UPDATED. Read the link at the end to see what true unity is.
A live-streamed event is occurring online tonight (and in a real life place venue located in Brentwood, Tennessee) which has the potential to reach 40 million people. It is being billed as a Christian event, but we'll see more about that in a moment. The event is titled "We Will Stand: An Online Concert" and is promoted as “the greatest night in the history of contemporary Christian music."
Well. The promoters are not without hubris, to be sure. But first, here is a bit of background on charitable single songs or concerts by super-groups--
Over thirty years ago, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" a song written in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, was sung by a quickly put-together supergroup. It was written and recorded in reaction to television reports of the 1983–85 famine in Ethiopia. It was sung by a supergroup consisting mainly of the biggest British and Irish musical acts at the time. It was a huge success and raised a lot of money.
In America the next year, We Are the World was sung as a charity single for African relief. It was recorded by the supergroup USA for Africa. It was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, and produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian for the album We Are the World. Do They Know It's Christmas, sung by Band-Aid, was a direct inspiration for the single We Are the World. We are the World was very successful. (source)
Cut to thirty years later, and today we have the Contemporary Christian Musician's attempt at a Do They Know It's Christmas and We Are the World hit, replicated in "We Will Stand" but minus the charity. According to this article, "Stan Moser, Christian music industry veteran and founder of CCM United, he is seeking to create a “We Are The World” type of moment — but one that ultimately has its greatest impact on the world for Christ." Yet in an interview about the event, he stated his first goal is to be "part of a historic moment."
Details about exactly what the group stands united around are not clear, neither in that article or on their website. After reading the lengthy article published on 94 The FIsh radio station's site, and every page on their own website, I'm still not sure as to what is the message they'll be bringing, except that they will be "Glorifying God with One Voice and One Mind." - Romans 15:6 HCSB" and their slogan is, CCM UNITED, ONE MESSAGE. MANY VOICES. (source)
Christian Contemporary Music is not typically known for having a strongly doctrinal Christian message. It's saturated with sentimentalism, laced with emotion, and has an emphasis on experience. In fact, the organizer of this two-hour concert event happening tonight said the genesis for it was a conversation with God and a mystically intuited moment, sans the bible.
In its pursuit of mysticism and experience, CCM usually repeats one line many times until its choruses become mantra and mindlessness is achieved. Its emphasis is usually on our response to worshiping God rather than God's attributes and how He expects us to worship Him. CCM artists and music producers have not shown the best discernment regarding handling Christian doctrines in song. Nor have they shown the best discernment in who they partner with.
In addition to all that is the problematic nature of Christianity in general these days. Satan always attempts to re-define commonly understood words, until its original meaning has been twisted away from the biblical original meaning. At issue these days is the issue of Unity.
The bible urges unity within the body in many different verses. Here are just three: Philippians 2:2, 1 Peter 3:8, and 1 Corinthians 1:10. The bible urges the brethren to mark those who cause divisions among us. (Romans 16:17). Originally, Paul meant for the brethren to mark those who are teaching contrary to the doctrines which have been delivered, because confusion divides. However, today it has come to mean mark the brethren that dare to exercise discernment and dividing them. The false teachers aren't marked out as divisive anymore, that is said to be unloving. Rather, the brethren pointing them out are said to be the divisive ones. What happens is that the false teachers are being protected and the true brethren are marked and shunned as dangerous. Nowadays, unity at the expense of doctrine is sought and seen as desirable, as long as "we agree on the basics."
The irony is, everyone is divided on just what the basics are, and so everyone gets past any whiff of disagreement by welcoming anyone and everyone as a brother. Unity around nothing is no unity.
Today's 'unity' has also come to mean, unite with Catholics.
CCM's lack of discernment as revealed repeatedly in their songs is on full display tonight. In addition to the contemporary Christian music they will be playing, appearances will be made by Roma Downey throughout the event. Ms Downey may be remembered for her role in the long-running television series Touched by an Angel, in which she appeared as a female angel. She and her husband Mark Burnett also produced a miniseries several years ago called The Bible, or as the more conservative, doctrinal, discerning Christians like to think of it, as "The-Missing-the-Mark Bible" series due to the fact that Downey and her team re-wrote or twisted many of the biblical events they portrayed in the show. The duo also produced and Downey acted in a theatrical release called Son of God, in which the life of Jesus was portrayed, with Downey playing Jesus' mother Mary.
Worse still, Ms Downey is a mystic, a Catholic, and a demonic summoner (divination) in which on live television she used a medium to contact and speak with her dead mother.
The bible says of divination, an activity hated by God and expressly forbidden:
When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. (Deuteronomy 18:9-1)
You can read more about the doctrinal problems with the faith that Ms Downey claims to have, which is no faith, here.
And lest one believes that God's hate for divination is just Old Testament wrath and not relevant to today's loving Jesus, Paul wrote to the Galatians that anyone practicing sorcery will not gain heaven. (Galatians 5:20)
Now when I say that the CCM artists participating in this event show lack of discernment, there it is in full display.
Worse, also participating in this event is Travis Cottrell, Beth Moore's band leader. Participating also is LifeWay Christian booksellers- they are donating the live-streaming for it.
If the concert event is donating the proceeds to some sort of charitable organization I've missed it. All I've been able to determine from quotes like the one above where the organizer said they want to be part of an historic moment, and this quote, that "CCM United was created to deliver the music, the ministry, and the life-changing message of many of the greatest CCM artists of today" and that it is a celebration of 40 years of contemporary Christian music, therefore all I can gather is that the event is just simply a celebration of themselves.
And this would make sense, because much of CCM is about celebrating ourselves. "God look at us worshiping you." "God look at us singing to you." "God see how we really, really love you." Why wouldn't 30 CCM artists get together and celebrate themselves?
I'm sad that they have partnered with Roma Downey. If they are attempting to get "one message" out, it is this:
Doctrine is not necessary, our version of love is; and mysticism, Catholicism, and divination are hunky dory. No wonder the organizer said five times in the interview that "We Are the World" was his inspiration and catalyst. They definitely are the world. They definitely are.
As for their event, "We Will Stand" I only have scripture to share:
Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17)
This is a good essay, explaining what true biblical unity is.