“The area of our researches has been as wide as the bounds of existing religious literature, American and British, Protestant and Romish--ancient and modern. Whatever may be thought of our taste, we have used it without prejudice; and a good hymn has not been rejected because of the character of its author or the heresies of the church in whose hymnal it first occurred. So long as the language and the spirit commended the hymn to our heart, we included it and believe that we have enriched our collection thereby” (cited from Rejoice Hymns, Preface by Ron and Shelly Hamilton).
As we have stated before, Rejoice Hymns includes many contemporary praise songs, including those by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty, both of whom are unequivocal one-world church builders, as we have documented in The Directory of Contemporary Worship Musicians.
The Hamiltons have written some lovely and spiritual songs and hymns that we have enjoyed for decades. They suffered a terrible personal shock earlier this summer when their son died, and as the father of four grown children, I am deeply sorry for that. For many years I recommended their ministry and pointed God’s people to them for sound sacred music (though with growing reservations about Patch the Pirate songs). I am troubled and discouraged that they are now blatantly justifying contemporary praise music.
Because of the Ron Hamilton’s wide influence, many individuals, families, and churches will cross the bridge to the world of contemporary praise. They will go much farther than he intends for them to go, and they will encounter and be influenced by heresies that he does not personally hold. But he will be responsible for their spiritual corruption, because he is justifying the building of bridges to that dangerous world, and he is ignoring those who have tried to warn him.
We would reply to the Hamilton’s use of Spurgeon as follows:
First, Charles Spurgeon is not an authority. He has been called “the prince of preachers,” and we have gotten many blessings from his sermons, but he did not speak by divine inspiration. We are to test Spurgeon by God’s Word just as we are to test every preacher (Acts 17:11; 1 Cor. 14;29; 1 Thess. 5:21). Having done so through the years, we believe that he was wrong on many counts. When Spurgeon said that he used songs irregardless of “the heresies of the church,” even Romish ones, he was speaking contrary to the clear teaching of God’s Word, which commands us to turn away from those who have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5). If that does not apply to the Catholic Church, it applies to nothing whatsoever.
Some would argue the typical Baptist hymnal has one or two hymns by Catholics. My answer is that we shouldn’t blindly use hymns because they are in a Baptist hymnal. We test the Baptist hymnal by God’s Word.
Further, we are living in a completely different age than Spurgeon.
(1) We are living in the age of end-time apostasy. The world of contemporary praise music is the world of the one-world, end-time “church.” I have proven that with extensive and irrefutable documentation in video presentation "The Foreign Spirit of Contemporary Worship Music.” We document the fact that contemporary worship music is the the spirit of Charismaticism, the spirit of the Jesus People movement, the spirit of the Latter Rain, the spirit of the one-world church (at the heart of which is Rome), the spirit of the world, the spirit of the acceptance of homosexuality, and the spirit of false gods such as those promoted in The Shack.
No one who has not watched this video presentation can understand my warning about Bible-believing churches using contemporary praise music.
Such churches are building bridges to a very dangerous world, and it will eventually destroy everything these churches claim to stand for today.
(2) We are living in the age of end-time technology. One can no longer use songs and hymns without the listeners being able to come into communication with and be influenced by the authors. Whereas even 30 years ago, it was not possible to easily contact and be influenced by authors of Christian music, that has dramatically changed with the Internet. Now if people in a church hear songs by Jack Hayford or MercyMe or Graham Kendrick or Stuart Townend or Darlene Zschech or the Gettys, they can easily search for them on the web and come into intimate contact not only with their music (played in "real" rock & roll style as opposed to the watered-down versions performed in churches that are only beginning to dabble with contemporary praise music) but also with their ecumenical/charismatic/one-world church doctrine and philosophy.
Men such as Paul Chappell and Ron Hamilton who are defending the use of contemporary praise music and treating the warners as if they are carnal troublemakers and divisive “bloggers” will answer to God for refusing to face the substantive issues of our warnings. And they will answer to God for the souls who cross the bridges they are building to the dangerous world that is represented by this music.
We have done our best to inform and warn. The free eVideos and eBooks that we have offered on this subject -- "The Transformational Power of Contemporary Worship Music," "The Foreign Spirit of Contemporary Worship Music," "The Directory of Contemporary Worship Music" -- cost a lot of time and money to produce, but we give them away because we have a deep passion to help the Lord's people in these trying times. (See www.wayoflife.org for these free materials.)
Our warnings are based on a unique background and 40 years of extensive research and careful documentation.
I don't know what else I can do. The frustrating thing is that it is typical, in my experience, for those who are justifying this trend to refuse even to listen to the warning. If they do try to answer the warning, they do so with red herrings.
I have never known of a church that has become Methodist or a youth group that has become worldly from using Fanny Crosby hymns or that has become Lutheran from singing Luther's hymns, but we are seeing churches everywhere become contemporary and move toward an ecumenical, broadminded, “tolerant” philosophy through using contemporary worship hymns.
We have documented this in the free eBook "The Collapse of Biblical Separation among Fundamental Baptists."
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