Following are some of the positive e-mails I received in response to the Friday News article “Lancaster Baptist Shouting to the Lord.”
“I'd like to give you a personal experience I had, that supports your article that this is a pattern with West Coast/LBC. I recently ordered some SS material from LBC/West Coast/Striving Together. I had heard that their music was going down hill, so I stayed away from it. They accidentally sent me their ‘Hymns for Him’ piano music cd. I was shocked to hear that what should be a simple ‘hymn’ piano cd featured CCM. Two of the songs were ‘Great Is the Lord’ and ‘How Majestic Is Your Name’ both by Michael W. Smith. You have documented his record well in the music field. He is as far out there as they come. The songs by Smith really demonstrate the tolerance for or acceptance of CCM. Probably 80 percent of the music on ‘Hymns for Him’ is fine, but there is a pattern of tolerance for CCM and for its writers somewhere at LBC/WCBC. They also have a youtube video of ‘Faithful Men’ by Twila Paris being sung at the college/church graduation and it is on their CD ‘For the Faith of the Gospel.’ I was also shocked when the intro for one of the ‘hymns’ was the tune to ‘I like that old time rock and roll,’ the same exact tune that I used to listen to as a rebellious high schooler. I had my wife listen to it, because I was so shocked. [We checked this, and the opening measures definitely contain the same licks as the rock song, but the excerpts at the web site don’t include this intro.] ... Pastors and parents had better be warned that not only are schools like Northland heading towards New Evangelicalism, there are many schools that claim to be opposed to NE in their position on the Bible and the Gospel, but are headed right into New Evangelical music. And music is a doctrine in the Bible as well! I appreciate some of the material by West Coast, particularly the books by John Goetch. There needs to be a public statement and some staff and faculty changes if Bro. Chappell is going to make it clear that they stand against CCM. I will not recommend the school unless these things are publicly addressed.”
“If you can view the video of ‘Shout to the Lord’ at Lancaster, listen to the words spoken by Pastor Cary Schmidt before the pianist plays. He said ‘and most of you have heard this song or know the words to this song...’ So by his own admission, many of them are familiar with Hillsong and their music. Interesting.”
“Just a word of encouragement for you. I appreciate so much the time you invest in the ministry. God has given you an opportunity to sound the trumpet to a large group of pastors who need to hear just what you are saying. I thank God you are being faithful to your calling. I want to encourage you to continue on in the fight. I know the West Coast thing is going to cause you some heartache, but we need these wake up calls. Too many pastors are just sitting around with their head in the sand, unwilling to speak out, because as you said, there is a good ol boy network in fundamentalism. I am sure you are experiencing their wrath right now. Whether it's Northland or Hyles or PCC or the Sword crowd, they all believe that they are too big to compromise. They are above accountability and examination in light of God's Word. Eternity and the judgment seat of Christ will vindicate you one day, when you hear ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant!’ Praying for you.”
“I am a Pastor here in -----. ... One night in helping out with a Christian radio station I heard one of your sermons, and I listened intently to what you were saying. It was a breath of fresh air compared to so many other preachers that I had recently heard. In the day that we live, where so many preachers are scared to preach what is necessary, the preaching that you send forth is a blessing to listen to. I have been reading the exchanges that you have been sending about Lancaster and West Coast with interest. It frightens me to see how so many Christians just assume its right because Lancaster does it. I have seen this type of a movement over the years and it is stunning how subtle the devil is, and how he is leading so many down a slope that they may never be able to get back up. I guess the thing that I want to say and have been trying to say in all of my ramblings is this. Thank you for your stand. Thank you for your clear preaching and teaching. I will be praying for you and your ministry.”
“Without going into a long dissertation on your reply to this man, let me just say this. Right on Brother! I generally get the same responses from people when I correct or rebuke according to Ephesians 5:11 or Romans 16:17. I encourage you to continue to fight the good fight. Like I tell people who want to be contentious and defend error, ‘to expose error with the truth and to call it error is not judging. It is contending for the faith.’ God Bless you.”
“I’d like to tell you that when I was on deputation i went to a ‘satellite’ church of Lancaster where the service was run by the preacher's son and some other preacher boys. One of the songs they did for congregational was a song that I knew to be CCM (because I had worked in a ‘Christian’ bookstore). It was a song by the popular rock group Casting Crowns. I was surprised and shocked because the image I had of Lancaster and WCBC was very different.”
"I would like to applaud your comments in the Friday Notes on the subject of the changes at Lancaster Baptist. I am in absolute agreement insofar as these ministries and colleges ought to be held accountable for what they do publicly. It is not slanderous to deal with public or published events in a public or published venue (i.e., a weekly newsletter such as the Friday Notes). I am in full agreement that Matthew 18 has nothing to do with this. I believe that Proverbs 9:8, 27:5, and Eccl. 7:5 are appropriate verses in this context. Thank you for allowing your readers to know exactly where you stand on this."
“I wanted to commend you for your recent article concerning Lancaster Baptist Church and their use of ‘Shout to the Lord’ as one of their special music songs. You know, I saw their version on youtube, and then compared it to Darlene Zschech herself singing it, and sadly there is not that much difference. Of course, LBC did not have the rock beat, but I noticed that on the wall they had the video display of the song's lyrics. Also, I assume this song is copyrighted, which means that LBC had to purchase it. Thus, they are financially supporting Darlene Zschech, or who ever owns the rights to the music. I am praying for you, and keep going on in what is biblical and right.”
“Thank you so much for publishing your reply and also expounding on your spiritual growth in regards to the ‘critical eye.’ It was an encouragement to me and an exhortation to keep that ‘critical eye’ (in the Biblical meaning of the term), while growing in mercy, compassion, and graciousness in the way that it is applied to edifying the believers.”
“Thank you for the warning on Lancaster. I have known many students from contemporary churches that have gone there. They seem to fit in with little conviction. A few years ago at Leadership Conference they had a video honoring IFB pastors that had contended for the faith and one of them was Jerry Falwell. Pastor Chappell stated that he had gone left in his latter years, but had done a lot of good in his ministry. I understand the need to protect from a critical spirit, however a place that is training preachers needs to have a backbone and a desire to fight the good fight. As Paul told Timothy we are soldiers in a battle and we do not give aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war. Let us not forget that he is co-author with Clayton Reed who is currently connecting IFB to Mark Driscoll and Ed Stetzer. Thank you for your work and stay by the stuff.”
“Thank you so much for the letter you sent to Pastor Chappell regarding the music. I have battled this with close friends and family for many years. My former Pastor's two sons are both graduates. ... I visited when I was out there on a business trip in 2003. I was grieved by the service, especially the music. ... Besides the music, I saw a drastic change in soul-winning methodology. The West Coast methodology is very akin to the Jack Hyles 1-2-3 pray after me. ... The most grieving thing is seeing the older son's ministry now. [Here’s a link to] a video of a recent Sunday service. You will immediately notice the music. Keep preaching, Brother! I sincerely love your ministry, and it has been a tremendous help to me over the years.”
“Brother, I don't ALWAYS agree w/you; but I want to thank you for your hard & diligent work and how you so thoroughly answer these responses. I believe you have a spirit of LOVE towards your brethren and I am very grateful for your ministry. Keep up the good work.”
“I truly appreciated your article regarding West Coast and its music. I have personally worked with West Coast graduates. A few things always confounded me. The first instance was when on an outing two graduates, one of whom was immensely involved in the music program. On this outing rock music was played often, not CCM, rock. One young lady sang specials and was in charge of much music in our church and school. The other young man was picking out music for her to play, and she excitedly played what was given to her. The young man is now a youth pastor. Upon being confronted, I received the same ‘straw-man’ arguments that you and others typically receive. Secondly, I have read much of your material, and use it extensively, most notably Repentance and Soulwinning. I believe this to be one of the greatest books written regarding Repentance. ... I watched, listened, and read many messages, conferences, and meetings in which doctrine was neglected for numbers and ‘love.’ This same mentality was certainly seen in music. Music became another tool. You wrote an email a few months ago regarding Fundamental music becoming effeminate. This was/is certainly the case, as such music lends itself to ‘feeling’ loved, and drawing people in, but not in the Biblical sense. I say all of this to get to this point: you quoted ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...’ (Hosea 4:6). ... You commented about whether or not the West Coast graduate was being taught certain Biblical issues in his classes. I can assure you, he was not. ... I completely agree with your argument that when the music goes bad the rest follows quickly. I would add, that for music to go bad, Bible understanding and doctrine are already faulty, no matter what is being said, the practice says otherwise. Keep that fire in your bones mentality! I praise God for it! We must prove all things, hold fast that which is good! Men are men, God is God!”
“Your report on the music issue at Lancaster Baptist Church and by extension West Coast Baptist College was sobering. I found the video at YouTube and am haunted by what I saw. Thank you for speaking out about this and for taking the time to share with us why you thought it was important to do so.”
“Shameful! From what my friend said who has been evaluating them for men in his church, there is a dangerous trend there.”
“Thank you, Brother Cloud, for your Spirit-filled responses to these things. I have started a series on music on Sunday nights three weeks ago and last night we started your new DVD series. Our people were amening and learning and it was neat because they knew a lot of those past strong baptist churches that are now rock churches. It will help them to stay clear of those ministries on TV today, like Fallwell’s church for example. Rock churches have lost the Spirit-filled messages. I am learning about putting away sin in my life and being Spirit filled and it is wonderful. There is no peace no joy no thrill like walking in his will. My dad set a great model as father and pastor for me until he went to glory. My family is learning growing and flourishing because of a family altar and I am learning like never before in my life with reading three chapters a day. Thank you much for your ministry. Keep it up because you are having an effect through the Spirit of God.”
“I received this week's edition of the Friday Church News Notes early this morning, and read your report on ‘Shout To the Lord’ and other CCM songs at Lancaster Baptist Church. I just wanted to thank you very much for taking this stand and reporting it. The moment I read it, I thought to myself how much grief you're probably going to receive over this. I praise God that you are willing to report on issues like this, even when many people may not understand it or even become angry with you over it. May the Lord continue to grant you boldness in your preaching and article-writing. Thank you for all that you do for our Lord.”
“A friend I asked about this, a man who has seriously high integrity and biblical standards, said this, ‘Wow! I saw that service, and it did raise a flag to me. Once before, my wife walked in my study while I had their service on and she immediately said ‘their music doesn't sound right.’ I thought then I wonder if there is a problem.”
“Thank you for being obedient in pleasing God and not man by bringing this error up. While we brought our son out to Lancaster Baptist College this past fall, the orchestra played this song as a special. My heart dropped. I was so into CCM and loved Hillsong and Darlene Zschech's music before I started walking with God in true obedience as an Independent Fundamental Baptist. I thought it was such ‘godly’ music but then realized how worldly it really is and how all along it was cunningly ministering to my flesh and not my spirit. I couldn't imagine replacing all of my Hillsong music with instrumental versions (backbeats deleted) of all their songs. I replaced my old CD collection with just as many Godly, Hymn filled CD's. You are absolutely correct that there is plenty of godly, spiritual music for us so that we will never have to borrow from the world's music. Hearing ‘Shout to the Lord’ dampened my excitement for my son being at this college. We have worked so hard with God's help to keep my children from worldly music/CCM and hearing it at LBC was so disappointing. (and a shock!)”
“I’m sure that you will receive a lot of nasty and unpleasant feedback about the warning you gave in the Friday Church News Notes (18 Feb) concerning Lancaster Baptist Church and West Coast Baptist College. I have a friend who attends there. Let me be one voice to thank you for the stand you took, and to praise the Lord that He does raise up men in each generation to give needed warnings. I have not always felt this way. ... Thank you, and God bless you. Your labor is not in vain!”
“I imagine the response to today's FCNN will be enormous and varied. May I encourage you and your ministry by saying, thank you. Every day I pray for Way of Life and for your personal strength to labor under the specific calling God has on your life. It cannot be easy, but if you didn't I wouldn't know half of what was really going on in the IFB world. We have four children, one of whom is sixteen and we have been looking at colleges this year. ... To say that I am saddened by West Coast using CCM, especially ‘Shout to the Lord,’ is an understatement. ... Seriously, I'm really bothered.”
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