Wednesday, October 31, 2018

My History with Preaching with a Special Focus on John MacArthur

Right now I'm preaching through Acts on Sunday mornings, the second time for me.  Last Sunday, I finished the body of Peter's sermon in Acts 2.  Peter is a good example of preaching in Acts 2.  He was taught well by his Teacher.  Preachers should well consider what Peter did on the Day of Pentecost and how he did it.

My first sermon was in 1976, my Freshmen year in high school.  I knew I would be a preacher in 1977.  I wanted to preach.  There was no mystical, bright light, shudder blowing experience.  It was a desire.  It started with hearing preaching.

I became an enthusiast or devotee of preaching.  I took pages of notes on most sermons I heard.  I became convinced that that a true preacher, an actual preacher, preached what scripture said.  I enjoyed the analysis of different sermons or some that perhaps were only speeches.  I began to conclude what I liked and didn't like.  The liked became smaller and the didn't like became much bigger.  I was more discerning of a bad sermon.

When I was in high school through college, I heard preaching most days, most of the time more than once every day.  It wasn't until the end of college that I began to understand what right preaching was, and even now I'm far different as a preacher than I was then.  I had heard expository sermons, not many in college.  However, I started to listen to radio preachers.  Some of them did exposition of texts.

I was preparing to exegete.  I started Greek in high school, two years, majored in biblical languages in college, took languages all four years, kept them up in three years of graduate school.  I heard several preachers on the radio who also referred to original languages.  I heard J. Vernon McGee, Chuck Swindoll, D. James Kennedy, and John MacArthur.  I read W. A. Criswell, Warren Wiersbe, and Haddon Robinson.  I bought exegetical and expository commentaries.

My favorite of what I heard was John MacArthur.  I listened to him a lot.  I thought what MacArthur did was close to what preaching should be.  I didn't have all the same beliefs as him.  He wasn't strong enough as a preacher.  However, he had a lot of influence on me, because I wasn't hearing anyone else who preached like him.  I was very open minded to MacArthur.  He impacted me a lot, but I didn't follow him in my belief and in practice, just in the type of preaching a preacher should do.

What's different between what I did and do than MacArthur?  He has become more strong in his preaching through the years, but he doesn't make strong applications.  He does very little in the way of strong applications.  He leaves too much to the listener in the way of applying what the passages say.  He gives a good example of how to go about explaining what a passage says.  His process is good.  He would say, I believe, that he mainly leaves the application to the Holy Spirit, while I believe that the Holy Spirit Himself wants the preacher to make that application.  This is a major difference between evangelical preaching and separatist preaching.

MacArthur is not a separatist.  He has a wrong view on the church.  He has become more and more Calvinistic in all the years I have heard or read him.  He doesn't believe in the perfect preservation of scripture.  His church is worldly.

I ask myself if MacArthur overall has done more damage than good.  It's hard, because I think he has had a major good impact overall.  God has used him.  However, I think the bad has outweighed the good.  I attribute his numbers and his influence to compromise.  His permissiveness and lack of separation have allowed for a lot of the wrong belief and practice that even he himself is against.  He has produced weak people, men much weaker than himself, and with permission.  When Jesus said, by their fruits ye shall know them, he was speaking of the fruit of a teacher's work.  MacArthur's fruit is weakness.

I heard Swindoll often when I was young too, but I couldn't stick with listening to him.  He turned me off to him.  His emphasis was too much on the communication, the craft, and cleverness in preaching, not enough on the Word of God itself.

MacArthur was different than Swindoll.  He centered on the words of scripture.  I'm happy for all the good that has come through John MacArthur.  I'm thankful for what his preaching did for me.  If someone could take the good without the bad, he could be a help to them, like he was me.  I can't recommend him because of his bad influence.  I still read him myself, but I always put a strong disclaimer on him for reading of him by others.  Many times I wouldn't even mention him, because I was afraid of the result for someone who wasn't settled in his belief and practice.

I know someone could become stronger than what he was, if he started in some weaker form of evangelicalism to move toward the conservative evangelicalism of MacArthur.  However, in general, even though he is a good model for important aspects of the right kind of preaching of God's Word, people, who start stronger than MacArthur and then begin listening to him and follow in his path, will become weaker and weaker.  A lot of fundamentalists were at one time much stronger than they are today and they took their path leftward by listening to MacArthur.

The most important trait for a biblical preacher, I believe, is courage.  He has to preach and apply exactly what God says in His Word.  This includes following through in leading in the discipline of the practice of God's Word.  There are some unpopular parts to scripture and those have to be represented just like God expects and like the original authors meant when they wrote them.  The application can't be conformed to what will allow to keep the bigger crowd of people.  A preacher is not doing his job if he doesn't take the application and practice of the passage all the way to its end.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Judging Music (Part Two): Blurring the Distinction Between the Sacred and the Profane

Part One

Salvation distinguishes one thing from another.  Sanctification distinguishes one thing from another.  Righteousness distinguishes one thing from another.  Worship distinguishes one thing from another. Wisdom distinguishes one thing from another.  When distinctions are blurred, someone cannot distinguish one thing from another.  Sometimes it is as simple as who is God and who or what is not.

Qualities of God, heavenly things, in accordance with the divine, sacred ones, are laid out in God's Word.  The qualities of the world, the system set against God, the flesh, and the devil, profane ones, are different than those of God.  The qualities of God and the qualities of the world, the flesh, and the devil should be distinguished one from another.  Blurring the distinctions between the qualities of one from the other affect salvation, sanctification, righteousness, worship, and wisdom.

When it comes to judging music, what I hear is, you really can't tell the difference between the sacred and profane or there just is nothing sacred or profane.  That would be to say that music really can't be sexy, for instance, even though I don't know anyone who says music can't be sexy. One would think that if someone could judge music to be sexy, than one could judge more than that, even a lot, about musical style.

Because music does have message and meaning, music is used very often for movie scores or the soundtracks of movies, to state something obvious.  The message and the meaning isn't just neutral.  It can be immoral.  It can be moral.  It shouldn't surprise anyone that the world produces mainly immoral music.

The idea that art itself cannot be moral or immoral originates from the world.  For instance, the world might think its music is sexy, but that doesn't make the music itself immoral or the artist committing immorality  -- to the world.  This is moral relativism.  The world doesn't judge itself next to God or His Word.  It has its own standards of morality that are very flexible and adaptable.  It can call what it wants whatever it wishes.  Churches and church leaders have picked up on this practice.

On the other hand, there is a long record of significant historical figures saying that music itself is moral.  Both Plato and Aristotle, Greek philosophers, believed there was intrinsic moral or character qualities to music itself.  Plato wrote in his Republic:
[E]ducation in music is most sovereign, because more than anything else rhythm and harmony find their way to the inmost soul and take strongest hold upon it, bringing with them and imparting grace.
The actions of moral agents are either good or evil -- people can do good things (Lk 6:33; Rom 2:14-15) and sinful things (1 Jn 1:8).  Music is an action of moral agents, so it must be either moral or immoral, but it is easy to see through scriptural examples.  From purely instrumental music in 1 Samuel 16:23, "the evil spirit departed from [Saul]."

Even though music doesn't communicate like the spoken word, it does communicate.  Scripture implies that music communicates and people know it.

Acclaimed music critic at National Public Radio, Ann Powers writes in her 2017 book, Good Booty, a history of popular music in the United States:
Popular music's very form, its ebb and flow of excitement so closely resembling the libido, drew people to it as a way to speak what, according to propriety, couldn't be spoken.
In the journal, Soundrack, in 2011 Erik Hedling  of Lund University writes in his paper, Music, lust and modernity: Jazz in the films of Ingmar Bergman:
What is significant here is how jazz is employed to evoke feelings of alienation, lack of control and sexual threat, the latter particularly pertaining to the  women. . . . [One character who plays jazz] is made to personify the ‘wicked’ aspects of modernity: the moral decay of the big city, and the emotional emptiness and the undisguised and animal sexuality of jazz music.
When music, which communicates a message incongruous with the nature of God, is used in church or worship of God, it blurs the distinction between the sacred and profane.  What's happening?

People may not understand music.  They are deceived.  They could be lying too.  Maybe they're right and music is amoral.  The latter, I reject, so I'm left with deceived or lying.

If people are deceived, they are also deceived as to the nature of God.  They are giving God something not in His nature.  Whether someone is deceived or lying, God is still blasphemed.  People then are deceived as to the nature of God.  They don't know God.

The priestesses of the goddess Diana in Ephesus, like others in the history of false religion, worshiped their god with sexuality and ecstasy.  Turning worship into ecstasy is in fitting with that god and gods like that one.  The feeling they have fools them with an experience.  They correspond that experience to some genuine communion with God.

It's not like the ecstasy of mystery Babylon cannot be incorporated into a church.  It occurred at Corinth.  They corrupted true spirituality, not able to distinguish between the Holy Spirit and fleshly lust.  Doctrines were affected. It started with inculcating the worship aspect of pagan religion into the church.  People didn't know they could have it both ways.  They can't, but they now think they can, because it has been accepted.

I've talked to many people who trust their sincerity and their feeling.  They don't know what love is.  They've replaced it with sentimentalism.  Instead of affection for God, they feel passion.  They think that is the Holy Spirit.  None of it is true, so it is a lie.  Their worship is a lie.  God is worshiped in truth.

The music of true worship distinguishes between the true God and false gods.  The music of true worship distinguishes between true love and sentimentality.  The music of true worship distinguishes between the church and the world.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Health Threats from Samaritan Ministries, part 3

Sadly, Samaritan Ministries continues its course of promoting quackery, New Age "medicine" that is dangerous to one's physical health and the Christian's relationship with God, and unbiblical falsehood in its newsletter.

The quack Gary Taubes is promoted in the October 2017 issue of Samaritan.  What are we supposed to believe?  "Obesity isn't caused by overeating[.] . . . Obesity doesn't cause diabetes and heart disease. . . . The fats in our diet aren't a problem (pg. 9).   People should watch against dangerous foods like even "a forkful of rice" and instead be "eating fat-rich foods" (pg. 15).  Such statements are false quackery, and Gary Taubes is a quack promoting misinformation.

In the February 2018 issue, one finds out that out from quack "doctor" Bruce Fife that "Coconut oil is now being used to treat everything from athlete's foot to AIDS and common colds to Crohn's disease" (pg. 12). One would be amazed, by reviewing past issues of the Samaritan Ministries newsletter, just how easy it allegedly is to cure AIDS--practically every quack remedy does it.  Furthermore, putting coconut oil on your skin will "promote weight loss; help protect against heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and many other degenerative diseases . . . strengthen the immune system; and improve digestion" (pg. 12).  So if one does not have the quack remedies from previous issues available that cure everything, just put some coconut oil on your skin and you will become slim, trim, and cancer free. (Furthermore, the article does not even have the disclaimer that everyone ignores about this nonsense not being medical advice.)

In the June 2018 issue, the dangerous quack David Brownstein is promoted again, promoting the gross inaccuracy that "over 95 percent of patients are suffering from iodine deficiency (pg. 10).  He says MSG is a "toxin" (pg. 11), although it really is a perfectly normal part of whole wheat bread that is not bad for you unless you are part of the 1% of the population with celiac disease, that one should eat lots of butter (pg. 11) and other foods that cause heart disease, and so on.

The September 2018 issue of Samaritan claims that skin cancer can be cured by eating a diet of 70-80% fat and 15-20% proteins (pgs. 4-5).  Eating such a diet will cure skin cancer about as often as howling at the full moon, and people with skin cancer will die and leave behind orphans and widows if they believe such things.  Furthermore, one must eat more salt (pg. 7), perhaps in order to die of heart disease instead of the uncured skin cancer.

The October 2018 promotes the ultimate in health and New Age quackery, homeopathy.  Drinking occult water--for that is what homeopathic "medicines" are, as there is not even a single molecule of anything other than water in a 30C homeopathic "remedy"--is alleged to prevent and cure influenza, vomiting, high temperature, etc.

The Samaritan Ministries newsletter is full of gross medical misinformation, New Age quackery, and simple nonsense.  Anyone who follows its recommendations is likely to die earlier than he would have otherwise and suffer a lower quality of life from uncured disease, both of which are elements of the righteous judgment of God on those who reject Him for the New Age.

Note: After writing the post above I received the November 2018 issue of the Samaritan newsletter, which gave the fantastically bad advice that one should eat lots of saturated fat instead of healthy things like grains.  Why? "it helps cell walls," so that "you [don't] end up with overly delicate skin cell walls, which makes skin more prone to sun damage" (Pg. 10).  Of course, anyone who has remembers even high school biology knows that people and animals do not have cell walls--only plants do.  People have cell membranes.  Oops.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Normalization of Aberrant Behavior Now in Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism

This is not part two of my post from Monday, where I will likely break down how music communicates for what someone called spiritual babes or adolescents.  This is related to part one though.
Here are two paragraphs from yesterday's Washington Times:
The Trump administration may soon spearhead efforts to define sex and gender according to biology. In a Department of Health and Human Services memo leaked to the New York Times, officials argue the federal government should adopt a definition of sex and gender “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” This move would essentially roll back changes the Obama administration made, which allowed folks to choose their identity and receive federal protections under Title IX. 
According to the memo, HHS proposes that a person’s sex be either male or female and match that of their genitals at birth. “Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth. The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence,” the memo says.
I'm using these paragraphs as an example of the world's normalization of aberrant behavior.  This is behavior that at one time would have been (1) criminal, which turned to (2) psychological disorders, (3) socially unacceptable, then (5) tolerated, and finally to (4) normalized.  A Christian would have just titled this sinful or something like immoral, deviant, or reprobate.  Calling something a psychological disorder is one of the steps toward normalization.  When something has become normalized, the people who oppose begin with some to be targeted as if they have the disorders, are at least mocked as destructive to a "civil society."

For years, the cultural left in this country, which is closely akin to the overall left (and this is no accident), has put pressure on institutions and then society in general to accept and then even celebrate aberrant, strange, and depraved behavior.  It has used the school system, the media, and the Democrat party to do this.  The changes have infiltrated everywhere and some more stark, bold, and rebellious than other.  When this has become normalized, religious figures are supportive and then the church capitulates.

I'm 56 and I've noticed the changes in my lifetime occur like the following.  Someone pushes the boundary of social acceptability.  Opposition is shamed by the cultural left.  The cultural left picks up the formerly unacceptable practice as acceptable and in style, promoting the change.  More embrace it.  It becomes societally acceptable. Opposition is silenced through propaganda and finally legally. There are probably more steps in there, tinier ones to get to the end, but you get the picture.  The changes occur in fashion, literature, entertainment, recreation, education, and then entire institutional structures change, including the family and church.

Let me give you an example.  I never saw a particular style of dress among women until a moderately successful comedy movie, 13 Going on 30.  We didn't have television or go to movies, but I remember ads on public transportation in our metropolitan area on buses and billboards with a photo of the young actress, Jennifer Garner. Reading back on the film, it grossed 22 million in the first weekend, which is very successful as an opening.  Prominent in the advertising was the photo of Garner wearing a silky camisole, what was at that time only worn in private in the bedroom as lingerie.  In the movie, she wore it in public.  I remember seeing it and then thinking, "Wow, I can't believe that's being worn in public."

Shortly into the run of the movie, I started seeing women in public wearing camisoles, the same kind Garner wore in her movie.  I made the connection.  Maybe they had worn them before, but this was new to me.  Then women were wearing the camisole as a blouse with a lacy border hanging down over their waistline.  Usually they had something covering their arms, but you could see the camisole underneath.  As a man, the idea of the bedroom and sex came to mind when I would see it.  It wasn't just association.  It was a bedroom look, being worn in public, sometimes under a business coat to mix those two features of modern female life.  And finally women wore them in church.  Now it's normal for women to wear the camisole in public and in church.  Maybe that in particular is not in style anymore, but I still see it worn.  The Wikipedia article on camisole says that it started being worn as outerwear in 2000.

I never saw a man with a man or a woman with a woman -- at least I didn't know about it -- until I saw stories on NBC news, which attempted to justify the behavior with interviews and polls.  Then in 1980 CBS did a report called, Gay Power Gay Politics.  I never had seen anything like that and it shocked me.  I knew about homosexuality from the Bible, because of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 and other passages. I didn't know it was happening in the United States.  Now we have same sex marriage.

The Women’s Home Journal in 1921 entitled, “Does Jazz Put The Sin In Syncopation?” said:
Jazz originally was the accompaniment of the voodoo dancer, stimulating the half-crazed barbarian to the vilest deeds. The weird chant, accompanied by the syncopated rhythm of the voodoo invokers, has also been employed by other barbaric people to stimulate brutality and sensuality. That it has a demoralizing effect upon the human brain has been demonstrated by many scientists.
A reading appreciation text at the University of Texas in 1922 reads:
We feel that the League is presenting an opportunity to member schools to do a great work in combating the immoral music which is now so popular at least insofar as the rising generation is concerned.  From the days of ancient Greece to the present time educators have recognized the high educational value of the right kind of music.  Emphasizing this point the editor of the Tacoma Washington Ledger says: 
"In this day of jazz and the abomination of sound which passes for music, anything that will lead youth to know and consider the worth while things that the great masters have handed down is to be commended.  To know good music, real music, is to love it, and where there is love of music, there is always promise of good morals, good citizenship, for love of the true and beautiful, makes for better men and women and a better world in which to live."
The Etude Music Magazine in 1922 stated.
There can be no question that some kinds of music stimulate irregular desires and therefore must be considered immoral in their tendency.
Christian Nation in 1903 said:
According to the Cumberland Presbyterian a college professor of that state is reported as saying that many of the gospel hymns of today are immoral explaining that he does not mean the words but the music. I include in the list of immoral songs six waltzes, two two-steps, and seventeen polkas. I do not think that words set to such music are inspiring or suitable for religious exercises.
California has normalized indolence, indigence, and derangement.  Any one of us should, and I believe do, even if you won't admit it, look at this and easily discern it as depraved and unacceptable.  It isn't normal.  It shouldn't be normal, and yet it is.  It happens because people won't even say what it is, at least out loud and with a necessary disapproving manner.  Disapproval is disapproved.

In 1978, Californians put Proposition 6, what was called the Briggs Amendment, on the state ballot and a strong majority of Californians approved it.  I was in 11th grade unaware of its existence.  It banned gays and lesbians from teaching in the public school.  On youtube, you can watch San Francisco citizens from that time period being asked by disapproving journalists if they support it, and you can see the fear in their faces.  This is the first phase in making the aberrant normative.

At the time, Anita Bryant was crossing the country for opposition and during a televised interview, someone violently slammed a pie in her face.  She wept and prayed for the man.  Bryant was savaged by the educational, media, and establishment elite.  Proposition 6 lost.  Even Ronald Reagan opposed it.  The tide had changed in America.

Music changed very little until the inception of modernism.  In the United States a large majority of people knew what they heard in the music emerging from that period was starkly different than a premodern transcendental view of beauty.  Above I included reactions to what they heard in jazz.  They knew it was immoral music -- not the words, the music.

People knew something was wrong like someone would know that something is wrong with the bum on the streets.  You don't have to give a chapter and verse.  You can judge it as wrong, applying biblical principles.

Rock music is trash.  All the popular music that proceeded from jazz is garbage.  It's worse than that, but someone can tell that it's wrong and that it is immoral.  It is the soundtrack of this world that will disappear when the Lord Jesus Christ destroys religious and political Babylon.  Those tunes will be no more.  This aberrant music is perverse to normalize it for a society, let alone a church.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Judging Music: You Can and Should, Here's How

I wrote a book on music in 1996:  Sound Music or Sounding Brass.  Below is not an excerpt.

The Academy of Awards announced it will no longer judge best actor or actress, because no one can know how to judge acting.  Furthermore, the Academy testified that there is no means to differentiate good acting from bad acting.  And no, that hasn't happened.  People do know in the important judgment of movies whether something is well acted.  People don't doubt that they know when they see something cheesy or what seems fake.  Good acting is good acting, but some is better or more difficult than other.  People, and especially Christians, can judge music too, especially compared to acting.

In many a discussion about or in commentary below posts about music, people question the criteria for and the ability to judge music.  Very often they either feign the throwing up of their hands or they really mean that they can't know.  They don't know how to judge what's good or bad.  They can't go any further than saying that musical style is personal taste or preference only, there is no objective means of judging between the good and the bad.

People say that they think there is good and bad music, exempt from the words, but they don't have an explanation for the standard.  They would say it's not like judging something that you might do, which comes with a clear standard.  Scripture never says that this or that particular music is bad.  This difficulty then moves music into the category -- to them -- of Christian liberty.  They may prefer a certain music, but they don't have the authority to say that some musical style is wrong.

Here are some quotes expressing the above in a recent discussion in the comment section:
I have yet to see something that makes very clear biblical judgment of the music itself possible.  And, I'm fairly convinced it's not a solvable problem (in general). . . . Absent a clear standard from scripture, that's the very definition of a Romans 14 issue. 
I too agree that music apart from lyrics has moral value. I  just want . . . someone to tell me how to determine that value in a subjective way and not by answering my question with more questions.   Please. Anyone?  I sincerely am looking for simple answers to apply to making music choices. I've been looking for a long time. . . . . I decided to walk away from the confusing admonitions of others and be content with having a good conscience before God until I get some clearer instruction. 
Personally, I'd never allow rap or rock in a worship service. But, I have no objective basis for that - it's my own subjective opinion. 
That is the sixty-four thousand dollar question.  When you can offer a clear, objective standard to determine this, please let me know.  Otherwise, it pretty much boils down to whatever I say it is. 
Is all music of equal quality?  Not in my opinion.  Is all music helpful and edifying?  Not in my opinion.  I think we both agree in general that music itself, apart from the words, can be sinful, or at least come pretty close to that category.  But how to define that objectively?  I don't know.  How to define that Scripturally?  I don't know.  And because I can't do so, I shy away from imposing my opinions upon others. 
I'm not saying music doesn't communicate on its own, but I've yet to hear a plausible way to tell clear truth or error from notes and rhythms. 
I've yet to hear a good, scripturally-based objective reason for choosing not to use music. 
And then you've got comments like this:
Given that the Scripture says nothing about time signature, whether music is on or off beat, major or minor keys, or structure of music, I'm going to go out on a limb keep my feet firmly attached to the ground and suggest that no reasonable interpretation of Scripture could endorse, or reject, any genre of music, any particular instrument, or any particular singing technique.  The closest we can come to a Biblical description or prescription of music is found in Psalms 149 and 150, where Scripture clearly references and recommends percussive instruments and dance as something God wanted Israel to do.  
Not holding my breath for the cultural fundamentalists to interpret those Psalms as written, to put it mildly. 
These were made by five or six different people, but they are the same, most common argument for the amorality of music.  "Music isn't amoral, but I don't have an objective basis for saying it is moral, so I have to treat it like it is amoral."  They say uncertainty is the major basis for the amorality of music.  Another word for uncertainty is doubtful, as in doubtful disputations of Romans 14.  If it isn't certain, then it is a matter of liberty.

A corollary to above for amorality of music, and, therefore, not judging musical style is that there isn't a specific verse against any particular musical style.  If a person judges something with no scriptural basis, he's adding to scripture, which violates sola scriptura, someone might say.  In fact, not judging, using scripture, breaches sola scriptura.

What is the scriptural, objective, certain standard for judging music or musical style?  Can someone, so should someone, judge musical style?  Does scripture require judging music?


I've talked about this before, but most application of scripture, which is called wisdom or prudence (Eph 1:8), to which God saves us, requires the utilization of a second term.  It works like the following:
First Term:  Scripture prohibits corrupt communication.
Second Term:  Four letter words are corrupt communication.
Conclusion (or application of first term):  Scripture prohibits four letter words.
What if I used a particular heinous four letter word through this post to spice it up, show anger or passion?  When you said that I used corrupt communication, I retorted with almost any of the above comments against scripture saying anything about music.  The four letter words are not supplied.  Some might say that the judgment against a particular four letter word then is subjective.  Someone saying, "it isn't objective," isn't objective.  What is subjective is deciding yourself what you want to be corrupt and what you don't want to be corrupt.  Just because you say it isn't corrupt, because there is no list of four letter words, doesn't mean it isn't corrupt.  You are still going to be judged by God.


The problem here one of fear on the part of those required to apply scripture.  I heard someone recently use the terminology, "first mover problem."  You've got a terrorist threatening a whole airplane with a knife.  You've got an evil dictator threatening a whole country.  A small number of people can intimidate a much larger group because of a "first mover problem."  The first mover might die, and he's got to be motivated by someone or something greater than himself to move.

In this case, the first move is saying that certain music is corrupt.  People will be upset if they lose their carnal, worldly, entertaining, pleasurable activity.  They often become angry, like a dog that has its food taken back.  The first mover sees himself excluded, looking silly or whatever temporal motive is there.  It's not just this issue where there are first mover problems, but many different applications of scripture, including what people have diminished by calling them "cultural issues."  They have deemed the cultural issues of either greater uncertainty or lesser importance to "doctrinal issues," like the Trinity, even though scripture doesn't treat non-doctrinal issues as uncertain or lesser.

The first mover problem has spread to many other cultural issues, including calling a boy a boy and a girl a girl, even using gender specific pronouns.  It also might by saying you think evolution is a lie.  You don't want to stand out by saying whatever it is that runs counter to convention.  It usually is accompanied by ridicule.  When most everyone who professed to be a Christian went the complete opposite direction, people joined the opposition to certain musical style and with complete certainty.  Someone didn't need to make the first move.  Now you will suffer for rising against what's easy to support, that is, unmitigated musical style.


The strange woman wore the attire of a harlot (Proverbs 7:10).  If I said, don't dress like a prostitute, no verse tells us what a prostitute dresses like.  It requires a second term.  We know how a prostitute dresses.  More women now dress like prostitutes, including many professing Christian ones, because of the same unwillingness to apply scripture.

Let's say that  a parent said to his child, "Get that look off your face -- it's disrespectful."  The child answered, "What verse says my look is a bad look or disrespectful, because that just seems disrespectful?"  Can no one know what is the 'eye that mocks his father' is?  Scripture assumes we can judge disrespect.  When people ask if there's anything sacred any more, it relates to this subject matter.  A culture that will not put any difference between that which is common or profane and that which is sacred, can't love or respect or worship God.

Children learn A-B-C on a line of letters.  They can get it.  It takes recognition of meaning.  People know meaning.  They fit music to scenes based on an understanding of meaning.  It's basic like A-B-C.  Those who refuse to judge are willful.  They can say, "I didn't get it or understand it," and God won't excuse it.  It is first grade understanding. They are playing games.  Scripture and history show that people play these type of games, and call them arguments.  God is not mocked.

The Bible has a lot of verses that would prohibit certain musical style as worship and then some of the same verses prohibit for Christians musical styles on their musical play list.  For this post, I'm just introducing them.  Everything else in this post has been necessary.

  1. Fleshly Lust (1 Peter 2:11)
  2. Worldly Lust (Titus 2:12)
  3. Conformed to this World (Romans 12:2)
  4. Provision for the Flesh (Romans 13:14)
  5. Profaning the Name of God (Leviticus 18:21)
  6. Fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts (1 Peter 1:14)
  7. Ecstatic (1 Corinthians 12:1-3)
  8. Sensual (James 3:15)
  1. Reverence (Leviticus 19:30, many others)
  2. Solemnity (Leviticus 23:36, many others) [the opposite of reverent and solemn are superficial, foolish, thoughtless, vapid, flippant, trivial, etc.]
  3. Holy (Romans 12:1)
  4. Spiritual (John 4:23-24)
  5. Lovely (Philippians 4:8) [the opposite is unlovely or ugly]
  6. Gender Distinct (1 Corinthians 6:9)
All of these can be judged or they wouldn't be in scripture.  God will judge us for doing what He said, and He wouldn't judge us for something we could not be sure to understand.  I'm not saying that this list is an exhaustive list, but it is certainly enough to start with.  We should assume that we can know and know what these are.  In future posts, I will make brief application of them to music.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Word of Truth Conference Line-Up 2018

The Word of Truth Conference  at Bethel Baptist Church in El Sobrante, California is November 7-11, Wednesday to Sunday, this year, 2018.  The theme as it has been the previous three years is the gospel.  This is our last year with that theme.  We will prepare, Lord-willing, to write and publish a book on the gospel, as we did for the first four years on ecclesiastical separation.  I would estimate that this will take one or two years before it's out.  We'll keep you updated.

From the first four years, we published A Pure Church (you can get here or here).  From the second three years, we have not yet published a book on apostasy, but we will likely put together an e-book in years to come, that someone can download and then print if he wants it on paper.  The title of that series of conferences was I-Magination.

As usual, the evening will be preaching that is open to whatever particular text of scripture.  We want exposition of God's Word.  In the mornings are sessions that will be chapters in the book.  On Sunday afternoon is our annual panel discussion on the subject matter of the conference with speakers or pastors from the conference.  Here's the schedule.

7:00pm -- Chris Teale
7:50pm -- Bobby Mitchell

9:30am -- Passages That Teach Salvation and Passages That Are Not Teaching Salvation—
                 John 15:1-8 -- James Bronsveld
10:05am -- Passages That Teach Salvation and Passages That Are Not Teaching Salvation—
                 Philippians 3 -- Bobby Mitchell
11:10am -- Passages That Teach Salvation and Passages That Are Not Teaching Salvation—
                  Luke 18:18-30 -- Kent Brandenburg
11:45am -- The Meaning of Faith (Commitment) -- Thomas Ross

7:00pm -- James Bronsveld
7:50pm -- Bobby Mitchell

9:30am -- The Extent of Faith (Intellectual, Volitional, Emotional) -- Thomas Ross
10:45am -- Repentance in the New Testament -- James Bronsveld
11:30am (3rd and 4th Sessions) -- 3rd, Lord -- 4th, What's Not Enough -- Kent Brandenburg

7:00pm -- Bobby Mitchell

9:30am -- The Effect of Salvation:  Nature -- Kent Brandenburg
10:05am -- The Effect of Salvation:  Sanctification -- David Sutton
11:10am -- The Effect of Salvation:  Endurance -- Chris Teale
11:50am -- Unbiblical Methods of Evangelism -- Bobby Mitchell

9:45am -- The Effect of Salvation: Marks or Tests of Salvation -- Thomas Ross
11:00am -- Regular Series through the Book of Acts -- Kent Brandenburg

2:30pm -- Panel Discussion

Friday, October 19, 2018

Evan Roberts & the Rise of American and Continental Pentecostalism I, Part 17 of 22

The Welsh holiness revival was central to the spread of Pentecostalism on the European continent, as it was in Britain:
[G]lossolalia gained renewed attention through the phenomena that accompanied the revivals in Wales, Los Angeles, Christiania, Hamburg, Kassel, and other places. . . . [T]he revival in Wales under Evan Roberts produced . . . psychological and physical abnormalities . . . and sparked them also in other countries (California, Norway, Denmark, Hesse, Silesia)[.] . . . [O]pinions . . . strongly diverged.  [Pentecostals] viewed speaking in tongues and similar phenomena as a renewal of the gifts of Pentecost and powerful evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit, but others . . . pronounced everything to be a work of the devil and a deception of the antichrist.[1]
News of the Welsh holiness revival brought “expectation . . . almost to a boiling point . . . [i]n Germany in 1904.”[2]  The groundwork for Pentecostalism had been laid by Keswick continuationist “American Holiness evangelists”[3] such as Robert Pearsall Smith and the central German Higher Life advocate, the Lutheran Theodore Jellinghaus.[4]  Jellinghaus recognized that “the ‘doctrine of the Keswick Conventions’ which he . . . taught for many years [was] the source [of] . . . the rise of the Pentecostal movement.”[5]  Soon after 1904 “[e]very [German] Evangelical journal published enthusiastic reports of the beginnings of the Pentecostal Movement in Wales and India,”[6] and, through such testimonials, charismatic phenomena began to arise all through Germany in hearts prepared for Pentecostalism by Keswick theology.  “Objections based on the Bible and systematic theology were insolently rejected,” for Pentecostals argued:  “We do not need to investigate whether it is biblical to speak of a baptism of the Spirit and a new experience of Pentecost, for we can see all around us men and women, and not only individuals, who can testify from their own blessed experience that there is such a thing.”[7]  In line with the Welsh holiness revival’s repudiation of the mind, logic, and systematic theology, Pentecostals taught:  “We need no more theology or theory.  Let the devil have them. . . . Away with such foolish bondage!  Follow your Heart!”[8]  Although Pentecostal founders knew that “many ‘winds of doctrine’ blew at Asusa Street” and there were “intrusion[s] of spiritualists and mediums into their midst,” nonetheless it was clear to the charismatics that the work was a real “revival [and] the beginning of a historic awakening.”[9]  The international impact of the Welsh holiness revival as the source of European Pentecostalism was truly profound.
Not only was the Welsh holiness revival the spark of Pentecostalism in Britain and on the European continent, but it was central to the rise of American Pentecostalism also.  The Asusa Street Mission, where “the Pentecostal movement ignited,”[10] was “regarded by Pentecostal publicists as the place of origin of the world-wide Pentecostal movements.”  Asusa Street was established by W. J. Seymour, who had been seeing visions from his youth and had adopted the Faith Cure theology of the Higher Life for the body, after which he suffered from smallpox and became permanently blind in one eye.[11]  Seymour . . . in common with Evan Roberts’s leadership in the Welsh Revival . . . preached very little, and more or less allowed things to go their own way.”[12]  Seymour’s work found fertile soil in Los Angeles because of the preparatory work of “Joseph Smale and Frank Bartleman . . . preachers who had been influenced by the revival in Wales.”[13]  As the Higher Life continuationist foundation for Pentecostalism was being laid in Los Angeles, the “religious life of the city was dominated by Joseph Smale, whose large First Baptist Church had been transformed into the ‘New Testament Church’ due to the effects of the Welsh revival which were being felt in Los Angeles at the time.”[14]  Smale’s transformation from a Baptist into a continuationist gift-seeker is paradigmatic of the type of influence the Welsh holiness revival under Evan Roberts exerted.  The methodology and practices of Evan Roberts had swept into Los Angeles in 1905, being concentrated in Smale’s First Baptist Church.[15]  “The revival in Smale’s church was sparked by news of the great Welsh revival of 1904-5 led by Evan Roberts.  A trip to Wales by Smale and an exchange of letters between Bartleman and Evan Roberts demonstrate a direct spiritual link between the move of God[16] in Wales and the pentecostal outpouring in Los Angeles in 1906.”[17]  After Smale “returned from Wales,” having “been in touch with the revival [there] and Evan Roberts, [he] was on fire to have the same visitation and blessing come to his own church in Los Angeles. . . . They were waiting on God for an outpouring of the Spirit there.”[18]  Instead of preaching only the Bible, Smale began to “preac[h] . . . on the revival in Wales.”[19]  Meetings in his church were carried on in a manner identical to that of those with Evan Roberts.[20]  Soon “Pastor Smale [was] prophesying of wonderful things to come.  He prophesie[d] the speedy return of the apostolic ‘gifts’ to the church,” as others, prepared by the testimonials to the Higher Life and marvels worked in Wales, had “been expecting just such a display of . . . power for some time,” thinking that “it might break out any hour.”[21]  After fifteen weeks of daily meetings, Smale and those he had led away from Baptist convictions separated themselves from those who wanted the old paths and organized the “New Testament Church” to continue to spread the innovations and strange fire from Wales.[22]  As tongues began to break out at the Asusa Street Mission,[23] “Brother Smale had to come to ‘Asusa,’” for many of his church members were there, speaking in gibberish.  Smale “invited them back home, promised them liberty in the Spirit,” and tongues were “wrought mightily at the New Testament Church also.”[24]  “Brother Smale was God’s Moses, to lead the people as far as to the Jordan” in preparing them to speak in tongues by introducing the practices of Evan Roberts—then “Brother Seymour led them over” into the tongues experience.[25]  Tongues were present “at Azusa Street [and] at the New Testament Church, where Joseph Smale is pastor; some of his people were among the first to speak with ‘tongues.’”[26]  Not long afterwards “Brother Elmer Fisher” led the “baptized saints”—those who had spoken in tongues—“from the New Testament Church” to found “the ‘Upper Room’ mission,” which “became for a time the strongest mission in town” to spread the Pentecostal experience.[27]

[1]              Pg. 503, Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 3: Sin and Salvation in Christ, Bavinck & pg. 159, Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 4: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, Bavinck.
[2]              Pg. 221, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger.
[3]              Pg. 221, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger.
[4]              See chapters 6-7 of Perfectionism, Vol. 1, B. B. Warfield, for an analysis of the rise and progress of the German Higher Life movement and a study of the embrace and promulgation of Higher Life theology by Jellinghaus through the influence of Robert P. Smith at the Oxford Convention (cf. pg. 225, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago:  Revell, 1874).  Warfield also records that Jellinghaus and large numbers of German evangelicals later repudiated the Higher Life and the Pentecostal doctrine that logically develops from it.
[5]              Pg. 225, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger.  The affirmation of Jellinghaus was true for not Germany only, but Pentecostalism in general (cf. pg. 45, The Pentecostal Movement, Donald Gee).
[6]              Pg. 222, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger.  The Welsh holiness revival was key to the spread of Pentecostalism to India.  “Wales was . . . the cradle . . . India . . . the Nazareth . . . Los Angeles . . . [the] world-wide restoration of the power of God” in the Pentecostal movement, for “[m]en who had been both in the Wales and India revivals declared this [charismatic one] to be the deepest work of all” (pgs. 90, 107, Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan).
[7]              Pg. 222, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger.
[8]              Pg. 92, Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan.  The teaching at Azusa Street, that “[w]hat the people need is a living Christ, not dogmatic, doctrinal contention” (pg. 101, Ibid) is fine, ecumenical, non-dogmatic Keswick theology.
[9]              Pgs. xx-xxi, Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan.
[10]            Pg. 43, A Theology of the Holy Spirit:  The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, Frederick Dale Bruner.  Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 1970.
[11]            Pg. 595, Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, ed. Larsen.
[12]            Pg. 12, The Pentecostal Movement, Donald Gee. In a manner also reminiscent of Evan Roberts’s actions in the pulpit, in Seymour’s meetings “[h]e usually kept his head inside the top . . . [of] two empty shoe boxes . . . during the meeting, in prayer” (pg. 58, Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan).  Indeed, “[w]hile Brother Seymour kept his head inside the old empty box in ‘Azusa’ all was well” (pg. 89, Ibid).
[13]            Pg. 22, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger.  Hollenweger affirms that Smale and Bartleman were Baptists, but they were only so in the sense that Jezebel (Revelation 2:20) or Diotrephes (3 John 9) or Judas (Acts 1:25) were Baptists before they publicly apostatized.  The meeting and co-working of Seymour and Bartleman is described on       pgs. 41ff., Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan.
[14]            Pg. xi, Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan.  See pgs. 13-42 for a detailed description of how the separation from Baptist doctrine and the adoption of Pentecostalism took place.  While the statement above is a reasonable summary of events, a more detailed description would note that Smale and much of his congregation actually left the First Baptist Church to establish the New Testament Church.  Thence followed a church split, with some wishing to continue to practice Baptist doctrine instead of adopting wholesale the practices of Evan Roberts.
[15]            Pg. xv, Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan.
[16]            That is, one who accepts Pentecostalism would consider both the work of Evan Roberts and the work of Pentecostalism a move of God in revival blessing.  One who rejects Pentecostalism would also need to reject the work of Evan Roberts in Wales.
[17]            Pg. xvi, Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan.
[18]            Pg. 13, Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan.  Scripture never teaches believers in the church age to seek another outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit was poured out in the book of Acts, and He is now present.  The Lord will not pour Him out again until the Tribulation period after the Rapture of the saints.
[19]            Pg. 27, Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan.
[20]            See a description on pgs. 20-21 of Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan.  A simple change of names from “Smale” to “Roberts” would be the only thing necessary to change the description from a meeting in Los Angeles to one in Wales.
[21]            Pg. 16, Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan.
[22]            Pgs. 26-27, Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan.
[23]            The tongues-speech present Azusa’s precursors, such as at 214 North Bonnie Brae Street, etc. are described by Anderson on pgs. 64ff. of Vision of the Disinherited:  The Making of American Pentecostalism.
[24]            Pg. 54, Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan.
[25]            Pg. 62, Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan.
[26]            Pg. 86, Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan.
[27]            Pgs. 84-85, Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan; pg. 70, Vision of the Disinherited:  The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson. Smale’s New Testament Church experienced a split over Pentecostalism, even as Smale’s First Baptist Church did over Evan Roberts’s Welsh revivalism.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Delusion of the Fundamental of the Faith: Relating It To Rocky Top at Bob Jones University

Back in the day, I sat in Baptist Polity class (we had that where I went to college), and I remember then Dr. Weeks (what we called our instructor) bringing up the fundamental pie.  He drew a circle with five pie slices on it and for each piece, because my pie was too small to start, I drew a line with an arrow to the inside of each slice and wrote out each of the "fundamentals" in each one.  It's something I never questioned at the time, because that was typical, accepting without question. After that I proceeded to memorize the pie, including drawing the pie.  Later it occurred to me, "Why is it a pie?"  Why not just a list with 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 fundamentals?  That would be the list of fundamentals, instead of a pie.

I have revisited the pie in my mind, and maybe it's a pie because each piece is part of a whole.  There are five, get that, five, fundamentals.  Not four.  Not six.  Not ten or twelve.  Five.  Making up pie for a nice tidy pie chart.  The 9 Marks guys have to be shaking their head at the number five.  Nine is it.  I'm now saying, Nope.  I don't even know why it is five.  It does remind me of the argument the Pharisees had about what the was the greatest of the laws.  Their discussion.  Pharisees.  Jesus could reduce the whole law down into two parts, because you could put all the laws into to two categories, two legitimate ones as spoken by the Lord Jesus Himself.

Today we return to the Pharisaaical attitude of numbering the fundamentals for, I believe and believe I can prove, many of the same reasons as the Pharisees.  You reduce everything down to a few number because you're not prepared to have more than that.  You can hold together, maybe, a coalition with the number five, even if it does deny literal twenty-four creation or baptism by immersion for believers only.  Is God pleased with five?  Does God want five?  Does God even want us making up lists of fundamentals?  I'm saying, no.  Take seriously everything that He said.  Listing fundamentals is a basis for not doing that.

When men start making up a list of fundamentals, you should think that a major premise of such a list is making room for not doing something that didn't make the list.  God didn't make the list.  He exterminated Ananias and Sapphira for something not on the list and killed Nadab and Abihu for something not on the list.  That's more like how God thinks.  He killed numbers of people for the numbering of people.

What got my attention on this -- again -- is another "fundamentalist" bringing fundamentals up as a bogus argument.  I've got three words now I can use every time that someone says something isn't a fundamental as an argument for pandering or capitulation or obfuscation or just plain disobedience, sometimes out of cowardice:  same. sex. marriage. In a nicer way, maybe it's just deceit or ignorance.  Delusion is defined as the misleading of the mind.  The Greek word translated "delusion" in the New Testament (plane, basis for the word "planet") is most often translated "error," and the portrayal of the Greek word is something wandering off the beaten path.

The recent president of Bob Jones University, Steve Pettit, played Rocky Top with a professing Christian musical groupSharperIron linked to this occurrence and a long discussion ensued (at 62 comments at this writing [there will be more]).  Many questions could be asked about Pettit's activity with the knowledge that he represents this fundamentalist institution in the most obvious way with its long, long time stand and standards on music, both for worship and personal listening, the latter as a matter of Christian living.  People should ask and in public, since it is public.

I know that this should not be considered a good quality of me, but I am very able at ridicule.  By testimony of others, I have been often judged to be quick-witted.  Well crafted mocking comments come to my mind.  I think they are best left unsaid and tamped down.  A high percentage of the commentary at SharperIron toward any criticism of Pettit was ridicule by some that think they're good at it and that it must be a good way to deal with criticism, their mockery.  That isn't a fundamental either in the fundamentalist pie, that is, whether it is right or wrong to mock critics.

A lot of mockery or ridicule occurs at SharperIron with almost no moderation.  It's typical everywhere, not just there.  Much of it continues there because it isn't moderated for whatever reason.  I see it as either a fear of a mob, the desire to be one of the cool guys, or the tendency to capitulate to the left.  The targets are deemed, it seems, worth the ridicule and in this case they are advocates of traditional or conservative music.  I think it would be better for them if they could be put in their place by defenders.  Answering them in kind wouldn't be allowed, so they continue on with their unfettered scoffing. The scoffers are actually low hanging fruit themselves with their unmoderated attempts to diminish critics with this method.  If that's the way things are there, more power to them.  I don't think it is the right or even best way to deal with criticism.  It is the best a mocker can do, very much like the apostates in 2 Peter 2-3.

I want to get back to the idea of "fundamentals," but first playing Rocky Top or even the place of blue grass among Christians.  The song Rocky Top expresses the virtues of wild fornication and desperate drunkenness, enjoyed and without judgment.  Someone might say, "It's just fun; let it go."  Meats for the belly and belly for meats.  If you watched, you saw singers and instrumentalists participating with great support and gusto.  They loved it (1 John 2:15-17).  It's one thing to be attracted to it because it titillates the flesh, but another thing to push and promote it. If this is a Christian liberty, as some people judge it to be, which I don't believe it is, even then it violates many of the limitations Paul requires of liberty in 1 Corinthians 6-10.

The big argument about judging such activity, which scripture says to judge and you should judge if you take the biblical and historical view of sola scriptura, is that it isn't worth judging and that it isn't a fundamental worth separating over.  They are really both the same argument.  Something isn't worth judging because it isn't a fundamental.

Scripture says everything is worth judging and God kills people for violating things not on the list of fundamentals.  It's a replay of the practice of the Pharisees, ranking truth as a basis for what will be tolerated and what won't.  It's not how God operates.  It isn't following Christ.  He doesn't do it.  It's also an attack on the perspecuity of scripture and the biblical understanding of unity (1 Cor 1:10).  Unity isn't disregarding biblical teaching to maintain a coalition.  I know they would say they aren't doing that, but the denial rings hollow -- they are in fact doing that.

Someone in the comment section of SharperIron, G. N. Barkman, a pastor who is a regular contributor there, writes in two separate comments (here and here):
Fundamentalism, historically speaking, is about defending the fundamentals of the Christian faith against those who attack and erode them.  In the "old" days, the attackers were called Modernists and Liberals.  Now, they are just as likely to be called Evangelicals.  Along the way, cultural issues began to take their place as part of the definition of Fundamentalism.  That, in my opinion, is when things began to go off course.  Cultural issues are, for the most part, too subjective to defend or decry Biblically.  I have my opinions and preferences, and you have yours.  I will not break fellowship with you over yours, and expect you to do the same with me.  Liking or not liking a particular style of music is not a fundamental of the faith.  Let's keep God's Word central, and allow Christian liberty where clear Bible doctrine is not the issue. 
But back to the original premise.  Do you consider music styles a fundamental of the Christian faith?  How many other fundamentals do you include?  I believe that when everything becomes a fundamental, nothing is a fundamental.  The word "fundamental" indicates something of greatest importance.  If everything is equally important, nothing is of greater significance.
Barkman barks up the wrong tree.  Protecting fundamentals is a delusion, not intended to protect truth itself.  There are no "fundamentals."  Where is this list?  I get the original idea, meant to gain a widespread defense of Christianity against liberalism, to attempt to salvage something.  I don't agree with it.  I just get it.  But it's taken on a shape of its own, mutating into deformity.  Fundamentalism is nothing scriptural to defend.  Defend scripture.  Defend truth.  Defend Jesus.  Defend the church.  Fundamentalism at the most was a means to an end, an unscriptural means that led to a less than scriptural end.  No one should be satisfied with it.

You can read the comments and there's no scriptural basis.  He leaves himself some deniability with "for the most part," which I'm assuming is to deny things like same sex marriage and smoking crack pipes.  Those are not fundamentals though and so the list expands and then you see truth as subjective, just conventional thinking.  It's true because you cobble enough support for it to be true.  Every Christian was against rock music at one time.  Every Christian was against shorts on women. Now it's no longer conventional, so it's only a preference.  We've already arrived at effeminate male behavior, rampant in churches today.  God expects different from us.

The "fundamental" is now a tool for capitulation and pandering.  Rocky Top panders.  People who support it are pandering.  They want approval.  It's the days of Noah, marrying and giving in marriage.  Just move along, nothing to look at.  Five things are worth looking at.

Read the first chapter of Ephesians.  The purpose of salvation, the reason we were chosen, what we read in the first three and half verses are "that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (v. 4b).  Being holy and without blame in love aren't fundamentals.  The adoption as children to Jesus and the redemption through Christ's blood abound toward "all wisdom and prudence" (vv. 5-8).  In other words, true doctrine, what might be "fundamentals," you know, what you're really supposed to be parking on, are there to produce the right application of the knowledge of His will (v. 9), which is "wisdom" and then thinking straight, which is "prudence."

Holy living, living without blame, loving behavior, the right application of knowledge, and thinking straight are tied to "the fundamentals."  They are the purpose.  If you have "bad music" and "wrong dress" and all these cultural issues, that's part of not knowing and doing the will of God, which necessarily proceeds from right doctrine.  The first three chapters of Ephesians, the doctrine, are about the last three chapters of Ephesians, the practice.

Paul ends 1 Corinthians in v. 22, saying this:  "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha."  It seems loving Jesus is a fundamental.  Yet, it isn't on the list or in the pie.  Can you love Him by singing to Him like He's your boyfriend or girlfriend?  Barkman would say that's not a fundamental and its a cultural issue, so it's impossible to judge.  You have to know what love is to love.  If love is actually lust, so someone isn't loving the Lord Jesus Christ, then that's Anathema Maranatha.  A curse is on that person.  Churches are full of a lack of affection for Jesus Christ.  They have passion produced by ecstatic experiences, choreographed by rhythm and syncopation, other atmospherics and instrumentation and suggestion.  It isn't reverence and sobriety required by God from those who worship Him and love Him.

Dismissing the cultural issues as preferences is not prudent or wise.  Christians are here to say "no" to Rocky Top.  The world isn't going to do it.