Praise and Worship for the Modern Age vs Church Growth

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Many of those Christian counterculture proponents justified their shedding of numerous church traditions by quoting Jesus when He said, “For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men . . .” (Mk 7:8 KJV) Because they were against denominationalism, they walked away from denominational worship forms. They forsook sanctuaries to meet in warehouses. And in many cases they supplanted hymns with praise songs.

In His admonishment with regard to the traditions of men Jesus was not indicating that true religion ended in the Book of Acts to be reestablished in the ‘60s. He was not commanding that we turn our backs on the customs of the church that have underpinned and supported the Christian faith throughout the centuries. He was not charging that individual churches abandon the traditions that have long defined their congregations. Jesus was not saying that we should shut down our sanctuaries in favor of meeting in store fronts, throw out our stained glass, dismantle our pipe organs, discontinue meeting on Sundays as has been the tradition of the church from the beginning (Mk 16:2; Mk 16:9; Jn 20:1,19; Acts 20:7; I Cor 16:2), dispense of the notion of setting Sunday aside as a day of rest, discontinue hymn singing, throw out the doxology, disband our choirs, shut down our Christmas and Easter cantatas, discontinue placing flowers in front of the sanctuary in the memory of others, get rid of the Easter lilies and poinsettias during the holidays, throw out our ties and Easter dresses, stop involving ourselves in influencing our culture and on-and-on.

Jesus was talking about those traditions that stand in the way of God rather than those that affirm Him. Therefore when the Apostle Paul admonished the church, he was warning us with regard to taking on the ways of unbelieving and deceitful men. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Col2: 8 MKJV) He was not urging the church to forsake Christian traditions. He was calling on them to forsake things such as the very humanistic bohemian philosophies that the counterculture church found itself adopting.

Christian traditions give us our identity. They are symbolic of our faith and the symbolism that they contain brings the Scripture and God close to our hearts in a tangible way. They give us memories that when enjoyed through the years hold us together and bind us to God. Jesus affirmed tradition when he commanded us to take the Lord’s supper in remembrance of Him. (Luke 22:19) In so doing we are reminded of our salvation and the suffering that He went through two thousand years ago for us. Communion is a link back into history that we can perceive with all of our senses.

In the same way the traditions that develop around the Christian faith continue to remind us of various aspects of our faith and connect us with our history. Christmas programs filled with traditional melodies create the season and remind us of Christ’s birth. Meeting in historical church buildings reminds us of the faith of past generations and the sacrifices that they made so that we can have a place to call our home. Hymn singing tells of our marvelous God and reveals the Scriptures to us in song. They hold us tight to our Christian roots. Setting aside a day of rest honors God and reminds us that we need to enter into the rest of God in every aspect of our lives. Dressing up for church is a display of our respect for God just as dressing up to go to court to stand before a judge demonstrates the same. Meeting on Sunday reminds us of the resurrection of Christ and His appearance to His followers. You can fill in the blanks from here.

Our culture speaks about who we are. Society reflects the religious belief system that lies below it. The law, heritage and social mores that come out of society will demonstrate the nature of the faith that drives it. If a Christian society takes on the social traditions of a society of another religious persuasion, the Christian belief system itself will be defiled and the faith of its followers will stagger. That is why God admonished the Jewish nation to separate themselves from the pagan cultures that surrounded them. This is the danger that lies behind opening the door of the church to those who promise that if we conform to the modern world we will find success. But God instructed the ancient Hebrew nation to hold tightly to the customs of old that He had established among them.

Therefore, the Old Testament Jewish kings who did evil in the sight of the Lord did so because they rejected the ways of the godly Kings before him. They turned against those who followed God only to adopt the ways of pagan culture. For example, with regard to King Amon the Bible states: “And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his father Manasseh did. And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them: And he forsook the Lord God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of the Lord.” (II Kings 20-22 KJV)

God put together a blueprint for the children ofI srael to live by in order that they would separate themselves from the surrounding pagan world. In so doing they were admonished to cling to their historical roots and follow in the way of their fathers who had served and honored God. As Christians we are likewise admonished to do the same today. (II Cor 6:7) Therefore separation from the world involves the act of holding on to those traditions that define who we are as Christians. “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.” (II Thess2:15MKJV)

In reality the “traditions of men” that we are to avoid are those that come from the very anti-Christian belief system that the counterculturalists adopted. “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Col2:8 MKJV) Therefore, the Bible is not calling us to forsake the traditions that have resulted from a rich Christian heritage. It calls us away from the principles of the world. It is the Christian traditions of our society that we ought to hold dear, for these are the customs that bind our hearts to God as they surround us with remembrances of Him every where that we go.

The founders of our country were clearly rooted in Christian tradition. Therefore when God established the United States of America He gave us specific guidelines to live by and these were firmly established on a Christian base. These guidelines were not only written into our law by the Founders, but also established in centuries of Christian tradition that rested on social mores that were established on biblical truth.

Such American traditions as singing the national anthem remind us not only of our past and the courage of those who died for our freedom but they extol the Christian virtues of honor and courage. The Christian quality of respect can be found every time we say the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag even as it is deemed important to handle the Stars and Stripes in a particular fashion. When we look at the Declaration of Independence we see that our rights are based upon God’s nature as demonstrated in the Word. Our Constitution was founded deep in the Christian belief system through created institutions such as the system of checks and balances that reminds us that men are basically depraved and need checks in their lives to keep them from committing evil.

Non-Christian societies generally have very little respect for women. They put their women’s faces behind veils, demand that they walk behind men or burn them alive with their deceased husbands. But because the Bible teaches Christians to honor women (Eph 5: 25-33) Western Society followed the tradition of Sir Walter Raleigh as men stood when a woman arrived on the scene, opened their doors for them and helped them into their chairs. However, as Western Society has adopted the social mores of unbelieving cultures, in the light of modern feminism many of these customs are no longer being passed along to our children. It is no wonder, therefore, why spousal abuse is on the rise and the institution of marriage as established in the Bible is eroding.

In deference to biblical teaching the aged have always been held in high respect. (Lev19:32) But with the advent of the ’60s mentality that no one over 30 can be trusted, respect for the elderly and anything that they believe in has been abandoned. Because of health care costs, the elderly are seen as more of a burden to society than a benefit as the concept of assisted suicide is gaining popularity.

Pagan cultures sacrifice their children and even as we continue to take on their social mores millions of babies are being slaughtered. Abortion ushers from a pagan source that has nothing to do with Christian teaching. Nimrod, the father of all pagan religions, was regarded as the great child-devourer. As the father of the gods he was called Kronos. The classic story of this god tells us that “He devoured his sons as soon as they were born.” It’s no wonder, therefore that as the region of the East that followed in Nimrod’s footsteps was adopted by America in the ‘60s that we have seen abortion on demand become commonplace.

In Jewish history, every time an evil King would turn from God, he would reject those precepts God has established in order to adopt the way of the heathens. The most glaring example was when Ahab married the heathen Jezebel who turned the king’s heart away from God to adopt the ways of pagans. (I King 16: 31-33) The ultimate destination was idolatry.

In the same manner, many in the Counterculture Church rejected the richness of American Christian tradition that defined its Christian predecessors to adopt the anti-tradition position of the pagan hippies. The result has been the same as can be witnessed in the Old Testament as immorality inundates the Contemporary Church today that has forsaken its heritage for the sake of everything new. [1]

Ron Rhodes wrote in The Culting of America, “. . . It would seem today that many people take a ‘social club’ attitude toward church participation. They seek a lively institution that allows them to foster convivial relationships but avoids influencing how they live and behave. The result: there is little moral difference between people inside and outside the church.”

Indeed, Chuck Colson agreed when he told the Christian Research Institute, “A Gallup poll found that there was no difference in the ethical behavior of people who go to church and people who don’t go to church. And so, one has to conclude – painful though it is – that over the past decade in American life, churches have made little difference in the lives of people.” It is no wonder therefore that the divorce rate is as high or even higher among Christians as it is with unbelievers.


[1] However, it must be emphasized that as many in the Counterculture Church have matured their churches have swung more to the middle ground as many church traditions have been reestablished among them. This body of believers has turned a political about face and now has become very involved in speaking out against sin in the culture just the historical church has done. There have been profound changes in their music as well. Their artists have produced hymn recordings played in a contemporary fashion in order to facilitate the growth of that tradition in the Contemporary Church. The lyrics of many of their own contemporary praise songs have become more profound and less repetitive. The praise chorus has virtually disappeared as we find modern writers adding verses that depict the truth of Scripture as the hymns have done for eons.

 

Stay tuned for more!

The preceeding blog is an exerpt from Don Wigton’s book “Holy Wars.” Click here to purchase: http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=267348

For free praise music, charts and study helps go to the Wigtune Praise and Worship Sitehttp//www.praisesong.net

Praise and Worship for the Modern Age vs Church Growth

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Counterculture Faith

 

And so it is that political and religious liberalism is founded firmly in the church’s 19th century turn from biblical truth, which provided the springboard for the ‘60s revolution that in turn paganized both society and the Mainline Church. In the midst of all this turmoil the counterculture church emerged. This was a movement that conformed to its environment in many ways. Therefore the “Jesus” movement took on many aspects of the culture of those it sought to minister to. Instead of getting high on pot they got high on the Lord. The fish replaced the peace sign on the back of their Volkswagen vans as they greeted each other with the “one way” sign instead of the familiar two-fingered “V” sign of the hippies. “Give peace a chance,” “Make love not war” and “All you need is love” was the mantra of the pacifistic counterculture crowd who sought to be mellow at all cost. Therefore in the counterculture church we heard catch phrases such as “striving in the flesh” utilized to criticize Christians who put labor into their work for Christ. The call was to be laid back instead, and many of their musicians remained very stoic in their performances while talking to their audiences in a very mellow or monotone manner in order to project this idea. Many times their worship and praise music reflected the rock era that they ushered from with much of the same repetitiveness that marked the worship life of their modern bohemian counterparts.

Now there has been a lot of good that came out of that movement of God and we will refer to this in greater depth later in this blog. Its membership fled from the unbiblical denominational complexities that had been strangling the church to adopt a simpler expression of their faith based upon the Word of God rather than the influence of corrupt systems. They discarded the manipulative tactics and strategies that were plaguing the Organized Church to trust in and depend on the guidance of the Holy Spirit rather than the ingenuity of men. Ministry was servant-based with a focus on the development of spiritual gifts in the body. They sought to help parishioners find what they are called to do rather than fulfill duties that are designed around the will of the organization. Believing that the love of money had become too important to the Denominational Church they abandoned the practice of chiding people with guilt trips in order to raise money. Rather they adopted the unique practice of trusting God for their finances. The Book of Acts became their model for growth based upon the power of the Holy Spirit that came out of the dependence upon the same. Evangelism was their focus and means of church growth. And many were saved. Rather than performing meaningless rituals motivated by habit they heartily praised God with sincerity. Praise was an expression from the heart rather than routine performed by habit or rote.

However the movement did not go completely unaffected by the attitudes of the counterculture environment that surrounded it. In some regards certain charismatic leaders conformed to and adopted the anti-traditional philosophies of these non-conformists even as they attempted to pull them out of sex, drugs and their pagan religious beliefs. In many instances just as the hippies had done, these Charismatics likewise became critical of historical Christianity. Therefore Chuck Smith wrote, “I am a realist. The church, in its endeavor to make the world a better place to live, has just about wiped itself out.” Later in the same discourse he proclaimed, “I personally am not proud of the traditional church history. It seems to me that it is the story of failure.”

The hippies had revolted against the Christian-based society that we called America in the ‘50s. As you can see above, the Counterculture Church took on that very same attitude. While adopting the demeanor of the historical revisionists, many in the movement saw American history as being one tragedy after another and this was caused by the Christian religion that dominated the American cultural scene up to that point. In so doing these Charismatics challenged the same historical Christian base of America that the hippies rebelled against.

As a result in many ways they took on the cultural disposition of the new society that the Bohemians had created rather than influencing it. It’s going to go one way or the other. Christians will either change culture or be changed by it.

Rousseau had it all wrong. It was not Western Civilization, which was founded on the Christian base, that corrupted man. It was the corrupt philosophies such as those that he advanced that pervert society and therefore defile its citizens. As the history of the ancient Hebrew nation clearly testifies, it is the lack of godly influence in society that lies at the heart of the problems of any civilization. Many in the Countercultural Church failed to recognize this fact and took in the Bohemian ideal with gusto. As a result traditional church history was thrown out with the bath water.

Stay tuned for more!

The preceeding blog is an exerpt from Don Wigton’s book “Holy Wars.” Click here to purchase: http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=267348

For free praise music, charts and study helps go to the Wigtune Praise and Worship Sitehttp//www.praisesong.net

Praise and Worship for the Modern Age vs Church Growth

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A Surprising Liberal Source

Ironically, political liberalism found its original American roots in the Christian theological liberalism that rose up in the late 19th Century under the umbrella of Modernism. Modernism is a departure from historic Christian beliefs in order to submit to the will of rationalism as proposed by the Enlightenment. According to The Church in History, “. .the Modernists place the mind of man above the Bible, and they place reason above faith.” Because they denied the supernatural world, these materialists forsook the belief in the virgin birth or deity of Christ, miracles, and special revelation or the infallibility of Scriptures.

In an attempt to “relate to society” modernists sought to adapt Christianity to evolution. It was Charles Darwin who led these liberals to deny the truth of Scripture. Yet according to Peter Jones in Spirit Wars, ultimately the Darwinian evolutionary base of secular humanism that the entire Modernist movement was founded on collapsed. Even thought it is still being propagated in the schools, evolution among serious scientists has been discredited for the sham that it always was.

In the mean time, without a belief in the authority of Scripture, the modernists were left with nothing to talk about. As a result secular humanism eventually destroyed the liberal church that, while once experiencing growth during the ‘50s and ‘60s, found its congregations fleeing from its midst. And so the modernists lost interest in their liberal interpretations of the Bible. It was in the midst of this weakened church that the counterculture movement rose up to challenge the church that had departed from its first love.

The liberal church needed some where to go from there. Rather than returning to God they sunk to new lows as they turned to the hippies to “get religion.” But this was not a return to the biblical doctrine that they departed from. “Once associated with a religious rationalism and social gospel activism,” Jones writes, “the Religious Left has discovered spirituality, not the spirituality of the Bible but that of paganism.” In order to push their way back to the forefront these liberals discovered the wonders of New Age spirituality to save the planet and to meet the needs of a new post ‘60s culture thirsting after Hinduism. In this vein left-wing scholar Steven Davies wrote, “Those seeking the place where Jesus is ought not to seek Jesus Himself, but will find what they seek in themselves.” “Classical liberalism,” wrote Jones, “denied the truth claims of Christian orthodoxy. Today’s liberalism simply relativizes Christianity as one religious option among many so that it can participate in the coming unification of the planet and of religion, advancing mankind along its evolutionary path.”

In order to propagate ‘60s Eastern Mysticism in the church, liberal religious groups such as the Jesus Seminar promote Gnosticism, which the church fathers of the first centuries fought against. While claiming that Gnosticism was an alternate, authentic expression of Christianity, they have dug up ancient Gnostic texts from that era to justify the creation of a new Gnostic bible.

The fact that the body of Christ was purged of Gnosticism in Early Church times is utilized as proof that Gnosticism is right. Therefore Robert Miller wrote: “Of course history is written by the victors, in this case, by the orthodox fathers of the church. From an objective historical perspective, however, ‘heresy’ is labeled for the rival religious currents that lost; they (the Gnostics) eventually ceased to be politically, socially, or intellectually sustainable alternatives to mainstream Christianity.” Today, as in the early church, we see ourselves in the middle of, not only a struggle for the soul of America, but the future of orthodox Christianity itself.

As America departed from the truth of the Bible these new liberals ran from the American culture that orthodox Christianity had created. As a result they forwarded liberal political policies that flew in the face of everything that America stood for.

Therefore, in true pagan fashion, the liberal church of today has turned to envision a Brave New World where distinctions between the sexes, between right and wrong, between true and false are blurred. A tolerance for all with the exception of evangelicals has been instituted. Satan does not exist. Fundamentalist outsiders who deserve to be scorned have simply drummed him up. Hence we have the culture wars today that find the political left and right on opposite sides of the fence.

Stay tuned for more!

The preceeding blog is an exerpt from Don Wigton’s book “Holy Wars.” Click here to purchase: http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=267348

For free praise music, charts and study helps go to the Wigtune Praise and Worship Sitehttp//www.praisesong.net

Michael Moore receiving Oscar

The Noble Savage

The current assault on our rich Christian traditions in America goes back to the French Revolution. This was a period in history when very destructive humanistic philosophies emerged that would eventually rise up to corrupt the thought life of America and shatter its religious, moral and political compass.

Though they were witnesses to the triumphant demonstration of God’s grace working among His people during the American Revolution, the French turned to rationalism rather than God. So as they revolted against their aristocracy, the French simultaneously rebelled against God. It was Voltaire’s humanistic Enlightenment proposition that lead the charge in the French Revolution. And it led to their demise.

“The utopian dream of the Enlightenment,” wrote Francis Schaeffer in How Should We Then Live? “can be summed up by five words; reason, nature, happiness, progress and liberty. . .To the Enlightenment thinkers, man and society were perfectible.” In spite of this optimism, the French Revolution did not have the same happy ending that occurred in America’s revolt against England. The revolution itself was a bloodbath that ended up with the destruction of liberty in the form of the authoritarian dictatorship of Napoleon. The French Revolution’s final end was Waterloo. This rationalistic revolt that exalted modern intellect over Christian belief was an absolute disaster.

The ‘60s counterculture revolution in America was a calamity as well because, like the French Revolution, it was established on a humanistic base. And so the hippies of that age saw themselves looking to the relativistic philosophy of a Frenchman named Jean-Jacques Rousseau. This Bohemian philosopher rightly reacted to the French catastrophe caused by the Enlightenment to determine that its emphasis on reason and the arts and sciences had caused people to lose more than they gained. But Rousseau’s conclusions were wrong as he completely rebelled against civilization itself claiming that it is civilization that has created the world’s evil. “If man is good by nature, as I believe I have shown him to be,” Rousseau concluded, “it follows that he stays like that as long as nothing foreign to him corrupts him.” While looking at the South Sea’s island cultures unfettered by the “corruption” of civilization he determined that it was the noble savage that epitomized the apex of humanity’s greatest good.

As a result Rousseau saw the restraints of civilization as evils: ”Man was born free, but everywhere he is in chains!”

According to Francis Schaeffer in How Should We Then Live? “We must understand that the freedom he advocated was not just freedom from God or the Bible but freedom from any kind of restraint – freedom from culture, freedom from any authority, and absolute freedom of the individual – a freedom in which the individual is the center of the universe.”

Rousseau’s whole philosophy built around autonomous freedom led to the Bohemian ideal. This is the “hero who fights against all of society’s standards, values and restraints.” The hippies picked up on Rousseau’s noble savage while taking on all of his anti-civilization attitudes. For this reason the revolution that they led is called the counterculture movement.

In addition, these young ‘60s idealists had to deal with the historical revisionism as advanced by historians such as Richard Hofstadter. While under the umbrella of taking an honest look at our nation’s past, revisionist historians took on the attitude of newsstand tabloids. These changers of history sought to dig up every little piece of smut or inconsistent thinking on the part of the great Christian men in America’s past in order to take them down a few notches in everyone’s eyes. In addition, they magnified every historical national so-called sin in order to turn Americans against their Christian heritage and create a whole new hate America crowd.

“The twentieth century American Revolution,” wrote Peter Jones in Spirit Wars, “promises a society without patriarchy, that is, without the traditional family structure, and, in the long run, without God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth.” Therefore, while under these influences, counterculturalists were not content to simply tear society apart. They also sought to rebel against the religion that had made the country what it was. The movement therefore focused its attention on replacing Christianity with a religious system that was very foreign to America at the time. In their efforts to rebel against everything American, the hippies flocked to the Hindu religion that the Beatles brought from the East.

As countercultural eastern religious themes have been applied in our society with the promise of autonomous freedom, the actual result has been the slow erosion of our civil liberties. There is no mystery why this is so. “According to the ancient Hindu dharma,” wrote R.C. Zaehner in Hinduism, “men are not born equal; they are born into that station of life for which their past karma has fitted them.” The Hindu religion that the counterculturalists flocked to supports a rigid caste system by declaring just the opposite of Thomas Jefferson’s words in the Declaration of Independence. There are no inalienable rights in this system. There’s no freedom here. This religion of the East that the hippies adopted is all about bondage.

Since it was based upon Rousseau’s destructive countercultural philosophy and the mystic religions of the East, the ‘60s revolution was as all about tearing everything apart without any plan to replace it with anything other than “sex, drugs, rock and roll” and a whole lot of government control. And now we see that modern political liberalism has completely given itself over to this Bohemian strategy along with its Eastern mystic themes. That is why contemporary liberalism is so bent on undermining liberty by destroying everything that has to do with our Judeo-Christian historical traditions even as it advances Marxian socialism. “This revolution,” Peter Jones concluded, “penetrates every home and soul, redefining sexuality, spirituality, God, religion and revelation. The new world order turns everything we know on its head – good becomes evil, homosexuality the preferred sexual expression, and the traditional family a minority structure.” The goal is the destruction of the American way of life.

Stay tuned for more!

The preceeding blog is an exerpt from Don Wigton’s book “Holy Wars.” Click here to purchase: http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=267348

For free praise music, charts and study helps go to the Wigtune Praise and Worship Sitehttp//www.praisesong.net

Praise and Worship for the Modern Age vs Church Growth
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American Revolutionaries

Before we look into the genesis and influence of liberalism, we must begin by understanding that liberalism and its resultant hostility towards Christianity hasn’t always been the norm in America. In fact, America was firmly founded upon the Christian worldview. As detailed in Francis Schaeffer’s book, How Should We Then Live, the success of the American Revolution, and the freedoms based upon the law that came out of it were established on a dominant Christian base. Indeed this great movement in America was directly founded upon the First Great Awakening around magnificent biblical teachers such as George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards.

Though from England, Whitefield’s greatest work was in America. From 1738-1770, he made three preaching tours in the colonies. Numerous times this “Billy Graham” spoke to as many as 20,000 people at one time. Through his efforts, thousands were saved and many more other spirits were quickened.

Possibly the greatest preacherAmerica has ever produced was Jonathan Edwards. In 1727, he became the minister of the Congregational Church inNorth Ampton,Massachusetts. Then in 1734, he preached a series of messages on justification by faith alone. “By December,” the pastor penned, “the Spirit of God began extraordinarily to set in. Revival grew and souls did, as it were, come by floods to Christ.”

Edward’s infamous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, was so powerful that he had to stop and request silence because the weeping was so loud. The moral tone of New England was lifted to a higher tone than it ever had before. Out of a population of 300,000 people, between 25,000 and 50,000 people were added to the churches.

So profound was the impact of the Great Awakening on American society, that Ben Franklin wrote, “It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless and indifferent about religion, it seemed as if all the world were growing religious, so that one could not walk through the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street.”

It was in the wake of the Great Awakening that the American Revolution arose. Consequently the Christian foundation that underpinned the colonies can easily be seen in the celebrated document that was created during this important moment in American history. This was the Declaration of Independence, which bore on parchment the justification for the revolution. Though its author Thomas Jefferson procured his ideas regarding inalienable rights from John Locke, it was the Christian minister, Samuel Rutherford who first developed the concept. The Christian base of our law and society is also clearly evident in the Constitution, the Federalists Papers and the multitudes of statements ushered by the Founders themselves.

In 1837 John Adams maintained, “Is it not that, in the chain of events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? . . . Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets 600 years before?”

George Washington declared, “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of theUnited   States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”

Patrick Henry stated, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Ben Franklin, concluded, “He who shall introduce the principles of Christianity will change the face of the world.” And indeed America did just that to produce the greatest system of law and the highest level of freedom that the world has ever known.

It is no wonder, therefore, that after the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville visited Americain the 1830’s, he concluded that “there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America.”

There can be no doubt that the American Revolution was firmly established in the Christian faith. This Christian foundation is exactly what the Counterculture movement sought to destroy. For during the ‘60s, even as many in the church had already departed from their biblical roots for the sake of theological liberalism, a ban of Height Ashbury hippies decided they would rebel against culture itself to discover a whole new way of living. “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (II Thess 2: 10-12 KJV)

The hippies revolted against the American Revolution and everything that came out of that historic Christian uprising. This is ironic. For in spite of the fact that the counterculturalists turned their backs on Christianity, the freedoms that allowed these rebels to dissent were a direct result of America’s Christian heritage.

In spite of this outright display of hypocrisy, the entire liberal movement in America now bows before the decadence of the ‘60s revolution. Hence biblical Christianity is the one faith that modern liberals spend all of their waking hours attempting to undermine.

 

Stay tuned for more!

The preceeding blog is an exerpt from Don Wigton’s book “Holy Wars.” Click here to purchase: http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=267348

For free praise music, charts and study helps go to the Wigtune Praise and Worship Sitehttp//www.praisesong.net

Praise and Worship for the Modern Age vs Church Growth
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The Brave New World

So let’s talk about the Brave New World that the church is being called to. Where do you find in history the destruction of the old in favor of the new? Generally the elimination of historical writings and artistic expression occurs during revolutions. Therefore we have witnessed the burning of books in Nazi Germany and the destruction of history as they knew it in the Soviet Union. But this noxious behavior has not been limited to the distant past in far off shores.

During the ‘60s America experienced a revolution of its own which was labeled the sexual revolution or counterculture movement. Like so many of the humanistic revolutions that preceded it, this movement was characterized primarily by a rebellion against everything in the past. The bull’s eye of the attack was everything that had anything to do with tradition, and particularly any American Christian tradition.

“The Sixties’ rejection of authority, rejection of biblical sexual moral, and the search for a new spirituality,” wrote Peter Jones in Spirit Wars, “are not artifacts of a failed revolution. They are the tools in the destruction of Western civilization.” Indeed, the results of this revolution in America have been nearly catastrophic. In our government we have witnessed the erosion of the system of checks and balances as the courts have stepped beyond their constitutional authority to write law as they see fit. Never in our history have we seen such erosion of the Constitution and law itself as lawless judges have taken it upon themselves to institute anything that they wish.

As a result of this dynamic the basic rights that we have been granted in the Declaration and Bill of Rights are being violently snatched away. Thanks to the activities of the courts, the Declaration’s assertion of the right to life is being trampled on as abortion on demand runs ramped in the form of millions of murdered children. The right to life is also being eroded on the other end of the spectrum through assisted suicide laws. Freedom of religion as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights is being assaulted by the ACLU and People for the American Way as prayer and anything else having to do with the Christian religion is being cast out of schools and the public sector. In the mean time any reference to Christianity on public lands is being defaced. While professing freedom of speech those same organizations are promoting sex and vulgarity not only in the media but also in our libraries even as they attempt to silence Christian political expression. In the name of safety, the right to bear arms is being slowly eroded. Human sexuality is out of control as promiscuity spreads aids, marriages dissolve, the family unit is fragmented and the homosexual community seeks to redefine marriage itself. In the name of worshipping the creation rather than the Creator, for the sake of environmentalism our forests burn as people are forced to bow before the likes of snakes, lizards, fish, guppies, birds, bugs and flowers. Now we face moral dilemmas of immense proportions as men, through such scientific efforts as cloning and embryonic stem cell research, play God at the expense of human life.

With each year, no matter what political party is in charge, the ordeal escalates. And the cultural disaster continues even as the church joins to the beat the vandal’s drum. Indeed, destruction has its cause. And the cause is rebellion against God.

With that in mind we will now turn to the rise of theological liberalism in the church as augmented by the rebellion and the lawlessness of the ’60s. Once we have uncovered the source of and influence of liberalism with regard to the church, we will clearly see why the traditions in our churches are being systematically discarded by our pastors for the sake of growth success. Finally, this disregard for Christian tradition will be shown to be the source cause of the political and religious upheaval that we now find ourselves in. It will demonstrate why we now find ourselves in the midst of a lawless national affront to anything that has to do with our national, cultural and Christian heritage. Then we will understand why the Holy War that we find ourselves in is the most significant challenge the church faces today. The worship life of the church is not a trivial matter.

Stay tuned for more!

The preceeding blog is an exerpt from Don Wigton’s book “Holy Wars.” Click here to purchase: http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=267348

For free praise music, charts and study helps go to the Wigtune Praise and Worship Sitehttp//www.praisesong.net

Praise and Worship for the Modern Age vs Church Growth
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Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs

 

Though it has always been imperative to bring in the new, it is likewise unnecessary to throw out traditional music in order to reach out to this new age. In his Confessions, Saint Augustine revealed the impact that the music of the 4th and 5th Century Church had on his life. “How I wept during Your hymns and psalms!” he recalled. “I was deeply moved by the music of the sweet chants of Your church. The sounds flowed into my ears and the truth was distilled into my heart. This caused the feeling of devotion to overflow. Tears ran, and it was good for me to have that experience.” There is no lack of power in the music that we have been given from the past centuries. These great hymns are neither devoid of emotion nor incapable of moving the heart.

Notice that in Augustine’s day “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” as referred to by the Apostle Paul in the Scriptures were still actively being employed to bless the body of Christ. (Eph 5:19,Col3:16) But today, for the first time in Christian history, it appears that the church desires to throw the hymn part of the Paul’s admonition out. Indeed, it is a unique set of circumstances that is occurring in this age. Generally in Christian hymn history we have seen new works added to the large existing body of music with each age and growth has resulted. The old has generally been retained as the new has been added with the result of building a larger litany of music for each successive generation to enjoy. When we look into our hymnbooks we witness the result of the furtherance of praise in history as each generation has added to the volumes of worship songs that the church has been blessed by over the centuries.

But this is not what the church is being led to believe by those who offer their enticements of profits. As Paul stated to the elders inEphesus: “’For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.’” (Acts 20:29-30 MKJV)

The consequences of the Church Growth Movement’s emphatic advice to conform to the world around us have been dramatic. There are churches today that are maintaining historical Christian roots. Yet there hasn’t been a time in American history as there is today where there has been such a widespread drive in so many churches to eliminate an entire body of historical hymnology in order to replace it with something completely new. And in many venues this new popular music is viewed as being vastly superior to the old as well.

But it’s time for the leaders of the church to take a deep breath and contemplate what they are doing. In the name of the contemporary they seek to turn their backs on a rich cultural heritage that has blessed generations of Christians and still will do today if given a chance.

Take for example the hymn Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus. Louisa Stead wrote the words to this moving praise hymn. Even as a teenager, she felt called to become a missionary. Louisa went to America around age 21, and lived for a while in Cincinnati, Ohio. While attending a camp meeting in Urbana, Ohio, she felt the missionary calling even more strongly, but was unable to go to China as she wanted due to her frail health.

In 1875 she married her beloved husband, Mr. Stead. But marital bliss faded away as tragedy struck her family. Louisa and her husband were enjoying a relaxing day with their four-year-old daughter on a Long Island beach when they heard the cry of a desperate child. A boy was drowning. Louisa’s husband attempted to rescue the child, but was pulled under the water in the attempt. Both boy and Mr. Stead died as Louisa and her daughter watched.

Other than the Lord Himself, Louisa had no means of support. She along with her daughter fell into dire poverty as a result. One morning, when she had neither funds nor food for the day, she opened the front door and found that someone had left food and money on her doorsteps. It was that day that she wrote this hymn.

God rewarded Louisa’s faithful trust in Him. Around 1880, she went to South Africa, and served as a missionary there for some 15 years where she was remarried, to Robert Wodehouse of that country. In 1895 she returned to Americato recover her health, but once again went into missions in Rhodesiain 1901. Her daughter Lily married D. A. Carson and became a missionary like her mother. Indeed, the trust that Louisa put in the Lord was well spent.

Who in their right mind would think to purge Christianity of a hymn that has such a marvelous story behind it? Who would seek to deny contemporary Christians the opportunity of partaking in the affirmation of faith that came out of this desperate hour of one of our own? Yet there are those in our midst who are calling on us to do exactly that.

Stay tuned for more!

The preceeding blog is an exerpt from Don Wigton’s book “Holy Wars.” Click here to purchase: http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=267348

For free praise music, charts and study helps go to the Wigtune Praise and Worship Sitehttp//www.praisesong.net

Praise and Worship for the Modern Age vs Church Growth
Click to Purchase

The Soul of the Church

 

“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Col2:8 MKJV)

The one who seeks after profits does not generally care about the intrinsic value of church life or worship and praise music. It does not matter to him that the importance of the church is body ministry and that church music is all about reaching into the deep parts of the human spirit. To him it is all about commercialism – the marketing of music and generating cash. It’s out with the piano and in with guitar-driven music to catch the attention of the younger generation. And you always have to keep that new material coming in order to keep up with the times. There’s no room for the old here. There is no time for nostalgia. You have to dump the organ and choir and get yourself a band if you are going to keep the pace. Get rid of the slow and reflective to turn to the high-energy stuff that gets people going. Reach out to the senses rather than the soul. Forget about ministering to the body of Christ when you are reaching to the world. Let the fights begin and let the old folks go along with their archaic music. For the ultimate target are the hymns that are not relevant anymore. They are not marketable.

But the pursuit of abandoning the heritage of the church for the sake of success is a formula for spiritual disaster. According to Ron Rhodes in The Culting of America, “Baby Boomers are seeking a religion or church that specifically meets human felt needs. Time notes that while increasing numbers of baby boomers are turning religious again, ‘many are traveling from church or faith to faith, sampling creeds, shopping for a custom-made God’

“Many Christian churches are seeking to lure these boomers into their congregations. Unfortunately, in the process, a number of them end up compromising Christian doctrine.” Time reports that “a growing choir of critics contends that in doing whatever it takes to lure those fickle customers, churches are at risk of losing their heritage – and their souls.”

In reality, many in the church are in the business of sacrificing everything for nothing. Music did not begin in the ‘60s and there is a whole lot in the hymnology that has been passed onto us that is vitally relevant today. And these hymns do not lack for passion. For example there are few praise songs today that can rival the passion and intimacy of the ancient Irish tune, Be Thou My Vision. And what worship song today exceeds the moving melody and text contained in Amazing Grace? Praise hymns such as these divulge deep spiritual truth. This is biblical truth that transcends generations. Hence, we do not need to shed the past in order to minister to the present age. It is not necessary to forsake our heritage in order to grow.

The claims of some roaming throughout the church today are just plain wrong in that regard. Therefore the Apostle Paul exhorted “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-Christ.” (Eph 4:14-15 MKJV)

It’s time to grow up and realize who we are as the church. We are not children. The church is 2000 years old with a rich heritage. And we are commanded in the Bible as mature Christians to grow up in “all things” not just new things. “All things” would include those things that God passed down to us from past generations that give us maturity and stability. So the contention that the old doesn’t minister is hogwash plain and simple.

Sure the church is faced with the awesome task of reaching out to John Dewey’s dumbed down generation that cares more about their big screens than fine arts. This obviously is something that needs to be considered. But does that mean that we are supposed to leave the masses where Dewey put them? Are we called to limit ourselves to the common praise song themes such as “I want to see Your face,” “I long to be in your presence,” “You are worthy,” “Be exalted,” “I worship You,” “I praise You,” “Worthy is the Lord,” “You are holy,” “Hallelujah,” “I want You,” “I need You,” or “I love You?” Though it is imperative to love God, isn’t there more to love than merely saying it over an over again? Isn’t there more to praise than ecstatic shouts or syrupy sentiment? Isn’t there more to Scripture and life as Christians than what we are hearing in so much of contemporary praise today? As the church, don’t we have the responsibility to educate rather than merely relate? Is it not imperative that as well as meeting this generation “where they are at” we should create a worship environment at church where they can discover “where Christianity is at?” Shouldn’t we seek out praise music that conveys biblical truth rather than sappy human emotional desires? Should we not impart our heritage to the babes so that they can mature? Isn’t it time to sever ourselves from Dewey’s ongoing circle that tumbles down the slope of ignorance?

Christianity is all about separation. It is about a difference between the church and the unbelieving world around it. When we look at the church and its people, there ought to be a difference. When the world around is shedding itself of Christian heritage, the church ought to be standing for it.

As explained earlier, the ministry of Jesus divides people into two camps – the believer and unbeliever. Yet this same proposition has the effect of binding Christians together as one. The same doctrine that separates us from the world unites us together under the wings of our common belief in God. Therefore the Psalms proclaim: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments.” (Ps 133:1-2 MKJV)

However, when the church is divided from its rich heritage it tears the body of Christ in half. It sows division between young church attendees and the saints of old. It severs congregations into pieces and creates wars as church leadership discards traditions that many saints hold with high regard. These are the results that come out of the passion for growth at all cost. “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Rom 16: 17-18 MKJV)

Stay tuned for more!

The preceeding blog is an exerpt from Don Wigton’s book “Holy Wars.” Click here to purchase: http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=267348

For free praise music, charts and study helps go to the Wigtune Praise and Worship Sitehttp//www.praisesong.net

Praise and Worship for the Modern Age vs Church Growth
Click to Purchase

Secrets for a Price

 

The Church Growth Movement is nothing other than a fad. But slowly and surely, as pastors delve deeper into Church Growth Commercialism, we see the church losing its 2000-year identity. In the mean time pastors who heed the call for immediate success for a price find themselves casting common sense along with the heritage of the church aside for the sake of making their churches marketable. In order to popularize religion, hymns are tossed away as faddish pop ditties take over the worship life of the church. Pop theology replaces the biblical expositions of the great theologians who speak to us from the past. The attitude of the sixties rebellion against everything old supercedes time honored traditions.

The multitude of pastors today who fail to wait on the Lord are so intent on getting it done as soon as possible that no matter how hard you try, you cannot convince them that they have been led astray. While enticed by the pursuit of money and the promise of success they become so caught up in get growth quick schemes that changing their course doesn’t even cross their minds.

One pastor had hired advisors to help the church raise money for a building project. A lot of manipulative devises were being employed as a result. After it was revealed to the pastor that the whole affair was like Abraham failing to wait for the promised son to bear a child through Hagar rather than his wife Sarah, the pastor became passionate and defensive while asking, “How could you call these fine consultants Hagar?” The answer was: “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal 3:3 MKJV)

Another pastor was just as adamant even after the advice of his consultant had resulted in years of failure. So there he was years later still drawing projections on the board depicting the timeline for the success that would occur within months. To him the promised growth was always just around the corner. But it never occurred as his advisor had assured. The pastor had only bought a bottle full of false hopes.

Once this same pastor was putting together a church leadership program. For the first leadership meeting he was planning on bringing in his consultant to kick the whole year off. Ironically the pastor’s mentor had just written a book. With that in mind the consultant’s advice was to allow him to push his ideas in front of the congregation in order to attract people to the leadership meeting. He could also have copies of books ready to purchase in the back of the sanctuary. Then during the leadership meeting that immediately followed, the consultant wanted about 45 minutes to talk to the group. “If I talk to them first,” he explained, “then they will purchase more books.

So this exercise really was not about training at all. It was all about money – selling his book. In spite of the obvious intention of the consultant, the pastor bought into the plan hook line and sinker. After one church leader had not attended the meeting the pastor later expressed his disappointment with the fact that he was not there. The subordinate replied, “I did not want to buy is book.” And so Jesus proclaims to the church today: “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” (Jn2:16MKJV)

You have to understand here that for many in the Church Growth industry, the primary interest is the profits that an association with churches will generate. After they are done, they head out of town to search for more pastors who are willing to pay a whole lot of money for nothing new under the sun.

There is nothing new about peddling secrets for a price. During the days of the Early Church, Irenaeus fought against the influx of the pagan mystery religions into Christianity in the form of Gnosticism, which promised to reveal the mysteries of God for money. Therefore he wrote that “they (are) unwilling to teach these things to all in public but only to those who are able to pay a large sum for such mysteries! . . . they are abstruse and portentous and profound mysteries, acquired with much toil by lovers of falsehood.” And so we see in history how the pursuit of money so easily leads unsuspecting Christians away from biblical truth. But we have been called to a better way.

“’He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’” (I Pet3:10-12 MKVJ)

 

Stay tuned for more!

The preceeding blog is an exerpt from Don Wigton’s book “Holy Wars.” Click here to purchase: http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=267348

For free praise music, charts and study helps go to the Wigtune Praise and Worship Sitehttp//www.praisesong.net

Praise and Worship for the Modern Age vs Church Growth
Click to Purchase

Snake Oil

“’Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.’” (Matt10:16MKJV)

You wouldn’t have lived in the Old West for long before you would be introduced to the Mystic Healer and his elaborate medicine show. Even before the charlatan arrived to town you’d be entertained by a circus-like sideshow complete with a band leading a procession of wagons. Skits and other diversions, that were designed to draw an unsuspecting crowd to the show, would suck you in. In the midst of the gathering throng there would be assistants roaming about dressed as Quakers to give the whole ordeal a sense of respectability. Native Americans were also recruited to promote the notion of “natural” medicine, which was given names such as Wright’s Indian Vegetable Pills, Seminole Cough Balsam, and various Kickapoo cures. Eventually you would behold the main speaker, the mystic, who dazzled his audiences for the sake of peddling his snake oil.

The whole idea was to seek out people who would be ignorant enough to give these crooks their hard-earned cash for almost nothing. So even as they merchandized their famed elixir, the Old West mystics would tell their prey that their potion would do almost anything they wanted it to do. A cowboy named Clark Stanley, who called himself “The Rattlesnake King,” sold a Snake Oil Liniment that was alleged to be “good for man and beast.” An 1890s advertisement described Stanley’s snake oil as “A wonderful pain destroying compound.” It was “the strongest and best liniment known for the cure of” almost anything imaginable. As soon as they made their sale these healers would scadaddle out of town as quickly as possible before their customers had found out that they had only been sold a bottle of whiskey mixed with innate compounds for about fifty cents a bottle.

These peddlers of empty dreams are still with us today. They prey on those in our hedonistic culture who are seeking after instant pleasure and easy fulfillment. Even many in the church are not content to see the fruit of righteousness play out in their lives through the long haul in order to see God provide and bless them in time. They do not have the patience for that. So many look for the kind of shortcut that modern snake oil salesmen promise only to find failure in the midst of misleading assurances. And even as they heed the call of these modern marketers, the vast majority of them wind up with little more than a bottle of disappointment for their trouble.

Stay tuned for more!

The preceeding blog is an exerpt from Don Wigton’s book “Holy Wars.” Click here to purchase: http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=267348

For free praise music, charts and study helps go to the Wigtune Praise and Worship Sitehttp//www.praisesong.net