Whatever doctrinal differences a Baptist would have with Martin Luther or John Wesley or Fanny Crosby or KJV translator John Rainolds, we share the same Christ and the same God, but that is often not true for Contemporary Christian Worship.
Contemporary worship music has transformational power that no Protestant hymn has. We are comparing apples that have some non-deadly skin disease to apples laced with arsenic. I’ve never heard of a fundamental Baptist church that was transformed into a Lutheran church through singing Luther’s hymns or a Methodist church by singing Fanny Crosby’s songs, but I’ve personally witnessed many fundamental Baptist churches transformed into New Evangelical rock & roll emerging churches through the power of contemporary worship. (See the free eVideo presentations “The Transformational Power of Contemporary Praise Music” and “The Foreign Spirit of Contemporary Worship Music,” available at www.wayoflife.org.)
One reason for the transformational power is that the world of contemporary worship is a terribly dangerous world filled with gross heresies and false christs, and those who play with the music build bridges to this world.
Many of the influential Contemporary Christian Worship (CCW) artists worship A NON-TRINITARIAN GOD. Geron Davis, Joel Hemphill, Mark Carouthers, Phillips, Craig and Dean, Lanny Wolfe, and others are “Jesus Only” Pentecostals who deny the Trinity. To deny the Trinity is to worship a false God.
Other CCW artists worship A NON-VENGEFUL GOD. Stuart Townend, for example, who writes “modern hymns” popular in IB churches, denies that God is vengeful, which is a brazen rejection of the very God of the Bible (Stuart Townend, “Mission: Worship, The Story Behind the Song”, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdVQNyQmdM4).
A great many of the CCM artists worship A NON-JUDGMENTAL GOD. Consider the popularity of The Shack. It has been directly endorsed by Michael W. Smith and many other CCM artists and has been well received in prominent CCM circles such as Calvary Chapels, Vineyard churches, and Hillsong. It was promoted at the 2009 National Pastor’s Convention in San Diego, which was sponsored by Zondervan and InterVarsity Fellowship. Young was one of the speakers and a survey found that 57% had read the novel. Young was enthusiastically received, and in an interview with Andy Crouch, a senior editor of Christianity Today, there was not a hint of condemnation for his false god. Crouch is a CCM musician in his own right and led one of the praise and worship sessions in San Diego.
The Shack is all about redefining God. It is about a man who becomes bitter at God after his daughter is murdered and has a life-changing experience in the very shack where the murder occurred; but the God he encounters is most definitely not the God of the Bible.
Young says the book is for those with “a longing that God is as kind and loving as we wish he was” (interview with Sherman Hu, Dec. 4, 2007). What he is referring to is the desire on the part of the natural man for a God who loves “unconditionally” and does not require obedience, does not require repentance, does not judge sin, and does not make men feel guilty for what they do.
In that same interview, Young said that a woman wrote to him and said that her 22-year-old daughter came to her after reading the book and asked, “IS IT ALRIGHT IF I DIVORCE THE OLD GOD AND MARRY THE NEW ONE?”
This is precisely what a very large portion of the Contemporary Christian Music crowd is doing.
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I am more convinced of this with each passing month.
"Why Most Independent Baptist Churches Will Be Emerging within 20 Years" is a free eBook available at the Way of Life web site.
In this book I list the following eight reasons for my prediction:
• Rejection of warning and reproof in regard to certain heroes
• Unquestioning loyalty to man
• Following the crowd
• Ignorance about important Issues
• Soft separatism
• Lack of serious discipleship
• Carelessness about music
• Quick Prayerism
More recently I have realized that a church doesn’t have to be guilty of all of these things to be a candidate for becoming emerging. All it has to do is be guilty of two of these: SOFT SEPARATISM, because soft separatism builds bridges to the wrong churches and the wrong preachers that act as conduits for other areas of compromise to enter the congregation, and the REJECTION OF WARNING AND REPROOF in regard to certain IFB heroes, which makes it impossible to fully and properly educate the church about and separate the church from the compromise that spreading so quickly among IFBaptists. (A pastor that is unwilling to listen to warnings and reproof about certain heroes and unwilling to let his congregation entertain such warnings is guilty of giving unquestioning loyalty to man, so these things are intimately associated.)
I can think of several pretty strong churches pastored by men who are not guilty of most of the previous eight things. They are not careless about music, at least for the moment. (Though because of the influence of weaker IFB preachers with whom they are associated, contemporary worship and contemporary Southern Gospel music is spreading rapidly through their congregations.) They don’t promote quick prayerism; they believe in the necessity of repentance for salvation and aren’t hasty to proclaim people saved when there is no evidence thereof. Their goal is conversions rather than mere numbers of professions. (Though, again, because of their non-critical association with men who are guilty of these things, some of their church members are Quick Prayerists.) They are trying to disciple the people and educate them biblically. The pulpit ministry is not shallow. These pastors aren’t proud men and they urge the people to prove their teaching by God’s Word. There are many solid, biblical things in place in these churches. They have a vision of world evangelism. They have high moral standards and the preaching gets down to where the people live.
For the moment, these churches are capable of building healthy Christian individuals and families and discipling young people.
But my warning is about the future. My warning is not about big errors but about a “little leaven.” It is about how that certain “little leavens” that IFB churches are commonly guilty of, that we have learned by popular tradition from our forefathers, will eventually leaven the whole lump.
In fact, the consequences of winning the lottery are often more frightful than mere financial trouble.
Evelyn Adams, who won the New Jersey lottery in 1985 and 1986 for a total of $5.4 million, gambled and gave away all her winnings and by 2001 was poor and living in a trailer.
Teresa Brunnings, who won $1.3 million in a lottery in 1985, says that she had a party then, but, “Of all the people who came, not one speaks to me now.”
Karen Cohen, who won $1 million in the Illinois state lottery in 1984, filed for bankruptcy in 2000 and in 2006 was sentenced to 22 months in jail for lying to federal bankruptcy court.
Jeffrey Dampier, who won $20 million, was kidnapped and murdered by his own sister-in-law and he boyfriend who targeted him for money.
Ed Gildein, who won $8.8 million in the Texas lottery in 1993, gambled away most of the money and left his wife with a slew of debts when he died in 2003. In 2005 Ed’s widow, Janice, was sued by her daughter who claimed that she was taking money from a trust fund and squandering cash in Las Vegas. The daughter lost the case and mother and daughter agreed to “divorce” themselves from one another.
Noreene Gordon, who, with her husband James, won a $52 million Florida lottery in 2000 says, “It’s a nightmare.” She told Tampa Bay Online that “people come out of the walls to take advantage of you every day of your life.”
Billie Bob Harrell, Jr., who won $37 million a Texas lottery in 1997, committed suicide less than two years later after his spending habits spiraled out of control and strained his marriage severely. Shortly before his death, Harrell confided to a financial adviser: “Winning the lottery is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
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THEY LIKE THE PREACHING
“Where are these people??? [‘Church Members Trying to Warn Sleeping Pastors, Jan. 9, 2013] I'd LOVE to have them in our congregation! We have been praying for such folks for 10 years. May God give us more like them! Thank you for the article!”
“I just wanted to write and thank you for all of the free resources that you have made available on this issue. That alone demonstrates that your motive is truly to have a warning ministry to the churches and pastors that will listen. You are not producing these materials for the profit they will bring to your ministry, but rather sharing them freely, even though they cost a great expense to produce. I pray that more pastors and churches will wake up and hear the alarm being sounded. I was turned off of this slippery slope after reading your book ‘Contemporary Christian Music in the Spotlight’ back in 2001. Thanks again for your excellent research. I have used so many of your materials in teaching and they are a blessing to the congregation, but especially to me.”
“I have read your work over the years with a prejudice against you as a heretic because you were not a ‘true’ baptist. I was a landmark missionary baptist pastor. Of course, independent baptist churches are seen as not true churches, not in the bride etc. Last year I resigned as pastor and cut all ties with those churches. It was a long tough battle with my pride to say I was duped. Thanks for your website.”
“This is the first time I have ever written to you, although I have purchased a couple of your books. My thanks are long overdue. Quite a few years ago, I was a member of a church that was very good in many ways, but had some weaknesses. For years, I took refuge in the fact that there is no perfect church, and tried to bury my confusion. In time, however, the Lord forced me to deal with the problem. During that time, a friend of mine showed me some of the material from your website. It was surprising to learn how many other churches had the same problems, and very reassuring to see those problems addressed with scripture. Eventually, God led me and my family to a healthier, more scriptural church.
Another way I owe you thanks is for your treatment of ‘easy prayerism.’ For a long time I pushed myself to practice so-called soul-winning, with the objective of evoking ‘the sinner’s prayer.’ ... It took many years for me to slowly admit something was very wrong, and even more years to come to the conclusion that to accomplish anything at all for God – not just leading a person to Christ – requires his grace and a surrendered life. I could go on, but what prompted me to write was that I recently purchased your book ‘Sowing and Reaping: A Course in Evangelism,’ and have just started reading it. It is helping me. I’ll leave it at that. I am very, very grateful for your ministry.”
“I am originally from Seoul, South Korea. I've been in and out the presbyterian church from a very early age (age 6) but never knew the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior. By the grace of our Lord, I just got saved last month. So, I am a very very young Christian. Your teachings and all the free ebooks, videos, and hundreds of articles on the website have been and will be the beyond great help for my personal bible study. I thank God for your ministry greatly.”
“Words cannot express my appreciation for the material you have provided through the Way of Life ministry. In these deceptive days, God's people need solid teaching from the Bible as never before. Thank you for being one of the few remaining preachers/teachers who unashamedly proclaim, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’”
“Thank you for the info. I just started reading The Two Jacks. May the Lord bless you for your boldness towards the truth and exposing these men for what and who they are.”
“I am indeed grateful for your recent article and message regarding what will be illegal if homosexuality is made legal in America. We certainly are living in serious days! Your Biblical stand for our Lord is an encouragement to my heart in a day when multitudes desire to silence the believer in Christ. May the Lord wonderfully bless and use you in these last days.”
“You have outdone yourself on this article [‘What Will Be Illegal When Homosexuality Is Legal’]. The extent of your case exhibits is unbelievable. My pastor thinks your are a really special Christian. He told me that he doesn't know when you sleep as evidence by the large amount of material you produce. God Bless You Richly!”
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You know the passage that says taking a census is wrong. Remember? Right. Nothing in the Bible says taking a census is wrong. Yet David was wrong for taking a census in 1 Chronicles 21. God killed 70,000 in Israel with pestilence because of David's census taking. Other censuses were taken without such a punishment. Other passages even allow for a census, and yet David's census was wrong. How was he supposed to know? We know it was a sin (1 Chron. 21:1, 8, 17). But what passage did he violate? None. Again, how was he supposed to know?
David was supposed to apply Scripture. His census wasn't living by faith. Chapters 18-20 recount the military victories that God gave David, showing God's protection in fulfillment of the Davidic covenant (1 Chronicles 17). God defeated the foreign nations as a part of His promise. And then David numbers the people (chapter 21). We don't know the particulars of how David wasn't living by faith--it was either that he was taking undeserved credit, fearful for the future, or both. It is assumed that David was to have known this was wrong. We are responsible for applying Scripture. We are to know that certain actions are not acting in faith or are acting in faith, even though the Bible doesn't say one way or another.
Was punishing David for something that the Bible doesn't and didn't forbid "exceeding that which is written"? Was it adding to Scripture, thereby subtracting from the effectiveness of the Bible in David's life? Obviously not. The passage provides a paradigm for applying truth. God has revealed truth. He expects us to understand it and apply it. Would God have killed 70,000 Israelites if it wasn't something that He knew David could apply? Again, of course not.
One passage used by evangelicals to justify their lack of application is 1 Corinthians 4:6, where they will quote from the New American Standard Version, "learn not to exceed what is written," which the King James translates, "not to think of men above that which is written." The text there gives one particular point about our evaluation of men, making sure not to judge leaders outside of a scriptural evaluation. There we go. But that has become a proof text for only judging where the Bible has something specifically to say about it. What occurs, of course, is that passage is ironically applied only in areas that fit favorably with an evangelical's church growth methods.
You can't judge music, because there is no play button in the Bible to tell us what is right music, so if you judge music you are "exceeding what is written." If you judge art, you are exceeding what is written. If you judge dress, you are exceeding what is written. And so on. But what was written about NOT numbering the people? Nothing. And yet God killed 70,000 people. Obviously God wanted David to judge in an area about which nothing was written. He was required to apply Scripture, to apply "living by faith" and "trusting God" to not numbering the people.
God won't usually kill 70,000 for not applying Scripture, but He does expect us to apply it. We are responsible to do so, and we are not exceeding Scripture to do so. We will give an account for applying the truths and the principles of Scripture. We can know what they are. We do know what they are. We can play dumb. We can say that Scripture is silent. We can say that an application will exceed what is written. But we really can know and do know and are responsible for the application.
The previous article is taken from Kent Brandenburg’s blog, January 14, 2013
Way of Life Literature - www.wayoflife.org
Fundamental Baptist Information Service
copyright 2013 - Way of Life Literature
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The life and career of William Dever is a loud warning about the great danger that exists in modern “evangelical” Christianity because of the many bridges that exist from “evangelicalism” to a bewildering variety of heresies and apostasies and blasphemies. These bridges include literature, internet blogs, contemporary music, unsound spiritual heroes such as C.S. Lewis, church growth gurus such as Rick Warren, and illicit affairs with the pop culture.
Dever was raised in the home of a fundamentalist preacher but rejected faith in a divinely-inspired Bible when he attended a modernistic school
“I went from a small Christian liberal arts college in Tennessee to a liberal Protestant theological seminary, where for the first time I was exposed to the critical study of the Bible. I resisted mightily, knowing that my faith was at risk. But in the end I was won over to the love, and the risks, of learning” (Dever, Foreword, What Did the Biblical Writers Know?, Eerdmans: 2001).
This “love of learning” is an idol when man’s puny intellect is raised to the level of final authority and is allowed to sit in judgment over God’s Word. Learning and education and scholarship are important when done to the glory of God and in submission to Jesus Christ the Lord, and the typical fundamentalist preacher needs to be more zealous in the pursuit of godly study, but when the pride of intellect reigns, sound scholarship becomes what the late David Otis Fuller called “scholarolatry.”
Dever was raised in some type of a Bible-believing home. He says:
“I was reared on the Bible, in a series of small towns in the South and Midwest, as well as in Jamaica, where my father was a preacher in various churches. Although I see in retrospect that he was no doubt a rather old-fashioned fundamentalist, I remember him not for his orthodoxy, but as a warm and compassionate man whose life was centered upon what he believed to be the Bible’s eternal truths and values” (Dever, Foreword, What Did the Biblical Writers Know?).
We don’t know any more about his father than this, but it appears that he was a typical evangelical in that he held to some semblance of theological orthodoxy but didn’t want to make a separatist issue of it, wanting to focus on “the positive” and “avoid dealing with personalities.” While being a “warm and compassionate man” is a good thing in a preacher, that is not enough. An unbeliever or a heretic can be warm and compassionate. Paul was both a warm and compassionate man and a man with a fierce zeal for biblical truth and “theological orthodoxy.” The passionate, God-loving Psalmist esteemed all of the Lord’s precepts concerning all things to be right and HATED EVERY FALSE WAY” (Psalm 119:128).
We are to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3) and to mark and avoid heretics. This is an essential part of true Christianity. Earnest, forthright defense of the faith is not an optional part of Christianity, such as whether or not to order fries with one’s burger.
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PASTOR FORCED TO WITHDRAW FROM DELIVERING OBAMA’S INAUGURAL BENEDICTION FOR OPPOSING HOMOSEXUALITY (Friday Church News Notes, January 18, 2013, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143) - Pastor Louie Giglio was forced to withdraw from delivering the benediction at President Obama’s inaugural swearing-in ceremony because of his opposition to homosexuality. In a sermon preached in the 1990s entitled “A Christian Response to Homosexuality,” Giglio said: “Homosexuality is not an alternate lifestyle. Homosexuality is not just a sexual preference. Homosexuality is not gay. Homosexuality is sin. It is sin in the eyes of God and it is sin according to the word of God.” Giglio also said that same-sex “marriage” would “run the risk of undermining the whole order of society.” Because of these true words, Bible-hating homosexual activists demanded that he not deliver the address at the presidential inauguration, and Obama obviously agreed, because the inaugural committee withdraw its invitation. The growing power of the homosexual movement is evident in that four years ago they were not able to stop Rick Warren from speaking at Obama’s first inauguration, though they tried for the same reason that they opposed Giglio. Neither Giglio nor Warren are staunch Bible believers, or they would not have received such an invitation in the first place, but the vicious opposition even to rock & roll, ecumenical preachers such as these reveals the irrationality and intolerance of the homosexual agenda. And why are the enemies of truth so empowered today? Because of the preachers in the pulpits who do not preach the fear of God in a scriptural fashion and therefore have filled the land with a nominal Christianity that has placed the nation under God’s curse. The solution is for God’s believing people to pay undivided attention to their individual lives, families, and churches so that for our sake God will bless instead of curse. We need to forget the politicking and get serious about obeying God’s Word. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14).
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That is what the apostle Paul would have done. It was what he always did in every forum, whether in the market place at Corinth or on Mars Hill in Athens, because Paul was convinced that the gospel alone is the power of God (Romans 1:16). Thus he testified, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). He knew that Christ had commanded that the gospel be preached to every soul (Mark 16:15).
But Rick Warren does not walk in the steps of the apostle Paul. He has a different gospel and a different objective in ministry, his gospel being a human-centered gospel of doing good, and his objective being to change the world through his PEACE program.
As for Paul, he summarized his gospel as follows:
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3-4).
Paul said elsewhere that this gospel was delivered to him by divine revelation and that if anyone preaches another gospel, he is under God’s curse (Galatians 1:6-12).
Paul’s gospel is clear. It says that all men are fallen sinners who are under God’s holy wrath for their rebellion, that without salvation they will perish forever, and that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into this world to suffer in the sinner’s place by dying on the cross, that He actually died, and that He rose from the dead the third day. All of this was done in accordance with the prophecies that were recorded in Old Testament Scripture before Jesus’ birth.
Rick Warren didn’t preach anything like this in his Ted Talk. In fact, he didn’t talk about Christ at all. He said nothing about man’s sin or God’s holiness or the Cross or the atonement or Jesus’ death or the resurrection. He didn’t mention the Holy Scripture or Bible prophecy.
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Whereas just five years ago, the overwhelming consensus was that CCM is simply wrong and unacceptable, today the consensus is quickly forming around the position that CCM can be safely used in moderation, that it is OK to mess around with it.
Lancaster Baptist Church in Lancaster, California, home of West Coast Baptist College, is leading in this direction, and we have warned about this because of their wide influence. In a September blog, Ed Stetzer said, “Pastor Chappell is arguably the most influential IFB pastor in America.” (See “Analyzing Adapted CCM Songs” for an extensive list of contemporary worship songs used by Lancaster over the last few years through late 2012 -- www.wayoflife.org/database/analyzing_adapted.html.)
Bob Jones University (BJU) is also promoting this position. The compiler and copyright holder of Hymns Modern and Ancient, Fred Coleman, heads up Bob Jones University’s Department of Church Music. It is published by Heart Publications, a ministry of Steve Pettit Evangelistic Association.
The hymnal contains 38 songs by Getty/Townend -- 16 songs by Keith Getty, nine by Stuart Townend, and 13 co-written by both men.
Soundforth’s 2013 Spring Selections preview CD contains four Getty/Townend numbers out of 19 songs.
Majesty Music’s Rejoice Hymns features about 10 songs by Getty/Townend, as well as ones by David Clydesdale, Scott Wesley Brown, Steve Amerson, Bob Kilpatrick, and Chris Christensen, all of whom are out-and-out Christian rockers and radical ecumenists who are using music to build the end-time, one-world church.
Getty/Townend are unapologetic one-world church builders. Townend enthusiastically supports the Alpha program which bridges charismatic, Protestant, and Roman Catholic churches. Townend is holding hands with the “broader church” in all of its facets and heresies and end-time apostasies, and his objective in writing the “hymn-like” contemporary songs is ecumenism.
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What is far more important and valuable is a good spiritual guard dog. In Isaiah’s day, the watchmen were described by God as “dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.”
This reminds me of a whole bunch of independent Baptist preachers today who used to be in the battle and who used to be zealous to protect their people from spiritual danger and error, but who are getting old and soft and are in a semi-retirement mode and are letting the young people, often including their own kids, provide leadership that they are not ready to provide and to set the tone for the church’s programs that they are not yet equipped to set.
This is one major way that CCM is slipping into churches that are pastored by men who just five years ago would not have allowed this to happen. Oftentimes, there are people in these churches who are deeply concerned. There are members who are standing in spiritual conviction exactly where their pastor was five years ago and are holding to the convictions that their own pastor taught them, but the discouraging thing is that the pastor has changed.
Oh, he won’t admit it. NO!!!!! But he has changed. He is becoming a dumb dog about music, a dumb dog about other things. He isn’t alert and sharp any more. He isn’t on top of what is happening. He has allowed himself to be ignorant about contemporary worship music and its dangers and about other spiritual dangers his people are facing. He isn’t educated out these things, but he also doesn’t want to be educated.
Recently I received the following example of this from a church member who is trying to wake up his sleeping pastor. The church member wrote this to his own pastor. This is happening everywhere. It is a part of the independent Baptist church wars that are raging right now.
“Pastor, our church is moving from the path we have held for the past many years I have known it. I believe it is the harvest of years of not warning and teaching our people about CCM. You have said many times when we have talked on this subject that ‘we are not moving,’ but we are! Can you not tell the difference between the ensemble and the choir numbers on Sunday morning and the young people’s new style of music? It is not the difference between the old and the new but the wrong and the right. The wrong is on the slippery slope that is quickly moving down the proverbial road to apostasy.
Following are a few examples of CCM songs that have been and are being used there:
“Hallelujah to the Lamb” by Don Moen (who thinks God is the author of the weird charismatic “laughing revival”)
“In Christ Alone” by Getty/Townend
“Word of God Speak” by MercyMe (a charismatic mystical song)
“Stronger” and “Shout to the Lord” by Zschech/Hillsong was performed by Lancaster’s high school mixed ensemble (Zschech is a female pastor, a radical ecumenist; Hillsong performed for Catholic Youth Day and Pope Benedict)
“Majesty, Worship His Majesty” by Jack Hayford (a Pentecostal “kingdom now” heresy anthem; Hayford says God told him not to preach against the Roman Catholic church)
“Great Is the Lord” and “How Majestic Is Your Name” by Michael W. Smith (who has been “slain in the Spirit” and “laughed uncontrollably, “rolling on the floor ... hyperventilating”)
“Faithful Men” by Twila Paris (who works with the Roman Catholic Kathy Troccoli and with ecumenist Robert Webber, who promotes unity between evangelicals and Catholics)
“In Christ Alone” by Michael English (who spent the 1990s and early 2000s committing adultery with another man’s wife, bar hopping, dating a stripper, and undergoing “rehab” for drug addiction)
Songs by Steven Curtis Chapman (the most honored “high energy Christian rocker” of the 1990s who says he doesn’t preach “fire and brimstone” and describes God as “Lord of the Dance”)
Songs by Geron Davis (“Jesus Only” Pentecostal who denies the Trinity)
“I Will Rise” by Chris Tomlin (a member of an emerging church that seeks to build the kingdom in this present world)
Songs by Graham Kendrick (charismatic founder of the radically ecumenical Jesus March that includes Catholics and Mormons)
“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” by Chris Tomlin was performed at Lancaster Sunday morning, Oct. 9, 2011
“Not Guilty” by the jazz CCM artist Mandisa was performed at the 2011 Leadership Conference
“Above All Things” by Rebecca St. James (covered on West Coast Baptist College’s “For the Faith of the Gospel” CD)
“Always Enough” by Casting Crowns (February 2012)
“Glorify You Alone” by Gateway Worship (March 2012)
“Step by Step” by Rich Mullins (Youth Conference 2012)
“How Can I Keep from Singing” by Chris Tomlin (August 2012)
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All of the New Year Eve partying in the world can’t remove death and judgment or change the exclusiveness of salvation in Christ, and all of the well-wishing in the world can’t change tomorrow’s realities. “It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 7:2-6).
AMERICA’S MORAL DAM IS BURSTING (Friday Church News Notes, January 4, 2013, www.wayoflife.org email@example.com, 866-295-4143) - The moral dam is bursting in American society, as witnessed by the recent national election. Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana for “recreational use,” thus moving the country toward a 24/7 dope/alcohol stupor. (Rapper Snoop Dogg recently said he smokes 81 joints or “blunts” a week and that other musicians and actors that he knows are also avid “weed” smokers.) Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, but a major milestone has been passed, and there can be little doubt that enforcement will decrease dramatically, which is what the American people want. A USA Today poll recently found that 70% of Americans age 30 and older, including baby boomers and beyond, oppose enforcement of existing federal laws against marijuana use.
Further, three states (Maine, Washington, Maryland) voted to legalize “same-sex marriage.” This is the first time that voters have directly approved a homosexual “marriage” law and it is a major milestone. When homosexuality is considered “moral” there can be no absolute basis for morality. Six other states plus the District of Columbia currently allow homosexual “marriage,” but those laws were not passed by referendum. Thirty-nine states prohibit sameSex “marriage” either by statute or constitution, but it is highly probable that the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually overturn all such laws on the basis of judicial fiat and liberal activism.
The moral dam burst is evident in the dramatic change in attitude toward same-sex “marriage” over the past decade. Whereas in 2004, 42% of the citizens approved it, in 2010 that percentage had risen to 53%, and among young people 18-29, a whopping 73% approve (“Attitude Toward Gays Changing Fast,” USA Today, Dec. 6, 2012). In fact, as we have documented in the book What Is the Emerging Church? many so-called “evangelicals” are outspoken in their tolerance of homosexuality.
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1. Most professing Christians believe that drinking is acceptable “in moderation.” This is true generally for Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, and for a growing number of Emerging Church Evangelicals. For example, the book Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches: Five Perspectives contains probably a dozen references to the joys of drinking. The contributors are Karen Ward, Mark Driscoll, John Burke, Dan Kimball, and Doug Pagitt. They meet in bars and taverns for theological discussions, and they exchange beer-making techniques.
2. The word wine in the Bible is a generic term; sometimes it means grape juice; sometimes it means alcoholic wine.
The following verses prove that the word “wine” can mean fresh grape juice: Deuteronomy 11:14; 2 Chronicles 31:5; Nehemiah 13:15; Proverbs 3:10; Isaiah 65:8. Non-alcoholic wine is sometimes called “the fruit of the vine” (Matthew 26:29).
The late Dr. Bruce Lackey said, “The context will always show when ‘wine’ refers to alcoholic beverages. In such cases, God discusses the bad effects of it and warns against it. An example would be Genesis 9, which describes Noah’s experience after the Flood. Verse 21, ‘and he drank of the wine, and was drunken,’ clearly refers to alcoholic beverage.”
Alcoholic wine is not a natural product; it is man-made. Grape juice will ferment and turn alcoholic naturally, but it will quickly become vinegar. It will not remain in an alcoholic state. The book Bible Wines and the Laws of Fermentation describes the requirements for making alcoholic wine.
Thus, when Jesus turned water into “wine” (John 2:1-11) and when the apostle Paul counseled Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach’s sake (1 Timothy 5:23), this does not necessarily refer to alcoholic wine. (For more on this see “Did Jesus Make Alcoholic Wine?” at the Way of Life web site.)
For the following reasons we believe that the Bible teaches that the New Testament Christian should abstain totally from alcoholic drinks:
1. The Bible warns that wine is a mocker and deceives men (Proverbs 20:1).
To say that alcoholic beverages can be consumed in moderation sounds reasonable, but very few drunks have ever set out to become drunks. It is an irrefutable fact that a man that does not drink at all will never get drunk and will certainly never become a drunk.
As Bruce Lackey said, “How is alcoholic wine deceptive? In the very way that people are advocating today, by saying that drinking a little bit will not hurt. Everyone admits that drinking too much is bad. Even the liquor companies tell us not to drink and drive, but they insist that a small amount is all right. However, that is the very thing that is deceptive. Who knows how little to drink? Experts tell us that each person is different. It takes an ounce to affect one, while more is necessary for another. The same person will react to alcohol differently in different situations, depending on the amount of food he has had, among other things. So the idea that ‘a little bit won’t hurt’ is deceptive, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise!”
I doubt Noah planned to get drunk and to cause so much trouble for his grandson, trouble that has abiding consequences to this day -- but wine is a mocker.
My maternal grandfather came from a long line of drunks, and before my grandmother married him she made him promise that he would never touch a drop of liquor, and that is a promise that he made. But one day he and another carpenter were working on a house and the other fellow talked my grandfather into having just a sip “to cool the tongue.” They both got roaring drunk and ended up in jail, and my granddad was a deacon in a Baptist church! He was deeply repentant and was restored and never drank another drop as far as anyone knows, but it was a powerful reminder that wine is a mocker.
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The following is excerpted from the new edition of Understanding Bible Prophecy, one of the courses of the Advanced Bible Studies Series published by Way of Life Literature. One of the new sections of the course is “Bible Prophecies Being Fulfilled Today,” and the following study is from that section. The new edition of Understanding Bible Prophecy (September 2012) is completely rewritten and significantly enlarged.
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us- ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:2-10).
This amazing 2000-year-old prophecy describes the skepticism that prevails in the 21st century. “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers...” (2 Pet. 3:3).
The prophecy indicates that the 19th century marked the beginning of the “last days” of the church age, because it was in the 19th century that this prophecy began to be fulfilled to perfection. The 19th century witnessed the explosion of skepticism in the form of theological modernism, humanism, Unitarianism, Darwinian evolution, communism, and agnosticism.
1. We see the rejection of the Bible’s teaching on the Flood (2 Peter 3:4-6).
Peter describes the scoffers in the last days who will say that “since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pet. 3:4). This is a perfect description of the “uniformitarian” view of geology, which came to the fore in the 19th century through the influence of Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology. According to this view, the geological strata were laid down gradually over millions of years and there was no global Flood. Walt Brown, Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from MIT, describes the view that has prevailed since those days. “Professors in the new and growing field of geology were primarily selected from those who supported the anti-catastrophe principle. These professors did not advance students who espoused catastrophes. An advocate of a global flood was branded a ‘biblical literalist’ or ‘fuzzy thinker’--not worthy of an academic degree” (In the Beginning, p. 253).
Prior to the 19th century, it was generally believed even by scientists that God created the world and that there was a catastrophic universal Flood. In 1930 Merson Davies observed, “We should remember that, up to 100 years ago [up to 1830], such a marked prejudice against the acceptance of belief in the Deluge did not exist.” For example, in the 17th and 18th centuries Cambridge University scholars believed in a universal Flood, but by Darwin’s day they did not. Thomas Burnet (1635-1715), royal chaplain to king William III, argued for a worldwide flood in A Sacred Theory of the Earth (1681). This was one of most popular works on geology prior to the 19th century. John Woodward (1665-1728), founder of the Woodwardian Professorship of Geology at Cambridge, argued that the global Flood was the cause of the fossil beds. This position was published in An Essay Toward a Natural Theory of the Earth (1695).
But by the 19th century, the evolutionary view took control and the prophecy of 2 Peter 3 was being fulfilled.
2. We see mankind’s rejection of divine creation (2 Peter 3:5).
Peter says the scoffers will reject the Bible’s teaching that the world was made “by the word of God.” The doctrine of evolution has gone hand-in-hand with agnosticism, atheism, and a denial of the supernatural. It was Thomas Huxley, “Darwin’s Bulldog,” who coined the term “agnosticism” to describe the view that man cannot know whether or not there is a God, that man can only know the truth through science and that “religion” isn’t allowed a voice, and that even if there is a God it really doesn’t matter, because He isn’t involved in man’s affairs.
The scoffers do mention “creation” (2 Pet. 3:4), but by this they don’t mean the six days of creation according to the Bible. Even Charles Darwin used the word “creation” at the end of On the Origin of Species, but he later explained that he simply meant by this that life “appeared by some wholly unknown process” (Darwin, Autobiography, p. 272).Continue reading this article……
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As we witness such things as the spread of globalism, the building of a one-world church, the increase of wickedness, the breakdown of the traditional family, the destruction of that priceless bastion of liberty called America, the normalization of homosexuality, the callous murder of babies, the filthy pop culture, the breathtaking increase in governmental surveillance, we become fearful, uncertain, frustrated, angry, and discouraged, but this is because our minds and hearts are too focused on things of this world rather than things above. Too often we have the same short view that “conservative” unbelievers have rather than the long view that comes from the light of Bible prophecy.
Doubtless there will be frustration and discouragement, because we aren’t spiritual robots who are unaffected by our environment, but our response should be tempered by the truths of God’s Word. We should respond to the times in a dramatically different way than our unsaved friends and neighbors.
When we consider what is happening in the world, we should respond in at least the following ways:
First, we should rejoice greatly in our salvation.
“But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Pet. 4:13).
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:17-18).
No matter what we suffer in this present world, it is but for a moment in light of eternity with Christ. Every day we should walk in the joy of the gift of blinded eyes opened and salvation bestowed through Christ’s great Sacrifice.
Second, we should be comforted that Christ’s return is drawing near.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Lk. 21:28).
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words:” (1 Th. 4:15-18).
Each day brings us closer to the Rapture of the New Testament saints, and in this light, the signs of the times, though they are grievous for this present life, should be a cause of rejoicing for the believer.