Wow, as a college student who listens to Jesus Culture and plans on attending Passion (next year) this post has given me a lot to think about. I recently watched a small documentary [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob_yiiXw8pM] focusing on the music and message of Jesus Culture, as well as the heresy continually coming out of Bethel. I have to say, I am very conflicted over this; the church that birthed Jesus Culture is teeming with heretical teachings, yet the music itself glorifies God and is devoid of any nonsense. I would not say I am a staunch fan, but I have been blessed by many of their songs. It is the same with Hillsong. As far as I know, their music has always been Christ exalting and-while not necessarily theologically rich-theologically sound. Yet no one needs to tell me that Brian Houston- along with his wife- are grossly heretical in their teachings. I am definitely wrestling with whether or not I should stop listening to them, and Hillsong, completely or just listen but with discernment. I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this.It was deeply encouraging to see a young person who did not immediately get defensive over the subject, but rather was responsive to the Holy Spirit's conviction in her heart. The responses of myself and others to Crystal's inquiries can be summed up thusly: prayerfully search the Scriptures, and then test the lyrics of these songs, as well as the theology of the singers, against the perfect and holy Word of God. Yesterday, Crystal posted the following:
In the midst of all the criticism, I felt the need to comment and let you know that I thought a lot about what you and the other commenters said and did a lot of searching and digging on my own, and I got rid of my Jesus Culture music. This is actually something that I was warned of a couple months ago, but I brushed it off because I liked their music and did not want to stop listening, I believe the Lord used this post to stir everything back up in my heart and mind, and lead me to the truth I tried to reject.
I had the same mentality that many of the other commenters had which was that if they are sincerely singing these beautiful declarations of love to Jesus than how can they be wrong? So what if their doctrine is a little off, they clearly love Jesus right? Who am I to say that they are wrong?
But the thing is, you can be sincere but be sincerely wrong. A person's intentions do matter but at the same time are almost irrelevant as they have no bearing on if a person is right or wrong. The more I took a close look at JC music and message the more I could see the problems, not just with their theology, but with the way they worship. I looked at their song lyrics, I analyzed the things they said, particularly Kim Walker and Banning Liebsher (I know I butchered his last name). And literally all I heard was love, encounter, experience, feel, nothing that even resembled the gospel. That is basically Kim's whole testimony! Sure, they occasionally say things like "my debt is paid" and "conquer the grave" that hint at the gospel but don't really proclaim it. To them, the gospel is that "once you encounter God's love you are never the same!" As I said in another comment, these things are not inherently wrong, but should always be coupled with His truth, with His word! It grieves me that I, and the many who still are, thought that I wanted more of God- and I sincerely did- but a lot of the times I was chasing a feeling and an experience. Many times I would be in despair, even questioning my own salvation, because I did not 'feel' His love for me or hear Him speaking. Even though I had His word at my fingertips!
I am not going to say anymore because I don't want to be too lengthy, but to those who aggressively defend JC, I would invite you to do what I did, and really examine their doctrine/theology, their lyrics, what they preach, as well as the doctrine/theology that comes out of their church. Pray and seek the Lord through His word and let Him lead you to the truth, ask him to examine and and reveal to you what is in your heart. I asked and He did, and I tearfully repented, but He is rich in mercy and grace and quick to forgive!
One more thing, doctrine matters!! I can't say that enough and this is something that I am realizing more and more. It matters!!!!!!! What you believe about God and who He is, matters eternally.
Erin, Linda, and Robin, thank you for your prayers and words of wisdom! I appreciate this blog Erin, keep doing what you're doing, keep saying what unfortunately many others will not bother to say. I hope you'll be encouraged by this. Sorry for the length!Do you see what happened here? God opened eyes. God answered prayer! When I read this, I actually became teary-eyed and was left with nothing else to do except praise our amazing Lord. Only He can receive the glory for leading this girl to prayerfully seek the truth, and only God deserves the glory for bringing her to a place of understanding of that truth. It may seem cliché to exclaim, "Praise God!" yet, ultimately, are there any other words?
This is why I do what I do. This makes any grief that may be received over the topic of Passion 2013 absolutely worthwhile. God graciously used this blog and the wisdom and comments of other readers, to open eyes. Seeing God work in this way, and being exceedingly humbled that He'd even consider using this blog as part of that work, brings far more joy than is able to be expressed. Numbers may be good for the world, but for this blogger, just one is enough.
Crystal, it is my prayer that God will use your humble courage to bring further glory to His name.
Lord, we thank you for Crystal and we thank you for demonstrating your amazing grace here. To You be all glory, forever.
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