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

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tony Campolo: Homosexual Advocate

For anyone who still thinks Tony Campolo is a worthy teacher after my exposure of him in June, I must demonstrate his advocacy for homosexual behavior.

Campolo spoke at the Baptist General Association of Virginia during their November 11-12 meeting. It seems he was not happy about California’s Proposition 8 passing and stated his opposition to it. Although Campolo DID say homosexual behavior was “contrary to the teaching of God,” he has previously stated that we need to be supporting homosexuals in their “struggle for dignity,” whatever that is supposed to mean. As noted in my previous article (6/4/08), Campolo’s wife is a leader of a group urging Baptists to be supportive of homosexuals and Campolo himself preaches in homosexual-affirming churches.

I see nothing in Scripture that says we should “affirm” those practicing immoral sexual behavior or that we should be supporting such people in their “struggle for dignity.” Our mission is to take the gospel to them and once they realize they are sinners in need of repentance they will leave that sin behind. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to “go and sin no more.” He didn’t affirm her in her sin, nor was he supportive of her lifestyle.

Perhaps Tony Campolo should read his Bible for more than taking passages out of context to support his socialistic agenda. Meanwhile, Christians should avoid his teachings like the plague.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Are Musical Instruments Unholy?

I was in a train station sending my mother back to Alabama when I found a “gospel tract” collection planted by “Gospel Tract and Bible Society,” published by the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite. Much of the stuff was good, but much of it was also very legalistic and often aberrational. But I want to mention just one of them because the subject is something the Church of Christ also teaches.

I am referring to the idea that musical instruments should not be used in the assembly because there is no mention of them being used during worship in the New Testament. Now, if you happen to think that is arguing from silence, I whole-heartedly agree with you! I don’t remember reading about pews being mentioned in the N.T either but I suspect these churches all have pews. There are many things these churches use for their worship service that aren’t mentioned in the N.T., such as collection baskets/plates, air conditioning, furnaces and even hymn books! I guess when one argues from silence he can come up with all sorts of things not allowed in the church because they aren’t mentioned in the New Testament.

The Church of Christ (often referred to as “Campbellites”) has no problem with singing hymns as long as they don’t have any musical instruments. Of course a pitch pipe is okay (isn‘t that a musical instrument?).

I was unaware that Mennonites also were against instrumental music; or is it just this particular sect?

Anyway, the tract I picked up was titled, “Worship Without Musical Instruments.” The reasons given in this tract again include an argument from silence: “There is no evidence in the New Testament that the apostolic Church used musical instruments. There is little mention of them in the New Testament other than as examples for comparison (1 Corinthians 13:1; 14:7), and in Revelation referring to music in heaven (Revelation 14:2; 15:2).” The tract then discusses many passages of Scripture that speak of singing but not of musical instruments.

From what I have read, the Greek in the N.T. passages that mention singing (Rom. 15:9; 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; James 5:13) carry the idea of singing with instruments. The word “psalm” in Ephesians and Colossians especially includes the meaning of instrumental accompaniment. So I guess musical instruments are indeed mentioned in the New Testament!

My first thought when encountering this teaching for the first time through a member of the Church of Christ was Psalm 150’s mention of playing musical instruments. But this Mennonite sect tract says, “Before the time of Christ…worship included the use of musical instruments… The sacrifices and rituals so important to the Old Testament-era worshipers were abolished, and worship from the heart became the only acceptable worship…. Salvation is of the heart. God is worshiped and praised from the heart.” So what they are claiming is that all use of musical instruments in worship was done away with in Christ. I’d say that was some very convoluted reasoning!

Dr. Hugh F. Pyle, in his book, The Truth About the “Church of Christ,” makes a very good point: “Do we really believe that God has changed? If musical instruments were used by godly men in the Old Testament ([cites several passages]), is it wrong to suppose that God would still bless the use of musical instruments by godly men today?” I have to agree with Pyle, and I personally worship the Lord and praise Him in my music while playing my bagpipes. (A funny side note - I have had Catholic priests tell me I couldn’t play at weddings because the bagpipes are a secular instrument - as if there was such thing.)

If you are a member of a Christian assembly where this legalistic silliness is taught, I would suggest you find another place of worship. I have observed that when an assembly has this sort of legalistic teaching it is only one of many legalistic ideas that keep its members in spiritual bondage. Christ has set us free from this sort of Pharisaical bondage.