Churches give music preeminence because it entices people, especially young people, to “go to church,” something that parents used to have a battle with. It is entertaining, so the church meeting isn’t as boring for disinterested youth and nominal Christians. High energy music will draw secular people from all walks of life into the building. Some of them will even profess Christianity, as long as it is a bare-bones version requiring no major changes and not initiated by conviction. In fact, the current trend in Church Growth is to make adherents by rendering Christianity palatable to secular people. The actual philosophy is, “If we can’t bring them in by the biblical standard, let’s lower it to a level that is comfortable and convenient for them.”
Music has been enlisted to assist in this type of conversion. The leader of a major Christian band (at that time), “Bride”, during our debate insisted that scores of young people were getting “saved” during their concerts. What actually occurred was another “gospel” was “preached” by the music, and during the consequential emotional cool-down period, they were invited to the front. They said the “sinner’s prayer” and received some literature. There is absolutely no way for the man and his fellow band members to know if that person was truly saved, or if they continued in their profession.
In that period, which was near the end of the last century, they would have been hard pressed to find a church offering the religion they experienced at the concert. Today, they can come back to the concert Sunday after Sunday. “Saved” has been reduced to any sign and degree of commitment, even if it is just attending a concert/church meeting. The philosophy is, “Anything to get them inside of the church.” That is no guarantee that they have been included in the Body of Christ.
Salvation is not getting people inside of a church building, convincing them to say the “sinner’s prayer,” or any of the modern methods for getting someone onto the attendance rolls. Salvation is the result of being convicted by the Holy Spirit after hearing the Gospel. One must come to the realization that he or she is a sinner, else why would he or she need the Savior. If they do not recognize the need for the Savior, they do not see the need to be saved.
The struggle of rebirth begins during that conviction. The individual decides during that struggle whether to accept deliverance from the chains of sin and darkness, or to reject God’s gift of salvation. If salvation occurs, it is because that person submitted to the atoning work of Christ Jesus as well as surrendering to His Lordship.
The ones who claim salvation by gradually merging into a Seeker-Friendly, Emergent, Launch, or another church where music is given preeminence over the Gospel, have no spiritual birthdays. Further, they may never have one if they do not believe they are lost. They came into a church where the major force was overwhelming carnal and devilish sensationalism. The preached word is more like an afterthought that one endures. The only validation of this method of “conversion” is its widespread acceptance. It has no scriptural paradigm.
What has actually occurred is, a generation has arrived that does not recognize the line of demarcation between light and darkness, good and evil. A verse in Isaiah caused me to think about what might have caused this deficiency.
“Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, And sin as if with a cart rope;” – Isaiah 5:18.
After reading that verse long ago, I had a vision of Christianity tied to the world system with a rope. When the world system moved on and became worse, eventually Christianity was drawn into the position the world system once occupied. Trying to maintain a certain distance between us and the world system may eventually bring us to accept evil that we once rejected. The biblical pattern is to draw near to God. If one has that mindset, the gap will continually widen between them and the worlds system.
I refuse to compromise to appease people who desire the apostasy. If it means our church will remain small, or become even smaller, so be it. Someone might say, “But don’t you care that you are not getting them into the church?” That was never my goal. I was commissioned to invite them into the kingdom of God. If getting them into the church is the goal, then sure, use whatever means necessary. In fact, turn the church into a musical circus with all the sights and sounds and back-flipping clowns that the flesh desires. However, as the apostasy degenerates into such rancid wickedness that churches completely replace every vestige of Christianity with secular patterns to get people to come, what’s next? Where does Hillsong go next when what they are doing now gets old and boring?