A few weeks ago I went to my first big concert in years. After becoming chronically ill, it’s been challenging to participate in a lot of things I loved like concerts, dancing, even going to movies. We made sure that at the show I’d be able to sit rather than stand, and still see what was going on. The band we saw was For King & Country and it my birthday gift to my wife. We had not ever been to a Christian identified concert together and we were excited.
However…lately whether its movies or music or books from Christian identified sources, I have been finding myself needing to increasingly discern them. The question that comes up is “how does the measure up to what the Bible says?” Also highly important is if I’m hearing something that doesn’t line up God’s Word, what do I do with this particular thing. Another clue to discerning is this: does it preach another gospel? Because of all these thoughts in my head I asked my wife if we could pray before the show for protection and discernment. We did and we came away from the event unsure if we’ll listen to this band further.
On another post I discussed how subtle Satan is. Just look to Genesis 3 to see how the enemy used the tool of misdirection and distraction to get Eve away from God’s glory and blessings. After much consideration, I am convinced that He is at war with us (and always has been) especially within the realm of Christian entertainment, and I believe the subtlety of His evil will continue to fool the church. Entertainment isn’t the only place this is and has been going on. Churches, pastors, improvement books, etc. are subject to the snares of evil. At the end of the day I have learned what I have to ask, regardless of how godly the person, place, or thing is: does it reflect clearly God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:5).
Please excuse the following digression
Even this question has become tricky due to the myriad of different translations of the Bible. In the recent Bible edition of the Christian Book.com catalogue was a parallel Bible that had the KJV, NKJV, NIV, and ESV translations. The description mentioned that the KJV was “poetic” whilst the NIV was “accurate.” I’m not sure who decided to utilize these particular adjectives in describing these translations, but I’m not sure I trust their assessments. For example Rick Warren said of the KJV translation in his 1995 version of The Purpose Driven Life:
Read Scripture from a newer translation. With all the wonderful translations and paraphrases available today, there is no legitimate reason for complicating the Good News with four-hundred-year-old English.
Clarity is more important than poetry.
Such a statement is confusing to me because my current understanding is that the KJV is that it’s one of the oldest and widely used Bible translations around (older translations include The Great Bible, Geneva Bible, Coverdale Bible, Wycliffe’s Bible, etc) and people have been able to understand it just fine. Are we to assume because we have to look up a word in the dictionary from time to time that we should go ahead and read translations like this from Proverbs 7:
…Walking the streets, loitering in the mall, hanging out at every corner in town.
She runs a halfway house to hell…
Or does a translation like this work just fine?
Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.
Her house is the way to hell…
It seems to me that the latter translation is pretty clear but I admit I’m not an expert in biblical languages. That being said I get concerned when a translation adds in words or phrases that veer from the heart of the closest thing we know to be original. I’m not sure adding in a reference to the mall or a halfway house is necessary or clear. Maybe I’m getting old but I thought people were not to add or take away from the Word of God (Rev. 22:18-19, Deut. 4:2 & 12:32). One could argue that God told Eugene Peterson, author of the Message Bible to write the words “mall” and “halfway House” but I think I’ll just stick to my KJV thank you very much.
Back to the actual point of this post
We started off the night enjoying the show. As you can see from above the concert lighting was fun. The singers/brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone performed well and we enjoyed the part from their show where they band actually got in the audience.
Before the intermission of their Priceless show we were entreated by Joel to donate to a children’s Christian charity. During this intermission I went onto the GuideStar and Charity Navigator websites to see how their sponsored organization measured up. Though overall the organization got high marks, there are other Christian themed children’s charities that do a bit better and the best one rated has a CEO whose income is half of what FK&C’s charity CEO makes.
Later in the show we got to hear about how priceless women are. Of course it is the Priceless tour so I expected a tie in to the upcoming Priceless film coming out later this year. That being said I was surprised just how long the speech was. Though we women are priceless, I have noticed this sort of self-helpy trend happening a lot more in Christian music lately were the singers croon about how awesome we all are. Low self-esteem is certainly not a way to glorify our Lord, but neither is an incessant focus on the self regardless of our personal assessment.
There were even these bracelets for sale at the show that read “Priceless.” Both I & my wife almost got one for me in the middle of the speech. I admit it…I was swayed! But in the end both of us grew tired of the “you go girl” message when after all, the point of it was to sell bracelets and get folks to see their movie in November.
Those parts of their show is not what ultimately concerned us. It was their song dedication near the end of the show. In fact when he said “I’d like to dedicate this song to the Celebrate Recovery movement” I wasn’t sure I heard right. I looked at my wife for confirmation and yup…the song Fix My Eyes was indeed dedicated to Rick Warren’s “christianized” self-help unit of his organization. The dedication was subtle and without reference so there was no way to see it coming. Through the last two songs that played I physically felt my heart sink.
I intend to write about my time in and now happily out of 12 step recovery but for now I’ll just say I believe that ultimately AA was conceived in something most people don’t understand, and that I want no part of it, or 12 step offshoots. For 22 years in both AA & Al-anon I tried to adhere to the principles, doctrines, and dogma of such programs. I tried to be “good” and do what was in the literature because I was told their way was ultimately the only way to be a serene and useful person. I was told I would die, kill others, or be a kind of social outlaw if I didn’t adhere to their concepts.
God protected me through those years. His grace saved me from further involvement in 12 steps. What I have come to understand, after studying AA’s origin’s and 12 step ties to other organizations, is that the world of recovery is one of harm due to deception, false teaching, brainwashing, and occult foundations. At times I still very much feel like I’m de-programming. In my opinion I feel AA and its subsequent 12 step programs are malicious cults that hide behind the guise of self-improvement and resolving addictions with bad science and even worse intentions. I won’t have a thing to do with any group or ideology that espouses the 12 steps or association thereof (Jeremiah 23:32).
Ironically my wife and I just happened to be reading Warren B. Smith’s Deceived on Purpose, a book that discusses Rick Warren and his Purpose Driven church. We had only read about 40 pages but had already deduced from other books we’ve read concerning church apostasy that the origins of this church may not be as it appears. I had only vaguely known about Celebrate Recovery because in the past I occasionally heard people reference it in meetings. When I got home from the show I did a key word search on the band we just saw and Celebrate Recovery. There is a webpage on the band site giving people a free song download in regard to Warren’s alternate recovery program. For King & Country has also played at Saddleback and is definitely tied into Warren’s movement.
For the next few days after the show we researched all we could on Rick Warren whilst finishing Smith’s book. We then ordered and began reading Smith’s next book on the topic A Wonderful Deception. We had no idea when we were at that concert how concerning Mr. Warren’s church and P.E.A.C.E. plan are. We didn’t know Warren and his associates are key players in the emerging church movement, and we didn’t know how deeply tied to new ageism/new spirituality he is. It is my current assessment that there is something deeply disturbing, willfully apostate, and evil going on with all things associated with anything Purpose Driven and its related entities. Keep in mind I’m not here to question Warren’s character or say he is or is not something. Simply stated, I’m saying after further research, I believe something is very wrong with what he’s created and am concerned for those who take seriously anything that his church espouses.
We purchased 2 tee shirts at the FK&C show and we’re sending them back. We considered sending the band a letter and some accompanying information but we’re not sure our words would get into the right hands. We’re also not sure if the band is so innocent of Warren’s ideology anyway so we’d like to simply remove the shirts from our home and move on (Jeremiah 50:8).
After this experience I find myself when listening to Christian music wondering who and what the bands are associated with. Trip Lee for example is a rapper we have liked. But his latest video Manolo is, though creative, basically an advertisement for the idea that heaven can be reached via computer. Like so many churches and so called Christian books, I find myself needing to be much more discerning with music and scrutinize what I’m hearing and what associations bands may have.
It would be easy to label one paranoid or overly suspicious these days. Cass Sunstein, Obama’s former advisor and Administrator of Information & Regulatory Affairs under his administration would certainly consider anyone who connects the dots a bit too much to be worthy of the label terrorist. It would be even easier to say “hey if it makes you feel good then it’s OK.” But I’ve learned from sharing about my feelings and experiences for over 2 decades that one can still be fooled and unaware of deception, no matter how “uplifting” the words may appear.
This post is not about convincing you to hate anyone or stop listening to FK&C or any other band or person. The point is that as I’m learning more about how subtle the enemy is, I’m also learning more about freedom. Everyday I get to choose what I surround myself with. For example I no longer watch/listen to the news or secular music anymore because of the lies and immorality. This is my choice and a freedom the Lord gives me. I get to separate myself from false teachings and the result every time is not one of “missing out” but of having Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior (Ephesians 3:12).
Look for Yourself
After looking into not only what Mr. Warren preaches, who he’s allied with, and what his mission/movement is actually doing to people here and in Africa, I have to say I believe this man is not to be trusted for matters of faith. That being said it would be easier for you the reader to have me spell out everything apostate about Rick Warren’s church and P.E.A.C.E plan but over the last few years we’ve found researching for ourselves to be a great way to learn. It’s always good to look at both sides of something, scrutinize, and then decide. It’s also been our habit to see what the people who we question have to say for themselves. Finally as a Bible believing Christian I ask “does this hold up to Scripture?” I’ll leave you with the following words and pray for continued discernment for us all.
“We have a kingdom that nothing can destroy… it’s indestructible, it’s unshakable, going to last forever, it’s going to cover the planet.” -Rick Warren
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. -Matthew 19-20
And you can go argue about prophecy all you want but Jesus Christ is not going to conclude history until everybody he’s wanted to hear the world has had a chance to hear the word. -Rick Warren
But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. -Mark 13:32
Everything great done in this world is done by passionate people. -Rick Warren
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. -John 5:24
“In 1939, in a stadium much like this, in Munich Germany, they packed it out with young men and women in brown shirts, for a fanatical man standing behind a podium named Adolf Hitler, the personification of evil.
And in that stadium, those in brown shirts formed with their bodies a sign that said, in the whole stadium, “Hitler, we are yours.”
“…I think ‘what would happen if American Christians, if world Christians, if just the Christians in this stadium, followers of Christ, would say ‘Jesus, we are yours’ ?
“I’m looking at a stadium full of people who are saying ‘whatever it takes’.” -Rick Warren
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables. 2 Timothy 4:3-4
When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus quickly switched the conversation to evangelism. He wanted them to concentrate on their mission in the world. He said in essence, “The details of my return are none of your business. What is your business is the mission I’ve given you. Focus on that! . . .”
If you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy. -Rick Warren
Here is the part that is none of our business
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:).
Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. –Matthew Chapter 24
(The underlined is my emphasis in relation to Warren’s teachings.)