Keith Green (1953-1982) was one of the most influential names in Contemporary Christian Music in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His first album appeared in 1977 and sold a then unheard of 300,000 copies. With his wife, Melody, he founded Last Days Ministries. The Greens were discipled by Kenn Gulliksen, founder of a Vineyard Christian Fellowship.
Green’s Pentecostal theology aside, he took some stands which were not popular or common in the CCM world. He preached repentance and warned against “easy believism.” He preached against careless, fruitless, discipleless Christianity. He refused to charge for attendance at his concerts, and he dedicated the profits of his music to missions and to fighting world hunger.
And he preached plainly against the errors of Roman Catholicism in The Catholic Chronicles, something that no other CCM artist has done, to my knowledge The four parts of The Catholic Chronicles were The Holy Eucharist: Eating the flesh of Deity, the Sacrifice of the Mass, Salvation according to Rome, and What did Vatican II Really Change? Following is an excerpt from part III:
“The Roman Church is an Empire with its own ruler, its own laws, and its own subjects. It calls the members of other faiths ‘separated brethren’ (24) and has as its goal the eventual bringing together of everyone under its flag.
“I know that many will not be convinced or moved by this article to make such a conclusion. They are impressed by what they’ve heard about recent stirrings among the Catholics in the ‘Charismatic renewal.’ Many evangelicals (especially charismatics) have been thrilled by the reports of Catholics speaking in tongues, dancing in the Spirit, having nights of joy and praise, even attending ‘charismatic Masses.’
“Mouths that used to speak out boldly against the Church of Rome have been quieted by the times. It no longer is in vogue to speak out against such error (25). Now Protestants unwittingly believe that ‘our differences are not so great.’
“I’ve never completely understood why God led me to write these articles. But it becomes more clear with each day of study and each page of research that the truth of Scripture must be defended for the glory of our Lord Jesus and for those who desperately need to be set free” (Keith Green, The Catholic Chronicles, Part III).
Though Green spoke the truth about Rome, he made the error of saying that he knew “many loving, committed believers” within Catholicism (Keith Green, No Compromise, The Life Story of Keith Green, p. 236).
Green also wrongly divided truth into essentials and non-essentials, falsely characterizing doctrinal conflict of a “lesser” nature as “Godless chatter” and “sinful.” He said this about the modes of baptism, the name by which we are to baptize, and whether or not a Christian be possessed by demons (If You Love the Lord: Uncompromising Devotions from the Heart of Keith Green, p. 17, 99, 100).
But these are not examples of vain wrangling. It is right to earnestly contend for every Bible teaching. Paul taught Timothy to keep the commandments of God “without spot,” which refers to the details of Scripture truth (1 Tim. 6:13-14). Paul commended the church at Corinth for remembering him in all things by keeping all of the ordinances he had delivered to them (1 Cor. 11:1-2).
Keith Green brazenly defended the use of rock music in the service of the Lord. In July 1982, he was killed in a plane crash. Earlier that year he had published a book titled Can God Use Rock Music? in which he strongly argued for the use of rock music by Christians and denounced those who warn against it. Note the following excerpt:
“…I believe that music, in itself, is a neutral force. Let me give you a better example. Take a knife for instance. With it, you can cut bread, carve a roast, loose someone who’s been bound by ropes, or you can do harm and even kill somebody” (Keith Green, Can God Use Rock Music?).
To compare music to a knife is nonsense. A knife is indeed a neutral thing until it is used in a certain manner. A musical composition, though, is not neutral because it presents a specific message by the particular arrangement of rhythm, melody, harmony, etc. The knife would better be compared to musical notes and components. These are neutral as long as they are not arranged into a musical composition.
Melody Green kept Last Days Ministries going until 1996, when it folded.
She quickly rejected Keith’s stance against Romanism, ceasing the publication of The Catholic Chronicles not long after his death. She told the SpiritWatch Unchained ministry that Keith “had been having a change of heart about them and was going to have them pulled any way before the plane crash” (“The Catholic Chronicles by Keith Green,” Feb. 28, 2012).
Melody worked closely with Roman Catholics in the Americans Against Abortion movement.
In 1990, she joined hands with thousands of Roman Catholics by participating in The North American Congress of the Holy Spirit and World Evangelization in Indianapolis. These are the same charismatic Catholics that Keith Green had warned about.
Melody met with Mother Teresa, giving an effusive report about this, in spite of the fact that Mother Teresa believed in a cursed sacramental gospel of faith plus works, prayed to the consecrated wafer of the mass, and held that people can be saved apart from faith in Jesus Christ. (See Was Mother Teresa a True Christian? available in print and free eBook editions from www.wayoflife.org.)
Keith Green’s music is still available in Christian book stores, and he is still voted one the most popular CCM musicians.
After Keith’s death, Melody Green married Andrew Sievright and was subsequently divorced.
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