traditional hymn.  Our church often mixes the old and the new, the trite and the meaty.  I want to show you the difference for what passes as “worship” songs today, compared to what used to be standard fare.  I will give them in the order we sang them, and I want you to read the lyrics with a discerning eye.
Here I Am to Worship (by Tim Hughes)
Light of the world
You stepped down into darkness.
Opened my eyes, let me see.
Beauty that made this heart adore You
Hope of a life spent with You
Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You're my God
You're altogether lovely
All together worthy,
All together wonderful to me
King of all days
oh, so highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above
Humbly You came 
To the earth You created
All for love's sake became poor
Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You're my God
You're altogether lovely
All together worthy,
All together wonderful to me
I'll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross
I'll never know how much it cost 
To see my sin upon that cross
I'll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross
I'll never know how much it cost 
To see my sin upon that cross

Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You're my God
You're altogether lovely
All together worthy,
All together wonderful to me
(repeat)
Overall the message isn’t too bad, sort of like a Psalm, although I don’t think of the word “lovely” when I think of Jesus; somehow I don’t see this word applied to men.  But that’s personal taste, I suppose.  But the real kicker is the phrase, “I’ll never know how much it cost...”  Excuse me?  Doesn’t the Bible make it perfectly clear how much it cost the Son of God to be punished for our sin?!?  What sort of nonsense is this??  Then there is the incessant repetition common to so many “choruses” today.  I don’t mean the refrain (although at the end the refrain is repeated a second time), rather, look at  how many times we say the unbiblical statement, “I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon the cross.”  I guess if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes true.
Now look at the next one, which I refuse to sing. First, it comes from the aberrational Vineyard movement, which should tell you immediately that it may have problems.  But let’s look at the lyrics:
Breathe (by Michael W. Smith)
this is the air I breathe
this is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
this is my daily bread
this is my daily bread 
Your very word spoken to me
And I, I'm desperate for you
And I, I'm I'm lost without you
this is the air I breathe
this is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
this is my daily bread
this is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me
And I, I'm desperate for you
And I, I'm I'm lost without you
And I, I'm desperate for you, 
And I, I'm lost without you, 
I'm lost without you, 
I'm lost without you. 
I'm lost without you.
I'm lost without you Lord, 
this is the air I breathe
this is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
this is my daily bread
this is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me
And I, I'm desperate for you
And I, I'm lost without you.
WOW!!!!  Now there is a lot of mindless repetition!  These lyrics are totally vacuous.  And, this ditty could be sung by a member of any religious belief system!  Why are Christians wasting time with this?
Okay, here’s the third song we sang in the first part of the service, separated from the first two by announcements and prayer time.
Step By Step (by Rich Mullins)
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And Step by step You'll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And Step by step You'll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
While the lyrics, few as they are, convey an acceptable message, the repetition gets weary; I don’t remember how many times we went in this circle.
NOW, let’s look at the lyrics of the hymn we closed with
At the Cross (by Isaac Watts - except for the refrain)
Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?
Refrain
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!
Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine,
And bathed in its own blood,
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His Soul in anguish stood.
Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!
Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.
Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.
But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
‘Tis all that I can do.

Did you notice the meaty truths of the Gospel in this?  Why do we feed trite phrases to our young people, thinking that is all they can understand?  If you only feed them milk, they will never want anything else.  
I am NOT saying there aren’t good, meaty songs of worship written today; I’ve reported on some of them by Stuart Townend - he gets it!  Nor am I saying old is better; we’ve got some really bad old ones out there (In the Garden comes to mind).  What I AM saying is that we need to use discernment with our worship songs and reject those vacuous, milky, 24/7 (24 words sung 7 times - or often 7/24) choruses, especially those which could be sung with equal fervor by a Hindu!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Random Apostasies and Heresies

This has been a busy week for me and I haven’t been able to get an article together as I was hoping, so my entry today is another random collection of false teachings.  Unfortunately, I have only three examples today - not that there weren’t many more out there but that I lack the time to collect them!  So here is my offering for your perusal today.
First, we have another church which has decided that homosexuality is a gift rather than a sin!   Central United Methodist Church in Toledo, OH, (UMC - no surprise there) has a campaign which says, “Being Gay is a Gift From God.”   According to The Christian Post, their goat-herd claims, “We would experience the body of Christ as incomplete without LGBT persons.”  Additionally, he boldly makes the false claim that, “The overwhelming scientific evidence is that people are born with their sexual orientation, that it is not a choice.”  Of course he just made that up, because the actual evidence is exactly the opposite.  The larger question is how one can claim homosexuality is a gift from God when throughout the Bible God calls homosexual behavior an abomination, perverse, unnatural, etc?  Since God is the one who calls it sin, it is dangerous for a man to call God a liar.
Roman Catholicism is an apostate organization to begin with, but their idolatry of Mary is downright heretical.  This month the Pope has again demonstrated the lengths to which Rome will go to make Mary equal with Christ.

With the dawn of Easter she became the Mother of the Risen One and her union with him is so profound that there where the Son is present, the Mother cannot fail to be present. In these beautiful surroundings, gifts and signs of the beauty of God, how many shrines, churches and chapels are dedicated to Mary! In her the luminous face of Christ is reflected. If we follow her with docility, the Virgin will lead us to him....  Let us invoke Mary Most Holy, who supported the first witnesses of her Son in preaching the Good News, that she might also today support the apostolic efforts of priests; make the witness of those in religious life fruitful; animate the daily work of parents in the first transmission of the faith to their children; illuminate the path of young people so that they might walk confidently in the way traced by their fathers; fill the hearts of the elderly with hope; comfort the sick and all of the suffering with her nearness; assist the work of numerous laypeople who actively collaborate in the new evangelization, in parishes, in associations, such as Catholic Action, which is so deeply rooted and present in these lands; in the movements, which, in the variety of their charisms and their action, are a sign of the richness of the ecclesial fabric – I have in mind such groups as Focolare, Communion and Liberation and the Neocatechumenal Way, to mention but a few. I encourage everyone to work with the true spirit of communion in this great vineyard in which the Lord has called us to work. Mary, Mother of the Risen One and of the Church, pray for us!
Can anyone show me from Scripture where any of this nonsense is found?
In Montclair, NJ an Episcopal Church (again, no surprise here) held an interfaith service with Muslims.  Their goat-herd said he was “concerned about the demonization of Muslims,” obviously oblivious to the fact that the religion of Islam is by its very origin demonic.  The service was to include Islamic speakers.  While Jesus said he was the only way to the Father, goat-herd Andrew Butler apparently thinks this is incorrect, and he ignores 2 John 10 which specifically says we are not to allow false teachers to speak to, or even enter the assembly of the saints.  Hat tip to Jihad Watch for the alert to this apostasy.

These are but more examples of the truth behind Paul’s words in 1 Tim. 4:1-2.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Harold Camping - False Prophet and Heretic

Remember back in September 1994 when Harold Camping’s prediction of the Rapture didn’t happen, and rather than admit to be a false prophet he said he made a mistake in what the date meant and that it actually was the end of the church age?
Well, you’d think that since Camping’s Rapture date of May 21, 2011 was also proven to be a false prophesy, that he’d repent of his ways.  No, this isn’t the way of a cult leader.   A false prophet just makes excuses and gives another date (sort of like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Adventist movement).
Harold Camping now says he wasn’t spiritual enough, which is why his calculations were off.  But never fear, he has guaranteed that he has the right date this time, and it is October 21, 2011.  So what will happen on October 21?  Probably the “Jonah excuse” - God relented because of so many being saved.
The sad thing is that there are so many of his followers who now have ruined lives, having given away or spent all their assets, quit jobs, etc, thinking they would be leaving planet Earth.  And yet, like many other cults, my guess is that most of Camping’s followers will accept his excuse and continue to follow him.
An interesting thing to me is the wealth of Camping’s organization.  According to OneNewsNow, his assets are “more than $104 million, including $34 million in stocks or other publicly traded securities.”  Again, very typical of cults.
Camping has denied the Trinity, which makes him not only a false prophet, but also a heretic.   Let’s pray his followers will finally get some discernment.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Did They Really Say That?

?!?
But if there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God, and caused confusion everywhere.
Every species of animal which God had created were preserved in the ark.  The confused species which God did not create, which were the result of amalgamation, were destroyed by the flood.  Since the flood there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in certain races of men.
Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts, vol.3, pp.64, 75
“Amalgamation of man and beast” means the offspring of bestiality.  E.G. White believed people could mate with animals and produce offspring, and some of the offspring would be particular races of people. E.G. White is considered by the Seventh-day Adventists as a prophet of God; how could she then have made such an error?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Did They Really Say That?

?!?
The fact is that Spirit is good and real, and matter is Spirit's opposite.
Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, Preface, p.viii
So is matter then not good, and unreal?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

PCUSA Apostasy

Well, they’ve gone and done it denominationally; on 5/10/11 the PCUSA “voted to ordain openly homosexual candidates to its ministry.”
It matters not to them what Scripture says about homosexuality, rather it matters to them what society says.  They call themselves an “inclusive” body, meaning they will include you for membership no matter how rank your sin is, or how deviant your life may be.  Just show up and claim to be a part of their body because they don’t care what the Bible says.
Albert Mohler has an excellent report on this apostasy, which I recommend for your perusal.

Society’s love affair with homosexuality has claimed another entire denomination.  The wolves are in charge of the PCUSA flock.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Did They Really Say That?

?!?
Mormon missionaries claim to hold the Aaronic priesthood before rising to the Melchizedick priesthood.  But there is a problem here (other than outlined in my previous articles on their priesthood fraud).  Take a look at this citation from Doctrine & Covenants 107:16:
No man has a legal right to this office, to hold the keys of this priesthood, except he be a literal descendant of Aaron.
Okay, how many Mormons holding this priesthood are literally descended from Aaron?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Apologetics Decorum

I have noticed often that some people in the apologetics field, and some who attack those in the apologetics field, often lack common courtesy, and direct abusive and mean-spirited comments towards their opponents.  In an e-mail I received today it was suggested that I might do a post about this, so here it is.
Jesus did not mince words when he attacked the Pharisees, nor did Paul when he attacked false teachers.  They called them hypocrites and false prophets and false teachers - called “a spade a spade.”  Paul even said that false teachers should be eternally condemned!  However, I don’t think anyone could accuse Jesus or Paul of being mean-spirited or using ad hominem attacks.  Nor did they make up things or misrepresent the false teachers.
Some articles I have read by those who are upset at false teachers spend more time on the teachers’ looks and mannerisms than they do on the problematic teachings!  Likewise, those who are upset about apologists’ legitimate concerns viciously attack their person rather than addressing the issue (this has happened to me quite often as I am called every name in the book because I had the audacity to say someone’s teaching was in error).
I have also read books and articles about a cult which totally misrepresented the cult so as to make them appear ridiculous and even more bizarre than they are.  Believe me, the cults have enough problems such that we have no need to make things up or misrepresent them!
Let’s all remember that we are supposed to be representing Christ whether we are apologists or those who are upset at the apologists.  We should use proper courtesy and respect and do what we do in love.  Love for the lost, love for those burdened with false teachings, and love for the false teachers; in this way we can perhaps affect them so that they will come to salvation, leave the legalistic or otherwise burdensome false teachings, or become a teacher who leaves his false ideas behind.
I read a quote once from James R. Spencer (whoever he was) which I think sums it all up quite nicely:

Truth without love is too hard; love without truth is too soft.