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" Preemption "
    "...as also in all [Paul's] epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the unlearned and unstable -TWIST-, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction." (2Pt3:16)
As this is being prepared this country's presidential election campaign is in full-swing. As many of the candidates engage in hoof-in-mouth and trade turns shooting themselves in the foot, the incumbent was touted on prime time news the other day quoting Scripture, "to whom much is given, from him much will be required" (Lk12:48), totally devoid of it's original Scriptural context as Jesus was talking about the greater "punishment" due the one who -knew- the right to do but failed, compared to the one who didn't know; and I believe applying it instead to the "everybody do their fair share" and "take from the rich to give to the poor" liberal mantra.

As we have, from time to time, illustrated the lunacy of misappropriating Bible passages with this little tidbit of Biblical twisting: how Judas "went and hanged himself" (Mt27:5); therefore "Go and you do likewise" (Lk10:37); and "What you do, do quickly" (Jn13:27) Seeeee??? The Bible says you should go hang yourself. So...what are you waiting for??? C'mon, it says to hurry!!! Whereas, when Scripture is taken in context, it says nothing of the sort.

But this little example is exactly -just- the sort of thing unbelievers and those of the apostasy do. And after years of doing it, when they compose their doctrinal statements, they already know that certain objections are going to be heard regarding their carnal, demonic music and worship, so they have taylored their official statements to PREEMPT those objections. But, let's back up a moment.

The other day I was driving along a Spokane street that I hadn't driven in some time. As I was noticing certain businesses that no longer existed, and some new ones that hadn't been there before, I also noticed the sign in front of this old church building. It used to have one of the one-world religion church names. This time, it had several words put together with the word "Bible" in the mix. Historically, "Bible Church" has been a name associated with faithful Bible teaching and sound doctrine. (Tit1:9) While I have "come out of her (Babylon)" (Re18:4), having over the years been to any church in the area I know of that by its name might suggest a congregation that loves the Lord and is faithful to His Word, but finding none, I am always keeping my eyes open for a new group to check out, in the hopes that there might be even JUST ONE (Jer5:1) such group to "assemble" with. (Heb10:25)

'Got home, looked them up in the phone book, called the number and the answering machine gave the web address. Browsed around awhile and then e-mailed the worship pastor. In these days I typically find that the manner of a congregation's music will be a pretty clear indicator of what the group is. The pastor's bio spoke of his "band". I had hoped for a clear concise answer as to something like: we have a worship team, we use a worship band, we sing to piano/organ accompaniment, we use guitars, bass and drums, etc. But what I got was a 4-page PDF outlining their entire worship philosophy, which for all it's voluminous words was LESS-CLEAR than the simple statement that he has a "band". But, just because the man -has- a "band", does that necessarily mean they use the band in the meetings? Thus, I was seeking answers.

Just as in 40+ years of struggling against worldliness in the church, and having them counter with their excuses; apparently they have also spent those same years countering people like me who object to their worldliness and have an entire preemption system in place. Let's look at a few things as they publish things:

--DELIGHT IN GOD - The focus of our worship is God. He is infinitely worthy of our focus and our adoration. Our souls are satisfied when we they look to God above all other things. The focus of our worship in song is not ourselves, our traditions, our novelty or ingenuity, our performance ability, or our musical style whether it be traditional or contemporary. Our focus is the only, true God, revealed to us in the Scriptures. Therefore, we will strive to illuminate the nature and character of God in the worship experience. --

In this paragraph they include some Scripture references, which have nothing to do with the sentences they flank, so I'm not going to confuse the reader by including them. One main thing I was missing here, and when I used the PDF 'search' utility just in case I had missed it when reading, the word was not to be found in all their four pages. Notice how -they- "delight" in God. It is "our" worship, "our" focus. And who is "illuminating" the nature and character of God. "we"

But what I missed?

    "In the year that King Uzziah died I then saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim; each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another, and said, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, IS JEHOVAH OF HOSTS; THE WHOLE EARTH FULL OF HIS GLORY! And the doorposts shook at the voice of the one who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. Then I said, Woe is me! for I am undone! for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of Hosts." (Is6:1-5)
When John, the disciple "whom Jesus loved" (Jn13:23) saw Jesus in all His glory, he "fell at His feet as dead" (Re1:17)

And when God's glory filled the temple the priests "were not able to stand to minister before the cloud" the glory of Jehovah (1Ki8:11) and what did they sing in worship?

    "Oh, give thanks unto Jehovah, for He is good; for His mercy is eternal." (1Ch16:34)

    In the Psalms "and give thanks at the remebrance of His holiness" (Ps30;4)

Certainly there is "delight", but the Godly one "delights in God's way" (Ps37:23), "delights to do Your will O My God" (Ps40:8), "delights greatly in His commandments" (Ps112:1, 119:16,24, etc)

But since at least the 70s, they have not liked to -obey- God. Reference to God's will and commandments is too much -law-, and they prefer Graaaeeessss. To even have discussions about how to follow God's rules, let alone to -do- them, is so "legalistic" and "judgmental". So, they prefer to bask in "delights".

What is "holiness"? (Something they don't address) It is -separation-. God is holy. The view of God's holiness struck the fear of death in that view. God is righteous, and man is sinful. Even as Biblical Believers we still are in "corruption" of this earthly existence. (1Co15:50) God is -distinct- from evil and corruption. Being in God's holiness is not something in which we -bask- in smiling delights. It is not something we -feel- wonderful about; but rather it invokes the fear of God's judgment, only being able to rejoice that it is God's "eternal mercy" that covers our sin.

    "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jer17:9)

    "Through Jehovah’s kindness we are not consumed, because His compassions never fail." (Lam3:22)

And when they preempt about the musical "style"; "whether it be traditional or contemporary"; the mere fact that they would even consider "contemporary" as an option(!); such terminology suggests that (in their view) God doesn't care whether or not we use the world's filth of its sensuousness as modern rock musicians pronounce that Rock is "all about sex". Their sex is not that which is "undefiled" in "marriage" (Heb13:4); but is the kind where the dogs go panting after the bitches (female dogs), and they dance and covort around in jungle witchdoctor style, often half-naked, about which God says, "that your nakedness may not be exposed" when worshiping. (Ex20:26)

Understanding what has just been said, does God accept "contemporary" styles?

    "Will you...commit adultery (by the attire and lascivious fleshly behavior)... and walk after other gods (using their music and instruments)...; and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, We are delivered to do all those abominations?" (Jer7:9-10)
Worship is -NOT- about 'us' and how 'we' -choose- to adore God.
    "And if you offer the blind in sacrifice, is it not evil? And if you offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil? Bring it now to your governor. Will he be pleased with you or receive you favorably? says Jehovah of Hosts." (Mal1:8)
If we worship with satan's music, we are not doing as they claim to do: we are not "illuminating" the "nature and character" of God. God does not share His glory with other gods!
    "I am Jehovah; that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images." (Is42:8)
Let's move along...

--STYLISTICALLY FLEXIBLE - The Bible does not limit musical style in worship. Nor does it elevate one kind of instrument over another. In fact, just the opposite, it encourages various kinds of instruments and expressions in worship (Psalm 150). Furthermore, if the gospel saves people from every tribe, tongue and language, it must be concluded that expressions of worship might differ from culture to culture or even from generation to generation. For this reason, our song style will be flexible so long as it is proper for the moment, and fits the context of our church. We will do some hymns and some contemporary songs. We will do some songs that are upbeat, encouraging loud and gregarious worship, and some songs that are slow, encouraging sober reflection. We will incorporate songs from different keys and musical modes to create different moods of worship fitting to the lyrics of the song. In some songs we might use loud instruments like drums, horns, and organs. In some songs we might use softer instruments like strings and harps. Each of these stylistic choices may be incorporated for the purpose of encouraging the worship experience and the fitting expressions they encourage. --

Are all drums bad? Orchestrally, as of from the entire musical spectrum, no. But that's not the predominant use. They typically (99.999%) use traps: the bass (kick) drum, various snares, toms and symbols; which by their design are intended for only one type of music; the jazz/rock rhythms of sensuality. Certainly the Psalms have many mentions of instruments. But is God please with -all- forms?

    "Take away from Me the noise of your songs; for I will not hear the melody of your lutes." (Am5:23)
The lute was the ancestor of the guitar.
    "Your arrogance is brought down to Sheol, and the noise of your lutes. The maggot is spread under you, and the worms cover you." (Is14:11)
Notice, of all the various instruments that might have been associated with satan, it is the lute (guitar). From those who know more about it than I do, the modern electric guitar is designed/shaped/formed to a demonic look, with the curved 'horns' of its body.

As David sought to bring the ark to Jerusalem it says...

    "And David and all the house of Israel were MAKING SPORT before Jehovah with all manner of fir wood; with harps, with lutes, with tambourines, with rattles and buzzing." (2Sa6:5)
And when Uzzah was struck down dead, what was the man "after God's own heart" reaction?
    "And David was furious because Jehovah had used violence and burst forth against Uzzah; thus the name of the place is called Perez Uzzah to this day." (vs8)
As I've been in this 'business' of countering worldliness in music since the 70s, what is the reaction by those who embrace rock music, to any indication of somebody suggesting that it is not God-honoring? Anger. Indignation. Even David's first reaction was "fury". He was going to praise God IN HIS OWN WAY. After all, wasn't he the "sweet psalmist of Israel". (2Sa23:1) He was writing psalms and was Israel's music/worship leader. And he was leading them in praise with all sorts of cacophony. If they had had electric guitars, bass and trap sets, they would have likely had 3 drummers on rolling platforms, drumming together, all wailing the beats for everybody to get down and boogey.

It doesn't tell us the 'process' by which David calmed down, but when they again sought to bring the ark to Jerusalem, this time they did it with priests carrying the ark, as prescribed...

    "So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of Jehovah with shouting and with the SOUND OF THE SHOFAR." (vs15)
When Moses went to meet with God, it was -God's- "sound of the shofar" (Ex19-20)

But what about the decades-old argument that Paul was "all things to all men" (1Co9:22) Therefore, if music was amongst older people, use organ and piano. If young people, use a rock band. If ministering to people of the Carribean, reggae. If people of Bali, or the tribal regions of Africa use their jungle witchdoctor type drum beats and dancing. Whatever the "culture" of the participants? Prior articles are recommended at this point: "Bali and the Pagan Church" - "Cultural Sensitivity"

When Israel moved into the land of promise, did they embrace the 'culture' of the land? Did they convene exploratory teams to learn what the land was "all about" and -adapt- their theology and worship of Jehovah to demonstrate concensus and group think...so as not to 'offend' the historically local people...to 'learn' from them, and 'share'?

    "When Jehovah your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you have taken possession and dwelt in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise. You shall not do so unto Jehovah your God; for everything that is an abomination to Jehovah which He has hated, they have done unto their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire unto their gods. Whatever I am commanding you, take heed to do it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it." (De12:29-32)
As we learned from Bali, their 'culture' -IS- their religion. They worship demons and idols, and their culture is wrapped up in demons. As Paul writes to Corinth "I do not want you to have fellowship with demons" (1Co10:20) And Israel was told to "tear down their altars, break their sacred pillars...and destroy their names out of that place" (De12:3) And as we observed from the Bible college choir, they were observing just about every demonic thing from every representative culture, and by the time they got the congregation to stand and 'dance' with them, and I was headed -out-, from clear outside it sounded like one massive 'party'; like when Aaron made the golden calf, and they "ROSE UP TO PLAY" (Ex32:6) And was God pleased? When that incident was over 3000 were slain in judgment! (vs28)

How was Israel to treat outsiders who wanted to learn of God? Did they have 'different' liturgies for them?

    "You shall have the same law for the sojourner and for the native; for I am Jehovah your God." (Le24:22)

    "And if a stranger sojourns among you, and would keep the Passover unto Jehovah, he shall do so according to the statute of the Passover and according to its ordinance; you shall have one ordinance, both for the sojourner and the native of the land." (Nu9:14)

God is -ONE-, and His Way is -ONE-.
    "..one Lord, one faith, one immersion; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Eph4:5-6)

--HUMBLE TEACHABILITY - no matter how skilled the musician might be, he or she must be willing to come under the leadership of the worship leader --

This is one of the required characteristics of a worship musician. But this, also, is probably the ultimate in PREEMPTION. When David did wrong he obviously came off his fury to learn why Uzzah had been killed. He was "teachable". He did not remain in defiance to do it his own way NO MATTER WHAT, but corrected what needed fixing, and did things God's way.

But that is -NOT- what they mean. The typical scenario goes something like this: A group (such as a church), or organization (such as a radio network) has a certain philosophy where they are using carnal methods in worship, or worldly ways in the broadcast schedule. Somebody comes along to work within the organization and sees things that are not honoring to God, and so in the spirit of Ga6:1 attempts to raise the issue with the goal to correct whatever is wrong, so that the group might be pleasing to God. After all, it does not take a 'committee' to fix things. Just a zealous individual...

    "And behold, one of the sons of Israel came and brought in to his brethren a Midianite woman before the eyes of Moses and before the eyes of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping at the door of the tent of meeting. And when Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation and took a javelin in his hand; and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman, through her belly. Thus the plague was stopped from the children of Israel." (Nu25:6-8)
And was praised for his zeal. (vs10-13)

The Christian doesn't need to take javelin; just -speak- to -change- things. But when a (particular) "christian" radio station years ago played things like "Me and Mrs Jones have a thing going on" or "this is the dawning of the age of aquarius" for the afternoon drive-time "easy listening" music; or the station manager would lie to potential clients to whom they were seeking to sell advertising space, or this or that that was both ungodly and carnal, if a Christian working for them dared to speak up about the ungodly nature of what was going on, the network manager had a conversation with the Christian, indicating that what was needed from him (the Christian) was to submit to the "CHAIN-OF-COMMAND" As far as that Christian was concerned, it "didn't matter" what things were going on, his duty was to...

    "Obey those in authority over you, and be submissive..." (Heb13:17)
Meaning: Just Shut Up and do your job.

This is the very thing that those in the military and law enforcement have to grapple with. The commander gives an order to go and commit a massacre. Or like in the case of the German officers who carried out the Holocaust of those millions in the ovens. And after the event, when on trial: WE WERE JUST FOLLOWING ORDERS. Did that justify their actions? Was there not a higher law of God's morality? Did they not have a conscience, and the fortitude to behave accordingly, despite the consequences?

This is something I am reading recently as 1) returning Marines are being retrained for "riot control" and "urban warfare" in this country, and 2) as those who appear on lists of potential 'terror' suspects are those who hold to the Bible, Constitution and Retired Military. The question that military recruits are being questioned and tested for is: If ordered to fire on fellow-citizens, in this country, what percentage would have NO PROBLEMS in OBEYING ORDERS? I've been amazed at actually how many Americans would fire on fellow-Americans if ordered to do so.

Is there such a thing as "right and wrong", or is it merely following the "chain-of-command"...no matter -what- the order?

When Phinehas thrust though the couple in the tent, it didn't matter that they both were the son and daughter of -RULERS- in tribes of Israel and Midean. (Nu25:14-15) God -praised- him for doing what was right.

When a church has a policy statement about "teachability", when they have an established format of honoring satan through the music, and a True Christian comes along seeking to "restore" (Ga6:1) what is wrong into conformity to God's holiness, the complaints are from the carnal congregation, that the True Christian is not being "teachable" regarding carnality. You see... the carnal ones have it firmly entrenched into their being that their carnal ways are actually, somehow, pleasing to God. And because the Believer will not slide down into their same gutter, he is "unteachable".

But this becomes the biggest 'tool' for PREEMPTION; because, you see, if the -lone- individual can be persuaded that his 'unteachability' is also "pride"... Who do you think you are? You have such pride to think that -lone- you are right, and ALL OF US are wrong? You're going to stand up to ALL-OF-US? It's not just 'us', but the professors at the seminaries and Bible colleges that are teaching this (carnal) way. And what are your 'credentials' against all those qualified experts. This is the way things are being done today. You need to repent of your pride of thinking that -only- 'you' are right.


    "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, being devoted to corrupting spirits and doctrines of demons...For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, unyielding, slanderers, without self-control, savage, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away" (1Ti4:1,2Ti3:1-5)
You see, if they can manufacture and manipulate a FALSE HUMILITY, then they think they can corrupt another of God's holy children. It's the very same thing that is going on with ecumenism. Get everybody to be "humble", and don't assume that any individual person has the 'corner' on truth, and has the -only- 'right' way, we can sit down together, listen to each other, and learn from each other...because, after all, everybody, no matter their denomination or religion, has some measure of truth. But God commanded...
    "And see to it that you make them (the things for worship) according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain." (Ex25:40)
We might not follow the OT rituals, since Jesus "fulfilled" the Law (Mt5:17), but God's holiness did not change. A lot of people are under the impression that since we are under graaaaeeeessss, that that also includes a relaxing of God's holy standard. But if anything, since the Believer has God's Holy Spirit, we should be -MORE- HOLY! We should be MORE "SEPARATED" from the world and its wickedness. Paul, the apostle of grace, also noted: to note those who cause "snares, contrary to the doctrine" and what? Engage the dialectic with them? No. "turn away from them" What is their true goal? Unity in diversity? "..by smooth words and flattering speech [they] DECEIVE THE HEARTS OF THE SIMPLE" (Ro16:17-18)

Around here I mention "the 70s" a lot. That was the time during which the prevailing hippy culture was worming its way into the church. They thought it was about long hair and wearing coats and ties. But it was doctrine. The group by Chuck Girard and his "Love Song" probably summed it up best in their song "Little Country Church". That little country pastor was much too stiff and formal, preaching "religion" (doctrine), but they were rejoicing that the old fuddy duddy was "finally coming 'round". He no longer preaches doctrine, but they -just- come to "praise the Lord" ("delight in God"). "Long hair, short hair, some coats and ties...the little church is COMING AROUND" ("stylistically flexible")...ANYTHING GOES. During the days of Love Song they were an 'activist' band. The whole of christendom hadn't yet been converted over. They were effecting "Changes" (in my mind), getting the old traditionalists to "loosen up". Now that their goal has been met, how do we keep what now is, from reverting back to HOLY DOCTRINE? Preemption. Don't be coming along and telling us to change (back), but follow the chain-of-command. We finally got the church corrupted just the way we like it, and we're not going back. If you want to be amongst us you'd better be "teachable" to our corrupt way! They might just as well say: We are holy unto our corruption!

When it comes to corporate worship and music, the goal should not be to -blend- in with the world...to make the -world- "happy". No! Our goal should be to be pleasing to God. To obey God. To be -HOLY- unto God. Holy is the -opposite- of ecumenism. Holy is the antithesis of dialectic. Group-think resulted in judgment; and those who were pleasing to God were the -individuals- who stood -against- the group, sometimes being persecuted or killed, in order to submit to God. Daniel's three friends went to the fiery furnace. Daniel to the lion's den. There used to be a children's song...

    Dare to be a Daniel,
    Dare to stand alone
    Dare to have a purpose firm,
    Dare to make it known
The world tries to preempt the Christian. The pretend 'church' preempts the Christian. The world: we know they are evil. With the pretend 'church' they are often quite clever as they spin (twist) their "smooth words and flattering speech" (Re16:18) and the simple often fall into their snares.
    "You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware also that you not be led away with the error of the wicked, and fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen." (2Pt3:17-18)
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