Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Still Pounding on Wittenberg's Door
...a time for courage, prayer, reform, repentance and revival

An Encore Presentation

490 years ago, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the church door at Wittenberg calling a recalcitrant Roman church to repent of the selling of indulgences and embrace the genuine gospel of sola fide. We are the heirs of his convictions and actions that ultimately produced the naissance of Protestantism today.

I was in Wittenberg/Lutherstadt in the summer of 1997 and was so moved by "being there" at the birthplace of the Reformation that I started to pen what has come to be known as The 107 THESES - A Call to Reformation for Contemporary Christian Music. That manifesto came out on October 31st 1997 and lit a fire in the CCM and Christian Publishing industry that even I couldn't have anticipated.

I offer it again, but now in a broader context: I offer it to you as A Call to Reformation for Christian Ministry... not just for Christian music.

The reason why is that some in evangelicalism today have so compromised and redefined everything from the gospel of sola fide, the imputation of the full righteousness of Christ, the character of God, to the authority and veracity of Scripture that it is absolutely necessary there be a decisive call to action. This is more than just addressing the rhetoric surrounding unsound doctrine through debates, blogs, conferences, articles, books, interviews, etc. - as important as they are. But, there also needs to be an active, belligerent call of repentance to those propagating unsound doctrine and the evidence of those convictions demonstrated visibly by regenerated evangelical leadership in five key areas:

1. reclaiming the essential truth claims of historic, biblical Christianity;

reevaluating the alliances with those whom we partner with in ministry;

reforming the methods we use in Para-church, itinerant and local church ministry according to sola scriptura;

recapturing the importance of training future pastors/teachers, elders, deacons, itinerant evangelists, worship leaders/chief musicians, and missionaries within the local church which is biblically based - as opposed to the inferior university model of seminary which is secularly based;

and realigning how ministry should biblically operate financially rather than parroting corporate America; i.e. a Nordstrom model instead of a New Testament model. IOW, we shouldn't make money a prerequisite for ministry.
From the seminaries, to the book publishers and music companies, to the bookstores, to the radio networks, to the licensing agencies, to the liberal elitist organizations such as ETS must be reexamined and defined in light of Scripture; not showing political preference or ideological predilection because of the personalities or religious celebrities associated in those respective areas even if they end up being close friends and associates in ministry.

The message and the methods must be scrutinized solely according to biblical truth and not according to pragmatics, cultural shifts, or the inner circle moorings and political posturing of a few key voices within the hierarchy of current evangelical leadership. This is essential if we are going to honor the Word of God in avoiding differing weights of measures and allow biblical equilibrium and truth to prevail. IOW, we cannot play politics with God and His Word, no matter what the cost to us personally or corporately within evangelical circles.

The one uncertain question that remains is: will the sequestered fraternity of gatekeepers that make up today’s elite of evangelical leadership have the courage to do what is right even if it means the loss of platform, station, money and market influence?

Beloved, by God’s grace, let's keep pounding on Wittenberg's Door.

The 107 THESES
A Call for Reformation for Christian Ministry

"Christianity today is increasingly dominated by the spirit of this age rather than the Spirit of Christ. We call ourselves to repent of this sin and to recover the historic Christian faith [in the arts] again." -Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals-

Part One:

To Do All to the Glory of God

1. All our works, both musical and written, must produce a high view of God - with our chief aim being to glorify God and worship Him forever. (Job 40:6-41:34; Psalm 29:1-2; Jeremiah 9: 23-24)

2. This means we are to represent God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in the fullness of Trinitarian character and attributes revealed through the Scriptures. (Romans 11:33-36; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; Revelation 5:12)

3. This is paramount-for it brings glory to God to reverence Him in the totality of His worth and works. It elicits holiness and obedience in the life of the believer. (Psalm 96:9; 103)

4. Even in God's redemptive plan for man…salvation never begins with man and his need but with God and His glory. And no one ever lives greater than his or her view of God. (Ephesians 1:3-14; Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 1:7)

5. Whether, then, [we] eat or drink, or whatever [we] do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

6. We fail to glorify Him when we praise the servant through awards and accolades rather than exalt the Master. "I was but a pen in God's hand and what praise is due a pen?" (Baxter) God will not share His glory with another. (Psalm 115:1; Isaiah 42:8)

7. We fail to glorify Him when we speak of God out of our own vain imaginings or recreate Him in our own image; instead of honoring Him by how He has revealed Himself through His holy Word. (Psalm 50:21; 1 Corinthians 2:13-16)

8. We fail to glorify Him when we make money a prerequisite for ministry; some to their own destruction teach that godliness is a means to financial gain. "Freely you have received; freely give." (Matthew 6:24-34, 10:8-10; Acts 3:6, 20:33; 1 Timothy 6:5)

9. We fail to glorify Him when we publicly honor Him with our lips, but privately have hearts that are far from Him. (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:7-9)

10. God cannot be glorified where sin is pacified; and He cannot be extolled where sin is entertained. To live in and tolerate unrepentant sin is to write Ichabod across the doorpost of our lives and industry-"the glory of God has departed." (1 Samuel 4:21-22; 1 Corinthians 5:1-8)

11. We fail to glorify Him when pride struts like Nebuchadnezzar across the Babylonian palace of our accomplishments thinking our own hand has made us, our own hand has delivered us, our own hand has provided for us, our own hand has promoted us and our own hand has saved us. (Daniel 4:28-37; James 4:6)

12. We fail to glorify Him when we strive to please men rather than to please God. (Galatians 1:10: 1 Thessalonians 2:4)

13. We fail to glorify Him when we speak and sing of the benefits of the gospel, but fail to proclaim the Gospel itself. (Matthew 4:17, 7:13-27, 9:13, 16:24-26; Luke 14:26-33; John 1:12-13; Acts 20:27; Romans 3-5, 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 2:2, 9:16; 2 Corinthians 4:5, 7:10; Galatians 1:6-8; Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 2: 9-18; 1 John 2:22-23, 4:1-4, 5:1-3)

Part Two:

The Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture
(the Hymnbook of Heaven)

14. The highest worship of God is the preaching of His Word (Luther). We cannot honor God more than listening to His Word with an obedient life. Music that is saturated accurately with the truth of God's Word is worthy of worship to the Lord. (Romans 10:14-17)

15. There is only one inspired, infallible rule and authority for all matters of life and godliness and it is the sufficient, pure, perfect, inerrent Word of God. (Psalm 19:7-14; 2 Timothy 3:16)

16. For God has even "exalted His Word above His name." (Psalm 138:2)

17. God's Word is His ultimate revelation and is thoroughly accurate, comprehensive and exhaustive in all its parts, even as it speaks to theology proper (the doctrine of God), doctrine, ethics, religious practice, science, geography, history (redemptive and actual), or any other topic. (Psalm 12: 6; 119:160; John 17:17)

18. All Scripture must harmonize (agree) with itself and thus interpret itself. Therefore, the greatest commentary and interpreter of Scripture is Scripture itself. (2 Peter 3:15-16)

19. Theology (systematic truths derived from the Word of God) and doxology (a word of glory, a note of praise, or a saying ascribing worth) are inseparable. As David says, "Thy statutes are my songs, in the house of my pilgrimage." His Word is our music, His lawbook is our songbook, and His statutes are our songs. (Psalms 119:54, 172)

20. Scripture speaks to all of life-therefore, our music may speak to every aspect of living. However, it must be based upon and not contrary to God's Word in principle, ethic, content and conduct. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4)

21. For instance, Esther and the Song of Solomon are the only books in the Bible that never mention the name of God. Yet, respectively, they speak with absolute clarity about the sovereignty of God in the political arena and of the beautiful expression of physical intimacy between a man and a woman in the context of a faithful, committed marriage.

22. In this Biblical world-view where are those like St. Paul, engaging the unsaved on Mars Hill, explaining "The Unknown God" in the midst of worldly philosophy and beliefs? That requires wisdom, integrity, cognitive reasoning, and maturity, a profound understanding of God's Word, and an unwavering courage to communicate the truth in love. (Acts 17:16-34)

23. As artists we have a tremendous responsibility to exegete God's Word before we exegete the times. We are teachers of God's truth, through the arts, that are deserving of a more strict judgment. (Colossians 3:16; James 3:1)

24. Paul soberly proclaims, "we are not like, as so many, peddling the Word of God for profit." (2 Corinthians 2:17a) To peddle means to make retail of, to huckster or to pawn something off as merchandise.

25. Isaiah 1:22 uses the same Greek word in the LXX as Paul uses for "peddling" when saying, "Your silver has become dross and your wine mixed with water." Those who mix wine with water did so to cheat the buyer. It resembled real wine and had the aroma of real wine, but in actuality was nothing more than a watered-down substitute-a cheap imitation.

26. Paul sternly warns that there are many con men who by slick eloquence and deceptive speech huckster or corrupt the true Word of God as retail merchandise; they dilute its truth to suit itching ears, while representing it as genuine, to purposely deceive and cheat the recipient for the sake of financial gain. (2 Corinthians 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 4:3-5)

27. As Paul admonishes he also affirms, "but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ." (2 Corinthians 2:17b)

28. We have been given a sacred trust and holy privilege to be a steward of the mysteries of God in music ministry. If our music does not square with the truth of God's Word, it must be rejected and cannot be embraced as profitable for godliness, beneficial exhortation to the church or as an effectual proclamation of the gospel. Dare we take it flippantly? (1 Corinthians 4:1f; 2 Corinthians 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:13)

29. Artistic license may be enjoyed when describing personal testimonies or life experiences, but our music must conform precisely to Biblical truth when addressing the person of God and His character, the gospel of Jesus Christ or the working of the Holy Spirit. (Psalm 50:16-23; 1 Timothy 6:3-5)

30. We need artists who will balance their zeal with knowledge to invest their lives in the daily discipline of Bible study, and then, to write with the fire, passion and enthusiasm which that study has illumined to communicate the glorious language of the church-the holy Word of God. (Psalm 1, 119)

31. For if in our worship we pervert His Word, we pervert the truth about God. If in our music we distort His doctrine, we distort a right view of Him. If in our song we misrepresent the Scriptures, we misrepresent the Savior. And if in our ministries we twist His truth, we dishonor His character. (2 Timothy 2:15)

32. Failure here is costly-for it is tantamount to breaking the third commandment: do not take the name of the Lord God in vain. (Exodus 20:7)

33. We are to crave the Word (1 Peter 2:2); have a delight in, a longing for and a love of it (Ibid.); preach, admonish, exhort and teach its truth (2 Timothy 4:2); take it as our song (Psalm 119:54); hide it deep in our hearts (Ibid. 119:11); meditate upon it (Ibid. 1:2); obey it (John 14:15); proclaim it (Matthew 4:23); guard it (2 Timothy 1:13-14); hope in it (Romans 15:4); be sanctified by it (John 17:17); desire it more than all the world's delicacies and treasure it more than all the world's riches (Psalm 19:10); to be hearers and doers of it (James 1:22): contend for it (Jude 3); rightly divide it (2 Timothy 2:15); never add to it or take way from it (Revelation 22:18-19); for it is perfect, sure, right, pure, clean and true (Psalm 19:7-9).

Part Three:

The Character of Christian Music

34. Our Creator God has given us music-psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to use for praise and worship, the proclamation of His name and attributes, to teach and admonish one another unto holy living and to provide thanksgiving for His worth and works. (1 Chronicles 16:7-36)

35. Genuine Christian music has as its ultimate aim the glory of God. Anything less than this will at the end bear the fruit of self-glory and is music not honoring to the Lord. "Blessed is he who sings when no one is in the auditorium" - for that checks motive. (Miller) (Psalm 18; 96:1-6; 105:3)

36. Music is used according to the Apostle Paul in Colossians 3:16 to encourage, council, warn, correct, comfort and teach Biblical truth. According to David in 1 Chronicles 25:1-5 the Levites used music to prophesy, give thanks and praise to the Lord. It was music rendered in the house of the Lord for the service of the house of God.

37. The first song ever recorded in Scripture is in Exodus 15 as a song of deliverance written by Moses after God had delivered them out of Egypt and destroyed Pharaoh's army at the Red Sea. It describes God's glorious deeds, His inscrutable ways, His attributes and character, His preeminence as the only true God and His eternal reign as Sovereign Lord and King. (compare, 1 Chronicles 16:8-36.)

38. Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs flow from a life where His Word richly dwells and out of the life that is filled, or controlled, by the Holy Spirit. (Colossians 3:16-17; Ephesians 5:17-20)

39. Life in the Spirit and life in the Word are identical bearing the fruit of godly music honoring to the Lord. (1 Timothy 1:18-19)

40. Authentically Christian music was never intended for casual use or purely for entertainment. (1 Chronicles 23:5)

41. Christian music, originally called Jesus Music, once fearlessly sang clearly about the gospel. Now it yodels of a Christ-less, watered-down, pabulum-based, positive alternative, aura-fluff, cream of wheat, mush-kind-of-syrupy, God-as-my-girlfriend kind of thing.

42. Christian music today lacks the power and authority that it once enjoyed for it has lost its identification with the Lord Jesus Christ. As Moses has said, "The Lord is my strength and my song… (Exodus 15:2)

43. We are to sing a new song to the Lord. It is a song of the redeemed people of God. This new song is a different and distinctive song, a more glorious song, a purer, truer and a more beautiful song than the world can ever sing. (Psalm 33:3; 96:1; 149:1; Revelation 5:9-10)

44. "In Scripture, the word new is used more frequently in relation to song than to any other feature of salvation." (MacArthur) New is not used to mean new in time, but new in character or of a different nature compared to what was old. (Isaiah 42:10)

45. Christian music stands separate from the world's music for by definition it is Christ-centered music. Even the style is not neutral and music in and of itself is not amoral, but it is "the incarnation of the message." (Horton) Both must honor and bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Chronicles 15:16)

46. Therefore, when Christian artists today take the old song of the world, dress it up, modify it and say it now represents the person of Jesus Christ, a Christian message or describes the character of God, they fortuitously assault the gospel and diminish the gift that has been entrusted to them. This is inappropriate at best and sacrilegious at worst. We cannot pour new wine into old wineskins. (Psalm 137; Mark 2:22)

47. Music can be appreciated and used in two wonderful, yet unique ways: creatively and redemptively. (Psalm 150; 96:9)

48. Creatively, it is enjoyed as part of God's creation, celebrated and shared by Christians and non-Christians alike under God's common benevolence-"the rain falls on the just and the unjust." (Matthew 5:45)

49. Redemptively, it is used in the church corporately and individually as part of the totality of worship and praise to the One Triune God. (1 Chronicles 25:1-8)

50. While God has created many expressions to communicate His truths, music is unique. It is the only art that has a place in heaven and will endure for eternity. The angels sing, the elect saints sing and someday, we will hear the Lord Jesus Himself "sing praise in the midst of the assembly" (Hebrews 2:12; Revelation 15:3-4).

51. Christian music is unlike the music of Babylon, the world, which near the end of the age will cease: "The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters, shall not be heard in you anymore." (Revelation 18:22)

52. God promises to silence the song of the ungodly. "I will silence the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps will be heard no more." (Ezekiel 26:13) Even in hell, they will have no song to sing.

53. Beloved, as Christian artists, may we sing of that which endures for eternity.

Part Four:

The Character of the Christian Musician
(Personal Integrity and Holiness)

54. The Biblical model of the musician originated from the Levitical priesthood, as musicians were appointed by the Levites under King David's command, to proceed in worship, with the priests, before the ark of God. Its nature was prophetic to Israel and ecclesiastical in role, i.e., used in temple worship. (1 Chronicles 15:16; 23:5; 25:5-6)

55. They were able to teach and were skillful in craft. "The chief of the Levites was Chenaniah, the master musician, who gave instruction to the singers because he was skillful." (1 Chronicles 15:22)

56. They served in the context of temple worship. "Of the thirty-eight thousand Levites who ministered in the Temple, four thousand were appointed to lead in the worship, thanksgiving and praise of the Lord." The model is clear. Pastoral charge over the arts is essential. (1 Chronicles 23:5)

57. Those calling themselves Christians are characterized by new life in Jesus Christ-old things pass away, all things become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

58. The Christian singer has a triumvirate charge of service to the Lord Jesus: Sound doctrine, Christ-centered worship and holy living. These three pillars elucidate the foundation of true Christian music ministry and godly character. (Psalm 119:54, 172)

59. Take away any one of these pillars and the structure topples. For example, an obedient life given in worship to Christ absent of sound doctrine will be empty praise and on the path to error. (Colossians 3:16)

60. Secondly, sound theology sung out of the beauty of holiness but lacking in heartfelt worship to Christ leads to pride or self-glory and the chastisement of the Father. (Hebrews 12: 5-11)

61. Lastly, a powerful doctrine sung in glory to Christ with an impure life is noise to the ears of our holy God. Submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and obedience to the Word of God are marks of the worthy walk of faith. However, when Biblical standards are dishonored and unrepentant sin persists we must adhere to the instruction of the Word-stop the music until the life is right. (Amos 5:23-24)

62. Godly character exhibited in response to sound doctrine is paramount in serving the Lord. To live privately what we proclaim publicly is the manifestation of genuine faith. That is why from the stockroom to the stage Christ-likeness should evidence our behavior. God has not called us to be successful but faithful. (2 Corinthians 6:3-10)

Part Five:

Guarding the Trust
(Accountability to the Local Church)

63. Music, by Biblical definition, is a ministry. (1 Chronicles 15:17, 22)

64. Ministry is defined as service to God and His creatures as we employ our Spirit-given giftedness, according to the instruction of Scripture as good stewards of the manifold grace of God for the advancement of His kingdom; that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 4:10-12)

65. God has designed genuine ministry to be inseparable from the life and leadership of the local church. Any ministry that does not strengthen one's commitment to the local church is inconsistent with the purposes of Christ. (Acts 2:42-47; Hebrews 10:23-25)

66. There are five reasons why we should love and serve the church: Firstly, Jesus Christ promised to build the Church-therefore, my commitment should be to it (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:39-47).

67. Secondly, He purchased the Church with His own precious blood-therefore, I love those for whom He died (1 Peter 1:19; 1 John 3:14-16).

68. Thirdly, the Church is the predominate agency through which God's will is manifested on earth-therefore, it is the community with whom I labor (Ephesians 1:9-10; Colossians 1:28-29).

69. Fourthly, the Church is the only earthly expression of heaven-therefore, we must daily grow together in conformity to the fullness of Christ (2 Peter 3:10-14; Revelation 4:4-11; Ephesians 4:12-13).

70. Fifthly, the gates of Hades will not prevail against the Church-therefore, in light of the assured victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, our worship and toil is not in vain (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 15:54-58).

71. In response to these truths and to insure a life of godliness and holiness and to guard against blind spots in personal life issues, vocation and theology-submission to the plurality of godly leaders within the church is essential. (1 Timothy 3:1-7)

72. We are to obey, honor and pray for the faithful pastors in the church who have been given this sacred trust. They are those who are instructed by the Lord to keep watch over our souls as ones that will give an account. Woe to the shepherds who do not take their responsibility to shepherd the flock of God seriously. They dishonor the Savior. They disobey the Scriptures. They diminish their office and defame their calling. (Hebrews 13:7, 17; 1 Peter 5:1-4)

73. In the case of a Christian being overtaken in sin, proper discipline must be exercised within the church to bring about restoration and reconciliation (as prescribed in Matthew 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1-2; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15). This is to confirm repentance and to guard the purity of one's life personally as well as the entire body of Christ corporately.

Part Six:

To not be Unequally Yoked
with an Unbelieving World

74. The CCMI has committed spiritual adultery in joining itself with the wayward world in trying to forward the message of the gospel. This has and will prove to be fatal for Gospel music, as we know it today. (Deuteronomy 32:22-24; Psalm 1; Jeremiah 17:5-8)

75. We cannot partner with the unbelieving world in a common spiritual enterprise or ministry. To harness unbelievers and believers in a Christ-centered endeavor is to be unequally yoked. (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)

76. We must be separate from non-Christians in positions of ownership, authority or influence in the advancement of the gospel. (Ibid.)

77. The kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness are two mutually exclusive worlds; two opposing societies; two converse communities that are incompatible and incongruous with each other in regards to the faith. (Ibid.)

78. One is characterized by righteousness, light, Christ, believers and the temple of God. Lawlessness, darkness, Belial, unbelievers and the temple of idols distinguish the other. One is based on God's truth-the other on Lucifer's lies. In matters of Christian faith and belief no partnership does or really can exist between these two realms. (Ibid.)

79. "To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work." (Titus 1:15-16)

80. God is our Father and we, as His children, must disavow all praetorian religious and spiritual alliances with sin and Satan or we will forfeit the joy and blessing that flow from obedient fellowship in the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 6:17-18)

81. Satan's number one assault on the church is to infiltrate with error. He doesn't want to fight the church-he wants to join it. (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:12-15; 1 Timothy 4:1)

82. Undiscerning believers think it a profound ministry strategy to join forces with unregenerate people in forwarding the gospel. Unwittingly, they harness Jesus Christ, the Worthy One, with Belial or Satan, the worthless one, in an unholy alliance-the very essence of being unequally yoked. (2 Corinthians 6:15)

83. "Ephraim is joined to idols. Let him alone." (Hosea 4:17)

84. We are not, however, called to isolationism. We are called to be salt and light in the world. We are to be faithful witnesses of God's mercy, love and grace to the lost and dying. We are to cultivate personal relationships with unbelievers, love our neighbor and our enemy, serve them and share our faith with them. (Matthew 5:13-16; 40-44)

85. We are to be in the world…but not of it-and this is our greatest challenge. Separation is not being divorced from contact with the world, but from complicity with and conformity to it. (1 John 2:15-17)

86. For instance, it is not unBiblical to consult non-Christian experts in matters of business, craft or trade (though whenever possible, Christian experts respected in these fields are preferable because of a shared integrity), but we can never engage in intimate binding-indissoluble relationships, alliances or partnerships that result in shared responsibility or authority for ministry purposes. (Deuteronomy 22:9-11; Philippians 2:14-15))

87. The promise of increased financial resources, wider distribution and a larger audience is not a justification for the surrender of our spiritual autonomy. (Luke 4:4-12; Ephesians 5:8-12)

88. It is impossible for God to fully bless and use His children who are in compromise with non-believers. (Romans 8:7-8)

89. "Adulterers and adulteresses. Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4:4)

Part Seven:

To Be Above Reproach

90. If true Reformation in CCMI occurs, it will mean that every facet of music ministry will ultimately be affected and undergo godly transformation. The need to recapture "the economy of God" in our daily business activities is not optional, but essential.

91. Honesty in business dealings, practice, relationships and all activities pursuant in our service to the church, the world and to the Lord Jesus is indispensable to effectively carrying out the calling and mission of Record Company Executives, Promoters, Agents, Managers, Artists, Publishers, Radio, Retail and Road Crews, etc. (1 Peter 2:12-18)

92. To have a good name in the community-at-large is vital in representing Christ. We must demonstrate honest, equitable handling of the lessor things: business, money, trade, etc., in order to be entrusted with the superior things: His word, the church and the souls of men. (Psalm 15:2-5; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; Titus 3:1-2)

93. To that end, we must purpose to have our yes mean yes and our no mean no. (Matthew 5:37)

94. To never sue a fellow Christian to resolve disputes, or risk damaging a witness or testimony to an unbeliever through civil litigation for requital. We will reserve the right to be wronged rather than wrong someone by demanding our rights. (1 Corinthians 6:1-7)

95. Exhaustive means to settle conflicts should be pursued through Christian arbitration as overseen in the context of the local church under duly recognized pastoral authority. (Ibid.)

96. We will purpose to keep personal relationships more important than business deals; family more valuable than commodities; and faith more precious than fortune. The struggle is maintaining an eternal perspective in the transitory moments. May our light so shine before men. (Psalm 90:12; Matthew 5:16; Ephesians 5:22-33; Philippians 2:1-5; 1 Peter 3:7)

Part Eight:

Reclaiming Christian Music and Ministry for Christ

97. To bring reformation to Christian music we must purpose, by God's grace, to do several things. (2 Corinthians 13:7; 2 Timothy 2:1; Titus 2:12-13)

98. Fast, mourn, weep and pray over the sins of our industry, the church and our personal lives. (Nehemiah 1:5-11; Isaiah 6:4-3-9; Daniel 9:4-9; Ezra 9:6-15)

99. Return to our First Love. (Matthew 22:37; Romans 5:5; 1 Peter 1:8; 1 John 5:3; Revelation 2:4)

100. Remember how far we have fallen. (Luke 15:11-32; Revelation 2:5)

101. Repent of our sins. This is a complete, decisive change of mind and action. (Jeremiah 51:45; Luke 16:11-13; Revelation 2:5, 16, 22; 3:3, 19)

102. Repeat the deeds we did at first. "It is a reversal of the status quo, a deliberate repudiation of former sins and a complete return to the standards and will of God." (Thomas) (Ephesians 2:10; James 2:14-26; Revelation 2:5)

103. Reform or be removed. The Lord promises to remove the lampstand from its place -unless [we] repent. God's judgement always follows habitual, unrepentant sin. (2 Timothy 2:19; Hebrews 12:5-11; Revelation 2:6)

104. Renew your obedience to walk by, be-filled with, pray in, to not grieve or quench the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:18; Jude 20; Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19.)

105. Reconcile yourself to the local church. Place yourself, your family and your vocation under faithful pastoral instruction. (Hebrews 13:7, 17)

106. Pray for the leaders of every facet of our industry that they will honor the Lord Jesus with obedient lives in doing the right thing, consistent with Scripture, no matter what the cost personally or corporately. (Ephesians 6:18-20; 1 Timothy 2:1-3)

107. Take a step of faith. Come away from the current industry model like Abraham venturing out into the wilderness with only the promise of God as his surety. Begin to build authentic Christian Music Ministry again. (Romans 1:17; Hebrews 10:38, 11:1, 6)

May God grant to us, according to His grace, the courage, faith and
wisdom to accomplish all that He has purposed us to do for His glory.


Brent Steeno said...

I like what you have to say. We are in desperate need of a reformation. It is time to seek heaven and ask God for forgiveness. Repentence is key!

Unknown said...

Absolutely! What with some saying the Reformation is over, the faith once for all delivered to the saints needs recaptured AGAIN!

Unknown said...

Steve, I found this article to be very encouraging. Hopefully the rest in my seminary will heed this man's call.

Jeremy Weaver said...

I have never seen so many people fired up about reforming the church! I hope this is not just rhetoric because of the time of year.
If reformation is to take place it will take an effort on our part. Talk and action together.
The work will probably be messy. There will be enemies. We will have to 'hurt people's feelings'. It will not be pleasant. But it must be done.
Let's pray that God will give us the backbone and the love for truth and the Church that is necessary for the work.

SJ Camp said...

Many people are talking about reformation today... but that's all that it is - talk.

True reformation doesn't take long to put into action by individual leaders. But it does take years to implement and effectuate real change on a nationwide or churchwide scale.

It will be a move of God again upon our nation - nothing short of genuine revival. But the Lord works within the realm of human responsibility when it comes to these things: prayer; the gospel; the Word taught; holiness lived; hard choices made with no consideration given to personal sacrifice, loss of money, friendship, platform or opportunity.

Again, I don't know any current evangelical leader today, and I am happy to be corrected on this, that is willing to lay down their position, prominence, reputations, audience, financial base, royalties, platform, radio shows, TV time, book deals, etc. in order to honor the Word of God and its standards. Not one.

Until that day comes - there will be the rhetoric of reformation; conferences on reformation; sermonettes on reformation; books on reformation; whole broadcasts on reformation, etc. But where the rubber of biblical truth meets the road of reality, is when the elite of evangelical leaders will leave the secularly owned companies they have their books, study Bibles, radio programs, etc. with; for it is those same companies that publish and crank out the heresy that everyone is concerned about today. When they are willing to nail their own 107 THESES on the doors of those same publishers; withdraw from the CBA industry; give back the royalties made knowingly under those unbiblical models; publicly repent of those things; drive their ministries solely to Christian owned and operated publishing companies; and back to the local church; and come out publicly against those that have "peddled the Word of God for profit" - then we may start to see some real change; see some birth pains of genuine reformation.

It took Luther confronting Rome head on - willing to risk station, position, ridicule, excommunication and even execution of his own life for there to be real reform over the long haul. I understand that kind of sacrifice... Anything less is just misplaced passion absent of obedience. It's just more evangelical spin. IOW: everybody wants to go to heaven; but nobody wants to die.

Yours for the Master's use,
Col. 1:9-14

Bhedr said...

>Anything less is just misplaced passion absent of obedience.<


Timotheos said...

I disagree. There are many men in the pulpit, and you have been in their churches, who WOULD sacrifice their all for Christ IF they truly believed that a reformation was DEMANDED of the Lord. They are simply comfortable with how things are, at least not enough to make a change.

SJ Camp said...

I know there are... but that's not the point here is it. The last part of your comment really tells the story: "They are simply comfortable with how things are..." how can anyone look at what is going on in the church today and be comfortable with the way things are?

One brother emailed me off blog and wondered if my last comments were driven by bitterness or depression? Neither. I am just trying to be honest in this discussion. We constantly believe the rhetoric over the reality in America. If we are painfully honest here, there is not any key evangelical leader (and that is the category of men I am addressing here) on the landscape today that is willing to sacrifice all to see genuine reformation take place. How do I know this? Have you seen any of them do it? No. The proof is in the pudding.

It is not enough beloved, to voice real concern over Open Theism or New Perspectivism, etc. but then tolerate musings of it at our seminaries; publish books with the same companies that publish those heresies; and leave our total efforts in a few sermons, books or teaching tapes. The battle of words must be accompanied by an action to reform. It was that way in Luther's time and is that way in ours.

I hope that clears up a little bit more of my concerns here. Aren't we all tired of speeches and desire to see some real action associated with the right convictions? Let's pound on Wittenberg's Door and tackle Rome head on--or be honest enough to say that the good fight of faith costs too much for today's leaders to give up their platforms, audiences and financial footing.

If any of these men today were willing and able to make such sacrifices - they would have. The simple reality is, it's hard to give up ones own fame purposely to do the right thing.

I pray I am proven wrong.
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Jeremy Weaver said...

Luther wasn't a key leader in the Catholic Chruch.
God didn't bring the Protestant Reformation through the Pope, Cardinals, Arch-Bibshops, or Bishops. He used a monk who was thrust into the priesthood.
I don't think we should look to the 'Evangelical Leaders' for reformation.
The common people have to start reforming their lives, marriages, homes, sunday school classes, churches, denominations, and Evangelicalism. And that will take a work of God.
God has a remnant according to His purpose of grace.
If we need a leader, I recommend Campi for the job.

Unknown said...

Pastor Timotheos,

I believe you have the cart before the horse. That these men in the pulpit see no need to reform their unbiblical position is precisely what is keeping them from forsaking their prestigious platforms. Their current position is unbiblical and they are unwilling to "Reform" it. They don't see the need to reform because they are blinded by their own "ministries".

Now, they may (and they do) disagree with whether their position is unbiblical (in unequally yoking themselves with TN, Zondervan, etc. etc.) and in need of reforming, but Steve has laid out a case which to this point no one has been willing to engage (the music industry can't engage because they couldn't exegete their way out of a wordless book).

I agree there is a need for another Reformation. Unless I've been seduced by historical revisionism, I don't sense the "desperation" in our current milieu as seems to be the case with Luther. But you never know.

Unknown said...

What has been galling to me as an observer to the history of Steve's 107 theses is to watch some of the men who gave Steve their support and counseled and encouraged him in leaving the unequal yoke of the music industry, now themselves signing unequally yoked book deals with secular conglomerates. It's always better if it's the other guy who walks the plank.

The theology only goes as far as the wallet. When it hits the wallet, it's rationalization city.

Jeremy Weaver said...

That's why I'm not going to write any books. I don't think I could stand up to the temptation.

Mike Perrigoue said...

So what do we, the ordinary people, do? Leave our churches that peddle or even loosely associate themselves with material that is deemed worldly?

What churches do we go to? Who's stuff do we read? The "association game" can be played out exponentially so that in the end we can do nothing but sit in a small spot where nothing evil can touch us.

I'm not making an excuse for just going with the flow, Steve. In fact what you've said disturbs me. It scares me because I feel very strongly about much so that I feel to even act on some of this stuff would be effectually calling for persecution from within or own ranks like nothing else!

God help us if this is the path we must take.

I'm ready...but I don't know how...

And I think if everyone else is honest, they don't know how either.

Unknown said...

Hold on...

You make a major presupposition= that "key evangelical leaders" are those in prominence and popularity. You say:
Again, I don't know any current evangelical leader today, and I am happy to be corrected on this, that is willing to lay down their

I do know some. Now, I do not know popular figures in evangelicalism that are doing this, but I do know 'key' and important leaders who are doing this. Dr. John Taylor is one. Why do you not know him? Because he has given up positions of prominence which he could very easily take to be a servant in the mold of John Mark.

We must be careful not to make the mistake atheists make- that we are privy to 'enough' known knowledge so as to make an informed decision based on qualifications that nullify our original assertion. In other words, you decry those who have not forsaken prominent roles, etc. But, those that have done this you do not know about precisely because they have done what you said they are not doing!! You don't know them because they have stepped off of a path that would have led them to that coveted 'known' position.

It is not only unfair, but also arrogant, to claim that no one is doing these things because you yourself have not known or heard of them. We saw this on the politcal scene when conservatives decried Harriet Miers because they themselves did not know of her. So what if they knew her or not. That doesn't change her qualifications.

On the whole, I agree with you on what needs to happen- a genuine God-sent revival. But do not disparage 'key' evangelical leaders unless you define what your term 'key' means. If key means important and influential to future evangelical church leaders, you are wrong. If key means popular and influential to the mainstream, you are probably correct.

I do not intend to divide here, and I am sorry if I have, but please do not make everyone who reads here decide our seminaries and those faithful UNKNOWN key leaders of our churches are inept and innocuous. I have witnessed men who have given all their time, talent and treasure to ensure a meger man like myself be equipped to equip the saints. It is truly humbling. Be encouraged that there are men here on the front lines that are forsaking all for Jesus Christ.


Unknown said...

>If key means important and influential >to future evangelical church leaders, >you are wrong. If key means popular >and influential to the mainstream, you >are probably correct.

IMHO, Luther belonged to the second group before he nailed his 95 theses to the door. Luther was not an unknown. Otherwise, there would not have been a reformation.

I think Steve was speaking of the second group.

SamWhick said...

perhaps it would be better if you let Steve speak for himself in the matter of what he means by "key" evangelical leaders. I would encourage each of us to think critically and lovingly about everything we read and embrace. Steve makes strong points in his writings but he doesn't claim to be infallable. It is too easy to sit on the sidelines and back our favorite "horse" when it comes to dealing with the shortcomings of evangelical Christianity rather than humbly and reverently seeking to honor God ourselves in all our dealings. Sure there are "leaders" out there who are yoked to the worldly system, but what about us, in what ways are we yoked in similar ways? Are we as critical of our own words and deeds as we are of the Christian establishment? I would dare say we are not. Perhaps it is time to aim some of that laser precision discernment at ourselves... Just a thought.

SJ Camp said...

I know there are many faithful men of God who have given all to the service of our Lord. My older brother Norm who has a severe case of Parkinson's disease has served the Lord faithfully as a pastor and in missions to the Muslim people for close to forty years. I am not discounting that selfless service for the Lord in any manner.

By key, and I have defined this twice already, are the prominent gatekeepers in books, radio, seminaries and pastors that are the famous looked to men who really set the tone nationally for evangelicalism. No one in that group is willing to confront the system that is propagating the very heresies and errant doctrine that we are all battling in many ways around the country. Why? It is the very system that also sells their books, promotes their radio broadcasts, builds their audiences and provides them a massive financial support base.

I hope this is clear. What makes them so crucial in this discussion is that they do control the theological tenor for millions of believers around the country. If they were to forsake all and then call the body of Christ to reformation back to the essentials of the faith, to revival, etc. it would have tremendous impact.

BTW, Luther was not an unknown, little peon in Rome. He was very influential and that is why his 95 THESES had teeth. Not just because they were true, but because his position gave weight to his concerns.

Thank you all for your comments here. This is a very important issue.

2 Cor. 4:5-7

Jeremy Weaver said...

The focus is all wrong in everyone who has commented here. Who cares who the key influential leaders are? Who cares what they do?
If it is God's will that they remain, what is that to us? You follow Christ.
I'm not saying that those who are perceived to be leaders among us are exempt form the work of Reformation, I'm saying forget about them and what they do, and follow Christ. If they are wrong tell them, if they are right encourage them, but it is our job to bring Reformation, if we think that this is God's will. Let's do it. You do it.
I'm sick of waiting for someone to tell me where, how, and when to start. Let's go.

Unknown said...

My point- your definition of 'leader' is unbiblical and flat wrong. You have defined leader as a man that broad-scale evangelicalism worships and adores. Jesus' definition for leadership is servanthood. You would have correctly stated that these popular men would bring reformation if the became leaders.

Therefore, Dox gets it right when he says the focus is wrong. The aim is right on the mark in the characterization of these 'men of renown', but your assertion that evangelical leaders are not self-sacrificial is completely narrow-focused. The true leaders of Jesus Christ are doing the work you have derided the others for not doing.

Bottom line: you are lashing out at the supposed leaders for doing a work they are incapable of doing because they do not have a correct view of the Holiness of Christ, His call for discipleship, and His reward for suffering. The reformation work is being done! The question os whether the church on the whole will overcome the false teaching before the day of the Lord.

SJ Camp said...

I am with you brother... I began in 1997 and have faithfully worked to that end ever since.

But God works practically within the creatures that He has made. Biblically, the Lord didn't choose just anyone to speak at Pentecost, but Peter. Even the Lord had His inner circle among the apostles (Peter, James and John) that He used differently and more publicly than the others.

It took a Moses to lead captive Israel out of bondage. The Lord could have used a common slave with no position of influence or standing, but He didn't.

He used and Edward's in the Great Awakening; a Spurgeon to stir England; a Luther to frustrate Rome; etc.

I agree that we all must put into action - reformation. But if a Begg, a MacArthur, a Sproul, a Mohler, a Swindall, a Laurie, a Falwell, a Hayford, etc. would say to Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, the CBA, Salem Broadcasting - no more; we will not write for you, record for you, broadcast for you, publish with you anymore; you are unequally yoked in ownership and are propagating false doctrine through many of your authors and we collectively are here to say NO MORE! Could you imagine what impact that would have on the entire evangelical landscape immediately? It would be profound; and those are just a few of the names.

I love and respect those men--but they need to lead the charge. And if they fail, then you're right; it will be up to lesser men like me.

Once again, it is not enough just to say the right things; we must act on them as well. Hearers and doers of the Word. We must confront unsound doctrine head on--but for the most part it's preaching to the choir. We must act upon that doctrine publicly which causes us to step aside from certain relationships within the business of evangelicalism to really see the beginnings of reformation. If Luther was just having a nice discussion with Rome, there would have been no
reformation at all. He acted as well--and acted to the point where his very life was placed in the balance. THAT is what I am speaking of here.

I have taken that stand and have sacrificed everything for this call to reformation--and it gives me the right (for I have earned it) to call others as well. They all know the cost involved and it is great.

But again, are we going to believe the rhetoric over the reality. We all speak of taking up our cross and following Him. The cross in Jesus' day meant certain death. He was calling for true disciples to die.

I'm not even suggesting that here. Just don't partner with unbelievers in the ministry; leave behind the money from those unequally yoked sources; and do ministry boldly according to sola scriptura.

To paraphrase Mead: [authors and artists] who struggle with giving up something so immaterial [as their book royalties] aren't ready to take up a cross yet.

Col. 3:16-17

SJ Camp said...

colinm said: "My point- your definition of 'leader' is unbiblical and flat wrong."

Broadscale influence isn't unbiblical and is a component of servanthood to be reckoned with for some leaders. Leadership means influence. There are varying degrees of influence. All the men of a "larger influence" are servants too, but the weight of their words and actions effect many more--you would agree. That doesn't make their leadership unbiblical or flat wrong by definition--just different.

It will take their leadership to effect change on the broad scale. Again, the Lord used people of all stations of life. But He also had key people that He put into positions of leadership that did determine the tone and temperature of the state of the church. I.E. - The Apostles were servants and were given great duty and responsibility over many. Their life and doctrine had profound influence and carried with it tremendous responsibility.

The duty of those that are lesser known is not to keep feeding the current system as well. The call to reformation is for all--no argument there. But let's be honest here: nobody pays $300.00 a man to attend a local pastor's conference in their community. But if a few names are gathered, they will come. That is the reality. My prayer is that for those names in those key positions of influence would take up the challenge and cost for reformation.

Grace and peace,
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Unknown said...

I concede your point about the servant leaders, and the prominent roles they can take. I would maintain that Jesus would ignore many we (collectively protestant) consider to be great leaders.

I would also maintain there exists a paradox between popularity and piety in evangelicalism. The more a man acts as a leader (less like a servant), the more influence he has, AND the less Christ-centered he becomes. But the more a man becomes a servant (thereby making himself a leader) the less popular but more Christ-centered he becomes. I think all of this is absent of how many followers they have, just how many followers they influence. Therefore, the great "flip" Luke expounds on exists today! Basically, you are suggesting the evangelical earthly leaders act like biblical, Christ-centered leaders? To this, I wholly agree.

Thanks for the debate. I continue to find your blogs edifying.


Timotheos said...

I am in a fellowship of churches that even holds to separation in its doctrinal statement, and yet I have seen practically that separation is a very difficult thing to practice.

Do I not buy the books that are published by these publishing houses? Do I not shop at the stores that sell the alcohol, cigarettes, and porn? Am I not subsidizing the very activities that I am against?

I know that these activities are not directly related to your illustration of publishing, but, they address areas of separation that will and should be addressed as we go down the road of separation.

50 years ago many of these 'leaders' if they had been in ministry would NEVER have considered publishing their books with 'secular' (as opposed to sacred) publishing houses. Instead, they would have sought out christian publishing houses. Are they wrong, now? Your point is a valid one that they need to consider.

I graduated from an institution that has its own publishing house and I always have wondered why some of these same 'leaders' didn't publish with them (especially one that was even on the board of the school).

The way that it appears is that these authors have gone to the houses who 'would' publish them and who 'offered them the best deals.'

But, your analysis is correct. Unless these same leaders take a principled stand for the gospel and in response to unequal yoke a reformation is unlikely.

In a day in which the church more than not compares to a social club seeking to elevate one's self-esteem there HAS to be men of God that will say ENOUGH!!

Bhedr said...

I have seen servants on horses, while princes walk the ground like servants. Eccl 10:7

Sledge, Jeremy was right.Also You stand alone in this brother. There are not many of you; but this is not you, it is the jealous Spirit of God within.

Keep brothers and hold fast the moorings. God will raise up a standard. Spurgeon walked alone. Things are more confusing now than they were in his day. We can too, but more than that Jesus did.

Bhedr said...

BTW,A book has already been written, we just need to follow it.

Terry Rayburn said...

Is it a violation of Scripture for prominent Christian authors to do book deals with publishing houses owned by pagans?

1. The Pharisees took a principle of their Old Covenant Scriptures (that one should not work on the Sabbath) and "extended" it even to ladies not having needles in their skirts, since that would be "work".

Pharisee-ism always takes good principles and makes them into rules for everyone. This is bad enough under the Old Covenant, but even worse under the New Covenant, wherein each believer has the Holy Spirit in them, guiding them.

2. There has never been a convincing exegesis of the relevant "be separate" and "unequally yoked" passages that would universally forbid all believers from contracting with pagans for book deals. One's own conscience may lead that way, but it's a form of Pharisee-ism to "extend" the verse to book deals.

3. There are several Christian publishers who would get a pass under the "extended" unequal-yoke rule, yet they promote Law-based Galatianism that puts guilt and condemnation on those whom Christ has made free.

4. The whole discussion here, I believe, is missing the real point. That is, that our essential goal should not be outward, but inward. That we should seek close fellowship with Jesus Christ, seek to be filled with His Spirit, seek to walk by the Spirit. If we walk by the Spirit, He may lead us to renounce, or to embrace, a secular book contract. He will teach us and lead us into His mind regarding those separation Scriptures, and He may lead each of us differently.

5. Revival is not all it's cracked up to be. Jesus is building His church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. Ebbs and flows of so-called "revival" can be very deceptive, as in the Finney revivals which left unregenerate bodies strewn from Ohio to New York.

God's sovereignty is not an excuse for lack of vision, action, or exhortation. But it is a cause for comfort in the midst of what can be disheartening circumstances. It is God "who is at work in us both to will and to do His good pleasure".

6. A Spirit-filled man has love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

Finding a man who is filled with the Spirit as a lifestyle sometimes seems like Diogenes with his lantern trying to find an honest man. Yet twelve such men "turned the world upside down", as God saw fit.

Take heart. He is working...through you, and me, and the heretics, and the donkeys.

7. The greatest of courage is not in demanding the presumed "duty" of others. It's in proclaiming the freedom of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in the midst of a self-righteous performance-based church culture.

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." -- Gal. 5:1


Denise said...


This reminds me of a man who was willing to repent and prove it by his actions (he went beyond what the law called for):

Luk 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold." 9 And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."

Would anyone well-known be willing to do that? Are they that humble?

This has been a burden of mine for some time. Its discouraging when men who are so otherwise solid, compromise in this area. They of all people, should know better.

Who knows why they don't repent. Pride? Loosing their huge audiences? Remember what God did so often-- use that which seems so small and weak and useless, to show His power and strength and will? I think pastors/teachers have ignored that truth for too long.

Re: ETS--I lost whatever respect I had for them years ago when they "voted" to keep the heretics in their midst. No one that I know of except for Norm Geisler had the guts to resign after that. I've know a few men who are part of that group and none to my knowledge have resigned either. But boy, is it fun (uh, not really) to challenge them when they are wrong. We're just peons, know-nothings without a Masters or PhD in Greek or OT History. These types know a lot, but I think loose the simplicity of the truths of Scripture.

How much garbage would the Christianity community have been saved from seeing had the seminaries and publishing companies and high faluten scholarly groups marked the heretics and avoided them?

Denise said...

Did the Reformation reform Rome?

I say let's be Separatists instead. Come out from among her. Get rid of the pagans whose hands are holding so many minstries in their grips.

2Tal said...

The truth is Christianity is a joke to the world. We are deemed nothing more than crusaders and thieves swindling the impressionable. When I, your average Christian nobody in the marketplace start following Jesus in obedience to His revealed word then the world will begin to listen and reformation occurs. I like what doxoblogist says. Let us not minimize our own candle. We too are the salt of the earth.

SJ Camp said...

Let's bring this discussion back to where it started--to the gatekeepers.

As Luther was key in addressing the issues that needed reform; so the gatekeepers of today are also key in addressing the theological and pragmatic issues germane to evangelicalism in our day. As Hosea said, "like people, like priest." It matters.

Reformation in our local churches, families, neighborhoods, etc. is another thing altogether, but not less important. And of course each regenerated Christian needs to live, pray and work to that end for we are all salt and light.

But that is not what THIS discussion is about. It is about the leaders of evangelicalism having the courage to honor the Lord and His Word even if it means losing ones audience, marketplace coverage, financial viability, fame, book contracts, radio listenership, etc.

Where are those heroes of the faith willing to risk all in today's evangelical world to see genuine Reformation occur? It is undeniable that such action would have a dramatic impact on the face of evangelicalism today; and very directly encourage those at the local level in local churches to do the same as well.

But, as said earlier, the cost is great.

From the eye of the hurricane,
2 Cor. 4;5-7

PS - To address Terry on one point: there is a tremendous amount of exegetical evidence to note that 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1 clearly demonstrates that ANY partnership with a nonbeliever in a spiritual ministry or enterprise is forbidden and forfeits the blessing and favor of the Lord in ministry. Nashville is reaping what they have sown. God is sovereign; but God's sovereignty doesn't eliminate our human responsibility.

Study heterosungontes and you will see what the "yoking" truly is.

Shawn said...


Question for you related to internet publishing and using GOOGLE's blogger.

Each of us use google's blogger for ministry communication.

Thankfully they aren't requiring us to put ads up, but I can see that at some point they will. I remember allowed no ads at first, but then they embed ads in all HTML files viewed. I think all of these millions of free blogging might start to cost them something.

I guess my question is that we are using communication that is owned and operated by secular companies to minister to people on the internet (You definitely have been a big influence on my walk through this method of publishing).

How does a internet publishing communication fall within this.

I guess I don't know the ins and outs of book publishing vs. online publishing.

Matthew2323 said...

Mike Perrigoue said...
So what do we, the ordinary people, do? Leave our churches that peddle or even loosely associate themselves with material that is deemed worldly?

Mike, the "ordinary" must pray! Pray the prayers in Scripture. Consider Psalm 85, "Will You not Yourself revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You?" Also, get into the Word and let the Spirit transform your life. Let the Lord change your life and let your light shine, share your burden for the Church with those who will listen.

If you are interested in revival I'd suggest reading Richard Owen Roberts book that is simply entitled, "Revival". It is powerful! Mr. Roberts has studied revival and reformation for over 60 years. His books, articles and sermons are available at or May the Lord bless your study of His Word.

Thank you brother Camp for sharing your heart about the need for revival.

SJ Camp said...

Good questions here:

Google is a communication tool to be used as a mobile phone is, a website, or email. Google doesn't own my ministry in any way shape or form--they are providing a service. That doesn't violate any Scriptural mandate for ministry.

The publishers and music companies have been bought out by secular conglomerates; they actually own, control, staff, fund, and manage these companies. The believers that sold these entities to them have now given up control over the bottom line that drives those companies.

If Google were to approach me and make an offer to buy AudienceONE ministries from me for several million dollars, the answer would be no. But using their software in this form of communication is not ownership of a ministry or a partnership in a spiritual ministry or enterprise any more than driving my Mazda minivan to a concert at a church that I would be doing makes Mazda and I partners in the ministry.

Nelson is owned by the stockholders; Zondrvan by Rupert Merdock; all of Christian music is owned by Zomba, EMI or Time/Warner. The world owns all of God's music--and it is tragic.

Crossway Publishers and Tyndale House are still Christian owned and operated. Even bookstore chains like Berean Bookstores have been bought out by unbelievers.

I don't fault the unbelievers for doing so; I fault the Christians for selling out to them. As one executive who stood to profit by some 40 million on one label deal told me, "I'll take the money repent later." Sadly, that is the reality for most out there. This is why when we have men of God publish their books, study Bibles, radio shows, etc. with these companies, it has a profound result.

The issue goes to ownership, authority, indissoluble relationship, etc.

Grace and peace,
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Jeremy Weaver said...

Just so I'm clear,
I was not accusing you of inaction. I would have to be an idiot (some say I am) to not recognize that you alone have stood at the front of all these battles.
My concern is that we would get caught up waiting for someone else to do the work for us, and I think that you would agree that, on our part, we must be reforming. As for me, as I have stated elsewhere on your blog, I'm following your lead. Probably because your the most visible one out in front. And I agree that we need leaders to stand for truth, I'm just saying, we've already got you, so if God raises up another, great, but don't wait for them.

SJ Camp said...

I understand and thank you for the encouragement. If the key gatekeepers won't act - then we must. I take your challenge seriously...

Let's fight this battle on our knees, with the truth of God's Word, invoking action befitting the Biblical model.

I appreciate you,

Michele Rayburn said...

I would like to pose a question and would appreciate some thoughts on it from anyone:

If revival were to come, what would it look like...and how would you know when it is here?

In His Love,

Unknown said...

You would see men and women gripped by the fear of God, some crying, some wailing, some quiet, maybe the miraculous outside conversion, maybe not...but for sure, people would b reprenting all over the land upon which God's spirit of revival rests. You would hear men and women and children talking about the sermon at the dinner table, and the prayer meetings would be the fullest service of the week! You would see congregations reject pastors who have left the Holy Spirit in lieu of modernism. You would see church building programs cease in order to funnel the money to missionaries, needy churches, and needy families. You would see churchhouses packed for no other reason than to worship Jesus Christ--special music would decline...anouncements would be about conversions...the baptistry would be churning...the word of CHRIST would be heralded from the pulpits!! Jokes would be replaced with heart cries to God...

Matthew2323 said...

J.I. Packer lists these 5 marks of revival:
Awareness of God's presence. Responsiveness to God's Word. Sensitiveness to Sin. Liveliness in Community. Fruitfulness in testimony.

Richard Owen Roberts comments:
There is a very precious sense in which revival is literally "GOD in the midst of His people." His manifest presence produces all that is desirable in revival. The absence of His manifest presence accounts for all that is undesirable during the seasons of moral and spiritual decline that precede revivals.

Revival is a time when heaven comes closer to earth than at any other time in the lives of men and women. If one considers the greatest attraction of heaven, is it golden streets? Is it the tree of life? Is it the presence of angels? Is it fellowship with other redeemed? NO! The greatest allure of heaven is the absolutely unbroken presence of God.

Terry Rayburn said...

After reading those descriptions of revival, and hungering for it, allow me to expand on a previous comment of mine above.

I wrote (too flippantly) that "Revival is not all it's cracked up to be."

I didn't mean that revival is not wonderful, awe-inspiring, glorious, and cause for great thanks to our awesome and sovereign Lord.

I meant that if the progress of His-tory was dependent on revivals, there would be little progress. And that the Lord is working mercifully and mightily even in times of decline.

Nevertheless Revive Us O Lord, please.

By the way, we in America tend to be America-centered, naturally, but there does seem to be real revival happening in various places from time to time. I've read about some in parts of Africa, China and Korea recently. And I'll never forget hearing Pastor Georgi Vins and his skinny-armed little daughters and niece at Gull Lake Bible Conference in Michigan in the early 1980's. They were fresh off the plane, having been released from the Communist Soviet Union. They told stories of amazing revival among the persecuted believers in Russia, which brought buckets of tears and hunger for the Lord to the congregation.

Anyway, I'm all for revival, just to clarify.


Michele Rayburn said...

Thank you Colin and "matthew2323" for your thoughts.

What "matthew2323" said was quite beautiful. I noticed that you mentioned the importance of the presence of God three times... "awareness of God's presence"... "God in the midst of His people"... "His manifest presence produces all that is desirable in revival...". And I especially liked the phrase "the absolutely unbroken presence of God".

Also, it would be good to hear J.I. Packer's 5 marks of revival expounded upon.

I truly believe that practicing His presence is an important key to revival, learning to communicate with Him, and becoming more aware of Him.

And Colin, I think you are saying that if our hearts are right, our priorities would be right also. So, it begins with our own heart being right with God.

Thanks again for your comments.

In His Love,

Matthew2323 said...


You can find a 3-part lecture of Mr. Packer's at:

The message is in MP3 format and is free to download. If you would like more sermons/lectures on revival I'd suggest, J. Edwin Orr, Duncan Campbell and Richard Owen Roberts. They are all available for free on this webpage. (There are many great sermons there, such as Tozer and Havner, but these 3 are my favorites!) Immersing yourself in the writings of men of God will increase your hunger and burden for revival as brother Terry mentioned. (Not to the neglect of the Word of God, of course!)

Open Heaven Lord!

Andrew Jones said...

yes - every generation needs to revive and reform the residual church. thanks for the "fire and ice" to remind us again

Stephen said...

Steve, I agree that the Evangelical gatekeepers need to stop doing what they do for money. But if we shut down the Christian labels and publishing companies (which I am in favor of), what would you say should then happen? It sounds like to me that you are against any connection between the gatekeepers, and the commercial side of life.

I recall C.S. Lewis saying something about Christian artists and writers needing to smuggle truth into the secular culture though their work, which in mainstream Christian culture I do not see happening. This is why I favor the closure of the Christian idustry as that would force artists and writers to either work for money, or work for God, and thus produce quality, truth-smuggling works that point to God. Thankfully, besides Lewis, Tolkein, Dorothy Sayers, and Flannery O'Conner there are also Christians today doing this, for example U2, Frederick Beuchner, and Doris Betts. Of course, this would probably mean constant temptation to work for money, but I don't think God expects us to work in "temptation free environments", even if such places did exist.

Looking back on what I have written, I see that I am writing more about writers and artists and musicians, and what applies to them may not necessarily apply to preachers, evangelists, and other gatekeepers, and vice versa. Still, would you support the above scenario? And besides having the gatekeepers boycott mammon, what exactly would you have them do?

Thanks. And I am very happy to see someone within CCM working towards making things right in the Christian industry. God bless.

~Mark said...

A strong and challenging post. Thank you very much.

Des said...

As a young Christian I had attended numerous Christian concerts and the last Jesus Northwest Music Festival in 1997. I often left these "fleshfests" angry because the performers and audience seemed to care little about the Gospel and true worship of Jesus Christ. When I received a mailed copy of the 107 Theses back in 1997 I had a biblical answer for the state of the Contemporary Christian Music Industry. The 107 Theses had a profound impact on me and still do (especially Part Six).

Steve, I thank God for your biblical and passionate stand for the truth in this postmodern age. I pray that you will continue to fight the good fight of faith with you eyes fixed on Jesus Christ.

Sola Reformanda!

God bless,

Luke 9:23

Steve Burlew said...

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.
May these words ring loud and clear, throughout Nashville, and Franklin, and in between.
Thank you, Steve.

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KarenU said...

WOW! THANK YOU! Ran across this quite by accident and will need to read it more slowly. Almost didn't read it, due to the obvious grammatical error in the title. "It's" means "it is." "Its" is the only correct possessive form of "it."

JulieMillerFan said...

I have long wondered whether "Christian Music" really was "Christian" --- even back in the days when I was a Radio DJ it seemed more people were focused on entertainment than ministry. I loved your initial call to repentance and felt that it needed a broader audience so I have reposted it myself (giving credit to you, Steve) a few times over the years --- and gotten blasted for having done so. Sacred cows and Golden Calves die hard.

What really saddens me now... is in the age of facebook, I've befriended quite a few of the Christian artists of years gone by and found all so many of them vapid, empty or worse -- preaching a Christ of their own design. It's really only just made my concerns over CCM all the more profound.

Ministry is not picking up a guitar and writing a best-selling song... ministry is picking up food to feed the hungry, spending time to address the prisoner, or speaking the sharp-edged truth to those willing to hear. Christ spoke to just this point in Matthew 25 when referring to the Sheep and the Goats.

Thinker said...

Steve thank you for this, but I think you need to add one more under integrity and that being that Christian musicians and writers should not plagiarize. Worship Together, Passion, Vicki Cook, and Michael Neal (to name a few) have taken our great hymns tweaked the tunes, take out some of the most powerful verses and add a lame chorus and then calling that song their own. They give no credit to the original writer except for Tomlin's terrible version of Amazing Grace because everyone knows that John Newton wrote it, but Newton's name is after Tomlin's and I think Giglio's. We will have a generation of people not knowing the true history and richness of the hymns.

As someone who gets migraines from the drums and bass thank you for showing that music is NOT amoral. Time and time again I have seen people with health issues like a having a pace maker, leave because the beat upset their pacemaker. This has to upset God because these are the weak and the least of these and the Church is not even thinking about them. To the point that if a person (especially an older person) complains he or she is told that onee is out of touch and the youth must be reached. (By the way I am in my 30's)

I Love "Christ Died for God" it is very powerful.