Sunday, October 16, 2011

How Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism Are Teeming with Ecstatic and Demonic Influence

The church at Corinth, the one begun by Paul in Acts 18, was a horrible mess.  Why?  There are many reasons, but a few crucial and insidious ones are seen in 1 and 2 Corinthians.

You read the following in 1 Corinthians 10:19-21:

19What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 20But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.

All of life in Corinth was woven into its mystery religion, including business and labor.  Almost every industry had its own god or idol.  When a particular guild held a festival, the god was involved.  The idol was nothing---like Paul wrote, it wasn't anything.  However, also like he said, when the Corinthians sacrificed to their idol, they were sacrificing to the devil, the demon, behind the idol.  The danger of the association was not with the idol, but with the demon.  People didn't worship a hunk of rock or wood because one of those were so convincing, but because the demon was powerful and persuasive.  The system of Satan was behind idol worship, so attendance to a festival brought a Corinthian church member under demonic influence.  And then those members were bringing that into the church.

Demons are involved in the world.  Like Paul said in Ephesians 6:12, "we wrestle not against flesh and blood."   Believers in Corinth and believers in evangelicalism and many in fundamentalism see their associations with the world---its entertainment, its music, and its art---as neutral as the rock or wood of a Greek idol.  The notes, the celluloid, the canvass, the sounds of a steel stringed guitar---they are nothing---but there are the demons behind all of these.  He that thinks he stands, take heed lest he falls (1 Corinthians 10:12).  Satan ties believers up with their worldly associations.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:1-2:

1Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 2Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

He doesn't want the brethren ignorant about the gifts controlled by the Holy Spirit.  But how does that relate to "dumb idols"?

The Greek cities like Corinth were filled with the mystery religion, originating in ancient Babylon, which worship mainly consisted of manufactured ecstatic experiences, the more frenzied, delirious, and bizarre, the better.  Those had to be supernatural and superior at releasing the soul from bodily restrictions.  The euphoric feelings validated the genuineness of the spirituality.  This was just another dimension of the world that the Corinthian membership had dragged into their church.

When the Corinthians were yet unconverted ("Gentiles"), they were involved with a worship that carried them away and led them.  The ecstasy and euphoria and experiences and feelings that were part of the idol worship manipulated them.

The true worship of God, genuine spiritual worship, does not "carry away" with feelings.  That was the mystery religion of Corinth being brought into the church.  It was a worship of being carried away with ecstasy.  When that was brought into the church, the membership called it "spirituals" or "spiritual gifts."  The euphoria said it was genuine, and now the Corinthians couldn't distinguish what was real and what wasn't.  Paul is saying here that what is controlled by the Holy Spirit will not be marked by being "carried away" or "led."

Today's evangelicalism and much of fundamentalism looks to worldly means for enhancing a church's spiritual experience.  The world considers as authentic music that charges or seduces the emotions. The church has borrowed the world's music and methods to cause the same or similar euphoria.  The people are attracted to the feelings as a genuine means of spirituality.  When the people get "carried away," they think that something truly spiritual has taken place.

When the church brings in these modern dumb idols, they also bring in the deceptive demons.  The demons produce a deceitful counterfeit spirituality.  They work in harmony with the music and the methods.

When Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:16 about the agreement of the temple of God with idols, He wasn't talking about the rock and wood.  He was talking about the demons behind the idols.  The idols were dumb.  They couldn't talk.  They couldn't influence.  When he wrote in v. 17, "come out from among them, and be ye separate," he meant, "Don't bring the mystery religion into the church."  The mystery religion comes with its ecstatic experience.

Conservative evangelicals may not be Charismatic, but they have brought in the ecstatic experiences of the Charismatics into their own worship.  They have labeled the Jesus' movement with its own worldly trances and ecstasies as a genuine spiritual revival.  Don't think they haven't also brought in the demons that operate with the world's music and methods.  When the fundamentalists have brought in the worldly new measures of Charles Finney, they have accepted another kind of euphoria and religious enthusiasm in their churches.  In so doing, evangelicalism and fundamentalism are teeming with ecstatic and demonic influence.

If you are an evangelical, even a conservative one, or a fundamentalist, and this has been part of the operation of your church or group, what will be ironic is that you will likely defend your own brand of ecstasy or euphoria like a Charismatic will defend his less than scriptural spiritual experience.  After all, you felt it.  It was your own, as personal as a lip print.  And it also might help explain the growth of your church or even movement.  If you don't deny it, you can see your future shrinking numbers.  God is working.  How do you know?  Who can deny the results you've seen?  God must surely be doing something in your midst.  And it couldn't be dumb idols.  Those are nothing.

You have been deceived just like the Corinthians.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Am I understanding correctly that you feel that emotions have no place in church? If so, I respectfully disagree.

I am not referring to hysterical emotion, although I find it difficult to point out exactly where acceptable emotions begin and stop on a continuum.

But music can tug my emotions. When I sing "How Great Thou Art,", I am moved to tears thinking of the power of God. And plenty of other music does the same to me. On the opposite side, I am filled with great joy and hope as I sing other songs.

I do not consider it sin to experience emotion in my worship. God created us with emotion; are we to check it at the church door?

The musicians, the instruments, the lyrics, and our voices are not dumb idols. As David knew, we use these to worship.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Anonymous,

What you commented does not show an understanding of what I wrote, because your comment doesn't deal with what I wrote.

You say you thought about the power of God and you were moved to tears. Your "thought" was not an emotion. The emotion was the byproduct of a true or right thought. The emotion proceeded from a true thought. The emotion did not proceed from a medium used by the world to cause an emotion or excite someone emotionally or even physically.

The dumb idols are nothing more than hunks of wood and stone. They aren't anything. Paul said that. They aren't even an idol, except that the devil behind the hunk of wood makes it one by persuading the adherent or worshiper that it is.

All people worship, it's just a question of what. The materialism or humanism of the world is led by the ecstasy and euphoria created by its means and methods. People are carried away, and want to be. Then that is brought into the church.

It isn't the note or even the instrument that is at fault, just like the hunk of wood or stone are not at fault. This is Paul's point, which you seem to be missing still.

Thanks.

p.s. What are you protecting through anonymity? Is there something you will lose by stating your name?

Shane said...

I respectfully disagree with the blanket statements you issued concerning worship. Just yesterday the song selections at our church included Wonderful grace of Jesus, and Revelation Song. I submit that while the latter is considered a contemporary song, scripturally it is more on point than the former. While singing this song I witnessed many in the congregation raising hands and worshipping outwardly. Why wouldn't they? In Revelation chapter 4 we are allowed to see the splendor of God and the throne room! How can we have any other reaction? I do agree that our expressions of worship should never be manufactured for others benefit. On the other hand, to vilify music choice, and any worship that may ensue is just as wrong. Why is it any better to be moved emotionally by more traditional hymns as opposed to something written recently? Can we not agree that we serve a great God worthy of our praise?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Shane,

We can be happy for the truth of God's grace and Revelation 4. A medium of those message can manufacture a feeling, however, like the euphoria or ecstasy of the Corinthian mystery religion. They borrowed the mediums of the world to cause a feeling that counterfeited true spirituality. Rock music in its design and its intention creates a state, actually affecting the flesh of an individual that is not spiritual, but today people welcome it in the church. God doesn't accept it as worship and it skews discernment.

Your questions do not relate to the point. God deserves great praise, but what is great? Great is fitting with His nature, which rock music is not. It is profane and common. The composition, especially the rhythm, of rock music is not compatible with the Holy Spirit. It started with godless pagans, who were not at all attempting to praise God, for a reason. It's about the flesh, and Satan will be glad to have churches operating on that carnal plane, taking its cues from the world.

Your judgment is existential. Since it felt a certain way, it must be praise. The Corinthians were the same. It must be the Holy Spirit, because of the experience. It couldn't be anything but spiritual.

I would hope that you could get this, but it wouldn't surprise me either if you don't. I've talked to plenty in the Charismatic movement who elevate their experience above the truth. You should consider what I'm saying.

kevin said...

What is classified as the "worlds" music?
What does "worldly" even mean?
What justifies the old fashioned hymns?

I'm not questioning authority here, but I grew up in the baptist church, and was taught that pretty much anything that was not in the hymnal was worldly, and the past few years the more I think about it, there's no biblical principle to it. Most of the hymns I used to sing at the church we're written way after the Bible was written so why is music written today supposedly "associated with the world"

Just because the song has a guitar or a drumset? then why do we use a piano? rock and roll started with the piano.

If you would of asked me when I was in Christian High school, or even Bible College at West Coast Baptist College, I would of agreed with this whole article, but that would just be me following blindly.

George Calvas said...

Kevin said...

What is classified as the "worlds" music?
[gcalvas] That which is not spiritual. The Corinthian church is a MODEL for the teaching of its issues involving carnality and sensuality.

What does "worldly" even mean?
[gcalvas] The world and its ways are found EVERYWHERE from Genesis to Revelation. So, are you telling me that you have NO CLUE as to what it means?? You obviously do not believe or read your bible to understand "precept upon precept and line upon line".

What justifies the old fashioned hymns?
[gcalvas] Stupid question. Are you still a babe in Christ? How long have you been a Christian? I LIVED rock and roll for 10 years and served the devil well. It did not take me more than ONE time listening to hymns to know THAT THAT was GODLY music and a "sweet smelling saviour unto God".

The rest of you diatribe means less than nothing.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Kevin,

I believe the articles here:

http://www.wayoflife.org/database/musicheader.php

will answer your questions.

By the way, biblical hymns are similar in content to the inspired songs; CCM very rarely has the content of the psalms, which are the inspired pattern for hymns.

Kevin, you are welcome to comment, as is George. Please keep in mind, Kevin, that George does not post here, only comment. He also believes that Jesus is the Father bodily, rather than being the Son bodily, so he does not believe in the Trinity. We do not believe that the biblical way to deal with people who have questions about CCM is to assume that their questions are stupid. At the same time, we actually can know what is worldly without a very very detailed explanation, although it is not wrong to provide such explanation.

Kevin said...

George Calvas,

I'm truly surprised by your personal attacks against me, but then again I am not surprised. Having been a baptist myself, I used to quickly judge and frown upon anyone who had a different belief other than my own. But thats ok, this is a learning experience for me.

Your answers are your personal opinions, and I respect that. Thats how you will live your life, and there's nothing wrong with it. I know youre not supposed to love not this world nor the things of the world. When alot of the hymns we're written, i'm pretty sure they sounded exactly like how the worlds music sounded at the time. The only difference would be the words.

Kevin

KJB1611 said...

Kevin,

George is not a Baptist.