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

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Random Aberrations, Apostasies, and Heresies

Responding to the recent Supreme Court unconstitutional and fiat decision on same-sex fake marriage, the media has been seeking comments from various church leaders.  This article has ten “well-known pastors and leaders” responding to the question, “is homosexuality a sin”?  Rather than ask this recently, they decided instead to find sources where the question is answered.  I found it interesting — and somewhat amusing — who they chose to answer the question:
Joel Osteen (from 2012) — Yes, he calls it a sin, but it’s about the only thing he gets right.
Rick Warren (from 2013) — He calls it a sin, but I certainly wouldn’t trust him for much teaching.
Tim Keller (from 2011) — Calls it a sin, and he is often okay in his teachings, but he has a lot of problems, which I have noted many times.  But, he spends a lot of time obfuscating the standing of homosexual sin over other sins, and totally ignores that God called it an abomination.
Franklin Graham (from 2013) —  Stands firm on the Bible.
Kirk Cameron (from 2012) — He does indeed stand firm on the Bible.
Tony Evans (from 2012) — I expected him to stand firm.
John MacArthur (from 2008) — As solid as you’d expect.
Carl Lentz (from 2014) — I’ve posted on this one before;  he solidly obfuscates and won’t teach against it.
John Piper (from 2010) — Solid answers
Perry Noble (from 2013) —  A real obfuscater, but he does call it a sin.  He doesn’t explain that, although all sexual immorality is sin, he doesn’t make the distinction that homosexual sin has been called an abomination by God, while He does not say this about sexual immorality in general.  And yet he encourages them to come unrepentant to the assembly — a place of meeting for CHRISTIANS!
So I find the responses to be interesting, but I wonder who Perry Noble and Carl Lentz would view same-sex fake marriage now in light of it being legal.

Then we have the Roman Catholic pope demonstrating he really doesn’t know where to stand in regards to homosexuality.

Sadly, so-called “Christian” colleges have caved to the homosexual agenda.  While some don’t surprise me because of their continuing apostasy in other areas, some also surprised me.

Ed Young is becoming a much more dangerous teacher.  He recently had Mormon Glenn Beck at a service and, when Beck stated he was a “saved” Christian, his congregation applauded — with no correction from Young! 

Jonathan Cahn thinks America is Israel.  Of course, as previous articles have pointed out, this is really the basis for his recent books promoting all sorts of false teachings.

By now my readers should know my stance on music in worship, including style and lyrics.  Of course the lyrics should always be a primary issue regardless of how one feels about the style.  Tim Challies has a good article about musical styles which “stifle community.”

Lighthouse Trails Research Ministry has a new booklet tract which should be distributed to all your charismatic friends.  It addresses the false teaching of “slain in the spirit.”  The entire tract is published at the link.

Hat tip to Elizabeth Prata for her link to an article about “The Danger in Women’s Ministries.”  That blog looks to be quite interesting, and I just may have to follow it.

Lastly, Doug has a good article about the many cults and their Bible versions.


ali said...

Good words. So much error in the church today. It will be eye-opening to see how churches respond when confronted with gay couples seeking to marry, using their facility for their venue. Definitely a separation between wheat and tares is quickly approaching, on second thought, guessing it arrived June26,2015..!!!!..

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see the 10 well known pastors interviewed today in 2015, with a simple yes or no allowed as the only answer. I bet a few answers would change (not the solid guys, I don't think, though).

Challies article - decent. Though he made one strange statement... why would you want non-Christian neighbors in your church until they are saved? Church is for the redeemed. Anyhow, I agree complex rhythms and "performances" should be avoided. Lyrics should reflect all the characteristics of God and all the dimensions of one's Christian walk. I'd add a 4th thought - the music shouldn't overpower the human voices. I've been in churches where the instrumentalists do not know how to control their volume (particularly with amplification...), and it gets so loud you can't hear yourself think or sing, and sometimes you even have to leave the sanctuary, or you go home with your ears ringing. Also a 5th, the ages of the typical worship team. Is everyone under 25, with it mostly dominated by teens and college coeds? Or is it predominantly mature adults (over 30, over 40, and let's see some gray hair!!!!!!!!) I'd argue: music is didactic, and Scripture is clear, the elder is to lead the youth, not the other way around. I'd love to see worship led by nearly all adults over 30, with a good number of gray haired saints. I'm growing fatigued of youth dominated worship teams.

Some of the comments on Chaliies article were interesting. High E flat is even too high for many. Songs with only 1 octave range from C-C, or D-D, and predictable melodies, typically these are the easiest to sing for the greatest number people.

Off to check Elizabeth's article now.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Well Carolyn,
I have to agree with you 100%.

I missed that comment by Challies about your unbelieving neighbor -- or perhaps I didn't notice it because that's a routine belief. You are correct; the assembly is for believers, and you don't bring unbelieving neighbors - YOU teach them the gospel.

Anonymous said...

Hi Glenn,

Thanks. You're right, the practice of inviting the unsaved to church is so common, it's easy to miss. But you said it correctly, the saints gather together to worship, and then are to go OUT to teach the Gospel to the lost. Absolutely, bring them into the fold... AFTER they are saved.

When it comes to worship, unfortunately, I'm speaking from experience, both as a musician and a congregant. This past Sunday, I (one of the musicians) went home with ringing ears because of everyone else's lack of control with their amplified instruments, and (so far) I have been thoughtlessly dismissed when I brought that concern to leadership. I'll try to remember to let you know if they change their attitude. I'm praying to that end.

In the past in other churches, as a congregant, I've actually had to sit out in the foyer during the music segment of the service, because the volume was utterly deafening. If you ask them to turn down the volume, do they? No. They'd rather you sit out in the foyer, I guess, than have you as part of the fold, praising the Lord. American Christianity at its finest.

I hear the common argument in favor of these decibel-meter-shattering performances: oh but everyone "loved" the worship. Really? They loved the worship or the flesh? That's my million dollar question. All we need is a simple test. First, strip away all the rock instruments (amplified guitar/bass/drums) and the microphones and the speakers and sound board and the lights. Get a piano, but without a microphone on it. It's a helpful instrument just to keep everyone on key. I could take an acoustic guitar too, but the tones are purer on a piano, and a pianist can play all vocal parts (SATB) so everyone has something to reference. Now, let's have a good old fashioned hymn sing. Will everyone "love" the worship then? If not, they were worshipping the rock-n-roll atmosphere, not the Lord.

That's why I want to see more gray hair leading worship, they might be the last bastion of conservative and considerate thought we have left in the church. Sadly, though, I'm seeing increased worldliness even in those in their 50s, so it might be a short lived respite.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

And don't forget the "special music" singers who use canned music to sing to, and the music volume is up so high you can't hear the singer!

Anonymous said...

HAHA, you are so right! My husband (who isn't as quick at picking up lyrics as I am) always asks "what did they say?!" I say "beats me". The other common problem with special music - some people have poor diction, so they mumble the lyrics. But when someone's singing a pablum-filled song, I guess then maybe the lousy diction is a blessing which spares one from hearing vapid lyrics.

So I've added #6 onto my list. #6 is that worship needs to be led by a doctrinally sound, *professionally trained* musician. Someone who can read music and even direct a choir. That opens up the hymnal and 100s upon 100s of excellent pieces, instead of the same 20 popular songs du jour.


Anonymous said...

I promised to come back on the loud music issue if I heard something, which I did - the leadership did indicate they were not dismissing my concerns, and said they don't want me to be uncomfortable or in pain, so they will avoid having me scheduled when every musician is on the platform. (That was actually my suggestion, which I brought to the table as a "solution" if they are unable to or unwilling to keep their volume at a respectable level when they have the full complement of musicians.)

My "solution" still doesn't address the core issue, which is volume control. To date this hasn't been a noticeable problem at this particular assembly. However, I do sincerely hope that this is not going to become a consistent concern, as it has become at other churches I've visited or attended. Worship music shouldn't be so loud that people have to put their fingers in their ears or leave the sanctuary.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Well, it's really asinine that they just can't lower the volume in general. I'm sure you aren't the only one who is annoyed with it.

Anonymous said...

Well, as I said, this was a rare occurrence at this assembly, which I am hoping won't be allowed to happen again. The usual diligence they practice is normally sufficient to keep things under control. But this past week, basically what happened was the volume snowballed during service to a level that was too loud, and no one contained it, because they got carried away... including the worship leader.