“I read your piece today about brethren not appreciating your ministry of ‘warning,’ especially pertaining to Paul Chappell, Shelton Smith, and Lee Roberson. [He is referring to the article ‘Turning Doctrinal Issues into Personality Issues.’]
“My brother you should understand that what you have sent out as ‘warnings’ have been perceived by a large percentage of men who might otherwise be sympathetic to you, as attacks against these brethren. A common refrain heard in preachers’ meetings is that Cloud has an axe to grind, especially towards West Coast. Whether you like it or not, that is how you come across. What especially galls brethren is that you have never taken the time to actually go to West Coast and talk to them and understand the greater context of which you seem oblivious. And it is my understanding that you have never even heard or met Shelton Smith, who is a man of integrity.
“When Jesus said ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged,’ it was not so much a commandment as it was a proverb. When a person sits in judgment over others, others will sit in judgment of him. That is pretty much where you are at. You have been very critical of just about every well-known preacher or college. What’s sauce for the goose has become sauce for the gander. It is coming back on you. ...
“Many others do understand the issues. ... You presume you are the final word on what is right and what is not right, but you do not have the perspective of many who have, for example, been to Lancaster and have seen the big picture there. Likewise for Shelton Smith as another example. You take the cheap-shot route and heap criticism on these men and others, with clear prejudice, but never go the trouble to truly investigate. Surely you know that internet research is often inaccurate and seldom gives solid perspective. You shoot from the hip with pre-conceived prejudices and assumed stereotypes. That is why other Fundamental brethren have turned on you. ...
“The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee. You presume to be the exclusive voice of God. ... You presume you are the only one who has any discernment. That is pride of heart, notwithstanding your feeble attempts at humility (i.e., ‘I am just a long-haired hippy saved by grace.’)”
BROTHER CLOUD’S REPLY
I didn’t say anything about the brethren not appreciating the warnings.
What I said was that the brethren ignore the warnings and twist them and turn them into an occasion of personal attack. That is precisely what you have done in this e-mail by repeatedly charging me with pride, prejudice, etc., when you are in no position to know the condition of my heart.
You prove the very point I made in “Turning Doctrinal Issues into Personality Issues.”
If my warning about Paul Chappell's music is Scriptural, it is of God, and that is all that matters. Public sin needs to be dealt with publicly. When an influential pastor makes a longstanding commitment to using contemporary music and thereby weakens churches around the world, it is not an issue to discuss privately.
As for going to West Coast and talking over the issue, I have no more been invited to do that than I have been invited by Billy Graham to travel to North Carolina and discuss his ministry.
Further, it is clear that Pastor Chappell is committed to using contemporary Christian music, so what is there to discuss?
Have you and the alleged “large percentage of men” even read my book "Independent Baptist Music Wars" and watched the two video presentations in which I have given my warning about what Chappell is doing and what will be the result? Are you and these "large percentage of men" even informed enough to make a judgment about what I am saying? (The videos are "The Transformational Power of Contemporary Worship Music" and "The Foreign Spirit of Contemporary Praise Music," which I have made available for free at my web site.)
[Since the evangelist refused to answer this question, I assume the answer is that he has not read the book or watched the videos.]
These are not cheap shots. These materials contain the fruit of 40+ years of unique experience and research into this issue. You claim that other men are more informed than I am about Paul Chappell’s ministry. Of course that is true, but I have never warned about Paul Chappell or his ministry in general. I have not attacked Pastor Chappell personally. I have never charged him with pride or any such thing. I have dealt with public facts that are gleaned from his own blog and books and the church and school web sites. I have warned about the transformational power of the music he is using and I have warned about the negative influence of his example to large numbers of independent Baptist churches throughout the world, an influence I have witnessed with my own eyes.
When it comes to warning about the transformational power of contemporary music, I am better qualified than the vast majority of independent Baptists. How many other independent Baptist preachers have the following credentials? How many are musicians and have lived a “hippie-Hindu-druggie” rock & roll lifestyle before conversion and have studied the Jesus People movement, Pentecostalism, evangelicalism, emerging church, and contemporary music for 40 years? How many have built a large library on everything touching on contemporary music? How many have attended dozens of charismatic, contemporary, and emerging churches and conferences with press credentials? How many have written six books on music totaling 2,100 pages?
But instead of giving me a hearing and judging my teaching and warning for themselves by the standard of God’s Word like the Bereans, most independent Baptist preachers hide behind the lie that I am a careless man who doesn’t get his facts right and who has some sort of personal agenda.
All of the complaining about David Cloud in the world will not change the transformational power of this music and will not keep it from transforming every ministry that does not heed the warning to separate from it.
It is in the process of transforming Lancaster Baptist Church and West Coast Baptist Church, and the transformation will be most evident in Paul’s Chappell’s children’s generation. By the time the transformation becomes evident enough for the average independent Baptist preacher to recognize it, it will be far too late to do anything about it.
As for Matthew 7:1 being a "proverb," that is strange exegesis. The first rule of interpretation is context, and the context teaches us that Jesus was warning about hypocrisy. He was warning about the sin of judging others in regard to things of which we are personally guilty. He was warning of Phariseeism, and I am not guilty of hypocrisy in this matter.
Many other Scriptures teach us to judge sin and error in the churches, which is exactly what I am doing. I am commanded to reprove, rebuke, and exhort, and there are no limitations placed on that command.
Your misuse of Scripture and your weak, unscriptural thinking is frightening, but it is all too typical of "a large percentage of men" in your circles.
“When the Bible speaks clearly, it doesn’t matter what your friends think.”
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:1-2).
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