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I have warned about Lancaster in particular because of their wide influence. Lancaster has a significant role in the fact that the walls of protection against contemporary music and its influence are collapsing in a large number of IFB churches
Be that as it may, since Lancaster is using contemporary worship music, they need to do it right. That music is all about building an atmosphere wherein the worshiper responds physically to a sensual experience of “feeling God.”
Graham Kendrick, a pioneer in contemporary worship, says, “The old way of preaching and singing began to give way to an expectation that ... God would visit us, and we’d EXPERIENCE HIS PRESENCE IN A TANGIBLE SORT OF WAY” (interview June 11, 2002 with Chris Davidson of Integrity Music).
Michael W. Smith says that contemporary worship music “helps you enter into the presence of God” (Charisma, 2003, cited from Dan Lucarini, It’s Not about the Music, p. 18).
Secret Place Ministries exemplifies the contemporary worship philosophy in that they “long for an encounter with the presence of God” (SecretPlaceMinistries.org).
The objective of the extremely influential Worship Central school of contemporary worship operated by Alpha International in London, England, is “to ENCOUNTER GOD.”
We see that contemporary worship music is designed to produce an experience It’s all about a feeling, which is why it incorporates the backbeat and beat anticipation other forms of dance syncopation and non-resolving chord sequences that have a sensual effect on the body. Rock music, whether hard or soft, is highly stimulating.
(We have described the elements of the contemporary worship in the free eVideo “The Transformational Power of Contemporary Praise Music” -- http://www.wayoflife.org/free_evideo/ )
Steven Tyler of Aerosmith said that ROCK MUSIC “IS THE STRONGEST DRUG IN THE WORLD” (Rock Beat, Spring 1987, p. 23).
Describing her first experience performing at a rock show at the Avalon in San Francisco, Janis Joplin, the rock goddess who found an early grave by means of a full-blown rock lifestyle, said: “I couldn’t believe it, all that rhythm and power. I got stoned just feeling it, like IT WAS THE BEST DOPE IN THE WORLD. It was SO SENSUAL, so vibrant, loud, crazy” (Joel Dreyfuss, “Janis Joplin Followed the Script,” Wichita Eagle, Oct. 6, 1970, p. 7A).
Rockers have always known the sensual power of their music, and have never tried to pretend that it is “neutral.” In this they are more honest than contemporary Christian worshipers.
Anyway, the charismatics and evangelicals and emergents and even the Roman Catholics know what they are doing with contemporary worship. They know how important the right kind of music is to their experience, and they don’t dabble around the edges of rock as Lancaster and other fundamental Baptists are doing. They bring in the bass guitar and the drums and crank up the volume and ROCK out to their God!
Since Lancaster is bound and determined to use contemporary worship and has ignored every warning and obviously doesn’t care that they are building bridges to the one-world church, they need to do it right.
It is pathetic to see the singers forced to stand straight and not move their bodies to the soft rock beat that the piano and orchestra are playing. It is pathetic to see the missing bass guitars and drum trap set.
Lancaster, pull out the artificial and unnatural stops and let ‘r’ rock!
Lancaster can learn how to do this by comparing what they are doing with the way the creators of their music do it.
For example, the Lancaster ensemble and orchestra performed “God of the Ages” in March 2013. The Lancaster rendition can be seen at the following link:
“God of the Ages” was written by a Liberty University student named Travis Doucette. In the following video he can be seen leading the choir and orchestra at Liberty’s Center for Worship at Thomas Road Baptist Church. This is the author of the music performing it as it was designed to be performed:
Even better is the following rendition of “God of the Ages” by Charles Billingsley and the choir and orchestra at Thomas Road (better in the sense that it better shows the real character of contemporary worship). In this rendition you have element of contemporary worship functioning together to produce the sensual worship experience that contemporary music is all about. You have the rock music. You have the rock voice style. You have the darkened hall and flashing lights. You have the focus on the performers. You have the people yielding themselves to the music, swaying and raising hands:
This is how contemporary worship is done as designed.
I have no doubt that many of the students at West Coast and young people in the families at Lancaster already know all about this type of worship and love it, and the leaders are at fault by bringing this music into the church and school and for refusing to heed godly reproof. They have built this bridge, and even if they repented today, a great amount of damage is already done.
In this particular matter, I have more respect for Travis Doucette and Charles Billingsley and Thomas Road Baptist Church than I do for fundamental Baptists who are using contemporary worship while pretending that they are opposed to it. Their music is terribly wrong, but at least Doucette and Billingsley are honest about what they are doing.
For a shocking audio/visual report documenting the dangerous waters of contemporary worship see the free eVideo The Foreign Spirit of Contemporary Worship Music: http://www.wayoflife.org/free_evideo/
These can also be purchased on DVD: www.wayoflife.org/publications/video/
See also the 500-page Directory of Contemporary Worship Music, available as a free eBook from Way of Life www.wayoflife.org/free_ebooks/
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