07 January 2013

Thank You, Lord. Reader Is Led "to the Truth I Tried to Reject"

Several days ago, commenter Crystal found this blog and the article, "Jesus Culture and Judah Smith to Join Piper, Moore, Chan and Others at Giglio's Passion 2013." Being a fan of the band Jesus Culture, Crystal had the boldness to share with us her heart and thoughts on the subject, doing so with humility and grace. Though comments are public, I've nevertheless asked for Crystal's permission to share the following with you so that her words would not be lost in a comment string. Her initial visit to this blog resulted in the following comment:
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.

photo credit:  
ecstaticist via photopin 
cc Sprengben [why not get a friend] via photopin cc

Further Reading
Doctrine Matters
Counted Worthy to Suffer
Sweep the House of the Leaven of Worldliness

15 comments:

  1. Wow. Praise God indeed. Thanks for posting this. And I thank God for you, Erin, and for all your steadfast work. Onward!

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  2. Praise the Lord!! Thank you for posting this! I was (still am a bit) feeling very discouraged over the negative reactions to my posts about Passion on fb. People who were there or watched it live and saw nothing wrong with it, and didn't see any error. It's good to know that it can make a difference. It breaks my heart to see so many blind to the truth. Thank you for being courageous and speaking the truth in love.

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  3. Thanks Erin for this. I've been struggling with this stuff recently as well. My church sings Hillsong a lot, but for me, singing songs from Hillsong and places like that gives the Hillsong movement endorsement. After all, if we sing their songs then they can't be bad, right?
    I am going to do the same as Crystal, and throw away my music from bad "churches". There's plenty of good contemporary music out there, and plenty of good older stuff too. Why should Hillsong get my money?

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  4. Praise the LORD and to him we give the glory.

    This is what it ia all about, that we are able to see the deception for the first time for what it really is. Suddenly, the scales are removed from our eyes, so that we are able to see with our eyes, hear with our eara and then our hearts are able to receive the truth.

    To God be the Glory. Teresa

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  5. Nothing can separate us from the love of God, in Christ Jesus our Lord. He will not lose any of those He has chosen. Who knows, maybe that whole thing was set up for this one sheep, Crystal.
    Erin, see how valuable what you do is in the plan of God!

    Pam

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  6. Wooo0()--Thank you LORD for the Holy Spirit who leads and guides us into ALL truth and righteousness for YOUR NAME SAKE! Thank you for leading Crystal like the Good Shepherd that you are for your NAME is Wonderful and You Oh LORD do not share Your glory with another!

    Linda

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  7. I got emotional reading it all again, I would have never been able to see the truth if God had not given me a willing heart, eyes to see, and ears to hear. God has really humbled me and I have a greater realization of how much I need His wisdom and counsel, and His grace. It really warms my heart that other people are sharing in the joy of being led into truth, praise the Lord!

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    1. Crystal,

      You said, I got emotional reading it all again, I would have never been able to see the truth if God had not given me a willing heart, eyes to see, and ears to hear.

      I rejoice when I see people like you give God the glory....Amen sister in Christ.

      It is in scritpure alone, CHRIST alone, grace alone, faith alone and all to the glory of glory that we are even able to see, hear and or have a willing heart to the truth in the first place.

      Crystal, keep researching and stay in the Word of God. Your self examination is encouraging because a lot of people do nothing but defend their false teachers. We are here for you and I pray that other's eyes will be opened as well. Teresa

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  8. Praise the Lord! He does answer prayers! Thank you Crystal for having the courage to share and for your blog Erin. Words do matter and where they come from. I've been struggling with the words to music and now have clearer direction. I need to examine all even the music I hear and sing on Sunday. Seeking His truth through His Word.

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  9. This is very encouraging. Also very, very interesting. Something that Crystal wrote is exactly what I have heard from another woman who is probably at least 40 years older than her. This is what Crystal wrote:
    "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."

    As I said, I heard almost the exact same thing from another woman. This is what people have begun to believe. Not the word of God, but feelings. The word of God has been replaced with feelings! Yikes!! But it gets back to the concept of sola scriptura - scripture alone - and why it is so important. We have lost this concept and vulnerable Christians and sincere inquirers are left with their feelings which can never lead us to the truth. Our leaders and teachers have not been taught this, or were taught it and didn't pass it on to their people. No wonder the church is weak...

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    1. Anonymous,

      Thank you so much for sharing about feelings. Feelings are fickle and believe me you and I may not feel the presence of God BUT we KNOW from God's word that He promised "He would never leave us nor forsake us...

      Oh dear one,, the emotional highs that people are going through in these relentless big tent, ecumenical, mystic-oriented, man-pleasing, emotive, brainwashing shows are sooo dangerous because they have a false sense of security-complacency- thinking they are having the "high life",, OH I FEAR for them. When times get tough and unbearable circumstances come or when persecution comes--all these "hired hands" who really care nothing for the sheep will abandon them and run. Their true colors will show. All these people who are not anchored in the TRUTH of God's word, and standing on the Solid ROCK and firm foundation, they will FALL and wither.

      God's trials in our lives WILL come. Although it's HARD at times and a struggle to trust in and take GOD at His WORD,, lemme tell you, it's WORTH IT! When the world around you is screaming that all is NOT well and the waves are about to topple your boat, the TRUTH, who God is, His character, His attributes and his promises will be your ONLY stillness and PEACE. The LORD will become your JOY as never before and all that is falling apart around you will become small as you trust in the Lord with all your heart..

      I was faced with a dilemma several years back in my walk with Christ, either I would believe a lie based on how I felt and my circumstances around me or I would believe the truth that God is always Good, that HE really is all-wise, all powerful and everywhere at the same time. I HAD to know the TRUTH and not believe the LIES anymore because my emotions were taking me on a roller-coaster ride. Who is God? Is HE always good? Can I believe the truth of what His word says in spite of God seeming distant? YESSSSS! "Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the WORD OF GOD"
      Confidence is built over time spent with Jesus Christ of the BIBLE. Getting to know HIM is not getting to know about him but actually putting his word into practice-Mat. 7:24.

      How can we trust in someone if we don't spend time with them? And you cannot spend time with him if you don't practice in your life his WORD--who is Jesus, how does he treat me, what are his attributes? The whole point of God allowing those immovable mountains in our lives in the first place -- is to remove the blinders of fear and pride in things and circumstances that are preventing us from placing our fear in the Right Object-GOD. The help books, and Christian steps are inhibiting many Christians from entering into God's REST.

      Okay, I'd better stop. I'm just so excited!! Praise Jesus~~

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  10. Praising God right along with everyone else....

    I'm a relatively new reader to this blog but am no stranger to "discernment ministry" sites. I really appreciate the gentle manner I've seen in here so far in the comment threads towards those who may disagree with what is presented. The grace shown to people like Crystal is a manifestation of God's presence, and the result a true illustration of His grace, mercy, and intimate involvement in His children.

    All glory and honor and praise to Him!
    ~Suzanne

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  11. Linda, how true! How do we know that God loves us? Feelings? No, not feelings but the word of God. Well, what does the word say on this subject?
    Alot! Look through your concordance for the word Love as it relates to God and to Jesus Christ. The most well known bible verse helps us a great deal:
    For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

    This verse tells us that God loves us in Christ. Christ's death on the cross for sinners was God's ultimate show of love to a sinful world. And all those who place their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation He will save. God loves His Son Jesus Christ and by extension He loves those who are in Christ. Read Romans 8:39-39

    Dear saints, don't look to your feelings, but trust God's word. He will not fail and His word will not fail. It can always be trusted, even eternally. God cannot lie. He graciously gave us His word so that we would not have to wander around wondering Who He is or what He thinks of us, or try to muster up feelings. He does not want us to rely on our feelings. His word is meant to build us up and strengthen us. those who try to point you to your own feelings for truth, or somehow stir up your feelings are not dealing truthfully with your soul!

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  12. I wasn't aware of the back-story of Jesus Culture until recently.. and I have a few of their songs via I Tunes. One says, "Holy Spirit you are welcome here, come flood this place and fill the atmosphere... your glory Lord is what our hearts long for... to be overcome by your 'presence' Lord." Now I completely understand why I was not comfortable with that song and have deleted it from my play list. His Spirit is within. Period.

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