Is the Church Following the Culture

Let me first say that I can only answer this question concerning the culture of United States in general, and the Western and South-Central states in particular. (This is A complete revision of a prior article)

Though, via TV and Internet I believe the same opinion holds true for other parts of the world.

So, if you are outside the continental US, please do not be offended by my words.

In fact, unless the Holy Spirit brings conviction to someone (because this is not intended to indict anyone in this class), they should not feel convicted at all concerning these words, but if they do, then God be praised.

Unfortunately, I believe the answer to this question is: “yes, it appears that the Church is closely following the culture.” 

I believe we have become impregnated by the philosophy of the world and its leader, “The prince of the power of the air” (Please see Endnote #1).  

However, it is to be remembered that God foretold of this thousands of years ago as recorded in the Old Testament and New Testament prophecies concerning the last days (Please see Endnote #2)

Rather than being totally separated, I believe the church settles for a cheap substitution that appears to be antithetical to the culture, yet in reality is just a different shade of the same effect which creates a religious, but non-Christian atmosphere – a carnal effect of deception which feeds pride and sensual pursuits (meaning based upon the senses, as opposed to faith – 2 Corth. 5:7 ~ “For we walk by faith, not by sight” – remembering that sight is one of our five senses – ), and desire.

Bribery
Over 50 years ago, the reason why a very prominent pastor left the Foursquare Gospel denomination was because of they’re pandering of the gospel to children in the form of bribery.

I was brought up in a church which gave out rewards (candy and junk toys) for memorizing the Scripture, getting treats for attending vacation Bible school, and many other forms of enticement that were good-hearted, but carnal: and it appeared to work; as pragmatic tools, yet supported underlying cultural principles of bribery, and materialism.  

And 40 years later where are all those kids that were taught that being a Christian meant receiving ONLY good things / bribes – they are gone, or even worst yet they now follow the “name it and calm it” gurus!

Pragmatic
The term used normally to legitimize utilizing worldly, or cultural tools in the work of the ministry, is the word pragmatic.

Satan learned a long time ago that the easiest way to convert the church to worldliness was by using the practical tools of logic, cause and effect, and goals centered outcomes.

It became not about truth, but about winning.

Translated, what this means is, church drives and crusades were about getting bigger numbers in the Churches rather than teaching mature sound Biblical doctrine – they were afraid the masses would not stay if things got too deep in teaching, the masses needed to be entertained, not discipled.

Therefore, a catchphrase that is quite worldly, yet is heard in the church quite often is: does it work, and if it does not, don’t use it.

Success
This pragmatic mindset creates many problems in the church, as it makes success the end goal.

There are many of our expressions that display this type of thinking, such as:

“Winning Is the Only Thing That Matters”
“Win At Any Cost”
“Sometimes You Have To Do the Wrong Thing, To Get Justice”
“It’s Okay to Do the Wrong Thing If You Do It for the Right Reason”
“The Most Important Thing Is the Greater Good”
“The Ends Justify the Means”
“More Is Better Than Less”
“Bigger Is Better Than Smaller”
“Newer Is Better Than Older”

It is Now About “Self”
Besides the narcissism and materialism that is inherent to these presuppositions, they are very pragmatic in nature, and give the appearance (again we are speaking about that which is sensual, that which is appealing to the eyes and sight; as opposed to faith which is solidly based upon God’s word).

Dancing 1Example Number 1 – Modern Dance in the Church

To give you an example we now have modern dance in many evangelical churches.

The rationality is that individuals can communicate their worship to God by using their bodies – and all forms of worship are acceptable – and anything we say that is worship – if it is done with a pure heart, is worship.

The rationality that has been used for this type of behavior is that it gets young girls involved in the church, and in studying scriptures that they will act out on stage.

One of the problems is the self-centeredness that is developed in this pursuit.

Teaching young girls to draw attention to themselves, making worship into a form of entertainment, rather it is referred to as self-expression, self-fulfillment, self edification, or self worship of God, it is simply a deception that teaches young girls to conduct themselves “to be seen by men” as is illustrated Christ addressing public alms and public prayer where attention is drawn to the individual, rather than to God as stated in the sixth chapter of Matthew (Please see Endnote #3).

And what about the issue of wearing tight attire that is not modest, and having young girls communicate by moving their body in different positions has never been seen in the Bible as an example of godly worship.

So what does the Scripture have to say dance.

The Bible basically presents two forms of dancing, that which is evil, usually connected with sexual relationships and false religions or demon worship; hereafter referred to as “evil dance (Please see Endnote #for a list of every passage in the Bible which utilizes the nouns and verbs for the word “dance“, which are also listed in theses two categories), and “celebratory dance

Dance 2

Evil Dance

All the Scriptures found in the Bible regarding evil dance (“dance,” “dances,” “dancing,” and “danced“) are listed here:

Judges 21:21 ~ “And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.”   

Job 21:11 ~ “They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance.”  

Judges 21:21 ~ “And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.”

Exodus 32:19 ~ “And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.”

1 Samuel 30:16 ~ “And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah.” 

Judges 21:23 ~ “And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught: and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them.” 

Matthew 14:6 ~ “But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.” 

Mark 6:22 ~ “And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.” 

Celebratory Dance
All the Scriptures found in the Bible regarding celebratory dance (“dance,” “dances,” “dancing,” and “danced“) are listed here:

Psalms 149:3 ~ “Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.”  

Psalms 150:4 ~ “Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.”  

Ecclesiastes 3:4 ~ “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”  

Isaiah 13:21 ~ “But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.”  

Jeremiah 31:13 ~ “Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.”  

Lamentations 5:15 ~ “The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning.”

Exodus 15:20“And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.”

Judges 11:34 ~ “And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.”

1 Samuel 21:11 ~ “And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands”

1 Samuel 29:5“Is not this David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands” 

Jeremiah 31:4“Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.”

Exodus 32:19“And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.”

1 Samuel 18:6“And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.”

2 Samuel 6:16“And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.”

1 Chronicles 15:29“And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.”

Psalms 30:11“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness”

Luke 15:25 ~ “Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.

2 Samuel 6:14 ~ “And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.” 

Matthew 11:17 ~ “And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.” 

Luke 7:32 ~ “They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.” 

David Dances Before The ArkDavid’s Dance
The example that is used to rationalize his behavior is that of David dancing before the Lord when the Ark is returned.  

Yet, he did not wear a tutu (And a little chiffon in the middle doesn’t change that they are wearing a tutu), he did where the priest’s ephod.  

However, this was done outside of the temple as a display of celebration, dance was never practiced in Temple worship.

Dancing has never been a part of public worship within Christianity.

if the question is: is there a place for celebratory dance at gatherings with the Jews, the answer is yes; as even today this is part of their ceremonies.

The Key Points
1) Dance was not practiced in the New Testament church – Which followed Christ’s Directions.

Dancing only occurs twice in the New Testament, evil dance which was used as a sexual enticement to have John the Baptist murdered as seen in Mark 6:22, wherein the noted scholar Warren Wiersbe has stated:

“Royal feasts were extravagant both in their display of wealth and in their provision for pleasure. The Jews would not have permitted a woman to dance before a group of men, and most Gentile mothers would have forbidden a daughter to do what the daughter of Herodias did. (History informs us that the girl’s name was Salome.) But the girl was a part of the mother’s plan to get rid of John the Baptist, and Salome played her part well.”

Notice that Warren points out that based upon Jewish history and protocol, women were not allowed to dance in front of men, which would be considered entertainment.

We know from Jewish history that it was always a group of women that would dance, but it was not allowed at Royal celebrations, or religious celebrations.  

They were allowed in celebration of some of the Feasts of Israel, which would be synonymous for the situation where Moses’ sister Mairian (Exod. 15:20) had danced, as well as David (2 Samuel 6:16).

The second occurrence of found in the New Testament was that of the return of the prodigal son were his father through him a party – a celebration (Luke 15:22-27).

Dancing existed during the time of the New Testament as a way of celebration.  But it was never part of a church service as part of public worship or even private worship.  

It is quite possible that during the “Agape” (love) feast, that dancing may have been performed as a form of celebration and worship to God.  these love feast were not a church service but were conducted before the service wherein they held a type of potluck dinner, where also they would hold what we refer to as communion as a type of prayer prior to the meal which Paul refers to as the Lord’s supper (1 Corth. 11:20-22), yet these were not a church service but a Christian community supper, even alcohol was served as Paul points out that some people got drunk.

2) Worship is never meant to be a spectator sport, where there are participants and there are observers such is what occurs when modern dance is performed in front of a congregation today – Back to the SELF Factor.  

Why do you think Jesus in the sixth chapter of Matthew talks about doing alms and prayer within a prayer closet, and when fasting not to make a display of it.  If you want to know what is that acceptable worship to God (This is what real biblical worship actually is ~ “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” ~ Romans 12:1-2), please read Matthew chapter 6 below.  

Can you honestly say that modern dance that is conducted on a stage before a congregation fits with in what Jesus is attempting to communicate in these verses concerning how we live out our lives before an audience of one – God, as opposed to entertaining an audience of people.  Matthew 6:1-21:

(1)  “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.”

(2)  “Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

(3)  “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:”

(4)  “That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.”

(5)  “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

(6)  “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

(7)  “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”

(8)  “Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”

(9)  “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”

(10)  “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”

(11)  “Give us this day our daily bread.”

(12)  “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

(13)  “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”

(14)  “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:”

(15)  “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

(16)  “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

(17)  “But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;”

(18)  “That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”

(19)  “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:”

(20)  “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:”

(21)  “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

3) Dance has never been a part of Christianity from the time of the disciples until the recent centuries as seen with the shakers and others within the Pentecostal movement – The History.

According to “ChristianityToday.com”:

“The church fathers paint a generally bleak view of dancing but do not wholly preclude sacred dance. Clement of Alexandria, writing circa 195, interpreted Old Testament Scriptures in such a way as to excise reference to literal dancing: ” ‘Praise with the timbrel and the dance.’ This refers to the church meditating on the resurrection of the dead in the resounding skin.” Commodius, writing around 240, associated dancing with worldliness: “You are rejecting the law when you wish to please the world. You dance in your houses. Instead of psalms, you sing love songs.” Cyprian, though, writing about a decade later, makes some distinction between godly and ungodly dance: “The fact that David led the dances in the presence of God is no sanction for faithful Christians to occupy seats in the public theater. For David did not twist his limbs about in obscene movements. He did not depict in his dancing the story of Grecian lust.”

4) Modern dance did not originate from the Bible – Worship is about God, Not us.

The dance which appears to be acceptable unto the Lord was celebratory in nature.  The Bible did not originate with secular entertainment.  

Modern dance did not start in the church, it started in secular society and is now the basis for those that explained that it can be used in the church, even though it’s origin had nothing to do with the church, religion, or anything godly; it was and is entertainment no matter what you attempt to rename it.

The point that really needs to be made that is more important concerning this issue goes beyond the fact that entertainment is never to be done in the sanctuary; it goes beyond the fact that anything that feeds self, is antithetical to the Bible; it even goes beyond the fact that modern dance did not originate nor was it endorsed within the older new Testaments, it was a secular performance based upon entertainment and self-expression…

The point that really needs to be made is that anything that takes from Jesus Christ by placing man on a stage in front of other men is wrong.  

And this goes far beyond the simple issue of modern dance, what about our current form of worship music, many times referred to as the “praise band,” or the simple issue of clapping..

Stages 1Example Number 2 – Music in the Church

The Key Points
1) Stages, Bands, 

Do you know that having a stage in a church is a rather recent contribution to the sanctuary.

Prior to the vaudevillian days, wherein stages were used to lift up entertainers so that those in the back rows could watch the show; stages were never seen and churches.

Churches normally had a lectern (a pulpit that was lifted a few feet off the ground in which Astaire was used to enter) located on the right wall of the sanctuary to the side of the congregation.  

The idea was that the preacher was not to be the center of attention in front of everyone, he was off to the side wherein in front of the parishioners was either a blank wall with a cross, or some other symbol of God.

Once musical instruments were added to the service they were located in a balcony up above the parishioners out of sight and out of mind, where they did not interfere with the focus of attention which was to be maintained upon God.

The same procedure address that of a choral group which were also located on the balcony out of sight.

it was after the days of the 18th century and 19th century revivalist that would utilize vaudevillian stages, and saloons to preach their sermons that the idea of utilizing the stage slowly started to enter into the design of modern churches.

As also the inclusion of musical instruments and choirs were added to the worship service wherein balconies were originally designed to facilitate.

Now, we could not imagine entering a church that did not have a stage where people were lifted up to be fully seen by the audience; wherein currently there are no longer musicians playing instruments but a full ban on stage including a lead singer, who acts as if they are leading music, along with their backup singers.

We have become fully accustomed to this type of set-up, but pastors and ministers of by-gone times would be flabbergasted at what they would refer to as our arrogance and showmanship.

Yet all of the name of practicality – it seems that we are back at pragmatism again.

Musicals2) Musicals – Musical Specials

Please show me an example where anyone signing a song to an audience, commonly referred to as musical specials or musicals anywhere in the Bible – anywhere?

And is there anything wrong with that – Yes.

The reason is very simple, God is to be the center of attention, His sanctuary is not a place that people are to be entertained by others providing musical specials or presenting musicals – no matter how pragmatic the defense may be.

You don’t do the wrong thing for the right reason, rationalize it and keep on doing it.

The excuse is that the person that is entertaining is worshiping God, yet every time you see music used in the congregation especially as seen with the church fathers during the first five centuries after the death of Christ, they were never songs that were sung by one individual to an audience, because it is self-evident this is unbiblical.

The church is not a place to entertain, when the people sing worship songs it is everyone singing, not just one person or even a band.

Though this is become our norm, we should examine this to see if people that entertain in the sanctuary should continue to do so.

Applause3) Applause

Applause are produced by audiences.  Is that what parishioners are, audiences.

The definition of audience is:

“the assembled spectators or listeners at a public event, such as a play, movie, concert, or meeting.” (Google dictionary) or “The spectators or listeners assembled at a performance, for example, or attracted by a radio or television program.” (The free dictionary.com).

The definition of applause is:

“approval or praise expressed by clapping” (Google dictionary), “Approval expressed especially by the clapping of hands. or Praise; commendation: a scientific discovery that won critical applause.” (Free dictionary.com).

Again this gets back to the idea of the difference between an audience that is to be entertained, or parishioners that are to participate.

The church is not an entertainment center where their actors and watchers.  

The church is made up of individuals which are the body of Christ who have different giftings in which they serve each other as the church.  

The church is not the building that we meet in, it is who we are.  In the church was never meant to be a spectator sport.  

And though the intention may be good when we applaud someone that has sung the song in what they say is worship to God, why are we applauding the gift that the person has which originally came from God.

Psalm 47:1-2
Some people attempt to utilize Psalm 47:1-2 ~

Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth.”

You will observe that it is God alone that is the one that is receiving the clapping – that’s why it is common to also see people during praise service to say “let’s give a clap out to the Lord,” yet if that is the same clap that you gave to the entertainers a few minutes ago, I think it pales in comparison to what it was meant convey (Psalms 98:8).  

Biblically speaking you rarely heard applause, and if you did it was for God alone, and everyone knew it.

Some have said, well I’m not applauding the people I’m applauding God that he is using the people.

Brutal Honesty
Talk about rationalization.  Does that mean when they go watch a ballgame in the apply their plotting God for using the ballplayers.

we need to first get honest about what’s going on.  Clapping is what we have been taught to do within our culture to show appreciation or praise for what someone has just done – we don’t need a lie to ourselves or to others to justify this, simply because people around us in the pews clap does not mean we have to.  

It’s like the motivation for putting a few bucks in the plate when it comes by.  

Is our motivation to give God two dollars, or five dollars; or is it because were afraid of what those it sitting next to us with think.

I guess the first thing we need to do is get real.  

There is no reason whatsoever to clap when someone has just sung a song or done something in front of the congregation, to pat them on the back.

It gets back to self and how people feed their egos and the egos of those around them rather than focusing on Jesus Christ and him alone.

Being Aware that all Eyes are on You – The Center of Attention
There is no way to be on the stage leading in music, or sitting there is someone else preaches without being aware that all the eyes of the parishioners are upon you.  

This changes the way that you act, it makes you self-conscious which is the opposite of God conscious.

Over 30 years ago, my first full-time ministry was as an assistant pastor who along with the minister of music would have to sit on the stage for a prolonged period of time up until the senior pastor would start preaching.

There was no way to not think about a few hundred sets of eyes looking at you.  

My habit was to close my eyes and try to tune them out, yet it always came back to being aware I was sitting in front of these people.  

I had to be aware of my hand gestures my movements, if I scratched, if I needed to burp, or make any other bodily noises which could be detected. 

I hated it.

so when I listen to people say how they just tune the audience out closer eyes and sing to God, as a certified and licensed counselor the first issue that I would suggest in dealing with them is that of honesty.  

It’s like trying to say that you can control your thinking to the extent that if I walk up to you and say, I want you to not think about an elephant – and you would presuppose that you could do that very thing.  

There is a lack of dishonesty that first must be dealt with because we cannot separate the thinking process of our brain from the environment in which we find ourselves.  

We can close her eyes and forget for a few minutes, but if you have to pass gas, believe me you are aware of where you are – that is reality.

The church in following the culture has become a place of entertainment,
and where the activity of being a spectator has been legitimized.

All Things to All Men

There are those that also use Paul’s statement to be “all things to all men” as a rationality for this type of outreach.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23, reading the whole context, which states:

“For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;. To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.”

Yet if we see that the way Paul displays this by his writings in the New Testament, what Paul did was he communicated to those people in language that they understood.

This does not rationalize doing the same behaviors that others do, so that you will gain credibility by them, nor use anything and everything that is out there, for the furtherance of the gospel.

There are some things that cannot be combined with the gospel without violating the integrity of the gospel.

You can’t witness by being a whore, no there’s no such thing as having a drink with drunks in an alcoholic ministry, that of being drunk and witnessing to drunks.

You can’t be a criminal, violate the laws, as well as God’s Word, and then attempt to witness to criminals.

What Paul says, is: “unto the Jews, I became ‘as a Jew,” and “to them under the law, ‘as’ under the law,” and “to the weak became I “as” weak.”

The word “as” is used to indicate his form of communication to them, he talked to them in the vernacular that they understood, both in terminology and examples.

In our vernacular, we would say he spoke about the fish to fishermen, and used fishing words and analogies to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Within the grammar the word “as” indicates a figurative usage, he did not become a legalistic to those under the law, if he did, this he would violate the grace of Jesus Christ.

He did not become weak and violate his own conscience to preach to those that were weak, this would have violated the gospel concerning Christ’s statement that those that would loved Him would keep his Commandments.

This Scripture in no way states that we are to approach the world utilizing worldly techniques or behaviors.

We are in the world, but not of the world (“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” ~ John 15:19).

The point is pragmatism; that of having a logical way of approaching things to achieve a logical successful / goal (which is completely goal oriented), doesn’t always work in Christianity.

The reason why is human presuppositions are not biblical, and humans can never separate themselves of their own presuppositions.

This is why, some of the most egregious atrocities of man have been done using the Scripture as justification (the Crusades Hitler, Mussolini, most of the Kings of Europe over the ages; have all use the justification that they are the hand of God as they are mercilessly killing the masses and committing mass genocide).

But the point is, humans can mess up anything and everything; especially inside of the church of Jesus Christ.

The Jews refused to of knowledge this (their ability to warp things – we refer to them as Pharisees) and therefore became victims to it.

The law (“But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully” ~ 1 Tim. 1:8) that was meant to be a schoolteacher (“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” ~ Gal. 3:24), they transformed into an accomplishment that merited salvation.

In the same way that the Hebrews took the Brazen Serpent on a staff (Numbers 21:5-9), and started to worship it, rather than realizing it was a typological instrument that symbolized something that God wanted to communicate to them (according to Jesus in John 3:14), they utilized it pragmatically speaking, and centered their worship towards it.

Which is why 690 years later King Hezekiah destroyed the Brazen Serpent because it was being worshiped (2 Kings 18:4).

They took the thing that God meant to be a symbol, and started worshiping it over the centuries.  

When it was destroyed it was turned to a powder and mixed in a stew in which the Israelites were commanded to eat it, to drive the point home that God alone was to be worshiped.

God’s Word
We must always be willing to examine those things that have become our traditions in the light of God’s Word to examine if we should continue doing those things – we shouldn’t do things just because we’ve always done it that way, or just because somebody has a pragmatic reason for saying we should start doing something new – it is God’s word that should be our guide, not pragmatism.

What we must do is shine light in the darkness, tell the truth when it hurts, love without condition; yet always warn, even when it is painful.

For you that have had the tenacity to read this article all the way through, I am honored that you would consider these words which while heartfelt, I am very uncomfortable with.  

I love much of the current worship music (I was a long-haired hippie in the 70s in Southern California, so these words hurt much more than you can imagine), but at the same time recognize that we must not allow our own traditions to make void the word of God (“making the Word of God of no effect by your tradition which you delivered. And many such like things you do.” ~ Mark 7:13, literal translation)

There are many different barometers in judging a person’s spiritual maturity;
condemning people is NOT one of them.

(I know I sound like a crotchety old man that hates everything in the church that is new – nothing could be further from the truth)

I am not suggesting that we tear down stages, destroy electrical musical instruments (though I am stating my belief that dance, musical specials and musicals, as well as applause has nothing to contribute to a worship service, spiritually speaking; and sets a bad presidents concerning what we are there to do – hear God’s Word, and worship Him alone); I am suggesting that we not hold so tightly to these traditions that we’ve established no matter how practical they appear to be.

I am suggesting that we be open to the Holy Spirit concerning these things which have become taboo.

But if it is true, which I believe it is, that we are living in the last days, we need to become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and what he would have us do, and how he would have us act because we must remember that:

For the time has come that Judgment must begin at the House of God. (1 Pet. 4:19)

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Endnote
1.  Ephesians 2:2

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience

2.  Scriptures concerning How People Will Become More Perverse, Especially in the Last Days

1 Timothy 4:1-3 ~ “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;  (2)  Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;  (3)  Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

2 Timothy 3:1-8 ~ “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  (2)  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  (3)  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  (4)  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  (5)  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.  (6)  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,  (7)  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (8)  Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.”

2 Timothy 4:3-5 ~ “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  (4)  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  (5)  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

Jude 1:1-25 ~ “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:  (2)  Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.  (3)  Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.  (4)  For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.  (5)  I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.  (6)  And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.  (7)  Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.  (8)  Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.  (9)  Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.  (10)  But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.  (11)  Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.  (12)  These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;  (13)  Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.  (14)  And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,  (15)  To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.  (16)  These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.  (17)  But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;  (18)  How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.  (19)  These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.  (20)  But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,  (21)  Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  (22)  And of some have compassion, making a difference:  (23)  And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.  (24)  Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,  (25)  To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Latter Days: Num. 24:14; Deu. 4:30; Deu. 31:29; Jerm. 23:20; Jerm. 30:24; Jerm. 48:47; Jerm. 49:39; Eze. 38:8; Eze. 38:16; Dan. 2:28; Dan. 10:14; Hos. 3:5.

Last Days: Neh. 8:18; Matt. 20:12; Matt. 27:64; John 6:39; John 6:40; John 6:44; John 6:54; John 7:37; John 11:24; John 12:48.

3.  Matthew 6:1-8 ~

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.  (2)  Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  (3)  But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:  (4)  That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.  (5)  And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  (6)  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.  (7)  But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  (8)  Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”

4.  The Following is Every Scripture in the Bible which Utilizes the Words: “dance,” “dances,” and “dancing.”

Judges 21:21 ~ “And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.” (Evil dancing)   

Job 21:11 ~ “They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance.” (Evil dancing)  

Psalms 149:3 ~ “Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.”  

Psalms 150:4 ~ “Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.”  

Ecclesiastes 3:4 ~ “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”   

Isaiah 13:21 ~ “But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.”  

Jeremiah 31:13 ~ “Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.”  

Lamentations 5:15 ~ “The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning.”

Exodus 15:20“And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.”

Judges 11:34 ~ “And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.”

Judges 21:21“And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.”

1 Samuel 21:11 ~ “And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands”

1 Samuel 29:5“Is not this David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands” 

Jeremiah 31:4“Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.”

Exodus 32:19“And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.”

1 Samuel 18:6“And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.”

1 Samuel 30:16“And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah.” 

2 Samuel 6:16“And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.”

1 Chronicles 15:29“And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.”

Psalms 30:11“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness”

Luke 15:25 ~ “Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.”

 

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Faith Bible Ministries Blog ~ An Online Study of the Bible

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This online Bible study series addresses primary New Testament words in their original language - Koinè Greek - as opposed to mainly using the English translations; which is like adding color to a black-and-white picture.

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"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"

Faith Bible Ministries

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"