You're driving down the road and you hear a new song, or you're in church and the praise and worship band starts playing a song with a beautiful melody and seemingly solid lyrics. You look up the song via the lyrics in a Google search. Your eyes open wide in shock at the source. It's Bethel Music.
The song is so good that you can't get it out of your head. You start singing it while folding laundry and you catch yourself. It's stuck in auto play in your brain.
I'll be the first to say, Bethel Music and their artists are talented. As are Hillsong and other sources. They all have really catchy and beautiful songs melodically. Many of their songs have great lyrics on the surface, and some have no fault at all lyrically. Couldn't we sing those songs?
I say, "no", and below is why:
Every time a Bethel Music, Jesus Culture, etc. song is played in worship services across the world, the exposure to many is increased. This creates new listeners of these sources who commonly teach dangerously false theology in their "ministries". This means that word-faith doctrine, gold dust "glory could" experience expectations, seeing angels and demons with your eyes in normal everyday life expectations, and other deceptions are gaining new image bearers to influence.
It can come across as rude or mean to point these things out, but I promise that is not the intent. The intent is to keep these sources from influencing people in very negative and non-biblical ways. Which leads to the next point...
These ministries are hurting people. Watching the video below, for one example, brings sadness to the Christian.
As I write this, I'm actually looking at a Party City store, which could be the kind of source this gold glitter has come from. Yet, these actual people, who are made in God's image, believe that gold dust is falling from the ceiling of their church as Bill Johnson just casually talks about miracles and other stuff. They're deceived by the leaders of Bethel Church. Real people are being mislead.
To me, it doesn't matter how great a songwriter is or how talented a musician is, if someone is in the common practice of deliberately misleading many, we should not support their movement. The offer for them to turn from that surely stands, but a lot of people are being deceived currently. If someone truly turns from deceiving, in repentance, that's the best possible outcome.
If you think about it, there really isn't a good reason to keep using the "good" songs from bad sources. When you combine theologically solid hymns with theologically solid modern worship songs, you have a plethora of songs to choose from. Can you imagine all the wonderful lyrics at hand?
I think the question to ask is:
What is the real reason one would need to use a song from a false teaching source?
There truly would not be a good reason to use a song from a false teaching source. The only reason these songs are in use is because many have seen a benefit in them. Before studying this topic, I would've listened to any song that had seemingly good lyrics without looking into the source. I realize how this can happen so easily, and this is why these words are being written today.
This brings us to the topic of how these songs make themselves available. What factors bring these songs into the pool of options for leaders in worship services?
So, another question to ask on that is:
Was the song chosen because of its popularity?
If we're being honest, this is the main reason why songs are chosen for worship services. There's a reason that these songs are so commonly found in many churches today: their popularity. How else would everyone find their music so easily?
Now, there's nothing wrong at all with using a popular song for worship when it comes from a sound source. In fact, it brings many believers together in unity when singing such a commonly known song. On the flip side, when a song from an unsound source is being used by many, people unite on it too…
As Christians, we need to use the solid sources that are available to us for worship. We have no good reason to use a misleading source. We have no reason at all to support a movement that is hurting people. We have no reason to look the other way on this issue, and we have a responsibility to worship God in spirit and truth.
We wouldn't use the songs from a Mormon source, an Islamic source, a Buddhist source, or a secular atheistic source for our worship services. Why would we use a source from false teachers?
If your worship band, praise band, or choir needs ideas for solid songs to use for worship, check out Great Examples to get a feel for what to look for in an artist or band. For a solid approach to finding a sound worship song, we put together How to Choose a Solid Worship Song.
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