Share This Episode
Understanding The Times Jan Markell Logo

The Worship Wars (Part 1)

Understanding The Times / Jan Markell
The Truth Network Radio
December 21, 2019 7:00 am

The Worship Wars (Part 1)

Understanding The Times / Jan Markell

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 184 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

December 21, 2019 7:00 am

To support this ministry financially, visit:

Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

There is a war going on. It's called the Worship Wars.

That's next. The lights. The crowds. It looks like a rock concert.

And the lines around the block are enough to make any nightclub envious. But this, this is Church. Welcome to Understanding the Times Radio with Jan Markell, brought to you by Olive Tree Ministries. Our media team is taking a much needed Christmas break, so we are presenting what became our most appreciated two-part radio series a year ago on music in the Church, the Worship Wars. How did music become the great divider?

We'll talk about it with our guests, Pastor Brandon Holthaus and Eric Barger. If we're really going to be honest about the subject, we have to admit that music is one of the central battlegrounds of worship. It's a tough one, because the Bible doesn't say, Thou shall not listen to this song. What the Bible gives us is principles about the holiness of God, about the nature of worship, and we are to cling to those principles and seek to apply them.

I think we can say this, however, insofar as we're introducing elements into our worship through music which are unholy, which are flesh-centered, which turn our worship into mantras and repetitions as opposed to substantial declarations like the ones we find in the Psalms about the living God, we're going to be missing the mark. And the problem is, like a delicious bowl of Captain Crunch cereal, if you keep feeding that to a child, they're going to keep loving it, but it doesn't make it healthy for them. And so we have an entire generation of children that are being spoon-fed Captain Crunch theology in their worship service, and it's toxic.

It's literally changing their appetites to like things which are unholy and unhealthy for them. That means we're going to have to go back to some basics, simple things, singing the Psalms, speaking basic truths, singing with holiness without all the trappings that the world has in a way that we are really lifting up our hearts before God and not simply being caught up into an emotional frenzy. Welcome to the program.

I am so glad you're able to join me today. We're beginning an interesting couple-week series here on the worship wars, music in the church, and there's no greater divide in the church today than the style of music being played. And the divide is usually age-driven. One generation wants one style and another generation wants a different kind of music, perhaps more subdued, maybe a return to hymns sung years ago. Equally controversial is the character and reputation of groups producing today's music. So while some would disagree, two large empires produce a great deal of today's Christian music.

One would be Jesus Culture, the headquarter out of Bethel Church right in California, and Hillsong, which originates out of Australia. These folks have branches around the world, and in some cases, the theology expressed in some of the music sung in churches today is not the best. One song sings about God's reckless love. I want to say more about that, but the YouTube version of that song has almost 85 million listeners right now. It may not be sound theology, but no one seems to mind.

Is God's love really reckless? Well, Hillsong is called an international empire, but is it sound? Hillsong has produced more than 40 albums, which have sold over 11 million copies worldwide, but the soundness of the theology of many of these songs is suspect. You will never fade away, your love is here to stay, by my side and mine, shining through me every day. You wait within me, wait within me, you're in my heart forever. These lyrics have nothing distinctively Christian to them.

In fact, they could easily be mistaken for a high school love letter. He didn't want heaven without us, so Jesus you brought heaven down. The lyrics of this song are less ambiguous, but contain serious doctrinal error.

No word of the scriptures teach that an unsatisfying solitude in heaven was the reason for the incarnation. In fact, redemption is first and foremost for the glorification of the triune God. So because of these controversies, I began getting emails some time ago.

I'll just read one quickly here. Lisa writes, the songs being played on Christian radio that are from Hillsong, Jesus Culture, and other artists who are New Apostolic, Reformation, Emergent, other things are prevalent in the churches, even where you don't necessarily hear false doctrine being preached from the pulpit. It's entering in through the music and the people seem to be clueless. Lisa says the older people don't necessarily like some of it, but they are seeing the young people get excited about the Lord, except it's a different Jesus. So my husband and I are quite distraught by this trend and it seems that the Christian music industry has been hijacked.

We would very much like more information on this. There isn't much safe Christian music out there anymore. So that has set the stage for the programming here. I am joined for the balance of the programming by a pastor who has outspoken about using proper music in the church. Brandon Holt House, pastors Rock Harbor Church in Bakersfield, California. Eric Barger also joins me. He has a background in music as a musician, as a record producer, and more.

That would be years ago. And gentlemen, thank you both for joining me for the program. Thanks, Jan, for having me and thanks, Eric, too. Brandon, you as a pastor, and you said something interesting to me the other day, and you screen all the songs from your worship leader, but you produce seven major issues with Christian music these days. I'm just going to hit each of the seven bullet points and then I want us to discuss them for a minute. You cite the seven issues as non-theological lyrics, romantic lyrics to God, number three, anthropocentric lyrics instead of theocentric lyrics, four, the artist or the group's personal lives or theological stands. The lyrics might be fine, but the source, the artist or the groups are either apostates promoting false doctrine or promoting false worship methods such as yoga, contemplative prayer, or they come out as practicing homosexuals such as Jennifer Knapp or Ray Bolts or at least supporting the LGBT movement. Number five, you state ungodly performances. Here you cite, and I've seen this online, Hillsong's New York Women's Conference having the youth pastor impersonate the naked cowboy.

This is horrific. I've seen it. Hillsong having a Christmas performance in which they portrayed Jesus being born in a bar, and they have taken that down from you too, but they did have this performance. Or the Wild Goose Festival, which was a four-day extravaganza of music involving reconciliation, yoga, progressive Christian mysticism. Number six, the use of long and loud music sessions, 45 minutes to an hour to put the people in an altered state of consciousness knowingly or unknowingly. Music is used as a stimulus bombardment to the emotions and physiology of the person to bypass the intellect and create a mental state. Number seven, worship-tainment.

This derives from the seeker-friendly movement. Artists are creating a Broadway-type of show to entertain. In other words, Smokin' Lights, Elvis impersonators, Michael Jackson, Thriller reenacted. Many of them will misapply Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 9, 22, which states, by all means, I might save some and use it to justify what they do. Brandon, as a pastor, then do you take a lot of this back to the church-growth movement?

Well, Jan, I certainly do, and I think a lot of it started with that. The intent was to reach the younger crowd. So with that intent, they said, well, how are we going to do this? Well, we're going to do it through music, and we're going to play certain songs with certain lyrics, we're going to play it at a certain volume level, and we're going to do it at the expense of a lot of other people, particularly the older generation. So that's caused a lot of the culture wars that we're seeing in the churches.

Now, as you know, as people walk into some of these worship places, they have to be given earplugs because the music is played so loud, and sometimes they're playing secular music and having Elvis impersonators or whatnot just to entertain people. So yes, it definitely comes out of the church-growth movement. That is one of the target audiences of the church-growth movement, and that's become a problem today. Eric, does this go back to Peter Drucker?

Is that who this goes back to? I think this whole idea has taken quite a while to involve. It is probably pretty hard to point at just one particular thing, but Peter Drucker certainly had a big influence because the whole teaching of the idea that you're going to build a big church or a bigger church, and this is going to be one of the main elements by changing the music in the church to bring in younger people. And we all want to see younger people come to church. We all want to see churches grow. But how we're doing it, I think the ethics and whether it's biblical or not, the way we're doing it, I think is very important. These days, anything goes, and you just brought up the idea of earplugs and so on. It's with the musicians, the worship leader, the leaders of the church, the sound people.

It has so many different elements. It's hard to really say in each church where it is. It started, I think, with this lure that if we did particular things, and one of them, like I said, is music, that it was going to inspire people to come and sit in the seats. You were a record producer, and my understanding is anything above 80 decibels is not healthy. We're going to play some clips today, and folks are going to hear they're way above 80 decibels. And this is going on in most churches. Some folks are fine with it, some are not so fine with it.

What's the worst that can happen, Eric? You've got the physical problems that can take place because if you're listening continually to things that are 80 and above, your ears are going to suffer for it. As Brandon pointed out, there is the element that in some cases with some people, there is an altered state of consciousness that takes place. And we're not saying that people go into a complete trance, but we're saying that there are things that go on psychologically that maybe people don't realize are going on, maybe they do. Either way, it's not good for people, certainly not good for the congregation, and we're missing the point. In worship services, we're to be, if we're playing, singing, et cetera, it should be about opening the hearts of people to prepare their hearts for the Word of God. We have music first in our services, and there's biblical reasons for that that we won't go into and don't have time to go into. We want to open the hearts of people to receive God's Word, not just get them into a frenzied state. Right. In talking to you gentlemen, and I found it intriguing that many, many churches today, Brandon, correct me if I'm wrong, but they're having 45, 50 minutes of music and 15, 20 minutes of the Word.

Am I right? Yeah, it's been a total reversal. If you look at the church in the past, the centralized aspect of church was the teaching of the Word. The old sermons, the old pastors of yesteryear, sermons went 50 to 60 minutes.

Now it's completely flip-flopped. You've got worship services lasting 45 minutes to an hour, then the pastor gets out there, gives a sermonette of about 20 minutes, so it's a total role reversal that now worship is focused, not the Word of God. And when you get that 20-minute sermonette that's on a second or third grade level, that's intentional many times.

They want to stay away from controversy, they want to stay away from issues that would upset people, so they minimize the teaching aspect, but then overdo the worship. And then, like Eric said, back to the music putting people in an altered state of consciousness. I'm not saying that every time someone does this, it happens, but studies have shown from the secular world that if you have a high, high base or high volumes of music, and you do it for a prolonged period of time, it does put people into almost a trance state where their thinking is suspended.

In fact, in some articles, they note it only takes 13 to 15 minutes for someone to go into this state. So it's a real phenomenon. Whether it happens or not in every church service, that's the problem we're starting to see.

And the evidence is all you have to do is go on YouTube and watch these frenzied church services where they're jumping around, going crazy, having ecstatic utterances, going into trances, and they're saying that's of the Holy Spirit. If you just join me, folks, you may wonder what our conversation is about. You're listening to Understanding the Times Radio. I'm Jan Markell. And I have on the line from Bakersfield, California, Pastor Brandon Holthouse, Rock Harbor Church. Learn more at, Kind of the familiar voice by now of Eric Barger, who has a background in music and record producing, et cetera.

I do want to play another clip. I think, Eric, you wanted to weigh in. Well, I just wanted to say that I can just hear right now some people saying, but wait a second. If I do what you guys are talking about, if I don't have this particular kind of music, people will leave the church. I mean, my growth will go down. Our offerings will go down.

All those things. Listen, we're there to please God. And God is the one that we should depend on to fill the seats as He sees fit, not by just our ideas and by the ideas of the church growth movement that I think has done more to damage the church than anything else. And we've got to depend on God.

That's the point of it. I want to spend just a minute here on some of the words being sung, because in some cases I'm not sure. I mean, you can't tell if it's being sung to God, if the words are being sung to somebody's spouse or what. And I teased this with my intro, and that's the Reckless Love.

Reckless Love done by, I believe, Hillsong. Am I right? Jesus Culture, I think. Jesus Culture. Okay, it's got 85 million listens on YouTube. I don't think that God's love is reckless.

I'd like to play apologist Mike Winger, and I think he expounds on this brilliantly, and I'd like to come back and discuss it. His love is never ending. The scripture says love never fails. God is love. God is eternal. His love is never ending. Literally, that's like a theological bedrock statement you could make, that God's love never fails, and He is love, and He's eternal.

So is love's never ending. But then we get to the word reckless. And by the way, I do this with worship songs, and you should too. You should think it through. You should ponder it through. You should ask yourself if you can sing this to God and mean it. I think this is just being smart.

It's being good faithful Christians that we would be pondering our words we declare to God before declaring them. So reckless. Is God's love reckless?

The simple answer is no. In no sense of the word, and I'm going to unpack this now, but in no sense of the word is God's love reckless. Here's the definition of the word reckless of a person or their actions. It's an adjective, and it means without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action. Example, reckless driving.

You might think, oh, we could still use that. He didn't care about the consequences of his actions, but that's not true. When Jesus went to the cross, all He cared about was the consequences of his actions. He was redeeming the world, and He cared about that a lot.

God so loved the world. That's not reckless. That is targeted and intentional. That is all about the actions and the results of those actions, and we find the cross is not a reckless act at all in any sense of the word. The synonyms of reckless, I mean, just look at these rash, careless, thoughtless, heedless, unheeding, hasty. Just look at these things.

Impulsive, impetuous. Like these are not descriptors of God who before I was born He was singing over me. Before I was even alive, God was loving me. God was planning out the path of salvation. All this stuff was planned out. That's not reckless. That's the opposite of reckless. Pastor Brandon Holt House, I think you would agree with me that he outlined that very effectively, and yet this song is one of the most popular contemporary songs ever. Yeah, he did.

Let me add a note to that. The problem we start having is these songwriters don't have good theological backgrounds. Songs from yesteryear were actually penned by pastors or people who had went to seminary and would know better that God's love is not reckless, but has the other meanings of agape, teleo, and other nuances that the Greek gives. So we're having people write theological songs, but their theology is wrong. They're pouring different meanings into those songs, and that's exactly what cults do.

Eric, you want to speak into that? Along these same lines, I think we can say that most of the people who are gathered to play music in a church and who come from the congregation, we don't know where the discernment level is, and everybody moves along hopefully and gets better as they go along with these kind of things. Sometimes the discernment about how we approach music and how we pick the songs that we're going to play, and the ideas of what's biblical and what's not just because it's being presented by a Christian or sold as a Christian piece of music, that doesn't give it a free pass.

By the way, I want to correct us on something. Reckless Love is by Corey Asbury, and he is from Bethel Music, but it's not actually Jesus Culture or Bethel Music, which are two entities. Well, nonetheless, I think he has one of the most popular songs ever. It's being sung in many, many, many churches is my only point. Brandon, you said to me that today's music is more like ancient paganism than anything else. I know you don't mean all music across the board in the church, but too much of it resembles ancient paganism.

Well it does. And what was the intent of ancient paganism and their music? It was to unite them with their gods that they were worshiping.

I can go back to the Polynesian, to the African tribes or even the American Indian tribes. What were they doing? They were using music to put people into an altered state of consciousness to unite with that god.

I can even go to Strabo in Greece. He's a Greek philosopher, historian. He was writing how the Greeks and the barbarians were performing music to whatever god they were worshiping to put them in an altered state of consciousness. They were doing it through music. There's a parallel going on here. When you start seeing how ancient pagans did it, or even the barbarians or the Greeks did it, and then you go into a modern-day worship and see what's happening, there are uncanny parallels between the two that you just come away saying, whoa, you brought a pagan methodology into this, and this is the same mistake Israel made in the worship of Yahweh. They would incorporate pagan practices in their worship. So is today's music just another kind of end-time apostasy?

Could be. We'll talk about that when we come back. Don't go away. It's easy to get thousands of people to come to your church. Easy. Just have good entertainment. And so you go to worship services, and you're entertained. The music, the lights, the action. You are entertained. The preacher comes out. He has a lot of funny stories or heart-rending stories, and you leave contented.

You leave satisfied emotionally. I'm for numbers. I'm for reaching people for Christ. But when you become numbers-driven, then everything in the worship service is aimed at that. And see, if you have numbers, you have to have big churches. And if you have big churches, you've got to have big debts. So you've got to have people to come. You've got to entertain them and cause them to be emotionally satisfied.

Once again, we're back to this man-centeredness that has destroyed worship in the 20th century. If we've made a difference in your world, we love helpful feedback. Write us through our website, That's You can call us central time at 763-559-4444.

That's 763-559-4444. More in a moment with Jan and our guests for the hour. We are entering our 20th year of broadcasting Understanding the Times Radio. We started on a Twin Cities Christian station and now air on 850 radio stations as well as many electronic outlets.

Thank you for making that possible. If Olive Tree Ministries is new to you, get acquainted with us through our website, That's There you will find a wealth of information and tools to help you grow in your Christian faith. We're here to help you understand the times, contend for the faith, and be watchmen on the wall, and to remind you that nothing is falling apart, but everything is falling into place. Really, a lot of what's missing is that on Sunday morning, there is this decided effort to have a concert instead of a worship service, and if there's not instruction coming from the pastor, the leaders in the church, from the worship leader, and it's reiterated over and over to the musicians so that they're all on the same page moving in the same direction, the whole concert idea comes into play. We are definitely performing when we're on a stage or platform on a Sunday morning in a church, but who are we playing for and why are we playing?

This is not a concert. This is to prepare the heart of the people in the congregation, the hearts of them who listen. Prepare them, like we said earlier, for the Word of God. If you miss a program, you can always access the program electronically on our website at or on our YouTube channel under Jan Markell and Olive Tree Ministries. We insert images and videos there for those who learn visually.

Or download the mobile app and have a program delivered to your devices. Let's return to Jan Markell, Pastor Brandon Holthouse, and Eric Barger. Just look up the video, Fill Me Up God. It's about 17 minutes by Jesus Culture.

I think I counted 144 times. She sings, Fill Me Up God, 144 times. Jesus said, When ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Did you hear that? Heathen use vain repetitions. Heathen, like Hindus, who repeat mantras over and over again, the same words, over and over again. Just like the Beatle George Harrison introduced to us singing Hare Krishna at the end of his song, he's got us singing that. These chants, they're meant to draw up this Kundalini serpent spirit in you that, just with Hindus, it gives them this electrical impulse and these jerkings and these shakings.

Okay, welcome back. You may wonder, what on earth are we talking about? Let me reset the stage because I have been contacted by a number of people to address the issue of, well, the worship wars. And that's what's going on in our churches today. As people write and tell me, they visited up to 20 churches just trying to find music that isn't going to be detrimental to their health or to find music whose words are not way off base or to find music representing theology that is way off base. You've got a lot of groups representing, for instance, Kingdom Now theology. The church is going to make the world perfect.

Well, that's nonsense. And yet lots of songs are singing about that. We're looking at a couple of organizations that are very successful and they produce some music that's beautiful. Hillsong produces lots of music that sounds very nice.

Other songs are off base. Same with Jesus Culture. Far more than those two organizations, but those are prominent today. Again, this would be the worship wars going on in the church. I'm talking to Pastor Brandon Holt House from Bakersfield, California. You can learn more at You can also find his prophecy updates on YouTube. Just look up the Prophecy Update Rock Harbor Church.

Again, it's the one that's in Bakersfield, California. Eric Barger. You can learn more at

Contact the men through their websites. I said I want to talk a little bit about, is this just another form of end time apostasy? And I personally think it is. And we opened discussing a little bit about the church growth movement, which has led to some apostasy. We've talked a little bit about hiring secular musicians. Smaller churches cannot possibly compete with smoke and lights and all the things that the larger churches are bringing in to attract heavily a younger crowd. Folks without good music, the churches that don't have this kind of music, well, people are probably going to leave it. Eric, talk to me just a little bit about this form of end time apostasy in the music. After all, your background before you came to the Lord was the music industry. Well, if there's weak teaching in the church or if there's incorrect, that is anti-biblical teaching in the church, it's going to filter into the music.

I think that the standard about how strong our lyrics need to be, how biblical they need to be, the attitude. And I think really a lot of what's missing is that on Sunday morning, there is this decided effort to have a concert instead of a worship service. And if there's not instruction coming from the pastor, the leaders in the church, from the worship leader, and it's reiterated over and over to the musicians so that they're all on the same page, moving the same direction, the whole concert idea comes into play. And we are definitely performing when we're on a stage or platform on a Sunday morning in a church, but who are we playing for and why are we playing?

This is not a concert. This is to prepare the heart of the people in the congregation, the hearts of them who listen, prepare them, like we said earlier, for the word of God. And that to me is such a bottom line, it can't be said too often.

So the bad theology can come in and certainly it has come in when you see how many Emergent Church ideas we see just popping up where the lyrics just are a kind of, you can almost get by, you try to do just as little as you can. You don't want to be too spiritual. You don't want to turn people off. You certainly don't want to bring any conviction to their hearts by what you're saying. All these things add up to problems to me. Pastor Brandon Holthouse, you said to me apostasy is having its way in the music industry. Why don't you elaborate on that? It's not only happening in the opulpit, the great falling away, as we're noting constantly, church after church, person after person is falling from the faith.

They might have started well, but then they're not finishing well. Well, that same aspect where people are departing from the faith and accepting things that are not biblical, it's now happening in the music and we shouldn't be shocked by that. So now it's affecting how the theology is being communicated through the music. And again, I come back to the church growth movement. And what Peter Drucker was kind of instructing a lot of the church growth movement guys to do through music. And a lot of what he was telling them to do is do target marketing, give them what the world wants, make sure you're results oriented, and you have profitability in what you're accomplishing through music. Basically, that means nickels and noses.

Does the music pack the church? And if it does work, then keep doing it. So then you get into the entertainment part. And then it came into pragmatism.

Well, if it works, do it. And so everyone starts following that. So basically, the ends justify the means. And the ends were bigger churches. Well, the equated bigger churches with what we're evangelizing, we're reaching a lot of people. And again, it was a come and see mentality versus a go and tell of the Great Commission. It's the exact opposite of what Jesus told us to do. So the methodology is wrong, just for the fact of come and see. We're not supposed to do that.

We're supposed to go and tell. But all that to say is this, when nickels and noses becomes the main focus of the church, we're going to do anything it takes to make that happen. And it means turning up the music cloud, if it means playing secular music or getting into worship attainment of having an Elvis impersonator or reenacting Michael Jackson's Thriller, if it puts people in the seats, they're going to do it. And that's part of the great apostasy. Apostasy is not only the departure from the faith, it's a departure from correct behavior and correct methodology.

That's right. You have to encompass all of that. And so what we're seeing is bad methodologies, bad behavior, the performers lifestyle, if they claim to be a Christian should be consistent with what they're singing about. You're listening to Understanding the Times Radio Jan Markell here talking to Pastor Brandon Holt house and Eric Barger and Bethany worship wars, music in the church. Listen, someone who's perfected the marketing and I want to play a clip. It's less than a minute. Again, Hillsong is unparalleled when it comes to their marketing.

And let me just play a quick clip. Get your thoughts on it. Come on, Jesus is about to come and fill us once again. The worship at Hillsong is unparalleled. Have you ever been told that you're part of a cult? The music's amazing.

Phenomenal. It's not cool to be a Christian or to be religious at all. The number of Australians who call themselves Christian is falling and fast. There are almost a million fewer Christians than there were just five years ago. But there is one Christian denomination that's bucking that trend.

Each week, nearly 40,000 Australians flock to 27 locations around Australia for what is surely the most iconic evangelical church in Australia. Hillsong. Who's ready to praise God today? Come on.

Let's put our hands together. Brandon, they're getting them into church. You can't get them into church any other way. Hillsong's figured out a way to do it. Wrong?

Yeah, the methodology has to be right because here's the deal. What they're getting is an experience. Even you see this in Christian books now, they're selling an experience with God versus understanding theology and how to apply and behave correctly. Now it's, I need to experience something with God. And so they go to these worship services, they get a liver quiver, and they come out saying, I had an experience with God. Well, nowhere in Scripture is that advocated.

That gets into the realm of subjectivity, there's no theology behind it, and I think, again, it's a form of apostasy when people are just seeking an experience. Eric, your thoughts? I think this needs to be said at some point, Jan.

I don't want to miss saying at this program or the next to either one. The leaders out there, worship leaders, pastors, someday we'll stand before God and give an account for what we did. And remember, we're going to be judged with a more strict or maybe a harder judgment, somebody might say. I would hate to think that because we used all these worldly ideas that really didn't depend on God at all to fill up the seats and to bring people in. And of course, we think by just getting them there, that's all that counts. Sometimes that's where it stops in the thinking of those in church. Now, most of us hopefully are thinking also, we get them in there, maybe we can preach the gospel and they will be saved. But the whole idea of how we got them there, let's depend on God, let's do what he says do. And anytime we think that the ideas that every church is employing around us are the ones we ought to employ, why don't we go to the word of God and see what God's word says, and then go to him and say, Father, we depend on you completely, lead us, guide us, direct us. There needs to be that kind of teaching in the worship team and with the musicians and well with the whole church, but we're talking about music today and we're talking about those who are presenting it before us and the problems that we see around us.

So leaders, keep that in mind. Someday we'll stand before God. Let's make sure that we're doing what God wants us to do and just not what's a great plan that somebody wrote in a book.

Yeah, here's another email. Mark wrote, the religion of Mystery Babylon is being born right now. As you have said many times, Jan, I never thought I'd see these things in my lifetime, but it is invading even churches that were once stalwart proponents of biblical truth. Hillsong, Jesus Culture and many others have invaded my conservative evangelical church and they absolutely will no longer utter the word rapture or reference current events.

No matter how pertinent to biblical prophecy, it is breaking my heart. Another email from Susan at some point, can you possibly address this question in a segment of your radio broadcast? How is it that there is some good worship music that comes from questionable doctrine of the very popular churches? I've referenced popular churches here many times.

For instance, and she cites Brian and Jan Johnson, they write some beautiful songs. I'm still a relatively new believer. I've listened to the words carefully.

I can find nothing wrong with them. Brandon, what do you say to that? Well, I would say that even a blind dog can find a bone every once in a while. But at the end of the day, your lifestyle and your theology has to match. And so if they're part of something that's not biblical, if there's issues in their life that's not biblical, like they practice certain things that are militated against by Scripture, then we come back and say, okay, you might have wrote one song that's good, but what about your lifestyle?

What about all the other songs? What about your theology? What about the church you go to? It's a whole package, Christianity.

It's a whole worldview. And yeah, you might be able to find things from Hillsong or some of these questionable groups that, okay, that's okay. But here's what the problem is for me from my pastoral standpoint. If I play that song in my worship service, I am giving passive approval to that particular group, to that particular church they're a part of, to say it's Hillsong or whatnot. And I can't do that, because I can't make people stumble and make them think that, okay, Hillsong must be good because pastor played that. Here's what I want to do. At the end of our segment here, I'm going to take a break.

We're not quite there yet, though. And then what I want to do in my third segment is I want to interview Carol. She actually went to her church leadership. She's a part of a church in Texas.

She went to her church leadership. And she said exactly what we've been talking about here for a lot of minutes. And she pointed to the inconsistencies. She pointed to the bad theology. She pointed to the repetitious music. She pointed to lots of things that were wrong.

And this was a very solid church, a denomination that I think many would trust. And they blew her off. I'm going to bring her on in my third segment. But Eric, how would you advise someone to handle this? Well, I think she did the right thing, Jan, because the scripture says we're to go to someone if we have a problem with something. That's what she did. She went directly to the leadership. She got an answer, a response that certainly was mind blowing to her.

But at the same token, she did the right thing. And I think that's the most important thing is we keep things in the biblical perspective. Here's another area where I want to get to eventually, and we may have to tackle it next week. And I'm asking that you both would come back next week in part two of our series here on the worship wars going on in the church today. And that is the whole issue of theology.

Now, I've already referenced that. I said a lot of these songs. They're singing about Kingdom Now. Brandon, if you could find the words you sent me the other day, it was just priceless because what folks are actually singing in church, they're singing this horrifically false theology. How about the prosperity theology? That really is Hillsong.

Here's apologist Justin Peters. The Hillsong church is word of faith. Everything we've been talking about, that's what they teach. A lot of their music, this is the kind of the musical arm, I suppose. Some of their music is pretty good. And a lot of churches sing their music. And sometimes I'm asked, well, do you have a problem with singing Hillsong music? Some of their songs are okay.

Not all of them, but some of them are okay. The lyrics are doctrinally sound. However, because of the popularity of their music, you see Hillsong uses their music as a hook. And they get their hooks into you through their music. And then they pull you into their theology through their music. I would never be comfortable in singing a song from Hillsong in my church, knowing where it comes from. Okay. Prosperity theology. That's what's coming through some of these songs. Brandon, did you agree?

Absolutely. And you can see it peppered all through these artists' songs. And when you look at their lyrics, they tell you what they believe.

For instance, there's a song out there by Carrie Job. She's New Apostolic Reformation Kingdom now, word of faith. In one of her songs, she notes that Jesus's battle was in the grave, the war on death was waged, the power of hell forever broken. That's classic word of faith theology, where Jesus had to go to hell to finish the work of atonement. But we know that's not theologically correct. He finished the work of atonement on the cross. He did not have to go to hell and continue to battle Satan and the demons to secure salvation. But that's classic word of faith. So yeah, you see it peppered all through there.

All right, gentlemen, would you kindly come back next week so we could do part two of this series? I'd really want to spend a little more time on the theology. It's one thing to have the repetitious words, et cetera. It's another thing to have the volume that a lot of people are having to endure.

We've already talked about earplugs are now being handed out before folks go into a sanctuary. It's another thing to have worship attainment, which is not right. As a matter of fact, it's terrible. All sorts of things are going on. The theology that is being presented by some of these groups is just horrific. And folks, that is just more end time raging apostasy. But this time it's sneaking in instead of from the pulpit. It's from the worship team, the music team.

And thus we have the worship wars. What I want to do is I'm going to take my second break. When I come back, I'm going to talk to Carol. I may talk to her husband as well. And they approached their church, happened to be a Baptist church. And they presented all of these issues to them, a church in Texas, and the entire church leadership blew her off.

They were not interested. I'll let her tell the story. Next week, we'll do at least for part of the hour, we'll do part two of the worship wars here with Eric Barger and Pastor Brandon Holthouse. Again, you can learn more about Pastor Holthouse at, And you can find his prophecy updates on YouTube.

They're usually weekly. And you know, Eric is His books, DVDs, et cetera, articles at He has a background in the music industry, in the record industry. And therefore I want to get both of their perspectives as we consider music in the church.

It's the great controversy going on as I speak, taking a break, coming right back. Are we singing or just being entertained? Are we singing good theology with dead hearts without any joy? What about the use of the mind or emotions in worship? How should we think about singing psalms in worship?

What should our position be on performance? How do we evaluate the presence of sensuality in worship in music and also in worship leadership? And how do we know when music is elevated too highly in the worship of God? But in all of this, I pray we will remember the words of Psalm 149. Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song and His praise in the assembly of the saints. Let Israel rejoice in their Maker. Thank you for remembering us both prayerfully and financially.

All gifts to Olive Tree Ministries are tax-deductible. We are now in our 20th year broadcasting and are heard coast to coast. Why not tell a friend to tune in to better understand the times, contend for the faith, and become watchmen on the wall.

More with Jan and her guest in a moment. Thank you for being a faithful radio supporter. Not every listener can support us financially, but all of you can pray for us that our outreach and goal of spreading the inconvenient truth will continue to grow. If Olive Tree Ministries and Understanding the Times Radio have made a difference in your life, add us to your daily prayer list. Like all frontline ministries, we experience daily attacks and setbacks as we try to bring listeners the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ and His soon return to rescue His church. Let us hear from you through our website, post office box or telephone in the near future.

Let's encourage one another as the hour grows late. I'm learning there are many, many people that are wanting to have the kind of pastor that I now have. They're hungry for somebody who's going to stand on the word. They also, again, I mentioned a true shepherd is somebody who's going to protect the flock. When somebody's playing music that you don't really know if it's good or not, you need somebody in that kind of position that's going to filter.

And I feel like it's very important to have a leader that will filter that. Jan Markell will be speaking at the Proximity Prophecy Conference in Southern California Saturday, January 25th, sponsored by Calvary Chapel, Tustin, California. You must register at

That's We are wrapping up our discussion on the great divider of the church today, music. In our closing segment, Jan Markell talks to someone who approached church leadership on the topic to no avail. Hear Carol's story next. And welcome back, folks. Remember, this program is always posted to my website on Saturday morning,,

Why don't you sign up if you'd like to have it downloaded to a device for the mobile app. I encourage you to sign up for my print and e-newsletter. We talk about these topics in my various newsletters. And if you do write to us, and particularly if you send a gift, would you always tell us what station or how you listen, what station, or perhaps you're a podcaster, helps us to know those things. Now, I want to move into my closing minutes here on Understanding the Times radio.

We've been talking about the worship wars for the hour. And I'm now talking to Carol. We're not going to give last names at this point in time. Let me just sort of set the stage. And Carol, thank you, first of all, for joining me.

Appreciate it a whole lot. I heard from you by way of email, because you heard the programming I did of Dirk and Joan Miller. You heard about the loss of their daughter, Caitlin, to the New Apostolic Reformation. And you were troubled that your church was playing New Apostolic Reformation music.

They were playing Jesus culture. You actually approached your church leadership. I think you also wrote some notes to area churches. But let's start with your former church. What happened when you approached them? Hi, Jan. Thank you for having me.

Yes. Yes, we felt like a year previous to all this, my husband being on the worship team, played some of the Jesus culture music that we started feeling troubled about it. But then especially when we heard your program about Caitlin, we dug deeper. And that's when we approached our church. And we're told that they didn't have any time to really check into other people's ministries.

We were told basically what our own character flaws were. And they never really even approached what the theological viewpoint was in the paper that we wrote. We felt like they were dismissing the whole issue as being a non-issue.

And you tried only one time, obviously, you weren't a pest, in other words. Well, we had mentioned it previously in passing. And we're told that as long as the lyrics were okay, then it's okay. And we accepted it sort of, but we never felt comfortable with that. Now, my understanding is you wrote to other churches in your area.

And what was that? We wrote to other churches afterward. The question was, how do you handle Jesus culture music in your church? And we received one response from one pastor.

And it's the current church that we're going to now. And he looked into it. He took you very seriously. He actually did some research.

Is that right? He did his own research. Once he finished his research, I can't remember exactly what his words were, but that he would not allow that in his church anymore. You were concerned because the music, number one, was endorsing poor theology. And you were concerned that young people, particularly young people, might be encouraged to visit the places that birthed these various organizations, Jesus culture, Hillsong, et cetera, that the church was giving a stamp of approval. Young people could be led astray.

Am I right? Exactly. I believe that their logic would be something like, our church plays their music, so what harm would there be in going to visit? I think I'm going to play a little bit of, now this is your new church, because you heard from this one particular pastor who said he was going to actually research. This is so rare, folks. I think part of it is the busyness of pastors, and perhaps they just really don't want to take the time to search these things out. So you visited the church that actually responded, and that happened to be First Baptist Church of Kingsland, Texas, Pastor David Heneke. Am I pronouncing that name right?

Yes, that's all correct. You visited the church, and he actually preached a sermon on what we're talking about. I'm sure that was rather shocking to you. It was. Let's just play a real short clip of that particular message. Also found in the music that we listened to as well, to which that question was posed to me. So in light of that, making the decision that right now, we as a church will no longer sing songs from Bethel, from Bethel Collective, from Hillsong, from Hillsong United. We're not singing songs from Jesus Culture. We're not singing songs from Jeremy Riddle, from Corey Asbury, and a list of 15 or 16 other different artists. So why are we taking this position? Why are we no longer singing their music? Why are we no longer going to be doing that?

Because they align themselves with or they come from churches that are theologically problematic if not outright heretical. It's like, you got to be careful. You can't just pull the good that's in those songs. It's okay for us just to sing the good stuff and avoid the other stuff.

That's not how it works. You do realize, or maybe you don't, when you purchase an album from them or when the church sings a song of theirs, that we are financially supporting their ministries. So when this church, in order to be able to play music that is copyrighted, we have to purchase on an annual basis something that's called the CCLI. It's a license. It gives you permission to sing copyrighted music. And then you turn in a list of songs and how many times you sing them, you have to report this kind of stuff. And so what happens is each church that pays the license fee, when they collect all the data and information, then those artists or those groups receive compensation based upon the number of times their song gets sung in a number of churches. So when we sing one of their songs, we become financially contributors of their churches that they come from.

And there's where the problem comes in. I told you I'd come back to them, and so let's just camp out here for a moment. I'll start with Brian Houston of Hillsong and Hillsong United. Hillsong Church is the Pentecostal megachurch that's affiliated within the Australian Christian churches. It is the Australian branch of the Assemblies of God. And part of their doctrinal belief is that of the prosperity gospel. This quote comes directly from Hillsong's website. It says, we believe that God wants to heal and transform us so that we can live healthy and blessed lives in order to help others more effectively. And this falls in line with the teaching that God always wills to heal and that blessed equals healthy. That's the Hillsong prosperity gospel, which adds that God's desire is to enrich you financially.

And just to make sure you don't think I'm grabbing at straws just from one line from their website, let me read to you a direct quote from their pastor who published a book. His book was published many years ago, but the name of the book ought to get our attention. You Need More Money. It's his book. In his book, You Need More Money, on page number eight, Brian Houston says, we have to become comfortable with wealth and break the bondage, guilt and condemnation of impoverished thinking. Poverty is definitely not God's will for his people. In fact, his promises talk of blessing and prosperity. That was Pastor David Hennicke from First Baptist Church in Kingsland, Texas, who took a stand. Carol, what was the result of him taking that stand with that message?

As far as I know, there have been a few families that have left the church, but we've had several more come for the purpose of his message. They're here because they've been searching for a place that's going to stand on the truth. Going to stand on this truth.

And have a true shepherd. You are talking to people on Facebook. Actually, I think you're talking heavily about some of the perils of the things we're talking about for this whole hour. And you're talking about some issues with the New Apostolic Reformation churches.

What are you learning there? I'm learning there are many, many people that are wanting to have the kind of pastor that I now have. They're hungry for somebody who's going to stand on the word. They also, again, I mentioned a true shepherd is somebody who's going to protect their flock. When somebody's playing music that you don't really know if it's good or not, you need somebody in that kind of position that's going to filter. And I feel like it's very important to have a leader that will filter that. The group that is on Facebook they're called NAR Heresy Watch.

They have an approval where you can sign on, but they ask questions. And there's about 600 members. So have you personally, when you left that one particular church or when you joined this newer church, have you had some pushback? We have.

We've had quite a bit. They want very much to be able to listen to what they want to listen to. And that's fine. I don't have any objection to what people listen to in their home or in their cars. But when it comes to music that's offered as holy worship to a holy God in a church setting, it becomes a completely different conversation. And then when the false theology is being promoted at the same time or the repetitious words or the heavy beat, I mean, that isn't always the case, but frequently it is.

And we've talked this hour about some of the volume of the music, et cetera. Right. My position would be Ephesians 511, take no part in the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. Carol, I want to thank you for taking a stand. I want to thank your pastor too, Pastor David Haneke, and that's First Baptist Church, Kingsland, Texas, who stood for truth, at least as it concerns the issue that we've been talking about.

Folks, we're going to continue this next week for at least a segment of my next week's program. Let me go out saying this, that the worship wars are real. There are 900 references to music in the Bible. God loves it and knows that it ministers to people. Can we get good music back in the church since music has driven away many people from church? The joyful noise unto the Lord has become just that noise. Let me go out saying this, that the music, you know, it shouldn't be about us. It should be about worshiping God.

It shouldn't be about growing a church, but about honoring God and thanking Him for His goodness. We'll pick up on this next week. Be sure to come back. I'll have my same guests on, Eric Barger, Pastor Brandon Holthaus. Won't you join me next week? Thanks for listening.

We'll talk to you again. Over the years, we have heard from thousands expressing various kinds of troubling church issues. We are thankful that many pastors are trying to hold to biblical truth. Write us through our website, That's Call us Central Time at 763-559-4444. That's 763-559-4444. We get our mail by writing to Olive Tree Ministries in Jan Markell, Box 1452, Maple Grove, Minnesota, 55311. That's Box 1452, Maple Grove, Minnesota, 55311.

All gifts are tax deductible. Join us next week when we present Part 2 of the Worship Wars.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-07 22:50:15 / 2023-05-07 23:12:09 / 22

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime