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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Traditional or "Traditional" music

Written by Steve Hafler

Having lived in Africa for more than a decade, the term “traditional music” strikes me a bit sideways.  Traditional music in sub-Saharan Africa includes indigenous music as well as dance. Singing in Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Madagascar, and their border countries is emphasized and is often accompanied by rattles, shakers, the mbira (thumb piano), the xylophone, various drums covered with either parchment or animal skin, and a wide variety of flutes made of bamboo. The African instrumentalist has also made great use of the guitar.  This only scratches the surface of the amazing instrumental selection to be found across Africa.  Worshipful expression is also seen in hand clapping, animated body gestures which communicate aspects of the song, and foot shuffling.  These are as common throughout Africa when the church gathers for worship as piano and organ are for westerners.  How do you navigate your way through the deep tradition of indigenous cultures, the wide selection of instruments including an assortment of drums, the associations they have to animistic ceremonies, and the use of clapping and shuffling when singing hymns?

In listening to and answering questions about church music both in Africa and now in America, I am perplexed by the conspicuous absence of any clear argumentation from God’s Word.  I will keep saying that “God’s Word is sufficient for contemporary issues” (music, modesty, alcohol, worship, homosexuality, and other issues that demand our attention).  God, and what He has revealed in His Word, are enough.  “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3).

The arguments I often hear are people’s opinions unsubstantiated by the rightly applied truth of God’s Word.  We need the Word of God on this matter – God’s Word accurately exegeted and rightly applied. Our children need to see an authority higher than our opinions and preferences or they will make decisions using the same insufficient and errant measure (their opinions and their preferences). There is a better way!  The danger we create is the perception that the Scriptures have no answers for contemporary issues. Is this really what we want to communicate to the next generation?  Absolutely NOT!  What should we proclaim by our life and lifestyle choices? –  “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

What we will soon realize is that God wants us to praise, He wants us to sing, and He desires a song from His children. Silence is not an option – so we better grapple with the Scriptures to know what and how to sing.

The texts of Psalm 33:1-5; Ephesians 5:19; and Colossians 3:19 make clear that praise to God is not only acceptable but divinely mandated when believers gather to worship.

Part of authentic worship to God, therefore, involves the corporate singing of praises by His people. We often dichotomize our life.  What Christians believe and what they do often stand in sharp contrast.  Where there should be consistency, there is conflict and contradiction.  When I preach on Sunday it is my hope that the content of the sermon will be applied to the following week’s choices and relationships, but I realize this is not always the case.  This glaring inconsistency is also seen in the area of music.  It is rare that people apply theological truth to this area of their life. Applications are subjective but we must let Scripture guide our applications as we live in a post post-modern 2012.

So let’s begin with a few presuppositions:
(the outline and content below were taken from Wayne; Grudem, Elliot (2009-03-10). Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know (Kindle Locations 78-79). Zondervan. Kindle Edition).

Authority: The Scripture is authoritative because it is God’s breathed-out words. All the words in the Bible, therefore, are God’s words.  "The words in the Bible are God’s words. Therefore, to disbelieve or disobey them is to disbelieve or disobey God himself” (Wayne Grudem).  We must not create a false tension between the written Word of God – the Bible and the Word become flesh – Jesus (1 Thessalonians 2:13; John 1:14).  It is a gross error to say I follow Jesus but I do not adhere to the Bible.  Since the Scriptures are God’s Words they are authoritative for faith and practice (both narrowly and broadly).  Whatever the Bible affirms, we accept as true. No human opinion, preference, church creed, or tradition can supersede or equal the Bible (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

Necessity:  It is necessary to read the Bible or have someone tell us what God’s written Word says if we are going to know God personally, have our sins forgiven in the Person and Work of Christ, and know with certainty why God has created us and what God wants us to do (Rom. 10:14,17; 2 Tim. 3:15).  Necessity also means that the Bible is our only source for clear, definite, and accurate statements about God and how to become a Christian, live as a Christian, and grow as a Christian.

Clarity:  God has revealed Himself through His Word in such a way that everything necessary is clearly communicated and able to be understood (Ps. 19:7; Ps. 119:130; 1 Cor. 2:14).

Sufficiency:  Those alive during the Old Testament period didn’t have access to God’s complete revelation as we do. (the New Testament)  They did have access to all of God’s Words intended and sufficient for them during their lives.  “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!” (Ps. 119:1).  The Bible gives us instructions that equip us for “every good work” that God wants us to do. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)  This is what it means to say that Scripture is “sufficient.” It is enough.  Therefore, we should be content with what God has given us – it’s enough. God has revealed exactly what He knows is right for us.  It is sad to realize that many differences in church history that have divided people and churches are issues that the Bible places very little emphasis on.  We must be careful not to impose man-made rules on other Christians.  There are issues and situations for which God has not provided the exact direction that we sometimes would prefer, but since Scripture is sufficient, we must be sure we don’t add or subtract based on our predetermined belief system.

An argument often just thrown out is that “traditional” songs are superior to “contemporary” songs.  Really?  Why?  The argument itself is fractured since we first need to define our terms.  People mean different things by the words “contemporary” and “traditional.”  The very music being argued for by proponents of this group also sprang out of a modern culture.  The older hymns we sing were all contemporary at some point. I am not sure the Christians in the 1800′s restricted their hymnology to the 1600′s.  Even if there was a small enclave who held on to the “traditional” music of their day that does not by default mean the believers who chose to sing the hymnody we treasure today (modern to them) were wrong for using it for worship (with the organ and piano this may have seemed over the edge).

In a recent video forwarded to me a man said, “and the music at ___________ [Baptist] brought tears to my eyes cause it brought it back to home like we grew up.” I found this disturbing!  Sentimentality is not our authority and will prove an untrustworthy benchmark.  Watching Rudolph at Christmas causes me to think and feel of home like we grew up. ”Refusal to change” can not become our authority or we might as well become the Amish of fundamentalism (which hyper-fundamentalism is verging towards as it departs from historic fundamentalism). Our children will see it for what it is and depart in search for authentic Christianity.  I won’t blame them for “looking” either. We need in place the presuppositions that God’s Word is authoritative, necessary, clear, and sufficient.

Each individual assembly will need to make some very difficult decisions.  Many will remain in a vacuum caught in time because that is “safest.”  I will argue, however, that incorporating well written, singable, and doctrinally orthodox modern hymns after evaluating them through the grid of Scripture in light of our present culture is not questionable, it’s not unsafe, it’s not even the dreaded “slippery slope.”
It will be helpful to understand that the church I have been given the privilege of pastoring is not trying to be like anyone else’s church or Bible college.  We don’t spend a lot of time trying to be “like” or “unlike” this or that church.  We still sing Amazing Grace even though the Mormon temple around the corner from our church building sings that hymn.  We are an autonomous assembly of believers with God-ordained leadership.  We consider it our duty to shepherd in such a way as to avoid being “conformed to this world” (Romans 12:1-2) while at the same time encouraging “growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus” (2 Peter 3:18).  We are not trying to be like the world and we are trying to be like Christ. Our mission is to love God, love our neighbor as ourself, and take this Gospel to the world.  What fuels our pastoral decisions is higher than simply trying to be like or unlike other churches (this guide will ultimately break-down at some point and will prove unreliable).  Our benchmark is the authoritative Word of God.  My desire is that each generation of Christians know the Word and understand personally how to exegete it for matters of faith and practice regardless of cultural norms or sentimental traditions of the past.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

20 ways to be pleasing and acceptable in your worship

1)  SEEK TO PLEASE GOD

(2 Corinthians 5:9) Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.

2) SEEK TO GLORIFY GOD

(1 Corinthians 10:31) Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

3)  BY HIS ENABLEMENT

(John 15:5) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
(Eph. 5:18)  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.
(Heb. 13:15)  By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
(1 Peter 4:11)  If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

4)  BE SCRIPTURAL

(Col. 3:16)  Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

5) BE SUBMISSIVE/YIELDED/SACRIFICIAL

(Rom. 12:1-2)   I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
(Heb. 13:15-16) By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. note
16  But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
(2 Sam. 24:24)  ...neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing...

6)  BE HUMBLE

(1 Peter 5:5)  Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

7)  WITH THANKFULNESS

(Col. 3:15,17)  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
17. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
(Eph. 5:20)  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

8)  WITH GRACE

(Col. 3:16) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Compare "grace" in Col. 4:6)
(Heb. 12:28) Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

9)  IN THE FEAR OF GOD

(Eph. 5:21)  Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
(Heb. 12:28) Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

10)  BE COOPERATIVE

(Phil. 2:13-14) For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings.

11)  BE ENTHUSIASTIC FROM THE HEART

(Col. 3:23) And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.
(Eph. 6:6) Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.
(Eph. 5:19)  Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
(Col. 3:16) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

12)  NOT MEN-PLEASERS

(Gal. 1:10)  For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

13)  NOT IN THE FLESH

(Rom. 8:8)  So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

14)  IN THE NAME OF THE LORD

(Col. 3:17)  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

15)  DECENTLY AND IN ORDER

(1 Cor. 14:33)  For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
(1 Cor. 14:40)  Let all things be done decently and in order.

16)  TEXTS AND MUSIC TESTED AND PROVEN

(1 Thess. 5:21)  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
(Eph. 5:10)  Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

17)  THOUGHTFULLY/INTELLIGENTLY

(1 Cor. 14:15)  What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding [literally the mind] also.

18)  BY FAITH

(Heb. 11:6) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

19)  NOT A STUMBLING BLOCK TO OTHERS

(Rom. 14:13)  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
(1 Cor. 8:9) But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

20)  UNTO EDIFICATION OF THE ASSEMBLY

1 Cor. 14:12) Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
(1 cor. 14:26) How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

Friday, January 6, 2017

A Compromising Situation

Picture this.  A little 5 year old girl how loves her mom and wants to make her happy. While outside playing on a warm and sunny spring day, sees some beautiful roses and decides to go over and pick them to give to her mom, simply because she wanted to express her love for her mother.   I don't know a mother that wouldn't be pleased that her daughter picked her some flowers just because she loved her.  However, these roses are a beautiful expression from her daughter.......they were not from their own garden.  Although mom is pleased and thankful for these roses, her daughter needs to understand that she stole them from the neighbors garden.  Obviously the mom has no choice but to explain to her daughter that even though these roses are a beautiful expression of love and admiration, it's not the right way to express it.  If things go unexplained, their could be consequences both from the neighbors and the mother, and there will definitely be consequences in that the little girl will continue thinking it's a perfectly acceptable thing to do, when it's not.

There are 2 types of ignorance that result from this.  If the property rules and overall apropiateness of that situation is not addressed by anyone, neither the mother nor the neighbors, and the little girl continues picking roses, then that is true ignorance where she does not know nor understand the wrong she's doing.  On the other hand if the mother or the neighbors explain to her and make sure she understands the wrongful behavior, yet she STILL picks the roses, that is called WILLFUL ignorance and she is choosing to ignore the right only to continue in that wrong.

This is very similar to Christian worship in that the Bible clearly tells the believer how to express their love and devotion in worship to the Lord and also what the improper ways of worship are.  Unfortunately, all are sinners and fall short of our callings in the Christian life.  James 1:5 is one of my favorite verses that encourages a believer to seek wisdom from God and assures the believer that God grants discernment when sincerely sought after.  There are so many examples in Scripture of right worship, wrong worship, and all the different aspects of worship that God has revealed for believers to explore and practice in their personal worship and cooperate worship and it's the responsibility of all believers to "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15. 

Psalm 29:2 "Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness."

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Conclusion of the Menace of the Religious Movie

One thing may bother some earnest souls. Why so many good people approve the religious movie. The list of those who are enthusiastic about it includes many who cannot be written off as borderline Christians. If it is an evil, why have not these denounced it?

The answer is, lack of spiritual discernment. Many who are turning to the movies are the same who have, by direct teaching or by neglect, discredited the work of the Holy Spirit. They have apologized for the Spirit and so hedged Him in by their unbelief that it has amounted to an out-and-out repudiation. Now we are paying the price of our folly. The light has gone out and good men are forced to stumble around in the darkness of the human intellect.

The religious movie is at present undergoing a period of gestation and seems about to swarm up over the churches like a cloud of locusts out of the earth. The figure is accurate; they are coming from below, not from above. The whole modern psychology has been prepared for this invasion of insects. The fundamentalist have become weary of manna and are longing for red flesh. What they are getting is a sorry substitute for the lusty and uninhibited pleasures of the world, but I suppose it is better than nothing, and it saves face by pretending to be spiritual.

Let us not for the sake of peace keep still while men without spiritual insight dictate the diet upon which God 's children shall feed. I heard the president of a Christian college say some time ago that the church is suffering from an "epidemic of amateurism."  That remark is sadly true, and the religious movie represents amateurism gone wild. Unity among professing Christians Is to be desired, but not at the expense of righteousness. It is good to go with the flock, but I for one refuse mutely to follow a misled flock over a product of precipice.

If God has given wisdom to see the error of religious shows, we owe it to the church to oppose them openly. We dare not take refuge in "guilty silence." Error is not silent; It is highly vocal and amazingly aggressive.  We dare not be less so. But let us take heart: there are still many thousands of Christian people Who grieve to see the world takeover.  If we draw the line and call attention to it, We may be surprised how many people will come over on our side and help us to drive from the church this latest invader--The spirit of Hollywood .

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Part 7 The Menace of the Religious Movie

I am against the religious movie because of the harmful effect upon everyone associated with it.

First, the evil effect upon the "actors" who play the part of the various characters in the show; this is not the less because it is unsuspected.  Who can, while in a state of fellowship with God, dare to play at bing a prophet? Who has the gall to pretend to be an apostle, even in a show?  Where is his reverence?  Where is his fear?   Where is his humility?  Anyone who can bring himself to act a part for any purpose, must first have grieved the Spirit and silenced His voice within the heart.  Then the whole business will appear good to him.  "He feedeth on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside" (Isaiah 44:20).  But he cannot escape the secret Working of the ancient laws of the soul.  Something high and fine and grand will die within him; and worst of all he will never suspect it. That is the curse that follows self injury always. The Pharisees were examples of this. They were walking dead men, and they never dreamed how dead they were.

Secondly, It identifies religion with the theatrical world.  I have seen recently in a fundamental magazine an advertisement of a religious film which would be altogether at home on the theatrical page on any city newspaper, illustrated with the usual sex- bait picture of a young man and young woman in a tender embrace, and spangled with such words as "feature-length, drama, pathos, romance," it reeked of Hollywood with the cheap movie house.  By such business we are selling out our Christian separation, and nothing but grief can come of it late or soon.

Thirdly, the taste for drama which these pictures develop in the minds of the young will not long remain satisfied with the inferior stuff the religious movie can offer.  Our young people will demand the real thing; and what can we reply when they ask why they should not patronize the regular movie house?

Fourthly, the rising generation will naturally come to look upon religion as another,  and inferior, form of amusement.  In fact, the present generation has done this to an alarming extent already, and the Gospel movie feeds the notion by fusing religion and fun in the name of orthodoxy.  It takes no great insight to see that the religious movie must become increasingly more thrilling as the tastes of the spectators become more and more stimulated.

Fifthly, the religious movie is the lazy preacher's friend.  If the present vogue continues to spread it will not be long before any man with enough ability to make an audible prayer, and mentality enough to focus a projector, will be able to pass for a prophet of the Most High God. The man of God can play around all week long and come up to Sunday without a care. Everything has been done for him at the studio.  He has only to set up the screen and lower the lights, and the rest follows painlessly.

Wherever the movie is used, the prophet is displaced by the projector. The least such displaced prophets can do is to admit that they are technicians and not preachers. Let them admit that they are not sent-man, ordained of God for a sacred work.  Let them refuse ordination and put away their pretense.

Allowing that there may be some who have been truly called and gifted of God, but who have allowed themselves to be taken in by this new plaything, the danger to such is still great. As long as they can fall back upon the movie, the pressure that makes preachers will be wanting.  The habit and rhythm which belong to great preaching will be missing from their ministry.  However great their natural gifts, however real their enduement of power, still they will never rise.  They cannot while this broken reed lies close at hand to aid them in the crisis. The movie will doom them to be ordinary.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Part 6: The religious movie is out of harmony with the whole spirit of the Scriptures and contrary to the mood of true godliness

To harmonize the spirit of the religious movie with the spirit of the Sacred Scriptures is impossible.  Any comparison is grotesque and, if it were not so serious, would be downright funny. Try to imagine Elijah appearing before Ahab with a roll of film!  Imagine Peter standing up at Pentecost and saying "Let's have the lights out, please."  When Jeremiah hesitated to prophesy, on the plea that he was not a fluent speaker, God touched his mouth and said, "I have put My words into thy mouth." Perhaps Jeremiah could have gotten on well enough without the divine touch If he had had a good 16mm projector and a reel of home-talent film.

Let a man dare to compare his religious movie show, with the spirit of the book of Acts . Let him try to find a place for it in the twelfth chapter of first Corinthians.  Let him set it beside Savonarola''s passionate preaching, or Luther 's thundering, or Wesley 's heavenly sermons, or Edward''s awful appeals.  If he cannot see the difference in kind, then he is too blind to be trusted with leadership in the Church of the Living God . The only thing that he can do appropriate to the circumstances is to drop to his knees and cry with poor Bartimaeus, "Lord, that I might receive my sight."

But some say, "We do not propose to displace the regular method of preaching the gospel. We only want to supplement it."  To this I answer: If the movie is indeed to supplement anointed preaching, it can only be because God's appointed method is inadequate and the movie can do something which God's appointed method cannot do.  What is that thing?  We freely grant that the movie can produce effects which preaching cannot produce (and which is should never try to produce), but dare we strive for such effects in the light of God 's revealed will and in the face of the judgment and the long eternity? 

 . 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Part 5 of the Menace of the Religious Movie.

The Menace of the Religious Movie Part 5: God has ordained four methods only by which Truth shall prevail--and the religious movie is not one of them.

Without attempting to arrange these methods in order of importance, they are (1) prayer, (2) song, (3) proclamation of the message by means of words, and (4) good works.  These are the four main methods which God has blessed.   All other Biblical methods are sub-divisions of these and stay within the framework.

Notice these in order.  (1) Spirit-burdened prayer.  This has been through the centuries a powerful agent for the spread of saving truth among men.  A praying church carried the message of the cross to the whole known world within two centuries after the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.   Read the book of Acts and see what prayer has done and can do when it is made in true faith.

(2)  Spirit-inspired song has been another mighty instrument in the spread of the Word among mankind.  When the church sings in the spirit, she draws men unto Christ.  Where her song has been ecstatic expression of resurrection joy, It has acted wonderfully to prepare hearts for the saving message.  This has no reference to professional religious singers, expensive choirs, nor the popular "gospel" chorus. These for the time we leave out of consideration, but I think no one will deny that the sound of a Christian hymn sung by sincere and humble persons can have a tremendous and permanent effect for good. The Welsh revival is a fair modern example of this.

(To learn more about Biblical worship, please peruse other posts within this blog)

(3)  In the Old Testament, as well as in the New, when God would impart His mind to man He embodied it in a message and sent man out to proclaim it.  It was received by hearing and reading on the part of those to whom it was sent.  We are all familiar with the verse "Speak easy comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her."  John the Baptist was called "the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness"  Again we have,  "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, write."   And the apostle John opens his great work called the Revelation by pronouncing a blessing upon him that reads and them that hear and keep the words of the prophecy and the things which are written therein.  The two words proclaim and publish sum up God 's will as it touches His Word.  In the Bible, men for the most part, wrote what had been spoken; in our time men are commissioned to speak what has been written.  In both cases the agent is a word, never a picture, a dance, nor a pageant.

(4)  By His healing deeds our Lord open the way for his saving words.  He went about doing good, and his church is commanded to do the same.  Faber understood this when he wrote,

"And preach thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly deeds in virtuous life."

Church history is replete with instances of missionaries and teachers who prepared the way for their message with deeds of mercy shown to men and women who were at first hostile, but who melted under the warm rays of practical kindnesses shown to them in time of need.  If anyone should object to calling good works a method, I would not argue the point.  Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that they are an overflow into everyday life of the reality of what is being proclaimed.

These are God's appointed methods set forth in the Bible and confirmed in centuries of practical application.  The intrusion of other methods is unscriptural, unwarranted and in violation of spiritual laws as old as the world.

The whole preach-the-gospel-with-movies idea Is founded upon the same basic assumption as modernism, namely that the Word of God is not final, and that we of this day have a perfect right to add to it or alter it wherever we think we can improve it.

A brazen example of this attitude came to my attention recently.  Preliminary printed matter has been sent out announcing that a new organization is in process of being formed.  It is to be called "The international Radio and Screen Artist Guild"  And one of its two major objectives is to promote the movie as a medium for the spread of the gospel. It's sponsors, apparently, are not Modernist, but confessed Fundamentalist.  Some of its declared purposes are: "to produce movies  "with or without a Christian slant"; to raise and maintain higher standards in the movie field (this would be done, it says here, by having "much prayer" with leaders of the movie industry); to "challenge people, especially young people, to those fields as they are challenged to go to foreign fields."

This last point should not be allowed to pass without some of us doing a little challenging on our own account.  Does this new organization actually propose in seriousness to add another gift to the rest of the gifts of the Holy Spirit listed in the New Testament?  To the number of the Spirit's gifts, such as pastor, teacher, evangelist, is there now to be added another, the gift of the movie actor?  To the appeal for consecrated Christian young people to serve as missionaries on the foreign field is there to be added an appeal for young people to serve as movie actors?  That is exactly what this new organization does propose in cold type over the signature of its temporary chairman.  Instead of the Holy Spirit saying "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them," these people will make use of what they call a "Christian Talent listing", to consist of the names of "Christian" actors who have received the Spirit 's gift to be used in making religious movies.

Thus the order set up in the New Testament is openly violated,  and by professed lovers of the gospel who say unto Jesus, "Lord, Lord,"  but openly set aside his Lordship whenever they desire. No amount of smooth talk can explain away this serious act of insubordination.

Saul lost a kingdom when he "forced" himself and took profane liberties with the priesthood.  Let these movie preachers look to their crown.  They may find themselves on the road to Endor some dark night soon.