Unholy Worship?

Should we sing songs from Bethel, Jesus Culture, Elevation Bands or Hillsongs?

The guiding principles for worship music that one should consider, if songs from Bethel and Hillsongs should be used.

1. The Christian faith is led and formed in the primary truth of the Word of God. Not that experience is not important, it has its place with the Christian experience. Not that crying, feeling emotionally charged, overwhelming lyrics and music to lift one’s spirit. The last 50 years where the church today, is influenced by the emotional-driven Christianity promoted by mostly the American charismatic movement (namely hillsongs, bethel) and bands like Jesus Culture, Elevation Worship etc, that the Church today has numbed or lost their sense of discernment. The Word of God is no longer the fundamental where all Christian experience is measured and built on; people are looking to worship to validate their source of inspiration and encouragement.

2. This led to the next issue. Worship bands like Hillsongs and Bethel are influenced whether even with the right lyrics, by the false teachings their church promotes. Bill Johnson’s false teaching on eschatology led to an over-spiritualized hyped up that’s evidence in the books he wrote, (when heaven invades earth), and that theology led to the songs that form the false image of God in the way they approach God in the worship. This is blatant idolatry. When one argues the lyrics are theologically sound, but it is sometimes difficult for people to disassociate music with the church that promotes false teachings and sometimes dangerous doctrines knowingly.

3. It is the responsibility of the local church to decide and vet through the songs they want to use in their congregation during the communal worship time. Realising that God is not limited in how He uses music/worship songs to draw people to Him too, for example, It is well with my soul by Horatio Spafford; a well-known hymn that is sung in the church, possibly led many to find peace in God during the stormy times, has been used many times as an example by John Piper himself in his sermons, but not many people know that Horatio Spafford in his later years, wrote about eternal punishment etc that is heretical at best. Martin Luther the father of Reformation, wrote a few hymns but also penned books that are anti-Semitic in nature. Horrifying right? But today, the context of the songs that led to the validating the church’s false teachings is much closely related; Jesus Culture to validating the false eschatology teachings of Bill Johnson; Elevation Band to the horrifying teachings of Steve Furtick; Hillsongs to their prosperity gospel message and shockingly unsound theology that is so prevalent in their songs.

4. Worship songs are just not sung today, worship bands like Hillsongs, Jesus Culture, Elevation Band are a multi-million-dollar engine that drives and funds the church’s continual expansion to propagate and validate their false teachings. For a God-fearing Christian, we are commanded to call out False teachers, False prophets among us, even though, they have great worship songs, I cannot participate in worship knowingly that by doing so, I lend my support to their collective effort to subvert the church within. There are thousands other songs that are available, and we are not limited in our creativity to write songs that can be used. We are of no excuse that we have a lack of resources and inspiration to worship God with music.

5. Music, while it is a powerful medium, is but of a secondary component or element of our worship to God. We cannot dismiss that worship is more than just having a blast for that 60 minutes. For any worshippers, we almost never consider the theological implications of the lyrics or worse, throw in a “hallelujah” here or there and we are almost certainly never give it a second thought to the song we sang. In any worship song today, we should ask ourselves who the song is about? Is it to God? it is about God? A song like Reckless Love, while celebrates an exaggerated aspect of God with a terrible adverb like Reckless certainly does not in any way represent God at all nor does it glorify Him in His Character. The unwholesome addition of much emotionalism tend to gravitate towards the dangerous romanticism in the charismatic circle especially within that so-called apostolic movement (Bethel, Hillsongs, IHOP etc) adds to the half-truth of the Message of the Scripture and the Gospel. Is God all love, willing to give up all for all the people of the world like a husband chasing after his love? No. Any half-truth not only poses a lopsided message of the Scripture, but it also represents a false God, not of the bible. It is at best, misguided Christian attempt to reconcile the message of the Gospel which is a heresy, worse, it is deliberate and willful idolatry that we have put forth our own ‘graven’ image of a god of romantic love who rides on the wave of emotion culminating in the highs of our adoration. On the other hand, true worship is first and foremost about God. It is bringing us into the presence of an awesome God, where we are inevitably consumed in the awe of His holiness. Second, it is not just an emotional exercise, it ought to penetrate and transform our lives – in the way we handle money, in the way we steward our talents for His work, in the way we give an account of our time on earth, and I may add which I myself failed many times, in the way of how we communicate.

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