Monday, September 10, 2018

The First Worship War

I had introduced the intention to review Worship Wars, which I will, but this is a start.  I want to use this little space as I often do before I start writing, to point you to a sermon by a man who stood with me in my wedding 31 years ago.  I had 4 or 5 good friends in college and graduate school, and one was Dwayne Morris.  I was also a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Watertown, WI for 12 years, between the age of 12 and 25, one of which I pastored Immanuel Baptist Church of Elkhorn, WI, so I wasn't there at Calvary that year.  To me a big irony, Dwayne is assistant pastor at Calvary now and he preached there this last week. It's a sermon that ought to be common knowledge of every Christian (I put at least one disclaimer on running buses and handing clothes from a clothes closet as preaching the gospel -- they're not -- almost everything else though is terrific).  He titled it, The Metanarrative.

A war started in the Garden of Eden and continues for the souls of men.  God calls it a war all over scripture (2 Tim 2:4, Eph 6:10-18, 2 Cor 10:3-5).  I'm saying it's a worship war, because the first act of worship, accepted by God, is the offering of one's soul to God by faith.  He will restore your soul (Ps 23:3).  Satan would have us hang on to (keep) our soul (psuche, translated life in Mt 10:39) for ourselves, which will result in losing our soul forever.

One major component of the first worship war is "giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons" (1 Tim 4:1)  The "god of this world" blinds men's minds (2 Cor 4:4), keeping the gospel hid to the lost (2 Cor 4:3).  People stay lost because their minds are blinded by error, by false teaching, what are called "doctrines of devils."  Satan uses men to spread a false message, so that God isn't worshiped.

Paul beseeches brethren by the mercies of God to present their bodies a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1).  Brethren are besought because they can offer their bodies to God.  Until someone has offered Himself to God, God doesn't accept His worship.  Those in Macedonia first offered their own selves to the Lord (2 Cor 8:5).

If someone has or gets the first act of worship wrong, he won't get any of the proceeding acts right.  This is where anyone should start in the worship wars, is at the gospel.  Robert Bakss has written the book, Worship Wars, where he argues for contemporary music for independent Baptists.  From where does this kind of thinking arise?  Before anyone arrives at music, he should arrive at the gospel, and here's what Bakss says the gospel is at his church website.
Are you going to heaven? 
Have you ever wondered where you would go after you die? Or have you ever wondered what it would take for life to really make sense? The answer to those questions are found in personally accepting Jesus Christ as your Saviour. My friend, there is only one way to get to heaven and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ who died and shed his blood for your sins. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Going to church is not the way, being good is not the way, being religious is not the way. Only simple faith in Jesus is the way to heaven. The Bible says “ye must be born again.” You need to admit you’re a sinner and in need of forgiveness. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” You must believe that Christ died and shed his blood for YOUR sins and rose again from the dead and be willing to turn from your sins. You need to call upon the Lord in prayer to forgive you of your sins and save you. 
The Bible says “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Simply put, if you will personally ask Jesus Christ to save you and give you His gift of eternal life…He will! Why don’t you make this simple decision right now. It makes all the difference in the world…and in eternity! Why don’t you settle the matter now. Simply call upon God in prayer and pray something like this; 
“Lord, I know I’m a sinner and if I died tonight I wouldn’t go to heaven. I now repent of my sin and believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross in my place, shed his blood for my sin and was buried and rose again from the dead. With all my heart I turn from my sin and receive Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour right now. Thank you Lord, Amen.” 
Let us know if you have prayed this prayer and trusted Christ as your personal Saviour. We have some free material we would love to send to you to help you in your journey with Christ.
The terminology "accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour" is not language of salvation.  It falls miserably, horribly short, which is to pervert the gospel by giving a half truth that is a total lie.  Is "faith in Jesus" "the way to heaven?"  Of course, but what is faith in Jesus?  It isn't accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour."  It isn't admitting you're a sinner and in need of forgiveness.  No  Plenty of people do that, who do not believe in Jesus Christ.

Essentially everyone will admit he's a sinner.  I've had only four people in my entire life who wouldn't.  What does that mean?  What is sin?  Who is he sinning against?   Almost everyone says they need forgiveness.  Bakss reduces everything in the end to praying a prayer.  That's the application of everything else written above it.  Praying a prayer isn't enough to take from Romans 10:13.

Missing in the presentation is Lordship and repentance.  Someone can still be the boss of his life with what Bakss teaches.  He can still be a rebel against God.  His faith is nothing more than intellectual assent to these facts.  Almost all of them are great facts to assent to, but that's not enough.  John ends His gospel by saying He wrote it so that people would believe that Jesus is the Christ.  The Christ is the Messiah.  He is King.  True repentance goes along with this identity of Jesus Christ.  Bakss partitions Jesus into what's effective in his presentation and leaves out necessary parts.

Jesus is the way, it's true, but He must be Jesus, not a particular Jesus who is convenient.  This brings this back to worship.  It does start with recognition of worth, but Bakss false short even of the proper recognition.  This will continue after this decision he's calling for with a prayer.  This person is not worthy of someone's life, because it isn't recognizing Him for Who He is.  These independent Baptists seem ashamed of Jesus, unwilling to tell the lost Who He is, leaving crucial parts out.  How is that worshiping God?

Worship is offering something.  The first act is presenting yourself by faith.  Someone isn't going to give God what He wants, when He won't acknowledge Him for Who He is.  The god you make up in your imagination is fine with rock music.  The actual God of the Bible isn't.

If someone gets the first act of worship wrong, everything goes down from there in the worship war.  The war has been lost.


Anonymous said...

Pastor Bradenburg,

Thank you for this post. I am surprised that no one has responded to it. That is concerning on a number of different levels

I am in agreement with you that based on what Bakss has written regarding how someone gets saved, he is therefore wrong on the Gospel. This is so sad, yet I fear that it is becoming the standard amongst most IFB’s. You are right to assume that most IFB preachers present the Gospel as if they are ashamed of Jesus. I mean, if we don’t tell people about what Christ said and demands relating to repentance and discipleship, than we are not preaching the Christ of the scriptures. Therefore, the people who respond to such a message are not genuinely converted because they are believing on a false Christ.

All of this false worship that we are now seeing in so many IFB churches is really a symptom of a much greater problem. Numbers of professing Christians in our churches are actually lost because they have believed on a false Christ presented through a false gospel. Instead of all of the arguing about ‘Worship wars,’ why don’t we put the focus where it needs to be, as you suggested in this post, which is proclaiming Christ for who he truly is by means of a true Gospel presentation.

As for me, anything Bakss has to say from here on out in regards to worship is completely irrelevant, because he is building off of a corrupted foundation.

If you are wrong on the Gospel, then you are wrong on salvation. If you are wrong on salvation, then you have no clue about true worship. Therefore, just like the woman at the well in (John 4:22-24), many IFB’s are completely deceived as to who it is that they are actually worshipping through their sensual CCM music and anemic preaching. Real converts are not satisfied with such irreverence, and their hearts yearn for the truth.

Again, thank for this post. It really encouraged me.


Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Jason. I agree that the gospel is at the foundation of the problem with everyone.