Monday, January 13, 2014

A review of new contemporary music band: Rend Collective Experiment

Does the kind of music we worship in church matter? Yes, it does.

In researching the state of the contemporary music bands for a blog essay I wrote a month ago, I came across a winsome new band from Northern Ireland called Rend Collective Experiment. Actually, they remind me of In Tua Nua (kudos if you know who they were ;). Rend Collective Experiment (RCE) deliberately used the word rend purposely to point to God who rent the heavens and sent His Son. The word collective is used to emphasize, well, I'll let the band member explain,

"We are a collective of people like a family and not just a band. We want our music to be what we call Organic worship, an honest and natural connection with God, something which is authentic and not artificial. We want to create an environment for people to have genuine encounters with Him and to find themselves singing to Him in ways that they find real." (source)

So. Whatever that means.

I watched a video in which I enjoyed the song, but for the wrong reasons. This is an example of how and why contemporary praise bands, with all clean eagerness and winsome smiles can be detrimental to the faith.

RCE video "Come On (My Soul)". She's looking up.
The song I'd listened to is called "Come on (My Soul)." It is a three-minute song. I enjoyed the video, it was very well done cinematically and stylistically. Attractive youths in a variety of funky garb, nose earrings, and cool haircuts dance around an evening bonfire. Embers fly to the sky. A man displays skill using a flame thrower. The youths dance on the sand around the fire, and they make Chinese Sky Lanterns and light them and launch them aloft as they look up in wonder and ecstatic joy. They twirl. They look sincere. They are having a unique, organic worship experience.

The first thirty seconds are a simple hypnotic percussion beat. Then the singing kicks in. Here are the lyrics. They are sung repetitiously.



Come on my soul
Come on my soul
Let down the walls
And sing my soul
Come on, come on, come on, come on
It's time to look up

That's it, there is no more. I searched several other sites to try and find lyrics that would expand the song and give it spiritual meaning and depth, but these are the only words for two-and-a-half minutes. The song is repetitive, hypnotic, and throbbing. It is exactly the kind of music used to enter an altered state, not to prepare the heart for worship. I'm the first to admit that it sounds good and it looks good. But it's empty!

Cool pagan balloons going aloft!!
 As for the content of the lyrics, they are sung about one's self, to one's self, urging one's self to do something (nebulously). It is not about Jesus and does not prepare the mind to think of Him. This is the kind of music I am talking about in a previous blog I wrote a month ago exploring this issue of vacuousness of today's contemporary music in general.

I've mentioned the form and the content. Let's look at the images. There is nothing wrong with standing around a bonfire singing. Kumbaya is almost a cliche nowadays, the quintessential campfire song. However look at what the youths are doing. They are lighting sky lanterns, a pagan activity done at pagan festivals. The people look aloft just as the lyrics are sung that 'it's time to look up'. Are we looking up to see if Jesus is returning? Or to send prayers to a false god on a pagan lantern? That is precisely the problem with "organic" & "authentic" worship. Everyone does what is right in their own eyes. They do what feels good for them. The scene has no meaning because it could be anything.

Because, what's a praise song
without a flame thrower?
"During the Yi Peng festival, a multitude of lanterns are launched into the air where they resemble large flocks of giant fluorescent jellyfish gracefully floating by through the sky. The most elaborate Yi Peng celebrations can be seen in Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the former Lanna kingdom. The festival is meant as a time to obtain Buddhist merit." (source)

The activity seen in a "Christian" band's video is pagan, and is no different than the Asherah pole Ahab set up which they all danced around. The LORD'S anger was roused at this. (1 Kings 16:33).

Worship is not organic. It has rules and a structure. In the OT Nadab and Abihu discovered the penalty for breaking those rules was instant death. So did Uzzah. So did Korah. In the NT Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit and also died instantly. The Corinthians were rebuked for their "organic" worship, which all too easily turned into a drunken fest similar in behavior to what the pagans were doing, and this is always to the derision of God's enemies (Exodus 32:25).

The spiritual seeker wants to be free and worship naturally but natural worship always winds up like the dance around the Golden Calf (or a pagan bonfire with Buddhist prayer balloons). God sent a plague to the people who had made the calf (Exodus 32:35) and further promised to visit their sins upon them in the Day of His visit. Some of the Corinthians who had abused the Lord's table with drunken, gorging behavior had become sick because of it and died. (1 Corinthians 11:30). The Lord is serious about His worship!

As in everything regarding Jesus, in music, watch the small things. Also watch the language. The ethereal language RCE uses is another example of poor worship. God is declarative. He is clear. He is definite. In spiritual realms, there is pressure to offer vague ideals, so that no one will be turned off and all can come and participate. Inclusivity is tantamount, not exclusivity. This is from the RCE song "Second Chance"

"When sin and ugliness
Collide with redemption's kiss
Beauty awakens by romance
"

It sounds good and it can mean whatever you want it to mean. That's fine, for politics. But not for worship. And romance? People, Jesus is not our boyfriend.

Or this from Shining Star,

The angels watched in mystery
As You bore all our misery


NO! He bore all our SIN. Spell it, S. I. N. Sin sin sin.

In fact, there is no 'second chance' that the cross brought. It is the only chance. We are depraved individuals and our default condition from birth is sinner, and at age of accountability, hell upon our death. The cross brought the only chance. And 'redemption's kiss'? More like God's wrath that Jesus feared so greatly He sweat blood.

And this lyric from Christ Has Set Me Free, is just ridiculously stupid:

"Christ has set me free From negativity ...
You've given my soul the space to breathe, 
And discover what it is to simply be."

Did Joel Osteen write that lyric? Imagine your pastor saying that.Uttering words like that and thinking they are worshipful is just wrong. NO, Christ did not set me free from negativity. He absorbed all of God's wrath on the cross as the punishment for my and the world's sin.

If you are a parent looking into who your kids are listening to, look at the band's videos and see if the images being presented are appropriate. And the lyrics, are the lyrics about self, or about God? Is there a lot of talk about what "I" will do? Is the band's bio full of post-modern, vague talk, like this from Rend Collective's Bio?

"Their heart is to bring not only a fresh approach to congregational worship, but also a heart and message through the spoken word. Their partnerships and tours with church leaders like Francis Chan, Louie Giglio and Shane Claiborne certainly shows this."

Any time you hear of a "fresh approach" watch out. If God is the same yesterday today and forever, so is His approach. And since the Word is living and active, He is still fresh. He is not stale. There is no expiration date on Him.

"An inherent desire for something spiritually substantive in our increasingly artificial world is exactly what brought the movement of friends together. United by a common purpose, these twenty-somethings began exploring the intersection between God, life and community."

I still can't figure out their purpose. That is an indicator also. "Something spiritually substantive" sounds good but is just vague enough not to offend.

I don't mean to pick on RCE band. Some of their lyrics are good. Some of their songs are good. I liked their song Alabaster. Keep Me Near is also good. As church worship music though, no. Absolutely not. And just because some of their songs are good doesn't mean that all their songs are. But they are packaged on a CD and if your child is listening to Alabaster then they are listening to Second Chance.

Here is the point of what I'm saying--

1. Don't underestimate the powerful effect of how today's praise band lyrics dilute the essential doctrines. Propositional and definite words we've used for centuries are substituted for nebulous words, used to a softening effect. Words like sin are deleted for negativity, wrath is deleted for redemption's kiss, submission is deleted for romance, guide our hearts is included instead of the concept 'make us holy'.
2. Don't underestimate the power of the absence of the essential doctrines. I looked at lyrics of 15 songs and never read the word holy. Not even in "You Bled."

If Rend Collective Experiment is not in your church yet during 'worship time' (AKA contemporary praise music time AKA Organic and authentic worship, unlike the artificial and fake worship everybody else has been doing) then they probably will be soon. It is a sure bet they are on your teenager's iPod. They're touring heavily Jan-March 2014 though the central US and south. They are appearing at Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove in May.

Wikipedia commons
Too many contemporary music bands are like shark's teeth. "Shark teeth are attached to the jaw by soft tissue, and they fall out all the time. This is crucial to the shark's effectiveness -- worn or broken teeth are continually replaced by new, sharper teeth. In some sharks, such as the great white, these teeth are arranged in several rows." For every Petra that disbands, another one like RCE is pushed forward into the spotlight.

Yes it's tiring to always monitor your child's iPod, iPad, computer, CD collection, friends, and social life. "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."(Ephesians 6:4). Training up your child in the way they should go is a moment-by-moment, daily, lifetime commitment. (Proverbs 22:6). Keep alert with all perseverance! (Ephesians 6:18).

28 comments:

  1. Elizabeth, sometimes I just really want to disagree with you. Not to sow discord but, at times I have seen your title to an article and thought, "okay, here we go. This is either going to be stuffy or, way too 'old school' or, uptight." But, then I read your articles and dang if I don't agree with you! I would love to think that we can be a little more relaxed and less rigid about things such as music but, the devil is sneaky! So, we have to be on our guard as well! I know of this band and I only listen to one song by theirs because it is so upbeat. However, there is one lyric that has always troubled me. In their song 'The Cost' there is a line that says, "you're dangerous but Lord you're beautiful." Maybe it has something to do with the verse before it that states that the singer doesn't need safety as much as he needs the Lord? I don't know but, it left me a little bewildered when I heard it. Anyhow, thanks for the daily pens! Well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, that's funny! Sometimes I say that about my own self. But then I think what you said, the devil is sneakyyyyyy!

      I saw that lyric in The Cost too. I thought about it a while. I had to puzzle it out. I decided God IS dangerous- for non-believers. He is not dangerous for the believer, He is our Father, our Friend, our Advocate, our Redeemer.

      In the end I decided not to remark on that lyric, there were oh-so-many others to bring up.

      I actually like the song Come On (My Soul), if it didn't pretend to be a Christian song and I didn't see the video of the pagan activity, lol.

      You're welcome for the daily essays. :)

      Delete
  2. >>Worship is not organic. It has rules and a structure.

    The structure you reference is called "liturgy" in theology.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes liturgy is one set of rules and structure for worship. The dictionary defines it this way
      "a fixed set of ceremonies, words, etc., that are used during public worship in a religion".

      But that's not what I was referring to... the only ceremonies that are ordained in a Christian life are baptism and Lord's Supper (Communion). Even communion is not mandated to occur on a set date, and baptism only when there is a believer who wants to be baptized.

      No, what I was referring to are the standards of worship God put in place as demonstrated by His reaction to good worship and false worship throughout the bible. His rejection of offering strange fire by killing Nadab and Abihu. His rejection of lies entwined with worship of Him by meeting needs, as the killing of Ananias and Sapphira showed. His exhortation for prayer, songs with a good theology that don't misrepresent who Christ is, offerings to meet believer's needs, reverence for the reading of and the hearing of the word as seen in Nehemiah 8...etc.

      Worship isn't 'anything goes'. It should have a structure and God has rules about what He will accept as proper and won't accept. As a result we should be mindful about what we call worship.That is what I meant.

      here is an essay on the ingredients of a biblical worship service.
      http://www.gotquestions.org/worship-service.html

      :)

      Delete
    2. "Worship isn't 'anything goes.'"

      Would I be considered an old fogey (or worse, a prude) if I mentioned that I feel that same way about the way people dress for worship? I am so conflicted about this, because I know the LORD looks on the heart and not the outward appearance, but I have a hard time reconciling worship with "come as you are" attire. I'm pretty sure most of those folks would dress up for a job interview or to meet an important person; doesn't the holy God of Israel deserve that respect too?

      Delete
  3. I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your comments on this subject.

    I am part of what's called (by others, mostly) the Plymouth Brethren, and our weekly, hour-long+ worship service has no musical instruments and no human leader. We rely on the Holy Spirit to prompt the brothers to share portions of Scripture that pertain either to the Lord Jesus's substitutionary death or some aspect of His character, to lead in prayer lifting up the Lord Jesus to the Father (in Whom He finds all His delight), to lead in hymns that don't even mention us or the benefits we receive as a result of God's grace but are solely focused on the Lord Jesus and His beauties, obedience and desire to glorify His Father, and to give thanks for the bread and wine, the Lord’s Supper, which we partake of every week.

    Our group of believers is not without its faults, but it's the only meeting I’ve ever seen that even comes close to what true worship is (IMHO anyway). There are no contemporary worship songs, but when you are full of meat you have little appetite for milk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Plymouth Brethren,

      Thank you for commenting, and for reading the piece. I'm glad you feel comfortable in the place you selected to worship. I want to make it clear though that I'm not against instruments in church and I'm not against music in church. The Bible neither forbids or commands the use of musical instruments in church. Both the OT and the NT mention singing and instruments as part of worship. I can offer you the scriptures here in this essay
      http://www.gotquestions.org/musical-instruments-church.html

      As for the method of allowing the Spirit to prompt a person to read scripture and then another person reads it as prompted, if that is what your congregation has decided, then of course that's fine as a meeting or fellowship. But it's not worship.

      The bible clearly says many times that there are supposed to be undersheperds for the flock. Even though Jesus is the leader of the church (not the Spirit) we're *supposed* to have human leaders,and these leaders have the gift of preaching or teaching as the Spirit has given them.This is so we can learn the word, AKA what God has said.

      Denying yourself a pastor means you're rebelling against the scripture by refusing His gift of a leader for your sheep, and it also denies the Spirit's endowment of the edifying gift of teaching you through that man's spiritual gift. Spotty, haphazard reading of the bible isn't a structured, verse-by-verse digging into the word to determine its propositional meaning. Although you mentioned Plymouth Brethren, your gathering sounds more like a Quaker gathering, and here is GotQuestions on Quakerism:

      One of the distinctives of Quakerism is the practice of “group spiritual discernment,” whereby the Friends wait on God to lead them in whatever business is at hand. This sensitivity to the Spirit's moving is indeed valuable and often lacking in other churches. On the other hand, if the people in the group have not sufficiently studied the Scriptures for God’s revealed will, the group may “feel led” to something that violates Scripture. This is why the apostle John commanded us to “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1)

      Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/Quakers-Friends.html#ixzz2qSovuAjF

      Sin exists. Satan exists. The bible is the only truth. Please think on these issues and research Quakerism. Discern, as John said, test all things.

      Delete
    2. >>The bible is the only truth.

      I thought that Jesus was the Truth. When did the Bible become the only truth?

      Delete
    3. Jesus is the Truth. He is the word. He has been since the beginning. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1

      Quakers tend to accept other allegedly holy books as true in addition to the bible. The bible contains the only truth.

      Delete
    4. Just for your information, the original text in John 1:1 is "Logos" and in some English versions of the Bible this is translated as "the Word".

      Logos means that Jesus is the reality, or the reason for the existence of all of creation. Just as a man imagines an idea and then attempts to fulfill his will, Jesus as God imagined the reality in which we live today and did fulfill his will by creating the world through his speaking.

      Logos does not mean "Bible" in this case. For example, at the end of the verse It is not correct to say, "the Bible was with God and the Bible was God". It is important not to worship the Bible as God.

      Rather, we are to worship the Christ, the Son of God, the Logos.

      Delete
    5. I wouldn't blame you if you don't feel inclined to post my comment. However, I would be glad to discuss Plymouth Brethren vs Quakers in further detail if you're interested.

      The advice I tried to convey in my last comment (poorly, I'm afraid) was that if you believe someone to be in error, it might be more beneficial to first make sure there really is error, then when you have sufficient evidence there is, to proceed with gentleness (Gal 6:1) in correcting the error. To do otherwise just stirs up offense and is counterproductive, which is a shame if you are in the right because it is a wasted opportunity to edify a brother or sister (James 5:20), and it is sin if you are in the wrong.

      Grace and peace to you, sister.

      Delete
    6. Hello Grace To You,

      I actually spent the last two days praying and researching your comment. I have spent much time with every aspect of what you said originally and your follow up comment.

      I have come to the conclusion that I was correct on the doctrine, and I stand by that on both Plymouth Brethren and Quakers. I am sorry if you are offended, but I think it might be a good offense.

      --though Plymouth Brethren believe in an equalized playing field of saints, some ARE called to be pastors, to be the identified and called one to lead- and discipline. (Heb 13:17)

      --You described a weekly meeting where gatherers sit around and wait for the Spirit to prompt someone to read a verse. This is dangerously Mystical and a sub-culture of charismatic-Pentecostalism.

      --pastors should be paid ( First Corinthians 9:13-14 )

      There is much that is good among the Brethren. Much! There is no doubt about that. However, the above are concerns.

      My problem was that I painted too broad a brush and I lumped you in to it. For that, I humbly apologize.

      Delete
  4. Thank you for taking time to pray before responding to my comments.

    In one final attempt to clear up misunderstandings, here are a few points:

    --we believe that all saints are called and qualified to worship, but we do not believe that all are given the same spiritual gift (I Cor 12); not all brothers have been given the gift of teaching, and those that haven’t are not required or encouraged to do so

    --we believe that elders, who must meet certain qualifications of that calling (I Tim 3, Titus 1), are spiritual leaders in the local churches, teachers, and the administers of discipline

    --if you consider waiting on the Holy Spirit to lead in worship to be mystical, I would urge you to meditate on Jeremiah 17:5: Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. Priests (I Pet 2:5 9) do not need a man (or woman) to lead them in worship, and looking to one is leaning on an arm of flesh.

    --there is nothing new-age or charismatic about our worship service; if anything, it is completely the opposite, as it is quiet and orderly (I Cor 14:33)

    --the brothers who exercise their gift of teaching are offered remuneration; while it is Scriptural for those who preach the gospel to receive their living from the gospel, it is also Scriptural for them to refuse those rights, as Paul did (I Cor 9); furthermore, some local assemblies do in fact have elders who are full-time workers who are supported by the church, but this is not necessary when there are numerous elders and brothers in a local assembly who are gifted to teach

    If none of this changes your mind about anything, so be it. I do feel compelled to speak truth when there is misunderstanding, but it’s not my job to convince you of anything, and it would not be appropriate or even sensible for me to be offended if you aren’t convinced.

    I’m not sure exactly what you apologized for – I don’t know what you were painting with too broad a brush or how you lumped me into it – but I appreciate your humility. Now I have an apology to make: I asked my husband to read the comments you and I have made, to see if I was in error in any way. He pointed out that my initial comment may have come across as bragging, and if it did, I am truly sorry. That was not my intention at all; I was actually rejoicing to find a believer who sees the need for more depth in our worship and, by extension, in our relationship with Christ. Like you’ve said, He isn’t our boyfriend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Grace To You,

      Thank you for the comment. I thought about it some more and I decided that though I disagree with many stances the Plymouth Brethren take, with me it was a case of Mark 9:8-9.

      I thank you because I learned a lot:

      --how much a graceful attitude can accomplish (yours)
      --not to be hasty in lumping in those who worship differently than me into a false category (Brethren v Quaker)
      -how to receive a loving admonishment (yours to me)
      -watch for criticalness since many times those with the gift of discernment can tend that way.

      So all is well. Thank you for everything!!

      For those who come to this essay because of a concern with music, I happened across a great talk on the very subject last night. Pastor Tim Conway in Texas, whose church is associated with Paul Washer and Heart Cry Missions, addressed the question because it came up in his church.

      "What Songs Should We Be Singing in Church?"
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djxDz2jSwYE

      He discusses a cappella only, no instruments, whether congregations should sing scripture only (Psalms), whether there is a difference between psalms, songs, and spiritual music, whether a congregation should sing a song written by an unsaved person...etc.

      He does a good job lovingly explaining the Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3 verses which are the main NT verses on music in church services/gatherings. It is a good reference for exploring the music issue

      Delete
    2. I’m sorry to be so long in replying to your comment, but I was sick when you posted it, and by the time I was feeling better I was behind in everything and am still trying to get caught up. However, I was really delighted to read your comment - I feel like I gained my sister! Your kind words were like a balm to my soul, and I appreciate them greatly. Grace is a tremendous beauty, isn’t it? It’s so like the Lord Jesus, whom we will all worship in complete unity one day (hopefully soon!) - won't that be something?!. Until then, I pray He will bless you abundantly as you continue to serve Him.

      PS – If the Mark 9 reference is correct, and you have time, can you explain it to me? I don’t understand how it relates to our discussion and I’d like to.

      Delete
    3. Grace To You, I'm sorry, I made a typo. That should be Mark 9:38-39. I'd extend it to Mark 40 as well.

      "John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name,f and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40For the one who is not against us is for us."

      In other words, "intolerance rebuked". I consider myself rebuked by virtue of the truth of that verse.

      Delete
    4. I'm for you! :) I'm really enjoying your posts.

      Delete
  5. Yes! I agree. Thank you for your ministry!
    I have been noticing a shift lately with a lot of 'Christian' music. Some themes to watch for:
    1. Songs about 'bringing in the kingdom.' That is the dominionism heresy. Only Jesus brings in His Kingdom. We cannot bring in the kingdom by works any more than we can save ourselves by works. Jesus accomplishes both and it is His victory to claim, not ours! It's our calling to do good, but don't kid yourself into a delusion of grandeur, it's another of satan's 'you too can be god' lies. Keep an eye on this!
    2. Deep breathing on steroids. The contemplative/emergents have been marching in with all the 'eastern ways' of meditation with a new label. I have heard a lot of 'breathing in _____, and breathing out ______.' Watch that too, it's a meditation practice from eastern religion and it's growing out there too.
    3. Empty feel good fluff devoid of the cross. True worship exalts Jesus and the attributes of God, like the Revelation song 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lamb,' etc. Too many songs are not praising God, only declaring too much about how much I am going to be praising God, how much I want to praise God, how great it is to praise God, etc., but never actually getting to the point of praising God! If you study the lyrics, there is no real praising of God going on anywhere! Sneaky.
    4. I also noticed a big emphasis on the "I" stuff, what 'I' will do, what 'I' am going to do, etc. The focus is not on God, but on oneself.
    There are more things, but these are some of the biggies out there now. Some of the songs are so neutral that a person from any religion could sing it and not be 'offended'! Watch that too. The true gospel is an offense to those who are perishing, etc.
    Whatever you do, keep worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth.
    God bless you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I to have been concerned about the theology in Christian music. I also have been very concerned that certain well known Gospel artists are allowed to perform in Christian churches, even when these artists assail cardinal teachings of the Christian faith, such as the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Trinity. Example: 8 time Dove award winner, author of many well known Gospel songs, Joel Hemphill of the Hemphill's. Many know of his song "He's Still Working On Me" Joel write books, makes tapes and speaks at conferences attacking the Deity of Christ and the Trinity. Many are not aware of his "HERESY" Just because you sing songs about Jesus Christ, does not mean you are singing songs about the Jesus of the Bible. Many buy his music after a concert, and sadly come to find out that his Jesus is a creature, not God, and the Trinity is pagan. I thought the JW'S and other cults were bad in their attacks on the Deity of Christ, Hemphill "TRUMPS" them. I now see his material on many cult sites. Some of the statements from Joel Hemphill (There are many) are "The doctrine of the Trinity is Biblical naked", "Jesus denied being God", "Paul says Jesus is in the creature class"(Sounds like JW'S here), "The Incarnation as taught by modern Christianity is a fable" Hemphill again states "The Trinity and the Incarnation as taught in modern Christian is one of the greatest frauds that has ever been perpetrated in the history of humanity" Hemphill goes on to state "These doctrines were designed by the master deceiver" Again Hemphill states that these doctrines are of pagan origin. He again states "It is time for Christianity to acknowledge the pagan origins of its doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, repent, and purge itself of these "Demon-Inspired" and promoted teachings" These statements are taken from Hemphill's two books, To God Be The Glory, and Glory To God In The Highest. I thought the attacks on these two cardinal teachings of the Christian faith come from outside the church, sadly, they are now coming from inside.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I read your post and wondered how long it would take for this group to spread to local churches in my area. The next week, one local church was introducing a new RCE song to its congregation. It seems they had sung others in the past, but more people were praising the upbeat music and upbeat theology of RCE's songs.

    Then, this week, our worship leaders sang "Second Chances" as special music during offertory. I didn't recognize the song as the one you referenced here, but the beat and vague references reminded me of some Eastern mysticism and New Age thoughts creeping into Western religion. I quickly Googled the lyrics and sure enough Rend Collective popped up.

    So, to answer my own question, less than three weeks for this type of music to spread to my local churches.

    Sad really, that people are willing to tolerate the vagueness and mishandled theology in favor of upbeat music. I can't decide if that really shows how poorly Christian musicians have done - or how worldly we have all become.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for the update. Also thanks for being a good Berean and searching out what the band preaches and if it aligns with the word.

      In our church we usually sing one hymn and three contemporary, Today we sang a second hymn, the first being Leaning on the Everlasting Arms and the second, bonus hymn was, It Is Well With My Soul.

      When the lyrics flashed on the jumbo-tron, the 40 year old family man behind me said "Oh, this is a good one!" and the congregation seemed to come a little more alive. More people sang, that was for sure.

      I thanked the music minister for the hymns and she agreed it felt good to sing it. I said that's because these old songs have good theology in them. We all respond to God's word whether written, spoken, or sung.

      I left wondering why, *why* don't we sing these more often. Like, is there a ban on them? Would we all melt like the Wicked Witch under a splash of water if we did? Why is it like this? SMH

      Delete
  8. Dear Elizabeth,

    Let me share some of my reflexions on your thoghts, because it really made me thnk about this topic.
    "As for the content of the lyrics, they are sung about one's self, to one's self, urging one's self to do something (nebulously). It is not about Jesus and does not prepare the mind to think of Him."

    Are you sure? The Psalmist sings to his own soul, too, just look at Psalm 42:11; Psalm 16:2

    “However look at what the youths are doing. They are lighting sky lanterns, a pagan activity done at pagan festivals.”

    It is a pagan activity aoutside of the context. But in this context, it is the symbol of the prayers, the “Offer unto God the sacrifice of thanksgiving” (Psalm 50:14), just like the christmas was the pagan feast of midwinter, and now is the celebration of Christ’s birth.

    "organic" & "authentic" worship in my reding does mean Psalm 111:1 “I will give thanks unto Jehovah with my whole heart”, not just the way it is used to...
    To sing a new song, the Bible exhorts us numeous times (Psalm 33:3, Psalm 40:3, Psalm 96:1, Psalm 96:1-3, Psalm 98:1, Psalm 98:1-3, Psalm 144:9, Psalm 149:1, Isaiah 42:10, Isaiah 42:9-11, Revelation 5:9), and of course I don’t say old songs are not great, I love hymns, too, but the poiunt is, that the Bible calls us to sing new songs, and never defines the style, but encourages us to praise god with whatever instruments we have: “„ lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals, and trumpets as a celebration before God” - the early hymns were often written on (secular) folk melodies (not all of them, but it did happen), and even Bach used folk melodies for his lyturgical works, too.
    God does use secular, even sinful thing and people to sanctify them and use purpouse them for new purpouses. He did it with Abram and Saul, that’s how they became Abraham and Paul and He does it with us, too, so he can do it with contemporary popular music, too. I’m not an enthusiastic fan of theyr song, some of them are truly not too sophisticated, simple songs indeed, but there are times I can connect to God through them, because they praise our God in an honest way.

    It is OK, is RCE’s music doesn’t match Your aesthetics, but there’s no reason to question their Christianity.
    Do they sing that God is dangerous? Doesn’t the Bible tell us to fear God?

    “My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; And I am afraid of thy judgments.”
    /Psalm 119:120/
    “Jehovah of hosts, him shall ye sanctify; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”
    /Isaiah 8:13/

    I can see that you fear God, too, that’s why true form of worship is important for You and I respect that. But please consider my words, (sorry for my poor English) and the Words of Galatians 5.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello mollnar, thank you for your thoughts. well done. Yes, there is much to reflect on. I'll leave it to others to view your thoughts and the scriptures you quoted (thanks for that).

      I'll make three short clarifications: first, it is my opinion that based on the bible's continual warnings about not giving satan one inch, that to engage in any pagan activity, even with a Christian overlay, is dangerous in the extreme. Just ask every king after Ahab who tried to and didn't get rid of the alters on the high places. It is why I oppose 'contemplative prayer', 'circle making' 'Protestant Lent' and other pagan-ish activities with a Christian overlay.

      Secondly, it is not the age of the hymn or song that I oppose. I said that some of their songs were good. So are other new songs. It is the content I am concerned with. An 'honest' song is a failure if it presents Jesus through a filter if pagan-ish activities or flawed doctrine. Honesty isn't good enough. The people who Jesus will tell to 'depart from me, you workers of iniquity' will have been honest and sincere in their work for Jesus, but wrong. I will not praise God through a filter of honestly presented falsity.

      Last, one does not have to outright say God is dangerous in order to be dangerous. Yes they don't sing that God is dangerous. Satan neither said to Eve that God was dangerous. He simply got her to question God. THAT is the danger. It's not about aesthetic, it is about doctrine.

      Delete
  9. We should however be carful not to let the devil sneak in, while we must be true hearted, we must also be wary.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Very interesting, and I mean this in all sincerity . . . Miss Elizabeth I loved the post . . . thank you! The interesting thing is how many responses penned a point about the devil sneaking in . . . he is in, speaking from a very compromised church point of view . . . we need to get the influence out , repentance is needed and a reassessment and vision of what true " following Jesus means " . . . this isnt new its been slowly evolving for a very long time and " the church" is dulled to it in the main! Thank the Lord for those who wont bow the knee to baal . . .

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yes, Jesus bore our sin, but He did also bear all our misery - our griefs, as Isaiah 53 tells us.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for this post, Elizabeth. I was looking for something to share with my daughter since her friend went to hear this group recently at a local (and might I add SOLID) church and I was very wary, especially since the son of a friend of mine "felt the Holy Spirit" swirl around him at one of their concerts a couple of years ago. Scary stuff! I shake my head in amazement because no one seems to be concerned??

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Leslie A,

    you're welcome! I am not sure if the band is totally wayward or not as some of their songs seem to be OK, but I am not too sure that they are solid, and if you give a mouse a cookie...one song leads to another and soon some false ideas may be floating around an impressionable teen's head. Just be wary and vet everything thoroughly. These days this seems to be the best way to go.

    ReplyDelete

The Greatest Revival That Ever Will Be?

Yesterday I looked at what true revival looks like. True revivals are far from the superficially but temporarily euphoric "revivals&qu...