is SG music an entry level drug?

Now, please, first a joke disclaimer. My headline is an attention getting device. It is meant in jest. Mostly. And it points to a serious question.

Scott Aniol has been writing a good deal about this. I especially like his post, “The Sovereign Grace/Getty Music Question

I like Scott’s conclusions:

  1. I have more than enough hymn texts to choose from (both ancient and modern) that are better than Sovereign Grace lyrics and do not carry any of the potential baggage.
  2. I have more than enough hymn tunes to choose from (both ancient and modern) that are better than Sovereign Grace tunes and do not carry any of the potential baggage.
  3. While associations are not a primary factor in my decision, I am at least aware of the potential of causing a weaker brother to stumble into what I consider error (either by being attracted to the Sovereign Grace pop/rock styles or a charismatic theology of worship) if I were to use these songs.
  4. I do not sing any similar songs, so I am consistent with my decisions.

Read Scott’s whole post and you will get the whole argument and see why he makes the conclusions he does.

Scott also points us to a series of messages by Mark Minnick on the subject:

I am not sure if the messages are available ‘free’ any longer. There was also a follow-up message:

All of this material should be considered before getting to my provocative question:

is SG music an entry level drug?

The question comes from my understanding of part of the arguments advanced by Mark Minnick. I think Scott mentions it also, it somewhat related to his conclusion #3 above.

As I understand it, the argument goes this way: if a church decides to use a ‘sanitized’ version of SG type music, it will very likely follow that many a young person in that church will be leaving church with the “unsanitized” versions playing on his/her car stereo or ipod.

That is NOT to say it must follow, or that it will absolutely follow, or that every young person will react this way.

But, the argument says, it is very likely that many a young person would be influenced to use the unsanitized style of music personally because of the corporate use of the sanitized version. I personally think that this scenario is very likely to be true in many cases.

What would the rationale be for using the sanitized versions of this music? Usually we are told that they have “such rich texts”. Sometimes we are told they have memorable melodies, but I don’t think this is really much of a motivator. It is, supposedly, the “rich texts” that draw their use. (I have my suspicions about this, but let’s accept it as a given for now.)

So… here is where my ‘entry level drug’ metaphor comes in.

What is the rationale for legalizing marijuana? Usually it goes something like this: not addictive, harmless, some actual benefits, doesn’t lead to other drug use. The argument against legalizing it usually disagrees strenuously with that last point, even if other arguments can be said to be true.

Back to music… We are talking about an argument here that using sanitized SG music will lead to harder drugs… er… music, of which we definitely don’t approve.

What do you think about that argument? I have said that I think it is quite likely true. (I think I am agreeing with Scott Aniol and Mark Minnick here, but you will have to check out their material.)

I would be interested in hearing other opinions about this.

~~~

Now a few last disclaimers:

  1. Local churches have the right to make their own decisions.
  2. I don’t think we are talking about sin here (i.e., not ‘right’ vs. ‘wrong’). Rather, I think this is a wisdom question, which may have moral overtones (i.e., it is ‘wise’ or ‘unwise’).
  3. I am asking this question of people who would share my presupposition that the unsanitized versions of SG type music is unacceptable for Christians at any time. Those who disagree with that presupposition really don’t need to comment. Your points will be irrelevant to the topic.

Ok, thoughts?

don_sig2

Comments

  1. Don,

    I thought the most telling part of the whole Minnick series was the Wed-night follow up session where he had the congregation sing, impromptu and without words or music, Christ Alone. His pianist played the song without the music in front of him, or even knowing he was going to be asked to do so, and the congregation sang it by memory (I think). Here’s my point – everyone knows these songs already. It would be one thing if not using these texts and tunes effectively shielded the congregation from knowing about them, or getting interested in more of their songs, but the cat is already out of the bag. Same goes for his argument about not selling lots of Piper in his bookstore. Everyone already knows about Piper, can go to his website, can buy his books, and read blogs that extol his writings. I think the answer is to teach discernment. Explain why we use sanitized versions. Explain why we don’t embrace everything Piper writes or stands for.

    A few years ago I would have said the same thing about his issue as Minnick and Scott. It’s the type of argument that resonates with me at a certain level. My thinking has changed, though, because of what I just said. I do agree, though, that not all the SG, Getty-type music/texts are uniformly great. They all start to sound the same after a while.

    • Hi Andy

      Interesting observation.

      Well, to counter, couldn’t one say that if the local church establishes a policy against a particular approach, they would be teaching discernment?

      If we turn the matter to books and bookstores, you wouldn’t advocate the selling of Rick Warren or Bill Hybels’ material simply because the cat is out of the bag and they can get it easily from other sources, would you?

      It is possible that the problem is that pastors and churches haven’t been teaching discernment for far too long already.

      As to “they all sound the same after a while”, I have heard that of other musicians as well. I think that most musicians have only one or two GREAT songs in them, if any at all, but they have to eat so they keep churning out more of the same.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  2. There are lots of ways to teach discernment. It may backfire in other ways, though, by perhaps teaching an over-restrictive approach to ministry. I thought it was interesting what Minnick said about occasionally breaking a policy to teach people that this is a wisdom issue not a black and white Biblical issue.

    There are some guys that I probably wouldn’t sell their books no matter what. Warren and Hybels might be in that category. I don’t expect them to write something that I think would be so helpful that I’d want as many in the church to be exposed to it as possible. If they did, and it was very well-known, then maybe I would think about it. Lots of variables to consider with different authors. Same goes with music.

    Part of my reaction to the whole SG music question may be due to the fact that I was first exposed to the sanitized versions. That’s all I knew. When Minnick played their works with their original style, I was really taken aback (and so were my kids!).

  3. David Barnhart says:

    Don,

    I would say that a church is teaching discernment by “establishing a policy” only if they continually teach that such policies (as distinct from policies based directly on scripture) result from application and at the same time, show (for the sake of those who haven’t yet heard it) how the application is done, so those same people will be able to learn how to make the application themselves. Also, it should be kept in an “application” section of policies that is clearly distinct from those based directly on scripture/doctrine. Otherwise, the reasons for the policy fade into obscurity, and the policy becomes true “because it just *is* true,” leaving any discernment that would have been taught by the wayside. That’s just human nature.

    Regarding the selling or recommendation of material that doesn’t agree 100% with a church’s or other organization’s position, obviously, the farther away the material, the less likely it is to be useful, and a cutoff has to be made. There is probably *some* useful material in Hybels’ or Warren’s writings, but the chaff-wheat ratio would be a lot higher than with Piper. I think the more that’s true, commensurately better would have to be the discernment of those to whom you are recommending the material. Those who sit consistently under Mark Minnick’s teachings probably can greatly benefit from Piper, Dever, etc., whereas even what is true in Warren or Hybels can just as easily be gleaned from better sources as you say, with much less need for caveats. But you are right — it would come down to a judgment call, not a simple hard and fast line.

    “Sounding the same” can certainly be due to lack of original ideas, but it can also be due to lack of understanding while listening. I know plenty of people who think most of Mozart or Bach sounds the same (within their sub-genres). As someone who listens to a lot of both those composers, I would strongly disagree in most cases, and I’m not exactly schooled in music. If people say that about recognized musical geniuses, it’s almost certain they will say that of things written by any lesser mortals. FWIW, I agree with Andy about the SG music I have seen, but I would have to say the same about music I have seen from more fundamental publishers as well. Some is great, and much will be forgotten in time.

  4. I think the “entry-level drug” argument will probably suffer the way most “slippery slope” arguments do: someone can always cite themselves or someone else as an exception.

    Is discernment best taught by saying you’re “against” something? Does the idea of discernment include a certain amount of wiggle room for different judgments? I don’t really know, exactly.

    If we were talking of theological heresy (which is, by definition, the ultimate wrong), then the answer is yes to being against things and no to differing judgments. We’ve seen that working out since the days of Marcion and Arius.

    But everyone admits that this is not the same as heresy (see disclaimer 2 in this post!).

  5. Rory says:

    Thanks for the post Dad

    I just thought I would add an observation of mine that perhaps you and others would comment on. (I think it reflects a bit of what Andy was pointing out; however I disagree with Andy’s conclusion).

    You said:
    “…the argument goes this way: if a church decides to use a ‘sanitized’ version of SG type music, it will very likely follow that many a young person in that church will be leaving church with the “unsanitized” versions playing on his/her car stereo or ipod.”

    I tend to think:
    If a church decides to use a ‘santized’ version of SG type music, many of the young people who ALREADY are playing the ‘unsanitized’ versions on their car stereo or ipod just laugh to themselves thinking, “Once again, this generation too old fashioned. Their trying to use yesterday’s music with today’s hit songs.”

    The young person then continues to play his ‘unsantized’ SG with absolutely no thought of discernment and if questioned about it would point to the ‘santized’ SG in his church as justification for his decision.

    Sadly, I think many in our leadership almost assume that the young people of today are naturally teachable and want to learn discernment. Perhaps they are teachable and want to learn discernment, but they are generally not interested in learning discernment from the older generation of fundamentalists.

    What do they see in older fundamentalists allowing ‘sanitized’ SG into their churches? A half-hearted compromise, perhaps…Would they have a point in calling that standard “a joke”?

    That is one of the many reasons why I agree that our current fundamental leadership needs to take a clear stand on this issue so that our young people have a standard before them that they may choose to ignore but they cannot use to justify their action nor can they mock it for being gutless and outdated.

    Just a thought…from an Oxling :-)

  6. I’ve listened to all of Mark Minnick’s recorded comments on this. (good friend of my family, awesome man, I respect him very highly, used to call him uncle ect.)

    I would just make the observation that most all of the hymns we sing are sanitized versions of something. He gave the example of Amazing Grace in his Wednesday night discussion. He said look: In Christ Alone: great lyrics. Amazing Grace. . . hmmm. . . those lyrics are actually weaker doctrinally, but we still sing it. Amazing Grace has been set to rock music. Johnny Cash has a version of it. Therefore, does the fact that other people have maybe ruined the tune mean that no church can sing it anymore? I would hope not.

    Furthermore, does the fact that John Newton being a slave trader (even as a Christian) mean that if we sing his songs that we are now associated with slave trade? Thinking people don’t make that association.

    Granted, there are things about Sov Grace that I disagree with (and passionately) but the fact that I sing their songs, and praise God with spirit and truth, does not ever mean that I fully endorse their theology and practice. If we were to go by that standard consistently, many hymns of the faith would be out the window.

    • Hi all:

      Been in a conference meeting all day, so late in posting the comments. Thanks to all, including my two genius sons.

      @Shayne,

      Thanks for the comment. In all honesty, I think you are reaching a good bit with Amazing Grace. I wrote Mark about that comparison itself, I think he wasn’t really being fair in saying it was weaker doctrinally because it is talking about a different doctrine. The fact that people have used it in ungodly ways is really irrelevant. We are talking about sanitizing the music portion of an otherwise unobjectionable song. The objection to the song is the music portion, the way it was written and the way it is originally and most commonly available. If you want to reverse the distinction, and say any song Johnny Cash (or whoever) jazzes up is out of your repertoire, be my guest!

      BTW, I met your sister this week at this conference. She is doing a great job with the Frazor team.

      @Dave

      On the “sound the same” point, point well taken regarding familiarity, but I would also counterpoint that most Christian music is not written on the same level of sophistication as Mozart and Bach (and they had their less valuable parts of their repertoire also). But hymns and other Christian songs are so short, it is really hard to be consistently original. At least that is how it appears to me, very much a non-expert.

      ~~~

      @All again,

      I do want to repeat that I am asking questions here. I tend to be against using this music because of ‘connotation’ even more than ‘denotation’. That’s why I would probably not choose to use it in my own ministry. I know where it comes from, I don’t want to lead my people into any sort of approval of that source, so because of its connotation, I think I would pass. That is not to say that the basic meaning of the music is necessarily bad or even not profitable in some contexts.

      There are many avenues to this debate. We certainly won’t solve them all here, but I just wanted to discuss the subject from a particular perspective for now. I appreciate the thoughts and welcome any other contributions.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  7. Don,

    Then we agree I’m overreaching with Amazing Grace. That’s the point. The point is, there has to be a standard that is applicable to all music we use in church, to all times. If we were to go back to hearing Amazing Grace in the “shaped note” days, we would find it really strange, and difficult to worship to. I’m glad we can adapt music to different congregations’ tastes.

    The only standard I see being used with any consistency in any hymnbook is that of looking at the lyrics and music themselves, and sing them the best way our congregation can.

    • Hi Shayne,

      Objectivity is elusive when it comes to music, I agree. We have made it a policy to only sing songs out of our hymnal or with my prior approval (for music brought in elsewhere). It is not that I am the great expert, far from it, but we want to be careful about associations because we are trying to train our people to be sensitive about associations.

      Our policy does cause me qualms in some ways because we have two Zichterman songs in our hymnal. I try to avoid them as much as I can, because of current associations. I realize that other songs in the hymnal come from suspect people also (Spafford, for example) but they aren’t current, their errors are long gone and have no impact today.

      So… I wouldn’t use some of the current music because of its associations and what I am trying to teach our people. But it isn’t always easy to implement.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  8. Shayne says:

    Does that mean you’re limited to dead white guys? No hymns by Chris Anderson until he dies and can’t possibly become a heretic? My concern is that calling something a sin or wrong that isn’t, can be dangerous to a body of believers down the road.

    It’s great to be careful about associations, but I would encourage finding a consistent principle, that you can explain to the congregation, and they can understand and implement in their own lives. If you just told them a little disclaimer every once in a while that just because we sing a song, doesn’t mean we approve of everything they do, I think a congregation could appreciate and implement that. Mine does.

  9. David Barnhart says:

    The “Amazing Grace” issue is an interesting one. At first glance, it does appear to be more of the “reverse” where a good song is “unsanitized” and then used in a bad way. However, as America, at least, becomes more and more post Christian, there are going to be people in our churches who prior to being in church have heard only the Johnny Cash, Elvis, etc. versions of that song before they hear it used in a worship service. They’re going to hear it the same way those who have heard the original SG music hear the versions we use in church. I’m not sure what the answer to this is — I’m only pointing it out because it needs to be taken into account when musical policies are being formed.

    Personally, I’m of the belief that no hard and fast lines will work in all cases for music, and that fact needs to be admitted, and the people taught that lines will move because of associational issues. They should see that it’s just not as simple as saying “what was bad before still is” or “what was good before still is,” like we can with direct scriptural teaching. Paul seemed as if he was all over the place regarding circumcision, eating meat offered to idols, and even whether he would baptize depending on the circumstances, and I don’t think it’s because he was wishy-washy. Circumstances sometimes do change what is done, and it seems to me that music works pretty much the same way for us. When you decide on music beyond the hymnal, you are probably going to make decisions that seem arbitrary or inconsistent to some, depending on your reasoning, but I don’t see how that can be avoided.

    • To Dave (and all)

      Personally, I’m of the belief that no hard and fast lines will work in all cases for music, and that fact needs to be admitted, and the people taught that lines will move because of associational issues.

      Exactly. This is exactly right.

      I would add that we would always oppose certain styles of music because of what I believe the styles inherently communicate. But individual pieces of music, done in acceptable styles, may also be rejected because of associational reasons.

      To Jerry

      Unfortunately, the Spaffords had serious problems after he wrote the famous hymn. Here is a link that outlines it.

      To Shayne

      Well, one thing about using outside music is I am cheap, and I don’t like to buy it. So the hymnal saves me a lot of trouble that way!

      But as Dave said, we are trying to express a consistent policy that may change in application over time, but is in itself consistent with what we believe best practices to be.

      I do wonder at the pressure from some to sing the SG songs, etc. Why must they be sung? Why them over and above others? What is so critical for our spiritual lives that we use these pieces when they have associations that at best are questionable from a fundamentalist perspective? Unless, of course, you don’t want to have a fundamentalist perspective.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  10. I believe we should critique all the music we listen to, including who wrote it and what it teaches. If it has obvious wrong doctrine or even questionable doctrine, we should stay away from it. If the writer of the song is wacko on doctrine (or perhaps not even saved, or involved in a cult, etc.), we should have nothing to do with it. There are many good songs out there without diving into the dumpster and looking for scraps.

    Curious, what is wrong with Spafford?

  11. Are “entry level drugs” really even “entry level”? I think Duncan made the point first, but I agree that this is a garden-variety slippery slope argument. It’s very rare to find a slippery-slope argument applied properly.

    It’s dangerous to be too strident about slippery slope arguments, because when the kids find out that their friends who did those things were able to pull out of it and come back to orthodoxy, it’s you who lose credibility. And that’s a tragedy if you’re right about so many other things, because you then unwittingly lead to people rejecting the things that you were right about.

    You see this all the time in the testimony of the people who leave IFB churches. A woman tries wearing pants to the office and finds out that it’s not that bad, and eventually ends up flirting with universalism — not because the pants confused her mind, but because she believes that you lied to her and manipulated her about the pants, so (she reasons) you must have been lying about other things.

    I’ve never been to a church that didn’t, at one time or another, have a stupid hymn make it into one of the worship services. A stupid hymn isn’t the end of the world.

    • Hi Joshua,

      Well, I agree that a stupid hymn isn’t the end of the world. I also agree that there are many valid reasons for excluding bad songs from a worship service.

      However, I don’t think this is necessarily a slippery slope argument, even though it is my #1 genius son who first mentioned the term. As I think about it, my provocative subject line is more of an attention getter than a real parallelism. Here’s why: the sanitized SG music is really unobjectionable in itself. The style is fine, the tune and style don’t communicate an ungodly kind of affection (I use that term with some hesitation), the words are obviously fine, nothing wrong with them. On the other hand, I am not about to join the marijuana advocates and say there is anything good about marijuana. So my metaphor is totally flawed right from the start. All it accomplished was to get attention! (Which, of course, was my purpose.)

      And I also don’t think that I am making a slippery slope argument in this way: I am not saying that all people who use a sanitized SG song as a part of their worship are inevitably going to slide into using the wrong sort of music. Most of them probably aren’t. Most of them are, in fact, discerning concerning their own musical choices.

      What I am asking about, however, is whether the use of the sanitized songs might have a dangerous influence on those who are less discerning and want to justify the use of the unsanitized songs. Can’t you see some teenager objecting to his parents criticism of his music by saying, “yeah, well its the same song we sang in church last week”?

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  12. BTW, I completely agree that you should exclude songs that have bad doctrine, and songs that are written by heretics. But I think it’s a terrible idea to use “slippery slope” arguments to exclude them. You just set yourself up for bigger problems, and it’s unnecessary. There are plenty of other valid reasons for excluding bad songs from your worship service.

  13. Thanks Bro Don for the link. I did read the article and wonder how much of it is fact. With that series of losses, it is not hard to imagine a desire to start fresh somewhere else. Regardless of later problems, it does not mean it was not well with his soul in 1873. The concern here seems to be that a cult was started after he moved to Jerusalem – how much of that was a direct result of his beliefs and how much came after by other people?

    • Well, just do a search on Spafford’s name. You will come up with plenty of documentation. He was a bit of a weirdo.

      But that was long ago and far away. The hymn does express a Bible truth, in spite of the weakness of its author.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  14. Keith says:

    According to disclaimer #3, I don’t need to comment. So, if this isn’t relavant to the discussion, feel free to not post or to delete Don. But maybe it will add something to the conversation and thinking.

    I think that an important (maybe the most important) point of contention here is over your (and several others) concern regaring “associations.”

    You wrote: “We want to be careful about associations because we are trying to train our people to be sensitive about associations.”

    Many folks (keep their mouths shut fundamentalists, former fundamentalists, and non-fundamentalists) think that the way you and Minnick think about and approach “associations” in relationship to music and books is misguided at best, impossible to apply consistently, somewhat ridiculous, and very likely counter-productive.

    All this talk of “sanitizing” music is also quite bizzare to those outside your presupposed universe. You guys can say all day long that you aren’t talking about “sin” in this or that area, but your informal lingo betrays that at some deep down level you actually do think it is sin — you think it is dirty. And, this is the “discernment” that will pass along to your people.

    If you didn’ think it dirty, you all wouldn’t pick the euphamism “sanitized” for what is going on with this music in your circles. Instead you’d be talking about appropriateness of the music itself for the task/circumstance (blue grass is appropriate for a square dance not for a funeral, etc.). You’d be talking about maturing the taste of your congregation (not in the sense of preference but in the sense of growing toward an objective good), etc. Instead, you talk about sanitizing and associations.

    Now, I do think that your son has a great point about the need for leaders to take clear — and sensible — stands on these matters. The whole sanitizing thing will make young people groan. It won’t lead them into less “sanitized” music — it will just make them think that the leadership is clueless.

    Witness new evangelicalism, the young fundamentalists, etc.

    Keith

    • Hi Keith,

      well, you waited long enough that we don’t need to worry about disclaimer # 3 now.

      You may be right that it is impossible to be completely consistent in associations. I don’t think that is really an argument against being careful in associations, however.

      Regarding “sanitized music” and sin. Well, the point is that I do think the unsanitized versions of these songs is sin. I think the Sovereign Grace people, the Getty’s and Townends are sinful in the style of music they produce. I don’t think the poetry itself is sinful, I don’t think the basic melodies are sinful, but I think the style of the original compositions are sinful. That is the point of this discussion.

      I would venture to say that most of those fundamentalist churches that do use some of this music in their churches (in the sanitized versions) would be unwilling to allow the music in the form it was originally written. That unwillingness is, I think, because most of those using it would say the original form (original style) is sinful and wrong, not just inappropriate.

      Consequently, some of us wonder about the wisdom of using the sanitized forms at all. Some of us think that is dangerous because it makes discernment increasingly difficult, especially for the spiritually immature.

      You know, I might eat a piece of bread that has a little mold on it. Just pick off the mold and spread the butter… a few stray spores won’t hurt. But there comes a point when that piece of bread is so moldy, I’ll just throw it out. I think that’s what we are talking about.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  15. David Foote says:

    Don,
    Is there not a sense of deception in the cleaned up versions. If one can slip one past the old guard, then there may be a sense of ‘putting one over” on the old fundamentalists. I see this as the steak in the garbage analogy. If you can frame the steak and cover up the garbage with a thin cloth of ‘worship’ then probably many would be willing to partake. Once the garbage is exposed, then one has to make a choice. As one who completely opposes CCM, but has liked some of the Getty songs, I do feel somewhat tricked. Yes, I should have better investigated the source, but still. When listening to them, the words were ok, the sound was ok… use it. No longer. I’ve seen the garbage since the 70’s and don’t want it in my church.

    • Hi David

      Yes, I’d have to agree. The shift is subtle. While we do have some good brethren who disagree and have used the cleaned up versions, there are signs that some of those who have done so are shifting further than their original stated intentions. Best to stay away from this music for now, in my opinion.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  16. Sophia says:

    I know this is an old post, but it still is of interest to me. I hesitate to leave a comment here, especially since we are now 4 years beyond this conversation. However, I now realize that you are closely associated with the FBFI and also, it seems, have children at a favored FBFI institution (i.e. you have influence beyond what others might have).

    I agree completely with you as you say, “Consequently, some of us wonder about the wisdom of using the sanitized forms at all. Some of us think that is dangerous because it makes discernment increasingly difficult, especially for the spiritually immature” and “The shift is subtle. While we do have some good brethren who disagree and have used the cleaned up versions, there are signs that some of those who have done so are shifting further than their original stated intentions. Best to stay away from this music for now, in my opinion.”

    Do you still hold to these views, and/or are you okay with the shifting that continues in our traditional FBFI institutions and churches? I understand if you’d rather not post my comment. I really just want you to know I am praying and watching for there to be a leader that will not get carried along with the shifting and provide a counterbalance voice. Many if not most FBFIish churches (that once would have amened your post) do now willingly and openly sing sanctified SG/Getty. Institutions use it in group worship settings now under the guise of “teaching discernment”. Who is it edifying? There are those who disagree and go back to listen to the unsanctified form…there are those who disagree and would still rather not be familiar with these groups songs…and are grieved at the lack of deference now shown…so much so that student bodies are being recorded singing these songs for consideration in an upcoming cd release and Getty songs are being made the focal point song of Missions Week and Christmas programs.

    I would not be so disheartened if the current music philosophies didn’t continue to use the traditional reasonings for NOT using these selections. Instead we constituents and parents of prospective students are left, well, grieved and confused. Many would be like me, reading these older posts, seeing the continued shifting, and simply wondering…do you still believe and where do we go from here in responding rightly withing our churches and schools.

    • Sophia,

      I still hold these views, but it is a reality that other fundamentalist leaders do not see these things exactly the same way.

      I am not really keen on seeing Christian colleges making the shifts you mention. The problem is that there are many areas where we see little compromises slipping in to fundamentalist institutions, this being one of them, but perhaps not the most egregious. It is almost like the battle has to be fought on a hundred fronts at once, sometimes seemingly lesser areas (like this one) get less attention, and there is almost nothing one can do.

      We can keep talking and writing, though, and hope to have some influence. Perhaps if enough voices are raised, some will listen and policy can be changed (or some kind of fundamentalist consensus gained).

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  17. Sophia says:

    Thanks so much for the graciousness and tone of your response. It is awkward to see these “hundred fronts” and not how/where to address concerns without causing offense or looking too picky. To me, the most discouraging thing is to see an unwillingness to acknowledge that we are even indeed “slipping.”

    Reading over the old FBFI resolutions (which I do at times to simply to remind myself that I’m not reinventing history on some of the resolutions/stands of the past) can be frustrating. If the FBFI churches/leadership as a whole approve of some of the shifts, I would rather they update or clarify the stands instead of leaving the rest of us baffled on the “marching orders”. That leads me to wondering if they even see the shifting or inconsistencies that those in the pew might see.

    Anyway, thank you for reassuring me that I haven’t completely lost my mind. I guess I sound radical when at times I think that the separatists may have to separate at some point. Until then…

  18. Brian says:

    Sophia, Thank you for posting your concerns about this issue and your desire to not move on this issue. As a pastor of a church and a blogger, it is refreshing to see that others “get it” when it comes to this music and abstaining from it.

  19. Sophia says:

    I just saw this as I was writing another comment. Thank you for the encouragement. I do have an Elijah complex these days, though, as in “I’m all alone.” I have been told (concerning the student body recording mentioned above) that there were employees who chose not to sing on the Getty songs. Maybe we’re not alone with our concerns, only that we just don’t know what to do with them.

    • I think there are two views of this in fundamentalism. The more conservative side frowns on this practice, while others seem to be ok with it. It does create some uneasiness.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3