Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lecrae - Go Hard

Gentle tones

Go Hard
Go Home

It Repeats

The hook ends with a sharp and shocking statement:

"Lord kill me If I don't preach the gospel"

I truly question that statement -- It makes me reflect -- Can I pray that same thing? Can You? I mean really think about the Power of that statement. Would you rather Die then not preach the Gospel? Would you have God take your life if you Aren't preaching the Gospel. Do we in our churches today have that kind of devotion and commitment to Christ and the Gospel.

However, the thoughts and meaning of this song only deepens from here.

If the Cross don't move me then I don't wanna breath no mo -- If I aint seeing Christ potna I dont wanna see no mo...

I often question how many of your average Church Goers would say that if they aren't moved by the cross or seeing Christ, they would prefer death. This seems to be such an anti-american, anti-self focused, Anti-Jesus came to serve me concept that I wonder if in the American Evangelical Church even a small percentage of people want this statement to apply to them. Yet it is the Message of Jesus, He is the Bread of Life, He is Living Water. Without Him we will die, and die for eternity, we do not want simply flour and water, we want that which truly gives life. I need, We need to learn to have our lives kept by and in Christ to the point where we would die without Him. For all you Joel Osteen Fans, I think that would be true "Kingdom Living."

Can they tell you value Jesus by the way you rep his name?

Lecrae asks the question that has been asked many times and in many ways both biblically and sermonically (is that a word?),

"Thank you for the Grace for the will and the desire/ got me living for your glory stead of living to retire/ But I pray I'll never tire of Going hard for Messiah/I don't need no motivation You the reason I'm inspired."

Why are we doing good works? Is it because we have been redeemed and want to show that same type of kindness that we were shown to others? Is it because we are trying to work our way into God's Favor? Are we Working to see the name of Jesus Christ Glorified?

The song ends with this powerful statement -

But don't play yourself to save ya self/and walk in fear/ Scripture's like a mirror/the truth is closer than it appears.

If you think your works can save you, you are dead and wrong. Repent Turn to Christ and walk in the Fear of the Lord. I love the illusion here to the Luther quote, that the law is a Mirror, a Curb and a Guide.

If you somehow think that Rap by nature is Wicked. You are missing the beauty of Christian Men who are exhorting us to good works and preaching the Gospel with there beats. Time to rethink what makes music Christian I say, because this never gets play of the 'Christian Radio' stations around here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Modern Worship Music

Has anyone noticed the trend in modern "Worship" music, that it has been abandoning more and more the solid theological perspectives of the past, and instead become something that is highly emotional in nature? I have some strong criticisms of these song, some of which are very popular, and I also have some strong praise for songs that are going against the grain of this trend. When I am speaking about a song, I am in no way addressing the Artist who wrote the song, in terms of there theological views nor am I questioning there faith or confession. I am addressing the lyrics as prayer, and I am doing so from a theological perspective. Thus, my basic question will be: Does this song line up with the Word of God?

Admittedly, there are some songs that could be criticized, that I will not be addressing, at this point, but please feel free to give songs for review. It is my belief that Song Writers should for the Brothers Wesley in their model of reviewing perspective songs. Above all we must not forget that these songs are meant to be worship to the Most High God, and as such, we are in a sense praying with or via the lyrics. Our singing of these words is our stamp of approval. That Said the first song I will address is, Above All -- by Michael W. Smith.

Above all powers above all kings
Above all nature and all created things
Above all wisdom and all the ways of man
You were here before the world began

Above all kingdoms above all thrones
Above all wonders the world has ever known
Above all wealth and treasures of the earth
There's no way to measure what You're worth

Crucified laid behind a stone
You lived to die rejected and alone
Like a rose trampled on the ground
You took the fall and thought of me
Above all

This is a very popular song, that is sung in churches around the US. The problem with the song is that it is theologically inaccurate and in doing so, it exalts man above God. The song's structure is essentially one that lists all the things that Jesus is above, this is accurate. However, when the chorus comes, we get into trouble.

The phrase 'you took the fall and thought of me/ above all' is problematic for 2 reasons. First, there is no biblical evidence to believe or assert that Jesus Christ thought of you or me during the last part of his life. Second, to say that this unbiblical thinking of us was "above all" would by the textual usage of the term all in the song include the Father, and Holy Spirit, thus denying the Trinity, and committing blaspheme.

Some would say that I am being to critical here. However, it is clear that these songs teach theology, and people repeat these statements in churches all around the nation. Theological error begets other errors.

Salvation Army - To Rank or Not to Rank

This Post is written at the Request of my partner in Ministry, Andy...

As you may or may not know, The Salvation Army Church gives ranks and special commissions to it's ministers. I would like to discuss why I not only think that this is biblically acceptable, but I think it is wise.

Here are the ranks that are now being handed out, and next to that is what is done to receive that rank -

Cadet - Entry into 'College of Officer Training'
Cadet-Lieutenant - Cadets who have had previous experience - generally spend less time in the College of Officer Training
Lieutenant - Graduate from 'College of Officer Training' who have received their "marching orders"
Captain - Five years of Service
Major - Fifteen Years of Service
Lieutenant-Colonel - Major on Special Assignment
Colonel - Major on Special Assignment
Commissioner - Major on Special Assignment
General - Major on Special Assignment

I would like to discuss what I believe are the good and bad parts of this 'Ranking' system. As well as the biblical look of a hierarchy within the clergy.


I think that when looking at the Preisthood within the OT, we can see several things
Exodus 38:21 tells us that the Levities are under the Authority of the High Priest. I think that it is pretty clear that there is an authority structure within the priesthood, and I am really not willing to spend a whole lot of time on the subject, as it is super clear from the OT. I think that there is another authority with in the OT, and that is the office of prophet. Prophets are appointed by God, as messengers to the people of God. Prophets held a special status among the people, this status was different from that of the Priests. Overall, I think that it is clear that there is an authority structure within the OT.

Within the NT I think that we see an even more strong authority structure. I think that the basic outline is as follows:

Christ (God)
Apostles (the 13 - including Paul)
Elders - Pastors - Bishops

This list comes from both Church history and the Scriptures. I am open to restructuring it, but in general I believe that this is the Christian model.

In light of that, I don't think there is anything wrong with the ranking authority of christian leaders, as the Salvation Army does. I think it is wise thing, to let the elders have a hierarchy of leadership. I believe that this is what the Salvation Army does, and I think that there is a lot of wisdom in it. As a final thought, I think that some people take issue the military style of the Salvation Army. I don't see anything that biblically prohibits this, and thus I would say that it falls into the area of Christian liberty.

Here are some bible verses so that you can continue to study this topic of Leadership in the Bible:

1 Peter 5:1-5
Acts 11:29-30
Acts 14:23
Acts 20:28-32
1 Timothy 5:17-19
Titus 1:5-9
Hebrews 13:17

Monday, March 9, 2009

I really need to have a Chat with Donald Miller

Like the Title says, I really need to have a Chat with Donald "Blue Like Heresy(Jazz)" Miller.

The Following Article is from The Guardian

"Obama to lift restrictions on funding stem cell research"

Ian Sample, science correspondent
The Guardian, Monday 9 March 2009

Stem cell research in the US will receive a major boost today when Barack Obama lifts restrictions on federal funding that were imposed eight years ago by the Bush administration, scientists say.

The long-awaited announcement will overturn a ban that prohibits scientists from using taxpayers' money to study embryonic stem cells created after 2001.

The ban has meant scientists working in the US can use government grants only when working on some of the oldest embryonic stem cells available. Many centres have been forced to divide their labs in half, to keep projects paid for by private money separate.

The seemingly unique ability of embryonic stem cells to grow into any type of tissue in the body has led scientists to believe they could transform medicine through treatments that replace and regenerate damaged or diseased organs.

Lifting the ban will unleash a flurry of collaborations between scientists who had been barred from working together.

John Gearhart, director of regenerative medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, has made more than 100 trips to Washington to protest against the ban and has been invited to the White House for today's announcement.

"Better use of space and resources will have a great and immediate effect. That to me is the biggest benefit of this," he said.

Douglas Melton, co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, said he planned to begin collaborations with publicly funded scientists immediately. The research will investigate treatments for diabetes, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease using freshly made embryonic stem cells.

"The removal of a barrier that has stood in our way for eight years will open important new areas of research, and move the field forward more rapidly," he said.

Scientists are still unclear how quickly the change will take effect. Some expect Obama to look for legislative backing from Congress, and to ask the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to draft documents outlining how embryonic stem cells could be used. Both processes would take time and could be held up by religious groups who strongly oppose lifting the ban.

"The conservatives will rally support to slow this down, so on one hand we're celebrating, but there's a way to go yet. This is not a slam-dunk," said Gearhart.

The timing is particularly critical for researchers hoping to benefit from the $10bn (£7bn) awarded to the NIH through the president's stimulus package.

The Bush administration's unfavourable stance on stem cells drove some US scientists to leave for Britain, where laws on stem cell research are more liberal. By overturning the ban, Obama may trigger a brain drain back to the US.

Stephen Minger, a US stem cell scientist at King's College London said: "It's unlikely we'll see a mass exodus to the US, but funding for embryonic stem cell research in the UK is low and extremely competitive."

I would First like to point out that when thinking about President Obama, and Abortion/Rights for Unborn Children he has done the following: Reversed a Ban on Funding for Oversea's Abortions , He has named Kathleen Sebelius the Health Secretary, He has taken the next step to remove protections for pro-life medical centers and staff who do not want to do abortions; He has Failed to invite Pro-life medical Groups to a summit on Health Care Reform and now he is increasing funding for Embryonic Stem Cell Research... In Light of all this I have to say that it is fitting that Obama has a 100% pro-choice rating from NARAL.

What does all this have to do with Donald Miller you ask...

First of all, Mr. Miller was very very active in his support for Now President Obama. He spoke often on how Mr. Obama was "the only candidate who has a plan to reduce the number of abortions.(1)" He continues on, "McCain's only plan is the same old trick: say that you are pro life and offer no plan at all other than to criminalize abortion.(1)" This begs the question Mr. Miller -- Do you believe that Unborn people are Children worthy of the same protection of born children? If so, isn't Murdering them Criminal? Shouldn't they then be punished and treated as the Murders that they are? The alternative, Mr. Miller, leaves us asking either, what is this Unborn Child, if not human, if it doesn't have the same rights because it hasn't been seen outside of the womb. If you don't believe that Murdering Children is Criminal, what is it? "I simply think that plan hasn't worked, and we have to face that fact and look for other ways to make progress.(1)" The problem is this Mr. Miller - Roe V. Wade was decided January 22, 1973. This is 2 years after you were born, and 12 years before I was born. Neither of us have seen in our lifetime the results of Abortion being Criminal. History tells us however, that in 1966 there were only 1028 Legal abortions. After Roe V. Wade in 1973 there were 615,831 Legal abortions. That is about 599 times the number of abortions in 1966(2). So it seems to me, that we haven't really tried actually making abortion Criminal. That we haven't really outlawed it, but that you and others like you, Mr. Miller, simply say that it won't or doesn't work. The fact it, it is a Good Plan to reduce abortion, make it illegal.

Donald Miller says this,"I believe in the sanctity of life, I simply think we need to begin making progress, and Barack is offering progress.(3)" I have to say, that I do genuinely believe that Mr. Miller is Pro-life and that He believes that life should be protected, in fact he says, "I do wish we could end abortion completely, but the Republicans have not spelled out a realistic plan to do so, and until they do, I won't vote for a candidate who simply throws us a pro-life line and no plan. (3)" The problem here is at least two-fold: 1. Obama has not reduced anything having to do with abortions, He has expanded. 2. If you really want to end abortion Mr. Miller, if you really believe it is the Cancer, the abomination, that I do, then why arn't you fighting for that, why instead to you back a person who is openly and by your own admission, Pro-Choice(4). That would be like me saying that I was anti-Rape, but then Voting and supporting and Campaigning with a Rapist.

Mr. Miller, I want to call you to repentance. I believe that if you look at the facts at this point, you must come to the same conclusion I have, mainly, you were mistaken; that you sinfully helped a man get into the highest office of the land, who is openly willing to enable the murder of Children in the Womb. It is my prayer that you would openly make a statement that you do not support what Mr. Obama is doing, and if you are truly Pro-Life, that would be the case.

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