Copyright 1994 - 2023 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
January 7, 2000
Last Updated :
September 25, 2019
Roman Catholicism In Brazil, Praising The Lord Through Song, Hypocritical Lip-Service Or True Christian Examples?, Modern Christian Music, Admonition To CCM Artists, Glory To God Or Glory To The Band?, Some Pointed Questions, Guard Our Mouths And Be Slow To Speak, The Grave Responsibility Of Being Bible Teachers, Humility In Our Understanding Of God's Word, Boldly Preach The Gospel, Don't Be Ashamed Of Your Faith, A Simple Gospel: Faith Of A Little Child, William Tyndale's 1525 New Testament, Smug Roman Catholic Church, Scribes And Pharisees
Some time ago, a dear Christian friend from Brazil mentioned to me in an email message, how as of late, there has been a renewed interest in, and dedication to, the Roman Catholic faith in his country. This rekindling of the spiritual fires from Rome has been due in part to a charismatic movement that was begun by a certain young Catholic priest, who according to my friend, seems to emphasize singing as a part of his ministry. My friend wrote the following. Please note that I have added a few punctuation corrections and a few words in brackets, in order to make his message clearer to my readers:
----- Begin Quotes -----
Some months ago, a young Catholic priest, (he is also a former gym teacher), appeared, and started a movement that [has rekindled] the Catholic faith. The majority of our slow-pace traditional Brazilian Catholics are now more interested in their religion than prior to this young priest['s] arrival.
[I have] nothing against [this] once Jesus is preached, but the problem is that the movement consists of singing and singing and singing.
Once he said that he doesn't like to preach too much, because if he preaches less than five minutes, God speaks; if he preaches from five to ten minutes, the man speaks; more than that, Satan speaks. (Can you imagine a priest saying this to thousands of Bible-ignorant "christians"?)
----- End Of Quotes -----
To begin with, I am sure that we can all agree that there is absolutely nothing wrong with praising the Lord through our songs. The Bible is literally full of verses which tell us that we are to praise the Lord through word, song and deed. Being as we are specifically dealing with the topic of song, consider the following sample verses which are found in both the Old and the New Testaments. Please note that there are many more which I have not listed here:
"Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises."
Psalm 47:6, KJV
"[To the chief Musician, A Song or Psalm.] Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:"
Psalm 66:1, KJV
"[To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of Asaph.] Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob."
Psalm 81:1, KJV
"O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms."
Psalm 95:1-2, KJV
"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King."
Psalm 98:4-6, KJV
"[A Psalm of praise.] Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."
Psalm 100:1-5, KJV
"I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee."
Psalm 144:9, KJV
"Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely."
Psalm 147:1, KJV
"Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp."
Psalm 149:3, KJV
"And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them."
Acts 16:25, KJV
"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;"
Ephesians 5:18-19, KJV
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
Colossians 3:16, KJV
"Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms."
James 5:13, KJV
Clearly then, the Lord truly enjoys when His children sing praises to His Name; for as King David also wrote "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." Of course, as I also point out in other articles, such as in "Are the Gifts of the Spirit for Today?", we must make sure that our praises to the Lord are not just dry words. They must be backed by sound Christian doctrine and good Christian living as well. In other words, we must not simply offer the Lord lip-service through our songs, while our lives are void of any semblance to the real Christian life. As I make clear in a number of other articles, this was the problem with the Jewish religious hierarchy which was in control of the Temple during the time when our Lord walked the Earth almost two thousand years ago. Allow me to remind you again of the following verses:
"Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not."
Matthew 23:2-3, KJV
"He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."
Mark 7:6, KJV
"For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
James 2:26, KJV
To reiterate, singing songs to the Lord is worth absolutely nothing -- in fact, it is pure hypocrisy -- if we're not truly living the Christian life, and obeying and pleasing the Lord as much as lies within us. Sadly, I have felt for some time that this truth applies, at least in part, to the extremely popular Contemporary Christian Music -- or CCM -- which is now broadcast on many Christian radio stations across the United States of America. While I occasionally enjoy some of the songs which are aired on some of our local Christian radio stations, at the same time, I cannot ignore the dark feeling which comes over me, which gives me the impression that there is something dreadfully wrong with the CCM industry. In other words, I sense something rather fake and plastic about it.
While on the surface the music sounds quite wonderful and sincere, I must question how much of it really comes from the heart, and how much of it is just dry, meaningless words coming from the mouths of spiritless Christians who are more interested in musical perfection, and who have discovered that CCM is an extremely profitable business venture for Christian musical artists in the United States of America. What further disturbs me about CCM, is the way some of our traditional hymns and psalms of praise have been so modernized and given a rap beat, or jazzy tempo, etc. If one didn't listen carefully to the words -- that is, if they can even be heard -- he could easily mistake some of these so-called "Christian" songs for the evil, lustful music which is found on many ungodly worldly radio stations. Borrowing from the proverbial phrase, I can only wonder if some of the original writers of these sacred hymns aren't rolling over in their graves because of the way in which some of these modern musical butchers have corrupted their beautiful musical praises to the Lord.
What further alarms me concerning modern Christian music in America, is the way in which some of these Christian musical artists are idolized by their fans to the very same degree as their worldly counterparts. Sadly, some of the CCM artists apparently love to have it so. Brethren, these things ought not to be! Consider some of the wise counsel which has been offered to us by the humble Apostle Paul:
"But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth . . . Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:17-18, 31, KJV
"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."
2 Corinthians 4:5, KJV
"But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
2 Corinthians 10:17, KJV
"Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me."
2 Corinthians 12:5-6, KJV
"Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another."
Galatians 5:26, KJV
"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."
Galatians 6:14, KJV
"Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ."
1 Thessalonians 2:6, KJV
For those of you who are involved in the CCM industry in the United States of America, or in any other part of the world for that matter, allow me to ask you a few questions. Who is really being glorified and lifted up through your musical ministry? Is it the Lord; or is it yourself and your band? If you have adopted the practice of passing out autographed pictures of yourself, just like worldly musicians, while you present the excuse that this is merely to appease your fans, it is obvious that you are seeking your own glory, and not the glory of the Lord, and the furtherance of His Gospel. If you think otherwise, then you are only deceiving yourself, and the Lord knows the vain imaginations of your heart.
If you happen to be guilty of this particular sin, I call you this day to repent of your pride and your vanity, and to humble yourself before the Lord and seek His forgiveness. If you have been given the gift of music and songwriting, then I hope that you constantly remember who it is who has given you your gift to uplift the spirits and encourage the hearts of other Christians. As the Apostle James tells us:
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
James 1:17, KJV
Allow me to ask you a few more questions. Are you and your music becoming more like the world; or is the world becoming more like you through your godly music and shining Christian example? Are people coming out from among the worldly body of unbelievers and joining our Christian ranks; or are you, and your fans, being slowly sucked into their ungodly and worldly ways? As you can see, you carry a big responsibility on your shoulders, don't you?
As I explain in some of the articles which are listed at the end of this series, it is dangerous for any church to place more emphasis on music and song, or even on the Gifts and the manifestations of the Spirit, than on the serious study of the Word of God. Some people have become so sidetracked with playing with their spiritual toys, that they have seriously neglected the Giver of those Gifts, and the truths which are found within His Word. Their churches have been reduced to a night club atmosphere, and they only serve as weak Christian entertainment centers. I find this truly sad.
Returning to my friend's email message, while my response may surprise some of my readers, I can actually agree with some of the wisdom which is found in this Catholic priest's words regarding how much preaching we should do with others. In fact, the main thought behind his words appears to be very Scriptural. That is, if this priest's words are applied in the context of the following verses:
"In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise."
Proverbs 10:19, KJV
"Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few."
Ecclesiastes 5:2, KJV
"A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards."
Proverbs 29:11, KJV
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:"
James 1:19, KJV
Clearly, the previous verses admonish us to first be good listeners, and then to choose our words wisely, and to limit them to only that which must be said. Why? Because the more we say, the more chance there is that sin and error will be found in our words. I discuss this same topic of doctrinal error in the article "Exposing the Tactics of the Enemy". As I point out in that article, the Apostle James -- who wrote some excellent advice regarding bridling the tongue -- wrote the following in his Epistle:
"My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation."
James 3:1, KJV
In the previous verse, the word "masters" is translated from the Koine Greek word "didaskalos". Pronounced did-as'-kal-os, it is normally translated as "teachers". Thus, what James is telling us, is that we should not desire to be teachers; because if we should teach something which is doctrinally incorrect, the Lord may indeed hold us accountable, and will judge us for it, unless we are open to His correction. I am reminded of something that Jesus said in the Gospels:
"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."
Matthew 12:36-37, KJV
As I have mentioned to my readers before, it is for this very reason that you will find a "Last Updated" date at the top of all of my articles. Being as I am only a fallible human being who possesses limited human understanding, I must not only remain open to a newer and clearer understanding of God's Word as the Lord reveals more to me by His Spirit, but I must likewise reflect those changes in attitude and understanding in my articles, so that the Lord's hungry sheep are not led doctrinally astray. In short, as I explain in the article "Humility in Our Understanding of God's Word", performing this kind of work for the Lord does require a certain level of humility, because no one knows it all. So as you can see, I take this writing ministry very seriously. I am reminded of the following verses:
"Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know."
1 Corinthians 8:1-2, KJV
While the Bible teaches us to be careful about what we say with our tongues, at the same time, as I explain in articles such as "Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth" and "Are You a Burning Ember for the Lord?", there is a balance to be found in the Scriptures. While we are told to guard our tongues, and to watch our words, and our anger, we are also clearly told that, as Ambassadors of Christ, we are to boldly preach the Gospel, following our Lord's very own example. Consider the following group of verses:
"And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."
Matthew 7:28-29, KJV
"And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes."
Mark 1:21-22, KJV
"But, lo, he speaketh BOLDLY, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?"
John 7:26, KJV
"Now when they saw the BOLDNESS of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus . . . And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all BOLDNESS they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with BOLDNESS."
Acts 4:13, 29-31, KJV
"Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men."
Acts 5:29, KJV
"But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached BOLDLY at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake BOLDLY in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him."
Acts 9:27-29, KJV
"Long time therefore abode they speaking BOLDLY in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands."
Acts 14:3, KJV
"And he began to speak BOLDLY in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly."
Acts 18:26, KJV
"And he went into the synagogue, and spake BOLDLY for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God."
Acts 19:8, KJV
"Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more BOLDLY unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,"
Romans 15:15, KJV
"And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth BOLDLY, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak."
Ephesians 6:19-20, KJV
"For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible."
2 Corinthians 10:10, KJV
"So that we may BOLDLY say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."
Hebrews 13:6, KJV
"He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light."
John 5:35, KJV
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 5:16, KJV
"Quench not the Spirit."
1 Thessalonians 5:19, KJV
So as you can see, there is definitely a time to keep quiet, and to wisely guard our tongues, and there is also a time to open our mouths as widely as possible in order to make known the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we fail to do this; if we fail to let our spiritual lights shine brightly before the world because of our pride, or because of our fear of the opinions of men -- that is, because of the social disease of political-correctness -- then the Lord will be ashamed of us when we finally meet Him. So we must not be ashamed of our faith. This truth is made evident by the following group of verses:
"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
Mark 8:38, KJV
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 10:32-33, KJV
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
Romans 1:16, KJV
"According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all BOLDNESS, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death."
Philippians 1:20, KJV
"For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
2 Timothy 1:12, KJV
While I do not agree with a lot of Roman Catholic doctrine, it is possible that what this priest was trying to say, is that God does not necessarily require that we speak a lot of words in order to get His message of Salvation across to the hearers. The primary truth of the Bible can be summarized in a few short phrases and key verses which do not require a lot of explanation; such as John 3:16, Romans 3:23, Romans 5:8 and Romans 6:23. The simple fact is that God's message of Salvation was easily understood and accepted by common people two thousand years ago, and it is equally understood and accepted by many receptive hearts in the world today as well. In fact, the Lord made it so simple, that even young children could understand Him. It is all just a matter of having faith, and believing it, just because God said so. This is a topic I discuss in the article entitled "The Faith of a Little Child". Consider the following group of verses:
"And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 18:3, KJV
"But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 19:14, KJV
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."
2 Corinthians 11:3, KJV
If the simplicity of the Gospel message has become difficult and hard to understand in our modern day, it is due in large part to the worldly preachers and theologians of organized religion who have made the message that way through their implementation of large words and difficult phrases which are beyond the education of the common man. They use so many doctrinal phrases to describe their particular position that it really becomes confusing. It seems that today, one cannot simply be a Christian. He has to be a Christian who adds a variety of doctrinal and denominational adjectives before or after the word "Christian".
As some of my readers will know, personally, I try to avoid all of that confusing nonsense; which is why I only refer to myself as a Christian. No more, and no less. The BBB ministry remains totally outside of divisive denominationalism. In my articles, I try to write in a very straight forward manner. If I think that my readers may not understand something I've written, then I'll explain it further. I will try to simplify and clarify things as much as possible. After all, I am not trying to impress folks with large words. I am trying to feed their souls with the Word of God and to bring them to Christ. That is, if they are not already saved. If a person cannot even understand the message that is being preached, then how will they ever even come to a decision regarding Jesus Christ? So in my opinion, all of this modern doctrinal mumbo jumbo is really self-defeating. I discuss this subject in more detail in articles such as "The Only Credentials You Need" and "The Wisdom Of God vs the Philosophy of Men". The point is, we all need to keep it simple if we expect to reach the lost.
This was basically the same problem which existed 495 years ago when William Tyndale printed the very first English New Testament. Tyndale's goal was to reach the common man, whom he referred to as the ploughman -- that is, the man working in the field -- with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As you may know, contrary to Tyndale's desire to win souls to Christ, the smug, religious elitists of the Roman Catholic Church of that period debated doctrines in Latin and Greek; while at the same time, they neglected the spiritual well-being of their followers by denying them the Salvation which they so desperately needed. In other words, they withheld the Word of God from them in the common man's language.
As I point out in a number of other articles, Jesus likewise accused the Scribes and the Pharisees of being guilty of a similar crime. In their case, those legalists used the harsh, rigid requirements of the Mosaic Law to prevent people from entering the Kingdom of Heaven. Just as the Roman Catholic Church has done for literally centuries, the religious Jews taught a form of Salvation that was based upon good works, righteous acts, and paying tithes, and not upon the Grace and Mercy of God. Is it any wonder then that Jesus blasted them in the following manner?:
"For they [the Scribes and the Pharisees] bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers . . . But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in."
Matthew 23:4, 13, KJV
Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.
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