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

Monday, August 3, 2015

Days of Elijah?

A while back someone posted a video on Facebook showing a bunch of Marines in a worship service somewhere energetically singing the song, “Days of Elijah.”  I had never heard of the song before, and listening to it led me to see that it was just more pap promoting excitement and emotionalism.  I’ve since read of churches using it, but have never personally attended where it has been sung.

Well, the recent issue of Personal Freedom Outreach’s The Quarterly Journal (July-September 2015) has an excellent article from which I’ve posted several quotations:  I’d Like to Teach the Church to Sing,” by Gary E. Gilley and M. Kurt Goedelman. The following is from ppg.14-15, and specifically addresses this song.  I think it is well-worth reviewing.


Another contemporary song that has found its way into the worship services of far too many biblically sound churches is Robin Mark’s “Days of Elijah.”  For a variety of reasons, it is remarkable how this song has earned any measure of distinction among otherwise discerning pastors and music leaders.  But it has gained respect and is readily used time and again.

First among the issues raising concern is that, according to Mark, the song was the result of inspiration:
“For me, I only know what I wrote.  I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit. … Personally I don’t know — I believeI wrote what God was telling me to write and he seems to have used the song in many ways for many people.”

Mark’s prompting by the Holy Spirit supposedly came about in answer to a prayer in which he “began asking God if He was really in control and what sort of days were were living in” as he watched the tragedies of our present day unfold.  As one blogger pointed out, “Let’s stop here for a moment.  It’s necessary to point out that just a cursory overview of Scripture shows that God is in control of everything — and He even allows bad things to take place in order to bring about His Sovereign plans.

But apparently for Mark, Scripture was not adequate for such an assurance:
“I felt in my spirit that He replied to my prayer by saying that indeed He was very much in control and that the days we were living in were special times when He would require Christians to be filled with integrity and to stand up for Him just like Elijah did, particularly with the prophets of Baal.”

Beyond Mark’s degrading the sufficiency of Scripture and his claims of inspiration, come the theological issues with the song.  First and foremost is the notion that our present days are the “Days of Elijah.”  And, as the song further announces, that ours are the days of Moses and Ezekiel and David.  The tune may be alluring and the words exciting, but ours are not the days of any of those Bible characters.  They all lived in the past.

If these are truly the days of Elijah, then it is not beyond consideration to require of those churches who proclaim that message in song to also gather 12 stones, build an altar, place wood around the altar, take a bull and cut it in pieces, fill four water posts (three times each) and pour the water on the bull and the wood, pray, and then wait and watch for the fire of the Lord to consume the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the dust, and the water.  It all becomes too plain to see that the thinking that presently these are the days of Elijah just does not measure up to the biblical narrative.

Mark also tells us in the song, “And these are the days of Your servant Moses.”  Are we to forget that 40 years’ worth of the days of Moses were spent wandering in the wilderness with a bunch of grumblers and complainers?

Moreover, as claimed in the song, “Righteousness being restored” is an idea adopted from the Latter-Rain playbook which teaches the perfection and glorification of the saints on earth that will be a testimony to the world and serve to usher in Christ’s Second Coming.  Mark tells us:
“It is an unusual song, for sure.  All of these restored things like Justice, Righteousness, Integrity, Unity, Praise and Worship and Revival are considered by many to be a herald of the last days and Christ’s return.”

Scripture speaks not of a restoration of righteousness — along with the other traits mentioned by Mark — but rather that the last days would be marked by apostasy, a falling away (2 Thessalonians 2:3).  Recall that Jesus asked of His disciples, “Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

“Days of Elijah” is one of those songs that should be avoided by any biblically minded believer.  But that is not the case as song writers such as Mark are allowed to mishandle Scripture and introduce heresies and half-truths into the Church.  Mike Milano, in speaking to the defect of the “Days of Elijah,” states:
“Today we have many false and heretical teachings in the evangelical Church.  They all stem from a mishandling of the Word of God.  They are all fueled by the ignorance of apathetic Christians who fail to fulfill their God-mandated responsibility to learn the Scriptures to the extent that they can readily recognize misinterpretation when the see it.  Millions of people sing this song every week and have no idea that the verses are not Biblically correct.  They are actually a misinterpretation of what Robin [Mark] claims he is citing.  The part that bothers me the most is that he says he got this song from the Holy Spirit; so in other words, the Holy Spirit gave Robin a song that does not line up with Biblical history and worse yet; is a misinterpretation of Biblical contexts.

Milano further observes:

“The song is not complex — just chalk-full [sic] of theological, historical, and narrative errors.  Christians who sing this song should be familiar enough with the Bible to know this. … I am sure that Robin Mark is a nice guy and he means well.  That however does not excuse the fact that his song is Biblically incorrect and that thousands of people who sing it all over the world are so Biblically malnourished that they can’t even see that the song is Biblically incorrect.  Which is more sad: the fact that a guy writes a song that doesn’t line up with Scripture, while claiming that the Lord ‘gave it to him’ — or the fact that so many Christians don't even catch the error?


Anonymous said...

Admittedly I liked this song until I thought it through. It is not theologically sound, and the repetitious singing of "there's no God like Jehovah" seems to keep feeding the need for emotionalism.


Anonymous said...

Sadder is the fact that many Christians sing whatever is offered 'up front' by the worship leader, without questioning. Discernment is a rare quality among church attenders, hopefully true believers, who have let emotionally 'high' songs go unchecked. Our worship leader this past Sunday invited us to sing 'Majesty', and I just couldn't sing the part about kingdom authority. Maybe no one at church knows about the Latter Day Rain movement and ushering in the second coming. I wish pastors would teach through the Bible and perhaps we'd know more of what wolves in sheep's clothing look like.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

At the assembly we recently left, I had brought to the attention of the previous song leader about the Dominionist theology behind "Majesty," and that was the last time we sang it. He had never understood it that way and was unaware of the origin. Sometimes they listen when taught, but usually they don't care.

Anonymous said...

Discernment sometimes isn't even wanted by those who are in music ministry, Anon 3:05. Years ago, I questioned the lyrics to a song, words that were universalistic in nature (ie: they spoke of getting to heaven without the shed blood of Christ). The pastor ignored me, and the 'show' went on. Without me. And yes, this was at a Bible believing Baptist church.


Doug Evans said...

I temporarily overcame my dislike of CCM and listened to this song, and you're right, it's 100% nonsense sprinkled with biblically sounding words. David didn't build a temple, God told him not to, let alone REBUILD a temple. Year of Jubilee? The year of Jubilee is not observed or commemorated according to Chabad.org, Out of Zion's hill salvation comes? Out of Christs blood does salvation come. Salvation comes from repentance and belief in Christ Jesus. And the repetition! Two thirds of the song, drilling into my head, the same meaningless words over and over and over. It's like a modern rosary - words just being repeated solely because they're being repeated - but accompanied with hand-clapping and a syncopated beat.

I'm going to have to listen to some old school country gospel to refresh my heart and so I don't get song-stuck on this pablum.