Friday, October 26, 2018

"Pop Christianity"

I was recently reading a book by a good friend of mine concerning changes in Country Music. He has identified a distinction between real Country Music and what we have as Pop Country. I was provoked by the principles that Gene was applying as he wrote. I began to see how those principles reached into so many areas of life. Not being a Country Music fan, my mind and thoughts began to draw similarities to something I am familiar with, Christianity. So, I am going to take some of Gene's thoughts and apply them to the Gospel. If you are a Country Music fan, I refer you to Gene's book. You can find it on his web page, the link is in the column here just to your right under link suggestions. Just click on the link titled "Gene's Page" and it will take you to his site where you can review his book and purchase it if you like.

The following statements in brackets are from Gene's book, [21st Century Country Music and The Essie Accolades].

[The 21st-century producers and executives in the country music industry are eradicating the country music genre.] As a new generation arises and the older become less attentive, promoters can introduce new elements into industry or institutions without changing the name. Over time what you will have is something by a name you are all too familiar with, but in essence, it has become something else. I think perhaps we are in a real danger of this very thing today in Christianity.

[Okay, pop music sells and real country music not as much.] Okay, pop Christianity sells and real Christianity not as much. "Mat 7:14  But the gate that opens the way to true life is narrow. And the road that leads there is hard to follow. Only a few people find it." There is a Christianity today being promoted across our nation and around the world that is very appealing to people as a whole. It has a good feel about it, great entertainment and a pleasant accepting atmosphere. However, it is not real Christianity. It doesn't produce the same effects upon a person as the real Gospel. You may enjoy the beat for a moment, but it has no real lasting effect on one's life.

[What is pop music? Pop is short for popular, and pop music is defined as music with a broad popular appeal.] Pop Christianity has this broad popular appeal, it is marketed through many media outlets and has a variety of styles which fluctuates with the changing trends. Pop Christianity looks for what is popular and adapts its styles of worships to be more acceptable with the surrounding cultural trends. You can go with this new pop Christianity without making substantial changes in lifestyle and your worldly pursuits.

[So what exactly is country music? Country music has a particular style of singing, a definitive sound of music, clarity of words with a story, and an identifiable melody.] So what exactly is the Gospel? The Gospel has a particular truth, there is a definitive sound to that truth which carries with it a clarity of words as it unveils the story of redemption. It is always identifiable by that truth.

"Co 15:1  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
1Co 15:2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
1Co 15:3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1Co 15:4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
1Co 15:5  And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 

1Co 15:6  After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 
1Co 15:7  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 
1Co 15:8  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
1Co 15:9  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
1Co 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
1Co 15:11  Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.  


[I believe the standard for country music, a way to judge a song to be country or not, was set by the great classic songs and country singers of the 50's and 60's.] I believe the standard for the Gospel and Christianity, a way to judge if it is the true Gospel or true Christianity is the Scripture. I've haven't consulted Gene on this, but I will assume there are elements of real Country music in Pop Country, enough so, to pass it off as Country to an unsuspecting audience. On today's scene, we have a face of Christianity that identifies itself with enough elements of real Christianity that on the surface it sounds right, but in reality, the roots are drawing their nourishment from unholy sources.

[Even though it seems real country music wannabes are strangling country music, real country music is not dead; it's unquestionably struggling to be heard and sometimes will push through the noise pollution on country music radio and raise to the top. Congratulations to Jon Pardi! You made real country music fans proud!] Even though it seems the real Gospel is being overcome with this new flashy and fresh Gospel message, the real Gospel which produces real Christianity is not dead. It can still be found in the Scriptures, "Jud 1:3  Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." This faith remains sound, its path can be clearly heard, clearly followed through Christian History. Our Scriptures are the foundation, the creeds, counsels, and confessions throughout church history help define for us what we are really about. What does real Christianity look like? The Apostle's creed dating back to about 140 AD gives us a glimpse. That understanding is still essential to a professing believer today. The Nicene Creed of 325 also continues to be sound doctrine in the Christian faith.

Some will quip that it is impossible to know what Christianity really was as it has evolved so much over the centuries. Implying men invented new ways of worship as the church grew. O, men have invented new ways of worship, but it is not because the church evolved and we don't know what it was in the beginning.  It's because it's what men do, their pride and arrogance convince them they know a better way. However, this is overcome with a careful study of the Scriptures and a fairly decent understanding of Church history. We have so many copies of the Scriptures in so many different languages, copies of the creeds and writings from the church in the second century onward, it is clearly understood what the church was and what Christianity is. What Christianity is, has not changed or evolved since it was first introduced. It has grown and increased in knowledge and understanding, but it has not changed. A Christian in the first century is the same as in the 21 century. His actions, his thoughts, his purpose, his goals, his desires, his understanding of the Scriptures and his love of truth are the same from then until now. If you are seeing something different, hearing something new, you are not seeing and hearing the Gospel, for it does not change. It is not about entertainment or popularity, about pleasure and success in this world, never has been. It's about a fallen race of people and their redemption from their fall. A humble people knowing their weaknesses, guarding against them, looking for Grace to overcome them. Don't go for Pop Christianity, search for the real stuff. If what you have allows you to live your life with the same life goals as the world around you, you do not have the real Gospel. The real Gospel will set you apart, what other can do, you cannot. That's not a cannot by law, but a cannot by conscience, you simply just cannot. You have a desire driving you another way, a way you must follow or else.

May the Grace of God be with each of you,

David

             

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