Cedric Fisher: "earnestly contending for the faith."

Music of the Great Apostasy

Hillsong2A couple of decades ago, I wrote a book entitled, “The Music of the Great Apostasy.” When I revamped my website, I did not upload the book.  I intended to revised and add to it.  I believe the title is appropriate for this article.

In the book, I predicted error in Christian music would progress until it became the music of the Great Apostasy.  We have been seeing the actuality of that prediction, and it’s going to get much worse.  The prediction was simply a matter of looking down the logical road to its conclusion.  There is no way that Christianity’s music can be almost totally supplanted by a secular-inspired genre and not fall into the basement of carnality.

That moment arrived long ago.  But now the matter has gone beyond simply playing around with music styles of the world system.  Just as Christianity is apostatizing in doctrine and practice, so it is apostatizing in music.  Consider that when Israel apostatized, their music and the way they worshipped reflected their apostasy.  Since widespread heresy is making many churches susceptible to demonic activity, no doubt the music is conducive for it.

It’s not the words that are bad—shallow and repetitive, but not necessarily bad.  It is the obsession with music, the downright addiction that drives churches to become so music oriented that true worship and God’s word are shamefully marginalized.  It is also the bizarre way the music is performed, the atmosphere, darkness, flashing lights, smoke, etc.

The standard defense is an old one, “If it feels good, do it.”  Or as one adulteress said, “How can anything that feels so good be bad.”  Truth or rational consideration of God’s word is not a factor in determining whether it is right or wrong.  There is no consideration of Divine Order.  It is all about what feels good.  Therefore, Satan has taken that old adage and tweaked it a bit.  The result is, “If it feels good, it must be God.”

Any input from the older generation is met with scorn.  They assume that the generation that invented Rock-n-Roll doesn’t know anything about good music.  Thus, they exchange knowledge and experience, their rightful heritage, for emotion (feelings).

When Hillsong’s music began to get popular with Darlene Zschech and Rueben Hillsong3Morgan, who are still worship leaders at Hillsong, I liked their music.  The more popular they became, the more the focus on music drew people away from true worship.  Eventually, the music that was supposed to be the facilitator of worship became the object of worship.   One could witness the digression into what I call Adrenalin Worship.

Adrenalin Worship did not begin with Hillsong, but they have taken it to a new level.  It has always been a stumbling stone for professing Christians.  You can witness it in Southern Gospel and Black Gospel.  Music.  Music that was meant for encouragement or entertainment was commandeered for worship.  The more sensational it became, the more people wanted it.

The problem with Adrenalin Worship is, it is not true worship.  Instead, it is worship from the flesh.  When the music affects the flesh that powerfully, it is impossible to worship God.  The reason is because when flesh is permitted to emote unrestrained, the soul cannot express through the body.  True spirituality cannot thrive in the atmosphere.

The Millennial Generation and subsequent generations do not understand that.  Worship leaders are greatly responsible for that deficiency.  I have watched “high energy” praise bands rock the crowd into a frenzy.  When the frenzy subsides, the worship leader might say, “God showed up tonight.”  That was false teaching.  God is in us as the Holy Spirit.  He does not “show up” if true Christians are gathered because He is already there inside of them.  However, the doctrine planted in the minds of the people is that the emotion they corporately felt, entirely generated by the worship band, was God “showing up.”  Thus, the activity they just demonstrated is considered as true worship, and God showed up to receive and be involved in it.

Churches recognize the Millennials and succeeding generation’s attraction to and strong dependency on music.  If you are going to build a church numerically, you must have the present genre of Christian music and a band capable of performing it.  I have watched failing churches literally turn around their sagging attendance record with nothing more than the addition of Contemporary worship music.

Hillsong1As much as it is advertised otherwise, in many church settings the worship music is not about God.  Consider that Bethel Music flows from one of the most deceptive New Apostolic Reformation churches, deemed by some to be a cult.  Hillsong music flows from a church with false doctrine and other serious concerns, including financial accountability.  The music was not born in worship, so how could it inspire true worship?

A significant percentage of Contemporary worship music was not created by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, but involves styles borrowed from the world system.  The world system creates music appealing to secular people.  That is how the secular music business functions.  If the world system created music that made people want to repent, draw near to God, or worship Him, the secular world would reject it.  They create music for the flesh.  Adapting that style of music to Christianity causes an immediate problem of exciting the flesh long before the soul is stirred, if the soul is ever stirred.  That’s a big problem.

God’s word is clear.  John 4:23-24, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

True worship is spiritual, not fleshly.  It must be in truth, not heresy.  How can music created in heresy and carnal emotionalism initiate true worship?  In fact, it cannot.  When the music begins, those warm and fuzzy feelings, or the rush of adrenalin, are not the true spirit of worship.  One can get the exact same emotions at a secular music concert.  If it is true worship, the band could suddenly shut down, leave the stage, turn off the lights and smoke machines, and the worship would continue unabated.

In this period of great deception and apostasy, many professing Christians are not going to understand that.  However, consider that the churches filling up because of the music are mostly drawing nominal Christians at best.  They have no palate for the anointed word of God.  Most of them will not tolerate conviction or altar calls.  If you want them to stay for the preaching, it had better be short, interesting, and non-convicting.  That doesn’t comport with the attitude of a true Christian.  If that type of people sway, lift their hands, dance, jump, and otherwise move with the music during “worship” time, who or what are they worshipping?

One could make the case that the music is drawing secular people into the church meeting.  Okay, but if that is the goal, what are they receiving once they come inside?  Is the church actually making them disciples of Christ, or are those individuals dictating by their finicky and flighty natures how much truth is offered to them, and the manner in which it is offered?  If the latter, then they are simply being entertained, not converted.

By morphing their church into a movie production with a music concert, Hillsong has reached the end of the logical road.  It is now a church where the lost can feel completely comfortable, and the Holy Spirit is very uncomfortable.  Is that what God intended when He poured out His Holy Spirit on the 120 in the Upper Room 2000 years ago?  If so, then why didn’t He supernaturally make them all fabulous singers and musicians?  Then they could have come dancing out of the Upper Room and entertained the crowd. Instead, He gave them power to be witnesses and to do great works.   The modern church has willingly discarded that power and opted for Adrenalin Worship as its most powerful tool.  Its “mighty works” are accomplished by technology.

There is definitely a place for music in church meetings.  Used properly (that is, producing true worship and bringing honor to God and His word), music is a benefit.  I believe the improper elevation of music in youth church decades ago was probably the beginning of the present error.  Music was woven into the meeting to the extent that it went from entertainment to dominance over and subsequent displacement of the traditional paradigm.  What at first appeared as liberty has become a pleasant bondage.

Finally, nothing I write or say is going to change it.  If we are in the great and final apostasy, the masses will not alter their focus or methods.  I receive hope from the possibility of getting through to the ones who truly love God and have not fully surrendered to the aberrant standard.

I will close with this final question.  If the contemporary worship music pattern typified by Hillsong and Bethel music is not the music of the great apostasy, then where is that music?


  1. Evangelina

    Right. And I have been researching this and there is plenty of stuff in the modern music that is heretical. Themes of dominionism (bringing in the kingdom by good works) by many musicians, themes of contemplative (breathing in/out), unity and ecumenism (with anyone), heaven and earth/ sinner and saint joining as ‘one’ (toby mac, the ‘as above so below’ mime), love over truth, thriving in our lives in the here and now (best life now stuff) and the list goes on. It is a sublte indoctrination with emotionally hyped music to enhance the effect. Then we have the issue of the music itself. There is so much of it that is trance inducing, to aid the hypnosis. They use voodoo type rythmic drum beats to attain this effect. A Christian from Africa made an observation about this parallel with today’s Christian music and the trance music the witch doctors played to drum up the demons. Then it is worthwhile to research a guy named John Todd and his observations regarding Christian music and how the industry was infiltrated, he has insider knowledge. Just google these items or email me.

    • Carole King

      Where do I go for good worship music? I have recently left an apostate church and I am waiting for guidance to a church that is still teaching truth. I know there have to be at least a few. I miss worship and would like to find some music so I can worship at home. Any suggestions?

      • Jean Taylor

        I recently bought an album online by Wayfarer, who has since changed their bands name to Pacific Gold. They take older, traditional hymns & reset the lyrics to contemporary, easy listening type music. Very lovely worship music & so refreshing after decades of regressive secular junk.

      • Aubrey

        Look up Esther Mui on YouTube, she has a beautiful voice and sings mostly Psalms, all scripture based music. It’s helpful because set to music you can memorize very long passages in scripture. It’s incredible!

    • Jl

      Toby mac doesnt play in churches nor does he call upon the holy spirit at any time. He does not call his music “praise and worship” and does not have a church service at his concerts.

  2. John16:33

    There are indeed many “Christian” musicians out there who have false motives, and they have may have genuine motives but are full of false doctrine and New Age teachings (Jesus Culture, for example). My heart was somewhat broken when I realized who and what Jesus Culture is, because I really enjoyed a lot of their songs. Having said that, I don’t think that “sounding like the world” is really a strong point. It isn’t the instruments or style that should be concerning, it is the substance and words of the songs, generally speaking. If it were as simple as the style of music, then Jeremy Camp should be on every secular adult contemporary station in America, but he isn’t because he sings about Jesus. Lecrae should be at the top of the charts for hip-hop/rap because he is more skilled than any secular rapper out there, but he isn’t played on secular rap stations because he raps about Jesus. The secular, unbelieving world hates the name of Jesus, because darkness flees from the light, and Jesus is the light. If it were about instrumentation and style, then the secular world would accept a lot of Christian music based on how it sounds.

    I will agree that bands like Hillsong and Elevation Worship can certainly lead a new or nominal Christian into false worship, but I would argue that it isn’t the bands fault and that they have the honest intention of worshiping God in spirit. The individual listening and participating in the worship service is responsible for their own emotions and response to the music, and with a strong foundation in the word of God, a Christian is quite capable of enjoying a contemporary music setting, while maintaining their spiritual integrity and a proper, biblical worship of God. You have done a great job of pointing out just how slippery the slope is.

    • Mary Redondo

      This is a very balanced reply. My denomination.action is Christian Reformed. I’ve been a worship leader for years. Lyrics ALWAYS lead my choice on new songs. If the lyrics need a bit of tweaking to make the song doctrinally sound, then I do it. I choose from all genres including Classical, jazz and hymns. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit is the worship leader. I have learned, and share regularly, that the whole congregation is the “praise team,” the musicians are just helping us along serving with their gifts, and God alone is our audience of One. If the earthly W.L. is following His leading, then true worship will happen. Each person is accountable to God for their own true heart of worship. Amen.

    • Warrior Mom

      Thank you so much for this thoughtful reply. My soul has been struggling with some of these issues and I am so grateful for the discussion and appreciate the writer and your balanced reply

  3. Julian

    I agree with what you were saying about all the lights and fancy showmanship that was displayed with certain types of worship, where the people are the center of attention. Although, I disagree with the statement about the Gospel worship particularly in African American culture. I was raised Mormon, and for a school project I had the opportunity to visit a Pentecostal church and sing gospel with them. It seems fabulous that there are people there on their feet clapping and showing thanks to Jesus. As opposed to people at my church, half asleep, looking like they don’t want to be there early in the morning. Alas, it is the central message of Christ. If we acknowledge Christ, it doesn’t matter what tradition or way, as long as all glory is given to him. Then amen.

  4. Grant Sutton

    GOD says for us to worship Him in spirit and truth.
    The question must then asked with the likes ofJesus Culture of Bethel Church as to what spirit and what so called truth is involved.
    Jesus Culture states the purpose of music in their movement is to “ignite revival in the nations of the earth; to compel the Body of Christ to radically abandon itself to a lifestyle of worship; to encounter His extravagant love and raw power.”.
    Perhaps the 2013 book promoted and authored by Bethel leaders and their minstry friends titled “The Physics of Heaven” gives us the best proof of Bethels interest in New Age and Occultic teachings etc.
    In the book they openly advocate Christians explore the New Age and Occult to reclaim so called lost treasures (knowledge and practises) found in the New Age to Christianity.
    You can visit the website promoteing the book  www.heavensphysics.com.
    Its horrific and totally bizarre that they would be so blatant in publishing it..
    Further bizarre behavior like Beni Johnson puting a picture out of herself laying on a grave and Bethel students putting up similar pictures believeing they soak up the anointing from dead saints ( shows how out there they are getting).


    Ask yourself … is it wise to knowingly worship with and thereby support a movement that allows and promotes beliefs and practises like that .

    • Troy K Clark

      Yes !!! Amen!! And it has gotten whole lot worse than that across the Universe since the incarnation of Bethel. There is a copycat group, Church planted Blueprint of these groups in just about every state, corner denomination nowadays!

  5. Bruce Sorensen

    The article and the responses are encouraging to me, as it has become a challenge to find doctrinally sound worship music. I grew up playing in rock bands from the 60’s through the early 80’s. Some years after believing on Christ for my salvation I sensed God calling me into the ministry. I was a worship leader and pastor in Vineyard churches from 1985 through 2004. There were some good worship songs that were scripture-based and doctrinally sound. However, much of what you’re describing was prevalent in the Vineyard, and grew out of the experiential nature of the “signs and wonders” focus of the Vineyard. As their theology quickly switched from dispensational to covenant (severing ties with Calvary Chapel), the music changed as well. As they progressed into other streams such as the prophetic (KC & IHOP), revivalist (“Toronto Blessing”), seeker, and “purpose driven” movements, the music began to reflect those themes as well. From this came much of what is out there today passing for Christian worship. I left the movement after I could no longer reconcile biblical truth with Vineyard theology. I’m embarrassed that it took me so long.

    This link connects past heretical movements including Vineyard with the current Bethel orthodoxy and practice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zH2PF-A6_i4. I recognized so much of the errant tangents of the Vineyard in what Bethel is now peddling. To be fair, I have friends in ministry in the Vineyard who do not embrace these lies and are committed to sound biblical theology and worship.

    Yet, many of my worship leader friends and colleagues in various other churches are checking their discernment at the door, and embracing the likes of Bethel perhaps sold by the slick packaging and growing popularity. I guess if a song is played on Christian radio it must be legit. This is tragic.
    I continue to lead weekly Bible studies and when I’m asked to I sometimes lead worship in my church. It’s a challenge as the other worship leaders are heavily influenced by Bethel. The worship songs I will use are rarely sung in my church unless I sing them. Ironically, I am almost 60 and when I lead worship, many of our mostly 20-40 something congregation tell me they like the songs I use.
    Thanks again for sounding the alarm. I pray that others will hear and turn back to writing and singing Christ-centered and biblically sound worship music. May the Lord richly bless you!

    • Mark ivey

      So what is biblical worship? It’s intetesting to me that all of this discussion focuses on a particular style of music or ones personal preferences. A study of church history shows us there are many different “styles” of music- All blessed by God. At issue is the heart, not the style.

  6. Heika

    They assume that the generation that invented Rock-n-Roll doesn’t know anything about good music. Thus, they exchange knowledge and experience, their rightful heritage, for emotion (feelings). Funny the generation that invented rock and roll and real words against the word and spirit of the lord is used as a defense here. Never once have I read an article from the website talking about the beauty and wonder of the who Jesus is or the amazing power of grace against the enemies kingdom of isolation and shame and lies..instead it is so called warnings and pointing fingers at everyone from John Piper to Kari Jobe but never a sit down interview with any of them. Scripture calls Satan the accuser of the bretheren. If truth keeping consists of accusing instead of proclaiming it should reconsider what side it is actually on

    • C.H. Fisher

      The incoherence of your ill written comment makes it difficult to respond to. However, concerning your complaint about articles written against heresy or diabolical practices not containing a section about “the beauty and wonder of the who Jesus is or the amazing power of grace against the enemies kingdom of isolation and shame and lies”, can you understand that you committed the same error? That reality should help you understand that in dealing with heresy the focus is on heresy in contrast with truth. If you wish for articles on the topic that you mentioned, there are plenty of them on this site. In fact my latest article is an example. Did you read it?

  7. Diane

    I agree with you. Very good article. Thank you! We must pray for all of those being deceived in these demonic movements, those in so called “christian” churches teaching false doctrine and heresy.

  8. Jeromy Edwards

    I am a musican/songwriter that wants to dive completely into Christian music. Having said that, I only found out about the NAR (and many of the “mega church” bands affiliated with it) recently. Since then, I have been researching my butt off. Unfortunately, as a “modern musician” (I am only 33), I too, fell into the trap of this music quite often. In fact, in some of my recently “favorited musicians list,” I have found the majority of them to be affiliated with the NAR. This is saddening to me, but it gives me even more drive to not be involved with that nonsense myself. Having said that, I have not been able to find anywhere online, a place where someone has created a comprehensive list of which modern Christian bands/Artists are indeed affiliated with the NAR, or the Catholic Church (save, Matt Maher, who I now know is Roman Catholic), or any other group/denomination that I should steer clear of. I know someone in the above comments mentioned Jeremy Camp, who has been a long-time favorite of mine. But are their ANY other “modern Christian artists/bands” who ARE LEGIT, and write/sing from the Gospel? I recently saw Aaron Shust live at my parents church in VT, it was a fantastic small show. He had a Bible right there with him, and I believe he is Baptist. He often read verses from the Bible between his songs. Do you know if Aaron Shust is affiliated with the NAR? And are there any other artists/bands who are “popular” now, that are not affiliated with the NAR? For me personally, when I am writing a song, I take it straight from the Bible. Often I take a line, or a concept (which I think may be wrong possibly, because then it’s only my interpretation), and write from that. I also pray a lot. I ask God to “give me words to speak” as Aaron Shust has written. Now that I have decided to completely give myself to God, and serve Him in music, which is my passion, I am now completely confused on who I should look to for advice, and who are good examples of “clean,/true” Christian Music. Please help me out here if you know of any other articles concerning this topic?

    God Bless!

    • Saida

      I have switched over to Messianic Worship such as Paul Wilbur, He teaches the Word, He knows it which is very important, I look at what they teach first before going for the music first. I did the same mistake in my teen years and late twenties. Now I read my Bible more. I was raised with the hymns. I select songs that are rich in Scripture. Ministries like Paul Wilbur, Sovereign Grace, Joshua Aaron, CityaLight, Keith and Kristen Getty, Stuart Townend, Fernando Ortega, Indelible Grace and the Messianic Jewish Alliance of Israel. I still love the hymns.

    • Judy

      Prayers for you . . . my daughter has been deceived by this music and my prayers for you include her . . . may God lead you to Truth always . . . thank you so much for sharing.

  9. Ronald DeMitchell

    You may want to checkout the music of Trevor Baker on Lighthouse Trails. He has a song that I once listened to called Big Dogs Rule.

  10. Mr. D.

    Consider the documentation in the
    Directory of Contemporary Worship Musicians which can be downloaded from https://www.wayoflife.org/free_ebooks/directory-of-contemporary-worship.php.

  11. Troy Clark

    I recently have discovered all of the apostasy coming from these churches. It’s more than the music. Hillsong is involved in the revealing of Illuminati Symbols, free masons, the secret society. It’s all demonic satanic worship being blatantly and deliberately put right in your face for everyone to see. If you know anything about free masons and Illuminati symbols it’s all there in plain site. The # 33 for instance. The all seeing eye which is Hillsongs backdrop. How about Carl Lentz basically saying Jesus is not the only way to Heaven or Brian Houston saying that God and Allah are the same God. How about Esther Houston Joel Houstons wife posing in scantily clad clothing covering the right eye and having on shirts with the F-word on it and using the number 33. It’s ll there in plain site. But don’t just take my word for it. Test the Spirits yourself. And the proof and videos and the articles are all out there for anyone to see. They flash Illuminati symbols all the time. Also the Hillsong Easter 2016 London performance is one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen. We will never ever perform any of these groups songs ever again if I can help it. Remember when you play their music you have to send royalties to their cause and you are promoting their cause of deception. The Bilbe states in 1 John 4-1-6 and 2 Peter about what to do with this stuff. Stay away from Kari Jobe, Cory Asbury, Phil Wickam, Pat Barrret, and many more. They are all Bethel. Bethel is a cult. You don’t get to do anything at Bethel without going through all the training and moving to another lever. Just like Scientology. I actually am in the process of exposing and rebuking as many of these heretics and apostates as possible. Join me in it. God will protect you in His ultimate truth and reveal the lies. He will honor you in it if you do it to bring true glory to Jesus Christ.

    • DJB

      >>>Kari Jobe, Cory Asbury, Phil Wickam, Pat Barrret, and many more. They are all Bethel. Bethel is a cult.<<<>> I actually am in the process of exposing and rebuking as many of these heretics and apostates as possible. Join me in it<<<

      Um…..nope! Because, you have no idea what you're talking about.

      • Victor

        You should definitely learn to be more meek and lovely, the man is speaking something, Jesus never did that, if he is wrong, than say it in a loving way man, not like that, if you entitle yourself Christian, you need to loving as Christ, God Bless, I’m just trying to defend him, and give you a little insight, don’t be mad or sad because of that, please.

    • Gabriel

      Agreed with the part you said that this things are demonic, for sure, and these guys don’t sing biblical doctrine, Jesus is the most farthest thing in their mind when they write songs, most of them, but I disagree with the statements about illuminati, because that’s just a conspiracy theory, the devil isn’t working under the sheets since an secret society in Germany was founded, but since Eden, and we shall not fear those weaklings, if we are truly God’s children, if you are exposing this nonsense, keep it up! But tread with care, there are some “grey area guys”, like Phil Wickham, I don’t listen to him, but I saw that he did wrote some lyrics used by other musicians, and some of them seem a little biblical, remember, only God knows who is truly His, there are some obvious cases, but others aren’t so easy, tread softly, and God Bless!

  12. Gabriel

    You guys should hear Sovereign Grace Music, Fernando Ortega, Keith & Kristin Getty, Shane & Shane (But not the ones they are singing with “the worship initiative”, avoid that songs),
    God Bless. (Some songs are in Portuguese, or Spanish, because I’m Brazilian)

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