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The Worship Wars (Part 2)

Understanding The Times / Jan Markell
The Truth Network Radio
March 2, 2019 7:00 am

The Worship Wars (Part 2)

Understanding The Times / Jan Markell

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March 2, 2019 7:00 am

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The worship wars are real and produce casualties.

You may be one of them. This is part two of our series on the great divider in the church, music. Last week we began our two-part series on the worship wars. If there are over 900 references to music in the Bible, why is the church in turmoil over this?

Why are churches approaching the issue with contention? Some people have quit church over the style of music prominent in most churches. Pastor Brandon Holdhouse returns this week. He is pastor of Rock Harbor Church in Bakersfield, California. Also returning is Eric Barger who has a background as a musician and record producer. He has also done seminars on music and its dangers today.

Now here's Jan Markell. In most worship services today, in modern day Evangelicalism, if you were all of a sudden in the middle of a song to pull the plug on all the instrumentation, all the microphones and everything, you would find that the congregation is hardly singing. We very often become worshipers of ourselves. We're not worshiping God.

We're simply worshiping the feeling that we're having about God. When it comes to the issue of music, it's one of those areas where the battle is likely to continue until the Lord comes home. What we have done is we have elevated music to, it seems to be a place above the teaching of the scriptures.

And welcome to Understanding the Times Radio. And this is part two of a two-part series, The Worship Wars. Last week we considered the issue of what's the big divider in the church heavily. Of course it's theology in many places, but it's also music. And there's theology within music. It's the great divide in the church today. The divide is usually age-driven, but it doesn't have to be.

Typically one generation wants one style of music, another generation wants a different kind of music, perhaps more subdued, perhaps a return to the hymns the church used to sing years ago. So we looked at that for an hour last week. We're going to pick up on that this week, kind of unpack some more issues because I just get so many emails. I read some last week, emails from people who are concerned, confused, perplexed, have left a church, have been asked to leave a church because they have spoken up and said, you know what? The music that you're playing, not only are the words totally repetitious, not only do I see some people, usually younger people, almost in a trance, but I'm hearing some horrible theology coming from some of the music that's being sung today.

Last week, we took a close look anyway. I don't know that we spent a whole lot of time, but we did reference many times Hillsong. We referenced Jesus Culture. My hunch is your church is singing those. Now, if you'd like to hear the programming, just go to my website, won't you? Go to radio and then complete archives and you can hear the full hour. We played lots of sound bites of some of the issues related to music in the church that are very, very troubling. We talked about a particular song. We talked about the song, the reckless love, reckless love of God. Is God's love really reckless? And I think we made the point after some discussion that indeed the love of God is anything but reckless. The love of Jesus, he went to the cross redeeming the world. That was not reckless.

It was targeted and it was intentional. Nothing Jesus did was reckless. And yet the song reckless love, you go to it on YouTube. It's been listened to almost 90 million times just on YouTube.

That doesn't count your CDs and other ways of listening to the song. What I'd like to do is pick up our discussion and I have my two guests back from last week and they include Pastor Brandon Holthaus from Rock Harbor Church in Bakersfield, California. Brandon, welcome back to the program. Thanks, Jan, for having me.

And Eric Barger, who has a background professionally in the record producing world in the music industry. Obviously that is before he began his current ministry of apologetics. Eric, thank you for coming back. Always glad to be here, Jan. And we were talking a little bit here between programming. I think we were kicking around the sin of silence. You know, let me ask you both. Isn't it possible that church leadership simply does not know what they're doing, does not know the offense?

Brandon? I agree. I think there's an element where there's a level of ignorance. Then there's another group that knows what they're doing. So you have to discern who you're dealing with.

And a lot of times, I would say the majority of time you're dealing with ignorance. Honestly, if a kid goes to seminary today, a lot of what he has taught is how to grow a big church. He's not necessarily taught a lot of theology.

Yeah, you'll have one or two classes here and there. They come back out of seminary, this is the way they've been taught to grow a big church. And it's simply ignorant. They're just following the seeker-friendly movement or whatever works. So yes, I would say a lot of it's ignorance. Jan, it's really what they've been taught. And if they've only been taught that, and they've been taught this formula that the church-growth movement has taught in so many different fashions and forms from C. Peter Wagner on and in many other books, you think about that. If that's what they've been taught, it's really not their fault.

And what we're saying here at this point, when I say it's not their fault, we all have responsibility for those things. But if they haven't been brought to think about these things, and all we're trying to do is give people food for thought, we're not saying that we've perfected this and we've got it all together. And I don't want to be one that just shoots at music because of the sound of it or the style. And I've had people come to me years ago, this is all I did was talk about music and entertainment, the first few years of the ministry after I got saved.

People wanted me to tell their kids that there was something wrong with the music itself. And I prefer much more to look at the lyrics and the lifestyle with almost 900 passages in the Bible that deals with music and songs and singers and songwriters and worship and so on. We don't have God telling us that an instrument or sound of music is right or wrong. But boy, we got a lot about lifestyles and lyrics.

Let's be doing the test on those things. Well, not all hymns are theologically correct either. Very true. So we're not saying that going back to the hymnal is going to be all the answer. Brandon, your thought on that? We will throw in a hymn every service, just because we see offering a food to our people.

You know, everyone has their favorites, and we want to offer a variety to different age groups. You're right. Not all hymnals are biblically correct. Even modern-day music or older music, we're always screening it to say, does this match up with the biblical record? Is it consistent with that? If it's not, we don't use it, whether it's hymns or not. So the age issue is not a determining factor for us.

But age does play a factor here, because I keep hearing from folks, and I'm not going to say how old they are. I don't even know sometimes. Our church was hijacked, they would say. And we talked about this last week. We played lots of clips last week.

Again, folks, the program's at, or you can also download and podcast at Our church was hijacked. A lot of people are told, if you don't like it, you can go somewhere else. It is heartless comments to those who actually speak up and say, you know what, what you're playing isn't appropriate. A lot of times, Jan, it's just that it's very hard to see change take place. And this is such a volatile emotional issue. In fact, I would suggest that right next to the theology being taught in the church, the style of music or type of music that's being sung or played, if you try to change it, you might as well just get in your car and drive out of town and don't look back.

That's the way it is in some places. We have spent some time on the theology. We've spent time on the fact that words are repetitious, et cetera. I've already referenced, we've got some people looking like they're in a trance from singing choruses a hundred times. The theology, I think, is the most troubling thing.

I think we should continue on that for just a few more minutes anyway. Brandon, you said something to me the other day. You referenced 2 Corinthians 6, that we should not be unequally yoked. And that does not just apply to marriage. It applies to some music groups that are leaning towards being, whatever, a cult, that are leaning towards being horrific by way of theology. That is being unequally yoked when we start playing those in our worship service.

Yeah. And that's the reference I made about whether it's a hill song or it's Bethel or whatnot. When we give a tacit approval to that by playing that, then I'm accountable for that as a pastor. I have to answer for that. Obviously, the scriptures are saying to separate from people who are worshiping in a false manner or who have apostatized or are teaching false doctrine. For me to lend my credibility as a pastor to a group that's promoting New Apostolic Reformation or they're promoting dominion now or word of faith, I'm going to have to answer for that. So that's why I see it as a very important issue as a pastor, because no one's going to answer for it in the congregation except for me. True. You know, Jan, music's very instructive.

I mean, think about it. We go around singing lyrics. We're humming melodies.

It's a way to seek thoughts and hopefully good theology in our hearts. And along the same lines as what Brandon was kind of up next to just now was the idea of songs on spiritual warfare. Being that I've been a musician for all my life and I've written books on spiritual warfare and taught on this, music's a powerful tool of spiritual warfare.

But people, especially in the New Apostolic Reformation, have taken it too far. And think about the songs being sung about victory. Victory in Jesus, the old hymn or chorus that some people might call a hymn, some would call a chorus.

How far do we take that? Yes, we have victory in the Lord, but we're still living behind enemy lines here in a fallen world. The ideas that we're going to take over and commandeer the world then in doing so bring Christ back, that's kingdom now. And so people take these ideas that they then sing.

They take these ideas and think, well, that must be biblical. It makes me feel good to think that we have overcome what we have overcome, but we're still fighting in this war and we're still living in flesh that's fallen. So we have all those issues going on. It has always bothered me that the songs about spiritual warfare, though they have a lot of victory in them, they also could lead people down the wrong road. You're listening to Understanding the Times Radio.

Jan Markell here. Decided to do a couple of weeks segment on music in the church because it certainly would be the new worship wars. It all has to do with style of music. Last week we talked about a lot of things. We talked about the personal lives of these various artist groups. The lyrics might be fine, but the source of the artists or the groups could be apostates, could be promoting false doctrine, could be promoting false worship methods such as they might be promoting yoga. It might be talking about contemplative prayer. They might be backing the whole LGBTQ movement. We've got some doing that already. These are all things we've got to look at.

It's not just the words. It's the lifestyle that has gone haywire in a lot of cases. Ungodly performances. Last week we talked about Hillsong having a youth pastor impersonate the naked cowboy. We talked about Hillsong Christmas performance in which they portrayed Jesus being born in a bar.

They've taken that YouTube down, but it actually happened. Lots of things related to this. Some that are promoting reconciliation yoga and progressive Christian mysticism. The songs you're singing in your worship service in your church represent the things that are very skeptical and questionable like this. The worship tainment. Again, we talked heavily about the seeker friendly movement going back now some 40 years, if not more. Some churches are having smoke and lights, Elvis impersonators, Michael Jackson thrillers reenacted, and many of them will misapply Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 9 22, which states, by all means, by all possible means, I might save some. So in other words, anything goes. We talked heavily about the church growth movement and how that has promoted all of this.

Here's what I want to do. I want to talk for a few minutes, gentlemen, about the Christian industrial complex. And that basically is whatever sells in some bookstores. They've got books that we know are just filled with theological error, but they are huge sellers. And so the Christian industrial complex says, let's put them out. Let's even feature them.

Let's put a big sale on them because we will make some money. This is why the shack became so popular of the Christian industrial complex. Brandon talked to me about this because it plays so heavily here into music. To understand the Christian industrial complex, you have to go to the level of Christianity that's controlling the narrative, especially here in America. The version of Christianity that controls the narrative are the megachurches. They're the ones that sell the books. They're the ones that make the music.

They're the ones that the marketers use to make money. And there is a lot of money involved in Christianity. Most people, the average person, the average Christian doesn't realize what's going on, but your megachurch pastors are making millions of dollars. They're selling millions of dollars worth of books.

Well, anyway, they control the narrative. And right now we've talked about a lot of these megachurches in their music are using the church growth model. Basically, what the Christian industrial complex sees is that, well, that's selling.

That's what works. Let's promote it. You'll have a rising star come out of a megachurch because that megachurch has put a stamp of approval. And so that becomes your new rising star Christian celebrity entertainment guy or gal. And that's what gets promoted. But someone like me or a lot of probably 80 to 85% of the churches here in America do not control this narrative, but they do. And that narrative is where false doctrine is taught, whether it's through the pulpit or the music. And that's the problem we're having.

And it's a big monolithic movement. You're right, Eric, you want to weigh into that? Well, yes, the pastors are responsible. Each pastor is going to stand before God, as we said last week, and give an account before we advocate somebody and put the stamp of approval on them. And we really do, in a way, if we're playing the songs that come out of there. For example, Brian Houston, the originator, the founder of Hillsong, endorsing Chris Lamb, his son, Joel, who's the worship leader at Hillsong, New York, endorsing evolution just last year.

I mean, you have those kinds of things. As much as I like many of the Hillsong songs, especially many of the older ones, if I was a pastor, I'd be hard pressed to be able to justify allowing these things in my pulpit. And Brandon has already done a great job of talking about that. But I just want to reiterate again to the pastors and to the worship leaders, we will stand in account for what we give our approval to by letting it on the platform.

We're looking at lifestyles. We've referenced that several times. Can we sing Ray Bolt's music? Aren't we endorsing his gay lifestyle, Brandon? Aren't we?

Yes, we are. Because what we're saying is we can't separate the art from the artist, especially in Christianity. Now, in the secular world, that's a different story. They could care less about the artist's lifestyle and the art that they produce. But in Christianity, we teach, or the Bible teaches, that your lifestyle must be consistent with what you believe.

Okay, so then you have Ray Bolt, Jennifer Knapp that come out, whether they come out as homosexual or lesbian, or you have someone like Laura Daigle, who's popular but says she doesn't know whether or not homosexuality is a sin. Then you have Matt Maher, who's a Catholic. I don't think in Christianity, I don't think the Bible teaches that you can separate the art from the artist. Because if I accept the art, then I'm accepting the artist.

The two are interlinked in the scripture. So that becomes the problem that every pastor has to weigh through. If I play this song, and let's say a Ray Bolt song is really good, am I given a tacit approval to Ray Bolt? What I'm saying is, I have said yes. I'm gonna have to answer for that.

Again, I don't know if a lot of people have thought through that. Maybe that's tightening the noose too tight around what we play, but that's my conviction. I'm gonna have to answer.

Well, listen, why don't we take my first break of the program. Again, folks, we are playing part two, two-part series here on the worship wars, and that's music in the church. It's the big divider, probably more than anything.

Sometimes it's divided along age. It doesn't have to be, but it often is. Sometimes those who are objecting to whatever the music style is, they're simply told, you know what, if you don't like it, you can go somewhere else.

I know people who have visited 15, 20 churches, but they run into the same issue every single church. It is the music, that there's something, and it's not just a minor issue. We have talked again, we've talked about lifestyles. Listen, if you could see The Naked Cowboy on YouTube, and this is what Hillsong's presenting, I think it was in New York, maybe it was Australia, not sure, but I mean, it is shocking. It is shocking. Are we approving that?

I mean, you have to see it to believe it. We're gonna continue our discussion. I'm talking with Pastor Brandon Holthouse. Learn more at Check his prophecy updates weekly as well, and Eric Barger. Learn more at

I'm back in just a couple of minutes. We're gonna continue our discussion on the worship wars. Pastor, does the Bible really have much to say about music? Our Bible is filled with references about singing and about music, and if you're struggling with staying awake tonight, then take a pen and a paper out, and don't draw my silhouette.

Write these references down and check them sometime. Do you know that music and singing is mentioned 550 times in our Bible. Do you know the term music and musical and musician appears 75 times and song and songs appears 98 times and sing and singers 196 times. God loves music. Psalm 100, verse number 2, serve the Lord with gladness. Come before us, presence with singing. We hope the information presented in this two-part series is helpful and will challenge you and your church to promote music that is theologically sound and musicians whose lifestyles represent righteousness.

We love hearing from you. Contact us by mail at Olive Tree Ministries, Box 1452, Maple Grove, Minnesota, 55311. That's Box 1452, Maple Grove, Minnesota, 55311. Reach us through our website at, And call us Central Time at 763-559-4444.

That's 763-559-4444. Many Christians today are completely confused as to what is accurate end-time theology. How about going to the Master Theologian, Jesus Christ? Dr. Ron Rhodes has written a new book and we're carrying it titled Jesus and the End Times, What He Said and What the Future Holds. This is an in-depth look at what we know to be certain about the last days based on the key teachings directly from Jesus. Learn what the Lord Himself said about the rapture, tribulation, second coming, future judgment, millennial kingdom and more. God's plan for the future need not be cloudy. The future should be surrounded by assurance that the things to come have our best interest in mind and would be anything but doom and gloom. Learn from the Master Himself all that is ahead. Find the book in our store at in our print and e-newsletter, or call us at 763-559-4444.

763-559-4444. If sincerity was all that counted, then the Mormon missionary at my door could be counted in. Right. If we're not careful, we allow that kind of thinking to come in and give so much grace to those who are presenting the music in the church today. And let's face it, somebody's a good singer. They write a song. It becomes popular. People like the way it sounds.

They like the melody. They're not thinking too much about the words. We better be careful to test the words. Test everything. I can hear Walter Martin saying it. Put all things to the test.

Test everything. Thousands of people stay up to date on our times by checking our daily headlines at Find the news category there. This program is posted to our website every Saturday morning at Complete Archives. You can stream or download there or tap into the mobile app from Let's return to our discussion on the worship wars, music in the church today, and the controversy that often surrounds it.

Back to Jan Markell, Brandon Holthouse, and Eric Barger. Reckless Love. That's the mega-hit worship song.

Its lyrics have reached millions, and it's inspired over a dozen emails our way in just the past month, like this one from Tim, a regular listener to the podcast. Over the past couple of months, I've been hearing the song Reckless Love playing over and over in churches and on the radio. One of the main lines in the chorus celebrates the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God. My question is, is this a biblically and theologically correct way to describe God's love? Is the term reckless too reckless? I don't want to sound too judgmental, but every time I bring this up, I get called the Pharisee for focusing on just one word rather than the message of the whole song. I'm just hoping you could shed some light, because I truly believe that words matter, especially in songs of worship and praise.

Okay, and welcome back. I agree with that little clip there. Eric, what about that? Pick it on one word. Maybe the rest of the song is pretty good, but the one word is pretty bad. Let's come back to this. Musicians are not always discerning, just like the people who sit in the pews are not always discerning.

Oftentimes, something rhymes and it fits and it kind of sounds like it came from the Bible or an idea that came from some Christian mind, but did it really match what the Scriptures say? That's the point. Again, we're not, and I hope people understand, we are not trying to be so nitpicky that nothing works. We're pointing out some of the repetition and also some of the words that are being used, especially the idea of reckless.

Oh boy, it just goes further. We're not the first ones to say this. There are people who defend this particular song and the use of the word reckless online. I've read two or three comments. It's obviously a hot button. Yeah, it is a hot button.

Brandon Holtzhaus, and he's one of my guests for the hour. Brandon, you have some words that I think folks need to hear, and not necessarily in the song version, but you've got them that you can read. And in some cases, again, we referred to this a little bit last week, is Jesus our boyfriend? I mean, that's kind of where some of these words are leading us.

Talk to us a little bit about that. I have some examples of that, but words mean things. And if I'm going to write a song, and to be biblically accurate, I would think some of these artists would take the time, do a little searching through the scriptures, and make sure that they're not using terms that are not identified with God's love. So the idea of the reckless love, but now let's move to another way that many songs are being used, and they're using love in what we call theoeroticism, which is Jesus is my boyfriend type of song, a romance type of song to God. And if you just interchange God from your boyfriend, your wife, or your whatever, it would fit.

But theoeroticism is old. Let me give you a couple of examples of songs that you just, it kind of upsets you almost to the point of blasphemy, of saying certain things to Jesus or to God. For instance, this one's from Kerry Jobe, lay back against you and breathe, fill your heartbeat. This love is so deep, it's more than I can stand. I melt in your presence. It's overwhelming. That's theoeroticism.

Let me give you another example by Matt Redman. I'm falling in love with you. I mean, you can't get more clearer than that. That's a Valentine's Day card. I'm falling in love with God?

Is that how it works? Or how about another one? David Harper, I want to lavish. I want to lavish my love on you, Jesus. I just can't see that being scripture. God loves us. We love him back.

But this idea of a romanticized love, an eros for God, that's not biblically accurate. Let me show you another one. Andy Park, in the secret. He says, in the secret, in the quiet place, in the stillness, you are there. In the secret, in the quiet hour, I wait only for you, because I want to know you more. I want to touch you. I want to see your face.

I want to know you more. And it's like, Andy, did you not understand you're saying that to God and not your wife? I want to touch you in the secret place? I mean, it just gets beyond to where, if I'm singing that in a congregation, that starts turning my stomach upside down. Yeah, absolutely.

Last one, and I'll give you this. The simplest of all love songs I want to bring to you. So I let my words be few. Jesus, I am so in love with you. I just can't see men gravitating to that saying, I want to be romantic with Jesus.

I just don't see people, especially men, saying that's okay. That turns my stomach. But that is what's an example of fuel eroticism. Examples of some of the worship songs being sung in our churches today. What about the Kingdom Now theology, Brennan? Again, we're talking about bad theology. So here's where the artists' theology creeps into their song.

So they have it sprinkled in there. Here's an example of a classic one of Kingdom Now theology. This is by Rend Collective. And the title of the song is Build Your Kingdom Here.

And so here's the lyrics. Build your kingdom here, heal our streets and land, change the atmosphere, build your kingdom here. Build your kingdom here, heal our streets and land, win this nation back, change the atmosphere, build your kingdom here. We pray, change the atmosphere, unleash your kingdom power, awake the kingdom seed in us.

That's a tip off. Build your kingdom here, win this nation back, change the atmosphere, build your kingdom here. And he just keeps repeating this. Build your kingdom here. The kingdom is not coming unless Jesus comes back.

Right. Let's clarify Kingdom Now theology says that the church will make the world perfect and only then can Christ return. And it's heavy in the New Apostolic Reformation. I would say most all of those folks believe this.

It's manifest in their music. And it is false, false theology. But you may be singing it Sunday morning. Go ahead, Brandon.

Right. If I see that at my church, I'm thinking as a layperson, well, that must be biblical, because why would they play something unbiblical? So I go away and maybe I buy the CD or download the song on a podcast. So I'm singing this song, but it's totally inaccurate about the kingdom. And this goes in line to then my actions will follow this.

Whatever I believe, if I believe God's building this kingdom now, it will come out in my actions, which is now why you're seeing a lot of people get into the social justice movement in churches. Yes, yes, yes, exactly. Good point.

Yep. It comes back to the false spiritual warfare once again, a false idea, a misconception about it. You know, that last song, I wouldn't even want that played in the car away from church as just a casual song to listen to. You think about what it's saying. And don't you all wish that it was just so easy that every song was blatant if it had theological problems.

But this means that if you're going to be discerning on this issue, folks, you have to know your Bible and you have to then be willing to apply it to things that your flesh might really like, but don't match the Word of God. I want to play clip two again. We played it last week.

That's OK. It ties into exactly what we're saying. And some of you folks didn't even hear last week's program.

We could play clip two again. 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. These lyrics have nothing distinctively Christian to them.

In fact, they could easily be mistaken for a high school love letter. 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. OK, again, folks, you may be singing in your worship service Sunday morning and that's why we have the Worship Wars. You're listening to Understanding the Times Radio. Jan Markell here.

I have two guests with me for the hour last week and this week. This is part two of the Worship Wars. I have Pastor Brandon Holt House. You can learn more at and then Eric Barger, Brandon, talk to me a little bit about Hypergrace.

How does it fit in here? Well, a lot of times what these people will use against us when we do point things out, they'll use the hypergrace, which means that, well, everything's under the blood, it's all grace, and that you can't call anyone out for certain things because there's no law. And hypergrace is basically antinomianism. There's no law in there. It's all grace, all love. And for us to point things out, they're saying, well, you're being a legalist. What they don't understand is we are under the law of the Messiah. We're not under the Mosaic law.

Since we're under the law of the Messiah, it doesn't allow you to act lawless or do lawless things or participate in lawless things, particularly in music. So a lot of times these artists will come back with this hypergrace defense and say, well, all Jesus cares about is our sincerity. And that's totally wrong. You can be sincerely wrong. That's their reaction to it. And again, it's antinomianism, and we're just simply pointing out, this is not a consistent methodology that's supported by Scripture.

If sincerity was all that counted, then the Mormon missionary at my door could be counted in. Right. If we're not careful, we allow that kind of thinking to come in and give so much grace to those who are presenting the music in the church today. And let's face it, somebody's a good singer. They write a song. It becomes popular. People like the way it sounds.

They like the melody. They're not thinking too much about the words. We better be careful to test the words. Test everything. I can hear Walter Martin saying it. Put all things to the test.

Test everything. Yeah. And let me add something to this hypergrace movement. It supports what the churches are doing.

Let me explain that. When they reference 1 Corinthians 9 and saying, well, by all means I can reach people, and basically anything goes, that falls under this hypergrace, no law type of movement. And that's not at all what the Apostle Paul was talking about. The ends do not justify the means. Amen. And so that's the problem we're seeing in a lot of churches, that the ends do justify about anything they want to do.

So whether it's Michael Jackson's thriller or some type of form of entertainment, there's no law basically for them. The hypergrace movement puts its stamp of approval on what they're doing, and then it baptizes it in saying, this is for evangelism, and this is for each people. And I just don't think that's what the Apostle Paul meant to the Corinth church, that I do anything I can to reach people. Yeah, how far do we take that? Do we go into the bars?

Well, some people, you know, I understand that some people do that. They go in and witness. But do we go to smoke pot with somebody to say, I can be all things to all men, that by some means I'll save some or some will be brought to Christ? Where do you draw the line there? You never go outside the bounds of what the Scripture teaches you is your responsibility as the way you act.

Go ahead, Brandon. Paul follows that up. You know, the old principle in Scripture about interpretation is, if you just continue to read what the Apostle Paul said, he actually qualifies what he meant by that. And he says, everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things, basically self-controlled.

We're not allowing ourselves to go out of control. He's talking about the Gentiles and reaching them, he goes, to those who are without the law as without the law, not being without the law toward God, but under the law towards Christ. And he's saying, I'm reaching Gentiles, but I'm staying under the law of Christ. So he qualifies how he reaches people. So the Apostle Paul, if he was commenting on these churches, would say, you're not following the law of Christ. I did not mean that anything goes.

And then he continues, and he concludes, and he says, run the race, and don't run in such a way as to be disqualified for the prize. If you use the wrong methodology, if you use the wrong doctrine, you will lose rewards. So the Apostle Paul qualifies these guys under the hyper-grace movement that anything goes and says, no, you must follow the Bible. You're listening to Understanding the Times Radio, Jan Markell.

By the way, Brandon Holhouse's church is in Bakersfield, California, if you're wondering where that is, look it up online as well, Here's the thing, gentlemen, and we can pick this up in my closing segment as well. The majority of listeners today, the majority of listeners at any time are not worship leaders. They are pew sitters. They may not approve about what's going on.

They just feel helpless. We heard from Carol in my last program last weekend. Carol approached her church leadership, and she said, please, the words are awful, the lifestyles of some of the songwriters are abysmal. We can't give our approval.

We can't endorse some of these things. And of course, she was blown off. And she ultimately did find a good church.

And we even played a clip of her new pastor denouncing all of these things in a very appropriate way. I think what we have to address is really what can people do when they are faced with an issue situation like this? I'm going to start with you, Eric.

We're going to have to wrap it up in our next segment. But speak to me about this. Well, I think the first thing we do is pray.

And I think everybody can do that. If people feel helpless, the first place I go is God to give me help with my helplessness about an issue, whatever it might be. So you pray. And it's the kind of thing that you just don't pray one prayer and then stop on. You continue. If you see issues in your church or issues in your life and family, what do you do?

You pray. So it's just the common nuts and bolts of being a Christian. That's where you start and remember that it may not change overnight. It may be in baby steps that changes are taking place. Well, let me quote an article you wrote.

And you say, and this is an article that's about this topic. You say, changing what you may be doing or not doing concerning music and worship may take time to implement. But remember, it is God we are here to please. It is a sobering thought that someday all of us will stand before God and give an account of what we did, whether good or bad, while in these earthly bodies.

But we who are in leadership, particularly those who teach, will be held to an even higher standard. That's why this is serious stuff. Yeah, and it is serious stuff. Again, I just say, you know, if we understand, have the basics of the scriptures in our heart and a Bible and a simple concordance, we'll be able to find references that will help us to walk through these issues about the lyrics and about the lifestyle.

And that's, in my mind, that is the place to begin if you are having issues with some of the things you're hearing being sung. And then you hear also reports as we've given here and others are talking about, about the lifestyles of some of the musicians that we've also talked about. Why don't we take my second break of the program. And when I return, we're going to wrap this up. And I want to quote you another paragraph or two from the article you've written. And folks, you can find his article at

When I come back, we're going to wrap up. This is a two-week series I've done, folks, on the worship wars. Again, emails tell me lots of things about some of the church issues. The number one issue is where can I find a solid church that will teach sound doctrine? Second issue is where can I find a church that will talk about end-time issues, the thing that's coming?

Number three is probably what we're talking about today. And that is I'm going from church to church. I've visited 15, 20 churches, and I'm not looking for perfection, okay? I'm willing to accept some things that are not perfect in any church. But when earplugs are handed out as I walk into the sanctuary, the smoke and the light machines go off when they start the music.

And then my heart starts pounding. Not only that, but the words are off base. We've covered that now for two weeks, how the words can be off base, the theology that is being sung.

We've hit that hard. Theology can be horrific. Talk about apostasy. It's not just in things that we read and things that are coming from the pulpit.

It absolutely is in the songs that you are singing. That's why I chose to cover this for two weeks with Pastor Brandon Holt House, Rock Harbor Church, and that's in Bakersfield, California. And Brandon, you meet in a school, am I right? Yeah, we do.

We struggle with setting up and tearing down. And where are you? What school? Liberty High School in Bakersfield, California.

Liberty High School. Okay, we're coming back in just a couple of minutes. We'll wrap up our two-week discussion.

Don't go away. To his feet, thy tribute reign, ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven. Who like thee his praise should sing?

Okay, now we've got something to sing about. For we've been reminded of truth. You've been ransomed. You've been healed. You've been restored. You've been forgiven.

You're looking away from yourself now. You're looking out and to Christ. And it is in this that we have something that fuels our praise. We know that not every church is embroiled in music controversy, but since so many are, John Markell and our radio guests today are airing part two of our two-part series on the worship wars. How did gospel music become controversial? Isn't it all a joyful noise unto the Lord?

Apparently not, since people leave a church over music issues more than over pulpit issues. If you would like to weigh in, write us through our website, That's You can always drop us a note with a tax-deductible check to Olive Tree Ministries, Box 1452, Maple Grove, Minnesota, 55311.

Box 1452, Maple Grove, Minnesota, 55311. We'll return to our discussion in just a moment. We are in a world of confusion. Up is down, black is white, evil is good.

Politically, the nation is divided as seriously as it was at the time of the Civil War. With the world drowning in fake news and false teaching, who can you trust? We hope you can trust Olive Tree Ministries and understanding the Times Radio.

We are in our 19th year of broadcasting coast to coast and around the world electronically. If we made a difference in this unstable world, contact us at by calling us at 763-559-4444. That's 763-559-4444. Or by writing Olive Tree Ministries, Box 1452, Maple Grove, Minnesota, 55311.

That's Box 1452, Maple Grove, Minnesota, 55311. Make us your trusted destination in 2019 for the Inconvenient Truth. We are wrapping up a two-week series on music in the church. It has become the great divider. Just because we love a melody, can we ignore the theology in some of today's Christian songs sung in church? How about the lifestyle of the originators of the music? Does it matter that choruses are sung ten and twenty times and seem to induce a trance?

Jan, Pastor Brandon Holthouse, and Eric Barger wrap up the discussion in this week's closing segment of Understanding the Times Radio. Music. Music has degenerated. The great hymns of the faith that Christians have sung for literally hundreds of years are now rejected out of hand as being irrelevant, as being boring, and in their place has come this highly repetitious, I can't think of any better word than tacky music where I'm expressing my emotional state rather than confessing what I believe about the living God and what God has revealed about Himself. Whereas the music in the worship of God must reflect the majesty and the dignity of worship service. And the words of the hymns must be based on truth and not on my emotional state, but on truth. Now you look at most hymns today and it's a repetition of what I feel. I feel this way. God makes me feel so good.

Whereas the hymns that the people of God and the Psalms and the spiritual songs that people have sung for generation after generation have been based upon truth as revealed in Scripture and then the music matches the majesty and the dignity of the words. And we've lost that today. Welcome back. We're concluding our two week series on the worship wars.

And my goodness, we do have a war going on. It's in the church sanctuary and it's called worship time where we're hearing the singing songs about God being our boyfriend, et cetera, instead of glorious words about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So things have changed over the last 25 years, 30 years in our first program, we went back and explained how this happened as a result of the church growth movement.

The emphasis began to be on filling the pews and the offering plates and reaching the postmodern, the younger person and older folks were told if you don't like it, you can go somewhere else. We actually heard from Carol in last week's program. Find it at,, go to radio and then complete archives. Again, you can download the mobile app and it's downloaded to your device every Saturday morning. New programming is posted various places, our website, oneplace app Saturday morning.

If you write to us, would you tell us just how you listen? Again, let me just quickly reference understanding the times 2019 coming up this fall, September 21st, Saturday, September 21st, Dr. Robert Jeffress, Pastor Jack Hibbs, Pastor J.D. Farag, Amir Sarfati, yours truly will all be presenting that day, Saturday, September 21st. We'll start about 8.45 a.m. to about 5 p.m. Tickets will go on sale in June. General admission seats for $25, they will include lunch.

You can't get them here. We'll be offering them through the Brushfire Ticketing Agency starting about June 1st. Plenty of seats.

We've got about 4,500 to 5,000 seats, so you will not have any problem as long as you order in June-July or so. Now, we've reset the stage here many times. I don't need to do that again. We've been talking about the music in the church that has really gone south here in the last number of years. Eric, you wrote an article.

Just tell me a minute about it. I'm going to quote from it here, but why did you do this? Well, I felt like that the things we would be discussing today, some of these main points, probably needed to be just put in print so people can have a starting point, because really, many times in life, I find if we just have a starting point, we'll do pretty well if we keep our eyes focused on Scripture and what God's will is for our lives. So I put this together and just kind of wrote it very quickly, but I think there's some good points in it. It's called Advice on Music in the Church Today, and it'll be on my homepage at for folks to get in. One of the first things I say is if you're a pastor or a worship leader or a church musician, understand that we're not trying to be overly critical. We're not bashing you.

We want to support you. And it may take baby steps. Like we said already in either last week or this week's program, one of the two, I made that statement that start with baby steps. If you feel like this is too much and it'll be too much upheaval in the church, start with baby steps. You can always begin to test the lyrics of the songs you sing and then make appropriate decisions and that's a good place to start. And of course, you can always commence by praying together as a worship team, whether it's two people or 20 people pray together. And the instruction that I think pastors and worship leaders can give to their musicians to get the mindset of worship instead of the mindset that we're at a concert.

This is not a concert. We are playing, we are performing, but it's gotta be a different mindset in church. We are there to lead people into the presence of God, open the way in their hearts for God's word. So it's a mindset needs to be taught. And these are some of the things that are in that article.

Yeah. And you say this, and I'm repeating here, leading people into the presence of God and paving the way for their hearts to be receptive to the presentation of God's word must be our goal to get there. We need direction and instruction so that each person involved understands and compliments the mission as a whole. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that for most churches today, this includes those even in the sound booth being that I was a musician and I also, and also recording engineer and producer, I can say without doubt that those adjusting the tones and particularly the volume can make or break the mission of bringing worship in a church.

That's an interesting perspective. And again, most people listening, Eric, they're not sound booth technicians, but nonetheless, I think that's an important point. Maybe the music team doesn't even have control. The sound guys have the control.

That's true. And sadly, and I know this to be a fact, it wouldn't be in every church, but in some churches, the person or persons in the sound booth, and if I see a rotating sound booth people, I go, wait a second. One of them probably has the ears to hear the music better, the understanding of how to blend and create the music from that viewpoint better. And sometimes it's the person who will volunteer to do it more than anything else and we praise God for volunteers.

Don't get me wrong. Oftentimes it's not understood that the person in the sound booth has a lot to do with what ends up at the end as it comes out to speakers. You say, I believe that the tendency in some churches to approach worship as a concert or entertainment is grievous error. True, the congregation may be entertained, but if our goal is only to entertain, have we really accomplished anything? The trappings of strobe lights and fog machines may be considered cool elsewhere, but we who play and sing before God have a task and we have to remain on task and eliminate anything that could hamper or distract from that. The task is, as I already stated, to bring people into the presence of God and to prepare their hearts to hear the word. And Pastor Brandon Holt House, we've talked about some things today that are so grievous from the naked cowboy on down and how on earth can the naked cowboy help us and bring us into the presence of God and prepare our hearts to hear his word?

How? Well, it can't obviously, but we have to understand what's happening. There's something bigger going on because Eric's absolutely right. Music prepares our hearts to hear God's word. So the central focus of the worship service should be the instruction from God's word. If you look at the ancient church, that's what the ancient church was doing. In fact, the architecture of the ancient church put the choir in the back.

They didn't put them on the front stage. They would have a pulpit that was the center stage. So you can even see in the architecture of ancient churches what the focus was supposed to be on, and it was supposed to be on the word of God. So why has things changed?

And I think the average person needs to understand this. There is something bigger going on, because it's not just one or two churches here and there. It's the majority of churches. And we believe in prophecy and what the Bible states about the great apostasy. I think and believe the apostasy's hitting the music as well. So people are seeing the great apostasy, and Jesus called it the leaven that permeates with the entire dough, and it's affecting every area of the church. You know, Brandon, when you consider what Lucifer's role was in heaven, why wouldn't he come to earth to try to pervert the music? He's done that in the secular world, but he's not finished there. You know the old saying of when pastors, when Satan fell, he fell in the choir loft. And we're definitely seeing it. That could be true.

You know what I mean? Because of his association with leading the music in heaven, why does this become the open door to apostasy? Because it's emotional.

When you're emotional, you can bypass your theology and just have this mystical experience with God, and that's what people are looking for. You know, Brandon, when we were talking just a minute ago about the construction of churches now that the music was in the back, I immediately thought of the church inside the city walls here in Jerusalem where we all sang together last year. Yes, right. And that is a great example to me of how those churches must have sounded. Absolutely. Folks, we spent two weeks.

When I do a two-week series, it's because I just feel the issue, whatever it is, done several two-week series over the last many years, I just feel that the subject matter can't be compromised by skipping lots of primary bullet points in whatever the presentation might be. And so we've tried to cover this extensively here for two weeks, the worship wars, because that's what it's turned into. We have people wandering from church to church for lots of reasons, but one of them is they cannot tolerate a kind of a perverted music that's at one time, at one time their church may have had a choir, may have had an orchestra. Now it's got a rock band and it's not a quiet rock band. It's actually, you have to put in earplugs just to go in and participate in the worship music.

Eric, we've got about a minute left, wrap it up. The most important thing is we're here to please God with what we do in worship as really hopefully in every other area of life. If you're a worship pastor, if you're a musician playing in church, and I kind of said this a few minutes ago, but make that commitment that you're going to pray and you're going to instruct your people about what our purpose is for music in the church and that you're there to please God.

This is not a concert. You're going to put every song to the test. It just won't be what's popular or what's being sold in the Christian industrial complex or on Christian radio. It will be what God's word gives pass to. In other words, what God's word would give approval to. So that's really the crux of the article, the crux of what we said here. Let's put God first with the music and make sure that it matches the scriptures.

That's the bottom line. You have contact information going out of the program. Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining me for two weeks at on the web. That's Rock Harbor Church in Bakersfield, California, Pastor Brandon Holdhouse, You can find the article that we're quoting on his homepage, the link to the article on his homepage,

Let me go out of the program. It says in Colossians 3 16, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual song with thankfulness in your heart to God. It has been proven that music lessens anxiety and stress. It provides comfort, but 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. I want to thank you for listening, folks, for two weeks on our topic today. We'll talk to you next week. We hope you have found this two-week series on today's Christian music being played in most churches helpful. God ordained and created music.

He has gifted millions with gifts in writing and presenting a joyful noise unto the Lord. We welcome your feedback. Write us through our website, That's You can always drop us a note with a tax-deductible check to Olive Tree Ministries, Box 1452, Middlegrove, Minnesota, 55311. Call us Central Time at 763-559-4444, that's 763-559-4444. In the meantime, thank you for trusting us in an age of fake news and false teaching. Make us your trusted weekend destination and help you understand the times, contend for the faith, and become watchmen on the wall.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-07 07:59:38 / 2023-05-07 08:22:10 / 23

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