Modern Praise Songs & The Feminization of the Church

New-City-Church-Phoenix-Worship-Team-e1309470752111This is the white elephant no-one in the church wants to talk about. We have capitulated to so much of the pressure from the egalitarian culture in which we find ourselves. To talk about anything feminine in negative terms is anathema.

However, as biblical Christians (men and women), we do not have the luxury of avoiding issues about which the Word of God speaks loud and clear and demands that we do the same. So, I will join others before me and bite the bullet.
Here I will just point out one major way through which we see the feminisation of the church worldwide but especially in the West – and that’s the area of music. We need a lot of help here.
On this one author wrote:
Music in the local church fits the tastes and sensibilities of women and children. Children’s songs about Jesus always present His gentle side. I learned this song before I was three years old:
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.
Such songs are appropriate for children, but many people carry a picture of sweet, passive, sleeping Jesus their entire lives. Some boys never recover from this image. To balance this impression, the church used to allow aggressive, warlike images of Jesus as well. In 1865 English com-poser Sabine Baring-Gould wrote this song as a children’s march:
image1Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle, see His banners go!
But by the turn of the twentieth century, hymns had taken a decisive move toward the feminine. In 1913, C. Austin Miles wrote “In the Garden.” Notice the difference in tone:
He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing;
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
“Onward, Christian Soldiers” is passé in most congregations, but “In the Garden” is still widely sung. Christ has put down His sword and picked up a daisy. He is no longer a warrior; He is a lover. The very image of Christ taking up arms (as He does in Revelation 19) is simply unacceptable in a lot of churches today.
Praise music has accelerated this trend. Not only are the lyrics of many of these songs quite romantic, but they have the same breathless feel as top forty love songs.
 “Hold me close, let your love surround me. Bring me near, draw me to your side.”
“I’m desperate for you, I’m lost without you.”
“Let my words be few. Jesus I am so in love with you.”
“You’re altogether lovely . . . altogether wonderful to me.”
“Oh Lord, you’re beautiful. Your face is all I seek.”
“You are beautiful, my sweet, sweet song.”
oh-lord-youre-beautiful-1-728Think of the mental gymnastics that must take place inside a man’s subconscious mind as he sings lyrics like these. He’s trying to express his love to Jesus, a man who lives today, using words no man would dare say to another, set to music that sounds like the love songs his wife listens to in the car. (By the way, men never call each other beautiful, lovely, or wonderful.)
I think this is why women generally enjoy praise music more than men do. Lyrically and stylistically, praise music resonates with a woman’s heart. Men can and do enjoy praise music, but it’s an acquired taste.
We can’t go back to “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” But no one has composed masculine praise songs to take its place. Songwriters, please fashion some songs that speak of battle, strength, and victory. Imagine Christ as our Commander, Coach, or Scout, not our Boyfriend. If you need inspiration, look to the Psalms. It’s time to balance Christ the Lover with Christ the Warrior again. The men are depending on you.
Murrow, David (2011-10-31). Why Men Hate Going to Church (pp. 137-140). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I can’t really say it any better than that – except to say in the spirit of Revelation 2:29: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Leadership is Male

Leadership-is-Male_David-PawsonI know that this is a very controversial subject especially in our day. In the church as well as outside the church, we are seeing the weakening if not the demise of male leadership. Since the women liberation movement, many men have given up their territory and conceded defeat as the culture has pressed in on them to take the back seat in the name of gender equality. The results have been less than impressive: the disappearance of strong male headed households; the disappearance of faithful churches led by males; the lowering of societal moral standards – and more.

Many respectable and godly women agree. Read what Elizabeth Elliot writes in a foreword to a book on this subject:

The issue of so-called equality of men and women touches the very foundation of Christian faith, for it goes deep into the nature of God and the great mystery of which the much-maligned apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians. For years I have watched with increasing dismay the destruction the feminist movement has wrought in the world, in the church, in Christian homes and marriages, and in personalities. I have studied the tortuous arguments of those who would persuade us that Galatians 3: 28 cancels everything the author says elsewhere in his epistles about the vital distinctions between men and women. I have listened to the endless discussions of Paul’s rabbinical prejudice and cultural insularity. I have delved into treatises on the meaning of the Greek word hypotasso, (‘ to arrange under’, ‘to be under obedience’, ‘to put under’, ‘to subdue unto’, ‘to subject to’, ‘to be in subjection to’, ‘to submit self unto’), and I have on a few occasions been asked (as a ‘traditionalist’, whatever that means) to debate those who would rewrite history, literature, psychology and the Bible itself to make them palatable to the woman of the late twentieth century. I have done practically everything but jump up and down and scream about it.  Continue reading

Most Men are Not Satisfied…

J. Campbell White writes:

Most men are not satisfied with the permanent output of their lives. Nothing can wholly satisfy the life of Christ within his followers except the adoption of Christ’s purpose toward the world he came to redeem. Fame, pleasure and riches are but husks and ashes in contrast with the boundless and abiding joy of working with God for the fulfillment of his eternal plans. The men who are putting everything into Christ’s undertaking are getting out of life its sweetest and most priceless rewards (Excerpt from Secretary of the Laymen’s Missionary Movement, 1909).

men4god-conf-poster-crThis is why Joy to the World Ministries has organized the Men for God Conference – a conference for men which was born out of a deep desire to encourage and build up strong, quality and godly men for God who will serve Him as godly leaders be it in the home, church or the work place.

  • Most men are not satisfied by the permanent output of their lives.
  • Most men are insecure – and unsure of themselves – who they are and what they are really here for. So they hide their true identity in order to gain acceptance.
  • Most men are lonely – and secretly wish they weren’t – but are too proud to admit it.
  • Most men are laden with worry and anxiety over their finances – they can’t pay their bills and they are steeped in debt.
  • Most men have given up on finding any satisfaction in their lives – and are merely existing – living without any real God-honoring purpose.

Is there any hope for such men? Yes there is – the Bible gives instructions on what the LORD requires of us. By looking to Christ, we can find real meaning, purpose and satisfaction in our lives. Through Christ, we can enjoy God’s rich blessings to us and be a blessing to others. In Christ, we can live God-honoring lives day by day.

If you are a man living in Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley or Whatcom County, and need some encouragement in your walk with the LORD, I invite you to join me and other men this coming June at the Men for God Conference as we look into God’s Word for divine instructions on how to lives in such a way that we honor God, bless others and enjoy the abundant life that our Savior, Jesus Christ has purchased for us by His death and resurrection.



0376329b-926b-4d8b-8e77-d365743c00bfThis is the best part of the best news in the whole world! The best part of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is not that He was born, not that He suffered, not that He died nor that He was buried – it’s certainly not the fact that He descended into the realm of the dead (Hades). All of these facts have their place and significance. But none of them and all of them together come close to giving us what we get in knowing the fact and the facts of the resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the hinge upon which the door of the Christian faith swings. Thus, taking away the resurrection, would be taking away the whole lot. In that case, we would all have to burn our Bibles, close our churches and begin living for now because without the resurrection there would not be an eternity to look forward to. Everything would quickly come crumbling down. So, we need to praise God the Father for raising Jesus from the dead.

The bodily resurrection of Jesus is what gives us hope and strength to go on believing in Him. Otherwise, we are totally lost! This is why Paul writes using such strong language and with much passion concerning this in 1 Corinthians 15. Study that chapter some time. It will do your soul much good. Listen to what he says: And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15: 14-19). This shows us how important the resurrection

Source:  Matandika, Rev. Fletcher (2014-12-19). Born to Die: Exploring the Real Meaning of Jesus’ Birth (Kindle Locations 1008-1016). Tolle Lege Publications. Kindle Edition.

A Sad Day for Canada

assisted-1Today, the Supreme Court of Canada lifted a ban on doctor-assisted suicide – a very sad day for Canada.  In 2013, it was prostitution.  Today, just two years later, it’s this.  I wonder, “What’s next?”

The tragic reality is that this is what the people want. This is the society that the majority of the people want.  But I ask, “Is this what God wants?” The answer is an emphatic “No!”

You may wonder, “Why does God allow such things to happen in His world?” The Bible answers that question very clearly.  When men give God up, He gives them up (see Romans 1).  When people turn their backs against God and persist in their rebellion and wickedness, the LORD will remove the “breaks” and give the people over to the desires of their own hearts.  I believe what we are seeing in today’s society is in a very real sense a practical out-working of that truth. God seals the people’s rebellion and gives them what they want without absorbing the very painful cost attached to it. God alone has the right to give or take life. But today, we see men and women increasingly trying to wrestle that right out of God’s hands on both ends (with abortion and now with doctor-assisted suicide).  image

How should Christians respond to this? It’s very easy for us as Christians to despair and fret. But that’s unnecessary.

We believe in a God who will judge the world in truth and righteousness. We must leave (entrust) this and all our other concerns into His hands. He will one day settle all accounts. He will make right all wrongs when He comes to establish His Kingdom.  In His Kingdom, righteousness and justice will flourish for they are the foundation of His throne (Psalm 89:14).

We must keep our faith in the God of the Bible and continue to walk in His ways for therein lies our security. While the world is increasingly moving away from God’s law, we must strive to adhere to what He has commanded with greater zeal, fervency and faithfulness.

We must be evermore relentless and aggressive in evangelism so as to “rescue the perishing and care for the dying.” While the world is busy suppressing God’s truth in unrighteousness, doing what is evil in God’s sight and giving hearty approval to those who practice evil, let us get busy upholding God’s truth in righteousness, doing what is right in God’s sight and challenging people to repent of their sinful ways and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. We have the joyful privilege and responsibility of saving people by “snatching them out of the fire” (Jude 23). Let’s go for it and may the LORD who is rich in mercy and abounding in steadfast love be pleased to use our effort to save many from across this land for His own Name’s sake. Amen!

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,

Snatch them in pity from sin and the grace;

Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,

Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,

Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

When God is Against You, Who Can Be for You?

“Therefore,” says the LORD, “I am against these prophets who steal messages from each other and claim they are from Me.  I am against these smooth-tongued prophets who say, “This prophecy is from the LORD! I am against these false prophets. Their imaginary dreams are flagrant lies that lead My people into sin. I did not send or appoint them, and they have no message at all for My people. I, the LORD have spoken!” (Jeremiah 23:30-32 – italics mine for emphasis).

fire2_0This was the tough message that Jeremiah had to deliver to the people, princes, priests and prophets of Judah during his time.  Jeremiah, called to be a prophet of God at a young age (probably in his teens or early 20’s), prophesied against Judah under the reign of several kings.  Nobody listened to him.  Not the people, not the princes, not even the priests or the prophets of his day.  Why?  They were far too gone in sin.  They had given up on God and abandoned Him for other gods (who were no gods at all) – see Jeremiah 22:8-9. In turn, God would abandon them as well.

In Jeremiah 23:30-32 (quoted above), the LORD thunders with anger and terror against the prophets in Jeremiah’s day. As highlighted above, three times in these verses the LORD says, “I am against these prophets.” This was a very dreadful thing for the LORD to say against the prophets.  If the LORD is against you, who can be for you?  Who can rescue you from His hands?

We need to hear such warnings today.  Jonathan Edwards’ sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God is helpful on this point:

O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is proved and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell.

You hand by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment.

Hebrews 10:30-31: “For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Profitless Prophets:  In God’s sight, these so-called prophets were profitless because He had not sent them – so they had no message for His people.  Here is a very important lesson for preachers today: Before you can speak for God, He must first speak to you.  You must hear from God before you can speak for Him to His people.  These prophets had not heard from God (Jeremiah 23:18).  Rather, they were literally dreaming up their own messages and passing them around to each other – deceiving and misleading the people of God. As a result, God (who is sovereign and who sees everything), saw what they were doing and He was very angry at them – angry enough to kill them. He says concerning these prophets: “Behold, I will feed them with bitter food and give them poisoned water to drink, for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has gone out into all the land” (Jeremiah 23:15).

These false prophets were not only sinning against the LORD and His people by their lips, but also by their lives.  By their lips, they prophesied lies. In a time when God’s people desperately needed God’s truth, the prophets lied to them. Instead of warning the people to repent of their sins and turn to God or face His judgment, they instead preached peace when there was no peace. They told the people what they wanted to hear and not what they needed to hear – a very common problem even in our day.

By their lives, they lived sinfully.  There was adultery among the prophets, the priest and the princes – and this of course spread to the rest of the population. Corruption was rampant as was compromise and all kinds of vices. The poor, orphans, widows, the homeless and strangers were being marginalized and oppressed. Injustice and unrighteousness flourished in Judah instead of justice and righteousness.

When a Prophet Becomes a Burden to the Lord

The LORD says one more thing concerning these prophets in Jeremiah 23:33ff.  The prophets had become a burden to Him.  He was fed up with them and was going to wipe them away.  This is very interesting and instructive too.  The prophets were using the phrase “the burden of the LORD” as a magical phrase or a kind of spiritual jargon to get people to listen to their lies.  This is very similar to what you hear people saying today – things like: “The LORD spoke to me…,” or “The LORD has laid this on my heart…,” “I have peace about this or that, etc.”  The reason people do that is so that you don’t question the validity of whatever assertions, decisions or choices they are making.  The LORD has spoken to them and they don’t want to be persuaded otherwise.  Sometimes they are right but often they are wrong.  They think they have listened to the LORD, but in actual fact, they have only listened to themselves and are operating based on the imagination of their own minds. Sadly, the results with this sort of thing are always tragic. Well, something similar to that was happening in Jeremiah’s time except it was worse because it not only involved the prophets themselves (that would have been bad enough), but it involved the whole nation of Judah.

“I am Against These Prophets…,” says the LORD!

So, the LORD determined to bring an end to this nonsense and would eliminate the prophets. He would feed them bitter food and give them poisoned water to drink.  He would literally poison them to death. The false prophets and their people would die by sword, famine or disease. Babylon would come and take over Jerusalem and take some of the people into exile. Either way (whether in exile or in Jerusalem), they would face death as God’s judgment upon them. Now, that’s quite a statement to make about the God.  What kind of God would do such a thing?  Poison His own people?  A God of love wouldn’t do that would He?  Many people in our day (including those who profess to be Christians) would protest against this kind of God and indeed they do.

But the God of the Bible has no problem with doing such things. He can form light and He can create darkness.  He can make well-being and He can create calamity.  He can heal and He can hurt.  He can raise up a person or a nation and He can bring them down.  He is the LORD and He does these things (see Isaiah 45:7 for example).

That was the bad news for the prophets of Judah.  But that wasn’t all.  There was also some good news to which I now turn.

The Good News

While Jeremiah had been called to prophesy doom and gloom, the LORD also had wonderful promises for His people.  Verses 1-7 of Jeremiah 23 contain some of these wonderful promises.  The LORD would indeed punish Judah and deal with the false prophets and send the people to exile as He had spoken. But one day, He would bring them back and set good shepherds over them under the Kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ, David’s righteous branch.  He would reign as King and deal wisely with the people.  He would execute justice and righteousness in the land.  In His days, Judah would be saved and the people would dwell securely in their own land.  He would be called, “The LORD is our righteousness.”  The salvation that He would bring would be better than that of the former days (which the Jews had experienced when the LORD saved them from slavery in Egypt). Now, that’s a very wonderful promise.

God would no longer be against the people, the princes, the priests or the prophets.  But having gotten rid of the bad princes, priests and prophets, He would raise up others who would serve the people under the Kingship of Jesus Christ. In Christ, the LORD would now be for them – no longer against them.  Only then would the people say, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) – Praise the LORD!

“A Razor’s Edge” – Professor John Murray

“At the point of divergence the difference between right and wrong, between truth and falsehood, is not a chasm but a razor’s edge” (John Murray – from Chapter VI of his book, Principles of Conduct, 1957).

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