Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Russell Moore's ERLC Mistake on Worship Music Selections

In the US, a large church denomination has a group called the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission as a part of its "missions" giving.  This is a group tasked with speaking what churches should see/think about certain questions of the culture and moral questions as well.  It is headed by Russell Moore, a Molinist who studied under Dr. Bruce Ware, who studied under a Process Theologian.  Who cares?  Great question!  Most do not, but they should think twice.  Your beloved pastor or church may be turning to him for their advice.  Therefore what you hear is "God's will" for your church from your pastor or key lay leaders should be checked both for its spirit and for its aligning with reality.

Recently a Christian singer some have heard of named Vicky Beeching has come out as a lesbian.  Now this may not surprise anyone in our current American culture.  After all, what does the church have to say to those who are not claiming to seriously follow Jesus as Savior and Lord?  People say and do all kinds of things that do no line up with many sections of Scripture, but that doesn't jump out anymore.  It's a constant stream of scandals, revelations and shocks that no longer shock the American public.

This is different because the person represents a one churches are paying lots of money to so that they can go on claiming this.  God's people's money, given to his name, is funding someone living contrary to his name claiming to live a solidly Christian life.

Artist Vicky Beeching is claiming to follow Jesus as her Savior and Lord.  She says that her lifestyle of lesbianism is consistent with the Jesus of the Bible, the living Jesus Christ.  She feels she can be a lesbian and also not have to change (that part being the key aspect) anything about that to be in line with God's will for her life.  Now this comes to the church's attention.

Russ Moore tells pastors it doesn't matter, keep paying her to say that and live that way, churches.  (emphasis on churches, not just some place, or some random person buying an mp3)

Consider Scripture on her claim that God thinks she can go on that way and be ok:

Romans 1:26-27 makes clear that the blessed life is not the life she is saying is blessed for a Christian who is trying to follow the God of Scripture.

1 Timothy 1:10 also makes clear that the blessed life both now and in the hereafter is not what she is saying it is.  That is not heaven, but separation from God awaits someone who does not have an attitude of change about such things.

Jude 7 makes clear that the OT examples of Genesis 19:1-11 still challenge Vicky as wrong on that point of it being God's will for a practicing Christian.

Now all of this truth in those verses is considered foolishness to someone whose mind has not been enlightened by the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

I mean this: who cares what the authorized messengers of Jesus think in the Bible, if one is not practicing following that one true and living Jesus.  Maybe they follow a modern British or French or American 'Jesus,' who affirms all things and promises a new Mercedes Benz every three years and warm feelings while singing those songs.  Who knows.

It doesn't matter in one sense, because although we are called to reach out to all with the gospel of Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20), yet we know many will not respond.  We are called to both use love and truth.  This whole God loves anything I say and do thing has gone off the deep end in the West.  Many will live how they like and that is not on us as practicing Christians to judge about.  A big unless:  Paul tells us we are to judge those who are in the family of faith, not those outside of it.

So we try to love everyone, as far as it depends on us, but there will always be some who reject the gospel message of Jesus and his appointed messengers the apostles.  Therefore they will reject the NT message (in part or whole) and also the OT likely as well.

So what about worship music?  What about churches funding an anti-gospel with weekly offerings?

As it turns out ERLC's Russell Moore gets it wrong on churches going ahead and playing songs by just whatever Christian artists.  He endorses that churches sing even songs written by heretics, with gusto.  He himself thinks that is how we should look at things.  Based on what?  A serious Scriptural case?  No.

He appeals to a few of a previous generation's hymns as an example of the modern church's behavior that means we too should sing songs by people who rejected the living true Jesus.  The churches sang hymns by people who became heretics, he reasons.  Notice in that Russ Moore does not appeal to Scripture, but just how churches acted in the late 19th and early 20th century.  Tells you a lot doesn't it!

But that's not the main point.  The main point is that in Scripture we are not to do evil.  We are not to do evil which means not to promote it.  This also means we do not pay for evil by choices we make that we can make.  If this cannot be said of the people of God assembled for worship, how do we expect them to be morally exemplary during business and family decisions during the week?  Why cannot our friends in churches spend money on open promoters of evil too?  Church does, right Russ?

Here's the rubber meets the road: Churches pay royalties to the Christian song authors, via a thing called CCLI.  They pay it based on how often songs are used by churches.  Thus they pay for lifestyles of 'Christian' artists.  This is a mandatory, cross denominational thing, this CCLI.

Churches by choices are paying for the message that you can live as a perpetual liar, heretic or whatever chosen favorite thing a person might claim who writes a song and then radically changes their life for the worse.  Is that right?

So churches should not keep singing songs that are written by someone who actively promotes a lifestyle contrary to the gospel message.  It's that simple, this is where Russ Moore goes wrong in a big way.  Now everyone is a sinner.  That includes all of us.  But we should not going around declaring as churches that a person saying a lifestyle of sin is "ok with God" should be endorsed.  It's not ok.

Positively, it matters what songs we sing in churches.  You and I pay for the songs we sing in church.
Maybe that is new to you, but it is true.  Your church endorses the lifestyle of contemporary Christian artists, by paying royalties on an ongoing basis to such persons.  Therefore when a church is surveyed on what songs it sings, it should be careful to not be caught singing the wrong ones, so as to endorse what is wrong in Jesus' view. (Luke 8:18)

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