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" Gospel Roots? "

"Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are being kept safe, if you hold fast that Word which I preached to you; unless you believe in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised the third day according to the Scriptures..." (1Cor15:1-4)

I'm getting sick and tired of...!!

Every time I turn around this past month, 'every other' comment coming from the lips of news reporters, commentators, special programs, etc...all I'm hearing is "Elvis this" and "Elvis that", Elvis, Elvis, Elvis-the-pelvis. This past month being the 25th anniversary of his death, from a drug overdose.

I've -never- been an Elvis fan! 'Used to have a brother-in-law that worshiped him and did imitation-singing of him, and sang "Love Me Tender" (like Elvis) to his bride at their wedding. The thing that keeps getting repeated is how, when he first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show, society hadn't yet -quite- stooped to where it is now, that the cameras only showed him from the chest-up. His waist and pelvic moves were so lewd that it wasn't considered morally decent to be shown on prime time. They also show panned shots of his admiring young girls, going into a frenzy and swooning over him, hardly able to contain themselves because of his sexual effervescence. Not to mention the lyrics of his songs...which is the predominant theme of most pop/rock music: Lust, and how to get the other person to be persuaded to satisfy one's self for the momentary gratification, totally separate from anything resembling marriage. And if you're married...how I can entice you away from your fidelity to your spouse/mate, and come be with me...if not permanently...just for "tonight".

Elvis is considered to be the turning point, from what was before, to modern rock. Although, I've seen little snippets of some of the old movies on Public TV when I'm clicking channels, and seen some of the dancing they did back in the 30s, and in reality, Elvis had nothing new; just that, back then, children weren't allowed to watch those movies. With Elvis, the corruption was allowed to be seen by, and begin with children as soon as they are able to knowingly wiggle their hips, and make all the adults laugh at "how cute" they are!

Now, as the commentators speak of Elvis, guess what his "roots" are? His dad was a "preacher". And they say of him, that when he would be in the quiet of his home, that he -really- liked the "old gospel songs". That that's where his heart was -really- at. And they play recordings of him crooning (with those sensual snarling lips of his) some old traditional hymn or so-called gospel song.

So, in effect, they are trying to con today's so-called "christians" into thinking that Elvis had "Christian roots". That his music, which is decadent and morally repulsive, is -really- "christian" originated, because that's what he supposedly "really liked". What's next? That "Elvis -was- a Christian"??!

Around this same time, the local Public TV station has been doing their annual end-of-summer fund-raising drive... and the other day, while flipping channels, I saw they were doing a Lawrence Welk rerun special. Since he died, and the show has no longer been running, Public TV gets the former performers to 'host' various reruns, giving behind-the-scenes stories of the Welks or the various performers. Well, the other day they were show-casing their "Songs of Faith" album. You know, the raspy/wispy-voiced goody-two-shoes Norma Zimmer, or the crooner Tom Netherton, and the rest of the gang, who would usually otherwise be dancing and cavorting around for the usual shows; don appropriate "churchy" costumes, the organist swoons and plays appropriate "church" -mood- music, and everybody smiles piously, as they sing the songs of "faith". You know: Precious Mem'ries, Amazing Grace (since 9-11 I'm getting sick and tired of that one!), I'll Fly Away, Precious Lord Take My Hand, etc.

The host of the recent show was talking about Welk's funeral. Being from Strasburg (?), ND he was a 'good' catholic (I went to high school in Mandan with one of his nephews. Yes, I know...Woopee-doo!), so his funeral was catholic. But the host was so swooningly 'blessed' that the priest at the funeral mass had included the non-catholics with a special "blessing" upon them.

When the music entertainment industry speaks of things, they speak of "gospel roots" in terms of groups like the Statler Brothers, Blackwood Brothers, Weatherford and Stamps Quartets. These 60s roots from which the Gaithers came in the 70s. And then there's the whole Hillbilly Bluegrass twanging and crooning that is also called "gospel"; not to mention "black gospel". Some of their favorite so-called "gospel" songs are "I'll Fly Away" and "Turn Your Radio On", "Daddy Sang Bass..." etc. And the music industry looks at this as being the "gospel roots" of many rock, country, bluegrass entertainers.

And so, these people can get up and sing about "come to bed with me tonight" and "your cheatin' heart", and close with "Amazing Grace", and wave "God Bless..." as they end the show... and they are now 'respectable' folk, having come from their "gospel roots" and having closed as they did, they've given a so-called "testimony for the Lord". (Oooo! That must mean they're "christians"! Let's invite them to sing at our next crusade!!)

Jacob speaks: "Out of the same mouth comes forth blessing and cursing. My brethren, it is not fitting that these things be this way. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh." (Jac3:10-12)

Jesus speaks: "You will know them from their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree produces excellent fruit, but a corrupt tree produces evil fruit. A good tree is not able to produce evil fruit, nor is a corrupt tree able to produce excellent fruit. Every tree that does not produce excellent fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore from their fruits you will know them." (Mt7:16-20)

Further He says: "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual perversions, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." (Mt15:19)

Was Elvis a wonderful preacher's kid "Christian"? Was the Lawrence Welk organization a wonderful "Christian" group, "ministering" to people with their songs of "faith"?

Jacob says it it impossible for good and evil to proceed from the same mouth. Jesus says, if adultery and blasphemy come from the mouth, that it came from the -heart-. If the heart has faith in Jesus Christ, the mouth will confess it. (Rom10:10) If that mouth spews forth sin and corruption, it doesn't matter that it also makes pretense of salvation. The sin and corruption reveal the reality. The heart is full of adultery and blasphemy. Such a heart is the makeup of the unregenerate.

"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Mt12:35-37)

I should think that also includes the "words" you allow to come out of your mouth from the songs you sing. Yes?

If a person is singing, "steal away from your husband and come to bed with me tonight", they DARE NOT also sing "Jehovah's song in a foreign land" (Ps137:4) They are in and of the land of corruption and sin. They are sinners. And anyway, what exactly is "I'll fly away, oh glory.."? If their hearts are in the world's swill, they're never going to ever be with the Lord to... "sing hallelujah by and by".

All that they call "gospel" is not! They may be songs of "faith". But what is the object of their so-called 'faith'? Faith in what? Faith in whom? The fact that they sing about and glorify what God condemns, and in the O.T. the penalty for which was "death" (Lev20:10, etc), it shows their hearts to be NOT-Christian.

Many who try to excuse the current rock-based worship music do so out of a distaste for the "old". They compare the current rock music with the older so-called "gospel" music. Thing is, that's a faulty comparison, because that so-called "gospel" music was not "[C]hristian" either. It does not represent the True Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What is the "Gospel"? It is the fact that Jesus came to save sinful man -OUT-OF- all the swill and corruption! He came "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Lk19:10) And how did He do that? He certainly did not 'join-in-with' the sin and corruption! He gave His life. He died on the cross and shed His blood (Rev1:5) "to redeem us from all lawlessness and purify a people for His own possession, zealous unto good works." (Tit2:14) And He rose again the third day, so that we might be raised to "walk in newness of life". (Rom6:4) A person who "believes [not] in vain" has become a "new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2Cor5:17)

Anyone who is based in -True- "gospel roots" will be characterized by, among other things:

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord..." (1Cor15:58) and "..put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts." (Rom13:14)

Amen!


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