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Survey Says: The Church Better Repent and Revive…and Soon

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton
The Truth Network Radio
July 15, 2023 2:00 am

Survey Says: The Church Better Repent and Revive…and Soon

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton

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July 15, 2023 2:00 am

This is a re-broadcast of a previously aired program on 05/12/2022.

GUEST: Dr. GEORGE BARNA, Cultural Research Center, AZ Christian University

A true follower of Christ has the indwelling Holy Spirit to discern that the professed Bible-believing church in America has drifted. The lights go down and the “worship arts team” spends 30 minutes or more performing the audience into an emotional, quasi-spiritual experience. Then the pastor takes the “stage” and roams, gesticulates, and emotes his (or her) way through a 25-minute “sermon” of life-coaching with personal stories, humor, props and a few quasi-Christian principles mixed in.

So it makes perfect sense why well-known researcher Dr. George Barna finds that

  • Only two percent of professed Christian parents have a Biblical worldview
  • Just one-half of self-described Christian parents accept the Bible as the true and trustworthy words of God
  • One out of every four do not bother to praise, worship, or thank God during a typical week.

This is a death spiral for the church, families, and even our country. And yet, Christ continues to build His church—not necessarily the visible brick-and-mortar church but the invisible remnant of true believers.

Dr. George Barna, director of research and cofounder of the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, joins us this weekend on The Christian Worldview to discuss his most recent studies along with an exhortation for each of us to examine ourselves, repent, and revive.

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The Pentecostalization of Christian Worship Part 3. Today will be answers to listener feedback right here on the Christian Real View Radio Program, where the mission is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

I'm David Wheaton, the host. Listeners supported radio ministry. We're able to pursue that mission on the radio station, website, or app on which you are listening today because of the support of listeners like you.

So thank you for your prayer, encouragement, and support. You can connect with us by visiting our website, thechristianrealview.org, calling our toll-free number 1-888-646-2233, or by writing to Box 401 Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. Speaking of connecting with us, just a quick reminder that our upcoming Christian worldview speaker series event with Christian journalist Alex Newman is coming up very quickly on Saturday, May 20th.

The topic he will speak on is being informed and prepared for the great reset. Again, Saturday, May 20th from 9 a.m. to 1030 a.m. at 4th Baptist Church in Plymouth, Minnesota. There will be a pre-event breakfast from 8 to 9 a.m. We'll also have the Christian Real View airing during that particular time. There is no registration for the event, no admission fee. You can come for a donation of any amount to the Christian Real View. You only need to register if you want to come for the breakfast so we can know how much food to provide.

The sanctuary holds 800, so there should be plenty of room. And please note the event will not be live streamed online. If you want to register for the pre-event breakfast, just go to our website, thechristianrealview.org, or call us, 1-888-646-2233. We hope to see you on Saturday, May 20th. That morning should be a very good time of fellowship, along with a compelling message and audience Q&A.

And just one more note before we get to our topic. We hope you have a blessed Mother's Day weekend honoring or remembering your mom. And to my own mother, you have endured much trial this year. We love you, Mom, and are so grateful to God for you.

All right, let's get to the preview for today's topic. Bible-preaching churches are always under relentless attack by Satan and heretical teachers who strive to destroy or at least compromise the accurate proclamation of Scripture and the saving gospel. Many of the epistles or letters of the New Testament are filled with exhortations and reproofs for churches and pastors to, quote, contend earnestly for the faith. That's from Jude, verse 3. For example, the apostle Paul wrote to the younger pastor Timothy, retain the standard of sound words, which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

That's from 2 Timothy 1, verses 13 and 14. Over the past two weeks, we have examined how the evangelical church has been heavily influenced by Pentecostal or charismatic practices and beliefs. Attend a prominent evangelical church today and you will likely encounter the trademark methodology of a charismatic worship service, driving music in an environment that is crafted to bring worshipers to an ecstatic experience. That stands in contrast to the historical evangelical worship service being a rational, volitional, and then emotional response to what God has revealed.

Additionally, Pentecostal expectations that the miraculous sign gifts of the first century are in operation by men and women today have also seeped into evangelicalism. There has been much listener feedback to these two programs, and so we decided to devote a third program exclusively to answering listener questions and comments. David DeBrain, pastor of New Covenant Baptist Church in Johannesburg, South Africa, again joins us. We encourage you, as we have been, to read his column series on the Pentecostalization of Christian worship, which was the genesis for these programs. Those columns are linked at our website, thechristianworldview.org. David, thank you for your willingness to come back on the program for part three.

I've divided the questions into two general categories. The first will be about the miraculous sign gifts, and the second about music. I'm going to actually just read what listeners were writing, and then you can answer the question. Let's start with Mike, who wrote and said, The larger concern I have is the minimizing of the gifts of the Spirit. The Apostle Paul clearly laid these out in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. He put no disclaimer, saying once the apostles died, these gifts would be null and void.

In fact, Philip, who was not an apostle but a deacon, was up to his neck in miracles. I know the standard line Mike writes used to explain this away is found in the next chapter, 1 Corinthians 13. Love never fails, but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away. If there are tongues, they will cease. If there is knowledge, it will be done away, for we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. He goes on to say, if we can do away with this teaching, are there other teachings of Paul that should be done away with?

I think not. And he goes on to talk about Joel chapter 2, verse 28. It will come about after this, that I will pour out my Spirit on all mankind, and your sons and daughters will prophesy.

Your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out my Spirit in these last days. And he finishes by saying this, God is going to do things in the last days.

I don't know what, but I'm going to be careful to examine it. And then he concludes by saying, I'm not ever intimidated by what comes on your show, even if I don't agree with it totally, because I know your aim is to tell truth. Thanks for all you do.

And we appreciate that compliment. And that is our goal on the program, is to find out what the biblical truth is. What does God's Word say?

How do we accurately interpret that for any given issue? And David, this is a big issue. This is a contentious issue, the idea of spiritual gifts today. So the first question is, what is the basis, David, whether from Scripture itself or just from the history of the Church, that men and women do not currently have the same miraculous sign gifts? To be able to speak in foreign languages, to do miraculous healings, to prophesy about the future, to do signs and wonders, as certain apostles had during the first century.

And even some of these men had in the Old Testament, too, someone like Moses or the prophets. What's the basis that these gifts have ceased? To begin with, biblically, sometimes the question is asked, you know, where does the Bible say that the sign gifts will cease? That way of asking the question puts us on the wrong track, just to begin with, because the cessation of the miraculous sign gifts is something that happened in Church history. You can look into Church history and simply find that you're not going to find the speaking in tongues, the prophecy, really anywhere in the first 500 years of the Church after the apostles. The lone exceptions were the Montanists, who had a number of heretical tendencies, that you have some militant Protestants in the southern region of France that begin to prophesy in the late 17th century.

But really, aside from this, there's just one or two groups, the Jansenists, some Roman Catholic loyalists, again in the 1700s. It's not until we get to the Quakers in the 1700s, again, that we actually have any sign of tongues. And that really brings us up into the 1900s, which is the first time that we get the Pentecostal phenomenon as it's known today. We have to go into the 1960s before that makes its way into the mainstream Protestant denominations via Van Nuys in California through the Episcopalians.

So this is a very recent phenomenon. It's just not really even disagreed on by even charismatic theologians, that you're not going to find this in Church history. So if the cessation of the gifts has happened in Church history, we can't really ask the Bible to predict it for us.

That would be like saying, where in the Bible does it say there will be a reformation? So when we come to Scripture, the way to ask the question is this way. Does the Bible indicate that miraculous sign gifts will be normative for the Church age? That is, does the Bible teach us as the Church to expect that these are a regular part of Church life? Well, for that, we turn to the Epistles written to churches. And what we find is that there's no mention of them in the three Epistles of John, nothing in Jude, nothing in James, except if you include his prayer for healing with the anointing of oil, which I don't take to be miraculous, at least not in the gift sense. There's nothing in the book of Hebrews, nothing in the two Epistles of Peter. And in the 13 Epistles of Paul, our only Epistle that references it is 1 Corinthians. Romans also has a list of spiritual gifts and mentions prophecy, some doubt as to whether Paul is referring to miraculous prophecy. But what's beyond dispute is that 1 Corinthians is our only Epistle that deals with miraculous sign gifts. So, first of all, if you want to make the case that these sign gifts are normative for Church life, there seems to be a deafening silence from 20 out of 21 Epistles. Well, then that brings us to 1 Corinthians. And we know this is a book that is essentially a set of solutions for a problematic Church. And many of the problems that Paul deals with are quite context-specific to Corinth or to the era. For example, they're battling the question of buying or eating food which had been originally offered in an idol temple.

We don't battle that in the 21st century, at least not in my context. They were battling with the question of whether women who were in Greco-Roman culture, they were universally wore some kind of headdress in public. And the question was, were they allowed to take that headdress or covering off during Christian worship? Well, the problem with the sign gifts is a similar kind of contextual issue. There was undoubtedly the mixing of genuine sign gifts with something of some other kind of origin. I mean, Paul has to tell them that it's not okay if someone says that Jesus is accursed in the service. He has to explain to them, this is not from the Holy Spirit. All of this to say, the chapters that deal with sign gifts is coming in the book of Corinthians, which is written in the year 55, right in the middle of the apostolic era. And it's tackling the abuse of those gifts and how they were being walked in the Church. Now to me, this is not a smack down case that this is something we should expect throughout the Church era any more than some of these other issues in Corinth or issues that plague us throughout the Church era. So I find the burden of proof actually shifts to the charismatic, since this thing is not given as a normative pattern in the epistles.

Since it occurs in a transitional period in the book of Acts, since the book of Corinthians is written during that transitional period, and it's a Church that was full of problems. Since all of that is in play, and since we know in Church history these things did die out at the end of the apostolic era, the burden of proof shifts back to the charismatic to say, can you explain why we should regard these things as normative since the New Testament doesn't seem to speak that way? At this point, I'm going to gently push back and say, Paul doesn't need to set a time limit on the miraculous sign gifts if in fact these kinds of things took place.

He doesn't have to do that. I think the second line of evidence from Scripture then is just how does the Bible treat the office of an apostle? Does the Bible treat the apostle as a uniquely gifted man, as an office limited to 12 men, and does it treat that office as unique and therefore temporary? Because if it was unique to those 12 men, then the miraculous outpouring connected with the apostles would last only as long as the apostles themselves did. If the miraculous outpouring extends beyond the apostles, then yes, you can make a case for a kind of a continuationism beyond that.

But what we see in the New Testament is very much that the particularly miraculous sign gifts are very much connected to these men. And so we should expect that when the last apostle died, we would see really the waning of these gifts. And that's actually precisely what we see in church history. So at that point then we have to turn around and say, well, can you explain why there was a resurgence in the 20th century?

Why there was an absence for 1800 years if this was always meant to be normative? And why doesn't it seem like more of the writers of the New Testament impress upon us the need to have these gifts in our worship services? Thank you for that very comprehensive answer, David. And David DeBrain is our guest today on the program in a part three in the Pentecostalization of Christian Worship.

We're answering listener feedback today. Just a quick follow up. What about the issue of Philip, the emailer asked about Philip, who wasn't, I guess he said, an apostle officially. And then are these sign gifts going to return? And he seems to indicate in Revelation that the two witnesses will be able to perform signs and wonders.

Can we expect them in the future? Yeah, so to take up Philip first. Philip is said to be an evangelist. He was a deacon or proto deacon in the Church of Jerusalem.

His daughters are said to be prophetesses. So we know that there was both the gifted person of apostle and gifted person of prophet in this era. Ephesians two, verse 20 explicitly tells us that apostle and prophet are the foundation upon which the church is built. Well, that's interesting because just two chapters later, Paul is going to say that Christ gave the church the gifted men of apostle, prophet, evangelist and pastor teacher. So he gives us these four forms of gifted men, but two chapters earlier he tells us that those gifted men were apostles and prophets that were foundational. And in that sense, we believe that the New Testament prophet was part of laying the foundation.

He or she was used by God to provide forms of guidance and forms of prophetic revelation. When the New Testament was still being written and still being circulated around these young churches. Young churches needed revelation that was not found in the Old Testament, but would eventually be found in the completed New Testament. And for that very reason, the office of prophet was necessary before the canon was complete and before scripture had been sufficiently spread throughout the church. So in these ways, we don't need to create a dichotomy between an apostle and a prophet.

We just recognize that both offices existed in the transitional era. Both were necessary to establish the church. But as I often say to my people, if Ephesians two, verse 20 tells us the apostles and prophets were the foundation, how often and how many times do you need to lay a foundation?

Once the foundation is in place, what is built upon it is what Paul tells us comes in Ephesians 4, 11 and 12, which is evangelists and pastor-teachers, church planters and long-term pastor-teachers who edify the saints. So as far as the future goes and as far as prophecies in the book of Joel, we can speculate that there is going to be a return of certain prophetic gifts during the tribulation era. Some scholars think that will be the case. Some think that as we move out of the church era and back into an era in which Israel is the central focus of God's program, which we move back towards the dispensation of kingdom, that there may be a revival of those very gifts. And there's really no theological problem with that from my point of view because there can be very specific things that need to happen in such frankly wild times as the tribulation. Others would see more of a fulfillment having happened at Pentecost. For myself, I don't regard the cessation of the gifts as something that has to happen absolutely permanently with no particular way in which it could be used again in the future. I think again the question is just this. Does God indicate that this will be the normal practice for the church during the church age?

I believe the answer to that is no. And therefore when you show me a scripture that deals with an era that is not in the church age, I find that interesting. But it's really not a defeater to the point that the church is not going to be peppered with miraculous sign gifts for its life. And again to clarify, is it correct to say it's not that God doesn't do miracles himself today, it's that God doesn't give these supernatural gifts to men as he did to some of the apostles in the first century?

Is that an accurate way of describing it? Yeah, I think what we want to say is that miracles are never self-authenticating. Miracles, when they happen, we already know from scripture they can have many sources. So the fact that a miracle occurs by itself does not make it a work of God. We believe in miracles, we believe miracles occur, we believe God is able to do anything that he wants to do at any time. Certainly even from a healing point of view, I believe in divine healing. I believe God may heal whomever he wants, whenever he wants, and he may sometimes choose to work well above his own laws of natural healing. He may do miracles. I just am skeptical of so-called divine healers, individuals who claim to have a touch or a gift that they can exercise at will. That, I think, is what we believe belonged to specific individuals during the apostolic era. So God continues to work in all sorts of ways, and I think, in fact, a better emphasis is on providence. The fact that God is always at work in the details of life, governing the fall of a sparrow, being in charge of all things at all times. That, to me, is a far more exciting understanding of the power and work of God, that he's at work in all ways, rather than having to look for these oases of miracles, these punctuated moments of miracles, as if that's the only way that God works. He does work that way, but we can be thankful that he's always at work in providence. He most certainly is. David DeBrain is our guest today, the pastor of New Covenant Baptist Church in Johannesburg, South Africa, and we are answering listener feedback from our series on the Pentecostalization of Christian worship.

We have much more coming up. Next segment, we'll get into questions regarding the music. I'm David Wheaton, and you are listening to the Christian Worldview radio program. Have faith in God. Don't be intimidated by lies. If the world says, back down, don't do this, fling open your windows. Pray openly, so to speak. That's what Daniel did. Don't be ashamed.

Don't be intimidated. A blind anemic, we need flee on crutches, has more chance of defeating a herd of a thousand wild, stampeding elephants than this world has of stopping the will of God. There's nothing they can do to stop God's will, and if you're a Christian, you've aligned yourself with God's will. That was evangelist Ray Comfort exhorting believers to stand firm and speak boldly, just like Daniel. Ray's new book, So Many Lions, So Few Daniels, is 192 pages, softcover, and retails for $16.99. You can order the book for a donation of any amount to the Christian Worldview. Go to thechristianworldview.org or call 1-888-646-2233 or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. What is the Christian Worldview radio program really about? Fundamentally, it's about impacting people, families, churches, with the life and eternity changing truth of God's Word. We know the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only message that saves us from God's wrath, by God's grace, for God's glory.

And we know the Bible is the inspired Word of God, providing the only way to think and live to the glory of God. We are a nonprofit listener-supported ministry. If you would like to help us impact listeners with the biblical worldview and the gospel, consider becoming a Christian Worldview partner who regularly give a specified amount to the ministry. As a thank you, Christian Worldview partners automatically receive many of the resources featured on the program throughout the year. To become a Christian Worldview partner, call us toll-free 1-888-646-2233 or visit thechristianworldview.org. Welcome back to the Christian Worldview.

I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website, thechristianworldview.org, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter. Order resources for adults and children and support the ministry. Today in the program, David DeBrain, pastor of New Covenant Baptist Church in Johannesburg, South Africa, is answering listener feedback to the first two parts of the series we've been doing on the Pentecostalization of Christian worship. So David, let's transition over to the music aspect, because that was another heavy emphasis of the two programs we did with you on the Pentecostalization of Christian worship. And we had mentioned how four charismatic churches, Bethel, Hillsong, Elevation, and Passion City Church in Atlanta, these four churches are just dominant in providing all the music for churches, particularly the Evangelical Church today. So let's get into a few questions from listeners with regards to music.

This first one is from a woman named Denise. She says, I'm 66 years old, I've been a Christian for 53 years. I have lived in a city for five years where I have now attended five churches in search of one that is biblically sound as well as provides reasonable music. I don't want entertainment or loud rock and roll. I also don't like repetitiveness, the singing of the same thing over and over. I eventually stopped singing. I found a biblically sound church recently, but the music was so bad I couldn't bear it.

I'd find myself wondering if I should just show up for the message. I don't disparage those who try and those who use the best of their abilities to serve, but when music is not pleasing and harmonious, it is also a distraction. I finally found a church and was pleased that it's even close to my home. Now, the second time I was there, they sang an elevation worship song, which I happened to be listening to on Amazon Music.

I related to the song and also enjoyed listening to many of the elevation worship songs. This is the church run by Steven Furtick in North Carolina. She said, however, I don't listen to Steven Furtick's preaching. She goes on to say, the series that you did with the pastor from South Africa caused me some frustration because, except for the last minute of the podcast, there seemed to be no solution to this problem. I, a mature believer, took the caution to heart.

However, what is a person to do nowadays? I've been in so many churches that use Bethel, Hillsong, Elevation Music. It's all over the radio.

It's on app music. I am aware of the potential issue with becoming too emotional or caught up in the music, so I've become a discerning worshiper. The purpose of this email is to convey how difficult it is just to go to church, worship, hear a message, and go home when scrutinizing every song in its biblical soundness can be exhausting and distracting. The follow-up question here, David, is what should a listener do?

Do they hear what you're saying? Do they agree with the direction of, let's say, worship style in churches today, the evangelical churches today? What should they do when there really isn't a local church that has reverent music to go along with sound preaching, and the fact that this kind of music is so omnipresent?

Yeah, that's a great question, and it's a real dilemma, because we are in an era now where we are forced to choose between evils. We seemingly have to choose between doctrinally sound preaching with kind of horrible worship, or worship which seems to be tolerable and anemic preaching, and we are cast upon having to choose our poison. So that's a dilemma that I think many of your listeners will have experienced and share, and we sympathize.

We are all in the same boat. This is not an era of extreme revival or spiritual health. We are in a difficult time, and the American church, the North American church, as well as the church in South Africa and in other similar countries, suffers from this very problem where pragmatism has gone so deep beneath the surface that it's just in the warp and the woof of how church is done.

So there aren't easy solutions, and trying to offer something that can just seem trite would be more frustrating than anything else. What I would say is we need to begin here. Jesus says, My sheep hear my voice, and a stranger they will not follow. That is to say that God's people are drawn to the voice of Christ when it is rightly divided in the word of God.

And that is your first look. That's the first thing you should be seeking, is do I hear the voice of Christ being rightly divided by the sound exposition of God's word? Because if you attend a church where the scriptures are handled skillfully and responsibly, the chances are you're going to be in a church where at least there is an inclination towards carrying over that same sense of reverence for the word into other areas. A flippancy towards the Bible tends to carry over into a flippancy in every other area.

Carelessness about worship, carelessness about polity, just general disregard. Isaiah 66 says, Tremble at God's word will similarly have a carefulness in the way they approach music or approach church leadership or discipleship or evangelism. Now that's not to say that it's a one for one, but I would say begin by looking for men who handle the words skillfully and who then carry it out with lives that match the word they preach. There's a reason why God gives the church the leadership qualifications of leaders. He expects the leaders to have lives that are on display, that are transparent, that can be evaluated and tested by the congregation. And when that's present, at least there can be a conversation that takes place between members and leaders on the topic of music and the topic of worship.

At least you're dealing with people who are together submitted to God's word and want to please the Lord. David DeBrain with us here today on the Christian Real View, part three of just purely listener feedback from the first two parts. If you missed any of those programs, by the way, you can go to our website, thechristianrealview.org to hear both of them. Another question here on the music, and I'm going to make this into a two part question just for the sake of time. Denise writes, I have learned it's all about the spiritual maturity of the individual. While sounding the alarm about the music or providing a caution are worthwhile, each person will need to decide for himself or herself what is appropriate and right for them. The topics presented in this series, this two part series with you, can be beneficial, but also, I believe, put the worshiper in a precarious position while attempting to worship.

The answer is not in finding a church that doesn't use Pentecostal based music because it's everywhere. I want to read one more. This one from Daryl. He says, what an amazing series.

Thank you so much. I first heard you folks in 2022 and try not to miss any programs. I have mentioned it to my wife and on her drive home yesterday, I texted her and told her the program was on.

She got home with about 15 minutes left and she couldn't get out of the car. So the series really resonated well with her. Thank you for that nice compliment, Daryl.

But then he writes this. Can you folks address the issue of music that people listen to outside of the congregational meeting, outside of church versus what is played or sung during the service? I get a bit concerned about going to a church service and then at the home of a church leader, I am listening to the rock songs of the 70s and 80s.

If someone could just put a few words and thoughts in, it would help me. So here's the two part question here, David. Is music like the first email or Denise says, is it just a matter of preference, personal preference, preference and freedom or is it a matter of right and wrong? And then the second part of the question is, if it's not in the church, is there a place for a believer to be listening to, let's say, the type of charismatic worship music that we've referenced outside the church or even take it one step further?

Is there a time for Christians to listen to secular rock music outside the church? To take the first one, I think the answer is yes to both. That is to say, it is both a matter of preference and a matter of right and wrong.

That fleshes out this way. If we take something like food, we can say that there are certain foods that are healthy for you and there are certain foods that are unhealthy for you. Within the spectrum of healthy foods, it's perfectly acceptable to have your preferences, to have those things that you prefer, that you lean towards. But no one should use preference to argue for something that is actually destructive to your body.

Once you cross over into something that is unhealthy, the question is no longer preference, the question is health. And so it is when we come over to something that now affects us not bodily but affects our soul's health, it affects our affections, our mind, our imagination, our loves, our desires. There is a preference that we can have in those forms that are still healthy for our soul in which they evoke affections that are like the fruits of the spirit.

Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness. They provoke thoughts that are like Philippians 4-8, things that are true, just, pure, upright, noble, beautiful, virtuous. When music does this, then there's a wide range of preference within music that is beautiful, edifying, and generally soul-nourishing. You may have your preferences, I may have mine, but I will understand why that music you're listening to is still good for the soul.

I might not prefer it, I might not necessarily like it as much, but I understand that it's not destructive to the soul. On the other hand, there's a kind of music that is producing the works of the flesh. It evokes adultery, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, lewdness, fornication, adultery, Galatians 5-19. It's fleshliness. And by the lyrics, and by the musical message, and by the combination thereof, it evokes these things.

It provokes them, encourages them, and even produces them in the mind and heart. When the music is doing this, it's poisonous. Now, I may actually have a preference for that poisonous music because of the way I've been shaped. But in that case, I need to know that my own preference is wrong. I need to know that I like it, but I ought not to like it. I need to know that there's music I ought to like that right now I don't like, but I should like. See, once we start thinking about this from a category of what is healthy and unhealthy, we realize that preference is only part of the equation. Maybe I like what I shouldn't like.

Maybe I should like something that I don't like. So preference plays a part, but only once we've figured out what forms of music actually edify our souls. That leads us then to the second question, which is that is it okay to listen to certain kinds of music that you wouldn't listen to in church? And here we have to understand that there's a difference between something being not appropriate because of the occasion, and then there's that and something being inappropriate because it's intrinsically bad.

So maybe I can shift the illustration now to dress. We may say that there are certain kinds of sportswear that we might use to swim or to gym or to play tennis or whatever the case may be. It's entirely appropriate to wear those things to those occasions. To wear those things to church would generally be regarded as inappropriate. There's nothing wrong with those things in their place insofar as they're not completely immodest, but their use and their convention is for fitness. To wear them to church is inappropriate, but to wear them to the occasion of sport is entirely appropriate. At the same time, we would say there's certain kinds of dress that are inappropriate for all times, certain kinds of outfits that are demeaning to the human body, degrading, sexually exploitative, a dress that brings up forms of lifestyle that are completely dishonoring to God. There, it's no longer a question of appropriateness to the occasion.

These are just morally inappropriate. So in the same way, we could say that there are certain kinds of songs, certain kinds of music that are not appropriate to corporate worship simply by virtue of their occasion. That is, there's some music that is appropriate for a child's birthday party or washing the car or exercising or his background for a nice meal, but they're not appropriate for corporate worship. Corporate worship is where we use music that is very specifically made for singing, made for corporate singing. It evokes reverence and awe, and we're not going to necessarily use that when we wash the car or when we play with our kids. At the same time, there is some kind of music that's inappropriate for any time because its lyrics or its musical message provoke, once again, as I mentioned earlier, those affections and thoughts and attitudes that Scripture forbids.

Galatians 5 or one of the many lists of sins that you find in Romans 1 or in the book of Ephesians. When music does this, then it's simply a question of its inappropriate, intrinsically inappropriate in terms of its associations. So perhaps that helps us to understand, yes, there is some kind of music that's inappropriate simply because of the occasion.

It's not immoral. It's just music that wouldn't fit corporate worship. But on the other hand, there's some kinds of music that just doesn't belong in a Christian's life because it shapes us in destructive ways.

It deforms us. It evokes in us what is displeasing to God. It would give me pause to have a church leader listening to secular rock songs in their home of the 70s and 80s. You have to kind of wonder why that would be.

Just thinking in terms of coming out of the minds of unregenerate, fleshly men and women, why would you want to be taking that in at any time when there are so many other musical alternatives available that will be much more edifying and not have that intrinsically pull of the flesh? Pastor David DeBrain with us today here on The Christian Worldview for Part 3 of Listener Feedback, answering listener feedback on the Pentecostalization of Christian worship. He is the pastor of New Covenant Baptist Church in Johannesburg, South Africa, or as you call it down there, Joburg. Here's Christian journalist Alex Newman on why some of our fellow citizens are destroying our historic values to enact a great reset to globalism. They have no loyalty to the United States. In fact, I think many of these people at the highest levels absolutely despise the United States, partly because it has been a historically Christian nation. It has taken the gospel to every corner of this planet, like no other nation in all of human history. As I mentioned earlier, it's founded on these biblical principles.

Really, a lot of the principles that are at the core of our republic, these came directly out of scripture, and our founding fathers made that crystal clear in their writings. You can order Alex Newman's 80-minute DVD presentation on how globalists are attempting a great reset for a donation of any amount to the Christian worldview. Go to thechristianrealview.org, or call 1-888-646-2233, or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. Have faith in God. Don't be intimidated by lies. If the world says, back down, don't do this, fling open your windows. Pray openly, so to speak. That's what Daniel did. Don't be ashamed.

Don't be intimidated. A blind anemic we need flee on crutches has more chance of defeating a herd of a thousand wild, stampeding elephants than this world has of stopping the will of God. There's nothing they can do to stop God's will, and if you're a Christian, you've aligned yourself with God's will. That was evangelist Ray Comfort exhorting believers to stand firm and speak boldly, just like Daniel. Ray's new book, So Many Lions, So Few Daniels, is 192 pages, softcover, and retails for $16.99. You can order the book for a donation of any amount to the Christian worldview. Go to thechristianrealview.org or call 1-888-646-2233 or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331.

Welcome back to the Christian Real View. I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website, thechristianrealview.org, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter, order resources for adults and children, and support the ministry. Today in the program, David DeBrain, pastor of New Covenant Baptist Church in Johannesburg, South Africa, is answering listener feedback to the first two parts of the series we've been doing on the Pentecostalization of Christian worship. David, I'm going to do another two-part question with you here. Mike writes, I always enjoy your shows.

They are informative and truthful. I do believe there are legitimate concerns when it comes to the Christian music of the day. I know people will get caught up in emotionalism and not the true worship of God. The reason we have so little true worship is because most people do not know God. True worship comes from knowing God. I agree those involved heavily with the music of today probably have not pursued God past this experience. I do wonder if it is worthwhile to expose this, since, as you said, it's probably not going to move the needle with most people.

Keep that in mind. Now, here's part two. This email is from Marcy, a little stronger worded.

Be ready for this. I have tried to listen to David on the radio mostly to hear the other side of the matter, but I've decided that he has missed it in such a huge way. It's not the Christian worldview, but instead it's David's worldview.

He only books guests that line up with his way of thinking. I only included that portion of the email just to say that that is not correct from the standpoint of being my worldview. We really try to be after the biblical worldview. If we don't get the biblical worldview right, we are happy to be corrected and be told what the biblical worldview is, because my worldview does not matter. As far as only booking guests that line up with his way of thinking, again, it's not my way of thinking. We try to understand what the biblical worldview is.

This is not a program where we try to give you four different perspectives and then you decide. We try to book guests that we believe accurately handle the word of truth, so that is true what you're saying. We do book guests on who we believe are going to give the biblical worldview on that particular topic.

It doesn't mean every topic, every belief they have, outside what we're discussing they have, but on the topic we're discussing, we generally believe that the guests we present do give a biblical worldview. So with that as context, she goes on to say, His take on worship music or praise music at churches all across America is always very critical and unjust in His assessment. It borders on slander and sowing discord among the brethren and or division. When I worship God, it is for Him that I'm worshiping, not for you to criticize. It is not your job to analyze me or others on how we praise and worship God, period. You were never appointed to that position by the Lord to do that to the body of Christ. It's a little stronger worded there by Marcy.

The two-part question for you, David, is this topic is water over the dam. This has been so subsumed into the Western evangelical churches. Is it just divisive? It's not going to really move the needle much? What can we expect when this is just so pervasive now?

And then part two is a little more pernicious is what she says. It's actually not just going to not move the needle. It's actually slander and sowing discord among the brethren or Christians to examine topics like this that are going to offend a large swath of professing Christians, because there are lots of professing Christians in the world that are charismatic or Pentecostal, and this is going to offend them to talk about cessationism versus continuationism and the kind of music that's come into the evangelical church. On the first point, is it going to move the needle? Well, I don't really teach based upon whether or not I think there's going to be a massive positive response. I think if something is worth saying and it will be edifying to the body of Christ, then it should be said. The outcome of that is up to the Lord.

T.S. Eliot has a great quote where he says, We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successor's victory. Eliot's reminding us we just don't know how things are going to pan out. Sometimes we fight and it looks like we're on the losing side, but we've kept something alive, and in the next generation what we kept alive comes to the fore and becomes the majority. That's not really in my control and it's not what I have to worry about.

I just need to try to be faithful and teach what I think is right. And so that leads to the second point. Is it right to teach this and isn't it divisive to even bring it up? I think one way to think about that is when you think about the world of health food and gyms and nutrition, there are plenty of voices out there that disagree with each other on health and nutrition. And they get out there and say, no, this diet is wrong and you shouldn't be doing this or you shouldn't be trying to do that kind of exercise regimen.

You should be taking this or those kinds of supplements are bad for you, these kinds are good for you. We understand that these different proponents of various health regimen are disagreeing with each other vehemently. But most often we don't accuse them of being divisive. We don't say these health people are schismatic because we understand that they're all supposedly committed to health. Well, in the very same way, we believe there's a kind of Christianity that is healthier for you and better for you than another kind.

If we didn't think so, we wouldn't say so. So when we get out there and say, look, we think charismatic Christianity and we think Pentecostal Christianity is an unhealthy form or they are forms of Christianity that are healthier than that form. That's not set out of a desire to see anyone harmed or hurt, quite the opposite.

The desire is to see the healthiest kind of Christianity possible. I understand there is a kind of divisiveness that's born of being contentious. That is one's trying to stir up controversy. You're always kicking the hornet's nest.

You're always poking the bear. You're just trying to get as many people angry as possible. Well, David, I don't think that's true of your show and it's certainly not true of my ministry.

I've got enough to worry about without trying to deliberately make people angry. On the other hand, a kind of divisiveness that occurs simply because you're seeking clarity. Paul even says in the book of Corinthians, there must needs be divisions amongst you that those who are approved may be made manifest. So sometimes it's the contending for the faith without being contentious that necessarily draws lines so that people know where the distinctions are. Now to be charitable, we should just say, well, I have to believe that my brother is trying to promote a kind of Christianity that he thinks is healthier than my kind, but I don't think he's right.

I think he's wrong. So I'm going to go ahead and tell people what I think is the healthiest form of Christianity. And then they need to check me with scripture and follow God. I think that was very well answered, David. And I have to say in talking to you now for these three parts that you really have achieved that, in my estimation, that you have dealt with issues that are controversial and you have done it with grace and truth. And so thank you for coming on the program and having that particular mindset and the way you've communicated on these things. These are important things you have talked to us about, what's going on in the body of Christ, the church. This is very important.

These aren't extraneous things. It's very important that we worship God in spirit and in truth. And we worship Him in a way that is pleasing and glorifying to Him, not primarily pleasing and glorifying to us, what makes us feel good, but what honors and glorifies Him. So we just thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and your answers, the way you base everything you say on scripture. And we just are grateful that you've taken the time to join with us on The Christian Real View. We'd love to have you back on again down the road sometime. All of God's best and grace to you and your family and your church in South Africa. Thank you, David.

It's been a delight. Just a note that David answered three more listener questions that we couldn't fit in today, so we made them into TCW short takes. The questions were, what should be our response to those who claim to have seen men or women perform miraculous acts? Number two, was Martyn Lloyd-Jones actually a cessationist?

I said that last week. It turns out he wasn't a cessationist, but he wasn't quite a continuationist as we would think of one today. And you can find out what David DeBrain had to say about him, so we stand corrected on that one.

Thank you to our sharp emailer who noticed that. And number three, the third question is, what did Jesus mean when he said, those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth? That's from John 4. You can find those by going to our website, thechristianworldview.org and clicking on the link to short takes, or just search for TCW short takes in the podcast app on your device. And one final reminder that the Christian World View Speaker Series event is coming up on Saturday, May 20th at 4th Baptist Church in Plymouth, Minnesota.

Journalist Alex Newman will be speaking on the Global Great Reset. The event goes from 9 to 1030 a.m. with a pre-event breakfast starting at 8 a.m. Find out more at our website, thechristianworldview.org, or just give us a call, 1-888-646-2233. Thank you for joining us today on the Christian World View.

In just a moment there will be all kinds of information on this nonprofit radio ministry. Let's anchor our faith in what scripture says. Jesus Christ and His word are the same yesterday and today and forever.

So until next time, think biblically, live accordingly, and stand firm. The Christian World View is a listener-supported nonprofit radio ministry furnished by the Overcomer Foundation. To make a donation, become a Christian World View partner, order resources, subscribe to our free newsletter, or contact us, visit thechristianworldview.org, call 1-888-646-2233, or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. That's Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. Thanks for listening to the Christian World View.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-15 04:18:07 / 2023-07-15 04:37:47 / 20

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