Wednesday, August 1, 2012

We're THIS close to temple prostitution nowadays

EDITED to remove hoax reference to Wal-Mart CD refusing to stock Vineyard CD of racy worship
lyrics.
-----------------------------------
I wrote about the current trend we are experiencing in the Jesus is my boyfriend issue a week or so ago. In it I mentioned that the trend we're currently experiencing in some Christian and/or evangelical quarters is to reduce Almighty God to our boyfriend or husband, and how this not only diminishes His august Majesty but introduces an inevitable sexual component to this unwanted trend.

In this essay I am going to extend the trend forward to a place that is obvious once you think about it.  I alluded to it when I mentioned in that Jesus is my boyfriend essay women as 'camp followers'. I'll answer answer the question of "why are mega-pastors like Ed Young, Mark Driscoll, and others introducing sex into the pulpit and why is contemporary music turning into breathlessly romantic and sometimes sexual songs about Jesus?" Here is my answer:

Because satan is preparing for the re-introduction of temple prostitution/sexual divine where the ancient pagan practices of sexual rites constitute a vital offering to deities. Now stick with me as I make my case. It is long so get comfortable.

Since time immemorial, worshipers have sought a union with the divine. We all have eternity in our hearts, (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We all have a conscience. (Romans 9:1). We all have knowledge that a higher being created the world. (Romans 1:19). Some of us suppress this truth. (Romans 1:18). Some respond and are saved by the blood of Jesus when we repent. When we repent, we finally recognize our union with Him, He sends the Spirit to dwell in us, and we are united to Him through covenant, marriage, and adoption.

However back to Romans 1. Those folks who refuse Jesus take a different path. They still seek union with the divine but because they are under satan's sway, they have to live with his version of it. For those who suppress the truth, they respond to the union with the divine in ever increasingly corrupt ways. The trajectory is always down, as the progression in Romans 1 shows us.

In my opinion, the most overt unholy element of the current unholy perverse downgrade is the union of the sexual in worship.

Everything old is new again. We always come full circle. If you get a globe (remember those?) put a felt marker on the dot of your town, and spin the globe all the way around allowing the marker to draw a line, where will you end up? Back on your town. It is the same way with cultural trends. New Age is really old age. Today's Personal Revelation is really old Gnosticism. Today's Charismatic ecstatic experiences are really old Catholic mystic visions. Nothing satan does is new. Why should he expend energy creating new ways to pervert worship when all the old ways still work?

At root of the oldest way to pervert worship is sex. Let's go back to Genesis and put our marker on the dot of the Garden, and draw that line through to today and you'll see we will end up where we began.

In Genesis 3 satan tempted Eve. He told her that the fruit was good to make her wise. (Gen 3:5). She saw it was good and a delight. The word delight as used here in the Hebrew means 'exceedingly, greedily, lust(ing), pleasant.' She lusted. She didn't just say, "oh, look, a piece of fruit!" She'd seen it every day so far! Satan made her see it differently, through exceedingly greedy lustful eyes. Satan joined that lust of the eyes with the lust for wisdom and we have the beginning of his tactic to unite the lust of the eyes with the pride of wanting higher wisdom.

Let's advance that tactic of uniting the sexual and the divine, the erotic and the Gnostic, to Genesis 6:2, where "the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose." It means what it says, people. Unholy sexual union with heavenly beings.

Let's advance the scene to Exodus 32:6, the Golden Calf-
"And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play."

What happens when you are congregated with all your friends and family, sit down to eat and drink, and rise up again to play? Clarke's commentary says of the word play

"And it appears they went much farther, for it is said they rose up to play, letsachek, a word of ominous import, which seems to imply here fornicating and adulterous intercourse; and in some countries the verb to play is still used precisely in this sense. In this sense the original is evidently used, Genesis 39:14."

Paul wrote of that scene, "Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did." (1 Cor 10:6-8)."

It was an orgy, OK? The context indicates this very strongly. If they were worshiping an idol they were under satan's sway and under satan's sway with the additional accelerants of food and drink and dance, they went the extra mile and indulged sexually. It was another case of the union of the sexual and the divine.

Scenes of the Golden Calf revelry in ancient art. Note how often they are shown partially dressed-

Adoration of the Golden Calf, Nicolas Poussin
Gerrit de Wet - The Adoration of the Golden Calf

Van Leyden Lucas - Dance of Jews around the Golden Calf

Let's advance the scene again, to the times of the pagans until Jesus came. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus was the first to state that the ancient Mesopotamians practised temple prostitution. This is really tough on the heart to read:

"The foulest Babylonian custom is that which compels every woman of the land to sit in the temple of Aphrodite and have intercourse with some stranger once in her life. Many women who are rich and proud and disdain to mingle with the rest, drive to the temple in covered carriages drawn by teams, and stand there with a great retinue of attendants. But most sit down in the sacred plot of Aphrodite, with crowns of cord on their heads; there is a great multitude of women coming and going; passages marked by line run every way through the crowd, by which the men pass and make their choice. Once a woman has taken her place there, she does not go away to her home before some stranger has cast money into her lap, and had intercourse with her outside the temple; but while he casts the money, he must say, “I invite you in the name of Mylitta” (that is the Assyrian name for Aphrodite). It does not matter what sum the money is; the woman will never refuse, for that would be a sin, the money being by this act made sacred. So she follows the first man who casts it and rejects no one. After their intercourse, having discharged her sacred duty to the goddess, she goes away to her home; and thereafter there is no bribe however great that will get her. So then the women that are fair and tall are soon free to depart, but the uncomely have long to wait because they cannot fulfil the law; for some of them remain for three years, or four."

Temple prostitution was a practice in most cultures. Deuteronomy 23:17 forbids followers from indulging in temple prostitution.

"None of the daughters of Israel shall be a cult prostitute, and none of the sons of Israel shall be a cult prostitute."

Khajuraho Group of Monuments
Divine and sexual union is a central teaching in Tantric Buddhism, where sexual practices and rites constitute an important offering to Tantric deities. The temple Khajuraho at left is a monument to the Hindu and Jain gods, and is described by UNESCO World Heritage sites as "decorated with a profusion of sculptures that are among the greatest masterpieces of Indian art." Most of the sculptures are graphic sexual acts. In one of the sculptures a man is having relations with a horse. Masterpiece, eh?

Even after Jesus, the carnal/sensual remained as a part of worship in many cultures, even Catholicism. The sexual as worship was practiced by Catholic and other mystics in the Middle Ages. The late Middle Ages  from 1300-1500 was the height of the Catholic Mystical period especially for women. These females, especially Teresa of Avila and Hildegard of Bingen, experienced and wrote about their personal, intimate, erotic, ecstatic and divine union with God through overtly erotic experiences when overcome with their 'visions'.

Other female mystics were, starting in the 1200s, Abbess Gertrude of Hackeborn, Mechthild of Hackeborn, Mechtild of Magdebourg, and Gertrude the Great. Their visions are largely based on the Song of Songs and filled with eroticism and the Body of Christ. As we approach the current age, we find Mark Driscoll setting off a firestorm with his graphic and heinous teaching of the Song of Solomon. It was so bad it earned a 4-part rebuke from John MacArthur. Did I not tell you that everything old is new again?

Julie B. Miller, writes, "Scholars of women's religious history and spirituality readily agree that medieval and early modern women mystics utilized the vocabulary and imagery of  sexual love to describe their passionate and intense relationships with the divine."

In Ruth Evans' book "Medieval Virginities" we read that in much current scholarship the erotic language of women medieval mystics is not thought to be entirely allegorical. Rather, the religious experience of  these women is often regarded as intrinsically erotic...

Jean Gerson, a medieval male mystic himself, noted this trend in 1415 and warned against it. But there is a clamor to accept mysticism today and all that comes with it, including the re-emergence of accepting a union of the sexual.

OK, you get the idea. So what does this globe trotting that have to do with today? Because that old notion of uniting the sexual with worship is ba-ack! BIG TIME. It is not in the pagan religions though and it is not in the Catholic religion. It is in traditional Christianity!

It started a few years ago in books with 'frank' explorations of sex within the confines of a one-man, one-woman Christian marriage. Lately Ann Voskamp explored the idea of sexual imagery with Jesus like this: "God makes love with grace upon grace, every moment a making of His love for us. [C]ouldn’t I make love to God, making every moment love for Him? To know Him the way Adam knew Eve. Spirit skin to spirit skin?”' The trend continued with certain sexually topical sermons in the emergent churches. It quickly descended to stunts, like this one from Ed Young with his 24-hour "bed-in" and "7 day sexperiment."
Ed Young and his 24-hour bed in, sexperiment
It continued with Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill.

Mark Driscoll 'Obsessed With Sex,' Says Critic; Followers Ecstatic to See Pastor Go 'Mainstream'
"The popular and controversial book about sex and relationships penned by Seattle megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll has one critic claiming there is a new craze for "sex talk" in the church, while the pastor's followers seem excited that Mars Hill manages to promote a biblical approach to sex among secular audiences."

This downward trend continued with lesser-known pastors taking the Young and Driscoll stunts as permission to be even more "open" about sex in the pulpit. The sex focus became prevalent, palpable, and more disgusting. I'm talking over only the last 4 years. It has happened that fast.

It continued further, with Driscoll preaching the Song of Solomon is a salacious way. Elder of the faith John MacArthur publicly rebuked Driscoll in a 4-part essay called "The Rape of Solomon's Song." In the first essay he said, "Mark Driscoll has boldly led the parade down this carnal path."

He is more blunt in this essay about Driscoll's version of proper sermon topics and language here, in the essay called "Grunge Christianity."

"[I]t would certainly be accurate to describe both his vocabulary and his subject matter at times as tasteless, indecent, crude, and utterly inappropriate for a minister of Christ. In every message I listened to, at least once he veered into territory that ought to be clearly marked off limits for the pulpit. ... Apparently the shortest route to relevance in church ministry right now is for the pastor to talk about sex in garishly explicit terms during the Sunday morning service. If he can shock parishioners with crude words and sophomoric humor, so much the better. The defenders of this trend solemnly inform us that without such a strategy it is well-nigh impossible to connect with today’s “culture."

MacArthur is referring to a particular sermon Driscoll had preached in Scotland that was extremely sexually graphic, offensive, and tasteless. I won't even link to it.

So as this parade of carnality now permeates the pulpit, added to this is dance and me-oriented romantic lyrics in praise songs. Am I exaggerating the nearness of the return of temple prostitution? Methinks not.

Look at Passion Worship Band's lyrics to "Madly":
We are madly in love with you
We are madly in love with you
We are madly in love with you
We are madly in love with you
And all of my life and nothing less I give to you my righteousness...
WE have righteousness to give to Jesus? NO!

Or these sensual lyrics:
You are my desire, no one else will do
‘Cause nothing else could take your place
To feel the warmth of your embrace
Kelly Carpenter - “Draw Me Close”

Or these--

You call me child and I’ll call you Father
Kisses from heaven of joy and laughter

I want to lavish my love on you, Jesus.
David Harper“I Want to Lavish”

Included in racy or romantic lyrics are breathless sexy singing arrangements. Todd Friel warned about this amorous phrasing and sexy singing delivery. Humorously but not so funny, there is a list of 6 lyrics from secular love songs and Christian praise songs. It is impossible to tell them apart. Add to that terrible turn of events, the widespread recent inclusion of dance and skits to 'praise and worship' music time during services...

Praise Dancing is now emerging as a 'ministry.' It is also called "body worship." You notice the unintended double meaning, I hope. Increasingly we see dance movement accompany contemporary music as part of the worship service.

Here is an example of a body worship praise dance called Total Body Worship Too... at a Baptist Bible fellowship.


During the dance, people got up and danced themselves, others rushed forward to capture the moment in film or video. The pastor was dancing along the side. As the dance went on, the dancers increased their tempo and simply gyrated and flung their arms all around with no obvious choreography. It is chaotic worship that focuses attention on the body and not Jesus Christ. Pardon me, but I see no ministry here.

"Praise dancing is a ministry," says 17-year-old Ariana Starks at a recent Saturday morning practice at St. James, where she shimmied her shoulders to vibrant gospel music. "Most young people go to church and find it boring. This is a way to attract people into the house of God who wouldn't normally want to come. ... "The Lord is using us through the art of dance to preach the word of God," says Debra Crenshaw, founder of the Fremont-based Christian dance company Dance For His Glory. "It can be entertaining, and people can get enjoyment from it, like the purpose of secular dance. But that's not our sole purpose."  Dance as worship is an age-old custom that can be traced back to the ancient Israelites who danced during Jewish festivals and ceremonies. Sufi Muslims have also been connecting with the divine through inspirational dance for centuries, going back to the whirling dervishes. " (source).

Did you catch that? 'Connecting with the divine' through the body. A physical act. not a spiritual one of the mind and heart. Oy.

Contemporary music already has relinquished much of its mooring to biblical doctrine, and marrying the romantic Jesus boyfriend theme of contemporary music lyrics with bodily expressions of the divine love, on the pulpit or stage, is yet another example of the sexual carnal intrusion ready to burst on the scene in full force when the Spirit is taken out of the way. Challies speaks to praise dancing here.

Modern day cults always have a sexual component and ritualized sex. It is one way you can tell it is a cult!

Our globe has come full spin and where we started with satan in the Garden with wanting higher knowledge to be like God and lusting after the pleasurable fruit. (The lust of the eyes and the pride of life). We are that much closer to the golden calf dancing of Exodus and the pagan practices of ritualized sex at the pagan temple.

Hillsong Church dancing
"The Worship of the Golden Calf" by Filippino Lippi (1457-1504)

The Holy Spirit restrains sin. It is one of His ministries. Prior to the Flood judgment, God removed the Spirit (Genesis 6:3). He will do so again before the Tribulation judgment (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Can you imagine the flooding-in of the sexual when there is no restraint, if there is THIS much of the sexual is already present, even in evangelical churches?

Below is a still from a video of Elevation Church - Charlotte, NC Code Orange Christmas dance to advertise the Code Orange revivals in January at Elevation Church
I didn't want to put salacious pictures in front of you, but I'd like to close with a challenge: as you view some of these 'praise concerts' at churches complete with dancers, mimes, props, Charismatic laughter, body gyrations, loud music and hypnotic drum beats, synchronized hopping, keep in mind the Pastor Ed Young in his bed, the imagined picture in your head of the temple prostitutes, and ask yourself, isn't it obvious where the romanticizing Jesus movement,  mystical ecstatic experience, Song of Solomon sex talking preachers are headed the moment the Holy Spirit is out of the way? The final union of the sexual and the divine- satan's way.

18 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this blog post! Just another sign of the times I think and something else to watch out for. It is very sad to see how many people are caught up in this type of thing and are so easily led astray. But we know that there are many in the ‘church’ today who have ‘itching ears’ and there is always a thirst for new, hidden knowledge. So it is like you said in your blog, what is old is new again.
    Regards, Rick

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, I'm a dancer myself. I do share some of the concerns you've expressed in this article. But please don't tar us all with the same brush. The Bible tells us to praise God with dancing, but this has been ignored for centuries. As it's becoming re-established, it is a learning process and you do sometimes see unhelpful examples (like the video clip you included).

    But the bad examples of music in church don't make us dismiss music, and equally we shouldn't write off dance just because mistakes are made.

    The term "body worship" (also unhelpful) isn't a common one - phrases like christian dance, praise dance, and worship dance are far more usual.

    I can tell you that the vast majority of dancers want to honor God in what they do and certainly don't want to it to be associated with sex - in fact the christian dance world stresses the important of wearing modest clothes to prevent any misunderstandings in this area.

    This is a bit of a side issue to your overall post, and I agree with you that people like Mark Driscoll and Ed Young have gone off the rails. But I hope you'll understand that I have to respond when someone criticises dancing based on examples that I wouldn't want to endorse myself.

    If you have any further questions about dance, I'll do my best to answer them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I completely agree that there are instances of dancing during church services that are intended as a worshipful act. I am sure you are in that group. And I appreciate that you're willing to help me learn more about when or how proper dance can be used during worship services.

      I did think long and hard about the examples I used. I watched a dozen clips first, and many were choreographed and the dancers were covered up and it was to good music and nothing out of hand. However, I am still against body dance during services, first because I do not learn anything about Jesus or the word, and second because you saw in the poor examples how fast it DOES get out of hand. In my opinion it takes the focus off the preaching of the word.

      GotQuestions has a balanced approach to the subject, here, covering the use of dance in the OT, noting it is NOT mentioned in the NT, and going from there.
      http://www.gotquestions.org/dance-in-worship.html

      And John MacArthur here in answer to Q&A, and both those express my opinions.

      I know body worship is called other things, liturgical dance is another example. But its name doesn't set aside the fact that people are cavorting in front of a congregation of believers whereupon the idea is to look at the (usually) woman's body for a period of time, to see how they use their body to evoke an emotion. It is not to edify the believer, because one cannot learn about Jesus thru dance.

      I watched one set of dances which were interpretive of Ephesians and seemingly very sedate compared to the clips I ended up using but I learned nothing about Jesus. It was a distraction from worship, not an enhancement in my opinion.

      Additionally the OT shows us Miriam dancing - but ALL the women were dancing, it was not a show where some sat and watched and applauded while others did the dancing. I don't think it was choreographed, but instead was a spontaneous personal expression of joy that burst forth uninhibited. And we see just a short time after Miriam's dance, the whole group was dancing around the calf. The potential for reverential dance to descend to pagan dance is too closely tied together for me to be comfortable spending valuable service time engaging in it.

      I am sure you are a very good dancer and very respectful. You were respectful to me in your comment and I appreciate it. But I am sorry to say that I still believe that dance during services- even if it is sedate and respectful- is still more of a carnal thing that a spiritual thing. Mixed with today's penchant to add more carnal than is wise to services, it can simply become too dangerous to include it in a regular service. I think we need to be more separate from the culture, not less. :)

      Delete
    2. Dancer said:
      Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for the reply and I'm glad you felt I was respectful. I'll comment as "Dancer" from now on as I see others are also using the "Anonymous" name. The only comment I've made as "Anonymous" was the above one, Aug 1st @ 5:58pm. I do value my privacy online so please forgive me for not giving my name.

      The article on GotQuestions that you linked to is reasonably balanced, as you say, and I am in general agreement with it. Unlike you does come out in favor of dance when it is done appropriately. I would never want to see inappropriate dance in church.

      But something that both you and the GotQuestions article get wrong is that you spend far too much time on the negative aspects of dance. In the Bible, dance gets far more positive mentions than negative ones. The bad examples of the golden calf, prophets of baal, and Herodias' daughter are far outweighed by all the places where dancing is associated with good things such as joy, celebration, praise, worship, restoration, proclamation and victory. The Bible presents dance as being overwhelmingly good, and we distort its message if we focus on the bad examples. I aim to take my worldview from the Bible, not from the world.

      I want to offer some thoughts about Miriam for your consideration. The Bible paints a picture of Miriam as a leader, and I believe it's likely that the dancing in Exodus 15 was choreographed and led by Miriam (to some extent). Jewish sources (which aren't scripture) do say that she was so certain that God would deliver the Israelites that she created dances and taught them to the people to prepare for a victory celebration. The practicalities of a large number of people dancing also lend support to set dances. Another interesting detail is the tamborines - why did they take them on what was a hurried escape? Again, that suggests a degree of planning. I don't think it was spontaneous, and it definitely wasn't personal - it was a communal expression of praise to God for delivering them from the Egyptians.

      I am actually a big fan of what is sometimes called "messianic dance", which is a style of congregational worship dance based on Israeli folk dance. It enables everyone to dance in worship together without needing any dance training. I do feel that is closer to the Biblical model. But there is a place for other types of dance as well, including presentations and improvised dancing during worship. Dance does not necessarily have to be teaching. It can also be a means of encouragement, and sometimes God speaks to people through it.

      One thing I've noticed over the years is that people treat dance as a special case. Would you say "The potential for reverential music to descend to pagan music is too closely tied together for me to be comfortable spending valuable service time engaging in it"? I don't think you would, yet you said the very same thing about dance. But it's definitely the case that music and singing are abused in many churches - was it Elevation Church that had "Highway to Hell" in a service once? Likewise, the way preaching in some of churches is little more than feel-good pop psychology would never cause anyone to dismiss preaching. The answer to wrong use is not non-use but correct use.

      I had better finish now and hope that I've responded in a respectful manner again.

      Delete
    3. Hi Dancer,

      Again thank you for your thoughtful comment and inquiry. I truly appreciate that you read the GotQuestions article too. Hardly anyone does that! I'll think about it some more but for now I do have a counterpoint...lol,

      I understand that you see "The bad examples of the golden calf, prophets of baal, and Herodias' daughter are far outweighed by all the places where dancing is associated with good things such as joy, celebration, praise, worship, restoration, proclamation and victory" but I really don't see that myself. I counted 18 mentions of dancing in the OT and 3 in the NT. It might not be exact but it gives us a clue as to the preponderance.

      You are right, dancing is *sometimes* (but actually rarely) associated with good things in the Old Testament.

      Some of them were good examples were the ones of David and Miriam, as have been mentioned. Other dancing in the OT we have not mentioned yet were of drunknenness (1 Sam 30:16) or of the wicked (Job 21:11). Sometimes dance is mentioned as just something people do in life, like laugh (Ecclesiastes) and sometimes it is mentioned as something one does at a funeral or wedding.

      Caveat 1:
      Most of those examples in the OT were NOT in the context of a worship service. They were dances of joy for homecoming, victory, greeting, drunkenness, children, or the two we have noted in worship(ful) context. So I would have to respectfully disagree that the good examples of dance "far outweigh". I don't see the numbers add up nor are most of the mentions even in worship.

      Caveat 2:
      We are not in the OT days. I am not a Messianic Jew. I am living under the NT covenant and so I seek guidance for my worship from NT examples where they are stated and the implicit context where it is not. What were those 3 examples?

      The party at the prodigal son's dad's house. (Luke 15:25). When he drew hear he heard music and dancing. OK, so a party. Normal, and not in worship context. Herodias's daughter's dance and we already mentioned that one as a bad example. And Jesus mentioning dance as a restatement of the OT verse about children mimicing dirge dancing. So again where the NT is silent, I take my cue from silence and fold into that the preponderance of evidence. To me, my opinion still is that dance in worship is distracting and carnal.

      Last, I hear and understand about your example that if preaching is bad we don't throw out all preaching. However, the primary reason for assembling in worship is to hear the word. Not to dance.

      In Romans 12:1-2 Paul said: “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship." But he said to do that we serve Him in the renewing of our mind, not the use of our bodies through dance...

      I'm sorry...You're a dancer so naturally you are going to have a high regard for and a high interest in dancing and therefore place it higher on the spectrum of activities in worship services. But it does not even come close to the reasons we worship.

      Heb 12:28 says we worship to serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. Furthering the Hebrews verse which unequivocally states our foremost reasoning for worship is to serve Him, I'll use a sentence from another article from GotQuestions, "Personal expressions of worship are not indicated anywhere in Scripture and can lead to activities that are not God-honoring."

      I'm staying safely on erring conservatively. Again, it is the way I interpret what the New Testament tells me how to worship. Your mileage varies, and that is OK. I respect your stance because it is thoughtful and based on your own understanding of what scripture is telling you. You have obviously thought long and hard about dance, read the verses and went forward. So have I, but what I enjoy about us is that we both strive to seek Him and to serve Him with our utmost. I think God is pleased when we do that...

      Delete
    4. Elizabeth, is there any reason why you haven't approved my two posts? I hope I didn't say anything to offend you.

      Delete
    5. Because both long comments went over the same ground we've already been over, and started to repeat. You and I have both had our piece. Let's let it percolate and others read and reply now. It wasn't offensive, just redundant. :)

      Delete
  3. I share your view about the dancing, and since you didn't mention it, I'm curious as to your view concerning the *Christian* tambourine dance groups who perform at churches, and other events, such a parades. Do you consider it in the same league as the other types of dancing?

    J.L.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi J.L,

      Thanks for the input. Well, I know nothing aobut tambourine groups...but safe to say that my general standard for worship is:

      --decorum is tantamount 1 Cor 14:40
      --it must build up 1 Cor 14:26
      --The NT sets toe tone for standards in worship. What it is silent on, I generally leave silent and not crowbar new innovations into NT services. Therefore, for me, any "new" innovations" are to be looked upon with suspicion. CS Lewis on new innovations in worship: "Novelty, simply as such, can have only an entertainment value. And they [the laity] don’t go to church to be entertained. They go to use the service, or, if you prefer, to enact it" and On what novelty tends to do to the worshipper’s attention and focus:

      "It fixes our attention on the service itself; and thinking about worship is a different thing from worshipping…. A still worse thing may happen. Novelty may fix our attention not even on the service but on the celebrant..."

      So I would probably not enjoy a worship service with tambourines.

      Delete
    2. I agree completely with Elizabeth's two standards - and I'm a dancer! But the tambourine is a biblical instrument and is associated with dancing, so I wouldn't want to rule it out, provided that it is done in an appropriate manner.

      I want to make it clear that this does depend on the situation. A church that is very traditional or conservative in style is unlikely to be edified by a bunch of people dancing with tambourines, and it wouldn't be right in those circumstances. Equally, a church that used modern or lively music might find a tambourine group really encouraging.

      I don't have any problem with this, because God has made us all differently, and we are all at different places in our journey of faith. All I want is that we treat each other with love and respect, especially over the things we disagree about. I love what Paul says in Ephesians 4:3-5 - the things that unite us are far greater than the things that divide us.

      Delete
  4. This is outrages! Body dancing? Like in the worlds many dance night clubs?..I understand if you are overfilled with Godly joy and declare hosanna in the heighest! But to dance and grind with each other in the house of God is beyond words reproachable. I agree with the article there really isn't anything new under the sun. They should be preaching "repent for the kingdom of God is at hand" instead of acting out latest moves they saw on MTV, wolves in sheeps clothing indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for your response and opinion. I was witness to the tambourine dancing, (which is taken from scriptures, Psalm 150:4 at least 1 example) due to in laws being participants of a group, one that performs at church events, and parades, and fairs. I honestly didn't get anything out of it. It didn't help me connect to God. I can understand a person's motives to do something like that, to be well intentioned though. However, to relate to what you said, it does put more focus on the human body, and some of the movies are sensual. So I can see how those more carnally minded, will possibly end up having improper thoughts. I think it like many things, has a time, a place, and a proper way to be expressed.

    J.L.

    ReplyDelete
  6. An excellent exposition on a disgusting subject. We shall soon be able to say that there is sex in everything.

    Kim

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am mostly in agreement with your post here. Two things, though:
    One, the pendulum has swung from never, ever talk about sex (or show an ankle, or appear in public pregnant, keep the table legs covered too!, etc) to what we have today. Sex between a husband and wife is a gift from God and is a very good thing (Song of Songs; Hebrews 13:4; I Corinthians 7.), not something to be ashamed of. Neither is it to be public or brazen, etc. and there are many commands in both the OT and NT against adultery, fornication and "every kind of impurity" (Ephesians 5).

    And two, I think there is a difference between worshipping the Lord and being taught about Jesus, or in other words, being taught doctrine (which I am highly in favor of!!) and what the main purpose of most churches is today - evangelism (or so they say). The church service should be for those who WORSHIP the Lord and includes preaching, teaching (Acts 2:42 which also includes eating together and praying together), songs, hymns and spiritual songs (Colossians 3:16, Ephesians 5:19,20)and at least in the Old Testament, worship could include dance (you mentioned that). The church is confused today and thinks that the worship service is for evangelism only (converting the heathen, so to speak) and not for Christians to gather together and worship their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (that is supposedly done in small groups or Sunday School or some place other than "the worship service"). Until that mix-up is turned around and the church service is returned to it's proper purpose (worship), the church is only going to continue to follow the world's ways more and more as it seeks to draw the world to itself so it can grow bigger and boast of it's numbers and programs.

    Yet - I keep this story in mind:
    II Samuel 6:12 Now King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went down and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 13 When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14 David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.
    16 As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.
    ---
    20 When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”
    21 David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
    23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death."

    ReplyDelete
  8. This was an excellent write up Grace and eye opening to say the least. I was shocked to learn these things, and when I read "Most of the sculptures are graphic sexual acts. In one of the sculptures a man is having relations with a horse.", my mouth dropped. Eew!

    Thank you for always keeping us abreast on such matters

    Marrell :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Marrell,

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

    I agree that church is to be used for worship. To me, worship is mainly for exposition of the text, so that those congregated would have collectively heard the message and we can in harmony and like-mindedness go out and apply it to the edification of each other, to the glory of the Lord, and to the evangelism of the lost. Worship is also for song, and for fellowship.

    Ever since the NT we have been seeking a common boundary to understand when and where not to cross from proper worship to improper. It is an old discussion. Where the bible is silent is where the disagreements come. And the New Testament is silent on dance in worship.

    As with my comment about Miriam, I make the same comment about David. First, that was OT. The covenant has changed and Jesus is a building His church, so we can't make a blanket application without examining OT context and NT scriptures. Second, he danced in a personal expression of joy. Paul warned his Corinthians about proper worship because they were coming from a culture of pagan revelry passing for worship and the cultic sex rites that passed for ordinances. He was clear on decorum in worship.

    I believe the same applies today. We are again living in a pagan world where sex rites, the body, and temple prostitution in the form of sex AND money has infiltrated. I do not believe body dancing inside church during service in these (last) days is appropriate. That is where *my* line is and those are my reasons why I set the boundary where I do.

    The bible is silent (which should tell us something) but it doesn't prohibit it either. I feel that I'd rather not engage in an activity that has the potential to incite men to lust, expose the body, and divert attention from the word and the learning of Jesus. Obviously, many other feel that it could be safe and profitable to include dancing as a form of worship. And the beat goes on...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Just to make you aware, the vineyard cd you mentioned is a hoax. Try finding it anywhere, it does not exist. The article about it is fake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I edited the piece to delete that reference and to include verified ones that make the same point.

      But speaking of the point...I think it is funny that the issue was spoofed in the first place. Obviously the spoofers see this same trend. It is inevitable that even if we don't have song lyrics like the spoofers described now, we soon will.

      Delete

Thirty Days of Jesus: Day 18, The Highest King

Further Reading Though the verse is literally speaking about King David, the relation of David to Christ means the verse also prefigu...