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November 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Those who believe in God’s Word have been grasping at the same superficial solutions that liberalism has adopted. Relevance, respectability (whether intellectual or social), and especially unity have become the aims of God’s people with the hope that these will revitalize a weakened church. ‘If only all Bible-believing people join together, the world will sit up and listen,’ thinks the church. ‘Let’s merge our mission boards to pool our funds and our personnel. Let’s join giant evangelistic projects. If every evangelical joins in a common organization, we can have greater depth of evangelism.’ Thus organizational unity becomes the aim of gospel churches. Having accepted the theory that unity is all-important for world evangelism, both the church and the individual must lower their estimate of the value of truth. In a large congress on evangelism, we could not insist on a truth of God’s Word that would offend any brother evangelical. Thus we must find the lowest common denominator to which all born-again Christians hold. The rest of the Bible will be labeled ‘unessential’ for missions. After all, unity (among Christians) is more essential than doctrinal preciseness. It is just for this reason that mission societies have been unwilling carefully to examine the root problem in preaching. Mission boards are hesitant to answer the question, ‘What is the gospel?’ Thoroughly to answer that would condemn what many of their own missionaries preach. It would destroy the mission society, which is a federation of churches who have differing answers to that question. To adopt the position of one church would be to lose the support of five others. The whole system built on unity and generality would crumble. The local church may not get too specific about truth either. It may affect its harmony with the denomination or association. To define the gospel carefully will bring conflict with the organizations working with teenagers. It will prompt irritating problems with mission boards and embarrassing disagreement with missionaries supported for years. It may condemn the whole Sunday School program. Giving too much attention to the content of the gospel will mean friction with other evangelicals. And unity is the key to success.

Walter Chantry

 

November 5, 2012 Leave a comment

I standing vigilantly on the precipice of eternity speaking to people who this week could go over the edge whether they are ready to or not. I will be called to account for what I said there.

That’s what I mean by preaching.

John Piper, source

Joel Feinberg on happiness

September 9, 2012 1 comment

 

An exclusive desire for happiness is the surest way to prevent happiness from coming into being. Happiness has a way of “sneaking up” on persons when they are preoccupied with other things; but when persons deliberately and single-mindedly set off in pursuit of happiness, it vanishes utterly from sight and cannot be captured. This is the famous “paradox of hedonism”: the single-minded pursuit of happiness is necessarily self-defeating, for the way to get happiness is to forget it; then perhaps it will come to you. If you aim exclusively at pleasure itself, with no concern for the things that bring pleasure, then pleasure will never come. To derive satisfaction, one must ordinarily first desire something other than satisfaction, and then find the means to get what one desires.

Joel Feinberg, “Psychological Egoism”

 

Question: Regarding the Prosperity Gospel Teachers, pt. 2

May 25, 2012 1 comment

The same person who asked me about this post sent the following response.

I understand your desire to keep God’s word untainted and I respect you for that but I don’t agree with your methods of dealing with it to an extent. No one really knows the heart of a man, except God which is why He’s the only judge. Blessings. 🙂

This is my answer:

It’s about more than keeping God’s word untainted. It is about protecting the Church from being ripped apart and devoured by those wolves.

The issue is this:  you are correct in saying that God is the only Judge; however, we have been given authority to (a) Discipline members of the Church (cf. Matthew 17; 1 Corinthians 5), (b) Publicly warn the Church about false teachers by specifically naming them (cf. 2 Timothy 4:10, 14, where Paul explicitly calls out Alexander and Demas for subverting and harming Paul’s mission), and (c) To unqualifiedly dismiss, warn against, and fight against false teachers. As (c) seems to be the one with which you take issue, we will take our time in discussing it.

Matthew 7:15-20, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

Jesus is warning his disciples against the false prophets who will come into the Church. They look like believers; they talk about Jesus all the time and how much they love him. But, both their lives and their doctrines do not match with what Jesus actually preached. If you’ll do some research, you will see that most of these prosperity gospel preachers are fabulously wealthy, and many of them have been cited for tax evasion and similar crimes. Christ explicitly says, “You will recognize them by their fruits.” We can tell who false prophets are. How? By the way they live their lives and the things that they say.

Matthew 15:17-19, “Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”

Again, Christ is pointing out that we can judge the nature of a person by what they do. How one lives their life is evidence of their spiritual condition. Again, because we are not God, we do not have all the evidence. Nevertheless, we are absolutely able to judge and make an informed decision as to whether somebody is a false prophet or teacher, or is simply misinformed. Unrepentant false teaching is heresy.

Matthew 24:23-25, “Then, if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.

What is not evidence of one’s spiritual condition? Signs and wonders, for even the false prophets will do this. In so doing, they will lead astray many; they would even lead away the elect if it were possible. Christ is warning the disciples to be ever vigilant against these people. They are not to be trusted. False teachers and false prophets have no business in the church.

Acts 13:6-12, “When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, ‘You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.’ Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.”

A few things to note about this passage:

  • Luke explicitly records both the name and the fact that this man was a false prophet.
  • The false prophet, and all others, try to turn people away from the true faith.
  • Paul called the false prophet a son of the devil, an enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, and one who makes crooked the straight paths of the Lord.
  • The Spirit through Paul struck Bar-Jesus blind. The Spirit does not play with false prophets if we confront them.
  • As a result of the false prophet’s being struck blind, the proconsul—the one who was being led astray—saw the power of the Lord and believed.

2 Corinthians 11:12-15, “And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”

A few things to note:

  • Paul made it a mission to undermine, or to subvert, to false claims of those pretending to be apostles, of those who pretend to have the same goal as the Church.
  • They are false apostles, deceitful workmen.
  • They disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. Is this not a similar picture to the wolves disguised as sheep?
  • Satan disguises himself as an angel of light; his servants disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Connection:  False apostles, false prophets, false teachers and their ilk are servants of Satan. I cannot be more clear about that.
  • The end of all the false apostles corresponds, or matches, their deeds, i.e. hell.
  • Their deeds are unrepentant and flagrant leading astray of the Church to a false gospel.

Galatians 1:6-9, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”

If I or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel contrary to the gospel with apostolic authority, or even a gospel slightly distorted, let me or him be accursed. It is no clearer than that.

1 Timothy 6:3-5, “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.”

Anyone who teaches a doctrine contrary to Christ is not to be welcomed as a teacher or minister of the faith. He should be revealed and exposed. That last phrase is telling for the prosperity gospel, though, “…imagining that godliness is a means of gain.” That is exactly the position of the prosperity gospel. They are not fellow ministers.

2 Peter 2:1-3, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

  • False prophets and false teachers will bring in destructive heresies.
  • They will deny the Master who brought them.
  • They bring upon themselves swift destruction.
  • Many will follow them because of their sensuality. Is it any surprise to you that the prosperity gospel hinges on that, pleasure in the flesh?
  • Because of these false teachers, the way of truth—i.e. Christianity—will be blasphemed.
  • They will exploit the Church with false words because of their greed. Those in the prosperity gospel always ask you for money for healing, by the way.
  • Their condemnation does not wait, and their destruction is coming.

Peter then compared these false teachers to angels who did not escape condemnation. It is too long to include here, so I’d encourage you to check it out. However, he does return to the false teachers here.

2 Peter 2:12-22, “But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.

For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: ‘The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.’”

That speaks for itself.

2 John 7-11, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.”

We are not to welcome, wish well for, or enjoy fellowship with those who do not abide in the doctrine of Christ, and all that accords with his teaching. He who does not abide in Christ’s doctrine does not have God. Again, these people are not fellow children of God—wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Revelation 2:1, 2, “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.”’”

Christ himself praised the Church in Ephesus for not bearing with “those who are evil” and rather testing “those who call themselves apostles and are not,” thus finding them to be false. That is significant. Of all the things to praise a church body for, Christ chooses to praise this one for their insistence on not being led astray by false teachers.

In short, those of the prosperity gospel have bastardized the gospel, making it a means to a worldly wealth. Because of this, they are to be branded as false teachers and false prophets until they repent and recant. Because of that branding, no believer should have anything to do with their ministries, should publicly rebuke their teachings, and should warn his brothers and sisters. If you love the Church, you seek her well-being, and thus guard against these destructive heresies. We can judge the heart by what comes out of their mouths.

Grace and peace

Question: Regarding the Church and Prosperity Gospel Teachers, pt. 1

May 25, 2012 4 comments

A friend remarked about the tense relationship that I have concerning prosperity gospel teachers, “Perhaps we should try less to make it an ‘us versus them’ mentality and instead call them brothers and sisters still.”

The following is my response:

I understand your sentiment. Truly, I do. I value the unity of the Bride greatly. One of my greatest troubles with the Church today is the useless and senseless division of the Body over nonessential items of doctrine, which drags in bitterness and resentment—neither of which have any place among redeemed and being sanctified believers and children of the Most High.

That said, the reason that I—and others—have made this an ‘us against them’ issue and do not call them brothers and sisters is because they, meaning the proponents of the prosperity gospel, have forsaken the true gospel and unrepentantly teach a false gospel.

What these false teachers have done is egregious. They have prostituted the death of Christ and have attempted to strong-arm God into bending to their will, in turn teaching vast laymen that they too can accomplish this impossible task.

So, the issue is twofold. First, they simply have forsaken the true gospel, which teaches us to lay up treasures in heaven and to forsake this world since it is passing away. Second, they are leading thousands of people away from the true Christ. Not only that, they show no remorse and no desire to repent from or recant their position. Until they do so, we must not treat them as misguided teachers, instead removing them from authority or dissolving association with them as a Church. In fact, the teachers (and pastors and prophets and evangelists) of the faith are to be judged the most strictly, since it is by their words that the Church walks left or right (James 3).

Now, there are two ways to address these people. If they are truly born-again and love Jesus, they must be rebuked publicly, since it is beyond the reason to believe that they have not been privately been rebuked before now. In this regard, we follow the doctrines set forth in Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5, ultimately giving them over to Satan for a time until they repent.

The second avenue develops if these people are not believers, which can be evidenced by their teaching. This avenue is to dissolve unqualifiedly every relationship to them as a universal church. The Church has no business ministering with or well-wishing these proponents of the false gospel; we can never be compliant in sin. We thus follow the doctrines set forth in Galatians 1 and 2 John, which call for an unqualified and absolute dismissal and removal of approval by the Church of their ministries; Paul goes so far in Galatians 1 as to say that any who preach a false gospel should be accursed.

We cannot take lightly false teaching as egregious, idolatrous, and dangerous as this, and now is not the time to pussyfoot around the issue.

A further discussion takes place here.

The Riches of Christ: the Church

Let us draw near to the fire of martyred Lawrence, that our cold hearts may be warmed thereby. The merciless tyrant, understanding him to be not only a minister of the sacraments, but a distributor also of the Church riches, promised to himself a double prey, by the apprehension of one soul. First, with the rake of avarice to scrape to himself the treasure of poor Christians; then with the fiery fork of tyranny, so to toss and turmoil them, that they should wax weary of their profession. With furious face and cruel countenance, the greedy wolf demanded where this Lawrence had bestowed the substance of the Church: who, craving three days’ respite, promised to declare where the treasure might be had. In the meantime, he caused a good number of poor Christians to be congregated. So, when the day of his answer was come, the persecutor strictly charged him to stand to his promise. Then valiant Lawrence, stretching out his arms over the poor, said: “These are the precious treasure of the Church; these are the treasure indeed, in whom the faith of Christ reigneth, in whom Jesus Christ hath His mansion-place. What more precious jewels can Christ have, than those in whom He hath promised to dwell? For so it is written, ‘I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in.’ And again, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’ What greater riches can Christ our Master possess, than the poor people in whom He loveth to be seen?” 

John Fox, Fox’s Book of Martyrs

On the tombs of the early Roman Christians

It has been said that the lives of the early Christians consisted of “persecution above ground and prayer below ground.” Their lives are expressed by the Coliseum and the catacombs. Beneath Rome are the excavations which we call the catacombs, whivch were at once temples and tombs. The early Church of Rome might well be called the Church of the Catacombs. There are some sixty catacombs near Rome, in which some six hundred miles of galleries have been traced, and these are not all. These galleries are about eight feet high and from three to five feet wide, containing on either side several rows of long, low, horizontal recesses, one above another like berths in a ship. In these the dead bodies were placed and the front closed, either by a single marble slab or several great tiles laid in mortar. On these slabs or tiles, epitaphs or symbols are graved or painted. Both pagans and Christians buried their dead in these catacombs. When the Christian graves have been opened the skeletons tell their own terrible tale. Heads are found severed from the body, ribs and shoulder blades are broken, bones are often calcined from fire. But despite the awful story of persecution that we may read here, the inscriptions breathe forth peace and joy and triumph. Here are a few:

“Here lies Marcia, put to rest in a dream of peace.”

“Lawrence to his sweetest son, borne away of angels.”

“Victorious in peace and in Christ.”

“Being called away, he went in peace.”

Remember when reading these inscriptions the story the skeletons tell of persecution, of torture, and of fire.

But the full force of these epitaphs is seen when we contrast them with the pagan epitaphs, such as:

“Live for the present hour, since we are sure of nothing else.”

“I lift my hands against the gods who took me away at the age of twenty though I had done no harm.”

“Once I was not. Now I am not. I know nothing about it, and it is no concern of mine.”

“Traveler, curse me not as you pass, for I am in darkness and cannot answer.”

The most frequent Christian symbols on the walls of the catacombs, are, the good shepherd with the lamb on his shoulder, a ship under full sail, harps, anchors, crowns, vines, and above all the fish.

John Fox, Fox’s Book of Martyrs

The Martyrdom of Polycarp, circa a.d. 162

Polycarp, the venerable bishop of Smyrna, hearing that persons were seeking for him, escaped, but was discovered by a child. After feasting the guards who apprehended him, he desired an hour in prayer, which being allowed, he prayed with such fervency, that his guards repented that they had been instrumental in taking him. He was, however, carried before the proconsul, condemned, and burnt in the market place.

The proconsul then urged him, saying, “Swear, and I will release thee;–reproach Christ.”

Polycarp answered, “Eighty and six years have I served him, and he never once wronged me; how then shall I blaspheme my King, Who hath saved me?” At the stake to which he was only tied, but not nailed as usual, as he assured them he should stand immovable, the flames, on their kindling the fagots, encircled his body, like an arch, without touching him; and the executioner, on seeing this, was ordered to pierce him with a sword, when so great a quantity of blood flowed out as extinguished the fire. But his body, at the instigation of the enemies of the Gospel, especially Jews, was ordered to be consumed in the pile, and the request of his friends, who wished to give it Christian burial, rejected. They nevertheless collected his bones and as much of his remains as possible, and caused them to be decently interred.

John Fox, Fox’s Book of Martyrs, ch. 2

Question: Christians, Same-Sex Marriage, and Active Faith

May 15, 2012 3 comments

I received this question from a friend,

Why are so many Christians focused on marriage equality and if people are quoting the Bible correctly, rather than actually helping people–feeding the hungry, taking care of the sick and wounded, clothing the naked, etc.? I mean, I as an atheist do more for people than all my Christian friends – and I’m sure I could say the same about a large majority of the people online who denounce same-sex marriages. It’s worrisome.

The following is my response:

That is worrisome, and it is a fair criticism to the American church. The thing is, though, that many in the American church are only nominally christian. Christianity, for them, is a cultural or familial experience–not a reality in their lives. It is nothing more than something to do on Sunday mornings–and Wednesday nights if you’re hardcore. So, it’s an unfair criticism to charge American believers with a wholesale forsaking of the second half of Christ’s command, namely obedience, when the majority of professing Christians are not actually Christian, as evidenced by the fruit of their lives.

Nevertheless, a group mentality arises even in nominal Christianity, which in turns grows in the Church at-large. From where this fight against gay marriage first arose, I have no answer. But within the past decade it has come up as a cultural question, an issue on which politicians have jumped and pastors have capitalized. A strange sort of community within both the nominal and actual Church has arisen, one wherein a greater passion to fight against gay marriage than to uphold the totality of God’s commands exists. Unfortunately, this community is among the loudest–this of course can be due to the fact that the mainstream media loves controversy.

This community has made gay marriage the hill to die on, overemphasizing it from the mound that it is and deemphasizing the mountain that the gospel is. (Now, don’t misread me here:  homosexuality, as the authors intended it, is sinful in the same manner as any other sin. However, it does not deserve its place as the defining topic-of-choice for a Christian in contemporary America, supplanting even the gospel of Jesus Christ, which Paul makes note to the Corinthian church that it, i.e. the gospel, is worth delivering of first importance. [1 Corinthians 15:3])

With that in mind, there are a thousand other cultural questions that deserve attention, things such as abortion, unnecessary war, and pervasive poverty, not to mention divorce and sexual immorality that resides within the church. Because all sin is held equally in the eyes of God, and therefore ought to be held so in the eyes of the Church, it does not make sense for the American church to devote so much time and energy to fighting this one issue, not when there are others that 1) are directly harming people as we speak and 2) we overlook in the Church that are of the same manner. As far as the rallying cry, “We are only upholding the sanctity of marriage”? Please. The church doesn’t even hold its own accountable–not when divorce rates are as high or higher within the church as without.

Instead of being lights in the world pointing to and upholding Christ, many in the American church have picked a popular issue, which they may certainly feel strongly about, as the most important issue to tackle, which is absurd, and the absurdity lies in the forsaking of the rest of God’s commands:  such commands as keeping personal holiness, upholding communal holiness, and pursuing at all costs the advancement of the kingdom of God. Again, it simply does not make sense to devote the energy to fighting gay marriage’s existence outside of the Church when we do not have in mind the totality of God’s command. Disregarding the gospel, instead of proactively implementing and enacting social justice, many in the American church have been content to fight a secondary issue, i.e. one that does not lead to death, does not lead to loss of property, and concerns those outside the church; legislating these sorts of things, such as the standard of marriage as being a picture of Christ and his Church, as the standard for the secular world is nonsense.

Nominal or otherwise, those in the American church have been misled and taught wrongly that God is pleased in his Church legislating morality–upholding a moralistic therapeautic deism that does not see a relationship with God as necessary, instead trying to live morally well, i.e. within the law–rather than actively teaching and living the gospel to the poor and the rich, the clothed and the naked, the saint and the sinner. (Again, do not misread me; it is important to live in a morally upright and proper way. Nevertheless, no amount of good deeds merit salvation; instead, the life that we live instead is for the glory of God, which life now serves as a testament to the believers and non-believers alike of God’s faithfulness.)

Gay marriage is an important issue, within the church. Outside of it, the church should be interested in three things: proclaiming the glory of God (and within that there is the facet of preaching both the Law and the Gospel, wherein the Law convicts sinners and the Gospel restores the sinner to righteousness, permanently declared so by God), upholding justice or equity, and practicing compassion. We must not miss this fact: we were saved to do something, and doing something constitutes far more than crying out against gay marriage.

Question: Hillsong and Hillsong Live’s music?

May 15, 2012 1 comment

I received the following question:

What is your opinion on Hillsong United and Hillsong Live’s music?

This is my response:

Disclaimer: I abhor the capitalistic, market-driven approach to worship music. How idolatrous can we be that we are selling music to be used for worship? We sell “worship” music; we sell “tickets” to “spiritual teaching”; we sell ourselves out. So, I disdain how the contemporary church handles itself in the capitalist economy. It disgusts me.

That said, much of the worship itself is pretty good. Most of it is centered on God and his glory and not on man. However, as much as I love “With Everything,” for example, the woah-oh-oh’s should be carefully placed in worship music, as it far too easily gets people wrapped up in the emotion of the moment and takes their eyes off of God, not actually worshipping but just saying nonsense. It’s a powerful experience, but is it worship? Worship is about proclaiming the praises of God, extolling his glory, and pointing both our brethren and the world to Christ. Worship is centered around the glory of God, and God in his glory has created humanity with the capacity to feel and to think; and we ought not sacrifice our intellect for the sake of having an “awesome worship experience.” Worship not centered on God is idolatry.

In short, worship is good insofar as it is centered on praising God as he actually is–i.e. worshiping in spirit and in truth (cf. John 4:23, Philippians 3:3). As far as form is concerned, as long as the message is not lost or compromised, form is irrelevant.

Nevertheless, it is impossible to separate Hillsong worship from Hillsong Church. Until the church that supports and sends out the band gets its act together, believers should be vigilant about singing what Hillsong puts out, knowing that the home church preaches a prosperity gospel.

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