Is Jesus Culture Just Another Christian Band?

Following one of our recent posts on the Passion 2013 conference, one of the issues that came to light is the concern over the worship group “Jesus Culture.” This group has grown immensely in popularity among evangelical youth. Yet many are not aware of the fact that they originate out of the Bethel Church in Redding, California which is known for its false teachings about signs and wonders and is part of the heretical “New Apostolic Reformation” movement. The following video does a very good job exposing the background of Jesus Culture and why discerning Christians should be very concerned about them. Please take the time to watch and learn.

Hey you, worship leader guy, remember that you are not a rock star.

I wanted to pass on a good article entitled “You Are Not a Rock Star, and Other Nuggets for Worship Leaders” written by Clint Archer:

I use “worship leader” in the vernacular sense of the guy who leads the music. Of course, musical worship is only a smidgen of the worship that happens on Sunday. It’s one candle arrayed alongside the worship of preaching, fellowship, serving, giving, and parking far away so that the elderly can park closer.

But when people talk about liking “the worship” they generally mean “the band.” One congregant who should avoid this is the worship leader. Here are four tips for the leader of a worship band…

Continue reading here.

Seeing the handwriting on the wall.

Two years ago I published a post about a CCM entertainer’s comments that he gave to a Roman Catholic organization in which the entertainer, David Crowder, admitted:

“Much of the Catholic traditions and writings have been influential in my formation of faith and to be quite contradictory of what was stated earlier, I’ve found much inspiration there.”

Of course, my pointing this out went over like a lead balloon with many professing Christians. Daring to bring to light (or even make mention of) the biblically antithetical theology, leanings, and/or admitted influences of any of their beloved entertainers will always incur the wrath of the American evangelical. (That same post also spoke of David Crowder’s ties to contemplatives too, but for some reason that has never been much of a point of contention with Crowder’s defenders.)

I received numerous responses of defense for Crowder from tons of professing Christians telling me how stupid I was for pointing out Crowder’s obvious Roman Catholic leanings. In the estimation of his defenders, I was just jumping to conclusions, making mountains out of mole hills, and seeing things that were simply not there.

But was I?

(I still wonder how Crowder defenders would have reacted if he had said “Much of the Mormon traditions and writings have been influential in my formation of faith . . .“.) 

Apparently I have to venture outside the whitewashed, happy, clappy realm of Americanized Christianity to find someone else who can add 2 plus 2 and come up with 4. 

Marc, a Roman Catholic who blogs at Bad Catholic, is one of those out there who also read Crowder’s interview and saw the same handwriting on the wall. On his latest post praising David Crowder, Marc writes what’s so obvious as the noon-day sun to him (and me) but seems to escape the comprehension of so many professing Christians:

“So, remember that time I invited David Crowder to become Catholic? Yeah, that might have been redundant. . . .  I’m happy as can be, and praying for Mr. Crowder, hoping he comes into full communion soon, though it seems his heart is already there.”

Although Marc and I will disagree on many (many) things regarding theology, we can at least both agree on what we’re seeing coming from the “evangelical” entertainer, David Crowder.

Marc also wrote an open letter (an open invitation) to David Crowder to invite hm to finally “enter into full communion with the Holy Catholic Church.”

Because of Crowder’s most recent album, Marc has said that he finds himself “in one of the most incredible moments of my music-loving, Christ-worshipping, Roman Catholic existence” and that “To the Christian, this is awesome. To the Catholic, well, this is freaking fantastic.”

Here is an excerpt from Marc’s article regarding Crowder’s latest album, an album that has at least one Roman Catholic all abuzz:

“So when your album started with a man walking into a Church, and the voice of a priest saying ‘Grant them eternal rest, Lord, and let perpetual light shine on them…’ (in Latin!) I fairly well freaked out. That prayer is not merely a memory of the dead, it is a prayer for the dead, that they might be granted to enter into Heaven.”

Here is Marc’s invitation to “evangelical” entertainer, David Crowder: 

“Though I’m sure you’ve been invited before — and if not, I take this opportunity to apologize for it — I’d like to invite you to enter into full communion with the Holy Catholic Church. You’ve been in my prayers and the prayers of my friends for some time now. We heard when you said that many ‘of the Catholic traditions and writings have been influential in [your] formation of faith,’ and about your love for St. Francis when you granted LifeTeen an interview, and we got pretty pumped.”

So, I guess I wasn’t alone with what I concluded in that interview David Crowder gave to LifeTeen; even Marc and some of his Roman Catholic friends understood it and have not only been praying for Crowder, but were “pretty pumped” by what Crowder said. It’s the cultural Christians who have their fingers in their ears and their eyes slammed shut refusing to examine whether or not the CCM emperor is wearing clothes.

I also find it ironic that the very first comment Marc received on his open invitation to David Crowder came from a Roman Catholic who claims to have actually worked with David Crowder and his band, and knows them on a personal level. This commenter scolded Marc, informing him that he’s not giving David Crowder enough credit for his Romainst leanings:

“I’m a Catholic who’s worked with the Crowder band up until their recent retirement. I was standing there when they walked off stage for the last time in Atlanta two weeks ago, and I know all the guys on a personal level. . . . [Y]ou have absolutely no idea what Dave does or does not know about the Catholic faith. Without that knowledge, I’m finding it hard to understand why you chose to write a manifesto about our faith as if you were telling him things he doesn’t already know. It sounds to me you’ve made an awful lot of assumptions here. Dave has a very healthy knowledge of the Catholic faith. He knows much more than you and others are giving him credit for. When the idea of this album came up, Dave sought out Catholic musician Matt Maher and asked for his input and in depth perspective regarding the Catholic funeral liturgy.”

I’ll conclude with a short video posted on Marc’s blog of David Crowder talking about his latest album, “Give Us Rest or (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]),” a video in which the first commenter on Marc’s post wrote:

“Did David Crowder, the renowned Protestant musician, just use the words ‘Liturgy’ ‘Latin’ ‘Mass’ and ‘Eucharist’ in that video??! I’m failing to see how this could lead anywhere other than into the welcoming arms of Holy Mother Church.”


Worship Songs Compared.

DefCon touches on the issue of music and the Church from time to time; thanks to a recent article from The Watchman’s Bagpipes, this is one of those times.

Yesterday in church we sang some contemporary “worship” songs at the opening of service and closed with a traditional hymn.  Our church often mixes the old and the new, the trite and the meaty.  I want to show you the difference for what passes as “worship” songs today, compared to what used to be standard fare.  I will give them in the order we sang them, and I want you to read the lyrics with a discerning eye.

Read the entire article here.

A refreshing perspective from a Christian musician that gets it!

Of the many Christian artists in the world, there are some that actually understand their calling:

By the 2005 release of his third CD “White Flag,” based on his study and teaching of the Beatitudes, Shaun was questioning what his calling really was. He knew he was made for more than just entertaining audiences, and he was getting uneasy about his family’s comfortable lifestyle.

And because of that conviction, he does not charge admission for any of his performances (unlike some who charge up to $30 for a show). Recently he posted an article on his blog about a survey conducted among college chaplains that points out what we’ve been saying all along–that much of what is called “Christian” music these days is nothing more than sugar-coated pop-tunes filled with “Jesus is my boyfriend” platitudes [all emphases mine].

According to some college chaplains at this conference I’m at this week, long term exposure to Christian music may have unsavory side-effects.

They feel like they’re fighting bad theology and unbiblical perceptions created by the music business. Their students grew up listening to K-LOVE in the minivan on the way to school with mom. They grew up in “event-driven” churches singing songs from “stars” who also came to town to play concerts.

Did the industry change the church/students or did the church/students change the industry? Either way, these guys don’t think all change has been good.

Worship songs, these chaplains say, might be too important to college students. Singers are marketed (and sometimes, apparently, behaving like) nothing but saved rock stars. And don’t even get these chaplains started on lyrics!

These guys also say college students think involvement in a “worship gathering” is optional too – students can text or talk or sing or pray…whatever they want…like a concert. “This is what happens when communion with God becomes commercial,” one said.

“Why would I bring an artist to my campus for chapel and further propagate Christian celebrity and worship as concert?” another asked.

These guys are suspicious, at best, of the Christian music business and its artists. They say we don’t think enough about what we write and sing and how it will affect people exposed to it for years and years.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Quotes (843)

I blush today to think about the religious fodder that is now being handed out to children. There was a day when they sat around as the fire crackled in the hearth and listened to a serious but kindly old grandfather read Pilgrim’s Progress, and the young Canadian and the young American grew up knowing all about Mr. Facing-Both-Ways and all the rest of that gang. And now we read cheap junk that ought to be shoveled out and gotten rid of.

I have an old Methodist hymnal that rolled off the press 111 years ago and I found forty-nine hymns on the attributes of God in it. I have heard it said that we shouldn’t sing hymns with so much theology because people’s minds are different now. We think differently now. Did you know that those Methodist hymns were sung mostly by uneducated people? They were farmers and sheep herders and cattle ranchers, coal miners and blacksmiths, carpenters and cotton pickers—plain people all over this continent. They sang those songs. There are over 1,100 hymns in that hymnbook of mine and there isn’t a cheap one in the whole bunch.

Our fathers sang “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” and we sing junk.

AW Tozer
1897-1963