"that ye should earnestly contend for the faith" Jude 3
American battlefields scattered around the eastern terrain are remembered today as key locations where great battles of the past were fought and key contests won or lost depending on the abilities, ferocity and weapons used in those historic conflicts.
Genuine historical Biblical Fundamentalists have always been ardent fighters for the faith once delivered unto the saints. One veteran warrior of the faith aptly stated it correctly when he said "If you’re not a fighter, you’re not a Fundamentalist.
Now the devil never ceases his diabolical attacks upon the faith, but merely changes his methods and shifts his location area for his destructive assaults As obedient soldiers, Fundamentalists must always be willing to battle for the truth, regardless of the opposing force, whether it be from professing friends within their camp or profligate foes outside their tents—I Tim. 1:18, II Tim. 2:2. Today, there are several battlefields where this battle for the faith is taking place.
THE MANUSCRIPTS BATTLEGROUND
As Fundamentalists became gradually aware in the second half of the 20th century of the distinct differences in Greek manuscripts and the various translations that were being published, this issue came to the forefront in conservative Bible-believing circles.
This battle, in its real context, is actually a contest concerning Biblical inerrancy. Professing weak Fundamentalists may deny this fact, but the real heart of the controversy is whether Bible-believers possess all the words of Biblical truth as originally given by him, and whether all these words have been accurately translated so that individuals can read, study and obey all these words today in written linguistic format with complete confidence and without any reservations.
THE TWO CONTRASTING STREAMS
This battle rages over the two variant historical streams/strains of Greek Bible texts, one that could be properly called the Antiochean stream and the other as the Alexandrian based strain. The Antiochean stream has become commonly known today as the Traditional Text, while the second strain has been properly designated as the Critical Text.
The reliable King James Bible [KJB] is the product of the Antiochean stream, while virtually all the modern translations are based on the unreliable Alexandrian textual strain. There are about 5400+ [plus] extant [existing] Greek manuscripts today and 98.6% + of these extant manuscripts support the Traditional Text, the text that was received down through the centuries by Bible-believing sources.
THE DEFECTIVE ALEXANDRIAN STRAIN
Believe it or not, despite this massive evidence, the deluge and flood of modern translations being published today are virtually all based on the 1.4% minority text that is composed of unreliable and untrustworthy manuscripts. The Alexandrian centered text [Critical Text] has a strong Gnostic background and flavor and centers in two manuscripts, the Vaticanus (sometimes called B) and the Sinaticus (sometimes referred to as "Aleph.")
The Vatanicus was found in the Papal Library in Rome in the 14th century and the Sinaiticus was discovered in a monastery garbage can in the 19th century. There are actually over 6,000 differences in these two manuscripts, yet two Greek "scholars." In spite of these vast discrepancias, two apostate Greek scholars by the names of B. F. Westcott and J. A. Hort concocted a new Greek text in the 1870’s from which a long line of untrustworthy translations have been produced.
THE VIRTUES OF THE TRADITIONAL KJB TRANSLATION
The King James Version, based on the Traditional Text, is the only English translation that does not alter, dilute or change any essential elements of the divinely preserved Hebrew and Greek texts. The company of 39 men who worked on the KJB had a fluent command of the Hebrew and Greek languages with which no modern group of translators can compare.
While the KJB was not given by divine inspiration [no double inspiration], it retains intrinsic heavenly qualities such as accuracy (Ps. 19:7), reliability (Ps. 119:160) and divine potency (Heb. 4:12, II Pet. 1:23). The KJB is totally trustworthy, a version in which readers can place their full confidence. By contrast, every modern version published has vital omissions, alterations and dilutions! [Yes, this writer can easily and readily validate/verify this assertion!!]
THE SAD DEFECTION IN SPITE OF THE OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE
In spite of the overwhelming evidence that supports the TR/KJB position, a group of ten professing Fundamentalist schools and theological seminaries have joined a coalition to essentially defend the untenable Critical Text. Sadly, the voices of these ten institutions is totally silent regarding the liberal bent, the vital doctrinal omissions and the apostate underpinnings of the modern translations!
Like numerous generations did before them, Fundamentalists today can place unwavering confidence in the KJB, the translation upon which America’s Judeo-Christian moral culture was historically founded and based, the version that produced strong Christian families, and the Bible that has been the foundational stone for establishing hundreds of evangelistic soul-winning centers for English speaking peoples in America and around the world.
With increasing vigor and without any abatement, uncompromising Fundamentalists must both unceasingly defend and disseminate the KJB or else the devil will soon capture Bible-believing citadels and take them into his apostate fold.
THE MUSIC BATTLEGROUND
A second major battlefield is the music battleground, a battleground where virtually no professing Fundamental N. T. church is going unaffected by this conflict. The Scripture commands N. T. saints as they gather together for worship, fellowship and Biblical instruction to "let the word of Christ dwell" in them "richly in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in" their "hearts to the Lord. "
As a matter of fact, this battleground may be causing more controversy, division, schism, strife and separation than even the vital Bible text issue. Pastors can sometimes permanently settle their congregations with much intense teaching on the manuscripts controversy, but with new "7-ll" disposable type songs [seven words repeated 11 times!] being penned and published nearly every week, the music battleground has become a real danger and threat for destroying the doctrinal fabric, family unity and congregational harmony of N. T. churches everywhere.
THE BIBLICAL EMPHASIS UPON GOOD MUSIC
Since there are at least 525 direct references in the Scriptures to this theme, music is a vital aspect that cannot be overlooked in a N. T. church’s spiritual fabric. When David was requested to soothe King Saul’s depressed and troubled spirit, he played a harp (I Sam. 16:14-23). When Christ and his disciples met together for the last time before his crucifixion, the Scripture declares that they sang a hymn before they went out onto the Mount of Olives (Matt. 26:30).
At midnight, when the bodies of Paul and Silas were bound in the "stocks" of a Roman dungeon in Philippi, the Scripture records that they openly "prayed and sang praises unto God." Even in glory, after time has ceased its sometimes seemingly monotonous existence, the saints will be singing "a new song" of adoration to the Lamb of God (Rev. 5:9).
Without question, outside of preaching, music has always been the second most important feature in Fundamentalist congregations. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Satan is subtly but also viciously attacking this spiritual stronghold of Fundamentalist strength via his sensual injections of religious rock, a modem that has become more popularly known as Contemporary Christian Music [CCM] than by its real name and nature.
THE SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS OF WHOLESOME SOUNDS
Now, good music is a distinctive blessing and gift from God, including wholesome secular songs and sounds, but this article deals exclusively with so-called Christian music. In the last 150 years, in particular, Bible-believing Christians have been especially blessed by great Gospel hymn writers and Gospel song composers. Songs of revelation, resolution, repentance, reckoning, revival, repose, request, redemption and numerous other Biblical themes have saturated the hymnals.
Great musical themes concerning deity, decision, dependence, desire, destiny, duty and devotion have all flooded Christian homes and Bible-believing churches. This writer has a collection of at least 500 different hymn books and gospel songbooks he has collected over a 30 year period. [What an immeasurable treasure—he revels in reading the hundreds of choice songs within their pages!]
GOD’S DIVINE ORDER FOR MUSIC
Now, God is an orderly God, He never does anything haphazardly. God has a distinct order in Salvation (Isaiah 6:1-8); He has a direct order for the family (Eph. 5:19-6:4); He has a definite order for effectual Christian living (I Thess. 5:23) and He has devised a deliberate order for music (Eph. 5:19).
All good spiritual music has three component parts: melody, harmony and rhythm, in that order. The melody proceeds from the spirit, the harmony is centered in the soul, while the rhythm proceeds from the body (cp. Col. 3:16, Eph. 5:19, I Thess. 5:23).
The devil does not agree or concur with God’s divine order; therefore he has reversed the process placing the rhythm (beat) first, the harmony second (a discordant one) and the melody [main line] last. Now God desires our bodies to respond to music in the proper manner, but when the rhythm comes first, the bodily response takes precedence! Any music therefore that places the rhythm and beat first is thus sensual music.
It makes no difference how many so-called "Christian" or "Bible" phrases the writer sprinkles into the lyrics [words], if the beat is predominant, then the music is "out-of-place" and should be rejected by God’s saints. In religious rock, (CCM), God’s order is reversed, the rhythm is altered to a canal sensual beat and then the words are frequently diluted to give them a weakened sense of meaning. This writer has noted an increasing tendency for supposedly traditional music to take on a heavy rock beat, a dangerous trait that must be vigorously resisted if Bible-believing churches are to retain wholesome music in their churches.
THE DANGERS AND DISASTERS OF BAD MUSIC-CCM
Rock music (CCM) is (a) erroneous, it is out-of-order; it is also (b) erotic, emphasizing the "eros" [physical response] type of love rather than the admirable human "philos" love or spiritual "agapas/agapao" love. CCM music appeals to the depraved flesh, not the regenerated spirit, and CCM music is also basically
(c) existential, by which he means that CCM music diminishes, downplays and dilutes strong Biblical content for words that have weak or double meanings. To put it bluntly, CCM music often resembles the sounds of a sensual night club!
So what’s wrong with CCM music? It is (a) carnal, (b) copies from the world and (c) cuts down the spiritual vitality that believers need to build up, fortify and strengthen their lives for the crucial battles against the world (I John 2:5), the flesh (Rom. 7:19) and the devil (I Peter 5:8). CCM music weakens believer’s resistance to these three evil devices and leaves them wide open for unnecessary assault and attacks by the Devil.
In summarization, (a) the methods of the CCM songsters are always unbiblical as they follow the premise of Jesuit casuistry that the ends justify the means; (b) the message of the songs is frequently unclear. The message concerning Scripture, salvation and separation is often uncertain. "This is my experience" replaces "thus saith the Lord." Bible words are regularly replaced with existential words and worldly entertainers who emphasize entertainment rather than edification. (c) The morals of the singers are sometimes undesirable. While there are unquestionably some morally decent CCM entertainers, adultery, moral uncleanness and loose morals abound among the CCM crowd. WHAT DISCERNING SAINTS MUST AVOID
Bible Christians need a higher standard than the secular, sensual, ungodly world from which to borrow their musical sounds and words. Bible Christians must go by a much higher flag. All wholesome music must originate with the Holy Spirit and be sung in harmonious synchronism with that same Holy Spirit’s directive control.
The depraved human nature which is controlled by the sinful flesh can never produce genuine spiritual fruit (Rom. 7:18) Believers cannot take the devil’s weapons and successfully utilize them for the glory of God (I Cor.10:4). To avoid and "abstain [from] all appearance of evil" (I Thess. 5:19), saints must discerningly avoid all (a) swinging sounds, (b)sliding [scooping] sounds and all (c) syncopating sounds. They should also beware of (a) slurred notes, (b) heavy bass beats and (c) New-Orleans ‘honky-tonky’ night club dinner style music.
BIBLICAL TESTS THAT MUST BE APPLIED TO ALL RELIGIOUS MUSIC
There are four tests that supposedly Christian music must pass before it is utilized by discerning saints: 1. All Christian music must be Scripturally sound—Col. 3:16-17. (2) Christian music must harmonize with the Biblical doctrine of separation from the world—Lev. 10:10, Rom. 12:1-2. (3) Christian music must be understandable—I Cor. 14:15 and (d) Christian music must edify and build up the saint—I Cor. 14:26.
A SPECIAL WARNING FLAG
Before leaving this battleground, a warning flag must be issued about the indiscriminate use of "canned" music. By "canned" music, the writer refers to pre-recorded background tapes without any live accompaniment. Most "canned" music is produced by charismatic and worldly oriented sources, much of it from Nashville, TN based companies where the music specializes in sensual heavy rock beat background.
"Canned" music limits the ability of the Holy Spirit to minister to live crowds. It brings worldly rhythms, styles and techniques into sound churches and really is a spiritual insult to local churches by saying that only the guest "performer" is sufficiently musically talented. In reality, the background tapes sometimes "prop up" the inferior voice quality of the performer, and it is based on a flawed philosophy that saints must adopt the world’s methodology to have effective ministry.
The writer does not take a harsh unbending stance here. He recognizes that there may be some unique circumstances where in some new or small assemblies or congregations, live piano/organists are not available, and where conservative pre-recorded background music can be a temporary assistance.
COMING PREPARATIONS FOR ANTI-CHRIST
In reality, CCM [religious rock] is part of the basic preparation for the coming anti-Christ and his future dominating control over the minds of the world’s naïve unsuspecting population. According to Rev. 13:3-8, the anti-Christ will someday mesmerize the entire world with his deceptive charm and delusive methods. This writer firmly believes that music will be one of his chief mechanisms by which he accomplishes his goals.
To be victorious on this battlefield, genuine Fundamentalists need to keenly sharpen their musical battle swords and go forth unhesitatingly in uncompromising array against the devil’s forces.
THE MORAL BATTLEGROUND
This battlefield is probably the battleground where Fundamentalists are facing their severest tests and most severe blows. Satan seems to be winning this war that is being vigorously waged by the devil’s forces both from within professing Christian families and local N. T. churches. Powerfully utilizing the three-fold diabolical cannons of the world, the flesh and the devil himself, the Christian’s master adversary has made massive inroads upon the moral lives of professing saints. This writer believes that it is highly significant that the Sacred Scriptures contain more positive instructions, more negative warnings and more information about this battleground than probably any other satanic danger.
THE SCRIPTURAL INJUNCTIONS AND WARNINGS
From Genesis through Revelation, the Scriptures are permeated and saturated with hundreds of God’s preventative warnings to thwart moral decline as well as God’s prescriptive cures for moral healing among His professing saints. There are literally hundreds of admonitions, edicts and warnings within the inerrant Scriptures that plead for God’s saints to live consecrated, holy and separated lives.
God’s divine goal to put a distinct difference between "holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean" (Lev. 10:10) still stands today. This aim is still God’s purpose for believers in this sinful world in which they reside. God’s rationale for Israel in to the O. T. to manifest His holy character in their lives was reiterated in the N. T. in I Peter 1:15-16 when the Apostle Peter stated "But as he which called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation, because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy."
Despite these clear and strong admonitions, the general moral and spiritual health of Christian families and N. T. churches continues to sharply decline. It is becoming increasingly difficult to discern the difference between unconverted sinners and so-called converted saints. There seems to be little distinction, in many instances between Christian churches and the Christless crowd. The Biblical truth that if any man "be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Cor. 5:17) seems to have been put in the mothballs and practically forgotten.
According to recent statistical polls, infidelity, divorce, marital separation and re-marriage are almost as common in professing evangelical and Fundamental churches as liberal churches and society’s record in general. Every one reading this column probably knows relatives and close acquaintances whose lives been adversely affected by the above negative traumas.
THE SCRIPTURAL REMEDY FOR THE MORAL ILLS
Bible-believing Christians must seek to decrease and minimize these debilitating dangers by (a) early preventive Scriptural medication. Rearing children in the disciplined (Prov. 15:5, 22:15, 23:13-14, 29:15) nurture and Scriptural admonitions of the Lord (Eph. 6:4) is still an effective plan that can work for 21st century families.
(b) A consistent godly example of Christ-likeness [where one’s actions conform both internally iu heart (Prov. 4:23, Matt. 5:8), and in external actions (Col. 3:8-10) to the Scriptural admonitions] and a (c) daily compassionate walk in love, Eph. 4:1, would do a great deal to stem the carnal ungodly worldly trends that are flooding Bible-believing Christians’ homes and Fundamental churches today.
CONCLUSION: SOME BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES FOR FIGHTING
As obedient Christian soldiers valiantly fight on these important battlefields, there are some imperative Biblical principles they must bear in mind as they go to battle. First (l) They must strenuously contend, they must contend laboriously—I Tim. 1:18, II Tim. 2-3; (2) They must Scripturally contest, they must contest lawfully—II Tim. 2:5 without any vindictive attitudes, vengeful actions or violent assaults [no bombings of abortion clinics!] and (3) They must spiritually care—they must fight lovingly—Eph.4:12, II Tim. 2:24-26, with deep concern for those who are mercilessly caught in the middle of Satan’s webs.
God’s Infallible Promises
As Bible-believing Fundamentalists face a new year with both its unknown negative perils and positive prospects, it is this writer’s hope that they will successfully wage the battles on the battlegrounds cited above with the Biblical triplets of courage—Acts 20:20, conviction—I Cor. 16:13 and compassion—II Cor. 5:14.
As Believers fervently "fight the good fight of faith"—I Tim. 6:12—on these crucial battlegrounds, they have the divine promise that spiritual victory is theirs—I Cor. 15:58 and that "faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it—I Thess. 5:24. DJ
PS: This writer salutes those Families and churches that are successfully resisting these satanic devices. May their tribe increase!
Also in this issue:
|Editorial – December 2009-January 2010 The Fundamentalist Digest; Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given.|