The No Goofy Zone Discernment Ministry

The No Goofy Zone is a discernment ministry for saved born again Christians and all who are seeking the truth.We expose non-biblical trends in the church. We are making material available to advance understanding of issue's which endanger Christianity. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit.

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Location: Piqua, Ohio, United States

Former drummer for Gary Lewis and The Playboys and The Coasters. Tim has also played with Paul Baloche, Lincoln Brewster, Darlene Zscech and Hillsongs, Jeff Fenholt, SteveCamp among others. Tim founded The Simply Agape Project in 2001 to get free Christian music to the troops. Recordings have been made with Tim, and friends Alex Acuna, Abe Laboriel SR, Justo Almario,Steve Camp , Jared Ming and some wonderful Independant Christian artists.The Somebody Brave CD also features words of encouragment to the soldiers from Pastors, Moms, Dads, and Lt Col Brian Birdwell a Pentegon 9/11 survivor Tim is married to Donna Wirth and has four children Alan 25,Steven 23, Brittany 22, Bethany 21. Tim has played in numerous churchs as well as shows on TBN. Tim has also performed on JCTV on the show Generation Worship featuring worship leader Jared Ming. Tim has a book published worldwide titled "Pass The Plate And Let Us Prey" (My Search For Black and White Christianity in a Gray Nation)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Series on music in the church Part 1

I want to start this off with a couple of great articles by my friend and brother in the Lord- Scott MacIntyre.

Contemporary Music in the Church -
Culprit, Symptom, or Innocent Bystander

By Scott MacIntyre

Recently, I engaged in an e-mail discussion with someone who read my article "A Family's Purpose Driven Diversion". He was able to identify strongly with several areas of our unfortunate experience, the symptoms of which seem to be epidemic.

In a follow up e-mail, he asked if I thought that introducing contemporary music into a formerly traditional church was used as a tool to "introduce" or "soften up" the congregation to accept new thinking or teaching. Being the incredibly decisive fellow that I am, my immediate response was "yes", "no", and "maybe".

Clearly, there is evidence implicating contemporary worship as part of the process in 'transitioning' a church from traditional to a seeker-friendly or purpose driven church. My e-mail friend referenced an article from Rick Warren's "Pastors.com" web site entitled "How to Transition an Established Church". The article is actually the fourth part of a multi-part series of articles dealing with transition. This one was titled: "Changing Worship: How to Transition an Established Church - Part 4". The author, Chuck McAlister, provides advice on a variety of issues that a church is likely to face in transitioning from a traditional church to a purpose driven fellowship, which includes among others, preaching changes, hymn arrangements, introduction of other instruments, diversifying worship, and dealing with those who don't go along with the changes, including the staff.

McAlister focuses on bringing about large-scale changes in a church with incrementally small changes implemented over time. Imagery of the frog being boiled in the pot came to mind. McAlister's strategy proposed gradually replacing instruments such as the piano or organ with instruments more suitable to contemporary worship, and gradually replacing hymns with contemporary songs. He even suggests using more contemporary arrangements of hymns to ease in the process of transition. In reading through the articles, there was no doubt in my mind that this whole process was deceptive in nature, offering small appeasements along the way to accommodate for losses elsewhere. And this was clear not only in the area of music, but in teaching as well.

But as much as this 'bait and switch' strategy bothers me, I don't see contemporary worship as the culprit. Here's the problem that keeps us from fully implicating music...there are many churches who have had a contemporary music format for a long time, say 20 to 30 years, but who have not fallen prey to the PD structure, nor compromised the church by abandoning the teaching of the word. This style of music has been around quite a while now...from the early 70s. Pragmatism, accommodation, and non-biblical teaching have been around quite a bit longer. One can and does exist without the other. And yes, it is possible that a church can fail to teach the word and yet maintain a traditional music format in its services. There are churches steeped in tradition and traditional music, which shirked long ago from proclaiming God's word.

There are simply too many odd combinations of music and teaching to lead us to conclude that contemporary music is the culpable party in a church transitioning to purpose driven or seeker sensitive. Our preferences for style can lead us to be in suspicion of styles not of our choosing, and blame the fever for causing the virus. Of course, the pragmatic nature of seeker sensitive churches is to fashion elements of the church service after elements the so-called seeker is accustomed to, so it is not surprising that a seeker-friendly church would choose music of this contemporary era. But let's not allocate guilt on association.

Music is temporal, and in light of eternity, the style of music is momentary. Yes, we might continue to sing hymns, psalms, and other songs to the Lord in eternity, but music still belongs to an era. Music is stylistic as much as cars, hair, or clothes. Even in hymns and traditional music, you can observe stylistic changes from era to era. It wouldn't surprise me if hymn writers of 250 years ago would find the songs of the latter 1800s somehow offensive, yet both were acceptable in the traditional church in the 1900s.

And as music may belong to an era, the teaching of the word of God does not. The teachings of scripture remain today as they did hundreds and thousands of years ago. Man did not create scripture, and it is not subject to man's approval or stylistic preferences. The meaning of scripture does not change in time. And that is why I think these two issues are not even in the same world when it comes to criticism of the seeker-sensitive model for church. The real culprit, besides the obvious answer of satanic influence, is the very nature of man that wants to have his hand in building the church, and build it his way. Without any biblical precedence for pragmatism, man devises ways to build his church at the expense of teaching truth.

The focus of this whole debate of the seeker friendly/purpose driven legitimacy has to be on where it deviates from scripture, not where it deviates from our preferences. Those who focus on music or Warren's casual dress, or other peripheral issues of this movement have to do so outside of the influence of scripture. And in the process, they are drawing attention from the real issue of the biblical illegitimacy of the seeker friendly methodology.

As I read through the transitioning articles1 by Chuck McAllister, my heart ached that such manipulation is occurring in thousands of churches across the country. It is clearly an 'end justifies the means' mentality, which reeks with deception in pacifying the resistance into accepting a non-biblical church in slow, but deliberate methodical steps. If your pastor is bent on transitioning the church to a seeker friendly/purpose driven fellowship, you will see much more than just music changing in the coming months and years. Let us pray that 'frogs' everywhere will sense the heat, and take appropriate action before its too late. Meanwhile, if a guitar shows up on the platform of your church, don't assume you're being boiled alive.

Concluding Thoughts on Music: A Time for Grace

There is no other issue that has been as divisive as music has been in the church over the past 20 years. At one time, I believe that the issue of tongues and other gifts was the most divisive issue, but music has surpassed it. Yet, I know of no other issue that begs for grace from the hearts of Christians as much as music. Churches everywhere have struggled with trying to balance between a younger generation that seeks contemporary worship, and the older generation that desires to worship with the traditional hymns. Compromises abound, with churches toning down contemporary songs and sprucing up the hymns.

As each generation struggles with the loss of what was familiar, the music issue will continue to require us to be 'graceful' toward each other, knowing that while we may have liberty to prefer our own style of music, we don't always need to demand that liberty.



For those who believe the Purpose Driven Life is merely another devotional, I strongly recommend reading this series of articles by Chuck McAllister on transitioning the church to increase your awareness of what is happening in the church today. I also recommend that you spend much time in the New Testament as a Berean, to see if what he says has any scriptural basis.

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