The Baptist Friends International annual conferences (hosted by Temple Baptist Church/Crown College where Clarence Sexton is pastor) are increasingly moving to contemporary Christian praise music.
This year the attendees heard Backstreet Boys’ Brian Littrell’s “In Christ Alone,” the Getty’s “How Deep the Father’s Love,” and the contemporary T4G rendition of “Before the Throne,” which was “redone by CCM Sovereign Grace rocker Vicki Cook.” A preacher friend wisely observes, “Cook’s new tune destroys the original 1800s Bancroft hymn tune which was wonderful. I believe the CCM crowd is trying to bridge the gap by redoing theologically rich hymns to the new CCM rock tunes.”
At least eight of the Getty’s songs are included in Majesty Music’s Rejoice Hymns. Twenty-nine of their songs are featured in Hymns Modern and Ancient, published by Heart Publications, a ministry of Steve Pettit Evangelistic Association (Pettit is the current head of Bob Jones University) and compiled by Fred Coleman who heads up Bob Jones University’s Department of Church Music. Both Crown Baptist College and West Coast Baptist College, the two largest independent Baptist Bible colleges, perform Getty material in their services.
Among all of the contemporary worship musicians, I consider the Gettys perhaps the most dangerous, because what they are offering is wrapped in a package that is attractive to gullible “fundamentalists.” From Keith and Kristyn Getty’s Irish brogue and their physical attractiveness, fairly conservative appearance, and effervescent cheerfulness to their foot-tapping, Emerald Island-tinged music and the spiritual depth of their lyrics. They aren’t writing the typical CCM 7-11 music (7 words sung 11 times); their lyrics have scriptural substance.
But that “conservative-appearing” package is a bridge to truly great spiritual danger.
The Gettys represent the exceedingly dangerous world of contemporary worship music as certainly as does Graham Kendrick or Darlene Zschech and Hillsong, and any bridges that Bible-believing churches build to the Gettys are bridges to the one-world church and even to secular rock.
THE GETTYS ARE A BRIDGE TO THE WORLD AND TO THE ONE-WORLD CHURCH
The Getty’s ecumenical, one-world-church goal is to “bring everyone together musically” (www.keithgetty.com). They want to “bridge the gap between the traditional and contemporary” (http://www.gettymusic.com/about.aspx).
In a July 2013 interview, Keith Getty mentioned vile rocker Sting and homosexual rocker Elton John in a positive light, with not a hint of warning. The interview was with Dan Wooding of Assist Ministries and was broadcast on Frontpage Radio from Nashville.
The Gettys list the Beatles as a major musical influence, and I have never heard them warn God’s people to stay away from the Beatles.
Thus any bridge that Bible-believing churches build to the Gettys is a bridge beyond to the world of secular rock, because the Gettys speak in positive terms of that world instead of reproving the unfruitful works of darkness in accordance with Ephesians 5:11.
While the Gettys worship music is fairly conservative in its rhythm, they are not opposed to rock & roll. They themselves rock out at some venues. And while they don’t write hard rock worship songs, they don’t speak against this practice, either. In fact, Keith Getty says that he is glad for edgy, rocking renditions of his music by artists such as Newsboys, Ricky Skaggs, Owl City, Alison Krauss, and Natalie Grant, because “it is an honor” for him to witness popular modern musicians record them, and “it’s also interesting to hear their interpretation of it and useful for the song because it helps the song get played more” (“The Gettys Exclusive: Famed Hymn Writers Talk Irish Christmas Tour,” Christian Post, Dec. 2, 2014).
The Gettys are also a bridge to a wide variety of theological heresy.
In the same 2013 interview Keith Getty heaped praise on Bono of the Irish rock band U2, calling him a “brilliant theological thinker” and saying that Bono “cares for a lot of the things that Christ asks us to care about.” Getty had absolutely nothing to say about Bono by way of warning. Bono rarely even attends church, and when he does it is often a terribly heretical “church” like Glide Memorial United Methodist in San Francisco (Bill Flanagan, U2 and the End of the World, p. 99). Bono’s biographer said that he has been a frequent worshiper at Glide. Cecil Williams, former pastor of Glide, doesn’t believe in heaven, began performing homosexual “marriages” in 1965, and hosted church “celebrations” that included dancing with complete nudity.
That is Bono type Christianity, and the fact that Keith Getty has no public warning about it is inexcusable.
Bono says that he believes that Jesus died on the cross for his sins and that “he is holding out for grace,” but Bono’s “grace” is a grace that does not result in radical conversion and a new way of life; it is a grace without repentance; it is a grace that does not produce holiness, in contrast with Titus 2:11-15. Nowhere does Bono warn his myriads of listeners to turn to Christ before it is too late and before they pass out of this life into eternal hell. In fact, he says that heaven and hell are on this earth (Bono on Bono: Conversations with Michka Assayas, 2005, p. 254). Bono says that the older he gets the more comfort he finds in Roman Catholicism (Bono on Bono, p. 201). But he has nothing good to say about biblical “fundamentalism,” falsely claiming that it is a denial that God is love (Bono on Bono, p. 167) and calling it vile names (p. 147). The problem is that Bono defines “love” by the rock & roll dictionary rather than by the Bible, which says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3). Bill Flanagan, a U2 friend who has traveled extensively with the group, in his authorized biography describes them as heavy drinkers and constant visitors to bars, brothels, and nightclubs (Flanagan, U2 at the End of the World, p. 145). Bono admits that he lives “a fairly decadent kind of selfish-art-oriented lifestyle” (Flanagan, p. 79). Many of Bono’s statements cannot be printed in a Christian publication. Appearing on the Golden Globe Awards broadcast by NBC television in 2003, Bono shouted a vile curse word. Bono told the media that he and his bandmates planned to spend New Year’s Eve 2000 in Dublin, because “Dublin knows how to drink” (Bono, USA Today, Oct. 15, 1999, p. E1). In 2006 Bono said: “I recently read in one of St. Paul’s letters where it describes all of the fruits of the spirit, and I had none of them” (“Enough Rope with Andrew Denton,” March 13, 2006). On October 27, 2008, Fox News reported that the married Bono and his rocker friend Simon Carmody partied with teenage girls on a yacht in St. Tropez. The report, which was accompanied by a photo of Bono holding two bikini-clad teenagers on his lap at a bar.
This is the man that Keith Getty publicly calls a brilliant theologian and praises for caring about things that Christ tells us to care about! Doesn’t Christ care about truth and holiness and a pure gospel and repentance and sound doctrine and separation from the world, Keith? Aren’t these absolute fundamentals? Doesn’t the Bible say, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4)? Doesn’t the Bible say, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4)?
(For more about Bono see the report “The Rock Group U2” at www.wayoflife.org.
In the same 2013 interview, Keith Getty claimed C.S. Lewis as a major theological influence. Yet Lewis rejected the fundamental doctrines of the infallible inspiration of Scripture and “penal substitutionary atonement” and believed in purgatory and baptismal regeneration (“C.S. Lewis Superstar,” Christianity Today, Dec. 2005). Lewis rejected the historicity of Jonah and Job. He believed in prayers to the dead and confession to a priest. He held to theistic evolution, believing that “man is physically descended from animals” and calling the Genesis account of creation “a Hebrew folk tale” (Lewis, The Problem of Pain). He denied the eternal torment of hell and claimed that followers of pagan religions can be saved without acknowledging Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour (Lewis, Mere Christianity; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle). (For more about Lewis see the free eBook C.S. Lewis and Evangelicals Today at www.wayoflife.org)
This is a man that Getty honors as a major theological influence and about whom he has nothing negative to say. No warnings. No separation. No clear spiritual discernment in these very, very important matters.
The Gettys have a close working relationship with Stuart Townend, who is radically charismatic and ecumenical. Not only do they write and publish songs with Townend, but they also tour together, joining hands in perfect harmony, for example, in the Celtic Islands Tour 2012.
In July 2012, the Gettys joined Townend and Roman Catholic Matt Maher on NewsongCafe on WorshipTogether.com. They played and discussed “The Power of the Cross,” which was co-written by Getty-Townend. The 10-minute program promoted ecumenical unity, with Maher/Townend/Getty entirely one in the spirit through the music. Fundamental doctrinal differences are so meaningless that they are not even mentioned. Spiritual abominations such as the papacy, the mass, infant baptism, baptismal regeneration, and Mariolatry were ignored. Jude 3 was despised and Romans 16:17 completely disobeyed for the sake of building the one-world church through contemporary Christian music.
This is the Christianity of the Gettys.
(See “Stuart Townend” and “Matt Maher” in The Directory of Contemporary Worship Musicians, which is available as a free eBook from Way of Life Literature, www.wayoflife.org.)
In October 2012, the Gettys joined hands with emerging heretic Leonard Sweet at the National Worship Leader Conference in San Diego. Sweet calls his universalist doctrine “New Light” and “quantum spirituality” and “the Christ consciousness” and describes it in terms of “the union of the human with the divine” which is the “center feature of all the world’s religions” (Quantum Spirituality, p. 235). He defines the New Light as “a structure of human becoming, a channeling of Christ energies through mindbody experience” (Quantum Spirituality, p. 70). Sweet says that “New Light pastors” hold the doctrine of “embodiment of God in the very substance of creation” (p. 124). In Carpe Mañana, Sweet says that the earth is as much a part of the body of Christ as humans and that humanity and the earth constitutes “a cosmic body of Christ” (p. 124). Sweet lists some of the “New Light leaders” that have influenced his thinking as Matthew Fox, M. Scott Peck, Willis Harman, and Ken Wilber, all prominent New Agers who believe in the divinity of man, as we have documented in the book The New Age Tower of Babel. Sweet has endorsed The Shack with its non-judgmental father-mother god, and he promotes Roman Catholic contemplative mysticism and dangerous mystics such as the Catholic-Buddhist Thomas Merton. (For documentation see Contemplative Mysticism, which is available in print and eBook editions from Way of Life -- www.wayoflife.org.)
Any bridge that Bible-believing churches build to the Gettys is a bridge beyond the Gettys to heretics such as C.S. Lewis and Bono, to the Roman Catholic Church, to the incredibly dangerous charismatic movement, to the filthy world of secular rock, to emergents and New Agers like Leonard Sweet, and to every element of the end-time one-world “church.”
The Gettys, safe and sound? You must be kidding me!
THE GETTY’S AND THE INTERNET AGE
We are living in the age of end-time technology, which means that one can no longer use songs and hymns without the listeners being able to enter into communication with the authors with great ease. Whereas even 30 years ago, it was difficult to contact and be directly influenced by authors of Christian music, that has changed dramatically with the Internet.
Today if people in a Bible-believing church hear songs by Jack Hayford or MercyMe or Graham Kendrick or Stuart Townend or Darlene Zschech or Keith Getty, songs heard in “adapted form” in many Bible-believing churches, they can easily search for that group or individual on the web and come into intimate contact with these people -- not only in contact with their music (typically played in "real" rock & roll style as opposed to the watered-down soft-rock ballad versions performed in churches that are beginning to dabble with contemporary praise music), but also in contact with their ecumenical/charismatic/separatist-hating/one-world church philosophy.
Let’s say someone hears the choir or individuals perform “In Christ Alone” or “The Power of the Cross” by the Gettys. He likes the music and decides to check the authors out on the web. He comes across the Gettys rocking out at their concerts and begins to question his church’s stand against rock music. He sees the Gettys associating with anyone and everyone and begins to question biblical separation. He begins to think, “The Gettys seem so sincere and Christ-loving; maybe I’ve been too hard-nosed in my Christianity; maybe the separatist stance is all wrong; perhaps I should lighten up.” He comes across Keith Getty’s July 2013 interview with Assist Ministries and hears Getty speak highly of Bono and C.S. Lewis, so he decides to take a look at these people, and by so doing he begins to question fundamental Bible doctrines. After time, through the influence of the Gettys, the soul who was once a contented member of a Bible-believing church, raising his children in a Bible-believing path, is on the high road to the emerging church and his children and grandchildren will end up who knows where.
The same could be said for the influence of Townend or Kendrick or MercyMe or Zschech or Hillsong or hundreds of other prominent contemporary worship musicians, because they hold the same philosophy and represent the same bridge to spiritual danger.
Men such as Clarence Sexton and Paul Chappell and Ron Hamilton and Frank Garlock, who should know better but who are defending the use of contemporary praise music either by word or example, will answer to God for the souls that cross the bridges they are building to the dangerous world that is represented by this music.
THE GETTY’S AND THEIR CROWD ARE ENEMIES OF ANY FUNDAMENTALIST-TYPE CHURCH
The Gettys and their crowd are the enemy of any “fundamentalist” type church. If a church believes in separation from the world and wants to keep its people away from the world, is jealous over the lives of its young people in this regard, is opposed to rock music, has modest dress standards, practices reproof and rebuke in preaching, warns about New Evangelicalism, contemplative prayer, and such things, that church is considered by the CCM crowd today, including the Gettys, to be legalistic, judgmental, Pharisaical, narrow-minded, unloving, overly strict, and basically weird. In the CCM crowd, such churches are the brunt of jokes.
Why would pastors of fundamentalist-type churches bring the influence of these people into their congregations? What are they thinking? What is their objective?
Personally, I consider the Gettys and Townend to be enemies of the work God has given me. I am jealous over the lives of the young people in the churches we have planted. I am jealous over the lives of my own kids and grandkids. I don’t want them to be influenced by people who speak positively of Sting and Elton John and Bono and C.S. Lewis, who consider charismatic nonsense to be the works of the Spirit of God, who accept Mary-venerating Catholics as true brethren, and who associate with men who hold New Age doctrine.
Why are so many pastors so careless about these things and resist getting a proper education even though information about the Hillsong’s and Getty’s and Townend’s of the CCM world is readily available.
It is, indeed, well nigh past time to draw the line against disobedient brethren. It is a matter of spiritual safety. It must be done, not only for the sake of the present but also for the sake of the future. Independent Baptist churches that refuse to draw lines of separation today from disobedient and compromised brethren who foolishly justify the use of CCM and contemporary Southern Gospel will irretrievably be drawn down the path of compromise.
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
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