Discernment, Sermons

Sermon and Videos: Why Our Church No Longer Plays Bethel or Hillsong Music (or Elevation or Jesus Culture), and Neither Should Yours

 

Want to see what it looks like to have a pastor who loves God, God’s Word, and his sheep more than the applause of men? Give this sermon a listen. Pastor David Henneke, of First Baptist Church, Kingsland, Texas, walks his congregation through the Scriptures dealing with false teachers and false doctrine to explain why FBC will no longer use music associated with Bethel and Hillsong. He also warns them away from several other false teachers.

(This is also a good sermon to listen to if you’re confused about expository vs. topical preaching. This is a good example of a biblical topical sermon.)

(Technical difficulties? When you click the Play button on this video, you may get an error message. However, simply click on the line that says “Watch this video on YouTube,” and you’ll be able to watch. If that doesn’t work, copy and paste this link into your browser bar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7R6AKFlWhI& or go to YouTube and search for “‘Why our church no longer plays Bethel or Hillsong Music’ Pastor explains false teachings”.)

 

 

Justin Peters and Todd Friel discuss the theological problems with Bethel, Jesus Culture, Hillsong, and Elevation music and why your church shouldn’t use their music in this video interview: Why Your Church Shouldn’t Play Bethel and Hillsong Music.

 

 

Is it wrong to sing songs from Bethel if they are theologically correct? In this episode of Redeeming Truth, Pastors Costi Hinn, Dale Thackrah, and Kyle Swanson provide insight into the dangers of supporting ministries like Bethel [and Hillsong, Jesus Culture and Elevation Music], that have a false understanding of who Christ is.

If you are looking for theologically accurate worship music to listen to or sing in your church, we have put together a Spotify worship playlist that you can listen to. Costi has also written an excellent companion article on his blog: Should Your Church Sing Jesus Culture & Bethel Music?

 

I’m not familiar with this blog nor the author of this article (so I don’t endorse anything from either of them that conflicts with my theology) but here’s a great article by minister of music Dan Cogan on this same topic: Why I Don’t Sing the Songs of Hillsong and Jesus Culture.


Additional Resources

The Mailbag: What Is the New Apostolic Reformation?

The Mailbag: Should Christians Listen to Reckless Love?

God’s Not Like, “Whatever, Dude,” About How He’s Approached in Worship

The Mailbag: False Doctrine in Contemporary Christian Music

Hillsong’s Theology of Music and Worship

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Todd Friel on Rick Warren, Enneagram, Should I stay or should I go?…)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question. I also like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!


Do you have any thoughts on Todd Friel’s latest comment that Rick Warren is not a heretic?

Yes, I’m a faithful listener of Wretched Radio, and I did hear that episode. (You can listen to the specific remarks this reader is referencing here starting around the 5:25 mark.)

I’d like to start by saying that I don’t speak for Todd, so if this is of great concern to you, I would recommend contacting Todd directly and getting a “straight from the horse’s mouth” response from him.

The following is what I understood Todd’s remarks to mean:

I believe Todd was using a more classical theological definition of heresy used by many pastors and theologians (and which I agree with), which a lot of people are unaware of these days because the term “heresy” is tossed about so haphazardly (I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it myself). In this definition, real heresy is narrowly focused. It has only to do with the basic doctrines of salvation. In other words, the things you have to believe to be a Christian, and the things you can’t believe to be a Christian.

For example, T.D. Jakes is a heretic for two reasons: a) he is a modalist, a classic heresy which denies the biblical nature of the Trinity, and b) he preaches Word of Faith heresy – “another gospel” as described in Galatians 1:6-9.

Rick Warren, on the other hand, is someone I would categorize as a “false teacher” (again, I cannot speak for Todd, so I don’t know if he would use that label, but I think he would agree with the remainder of this paragraph). He says and does a lot of unbiblical things which he needs to stop and repent of, and nobody should be following him, but he does not preach or claim to believe anything (to my knowledge anyway) that goes against the basic doctrines of salvation. If you sat him down and talked to him, he would affirm the biblical doctrine of the Trinity, the deity of Christ, that Christ is the only way of salvation, etc.

I think the confusion is that the classical definition of heresy differentiates between true heretics and false teachers, but many Christians don’t seem to understand that because the terms “heretic” and “false teacher” are often used interchangeably. This is a definitional thing. Todd is not saying Rick Warren is a doctrinally sound pastor you should be following. He’s made that abundantly clear on a number of occasions.


My friend Samuel had a great question on Twitter recently:

This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,
Titus 1:13

It’s a great passage with a lot to consider. My thoughts:

1. Look at the rest of 13: “that they may be sound in the faith”. That’s the goal of the sharp rebuke- to bring them out of false doctrine and restore them to sound doctrine. That goal is what should inform the “sharpness” of the rebuke as well as the tone.

2. I think the “sharpness” has more to do with the urgency and immovability of the content of the message you’re conveying, and gentleness, kindness, etc., have more to do with the way (tone) in which you convey it.

3. Notice the word “For” at the beginning of v. 10. It draws our attention back to v. 5-9, the qualifications for elders. In other words, “Elders need to have these qualities (5-9) because of the need to silence and sharply rebuke these false teachers (10-16).” Verses 7-8 call for an elder not to be “arrogant…quick-tempered…violent…but…self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.” Those qualities should govern how an elder gives a sharp rebuke.

4. I totally agree [I think someone else in the Twitter discussion mentioned this] that we should follow Christ’s example in Matthew 23, but we need to keep in mind that a culturally appropriate sharp rebuke in the first century Middle East might not be exactly the same as a culturally appropriate sharp rebuke in 21st century America. We convey the same message, but in a different way.


What is an Enneagram? A church in my area is offering a Bible study on it. Is it biblical?

The Enneagram is basically a tool that purports to help you discover which of nine fundamental personality types you are in order to maximize your strengths and grow in areas in which you are weak.

Is it biblical? There are a lot of different opinions and information out there, so it depends on who you ask. Some would say it’s merely a tool that helps identify less Christlike areas of your personality so you can be aware of, and strive to be more obedient in, those areas of weakness. Others grab on to the Enneagram and dive headfirst into the New Age mysticism that seems to be lurking in all its nooks and crannies.

I would just ask – have you ever read a passage of Scripture that says we need to analyze our personalities – using any tool, for any reason? No, you haven’t. And that’s the main reason I would say you don’t need the Enneagram or any other personality evaluation tool. Just like Christians for the past 2000 years haven’t needed them.

God gives us everything we need for life and godliness in the Bible. Do you tend to be too much of a people pleaser? That’s called fear of man. It’s in the Bible. Too harsh with others? You’re being unkind. It’s in the Bible. Struggle with anxiety? You’re not trusting God. It’s in the Bible.

A lot of people don’t want to hear this again and again because it’s not shiny and new, popular and fun like the Enneagram, personality tests, or internet quizzes (plus it takes longer and involves hard, spiritual work), but we don’t need to be looking for the latest evangelical fad to microwave us into spiritual maturity. We need the slow, deep, plodding work of studying our Bibles, sitting under good preaching and teaching at church, being discipled by older, wiser brothers and sisters in Christ, praying for wisdom, and repenting of sin.

If I were considering using the Enneagram, here’s what I would ask myself:

Why would I rather use the Enneagram – which isn’t mentioned or suggested anywhere in Scripture and has some sketchy spiritual elements to it – than use the methods (prayer, Bible study, discipleship, etc.) I know God has prescribed in Scripture?

For more information on the Enneagram here are some good resources:

Enneagram at Berean Research

Christian Answers for the New Age (Marcia posts great information on her Facebook page. You may have to scroll a bit or ask her to find the specific topic you’re looking for. Here’s something on the Enneagram I happened to find near the top of her feed today.)

Girl What’s Your Number? The Enneagram Episode at Sheologians

The New Age & Quack Spirituality Origins of the Enneagram with Marcia Montenegro and Steve Kozar


Can you recommend a good resource on _____ [a very specific relationship issue]?

There are a lot of wonderful books and other materials out there that can help us deal with certain relational issues, and when I’m aware of those resources I try to recommend them if I think they would help. I am all for reading and learning from helpful, doctrinally sound materials.

But the more specific and interpersonal the issue is, the less helpful resources are, because those resources are general by nature and can’t address every conceivable scenario, including yours. Sometimes you don’t need to read a book, you need to have a conversation with the other person(s) involved in the issue.

For example, if Sally is constantly gossiping about you to other people at church, you don’t need to read a book on gossip or relationships between church members. You need to go to Sally and ask why she’s saying these things. You might need to set the record straight about your behavior that she’s gossiping about. You might have received a false report that she’s gossiping about you. You might need to rebuke her and proceed to the next step of church discipline. But you won’t know any of those things unless you sit down and talk to her. And you’re not going to find those answers in a book.

In other situations, getting the wise counsel of a godly older sister in your church, or setting up an appointment with your pastor for counseling can be much more helpful than simply reading a book. These people know you and care about you. They’re available to help you and answer your questions. They can walk through the changing ups and downs of the situation with you over time. You can’t get all of that from a book.

Materials and resources are great and can be very helpful, but not in every situation.


I still meet with my ladies Bible study group, but they continue to choose very questionable material. Teachers that you have warned against as false and I agree with you. I have voiced my concerns to them over and over and at this point I am just starting to sound like a broken record. My question is, do I still participate and try my level best to help them discern or do I just leave the group?

In my article The Mailbag: Should I attend the “Bible” study to correct false doctrine? I addressed the question, “Should I attend a study using a false teacher’s materials in order to correct false doctrine, or should I decline to attend the study due to the unbiblical materials they’re using?”

Either option can be perfectly biblical depending on the situation and the people involved. This reader chose to go the former route, which brings up an additional question: If I join this group and they continue to teach false doctrine via materials by false teachers despite my correction, how long do I hang in there and continue to correct?

Since every situation is different, I can’t give a hard and fast answer to that. I would reiterate the counsel I gave in the previous article about praying for wisdom and discussing it with your husband and your pastor. If, in these discussions, you and your husband decide that, in addition to the women’s group, there are sufficient biblical reasons to look for another church, you may want to hang in there until you move to a new church.

If you decide to leave the group, another natural time to make the break would be when they finish the book they’re currently using and before they begin a new book.

If the question is less, “When should I leave?” and more, “Is it biblical to leave the group when it’s obvious they aren’t going to listen to biblical rebuke and sound doctrine?” the answer is yes, and practically the whole Bible is precedent for this.

Think back over the Scriptures. What is the Bible’s general posture and response to people – particularly God’s people – who have been repeatedly warned about their sin or presented with biblical truth, and choose to continue in that sin or ignore that truth (as this group seems to be acting toward the reader)?

Think about God’s repeated warnings to Old Testament Israel about their sins of idolatry and syncretism (which are basically what importing false doctrine into a church is). Even God didn’t hang in there continuing to warn them forever. What was His eventual response to them? He used pagan nations to conquer them and send them into exile.

Passages like these also help us see the New Testament’s take on moving on when sound doctrine is rejected:

As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
Titus 3:10-11 (For more on false doctrine as “division”, see Romans 16:17-18, Jude 18-19.)

And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.
Mark 6:11 (see verses 7-13 for context)

Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
Matthew 7:6

Do you have scriptural grounds to leave if a group rejects biblical correction of their false doctrine? Yes. When should you leave? You’ll have to ask God to give you the wisdom to decide.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Favorite Finds

Favorite Finds ~ August 21, 2018

Here are a few of my favorite recent online finds…

Here’s something helpful that came out of the TGC Women’s Conference earlier this summer, the 9Marks at 9 breakout session Women and the Local Church. Karen, Keri, Bev, and Abigail discuss what makes a church, the importance of the local church, what makes a healthy church, practical things you can do to help your church become healthy, prioritizing the local church, and the impact your commitment to the church makes on your children.

 

Wretched has, not one, but two freebies for you! Download the gospel booklet Don’t Stub Your Toe or The Biggest Question video (also available in Spanish) and share them on social media or via e-mail with friends who need to hear the gospel. You might even enjoy reading and watching them yourself!

 

 

Pastor Allen Nelson has written a helpful seven-part review and response to Rachel Held Evans’ new book, Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again. It’s over at the Things Above Us blog, and it’s entitled God-Breathed: A Response to Rachel Held Evans’s View of Scripture. If you’re unfamiliar with Rachel, you can read more about her here, where I have also linked Allen’s article series.

 

At night or in the morning? Commentaries or journaling? “In January 2018, Crossway surveyed over 6,000 readers, asking questions about their Bible reading habits.” They’ve given us some of the results of that survey in a nifty little infographic, How Do You Read the Bible? 

 

 

Yet she will be saved through childbearing—
if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
1 Timothy 2:15

Have you ever wondered what that verse means? WordBoard explains with the Boardies video What Does She Will Be Saved Through Childbearing Mean?

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Spanking, Women teaching men, Working a homosexual “wedding”…)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question. I also like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!


Can you share some Scripture with us that supports the idea that spanking is not abuse? I am genuinely curious as I have a young toddler of my own and go back and forth between the idea of spanking or not spanking.

The first way we know that a loving, properly administered spanking by godly parents is not abuse is that God would not tell us to do it if it were. The God who does not even want us abusing animals (see passages like Proverbs 12:10, Exodus 23:5, Deuteronomy 25:4) would certainly never tell us to abuse our children.

To equate proper spanking with abuse or to pejoratively call spanking “hitting” is a worldly idea, not a biblical one. The world’s (Satan’s) agenda is to get people to believe that spanking is abuse so that they will stop doing it. Since spanking began falling out of favor several decades ago, the cumulative result has been a greater number of children sinning with impunity and not being brought up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, which is exactly what Satan wants. (Yes, I understand that is a general statement. There are always exceptions, but exceptions don’t negate the rule.) Christians parents might choose not to spank, but they may not biblically accuse others of abuse who choose to spank.

Beyond that, let me direct you to some resources that not only give you the Scriptures but give instruction in those Scriptures as well:

What the Bible Teaches About Spanking by Denny Burk (there are several additional resources linked in this article)

Capitol Hill Baptist Church Core Seminars: Parenthood Class 7- The Rod of Correction

Parenting in an Anti-Spanking Culture by John MacArthur

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

How should Christians discipline their children? What does the Bible say? at Got Questions


We occasionally have guest speakers at our Wednesday church services that worry me. Charlotte Gambill [co-lead “pastor” of LIFE “Church”] for instance. I am a firm believer that women should not be teachers of Scripture to men, but I guess my question is this, should I leave my church because this is allowed in these Wednesday evening gatherings?

Well…I mean, I don’t mean this to sound facetious or anything, but sin is sin no matter what time of day or day of the week it takes place on. While there are certain circumstances in which it might be biblically appropriate for a woman to address a mixed gathering of Believers, preaching and teaching Scripture during a worship service is not one of them. And certainly no church or other Christian organization should be affirming a female “pastor” in her sin by inviting her to be a guest speaker for any sort of event.

I would not just quietly slip out the door, though. Set up an appointment to discuss the matter with your pastor. (You might want to use the principles and suggestions in my article How should I approach my church leaders about a false teacher they’re introducing? as a guide.) His response about the matter will probably tell you everything you need to know about whether or not you should begin looking for a new church.


Do you have a page on your website on how you verbally share the gospel with others?

I don’t recall ever having written an article on my approach in witnessing, but here’s what I would recommend.

1. Listen to Todd Friel’s Witness Wednesday every week on Wretched Radio. Todd is very good at opening up conversations with random strangers and quickly transitioning to a gospel presentation. (You might also want to order the resource Terrified.)

2. Watch the witnessing encounters in Ray Comfort’s Living Waters University YouTube videos. Ray has a standard (nearly the same, verbatim, every time) way of presenting the gospel and makes it look so easy!

These are the guys I attempt to emulate when witnessing as I trip all over my tongue and stammer around. You would do much better to follow their example than to follow mine.


If a Christian has a job as a banquet server doing weddings and one day there’s a gay wedding and the person is scheduled to work, would that be sinful to work and serve guests at the gay wedding? Would you say this is just like a Christian baking a cake for a gay wedding or is it different?

I think this is different. A business owner has the freedom to choose which jobs and clients he will accept and which he will not (at least, in America, he is supposed to have this freedom). An employee does not have any say so in which clients the business will and won’t serve. So, the employer is serving the client, but the employee is serving the employer.

If you feel uncomfortable working at homosexual “weddings,” try talking to your boss about it. Maybe you could volunteer to work a different shift, or in a different position in the business that would not require you to work at weddings. If your conscience bothers you a great deal about it, that’s totally understandable, and you might want to begin looking for a new job. Set up an appointment with your pastor for biblical counsel on this situation if it’s a decision that’s really weighing on you.

Basic Training: Homosexuality, Gender Identity, and Other Sexual Immorality

Should Christians Attend Homosexual “Weddings”?


I know women should not be pastors, but is it OK for women to teach men Scripture outside of church?

It depends on what you mean by “teach Scripture” and “church”. If you’re asking about sharing the gospel with someone, that’s not teaching Scripture to men in the church, it’s evangelizing those outside the church, and that’s fine. If you’re talking about teaching a Bible study to a mixed group in someone’s home, we need to remember that the church is not a building, it’s Believers, and that the churches in existence when 1 Timothy 2:12 was written were meeting in homes. So, that would be a “no.”

I think my article Rock Your Role FAQs might be helpful as you explore this more.


What do you think about _____ teacher, author, or ministry? Is he/she/it doctrinally sound?

I’m so sorry I don’t have the time to research all the teachers and ministries I’m asked about. If you’re trying to find out whether or not you should be following a certain person or organization, I encourage you to do the research and find out. Here are the steps I take when researching someone:

Is She a False Teacher? 7 Steps to Figuring it Out on Your Own


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Evangelism

Share the Gospel Like a Twelve Year Old

A couple of years ago, my 7th and 8th grade sons had to take the standardized state tests for their grade levels. Because I home school them, I took them to the testing facility where they were grouped with other home schoolers their age.

My 7th grade son, Jacob, came home the first day and mentioned that a couple of the kids had picked on him a little, especially a girl his age who made fun of him. She also told him she was an atheist. She continued to tease him for the next two days.

In the car on the way to their last day of testing, Jacob was sitting in the back seat and saw my supply of tracts sticking out of my purse. He asked me if he could have a couple of them. I was so proud. I thought maybe he would leave one in the restroom or on a bench as he’s seen me do before. I told him he was welcome to them.

When I returned to pick them up that afternoon, Jacob told me what he had done with the tracts. He put one at the work station of the atheist girl who had been teasing him. When she found it, she tore it up in Jacob’s face. So he gave her the second one. She tore that one up too and told him that if he ever gave her anything else about Jesus she would “kill him.”

Ladies, I share this story with you, not to brag on my son, but to encourage you. If a twelve year old child can share the gospel with someone so hostile, you can do it too! Share Christ with your friends and family, your neighbors, people you run into at the store. Get yourself some tracts and hand them to cashiers, wait staff, clerks, anyone you come in contact with. Or at least leave them behind when you go somewhere- the library, restaurants, the doctor’s office, etc.

We have a commission from our King to take the gospel to a lost and dying world. Let’s get out there and do it! Here are some resources that can help:

Bezeugen Tract Club– Get a free supply of tracts every month, and follow Bezeugen’s social media pages for fun “tracting” challenges.

Living Waters– Ray Comfort’s phenomenal witnessing ministry offers courses in biblical evangelism, eye-catching tracts, witnessing and apologetics videos, and more!

Wretched– Listen in to Witness Wednesday every week as Todd Friel goes out and about to share the gospel, and participate in The Biggest Project or The Big Toe Challenge.