--- A quote from a Newsboys song? No - this essay is my response to many inquiries I get about why I did this page. The answer may surprise or anger you, but hear me out.
One of the most frequently asked type of question concerns confrontations with the Christian rock critics. The questions are usually something like:
My answer to all of the above is categorically NO!!! It is not because I do not have the strength of convictions, or I am afraid of debating them, or I am not well founded scripturally. It is because I love my opponents with the love that all believers ought to have for each other.
I am actually glad people like Dial the Truth are out there. Our Lord Jesus is very gracious to provide teaching materials to everybody - at their point of need. Those of us who have been in a close walk with Jesus for many many years know that He is a lot bigger than any single individual, denomination, or doctrine. There are absolutes, of course:
If you don't believe any of those points above, you have major theological problems, my friend. Beyond those points, however, there is a vast body of interpretation and doctrines, some of which are inspired by the Holy Spirit, and some of which are instituted merely by human authority. As such, they are not binding on all believers.
Dial the Truth, and other ministries that are not in favor of Christian rock are sincere men of God, who have interpreted the Bible in a way that makes sense to them. You and I have a different interpretation. Does that make them wrong and us right? NO! As I get older and older, I tend to become more and more tolerant of the individual differences between myself and the other members of the body of Christ. Not tolerant of SIN, HERESY, or COMPROMISE! But tolerant of people who may choose to worship or live in a very different belief system than my own. I can see a beauty in the diversity of ways of worshipping and praising the Lord Jesus Christ. What matters to Jesus, of course is that you DO worship, in SPIRIT and in TRUTH, according to the revelation of Him that you have received at the hands of a pastor and a church that faithfully preaches the Word of god from the pulpit, and whose leadership is dedicated to be humble servants, men of integrity before God.
I have a very challenging question to ask you: WHY do I have to debate Dial the Truth? Why does their point of view bother you at all? Why do we have to "convert" them to our way of thinking? I submit to you that if their opinion bothers you - then the issue of Christian rock is already decided for you:
You are under conviction from the Holy Spirit that it is wrong for you.
If, however, you worship in Spirit and Truth to Christian rock - if it not only entertains but draws you closer to Jesus, they you are FREE of the bondage Dial the Truth would put you under. Exercise you freedom in Christ with no doubts, no regrets, no animoscity. I said above that I am glad they are on the web. Why? Because some believers NEED them! The Word of God talks about evolution (no - not Darwinism), the evolution or growth of the believer as the walk from baby Christian to mature, powerful, effective believers. Paul talked about his own growth "When I was a child, -----" Contrary to what you would think, the Christians who are most legalistic are the ones who are the youngest. Human infants require a lot of restrictions and guidelines to keep them safe - cribs and gates restricting movements, electrical outlet covers, kitchen cabinet locks, etc. The electrical outlet is charged with power that, later in life, the child can use to accomplish many wonderful things. The kitchen cabinets are filled with cleansers that the child, when older, can use. But at a young age, the very things that will one day prove conveniences and empowering to the child must be restricted so they will not be used in a dangerous or inappropriate manner. Likewise, the deeper teachings of a mature walk with the Lord can be harmful to a new believer. New converts frequently need the confines of strict doctrine to keep them from straying back into the world. So - the good folks at Dial the Truth are baby Christians, speaking to baby Christians. I would no more resent them for providing spiritual baby food than I would resent the Gerber company for making bland mixtures safe for infants to eat. I ask you again - why do you resent them? Good - you have taken a marvelous first step of understanding into the wonder that is a walk with Christ.
Anybody who has taken a bite of Gerber foods knows why adults do not consume them - they are bland and not very tasty. You have graduated beyond musical "baby food" (the Hosanna Integrity Praise stuff), and are ready for musical quality. Don't limit yourself to just Christian rock, give other styles a try. You might find that the Classical hymns of past centuries are equally fulfilling. If you choose to listen to Christian rock, do it with a clear conscience that it is right for you at your particular point in your walk. I will constantly remind you to beware of idolatry and letting the music become more important than the Lord Jesus Christ. If it does, you have spiritual problems that can only be solved by backing off from the music.
Don't think I hold the Christian rock critics up on pedestal and admire everything they say. I do NOT agree with the majority of their statements. I have to waste a lot of my personal web space on these essays. I would much rather devote it to material that would help win people to Christ. So should Dial the Truth. They waste their bandwidth on this issue, so I have to.
By far, the worst thing about this debate is that the baby Christians on the other side tend to get dogmatic, legalistic, and ARROGANT. I am only human, when I read their material that holds up their position as the only correct one - it makes me angry. Their opinion is not binding on every believer. I choose not to put myself under their authority, I put myself under the authority of my local church and my local pastor on this issue, just as the Bible commands. They would probably think my church is in error and apostasy because they use contemporary music during worship, but they faithfully preach the Word, each sermon goes through the Bible one verse at a time. I believe I am in very good spiritual hands, and have no "conviction" that I am doing wrong from the Holy Spirit. Given my daily hunger for the Word and things of God, it is very doubtful that I have so grieved the Spirit that He has departed from me! Yet - Dial the Truth does not want to hear my point of view. I do not fit their criteria. What they want before they will even read my material is:
Fooey on them - there is just one word for an attitude like theirs: ARROGANCE. Jesus despised narrow dogmatic thinking when he encountered it in the Pharisees. He compared them to whitewashed tombs full of rotting corpses. That is because they were DEAD inside when it came to everything that really matters - compassion and love for their fellow man. The religious community has always proved to be a haven for those who want to control others. I am becoming firmly convinced that having power over other people is a more basic motivating force than even sex! Do not be intimidated by these people. They have no more monopoly on the TRUTH than the Pharisees of old. Did you notice something? How many links do I have to these people on my page? Everywhere you look on this page I link to them. I also speak highly of them. Do you honestly think they would do the same for ME?! Where is the balance in that? Where is the LOVE that Jesus said we should have for each other. I tell you truthfully that I have put nice compliments in their guestbook - congratulating them on new and more attractive web page layouts. They did not even bother to reciprocate. I am not "worthy" of acknowlegement, because I represent the Christian rock fans. I don't even use an "acceptable" Bible. Therefore, they think they are justified in being rude by ignoring me.
As a matter of fact, what few contacts I have had with Christian rock critics have been fairly unpleasant. Go to my guestbook and look at the comments by "Ken". In my essay about the kids letters, I clearly state that this is my personal theory, perhaps inspired by a few tugs of doubt placed there by the Holy Spirit. Yet he insults me - describing me physically in terms that clearly reference satan (red ears), and tries to place doubt on my whole ministry and calling of the Holy Spirit. All while not providing the very thing that would cause me to revise my whole kids letter essay: THE SOURCE of those letters. Or even one email address, phone number, or postal address of a writer, so I can verify authenticity. I ask you - who is more Christlike? I read the other side's material, put compliments in their guestbook (go there and read them, if they have a view guestbook option). Or is "Ken" more Christlike? Does a "guest" come into your home and insult you? Or question your ministry? "Ken" has no concept of what a guest should be. I would likely have to order him from my home if this had been a real life visit. Before he started insulting my lovely wife or my daughter. He is just plain RUDE - but I will let Christ take care of THAT!
Another encounter I had is posted on this site as an essay. The guy ended up being nice enough, but even three emails into the exchange he still had the nerve to ask to which god the kids were getting saved - "Yeshua" or satan. That hurt, when I gave my testimony in lengthy emails, told him the scriptural nature of my home church, and of my pastor. That was the end of the exchange - he could never acknowlege me as a mature Christian, led in my ministry by the Holy Spirit.
If the Christian rock critics limited themselves to pointing out FACTUAL heresies and problems with the music, I would say "bravo", "well done", link their material, recommend it, etc. But they do not do that. Their essays are filled with:
None of those are honoring to Christ! I will let you read the essays for blatant examples of the first three. But the last one is particularly troubling to me. Not troubling because I have any doubts about myself. It is troubling because the SUREST sign that somebody is in danger of falling is when they cannot tolerate differing views on minor doctrinal issues like this. If they pin their whole ministry on a pet issue like this, or a few pet issues - what will happen to them if they are proved wrong? If they bothered to read these essays, they are probably going to have some serious doubts about themselves. Depending on how deeply their convictions run - they may begin to doubt the inerrancy of the Bible. If that ever gets started, they are in for a rough spiritual ride - hopefully not DOWN. That is why I have a cover page that insists somebody agree with our side before reading the essays. I do not want to make a little child stumble. Have you clicked on the other side of the issue? I give them a nice list of links of people who agree with their conviction. If they click on our side, they have been warned. Hopefully they clicked on it because they are still teachable. Either way, it is their responsibility.
Again I ask - why does our point of view cause them to be so angry at us? What are they afraid of? That we are right and they are wrong? That there are other points of view that differ from theirs - but are also correct? That Jesus does not limit His love to only their little group? I don't know. But their existance and opinions are no threat to me. These essays are here ONLY for YOU - the Christian Rock fan. They are NEVER to be used to out and argue with these people. Depart from fruitless controversies and arguments with them. Leave their church, find another one. Don't blare the music at them. Don't harass them. Prove that the Holy Spirit of love flows like living water from us - but not them - by being gracious and polite to everybody. You will NEVER win anybody to your point of view by being pushy and rude!
DO YOU HEAR ME - CHRISTIAN ROCK CRITICS!!! You also will never convince us by using the tools of the devil (listed above - yeah - you KNOW full well what you are doing). You will never win your argument by insulting us, being rude or arrogant to us, being dogmatic and inflexible - and unloving. For once in your lives -