In the Los Angeles area where I live there are two contemporary Christian music (CCM) radio stations, Air 1 and the Fish.
They play a variety of Christian bands and songs, including some Christian crossover bands like Switchfoot and also some more mainstream bands like Lifehouse (whose lead singer is a professing Christian).
Some songs have an overtly “Christian” worship message like songs by Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman which we occasionally sing at church, while other songs seem to have positive lyrics without mentioning the name of Jesus.
I do not have a problem with their choice of artists and songs. It’s a free country and radio stations are free broadcast what seems fit for their audience.
But these radio stations are labeled as Christian.
This is where the disappointment comes in.
The Fish advertises their music NOT as Christian music, but music that is “safe for the whole family.” Why not call it Christian music for the whole family or CCM?
Air 1 advertises itself as the “positive alternative.” Why not the Christian alternative?
The answer most likely has to do with ratings and audience capturing. People are not as likely to listen to a station that plays Christian music, even if the music is really good. So they compromise the message a little to avoid the Christian label.
Because it is offensive to be an exclusive, Jesus only, one-way-to-heaven believer which is how the evangelical Christian is viewed (and should be viewed).
We are diluting the way we are representing ourselves in society, to make ourselves more palatable for it. Instead of Christian we call the music “positive.” Instead of using specific terms for God like Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit we resign to using generic, inoffensive terms like “god.”
90% of Americans or more believe in god, but just try to mention the name of Jesus in a secular context and see how poorly received it is.
Christian music now is positive music.
Because the term “Christian” is not politically correct.
It is in fact offensive.
I have seen many changes in the “Christian” music world in the last 35 years. I still remember hearing Randy Stonehill’s “King of Hearts” on the radio and thought, “Wow, here’s a guys who sings about God like a philosopher.” It was kind of like seeing the first Star Wars movie; there was really nothing quite like it before. Randy has had his rough times like the rest of us, but he reminds me of a time when “Christian music” was called just that.
I think Christian music is now “positive music” because of the bottom line. We live in a world where a large majority of folks make decisions based on their net worth. Material possessions have become more important than integrity. I believe I know what God thinks about that.
I’ve still got record albums from the 70s and 80s. I think it was the best time in CCM. But, I guess every generation thinks their young musicians are the best.
I got some classics on my iPod… Dallas Holm, silverwind, Amy Grant, Benny Hester, etc… I like that clean sound from that era. But the analog sound is gone now….
Argghhh. We have the same thing in Melbourne (Australia), Our ‘Christian’ radio station now called Light Fm, Melbourne’s ‘positive alternative’. Clearly, that is exactly what it is…an alternative to Christianity. Also, ‘bringing hope’ to Melbourne. Clearly, as in ‘I hope I don’t have to be like one of those Bible-bashing, boring fundamentalist Christians’.
When the Lord was drawing me out of the world, I found the station to be a great encouragment. However, two years on and I can’t stand to listen to it. For starters I coudn’t understand how you could play a truly Christian song (which were also getting less and less Christian) and then Pink, or Beyonce. It started playing the trashiest pop/club music in between strange people like David Crowder, who were singing songs like Jesus was their boyfriend. Creepy. It adverstised indiscriminately, even the most outrageous ‘Christian’ events like women’s events where we could go and learn about how awesome we are and the big plans God has for us to be world transformers. No doubt you know the stuff I mean. It just didn’t add up and eventually I found it unpalatable in every way. The Sunday ‘message’ was unbelievable….Anthony Robbins with Christian language. Pure law of attraction/Word of Faith heresy mixed with the emergent (i.e. Catholic) guilt-inducing social justice gospel. It wasn’t Christianity in any form I recognised!
A couple of years ago, at the end of a very long drought the radio station held a ‘Pray for Rain’ campain. It went on and on and on, whilst never actually praying for rain (not on air time, at any rate). Well, the rain finally came. The biggest floods in decades. Very destructive, and almost as traumatic as the fires we had just had. By that time I wondered…was there a message here for us? Who knows…
Anyway, as I am typing this I am listening to some modern renditions of old hymns. It is truly glorious to hear God’s word preached through song! It is not the ‘old-fashioned’ music that is unpalatable to people, it is God’s Word.
Thank you for this article. With permission I will repost in full!
Thanks for sharing the situation regarding the new “positive” trend. This is happening because the term “gospel” and “christian” are no longer acceptable. They are offensive. Jesus told us that the world will hate us because of His name’s sake, and there are those Christians who want to shy away from that name under the pretext that the name “christian” is only used in the Bible a few times.
But the world identifies us with that name. It carries lots of weight, and when Christians try to avoid it, they are weakening their profession.
Get Pandora on your phone, create “Steve Green radio” or “hymns radio” and you will get much better music. Forget the FM stuff
We have the same problem here in Upstate New York–even in a rural conservative area.
Reblogged this on A Closer Look and commented:
The same problem across the country…
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Some further musings…I spoke to my senior pastor recently about the band Jesus Culture (they were being introduced into the worship music play list at my previous church…don’t get me started on that can of worms). During our conversation, he told me that when he was at theological college in the 1980’s, he did a study (for his Master’s degree, I believe) on the change in the content and focus of Christian music over the past fifty years.
He found that over the previous 50 years, the focus of Christian music had steadily changed to being almost entirely anthropocentric, rather than being Christocentric. Songs became about what God can do for us, how we feel about life and God, and Christ was increasingly protrayed as almost a psychological cure for what ails us. During that time Christian songs became more and more self-focused, and far more experience-based lyrics emerged.
I find this fascinating in light of the fact of your post, and believe they are related. It would explain in part the groundwork laid for Christian music to become more palatable than ever before. It is not merely a matter of how the music sounds (i.e. genre, instruments used etc.) but rather the focus of the message (ie. on man’s favourite subject – ourselves) and the versions of Jesus and God portrayed in modern ‘Christian’ songs.
We see this trend in the theology of the new apostolic reformation (NAR), seeker-driven and emergent movements, and also in their music. It would make sense given how huge these movements are, that they are also influential in the provision of such radio stations as our LightFM and no doubt yours.
For example, I read recently that it is estimated that in the USA the NAR/pentecostal/WOF movement alone generates close to a billion dollars turnover through their products, conferences, and television and other media. Don’t quote me for accuracy, but anyone can see with a small amount of research that these are huge industries. They preach a palatable brand of false Christianity with slick marketing and a smorgasboard of products and services to consume, all as popular as their music, and equally as toxic. I am saddened by it for many reasons, not the least of which is that these movements have hijacked some extraordinary talent!
I recently bought three WOW compilation albums of Christian music. I think out of 30 songs on each, I ended up with about 10 from each that were theologically sound. The rest ranged from ambiguous (ie. the lyrics could have other meanings depending on what camp the singer is in, and not in a good way) or were based on outright false teachings. A couple of bands seemed to think Jesus was their boyfriend. Very creepy. From those that I kept, I was also aware of some very concerning associations by the musicians. Like the wonderful hymn band Selah. They have appeared regularly on the 700 Club, Robert Shuller’s Hour of Power and TBN (I believe this is accurate, correct me if I am wrong!).
Sigh….what are we to do? Where do we draw the line? At least with secular music there is no false window dressing.
CCM has degenerated into cliches that we normally find on top 40 secular music, unfortunately. In large part, because we can still find great worship music out there, but it is becoming diluted.
NAR/WOF/TBN have done much damage to the christology of worship.
The flagship charismatic church in the US, Bethel in Redding, CA, is at the point where they put glitter dust in the AC vent, blew it over the audience and billed as “glory cloud” of the presence of god!!! They also claim that the kingdom of god will be instituted in Redding and go out into the world from there. Part of the NAR movement. Crazy.
Bethel Church is a cult by any definition of the word. There is dangerous spiritual stuff going on there. I’m glad you know about the NAR/WOF stuff, it and can see it for the danger it is. No doubt that gets you some ‘hater’ comments at times. Mind you, I am guessing that is fairly common given your other articles.
I left a church last year as the pastor was getting into all that signs and wonders stuff here in Melbourne (a previously mature, reformed Anglican pastor). He had received an ‘anointing’ and was hearing ‘words of knowledge’ after attending a Jesus Culture self-worship conference. They also showed a trilogy of films (Darren Wilson’s Father of Lights) promoting the signs and wonders movement. I almost got hooked, but thankfully the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the deception.
My pastor and another woman spoke ‘words of life’ over me once when I came for some pastoral counselling, anointed me with oil, and did some kind of renouncing of my ‘spirit of self-sufficiency’. It left my mind completely blank and unable to read the Bible or any of my theology stuff that I love for about 24 hours. And I had terrible, spiritual attack during that week. They were even going to come to my house and pray spirits away or some such pagan nonsense.
It spooked me and after doing a bit of research on the Bill Johnson and the whole NAR movement, and at the Holy Spirit’s clear leading I cancelled my baptism and left for a Bible-loving church around the corner. It was a more mind-bending experience than acid. Coming from a conservative Baptist upbringing, I was shocked at what I found when I did my research. Yet I can see the appeal of NAR/WOF to unregenerate or backslidden hearts…the excitement, the feeling of power, the ‘power of the positive’. I tried to raise my concerns (two 2 hours conversations) but to no avail. It was heartbreaking and I still pray for that pastor and church.
Now I have done a year of solid research on NAR/WOF cults as well as emergent theology and new age doctrine and I can see how it all merges into a ‘new spirituality’. Wow. What a mess. Hence my blog. 🙂
Ok, now I am officially off topic. Sorry!
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I cant listen to the Fish at all… The music is horrific.
Un Original: One song sounds like U2, another like Pearl Jam another like U2… Then Pearl Jam again! There is nothing “spiritual” about that.. the music simply mirrors what the culture is into but, its usually 10 years behind.
Repetitious: How many times can someone sing the line, “You are Holy”? “Our God is One” and all that… before it means absolutely nothing at all, not to mention irritating.
Emasculated: Again, a mirror of the culture. Where else can you hear such “sissy-fied” whispering, emasculated male voices? Dont they sell testosterone cream somewhere, I will buy it in bulk and send it to the Fish. With the female singers, it’s not much better. I want to yell at my radio, “Hey lady, Jesus aint your boyfriend.” One can only take so much emotional quivering vibrato. John Wesley back in his day complained about women singing with “sensual vibrato”.
One dimensional: Music has an emotional connection to the human element. The Blues and Gospel Blues speak to the suffering and trials of the everyday man. I can relate to that, however in CCM the human element is sanitized and scrubbed away because it’s not “worship” or “spiritual”. I just dont feel connected to “Christian Anthems”.
What’s my point?
The Fish is designed for mass cultural consumption as well as most of the music they play on there. I’m not sure I would get too worked up about it. If you go to any church designed for the consumer it would be just like the Fish, uninspired “milque toast”
Music is a personal taste and some people feel personally insulted if you hate there music. (back in the day a friend of mine got in a huge fight with his girlfriend because she hated Journey)
Worship is also personal, so when it is done corporately at church not everyone will be enraptured with it. I love my church but 1986 want’s it’s music back. There are churches that are so proud of how they worship they hold 3 day seminars teaching people how to do it.
Wow.. I feel so much better now that I have gotten that off my chest. Even though CCM is not my bag, I understand that many are inspired by it, so please dont think that because I bash the music I also give the stink eye to people who enjoy it. These are my own personal opinions and I write no new commandment from Christ.
Anyways, I have an excuse… I am a musician and you know what kind of music snobs they can be.
Thanks for your thoughts BFC, and welcome here. Man, you hit a few bulls-eyes there, and I agree with you that we continue to love the brethren who enjoy the Fish and the like. The music is not totally horrible, but just cliche and seems like it copies the style in the world.
BFC, thanks. Some humour is always appreciated in this dark world. Especially from a muscially minded-person who just might share my ADHD brain type. Just sayin’…after all, we do rock (pardon the obvious pun and in-Christian-like self-promotion) 🙂
Welcome to the ADHD inclined crowd, TNP 🙂
No way. You too? Are there more…show yourselves, my fellow freeway-brains. 🙂
*un-Chrisitian-like (since it isn’t actually a word, I deny my error)
We actually have a few good Christian stations here in Arkansas. As I don’t listen to the radio much, I not an expert on the subject. There is a station that is similar to the ones you’ve all mentioned here. It is probably the most popular. Then there is the station that has Bible teaching most of the day. I haven’t heard him for awhile, but I used to listen to James Dobson who continues to be concerned about the American family. Where have you gone Barry McGuire, 2nd Chapter of Acts, and the Archers?
Here’s a sample of the Good ‘ole days of CCM. It starts with the story of Darryl Mansfield who can really play play the harmonica. He can sing, too. I’ve tried to find a song that he sang called “Jerusalem” on You Tube and didn’t. It is an awesome song. He was a member of the group called Gentle Faith.
You may recognize a few of the artists if you are in my age bracket. Missing is Mustard Seed Faith whom I really admire because of the faithful way they went anywhere and got very little for their talent.
I really like this song of theirs:
Before the old timer moves along down the road, I must admit that I go to a church where the hymnals are old. No fancy picture screen with bands and stuff like that although I know those minister to many. I have a friend who plays the violin at a local Baptist Church. There was a day when great doctrine was contained in many hymns. I don’t think there are too many like that around anymore.
God’s blessings all…
now you are dating yourself, Chris!
Delight, I read your comment first and burst out laughing. With no context I hesitated to think what Chris R had written. If you don’t get it, read it again…
Chris R, I may be a bit younger (not that much), but I too go to a church where we sing hymns from the old hymnal, no rock band included. I love it. This week brought some bad news for the kids and I. I went to church (they are at their Dad’s on Sunday mornings, so I go to the morning service alone) where, surrounded by about 200 people ranging from 30 to 80, we sang Rock of Ages, Great is Thy Faithfulness and Be Thou My Vision.
These are songs I listen to every day in the car. I was so encouraged by these beautiful hymns, on a very difficult morning. Far more than I would have been with an 11 minute repetitive worship song devoid of Scriptural content, designed to call down fire from heaven. (I personally don’t ever want fire to fall on me. The next time that happens isn’t going to be good). To sing biblical hymns in a congregation full of redeemed sinners, after hearing the Word of God preached faithfully is truly a blessing for a weary soul. In the end, the best songs contain God’s word. As much of it as is possible to squeeze into a song!! 🙂
context, context, context… LOL!
I became a senior citizen this year, Delight. I ordered off of the senior menu at this month’s Watchmen of Garland County meeting. The meal cost only twice as much as a cup of coffee there. My wife cut my hair tonight. It’s getting grayer all of the time.
Thank you guys for your kind words and understanding. I like the thoughts going on here because I think they speak to larger more complex theological and cultural issues. ( at least in my own head they do..)
I learned many years ago that whatever culture the Gospel is poured into molds and shapes a large part of that Gospel message. For example, many believers will march, protest and foment about preserving “American values” as if those are the same as Christian values… they are not the same. There may be a bit of bleed over or borrowed intellectual capital because of the religion of our founders or some of our very early religious institutions… or a “state token faith ” for public show.. but It does not go much further than that. If one were to ask Finney, Wesley, Whitfield or Franklin… ( whats Franklin doing in there..read his autobiography and find out 🙂 ) Whooops… Forgot Edwards! They would most likely agree that America is simply a religious heathen nation.
Whats My point?
Simply this.. I never use the term “blessed” or “Child of God”, “prayer warrior” or any other Christianese language. In many ways, the pop Christian subculture is just that …a subculture. As in AA or self help groups or the therapeutic community, there is a language divide. Language and terminology separate the ones who belong from the ones who don’t belong, slogans, buzz words and cliches are the first things you need to learn if you want to belong to Gods family, or so it seems.
What was my point? II
There was a radio show on KBRT back in the day I used to listen to called “For women only” ( hey don’t laugh, I learned a lot) I used to think what a stupid name, why alienate a potential audience of men? ( who listen to un named L.A.Christian radio station)… So back to my point II … I have not escaped, unsoiled, the human stain of the So.Cal. culture.. So when I hear the term “Christian” what comes to mind? Ummm..well..Again, I have thought about this a lot. ( obviously way too much) What does the term “Christian” trigger in my head?
It triggers a flood of negative images and caricatures. Like huge fat people with one hand in the air and a handkerchief in the other wiping sweat off their faces. I guess the term Christian doesn’t hold a whole lot of weight (sorry) for me because people call themselves all sorts of things, but that doesn’t make it so. Also, a phrase like “Christian Nation” for me does not make a lot of sense. A Christian in my mind is simply a person who has the spirit of Christ dwelling in them. The term Christian as far as a category of movie , music or best selling novel is up to some marketers broad interpretation of the term, (who is also trying to make a profit) …so the only thing I can be sure of ..is that it will be “cheesy”
My original point of the point I didnt make yet.
Here is my adjusted perspective on why they may have dumped the word Christian. I don’t think the term is offensive because of Jesus, I think it offends people because of Christians themselves.
Lets say I am at the Fish shareholders meeting and the usage of the term “Christian” comes up. Alienating a huge part of the market by branding the station with a cultural stereotype does not sound like its gonna go to well with the money men. Then a question is raised a bout “pre Christian” people who are on a “salvific trajectory” but are not believers yet, “We dont want to alienate them also do we?” The meeting ends and the Christians are happy because they see dumping the word “Christian” as beneficial to pre evangelism… The money men are happy because now they dont need to lose over half their potential reach by being unnecessarily exclusive.
This blog has got me thinking…. When it comes to Christian radio and all, I don’t have a dog in that fight. However when it comes to theology and the impact of culture on it, or unspoken expectations and rules regarding what is appropriate, christian or acceptable in Evangelical and non denominational subcultures, I do have a great interest in that.
Agree with you on the concept of Christian, as one who has the Spirit of Christ indwelling in them… As for the name “Christian” it is used in the Bible… but only like 2 or 3 times… It is how the world identifies us at this point and we just got to man up and own it. 🙂
BFC – some great points and very understandable concerns. I personally never felt particularly comfortable with ‘Christianese’ even though I grew up as a missionary/preacher’s kid. I am more comfortable with it now that I attend a very doctrinally solid church with a lot of older mature Christians, as well as my own peer group (30-40ish with kids – me at the upper end). The more time I spend with true brothers and sisters in Christ (as one myself, finally), the more I notice that their version of ‘Christianese’ sounds nothing like the charismergent folk, but rather is more like Paul in his epistles. Sincere. Lovely to my ears. Interesting difference…
In relation to the ‘Christian’ radio stations, I would heartily agree that theological issues are of greater interest. However, the station here in Melbourne is in grave theological error in what it espouses as ‘Christian’. That includes many of the supposedly Christian songs. There are deceiving spirits pervading the visible church, and our radio station is helping to spread their lies with enthusiasm and a ‘positive’ attitude. So certainly the two are inseparable here…music and theology are blended together, and so that is why it is a significant issue in my mind. It is also why we have to reject such stations, and for those of us that feel burdened to speak out about false teachings, the radio stations rate a mention.
I do believe such pervasive doctrinal error is very damaging…and many believers are still listening, thinking it is a better alternative (eek, a ‘positive’ alternative even). In doing so, they expose themselves to false Christianity day in and day out, which surely can only have a corroding effect on their understanding of the Scriptures and God. Personally, anyone strongly grounded in the Word of God will likely find such radio stations as we are discussing here as unpalatable. I certainly know many believers who do. I do now. (Also, I personally refrain from letting my 5 and 9 year-old listen to songs that are about inappropriate adult topics, now that they are old enough to understand the words and ask awkward questions! So sadly, and somewhat ironically, that rules out our local Christian station. Go figure). But still, many listen.
This is a real challenge for Christians…how to separate from the world while we still have to live in it. It is my observation that there is not enough separation, and as a result, we are constantly distracted and tempted by the things of the world, music being one of them. I was in the world, and embraced a great deal of its lies in my adult life until recently. I have seen the damage sin and unbelief wreaks. I am still living in the wreckage of it, by God’s grace and with His Holy Spirit changing my heart and mind. So I get very fired up about false teaching and worldliness in the Church, and the same applies to anything that would call itself Christian but is actually blasphemous to our precious Saviour, and leads people on the broad way to destruction. That really makes me cross. No pun intended. 🙂
By the way, great scenario re: the shareholders meeting. You nailed it. Can you hear the serpent’s voice in their rationale? What on earth is pre-evangelism anyway? (Okay, that one’s rhetorical). A ‘pre-Christian’? Far out, only a marketing guru could come up with terms like this, surely? I have heard the definitions and still I am unconvinced.
I search the Scriptures for examples of ‘pre-evangelism’ and I can’t seem to find one. I read Spurgeon, Ryle and Lloyd-Jones and still I can find no ‘pre-evangelism’ going on. As for a pre-Christian, the Bible is pretty clear about those…dead in their sins and trespasses, an abomination before God…you know, that kind of thing. Like I was. Correct me if I am wrong guys, but I think this is merely a scheme hatched up in the minds of deceived men and their god to make merchandise out of the flock. Yet again. Which, BFC, is exactly what you nailed.
As an aside, I noticed when I updated my iTunes recently that the marketing slogan on the front page of the iTunes store was “You have never been so easily entertained”. It really slammed me in the face…what an extraordinary, accurate indictment of the human race. It made me sad.
Something else stuck in my mind about your reply…. You used the term “far out”. Deep theology I can do in my sleep, but often it will take me days to get something simple and strait forward. I’m not absolutely positive, but the usage of an old dead 60’s term most likely was a response to my phrase, “It’s not my bag”. Hilarious! Good on you brother. Somewhere, where ever James Brown is … I hope he is smiling… Right on… “oops there I go again”.
BFC – laughing now. Not sure what deep theology is, but if it is like deep house then no wonder you can do it in your sleep. Deep house makes me sleepy. 😉
One of my dear Dad’s favourite sayings is ‘right on’. He is 73, and extremely facetious, in a good way. He would have a heart attack at James Brown…who I am guessing is not smiling where he is. 🙂 I tend to use odd old fashioned sayings in place of swear words, usually only when something makes me very cranky. (Like false Christianity!!) As a fairly expressive and somewhat (okay, utterly) fallen person, my natural leaning is towards hyperbole and cursing. But as a redeemed sinner in the process of painful but wonderful sanctification, I am renouncing my swearing. Well, I am trying to.
So my replacement therapeutic approach is to use expressions like ‘far out’ and ‘for crying out loud’ in place of the more obvious options. As an aside, ‘that’s not my bag, baby’ is also personal favourite of mine. Sadly, another favourite word stuck in my brain at the moment is ‘dude’. I know. Not cool. Especially from a ‘nearly-40’ mum. Still, it could be worse. I could use the word ‘missional’ a lot. Eeek! Imagine that, Delight…you’d have to kick me out of here. 🙂
Thank you for taking the time to put down a thoughtful response. You forgot the best one brother.. “salvific trajectory”. I just made that up.. See what happens when you read to many German theologians. I am beginning to understand that my disgust for pop Christian music goes deeper than music snobbery. It is theological and for me that hits home. Having been a part of a very dysfunctional, spiritually abusive Assemblies of God church I have seen the shipwreck of many souls, now jaded by bad theology. The years of suffering and self condemnation, not to mention shame is enough to shake any ones faith. I cut my teeth in ministry there and had many good times, but when the bottom fell out of my life, I was suicidal and angry at God. As a result of my pain and suffering, I reach out to those who feel cut off and angry at God as a result of a dysfunctional Church experience.
I came to a strange conclusion a while back. Often, anger at God is a belief in God that cannot be snuffed out. The anger exposes an emotional investment in God and since we usually do not direct our anger at the “Tooth Fairy” or “Santa Clause” (things that don’t exist) there must have been, in these jaded souls, an existential experience where they actually had an encounter with the Spirit of God. To the extent that, even though they have lost the faith they are not able to deny their belief. That makes these people very angry. I dont want to broad brush here, I’m not saying this is true for everyone mad at God but the ones that find me… all of them at some point experienced His presence even if for a moment. So in my narrow vineyard, the anger becomes a bridge back to faith. I know…a very truncated perspective. Ok enough about me.
Your reply is very rich with points.. False teaching you mentioned, and so you heard my story but this is what we are up against. I have spoke to so many hollowed out souls who want nothing to do with church or God because they were taught if you do this , God will do that. If you wanna test God give 10% and watch God bless you pressed down shaken together.
In the States, I think because Evangelicals were here from the very beginning and have had such a rich history and shaping early movements “Americana” and protestant theology have been married together for at least a hundred years or so.
I’m not knocking Evangelicals properly speaking, I am concerned about the large hybrids and off shoots of non denominational churches that teach a selfish materialistic gospel. I get a chance to hear a lot of pastors out here in Southern California and its like a bird flu… they all have the same script. Obedience brings the blessing. We are very “blessed”. American values, consumerism, pride and materialism combined with specific parts of scripture about material blessing and happiness and what you end up with is “Ameri-Christ”. Oh..the horror!
“Ameri-Christ” is a project I have been working on. Again, the American dream meets the Bible mixed with some bad theology. It’s like this fat, rich selfish whore who stands in front of the mirror all day and complements herself on how great she looks. Our culture pumps up this idea of self obsession and public image and rather than stand up to it, many churches mirror it and sanctify it. It’s in worship (me. me. me.) Christian book stores ( how can i be happier ) the bad influence of the culture of self. Building a “Christian edifice” of Christian movies and music and books does not separate one from the world If you had a photograph of the our culture or the “world” and you looked at the negative, would it look like Jesus..would it look like the Church?…no it would’nt. Many have been taught that to be the opposite of the world is to be like Christ… that is simply not true. Jesus seemed to be very comfortable in the world, with rough characters people with a shady past. Some believers would rather not soil themselves with those folks or even poor folks after all, It’s a “bad witness”…. “We want people to see Jesus when they see us.” Anyways, I’m sorry I’m rambling… you did provoke a lot of thought.. I asked my pastor friend a long time ago if he had any friends who were un believers… he thought for a long time and said, “No”. I still dont know what to make of it. Many of my friends are not believers, because for me to separate from them and hunker down in my Christian ghetto would not be pleasing to God.
You mentioned worldliness in the church, where I came from that meant women in pants men in shorts.. that was worldly. We were a separate bunch, no secular music, no r rated movies, no alcohol. We majored in the minors. That church was full of the arrogant, prideful, selfish attitude of this worlds way of thinking. I was one of them, I think why I stayed so long is because I wanted that bad self obsessed theology to be true. I harbor no ill will to those folks or that church in the end many were raised to believe those things… the thing that still bother’s me is how subtle an unobtrusive a teaching that feeds the flesh can be.
I really appreciate your sense of humor… “salvific trajectory” 🙂
Here is another one “almost saved” 🙂
WAS PETER THE FIRST POPE?
Was the apostle Peter the first Pope of the Roman Catholic Church? A few reasons why Peter was not the first Pope.
Peter was not Pope because there is no office of Pope mentioned in the Scriptures. Peter was not the first Pope of the Roman Catholic Church because there is no Roman Catholic Church mentioned in the Bible.
Peter was not a Pope because the apostles were not in subjection to him.
2 Corinthians 11:5 For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles. 2 Corinthians 12:11 I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody.
Not only was the apostle Paul not in subjection to Peter, he reprimanded Peter in Antioch.
Galatians 2:11-21 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned….14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?….
Peter was not Paul’s superior. (Cephas was Peter, John 1:42)
Peter was not a Pope, because he did not believe that the Virgin Mary was a mediator between men and God nor did he offer up prayers to her.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
Peter was not a Pope, because he did not pray to any saints dead or alive. Prayer is worship.
Matthew 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, “Go Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only !”
Peter was not the first Pope, because he refuse to let men bow down and kiss his ring in an act of worship.
Acts 10:25-26 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him. fell at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am just a man.”
Peter was not the first Pope because he did not referred to himself as the Chief Shepherd or head of the church of Christ. The Chief Shepherd and head of the church is Jesus Christ and Jesus alone.(Colossians 1:13-19, 1 Peter 5:1-4, Hebrews 13″20, Ephesians 1:20-23, Matthew 28:18-20, Ephesians 5:22-24.)
Peter was not the first Pope nor was he ever a Pope.
(All Scripture from: NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)
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