There Will Be No Peace

2971049198_1b0df8dd00Lately, the popular Playing for Peace concept has been gaining momentum, especially with the Ben E. King classic,  “Stand By Me” video on You Tube. It is an incredible effort by sound technicians and well done.  I have to give them credit. People from all over the world never having met each other and singing the same song. After watching and listening to the Stand by Me Video you will understand the hard work that goes into such a project.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us-TVg40ExM

Mark Johnson the creator of Playing for Change (playingforchange.com)  has the idealistic concept and as he puts it, “desire to inspire each other and come together as the human race and music is the best way to do this is through music…and the belief that we can do a lot more for this world if we work together than we ever can apart.” 

The Playing For Change Foundation (PFCF)  is attempting to raise funds for  the new Ntonga Music School in Guguletu, South Africa that will help children in extreme poverty. PFCF is also looking to build the Mehlo Arts Center in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Mehlo Arts Center is a creative writing school or “Talking Songs”” for the youth of Johannesburg. PFCF also is attempting to rebuild and enhance Tibetan refugee centers in Dharamsala, India and Kathmandu, Nepal. All of these things are incredibly important, especially creating a safe place for the persecuted and abused.

Music is powerful. There is no doubt about that.  Albert Einstein said, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music. … I get most joy in life out of music.”  But music in its best form has no power to transform the human heart. We see the horrors of inhuman acts done to people and I applaud PFCF for wanting to do something about it.

That is is one problem that stands in the way of  PFCF: Human nature. No this is not cynicism talking, it is the undeniable evidence seen in the issues they confront. 

The scriptures say of people, “Their feet run to evil and they are swift to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their highways. The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths they have made their roads crooked;  no one who treads on them knows peace. Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we hope for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.” (Isaiah 59:7-9ESV).

I am sure  groups like PFCF see religion, politics and such creating war. Who can argue with that. But religion or politics is never the culprit. I think people use this argument to oversimplify the issue but create non entities at which they can throw stones. It is always the responsibility of the individual and a matter of the heart.  There are those of us recognize the enemy is not out there, it is within. A enemy so intelligently corrupt, deceitful, so frighteningly warlike unless it experiences a radical supernatural change, there will be no peace. That enemy is within, and music cannot pacify it. There is no peace for the wicked (Isa. 48:22; 57:21).

The concept of music changing the world sounds good (and is not a new concept) on the surface but can it change the nature of people? Can Mark Johnson and PCFC  promise that? From my experience with people and especially in churches the style of music can  create great controversy and even division. Music is so diverse it represents entire sub cultures and people just are everything from stubborn to unpredictable even when it comes to the idea of taste in music.

Let me also state that words still have meaning. You cannot change that. Lyrics from the Christian worldview should reflect the truth about biblical doctrine. Are they singing the truth or do they need to focus on benign agreeable lyrics that gloss over reality-the reality that human beings are NOT inherently good and moral but there is some radically wrong with each individual. The fountain of their hearts is controlled by the sinful nature. they are radically depraved. Because of this they always will fight and have no peace. Marc and others like him unknowingly may be guilty of the error of the false prophets who offer superficial treatments for people’s mortal wound by giving assurances of peace when there is no peace. (Jer 6:14; 8:11). Music by itself cannot bring peace, or he would not have to use it to raise funds for his causes.

On the other hand, Jesus Christ is called, “the Prince of Peace” and unless the Jesus of the scriptures rules the hearts of people they will never manage their anger, and repent of their hostility or hate. I think churches and their preachers should focus more on the idea of peace, domestically and abroad.  But especially peace in the heart. Peace is the result and effect of righteous living (Isa. 32:17; 48:18). This would mean constant strife in the home, church and soceity shows that our heart are not right and we need to repent of the sin of anger. The Bible is clear, “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” (James 3:18). 

May Christ give you the music of peace in your heart and you see his kingdom and his peace.

Exposing The Beast of Man’s Praise

to_chain_the_beast “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:8KJV).  I want to focus on the word fearful or cowards. Are the fearful cowards those who retreat from war, those who abandon their homes and family, or civic responsibility? These may be included but it focuses mainly on those that apostasize or fall away from Christ on account of fear. A.T. Roberston says that it is an old word that refers to recanting or retracting your beliefs under persecution.

The Beast in the book of Revelation has many interpretations but I am using this as an analogy not eschatologically. I see Satan intimidating preachers by his growling Beast and the seductive woman that sits upon it. From Saddleback to Broken Back he will do anything to stop the preacher of the gospel of Christ! This Beast threatens them with the fear of the loss of  finances, congregation size, and reputation. On one hand Satan raises up external forces like militant homosexuals, violent Islamic extremists, liberal politicians in places of power to make the preacher back down. Internally, the Devil raises up recycled church hoppers full of rebellion and bitterness,  he strategically places unregenerate people on an elder board, or church goers who are into the latest and greatest spirutual fads.  He coerces them to downsize their doctrine, and be generously compromising in their orthodoxy- upgrading activities, programs and entertainment. Idolatry to say the least is entertaining. That is what makes the Beast come to life.

God help those who choose this path that serves the Beast called “the praise of man.”  This is a day and age where courage is needed the most, especially behind the pulpit. God has called men to preach the gospel and minister his Word despite the consequences without letting fear deter them from their calling (2 Tim 1:7). But many men have become ashamed of the gospel of Christ and ashamed of Christ himself! It is almost as if they have taken black highlighter and smeared it all over the Bible.

With that that being said, today there is a growing number of ecclesiastical Castrati.  We have men standing behind the pulpit today with absolutely no guts to speak the truth (if they know what truth is) especially, if they are part of the church growth cult. The church growth movement is anti-biblical because it rejects the purest teaching of scripture the Sovereignty of God in his purpose of election by grace. It is also a reinvention of the church. It is not supernatural and definitely unnatural. It is not “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47) but a religious factory that employs empirical, social, scientific principles to build worship centers with entertainment, magic shows, and carnivals and a party like atmosphere that gives life to the image of their Beast so all will wonder (Rev. 13:15). 

Oh preacher friend take not the mark of such a delusive Beast! The Beast uses the fear of man to entrap many pastors. Your church must be built on the unique foundation of Christ! Appeal to people so you fill the building, building ideas and agendas on people make seem like there is spiritual life there but it is not. It is only the Beast becoming animated! It will make you  the lowest slave, subservient to the whims of people that change like the wind. But how seductive the praise of man remains batting its eyelashes, forcefully kissing and leading him away to the slaughter. Yet they love the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:43).  That is why all you hear is emaciated cheer-leading, unsubstantial motivational speaking and diet Bible sermonettes. It does not rock the boat. I am sickened by this limp wristed  “sharing.” Sure, every once in a great while they will preach something that touches the surface of truth and prick their congregation with a pin, or pinch them with a non specific message about sin but they are fearful to swing the sword of the spirit unless they gash of few of their large tithe payers. This is done at the cost of souls. How such preachers will spend eternity in hell for such cowardice.

You can see the fear of man in the content of preaching. They will say that they cannot preach about certain truths in the Bible. God did not call them to pick and choose!  They are to preach the whole counsel of God.  Then preachers play the psychologist. They concentrate on the many hurts and wounds of  church people. But God has not called them to invent medicine to heal them. Only God Word can help them. Only truths balm heals as its wine hurts.  Instead of exposing sin as the real culprit to save people from its power to hurt, they paint a pretty picture of their lives and fill them with false hopes and dreams (Lam 2:14).  Thus they breed and hatch a new kind of proselyte, manufactured of the flesh and not born of the spirit. It may seem shocking but Satan censors their preaching. How? Because they operate in fear and they engage in man centered, humanistic  pulpiteering .

American church structures  are so much like corporations they need motivational speaking the keep people working hard so they do not have time to be troubled about their souls. They make people feel as though they have  godlike potential and fill them the idea that their destiny is in their hands. It is despicable. They savour the things of men like Peter who for a moment rejected the idea of a crucified Savior (Mt 16:23). They set aside  the power of God for the attributes of man. They savour this christened humanism, they relish and enjoy it slowly! The message of the cross of Jesus Christ has been footnoted or made a deeper truth.  They have forgotten that all we preach is foolishness to the heart of an unregenerate person (1 Cor. 2:14) and it must be spiritually revealed. This is a heart condition that rejects the idea of a Supreme Deity!  The idea of an omnipotent God has no place in their hearts practically and eventually biblically. The God who decides in mercy who he will save and who in justice he condemns is seen as legalistic. They would rather pander to the felt needs of people rather than God’s glory. They have forgotten that every sermon should be holy and an act of worship not another commercial for agendas or new programs.

Truth is always subversive and shocking and pastors must not let the consequences that may come deter them  from their God given calling to walk uprightly according to the truth of the  gospel (Gal 2:14). While pastors must shepherd their flocks with love, compassion and understanding we still must speak the truth in love to a generation unwilling to receive the love of the truth (Eph. 4: 15; 2 Thess 2:10).  Oh that our fellowship was based on what John the apostle taught as we see our brethren as those we love in the truth! (2 John 1:1).  That preaching the truth would be seen as honorable, dignified and praiseworthy for men to blaze the truth of God from their pulpits and everyday lives that threaten the Beast of man worship. It is a frightening animal that tests the faith of every man or woman of God everyday. But it has been defeated in the lives of those who seek to do all things for the glory of God.