Musical Worship Teams - Effeminate Worship - II Kenneth Sublett, Piney.com, Hohenwald, TennesseeGod is Spirit and is not worshipped with our hands or bodies. Players of drama caused tension in early modern hierarchies as they blurred the constructed boundaries of gender, class, morality and truth. This still happens and people are involved with the "idolatry of talent.
It is true that we cannot judge motives and we wouldn't even try. Our goal is to look at the clear facts of the Bible along with ancient and modern pagan views to determine whether Christ was wrong and we can, after all, worship Him with our hands, feet and entire body.
We have added more new wineskin and the effeminacy of song, instrument and dance of ancient Dionysus worship which the Jewish clergy tried to force upon Lord Jesus Christ. Click Away now or later.
In the New Teatament:
When the professionals mourning women found a dead girl -- like a dead church -- they engaged in musical magic. This was to create false emotions and to soothe the spirit of the dead girl so that she would not harm them in her ghost form. In all ancient history the most elemental goal was a second incarnation.
However, unlike dead churches, the girl was not dead beyond redemption. Therefore, there was no place for artificial stimulation as long as there was hope of revival through the Words and touch of Jesus. Now, you might call yourself a "musical worship team" or a "musical dance team" but the inspired voice of Spirit is that you may just be minstrels:
And when Jesus came into the rulers house, and saw the minstrels (flute players) and the people making a noise, Matthew 9:23 (Music is always classed as noise in the O. T.)
He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. Matthew 9:24
But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. Matthew 9:25
In English, a minstrel is "a class of lyric poets and singers who traveled from place to place singing and reciting, usually to the accompaniment of a harp or lute." A minstrel show involves "a comic variety show presented by a company in blackface, who sing songs, tell jokes, etc."
Under the direction or perhaps by the hands of Jesus these musical performers were tossed out of the room. Lenski notes that the healing work of Christ could not be done in this noisey situation and Jesus ejected the musical worship team.
Cast out is:
Ekballo (g1544) ek-bal'-lo; from 1537 and 906; to eject (lit. or fig.): - bring forth, cast (forth, out), drive (out), expel, leave, pluck (pull, take, thrust) out, put forth (out), send away (forth, out).
Ballo (g906) bal'-lo; a prim. verb; to throw (in various applications, more or less violent or intense): - arise, cast (out), * dung, lay, lie, pour, put (up), send, strike, throw (down), thrust. (denotes a deliberate hurl) Comp. 4496.
These professional sentiment jerkers had a major role to play in "marrying and giving in marriage" and at funerals and later history identified them as "soothsayers and foul ministers of the funeral." The instrument or "weapon" had a long history:
"Long before Israel's existence, we find in Akkadian tablets the word halhallatu for 'double clarinet,' and we have many ancient representations of this instruments... Extremely popular for secular purposes, the clarinet was played at weddings, banquets, and funerals.
At funerals it served as accompaniment to the customary wailing women; this is the meaning of Matt. 9:23.
The chief characteristics of the clarinet were: popularity, juxtaposition with hand drum and lyre, expression of extreme emotionalism, and symbolic meaning of fertility and resurrection." (Int. Std. Bible Dict., p. 472).
Aeschylus Suppliant Maidens reads:
"So let him look upon human outrageousness--in what way it shoots up men in their wooing of us, sprouted from thoughts of evil intent, having a frenzied purpose as its irresistible spur, and deluded, turning its thoughts to folly.
Such piteous strains of woe I utter in my pain, now shrill, now deep, blended with falling tears--Alas, alas! groans appropriate to funeral wails; though I live, I chant my own dirge. I invoke Apia's hilly land--for well, O land,
You understand my barbarous speech--,
and many times I lay my hands upon my Sidonian veil and tear its linen fabric to shreds.
Sacrifices in satisfaction of vows are given freely to the gods when all fares well, if only there be escape from death. Alas, alas, perplexing troubles! Where will this wave of trouble bear me away?
Even after Jesus had given them a visual aid in casting the professional musicians out of His presence, the people still hoped that He and John were available.
And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? Matthew 11:7
Ochlos (g3793) okh'-los; from a der. of 2192 (mean. a vehicle); a throng (as borne along); by impl. the rabble; by extens. a class of people; fig. a riot: - company, multitude, number (of people), people, press.
Shaken by the winds which should not be navigated was:
Saleuo (g4531) sal-yoo'-o; from 4535; to waver, i.e. agitate, rock, topple or (by impl.) destroy; fig. to disturb, incite: - move, shake (together), which can [-not] be shaken, stir up.
Experts will teach you how to navigate these ever-changing winds but Christ beat them to it. He gave a temporary level of non-career Apostle-Prophets, Evangelists and Pastor-Teachers to take care of God's people--
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:13
Maturity is "mental and moral character." The result was that we not be blown about running to and fro depending on the winds of doctrine. We are not to Navigate the Winds of change: we are simply to remain ashore and not get out in dangerous water:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight (playing, gambling, fraud) of men, and cunning (sophistry, craftsmanship) craftiness whereby they lie in wait (methodology) to deceive; Ephesians 4:14
But speaking the truth in love (true doctrine and profession), may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: Ephesians 4:15
No mature speaker for God is a "Shake, Rattle, Rock and Roll or Rap" authority. The flocking Jews -- like modern wanderers -- were really looking for entertainment. And everyone knew that entertainment, like the final act of worship with the priestesses and male prostitutes in the pagan temples, meant that John might not be an angel. Jesus read their minds and asked:
But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings houses. Mat 11:8
Soft is from the Greek:
Malakos (g3120) mal-ak-os'; of uncert. affin.; soft, i.e. fine (clothing); figurative: a catamite (male prostitute): - effeminate, soft.
Malakia (g2119) mal-ak-ee'-ah; from 3120; softness, i.e. enervation (debility): - disease.
Arnobius identifies another "mark" of the beast:
Catamitus is carried off to be a favourite and cup-bearer; and Fabius, that he may be called Jove's darling, is branded on the soft parts, and marked in the hinder.
The perverted priesthood sought out Jesus also to "triumph over" Him to make Him sing and dance the feminine ritual of defeate:
Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish? Psalm 41: 5
And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad, he telleth it. Psalm 41: 6
All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt. Psalm 41: 7
An evil disease (uncleanness), say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more. Psalm 41: 8
Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. Psalm 41: 9
But thou, O Lord, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them. Psalm 41: 10
By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. Psalm 41: 11
Triumph means to play instruments and "make a joyful noise before the Lord." This was the Israelite War Chant.
However, in victory of Jesus it was written:
- I will groan with the zither of lamentation
- in all grief-stricken mourning and bitter complaint
- until iniquity and wickedness are consumed
- and the disease-bringing scourge is no more.
When they tried to get Jesus into the choral dance, they were fulfilling a form of worship common to all pagan worship. For instance, we know from Ezekiel 8:14 that the Hebrew women "lamented for Tammuz" which would have been upon the flute. Tammuz and his savior, Asherah or Ishtar, were involved as the men held their "sun rise service" bowing down to the east while the women were performing:
"Asherah (symbolized by errect poles with fertility symbols pouring out the top): She is the Queen of Heaven, in other languages and ages identified as Ashtoreth, Athirat, Astarte, and Ishtar. Yahweh, the Hebrew God elevated to become the sole deity , was Her consort.
Her "male" priestesses were known as kelabim, the faithful "dogs" of the Goddess,
- who practiced divinatory arts,
- danced in processions,
- and served as hierodules, qedeshim,
- in the company of other priestesses.
Elements of the goddess worship were largely erased in a cultural purge c. 630 BCE by King Yosiah, at the behest of Yahweh's priests, who required supremacy.
This was identical to the Dionysus or ZOE worship which can be found in many churches each Sunday. However, this was the song and dance the Jews tried to impose upon Jesus:
"I would argue that in Greek tragedy the cross-dressed actor was crucial, a sign of the conventional nature of the drama. Male playing female is inevitably distanced from the role and makes it clear that
the role of the woman is an idealization, not a realization.
"In addition the male playing female indicates a possible relevance of the form to dionysus, a god associated with masks and characterized by softness, woman's curls and dress (Bacchae) and worshipped with transvestite ceremonies at the Oschophoria (Seaford; Segal 1982: 10-20, 158- 68, 214).
I am sorry but I just couldn't sit still and watch male entertainers trying to "move me into the presence of God" with song and music! No. No. No!
Told you: music makes you whine.
Plato in the Republic warns:
"Now when a man abandons himself to music to play upon him and pour into his soul as it were through the funnel of his ears those sweet, soft, and dirge-like airs of which we were just now speaking, and gives his entire time to the warblings and blandishments of song,
the first result is that the principle of high spirit (temperament), if he had it, is softened like iron and is made useful instead of useless and brittle.
But when he continues the practice without remission and is spellbound,
the effect begins to be that he melts and liquefies till he completely dissolves away his spirit,
cuts out as it were the very sinews of his soul and makes of himself a 'feeble warrior.' "Assuredly," he said.
"And if," said I, "he has to begin with a spiritless nature he reaches this result quickly,
but if high-spirited, by weakening the spirit he makes it unstable.
Heredotus explains how Cyrus was told how to neuter captives:
Grant, then, forgiveness to the Lydians, and to make sure of their never rebelling against thee, or alarming thee more,
send and forbid them to keep any weapons of war, command them to wear tunics under their cloaks, and to put buskins upon their legs,
and make them bring up their sons to cithern-playing (Kitharizein), singing (psallein), and shop-keeping (Hucksterism).
So wilt thou soon see them become women instead of men,
and there will be no more fear of their revolting from thee."
And Jesus agreed with Plato by identifying His generation as every generation where the love for the Word -- as it has been delivered -- has been lost and can never be recovered. Never:
But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets (public places to attract the masses) , and calling unto their fellows, Matthew 11:16
And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. Matthew 11:17
Early scholars understood that all pagans believed that they could appease God (and the contributors) with "booms and clangs" (1 Corinthians 13) of drums and wind instruments. The races of the speakers were combats just as surely as were the horse races. The theatrical plays or drama worship teams were surely going to revive the church with a feminine principle "flouting the patriarchal order."
However, rather than being jealous over the acclaimed ritual combatants, Jesus just pitied them as children playing musical games. Jealous? No. Just blushingly embarassed our of four skins that grown men would fall off the holy "mountain" and down into the dark valleys of Cain and Canaanite rituals.
Arnobius understood the facts:
"you are persuaded that, by the crash of cymbals and the sound of pipes, by horse-races and theatrical plays, the gods are both delighted and affected and that their resentful feelings conceived before are mollified by these... we judge it incredible that... they should be pleased and delighted with those things which a wise man laughs at, and which do not seem to have any charm
except to little children." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 533).
"Plays" or "dance" is the feminine or effeminate worship team backed by five Asherah poles or columns. This was the place for the performance of comedy or drama which was all in the honor of Dionysus. (To see the modern parallel)
Orcheomai (g3738) or-kheh'-om-ahee; (a row or ring); to dance (from the ranklike or regular motion): - dance Orcheomai
To show how insulting this was, the only other person who performed this mind-maddening dance for a man was the daughter of Herodias -- real men would not perform:
But when Herods birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. Matthew 14:6
This didn't just cause Herod to approve of the gifted performance. Rather, to be pleased was to be "excited out of his pants." It meant "to raise the voice, to be in suspense, to sail away, to weigh anchor." Now, Herod was willing to flout even his own "partiarchal" order for that gal.
Eating, drinking and being merry was symptomatic of pagan worship. However, Jesus concluded:
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. Matthew 11:18
The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children. Matthew 11:19
This means: "You are liars."
Jesus would associate with anyone to teach them but He was not buddy-buddies with the publicans and sinners. Of the chorus we know much:
Euripides Helen: "When she made an end to banquets for gods and the race of men, Zeus spoke out, appeasing the Mother's gloomy wrath:
"Go, holy Graces, go and with a loud cry take from Demeter's angry heart her grief for the maiden; and you,
Muses, with song and dance." Then Kypris, fairest of the blessed gods, first took up the
rumbling voice of bronze and the drum with tight- stretched skin; and the goddess smiled, and
received in her hand the deep-toned flute, pleased with its loud note.
Euripides understood why the professional males recruited professional females. It was somewhat like building a Tower of Babylon. If you hire enough "staff" you can sit in the temple at the top and have all of the slaves (priests, prophets, musicians and prostitutes) do all of the work while you mediate between God and mankind as chief-minister:
Euripides Ion I am ashamed before the god of many hymns, if he, the sleepless night watcher, shall see the torch procession on the twentieth day, beside the springs with lovely dances, when the starry sky of Zeus
also joins in the dance, and the moon dances, and the fifty daughters of Nereus, in the sea and the swirls of ever-flowing rivers, celebrating in their dance the maiden with golden crown and her revered mother;
where this vagabond of Phoebus' hopes to rule, entering upon the labor of others."
Aristotle Politics said: "And let us add that the flute happens to possess the additional property telling against its use in education that playing it prevents the employment of speech.
"Hence former ages rightly rejected its use by the young and the free, although at first they had employed it.
"For as they came to have more leisure because of their wealth and grew more high-spirited and valorous, both at a still earlier date and because after the Persian Wars they were filled with pride as a result of their achievements,
"they began to engage in all branches of learning, making no distinction but pursuing research further. Because of this they even included flute-playing among their studies; for in Sparta a certain chorus-leader played the flute to his chorus himself,
"and at Athens it became so fashionable that almost the majority of freemen went in for flute-playing, as is shown by the tablet erected by Thrasippus after having provided the chorus for Ecphantides.
"But later on it came to be disapproved of as a result of actual experience, when men were more capable of judging what music conduced to virtue and what did not." Plato Ion
True ladership means stopping a practice before it can get started.
You have noticed many preachers and song leaders don't survive long before they fall into a self-induced hypnotic trance as if they were drunk. They are really into a charismatic fit or mental breakdown which Paul warned about to the Corinthians, Ephesians and Colossians in connection with music. You have to be a bit "tetched" to presume to perform the worship for someone else or to bring them into the presence of God; your singing, dancing or playing is effective on the audience; it is also effective upon you and you slowly float away on waving arms and even get lifted up on your tippy toes. This is ancient but modern possession:
Plato Ion: "The Muse inspires men herself, and then by means of these inspired persons the inspiration spreads to others, and holds them in a connected chain. For all the good epic poets utter all those fine poems
- not from art,
- but as inspired and possessed,
- and the good lyric poets likewise;
"just as the Corybantian worshippers
- do not dance when in their senses,
- so the lyric poets do not indite those fine songs in their senses,
but when they have started on the melody and rhythm they begin to be frantic, and it is under possession--as the bacchants are possessed,
and not in their senses, when they draw honey and milk from the rivers--that the soul of the lyric poets does the same thing, by their own report.
"For the poets tell us, I believe, that the songs they bring us are the sweets they cull from honey-dropping founts in certain gardens and glades of the Muses--like the bees, and winging the air as these do. And what they tell is true.
For a poet is a light and winged and sacred thing, and
is unable ever to indite until he has been inspired and put out of his senses,
and his mind is no longer in him:
- every man, whilst he retains possession of that,
- is powerless to indite a verse or chant an oracle.
"Seeing then that it is not by art that they compose and utter so many fine things about the deeds of men -- as you do about Homer--
but by a divine dispensation, each is able only to compose that to which the Muse has stirred him, this man dithyrambs, another laudatory odes, another dance-songs, another epic or else iambic verse; but each is at fault in any other kind.
For not by art do they utter these things,
but by divine influence;
since, if they had fully learnt by art to speak on one kind of theme, they would know how to speak on all.
And for this reason
God takes away the mind of these men
and uses them as his ministers,
just as he does soothsayers and godly seers,
Note: The Corybantes were priests of Cybele or Rhea [Zoe], mother of Zeus and other Olympian gods, and she was worshipped with wild music and frenzied dancing which, like the bacchic revels or orgies of women in honor of Dionysus,
carried away the participants despite and beyond themselves. Cf. Eurip. Bacchae.
In the case of Israel, when they demanded to worship like the nations, God sent the king his own seers and his own musicians. The result was that they were carried away, lost their senses and most could never return to God.
Oh, I know "we don't do pagan worship but we just use pagan methods to worship our three true gods." Well, that is what Israel claimed when their musical worship teams sentenced Israel to captivity and death.
Being a little bit carried away or possessed is like being a little bit drunk or a little bit pregnant.
The temple in Jerusalem was overwhelmed with Babylonian and Greek influence. Therefore, even if they could "move into the presence of God they wouldn't recognize him." They would confuse their own feelings of "sex, fight or flight" caused by music and dance such as at the perverted Feast of Tabernacles as the presence of God. It would not educate but exhilarate. The same influence plagued Corinth where their music and speaking in tongues was totally divorced from the Word of God and was identical to the paganism out of which they had just come. Of the wineskin worship in Ephesus:
"But perhaps nothing was more characteristic of the mystery religions than what they called ecstasy. Believers in the mystery religions sought to cultivate a magical, sensuous communion with the divine. They would do almost anything to get themselves into a semiconscious, hallucinatory, hypnotic, or orgiastic spell
in which they believed they were sensually in contact with deity. Some used wine to assist in the euphoric experience, as Paul implied in Ephesians 5:18.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Eph 5:18
"Whether from literal intoxication or emotional exhilaration, when worshipers fell into a state of euphoria, it was as if they had been drugged. They assumed they were in contact (knowing personally ks) with God. (MacArthur, John, Charismatic Chaos, p. 164. Zondervan)
"dionysus certainly roves more than the other gods; the traditional picture of him is not one of him sitting sedately on Olympus sipping nectar and listening to the Muses (9 females) sing. Rather it is one of him roaming through the wilderness, thrysus (a wand bound with ivy and topped with a pine cone which had a magical connection with Babylonian mathematics) in hand, followed by bands of ecstatic women, his Bacchants, and spreading the art of cultivation of vines and of wine-making. Other gods may leave Olympus, but it is not habitual with them as it is with dionysus. teams
"dionysus often seems to stand somewhere between male and female, between god and man, between death and life. He is a male god, but he is always surrounded by women, his chief worshipers.
"His worship involved transvestism and the blurring of sex roles. Men and women both dressed in long robes covered by fawnskins, and women, as bacchants, left their normal sphere of activity, the home, and danced madly on mountainsides. dionysus even looks somewhat ambiguous sexually; Pentheus in the Bacchae comments on the god's effeminacy: his long curls, his pale complexion.
The Modern Model
Remember the absolute pattern: when people reject God by rejecting His Word He sends singers, musicians, dancers and smooth speakers prophesying of wine and plenty of beer. The strongest rejection of the Word of God as inspired came in the late 1700s and early 1800s. This led, as punishment, a wholesale rejection of the Words of Christ as singing resource and the introduction of choirs and musical instruments.
For instance, the idea of harmony as we understand it has its origin in the early nineteenth century. Instrumental music followed closely but had not engulfed most protestant churches until in the late 1800s. Both were the product of a liberal trend which largely dismissed the Bible as inspired and therefore had little teaching value. The natural result was the composition of sentimental hymns with complex harmony by women or poetic men.
As the Revivalists of the late 1700s and early 1800s subconsciously adopted the musical and preaching style of black ministers hiding their African roots under a thin coat of Christianity, the result was a style of music and a text which hinges on the magic and crowd-moving power of Voodo. As black music has progressed from Rock and Roll to Rap, "church" music has kept pace. In Voodo it was the priestesses who had the power.
Many writers observe that the study of Scripture is meaty and manly while sentimental singing is feminine or effeminate worship. Thus church music as we know it has no true link to the Biblical text -- the songsters and versifiers just "scratch a bit of paint off the Bible'" as they hurriedly pass by. For instance Janelle Foster-Joyce, University of Virginia observes in quotes:
"White gospel hymns written between 1860 and 1910 constitute musical worship in many Southern Baptist churches. Since the mid-twentieth century these hymns have been denigrated by musicologists; Nell Woods Black, Floyd Patterson, and Henry Wilder Foote label these hymns
"sentimental" on the basis of their texts, music, and style.
"A pervasive textual theme is one's relationship to Christ, whether a brotherly relationship or a passionate, erotic relationship.
"Scholars have derided this theme because they perceive it to be at a lower level than hymns that portray the Divine as an all-powerful being.
"The harmonic and rhythmic patterns of the hymns are repetitious, as is the use of a refrain, and scholars have labeled this a defect.
"The style of the hymns arises from two intersecting extant styles: the camp meeting tradition and the popular song;
"this too has been considered a lack of integrity.
"There also seems to be a discomfort with music in general and hymns in particular that cause a person to react emotionally."
While the Bible limits the role of women in the public assembly because of this tendancy, clearly seen in First Corinthians, it does not denigrate women as co-equal with men. However, because there seems little doubt that singing, playing, dancing and drama promotes the human and sentimental forces to rule over the Godly and spiritual (rational) there are several common reactions.
First, men who are effeminate want to get into the "Dionysus dance" of the woman's choral which the Jewish clergy tried to force upon Jesus and which He rejected and denounced.
Second, men and women who understand both Scripture and the urge for "gender-bending" reject performance as worship.
Third, to denounce such effeminate worship -- or just to frown at it -- is to bring the emotional reaction that you are anti-feminist. Janelle Foster-Joyce notes:
"Beneath the dismissal of the hymns based on their sentimental aspects runs an undercurrent of disdain related to perceptions of gender in the hymns.
"In general, the perception of sentimentality and of reacting emotionally has strong associations with femininity (Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Barbara Epstein, and Gail Bederman);
"thus the rejection of these hymns by scholars has important anti-feminist implications.
However, she notes that when these hymns were being written there was less danger of "gender crossover" and the music expressed a reaction against violence:
"But ideas of the masculine and feminine in the historical contexts of these hymns were quite different from our late-twentieth-century ideas of gender. The hymns' texts and music show masculinity to have been bound up with feelings of brotherhood, gentleness, and submission to Divine leadership.
"The texts also suggest how ideas of femininity were associated with child-like qualities and an erotic submission to the Divine.
Both of these views, however, prove that it was the human view rather than the Biblical view which informed both the text and music.
"The pervasiveness of these ideals can be seen in a wide range of writings from the time (for instance, the political writings of Benjamin Disraeli and Elizabeth Cady Staton).
Even being most charitable, the persistence of a "period" view of masculinity and feminity says almost nothing about God and His views and puts its emphasis upon the self-centered or self-assurance needs of both male and female who, having survived chaos, doubt the value of Scripture to the modern world.
"The survival of these ideals in a particular late-twentieth-century Southern Baptist culture suggests a complex picture of gender and acceptable ways of being manly or womanly, masculine or feminine.
Whatever the motives, ancient pagan music's connection to "finding the lost gods" or seeking the "now but not yet kingdom" causes a large segment to view modern, sentimental music as effeminate:
"This complexity of gender relations and the old-fashionedness of the hymns within this cultural community has been ignored,
and perhaps even deliberately concealed, by an official culture that dismisses all sentimental hymnody as vaguely effeminate.
This, we believe, to be a natural recoil from deep-seated views of how men should react. It is further based on Scripture and the universal practice in paganism.
"THERE is some danger of falling into a soft and effeminate Christianity, under the plea of a lofty and ethereal theology.
"Christianity was born for endurance; not an exotic, but a hardy plant, braced by the keen wind; not languid, nor childish, nor cowardly.
"It walks with strong step and erect frame; it is kindly, but firm; it is gentle, but honest; it is calm, but not facile; obliging, but not imbecile; decided, but not churlish.
"It does not fear to speak the stern word of condemnation against error, nor to raise its voice against surrounding evil, under the pretext it is not of this world; it does not shrink from giving honest reproof,
lest it come under the charge of displaying an unchristian spirit.
"It calls sin sin, in whomsoever it is found, and would rather risk the accusation of being actuated by a bad spirit than not to discharge an explicit duty.
"Let us not misjudge strong words used in honest controversy. Out of the heat a viper may come forth; but we shake it off and feel no harm.
"The religion of both Old and New Testaments is marked by fervent testimonies against evil.
"To speak smooth things in such a case may be sentimentalism, but it is not Christianity....
"It is a betrayal of truth and righteousness. I know that charity covers a multitude of sins; but it does not call evil good, because a good man has done it; it does not excuse inconsistencies, because the inconsistent brother has a high name and a fervent spirit; crookedness and worldliness are still crookedness, though exhibited in one who seems to have reached no common height of attainment. By Horatius Bonar, 1818-1899
"Because of what was previously pointed out we've proven that there are local "cells," or local churches. The word church is ekklasia in Greek and literally means "the out-called ones." The local church is to be
"a studying fellowship who meet together for strengthening and sharing and arming themselves for tough warfare with the culture.
It has a specific mission and a strong, spiritual leadership. It's not a free-for-all or a democratic political organization that votes changes at its own will.
"Though the local church is to be open to all and is to minister with loving care, today, as in Paul's day, it needs to have stronger male leadership, and build its love on doctrine and truth.
Some think the church is a pushover that practices love at any price.
Not so. Heresy must be answered. Believers must be corrected. Error in Christendom opposed. And evangelism carried out with a gutty determination.
"MOST CHRISTIANS TODAY call the main Sunday morning hour "the worship service." This is dead wrong for several reasons! Though worship is part of what the congregation should do together, "teaching" is to be the driving activity of the Local Church. Too, an I must be careful here, though worship is for all -- male and female -- the way it's carried out today, often
it's a FEMININIZATION of the church service.
Whereas, teaching is VIRILE and MEATY and speaks head-on to males.
"God changes us through His Word not first through worship or even "preaching."
(And I'm using the term PREACHING here in reference to the
emotional shouting, yelling, pulpiteering show biz seen in may churches!)
"Worship is a RESPONSE to TEACHING. And PREACHING, it can be proved, means "the proclamation of the truth," as in Evangelism. Pastors should first see themselves as "teachers" not "preachers." REMEMBER: "Pastors indeed Teachers," (Eph 4:11).
"TEACHING: Touch other words are used as well, the basic idea is expressed in the Greek word DIDASKA. This word carried the idea of
a solid, clear, linear, logical presentation of a body of knowledge.
"This knowledge is to be the driving force that molds and directs the individual in a certain way. DIDAXA, the noun for Doctrine, pictures a body of useful and meaningful knowledge that forms our world and life views.
History doesn't treat many performance preachers any better than it treats singing men:
"But further, if they see men weakening themselves to the effeminacy of women,
- some vociferating uselessly,
- others running about without cause, others friendship is unbroken,
- bruising and maiming each with the bloody cestus (boxing gloves -
- boxing the wind according to Paul),
- while contending in speaking without drawing breath,
- swelling out their cheeks with wind,
- and shouting out noisily empty vows,
do they lift up their hands to heaven in their admiration, start up moved by such wonders, burst into exclamation, again become gracious to men?"
"If these things cause the gods to forget their resentment,
if they derive the highest pleasure from comedies,
Atellane farces, and pantomimes,
why do you delay, why do you hesitate, to say that the gods themselves
also play, act lasciviously, dance, compose obsene (or just vain) songs, and undulate with trembling haunches?" Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 531)
Online Copy VII
Oh, yes you are guilty: if you are putting your body or singing or rhetorical talent on display as having more power than the poor preacher out in the fields then you are somewhat obscene and I have watched the little-bit-pregnant trembling and undulating and hand waving get somewhat out of control.
Musical Worship Index