I travel a lot, and find myself in all kinds of Apostolic Pentecostal Churches all around the country. One thing I have noticed that deeply, deeply troubles me is the MUSIC.
I know what I see. I have eyes and I have ears. I see platforms covered with musicians and singers and instruments. But WHAT I DO NOT SEE is congregations singing.
Again and again and again, I see keyboardists and "praise" singers putting on a show. I watch in horror as entire congregations stand there in a coma while the Church musicians sing songs that nobody else sings. Nobody learns these songs, because many of them are impossible to learn. They cannot be sung as a solo. They cannot be remembered, because they are not memorable. They are PAINFULLY repetitious. At this point, I have come to HATE songs that contain the word "AWESOME." How many times in one service do we have to tell God that He is "AWESOME"? God you are awesome. God you are awesome. God you are awesome. That is not profound. That is redundant. If that is all we can say about God, we don't know God.
Go ahead. Crucify me. Hate me. But I am telling you as pointedly as I know how, MUSIC is KILLING Apostolic Pentecostal Churches. The music is NOT conducive to true spiritual growth. FAR too many of the songs being used today are empty, empty, empty, empty, empty.
I am a writer. In the last ten years, I have written almost 3 million words on Bible subjects. I know the power of words. I understand the potential of a well-constructed sentence. I also know the pointlessness of a sentence that has no meaning. And I can tell you unequivocally that a huge lot of the songs being used today have no substantive message. Many songs use vain repetitions, incomplete sentences, and meaningless phraseology. They are loaded with buzzwords, but make no meaningful statements.
When are we going to REVOLT against DUMB music in the Church? I'm calling for a revolt right now. It's time for Christians to demand better SONGS. It is time to BOYCOTT Hillsong. It is time to BOYCOTT "Christian" radio and "Christian" entertainment.
I know I'm opening a can of worms. I know that this kind of talk offends church musicians and praise singers. I don't care. I'm an elder. I've been on church platforms singing and making music since I was eight years old. I am old. Yes. At 64, I am automatically discounted and discredited by most young Christians. But I know what I see. I see the dumbing down of Christianity. The dumbing down of Christian music. The dumbing down of Christians. The dumbing down of the Church. I see whole congregations standing glassy-eyed and speechless through half-hour-long marathons of pounding bass guitars, hyperactive drumming, and bouncing singers.
And I can't accept that. I have to cry aloud. I have to lift my voice and object to what I see.
There are hundreds, even thousands, of powerful, articulate, doctrinally-rich songs that have been written over the past 100 years. People who sang those songs REMEMBERED them, and continue singing them all their lives. They had messages in them. Singing those songs was like preaching a sermon to yourself, because they were full of Gospel messages, doctrines, and even conviction and consecration. Yet most popular "Churches" today would not recognize more than a very few of them. That is not just tragic, it is evil. It is a Satanic, Hellacious ploy against the historical roots of modern Christianity. It is the severing of all ties with the past. It is the rejection of the very sanctified process that brought the modern Church into existence. It is a refuting, a rebutting, a denial, of the profound works of the Holy Ghost that built a worldwide Pentecostal Church.
The suffocating arrogance that presumes to say that the old paths were wrong and that this generation knows better than any generation before it is toxic and
heretical. This generation of Christians is NOT more biblically astute. Its preachers are NOT more spiritual, more godly, more consecrated. In large part, the modern Church is infinitely more carnal, more worldly, more sensuous, more materialistic than any of its predecessors in the last 100 years.
It is time for a REVIVAL of the WORD OF GOD, and that may never actually happen until we purposefully and intentionally demand that our churches be purged of all shallow, empty, dumbed-down "ministries." How will that ever happen as long as we continue to celebrate such shallowness?
"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein," Jeremiah 6:16.
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I have been publishing online since 1996. Very few people in the world have published more gospel preaching and teaching on the Internet than I have. I have interacted personally with countless tens of thousands of people via emails and direct messages, and faced every conceivable belligerence from atheists, gays, Catholics, Trinitarians of every flag, JWs, Adventists, Branhamites, Cessationists, Calvinists, Preterists, Pre-Tribbers, Ecumenicals, Muslims, etc., etc. ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
But I've never seen a topic create such a firestorm as the subject of music in the Church. I have made it crystal clear that I believe the bulk of modern Christian music is poison in the pot. No less than 90% of the responses I get passionately agree with me. Of course, that stat is skewed by the fact that most of my followers followed me in the first place because of my conservative views.
Nevertheless, I am absolutely positive that I am not alone in detesting the new breed of music in the Church. I will not restate all my objections here.
I have been mocked and ridiculed by many of my own peers for taking that position. And in that mockery and condescension, an even greater problem is exposed. Many of our ministers despise the old paths just as certainly as the non-Apostolics who write and perform those songs. There is virtually NO vetting, NO qualifying, NO screening of the doctrinal content of modern Christian music, as long as it has a good sound, a good beat, and attracts young people. They NEVER recognize hyper-grace, easy-believism, word-of-faith, success-prosperity HERETICAL LIES in those lyrics. All they notice is the entertainment value of them.
I have personally witnessed several youth events where the pounding, pulsating music was played endlessly in the background, although the lyrics were at best indiscernible, and at worst, doctrinally-sterile (or heretical) and more representative of and identifiable with NON-APOSTOLIC movements. They are PROUD to be like Hillsong or "Christian" TV stars and starlets, or to be culturally hip and cool. They are PROUD to be "relevant" to the world, although they don't realize that they have at last become irrelevant to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and Truth, Righteousness, and Holiness.
Everything about that sounds all the alarms for me. The fact that it sounds NO ALARMS for them is the very reason why I distance myself from them, and sometimes block them from my circle of influence.
If you don't like my position on these matters, nobody is forcing you to follow me. You can say anything you want to say anywhere else, but not on my timeline. I am going to say and preach what I believe with all the force and conviction I have in my soul.
If you don't like me or what I say, goodbye, adios, adieu, arrivederci, auf weidersehen.
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How to DESTROY an Apostolic Pentecostal Church in short order:
1. Abandon KJV and use multiple versions of the Bible. Breed doubts about how things used to be said, and nullify all scripture memorization.
2. Cancel Sunday night services. Everybody needs family time. They can then go to ball games and movies. That will give them an entirely new perspective on God, life, and spiritual matters.
3. Throw away the song books. Abandon all the old songs. Never sing them again, unless you do so with an apology, or a mocking joke. There are too many doctrines and calls to holiness and godly living in them that we don't want to deal with anymore. Disband the choir and the song leader. Give all the music responsibilities to the young people. Don't let any elders have any say in the music. Welcome and encourage the use of popular music from the most rabid adversaries of Apostolic doctrines and standards.
4. Stop preaching doctrines and holiness standards. They are so old-fashioned. All they do is run people off.
5. That should do it. You can add all the new-fangled methods you want now, because it will only take a little while before nobody in the building will remember what Pentecost was ever like. If they do, they will only mock it, and caustically deride anyone who still holds it sacred.
6. In less than one year, almost nothing at all will even vaguely resemble the Apostolic Pentecostal Church that was known around the world for almost 100 years. Nobody will believe that your church was ever associated with Apostolic Pentecostals.
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Any man who has been in the ministry for a few decades has almost certainly been the subject of someone's vitriol and vicious animosities. Sometimes, an entire group of people will assault, slander, defame, and perhaps even attempt to destroy him.
In his youth, such attacks tend to knock the wind out of his sails. They can be utterly devastating. But in his old age, they tend to humor him when he remembers that he is still standing, while many of those who once tried to take him down have vanished from the scene.
Not only do great men of God have to learn this lesson, but all true saints must come to terms with the reality that when you stand for something that is unpopular, YOU ARE DESTINED to incur the wrath of the multitudes who embrace a popular, but erroneous position. Anytime you take God's side in a matter, you instantly inherit God's enemies. Those who hate Him and His Truth will hate you just as much.
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and YE SHALL BE HATED of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another," Matthew 24:9-10.
"Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me," Micah 7:8.
"Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above," John 19:11.
"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31.
"When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah," Psalms 61:2-4.
"For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks. For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall," Psalms 18:27-29.
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