Wednesday, January 21, 2015

(Updated) Unity is over-inflated. Let's have more division, please. A report on the CCM free concert "We Will Stand"

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)

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Further Reading:

This is a good essay, explaining what true biblical unity is.

True Unity


13 comments :

  1. Hi Elizabeth,

    As I read this post, I couldn't help but notice that the current post at Stand Up for the Truth is about how the CCM group Newsboys' one founder is now an atheist. I found the timing of both of your posts interesting. I have also read similar articles in the recent past about other CCM artists who are now drowning in unrepentant sin or have disavowed Christianity altogether, proving they were never saved in the first place (1 John 2:19).

    I think your remarks about how CCM is generally not doctrinally sound, and is heavily invested in emotionalism, and its songs are replete with repetitious lyrics that are more like mantras to try to get people into altered states... and I can't help but think that this type of music appeals to the flesh, and thus would likely be very attractive to false converts, especially those seeking to make money as musicians. It's a big industry, with much to gain (Mark 8:36; 1 Tim 6:10). This "We Will Stand" is just one of many examples of how CCM is more about man than God.

    Additionally, your comments were spot on about how discerning believers are now "marked and avoided", versus what the passage is truly about - marking and avoiding FALSE teachers. Discernment is an unwanted gift in the church today, it seems.

    This foolish and sinful partnering that we see going on today (like this concert) with unbelievers and their false doctrines is not true unity. Rather, it is a direct disobedience of God's word, 2 Cor 6:14-18.

    True unity is in the Truth. All who are born again are united in Christ, though some stray at times in sin, and some struggle with doctrinal misunderstandings here and there, and of course need loving correction, but as 2 Thess 3 verse 15 says, do not treat them as enemies, admonish them as brothers. The fruit of the Spirit is unmistakable and present in all of the redeemed. May we all seek to know the written word better, so we may be sanctified in the truth. I look forward to the day when we are all free from our shackles of sin, and are with our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, together in true unity as God declares it in His word in John 17.

    Even so, come Lord Jesus.

    Great post Elizabeth.

    -Carolyn

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  2. Following personalities, whether they be singers or ministers, is dangerous. Deception is surrounding us on all sides, even those areas we perceive as safe. Thus, Jesus' warning to not be deceived. The Christian's loyalty must be to Jesus and not to any man.

    Disturbing evidence can be found regarding some well known personalities claiming "Christian." By doing a little research, its easy to learn occult symbols and numbers. People who are unaware of them just see a picture...some may look a little bizarre, but their meaning goes undetected. But it's a way for the occultists to communicate to one another about who they are, without the public at large discerning it.

    There are some popular singers and ministers posing as Christians who have these occult symbols on their CD covers, on logos, on book covers, on clothing, etc. Remember that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light. He's sent his servants in among the saints. Do not be deceived, Jesus said. Be vigilant. Forsake those against Christ.



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  3. Elizabeth,
    Thank you for such a clear explanation here. This is one I will mark and save, in the event I believe I have an opening with family who need to have a clear explanation of unity and compromise. I wish I could force every professing Christian to read this post.
    I have noticed the same problems with CCM. It really bothers me to sing CCM in church, as it has no place there, IMO. However, for the most part, I am thankful for it on the radio, as its better for my kids to listen to than mainstream garbage.
    Speaking of music in church, several times recently when hymns vs. contemporary music has come up in discussions with family, I have literally been interrupted and cut off as I was speaking (explaining that hymns teach doctrine, so they are the better choice for worship). Not allowed to finish and the subject was abruptly changed. I assure you I was not being obnoxious. I just hit a nerve or dared to challenge an idol. Christians today are easily used by the enemy because he has convinced them that any disagreement is to be avoided and immediately shut down. *sigh* In all seriousness, my only hope is that the Lord will come TODAY. I am so weary.
    ~Jennifer

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  4. This "We Will Stand" nonsense with its dollop of New Age claptrap is an example of the world's fake "unity." You know, the one without the crucified, resurrected, risen, victorious, exclusive Jesus. This is a counterfeit "unity." This is―in one word―disgusting. And it has nothing to do with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who, BTW, is the ONLY way to the Father.

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  5. Just heard David Jeremiah on radio broadcast today or yesterday, saying that he found it interesting, when he was being converted, that of all the religious leaders throughout history, Jesus was the only one who actively sought to divide the crowd. He was the only one who would seek to work with a smaller group of people rather than a larger group for size's sake alone.

    Jesus divides people. Specifically, Jesus divides disciples from the disobedient. The sheep from the goats. Those at peace with God from those at peace with men and at enmity with God.

    Division within the Body [probably] means you've got disbelief somewhere, which is a bad thing. But unity with those outside the Body means the same. Division between the Church and the World -- not withdrawing, but in the sense of fellowship -- is a good thing and one thing we should be striving for, and joyful when we see it happening.

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  6. It consistently amazes me how you pick and choose bible verses that are applicable to your argument, yet call out "false prophets" for doing the exact same thing.

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    1. Can you show me an example of which verse I've used incorrectly, and show me how the verse should be understood?

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    2. Anonymous, you have scare quotes around the phrase "false prophets". Does this mean you believe there aren't any? Or, do you believe the ones I've called out are not actually false? Please use scripture to help us understand your meaning.

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  7. This type of UNITY: JUST IN TIME, TOO!!! As this world right is right on the cusp of the pre-tribulation RAPTURE happening. After that? When the world UNITES under the One World Religion... this is just all a set up for then!!!

    Didn't the pope recently announce that no one "has a right" to say anything against someone else's religion? Also a SET UP. When people do that during the Tribulation, they'll lose their heads for it.

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  8. "One message, many voices"...for some reason, I can't help but think of Babel.
    Heather

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  9. "To pursue union at the expense of Truth is treason to the Lord Jesus."
    - Charles Spurgeon

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  10. I love some CCM music, and I don't think there's anything wrong with being emotional because we're emotional beings after all. Even creation inspires emotions - bright, beautiful flowers, sunsets, fields and mountains. I get emotional when I see the wonders of God's creation, and I believe God invented music so that we can enjoy it on an emotional level. However, I think the problem here is that there are far too many Christians who rely on emotions to get closer to God. Sure, music can be one of the ways for God to draw us closer to Him, but it's not all that. All of should mature in our faith and should desire to get closer to God no matter our circumstances, with or without music. There have been times when God tested me in this area. Music seemed to have lost its luster and it was a struggle communing with Him every day. I I just wasn't feeling it during worship time. What God has taught during those times is that deeper walk with God requires mature faith, one which doesn't rely on superficial stimulants like music. Music is a tremendous gift to us, however we must be able to worship God with or without it.

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  11. Also, I must add that there's are contemporary songs that are disguised as worship songs, but they're more about us than Him. It really requires discernment to be able to know the difference because the devil is really tricky.

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