To my faithful readers, fellow pastors, concerned parents and trusted friends:
I have learned it is possible, even probable, there are many like me who have, too late for some of our families, college students and teens, come to the sad realization we have been theologically and philosophically snuckered, hoodwinked, and bambozzled by men and institutions we trusted with those most precious to us…our children and congregations.
For well over a decade, perhaps 15 years or more, there has been a subtle drift in our fundamental churches and colleges from the musical philosophies and separatist standards we were taught by godly professors who, in their time were sounding the alarm against a fairly new phenomena labeled “Rock” by the world. Looking back, I doubt there were many Christian professors or musicians in the biblically fundamental churches of the 1960’s and 1970’s who would have envisioned the day every imaginable genre of music would be accepted in church, including Rap and Hip Hop.
I often reflect on the message of the preachers with black-rimmed glasses in the late 70’s and 80’s who warned, “As goes the music, so goes the message!” I witnessed the growth of the charismatic movement in the late 1970’s and the influence their leaders had in churches through media outlets (radio and television). The charismatic influence in music styles and over music publishers is an undeniable, historical reality. In fact, through organizations like the Baker’s PTL Club, Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, the “Jimmy Swaggart Ministries”, and charismatic publications like Charisma Magazine and its promotion of the genre known as “Christian Contemporary Music” (CCM), a non-traditional (and I believe unbiblical) Christianity became hip in the world. Of course, it is a matter of record that many of the pioneers of today’s charismatic movement as well as CCM music, have had reputations scarred by moral and financial scandals.
Biblically, independent fundamental pastors, churches, and schools were able to keep at bay the destructive inroads CCM and charismatic theology were having in other ministries until a new style of charismatic rose in the 1990’s and the new millennium. Charismatic preachers and authors like C.J. Mahaney (Sovereign Grace Ministries), the popular preacher\author John Piper, and teacher and author James MacDonald have in the past decade given the charismatics broad acceptance; so much so that self-described “young fundamentalists”, “progressives”, and “conservative evangelical” pastors go to “T4G Conferences” (Together for the Gospel) and encourage their churches and institutions to follow the same T4G charismatic headliners.
Today’s blog posting serves as an introduction to a series of concerns I hope to state and address in the days and weeks ahead. I am troubled that I represent too many preachers who have been silent for too long in expressing grave concerns that the musical winds of change (i.e. restyled Sovereign Grace music for example), introduced into our homes, churches and schools by evangelists, preachers and institutions we trusted, has come at the sacrifice of not only our unity, but also our discernment musically and theologically (since Piper and Mahaney both represent not only charismatic, but also Calvinist doctrine, it is no wonder Calvinism has become trendy for fundamental Bible colleges, seminaries and their graduates who are steering fundamental churches down that same path).
Sadly, it may be too late for many of the families in our churches whose young people went off to trusted institutions of historic biblical fundamentalism only to realize too late their children were being indoctrinated with an attitude of piety that grows out of a subtle criticism of their homes, pastors and churches. Too many of our schools have failed us while too many of our churches have been lost to the “progressive conservatives” who are unsettled in their theology and dishonest about their philosophy of ministry. Emboldened by professors and administrators who have forgotten they serve at the trust of fundamental pastors and churches, we have all but lost a generation of college youth who were modeled in college and seminary a hyper-critical spirit that shows disdain for elders, churches and parents.
“Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me!”
To be continued….
With the heart of a shepherd,
Pastor Travis D. Smith
Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith