Thursday, March 8, 2012
Random Apostasies and Heresies
I am currently working on an article on Henry Blackaby, which I was hoping to be finished with by now for posting, but time has a way of getting away from me! So today I’m giving you another episode of random things I’ve read on the ‘net.
There has been a lot going on in the blogosphere about Rick Warren and his compromising with Islam. Information has been changing and updating almost daily. The main point is that Warren has already compromised with Islam, and now seems to be going even farther. I will provide links to four of the latest articles for your perusal and challenge you to follow the story as it unravels. The first one is from Sola Sisters blog, while the second, third and fourth are from Apprising Ministries. Personally, I think Warren is being less than honest about the situation.
Mark Driscoll revisited. The man has sex on the brain. World Net Daily posted a commentary by David Kupelian about Driscolls obsession with sex. Driscoll has even been interviewed, with his wife, on The View, a TV show NO Christian should sanction by appearing on. Yet the Driscolls went on the show to discuss their book Real Marriage. I just don’t understand why any mature Christian would listen to this man.
An “Open Letter to Praise Bands” has been the topic of several blogs I follow. I think the author has a lot of good things to say. Here is the most important section, which should be given much attention:
1. If we, the congregation, can't hear ourselves, it's not worship. Christian worship is not a concert. In a concert (a particular "form of performance"), we often expect to be overwhelmed by sound, particularly in certain styles of music. In a concert, we come to expect that weird sort of sensory deprivation that happens from sensory overload, when the pounding of the bass on our chest and the wash of music over the crowd leaves us with the rush of a certain aural vertigo. And there's nothing wrong with concerts! It's just that Christian worship is not a concert. Christian worship is a collective, communal, congregational practice--and the gathered sound and harmony of a congregation singing as one is integral to the practice of worship. It is a way of "performing" the reality that, in Christ, we are one body. But that requires that we actually be able to hear ourselves, and hear our sisters and brothers singing alongside us. When the amped sound of the praise band overwhelms congregational voices, we can't hear ourselves sing--so we lose that communal aspect of the congregation and are encouraged to effectively become "private," passive worshipers.
2. If we, the congregation, can't sing along, it's not worship. In other forms of musical performance, musicians and bands will want to improvise and "be creative," offering new renditions and exhibiting their virtuosity with all sorts of different trills and pauses and improvisations on the received tune. Again, that can be a delightful aspect of a concert, but in Christian worship it just means that we, the congregation, can't sing along. And so your virtuosity gives rise to our passivity; your creativity simply encourages our silence. And while you may be worshiping with your creativity, the same creativity actually shuts down congregational song.
3. If you, the praise band, are the center of attention, it's not worship. I know it's generally not your fault that we've put you at the front of the church. And I know you want to model worship for us to imitate. But because we've encouraged you to basically import forms of performance from the concert venue into the sanctuary, we might not realize that we've also unwittingly encouraged a sense that you are the center of attention. And when your performance becomes a display of your virtuosity--even with the best of intentions--it's difficult to counter the temptation to make the praise band the focus of our attention. When the praise band goes into long riffs that you might intend as "offerings to God," we the congregation become utterly passive, and because we've adopted habits of relating to music from the Grammys and the concert venue, we unwittingly make you the center of attention. I wonder if there might be some intentional reflection on placement (to the side? leading from behind?) and performance that might help us counter these habits we bring with us to worship.
I don’t know about you, but I am really tired of all these books purporting to be about visits to heaven. Not a single one has anything biblical in them, yet Christians buy these books by the boat-load! Sola Sisters has posted an article about an interview between Brannon Howse and Justin Peters discussing this topic. Additionally, DiscernIt blog has posted an article by David Cloud which discusses other claims of trips to heaven by Word of Faith heretics. The main thing to remember is that any claim to visit heaven is a blatant lie.