Could Jesus Culture Be More Popular Than Jesus Christ?

Following a provocation by Todd Friel from “Wretched” (here)I dared to Google “Jesus C” and observe the prompt choices that come up. The first choice in my browser’s search bar was “Jesus Culture” followed by “Jesus Christ.”

Through no fault of their own, at least by this metric, the band Jesus Culture has become more searchable and popular than Jesus Christ. Many young Christians are aware of who they are and probably listen to their worship music.  Jesus Culture is way bigger then Hillsong was in their prime (early to mid 2000’s) or any other worship band.  Ever.

They are part of the New Apostolic Reformation charismatic movement out of Redding, CA based at Bill Johnson’s church, whose theology is very focused on the mandate given to the 12 disciples in Matthew 10:  heal the sick, raise the dead and exorcise the demon-possessed.  That, and also establish God’s kingdom in Redding.

The question is why are they so popular? I’ve done some research on this including attending their conference in Los Angeles (mostly out of curiosity) and try to analyze this phenomenon. I personally believe that a pure gospel message based on the cross would not bring a band to this level of popularity.

The music is well done from an artistic stand point but this alone does not explain it. While many of their songs do have an uplifting message (some are not written by them), the lyrics are mostly your usual modern worship lyrics centered on what God does for us, and NOT Who God is… So the lyrics do not necessarily explain the Jesus Culture phenomenon.

The answer is that Jesus Culture popularity has to do with the package they have become.

1. In their interviews and concerts they are focused on promoting “deep encounters” with God and experimental trance-like scenarios built around receiving power and baptism with fire. At the Los Angeles concert they performed a maneuver where after a 10 minute instrumental and light show build-up to a climax, everything suddenly stopped, the crowd went nuts and received power on command from the speaker who declared “receive it, receive it, receive it.” This transfer of power is practiced in the “tunnel of fire” at their church as well. Wild expressions of ecstasy on command from the speaker were common throughout the event.

2. They advertise “new experience” when attending their conferences. This makes them highly attractive for those who seek this type of physical stimulation of the senses. We live in a world which loves sensational experiences, and Jesus Culture provides that. For example vocalist Kim Walker’s testimony of her physical/metaphysical encounter with Jesus is astounding (here, starting at minute 28). It sounds like a description of a scene from a badly made 80’s movie, where she hugs Jesus and presses Him to answer how much He loves her, and whether she was really meant to be a girl and not a boy.  For comparison… a look back at the encounter Paul had with Jesus on the way to Damascus which left him as dead, reveals a completely different type of encounter than the one experienced by Kim.

3. Another reason for their popularity is the fact that their message and conferences have nothing to do with repentance, the new birth, and the cross. Instead the message is focused on power. Power to perform miracles, heal the sick, raise the dead, etc. That is attractive! It makes the followers feel good, and it empowers them, but  in a misleading way.

So, the question will come up… Should we listen to this music because after all, the sound or the lyrics are not different from Hillsong and Gateway?

Can one can separate the recording from the band’s theology and practice, and be edified by songs with a biblical message like “There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain…?”  One has to use his discerning ability and decide for himself.  I will personally never attend another Jesus Culture event, and I will warn the youth about their practices.

But if you really love this music and want to listen to it, I strongly caution you not to get sucked into the bad theology and mystical practice of Jesus Culture.

image credit

A New Passion: The Taylor 414ce

This beautiful new guitar is my new passion. I will experiment using it during worship at church as I try to make a transition from playing keys to playing guitar.

I have been playing keyboards and piano since I was a kid, but I have been secretly loving the idea of leading the church in worship using the guitar.

So I took a big step and purchased this instrument from Sweetwater after bargaining for a good price.

It is made of spruce wood in the front giving the sound a bright tone, while the ovankol wood found in the back and sides provides for deep bass. And my favorite part, it is fitted with the Taylor Expression System Electronics which make it ready for playing in a church setting using amplification.  The sound is absolutely full-bodied and overall amazing.  My finger tips are already calloused 🙂

Psalm 150

1 Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!
3 Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
5 Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD!

Evangelical Romanian Gypsy Worship: Psalm 117

These are songs from Romanian Evangelical Gypsies in the middle of a wedding.  The first clip is based on Psalm 117.  The second clip is a simple “Hallelujah.” All I can say is… amazing.  Worship atmosphere during a wedding…

Praise the Lord all ye nations,

Praise Him all ye people.

Everlasting is His truth,

And His kindness is great to us.

Hallelu, hallelujah, hallelu, hallelujah

Praise the Lord, hallelujah, hallelujah!

Praise the Lord, hallelujah,

Hallelu, hallelujah!

Praise the Lord, hallelujah, hallelujah!

The Gospel in One Minute

Reformed (and slightly charismatic?) ministry Desiring God led by John Piper put this video on their front page under the heading “The Gospel In One Minute.” I think the message is theologically correct overall but a bit skewed.  While there is an overemphasis on God’s love… repentance, obedience and sanctification are notably absent.  To Lecrae’s defense, this may have been a spontaneous recital. 🙂

What do Delight in Truth readers think?  Does rap have a place in spreading the gospel?

Worship the Great I AM

Glory to the Lord Most High
King of Power and Light
Angels sing as Heaven bows
Earth resounds their song

Worthy worthy, Jesus is worthy
Praise to the Son of Man
Glory and Honor crown You forever
Worship the Great I Am
Alleluia, Alleluia

Glory to the Prince of Life
Sacred Son of God
Risen to glory, vowed His returning
Christ shall come again

Glory to the promised One
Holy Spirit of God
Pour out upon us power from heaven
Fill us with Your love


Very nice lyrics. Nice melody. Beautiful instrumentation.  One question… Why do they turn the lights off and fill the stage with orange light during worship?

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Bethel Romanian Church, Stanton CA –  United Choir (Youth, Girls and Kids Choirs)

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men

And the bells are ringing ( Peace on earth)
Like a choir they’re singing (Peace on earth)
In my heart I hear them ( Peace on earth)
Peace on earth, good will to men

And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men

But the bells are ringing (Peace on earth)
Like a choir singing (Peace on earth)
Does anybody hear them? (Peace on earth)
Peace on earth, good will to men

Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor does He sleep (He is The Lord)
(He is The Lord)
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men

Then ringing singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men

And the bells they’re ringing (Peace on earth)
Like a choir they’re singing (Peace on earth)
And with our hearts we’ll hear them (Peace on earth)
Peace on earth, good will to men

Do you hear the bells they’re ringing?
They’re like the angels singing
Open up your heart and hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men
Peace on earth, Peace on earth
Peace on earth, Good will to men