Keith and Kristyn Getty partner with Stuart Townend to form Getty-Townend Music (GTM).
“Up to 100 million people worldwide sing Keith Getty’s hymns in church services each year” (“Hitting the right notes,” Belfast Telegraph, Aug. 11, 2018). The Getty-Townend hymn (Townend wrote the lyrics and Getty, the music) “In Christ Alone” has become one of the most famous hymns ever written, with an estimated 40 to 50 million people singing it in church services each year.
At least eight of the Gettys’ songs are included in Majesty Music’s Rejoice Hymns.
Twenty-nine of their songs are featured in Hymns Modern and Ancient, published by Heart Publications, a ministry of Steve Pettit Evangelistic Association and compiled by Fred Coleman who heads up Bob Jones University’s Department of Church Music.
Both Crown Baptist College and West Coast Baptist College, the two largest independent Baptist Bible colleges, have performed Getty-Townend material in their services.
The Gettys’ popular songs include “Don’t Let Me Lose My Wonder,” “In Christ Alone,” “Speak, Oh Lord,” and “The Power of the Cross.”
Typically, the lyrics are Scriptural and the tunes are not boisterous rock & roll (though the Gettys can and do rock out in their concerts).
What could be wrong with this?
Among all of the contemporary worship musicians, I consider the Gettys perhaps the most dangerous, because what they are offering is wrapped in a package that is attractive to “fundamentalists” -- their Irish brogue and their physical attractiveness, their fairly conservative appearance and effervescent cheerfulness, their foot-tapping, Emerald Isle-tinged music, and the spiritual depth of their lyrics. They aren’t writing the typical CCM 7-11 music (7 words sung 11 times).
But as likable as the Gettys are, that attractive, “conservative-appearing” package is a bridge to great spiritual danger.
The Getty’s goal is to “bring everyone together musically” (www.keithgetty.com). They want to “bridge the gap between the traditional and contemporary” (http://www.gettymusic.com/about.aspx).
The Gettys have no boundaries. They don’t believe in separation. They are positive-only, non-judgmental. They are representative of evangelicalism today, at the heart of which is “a renunciation of separatism,” as Harold Ockenga stated it in the 1940s. The Gettys are people that say they love sound doctrine, but they don’t separate from heresy. They say they love righteousness, but they don’t hate worldliness. At least they don’t speak out about it, and they should!
“Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:128).
They don’t draw clear lines as the Bible requires. They don’t speak out against error and issue warnings as the Bible demands.
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11).
“Now I beseech you, brethren, MARK THEM which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17).
They don’t preach repentance, though it is a major and essential message of Scripture.
They keep everything on a positive note.
When their song “In Christ Alone” was chosen to be performed for the enthronement of England’s Archbishop of Canterbury in 2013, Keith Getty said, “We are so honored that one of our hymns would be used for such an historic occasion in British life” (“In Christ Alone Featured,” Mar. 22, 2013, NeuFutur.com).
He should, rather, have said that he was ashamed to be associated with the terrible apostasy of the Archbishops of Canterbury, and he could have reproved their wickedness.
1953, William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury - “… there is no such thing as revealed truth” (Nature and God).
1961, Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury - “I expect to see many atheists in heaven” (London Daily Mail, Oct. 2).
1982, Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury - “As to why Jesus suffered on the cross, I am an agnostic” (Sunday Times, Apr. 11).
2008 - The Church of England officially apologized to Charles Darwin for rejecting his doctrine of evolution.
2013 - The Church of England dropped its ban on gay clergy in civil partnerships becoming bishops.
Because of the lack of boundaries, the Gettys are a bridge to the exceedingly dangerous world of the “broader church” with all of sins and heresies, as surely as Hillsong or any of the other contemporary worship groups.
We are living in the age of end-time technology, which means that one can no longer use songs and hymns without the listeners being able to come into communication with the authors with great ease. Whereas even 30 years ago, it was difficult to contact and be influenced by authors of Christian music, that has changed dramatically with the Internet.
Today if people in a Bible-believing church hear songs by MercyMe or Stuart Townend or Hillsong, songs heard in “adapted form” in many Bible-believing churches, they can easily search for that group or individual on the web and come into intimate contact with them--not only in contact with their music (typically played in "real" rock & roll style as opposed to the watered-down soft-rock ballad versions performed in churches that are beginning to dabble with contemporary praise music), but also in contact with their ecumenical/charismatic/separatist hating/one-world church philosophy.
Let’s say someone hears the choir perform “In Christ Alone” or “The Power of the Cross” by Getty-Townend. He likes the music and decides to check them out on the web. He comes across the Gettys rocking out at their concerts and begins to question his church’s stand against rock music. He sees the Gettys associating with anyone and everyone and begins to question biblical separation. “The Gettys seem so sincere and Christ-loving; maybe I’ve been too hard-nosed in my Christianity; maybe the separatist stance is all wrong; perhaps I should lighten up.” He comes across Keith Getty’s July 2013 interview with Assist Ministries and decides to listen to what the man has to say. He hears Getty speak highly of Bono and C.S. Lewis, so he decides to take a look at these people, and by so doing he begins to question fundamental Bible doctrines. After time, through the influence of the Gettys, the soul who was once a contented member of a Bible-believing church, raising his children in a Bible-believing path, is on the high road to the emerging church and his children and grandchildren will end up who knows where.
The same could be said for the influence of MercyMe or Hillsong or hundreds of other prominent contemporary worship musicians, because they hold the same philosophy and represent the same bridge to spiritual danger.
Men who are defending the use of contemporary praise music will answer to God for the souls that cross the bridges they are building to the dangerous world that is represented by this music.
The Gettys are a bridge to new Reformed Calvinism.
The Gettys are new Reformed Calvinists. Keith leads worship at Parkside Church, Cleveland, Ohio, pastored by Alistair Begg. This is the world of John Piper, David Platt, R.C. Sproul, Al Mohler, Jr., John MacArthur.
Reformed Calvinism is not biblically sound. It is a path to the world of Augustine, the church fathers, John Calvin, Protestantism, the Puritans, infant baptism. It is a path to Replacement Theology (the church is Israel). It is a path to Amillennialism and the rejection of the imminency of Christ’s return and the loss of all of the spiritual benefits of that important doctrine.
New Reformed Calvinism, unlike old Reformed Calvinism, is ecumenical. There are no strict boundaries. The Gettys associate in ministry with almost anybody: Pentecostal, Charismatic, Roman Catholic, deniers of the blood atonement (C.S. Lewis), theistic evolutionists (John Lennox). Keith Getty favorably quotes all sorts of unsound men. For example, in his 2017 book Sing! he quotes the Roman Catholic mystic J.R.R. Tolkien, Augustin, C.S. Lewis, and Sting.
New Reformed Calvinism is sympathetic toward Rome. The old Reformed men believed that Rome is the great whore of Revelation 17, drunken with the blood of the martyrs. But the new Reformed have ecumenical relationships with Rome. Consider The Gospel Coalition. The Getty’s pastor, Alistair Beggs is the head. The web site promotes ecumenical unity. One report was entitled “The Urgency of Evangelical Ecumenism.” The report “Should Christians Be Ecumenical?” said, “Can evangelicals and Catholics truly be together? ... Jesus’ prayer for unity in the Body obligates me to see the ecumenical task as important for Christianity.” This is false. Jesus’ prayer has nothing to do ecumenism. In fact, a careful reading of this prayer refutes ecumenism. Yet this article was written by Trevin Wax, a Southern Baptist Wheaton College professor who associates closely with the Gettys.
And New Reformed Calvinism (also called neo-Puritan), unlike old Reformed Calvinism, is not separated from the world. In July 2019, longhaired rocker Alice Cooper gave his testimony at Parkside. They should rather have reproved him for his association with the vile world of rock & roll. Mark Driscoll, one of the most influential new Reformed Calvinists, said, “We are theologically conservative and CULTURALLY LIBERAL.” His church in Seattle, Mars Hill, had New Year’s Eve champagne dance parties.
Consider the issue of dress, which most churches today consider of little consequence, but it is a clear biblical issue. Kristyn Getty is one of the few contemporary worship artists that wears a dress of any kind in her performances, but she also wears tight pants and low-cut tops and other types of immodest attire, so there is no consistency. And some of the other female musicians in the Getty performances are even less modest. An advertisement for the Getty’s Sing! 2019 conference featured a young woman dancing an Irish dance in extremely tight pants. That type of thing is very sensual and has no place in Christian worship. A few years ago, when we asked for feedback from Christian men about how various types of female dress affect them morally, many made the observation that tight clothing is as seductive as slight clothing. One man wrote, “I would say the number one problem is any garment that is form fitting, be it jeans, pants, skirt, dress, shirt, whatever. Anything that is tight, no matter how long it is, leaves nothing to the imagination, and that defeats the whole purpose of covering the skin in the first place!” Another wrote, “One thing I see in my church is tight clothing. Oh, it may very well be covering but it is revealing the shape in a woman. This can be even more tantalizing to a man.” (See “Tight Clothing and Modesty” at www.wayoflife.org.)
The Gettys represent the “cool New Calvinism” that is sweeping through evangelicalism and the Southern Baptist Convention and that is capturing large numbers of “young fundamentalists.”
It is influencing Bob Jones University graduates, which is probably why the school is being drawn to the Gettys.
The Gettys are a bridge to the world of rock & roll.
The Getty’s music is syncretistic. They “fuse the music of their Irish heritage with the sounds of Nashville, their newly adopted home.” They are “crossing the genres of traditional, classical, folk and contemporary composition.”
There are no effectual boundaries to the Getty’s music that we can discern.
Their printed music is conservative and doesn’t use rock building blocks such as the backbeat and beat anticipation. They do this to broaden their influence into the most conservative of churches, but their performances are often out-and-out rock. Their vocals incorporate rock stylings such as slipping and sliding and croaking. (See A Plea to Southern Gospel Fans, a free eBook available from www.wayoflife.org.)
And while they don’t write hard rock worship songs, they don’t speak against this, either. They are always “positive, non-judgmental.” Keith Getty said that he is glad for edgy, hard-rocking renditions of his music by artists such as Newsboys, Ricky Skaggs, Owl City, Alison Krauss, and Natalie Grant, because “it is an honor” for him to witness popular modern musicians record them, and “it’s also interesting to hear their interpretation of it and useful for the song because it helps the song get played more” (“The Gettys Exclusive: Famed Hymn Writers Talk Irish Christmas Tour,” Christian Post, Dec. 2, 2014).
Rapper Trip Lee was featured at the Getty’s Sing! 2019 conference (“Getty Music Continues Their Five-Year Journey,” Sep. 24, 2018, gettymusic.com).
The Gettys list the Beatles as a major musical influence, and I have never heard them warn God’s people to stay away from the Beatles.
In a July 2013 interview, Keith Getty mentioned vile rocker Sting and homosexual rocker Elton John in a positive light, with not a hint of warning. The interview was with Dan Wooding of Assist Ministries and was broadcast on Frontpage Radio from Nashville -- www.assist-ministries.com/FrontPageRadio/FPR06.09.13KeithGettyMono.mp3.
In the same interview Keith Getty heaped praise on Bono of the Irish rock band U2, calling him a “brilliant theological thinker” and saying that Bono “cares for a lot of the things that Christ asks us to care about.” He also said, “I love his passion for life and his passion for learning.” Getty had absolutely nothing to say about Bono by word of warning.
Bono rarely even attends church, and when he does it is often a viciously heretical “church” like Glide Memorial United Methodist in San Francisco (Bill Flanagan, U2 and the End of the World, p. 99). Bono’s biographer said that he has been a frequent worshiper at Glide. Cecil Williams, former pastor of the church, doesn’t believe in heaven; he began performing homosexual “marriages” in 1965; and church “celebrations” have included dancing with complete nudity.
This is Bono’s type of Christianity. Bono says that he believes that Jesus died on the cross for his sins and that “he is holding out for grace,” but Bono’s “grace” is a grace that does not result in radical conversion and a new way of life; it is a grace without repentance; it is a grace that does not produce holiness, in direct contrast with Titus 2:11-15. Nowhere does Bono warn his myriads of listeners to turn to Christ before it is too late and before they pass out of this life into eternal hell. In fact, he says that heaven and hell are on this earth (Bono on Bono: Conversations with Michka Assayas, 2005, p. 254). Bono says that the older he gets the more comfort he finds in Roman Catholicism (Bono on Bono, p. 201). But he has nothing good to say about biblical “fundamentalism,” falsely claiming that it is a denial that God is love (Bono on Bono, p. 167) and calling it vile names (p. 147). The problem is that Bono defines love by the rock & roll dictionary rather than by the Bible, which says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3). Bill Flanagan, a U2 friend who has traveled extensively with the group, in his authorized biography describes them as heavy drinkers and constant visitors to bars, brothels, and nightclubs (Flanagan, U2 at the End of the World, p. 145). Bono admits that he lives “a fairly decadent kind of selfish-art-oriented lifestyle” (Flanagan, p. 79). Many of Bono’s statements cannot be printed in a Christian publication. Appearing on the Golden Globe Awards broadcast by NBC television in 2003, Bono shouted a vile curse word. Bono told the media that he and his bandmates planned to spend New Year’s Eve 2000 in Dublin, because “Dublin knows how to drink” (Bono, USA Today, Oct. 15, 1999, p. E1). In 2006 Bono said: “I recently read in one of St. Paul’s letters where it describes all of the fruits of the spirit, and I had none of them” (“Enough Rope with Andrew Denton,” March 13, 2006). In October 2008, Fox News reported that Bono and rocker friend Simon Carmody partied with teenage girls on a yacht in St. Tropez. The report was accompanied by a photo of Bono holding two bikini-clad teenagers on his lap at a bar (Fox News, Oct. 27, 2008).
(For more about Bono see the report “The Rock Group U2” at www.wayoflife.org.
This is the man that Keith Getty publicly calls a brilliant theologian and praises for caring about things that Christ tells us to care about! Doesn’t Christ care about truth and holiness and a pure gospel and repentance and sound doctrine and separation from the world, Keith? Aren’t these absolute fundamentals? Doesn’t the Bible say, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4)? Doesn’t the Bible say, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4)?
Any bridge that Bible-believing churches build to the Gettys is a bridge beyond to the filthy world of secular rock, because the Gettys speak in positive terms of that world instead of reproving the unfruitful works of darkness in accordance with Ephesians 5:11. Any bridge that Bible-believing churches build to the Gettys is a bridge beyond the Gettys to people like Bono of U2.
The Gettys are a bridge to C.S. Lewis.
In the 2013 interview with Dan Wooding of Assist Ministries (broadcast on Frontpage Radio), Getty claimed C.S. Lewis as a major theological influence. Yet Lewis rejected the fundamental doctrines of the infallible inspiration of Scripture and “penal substitutionary atonement” and believed in purgatory and baptismal regeneration (“C.S. Lewis Superstar,” Christianity Today, Dec. 2005). Lewis rejected the historicity of Jonah and Job. He believed in prayers to the dead and confession to a priest. He held to theistic evolution, believing that “man is physically descended from animals” and calling the Genesis account of creation “a Hebrew folk tale” (Lewis, The Problem of Pain). He denied the eternal torment of hell and claimed that followers of pagan religions can be saved without acknowledging Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour (Lewis, Mere Christianity; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle).
In its August 2019 cover story (“The Rise of the Bible-Teaching, Plato-Loving, Homeschool Elitists” by Louis Markos), Christianity Today stated that “increasing numbers of evangelicals” have followed C.S. Lewis to “fantasy lands populated by wizards” and “to the Catholic Middle Ages” and to the pagan “works of ancient Greek and Rome.” Christianity Today says that “Lewis helped unlock in the evangelical soul a longing for things of which they had been taught to be suspicious: tradition, hierarchy, liturgy, sacrament, numinous awe, and literature that was not specifically Christian.” Christianity Today admits that “this tectonic shift in the evangelical world has led significant numbers of conservative Protestants to become Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican.”
(For more about Lewis see the free eBook Evangelicals and C.S. Lewis at www.wayoflife.org)
This is a man that Getty honors as a major theological influence and about whom he has nothing negative to say. No warnings. No separation. No boundaries.
Any bridge that Bible-believing churches build to the Gettys is a bridge beyond the Gettys to dangerous heretics like C.S. Lewis.
The Gettys are a bridge to the Charismatic movement.
Keith arranged some of the songs on Michael W. Smith’s charismatic Healing Rain album.
The Gettys have a close working relationship with Stuart Townend. Their music company is GTM (Getty Townend Music).
Townend is radically charismatic and ecumenical. Not only do they write and publish songs with Townend, but they also tour together, joining hands, for example, in the Celtic Islands Tour 2012.
Townend is charismatic in theology. He leads worship at the Church of Christ, a New Frontiers church in Brighton, England. (New Frontiers is a network of charismatic churches that believes in modern apostles and prophets.) The senior pastor is Terry Virgo. Townend supports the “extraordinary manifestations of the Spirit,” which refers to the demonic/fleshly charismatic mysticism such as meaningless gibberish, prophesying, spirit slaying, holy laughter, and shaking. (This church is also the home of the Christian rock band Phatfish, with whom Townend has toured. Their music is described as “jazz-funk-rock.”)
Townend is radically ecumenical in philosophy, supporting the Alpha program which bridges charismatic, Protestant, and Roman Catholic churches.
Townend’s testimony of salvation is extremely weak, as stated in the following biographical sketch from WorshipTogether.com:
“Stuart grew up as the youngest of four children in a Christian family in West Yorkshire where his father was a Church of England vicar. Stuart’s family always enjoyed music and one brother, Ian, went on to become a member of the group Heartbeat. Stuart himself began to play the piano at the age of 7. It was while living in West Yorkshire that at the age of 13 he made his Christian commitment. Then later at the age of 18, when helping to lead a children’s camp in Hand Cross, West Sussex, he had a profound experience of the Holy Spirit.”
Townend has a false concept of Christ. When asked, “What would Jesus sing?” he replied:
“I think he would be doing thrash metal or hip hop or something where we’d go, ‘He can’t do that!’ Because I think he would be challenging our comfortable perceptions. I don’t know what he would sing or whose songs he would sing, but I believe he would do it in a way that would surprise and probably shock us” (“What Would Jesus Sing?” from an interview with Stuart Townend, TV series Principles of Praise, 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCW0oAAna7c).
So, according to Townend, instead of singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, Jesus would be singing thrash metal and hip hop and trying to shock us with His musical choices. That is not the thrice holy Jesus described in Scripture. It is true that Jesus shocked the religious crowd of His day, but that was not because He was performing worldly musical numbers, gyrating to rap, and screaming out thrash! It was because the religious crowd had rejected God’s Word and He was God’s Word incarnate, so they did not recognize, understand, or appreciate Him. He came to fulfill every jot and tittle of the holy Law of God (Matthew 5:17-19). Jesus was a friend of sinners, but He did not sin with sinners and He was no sort of a party dude. He frequently preached on hell and demanded repentance, and that would put the brakes on any party!
Since the Christian rock crowd loves to shock people, they think Jesus is like them. Christian rockers lose no sleep at the fact that many of the saints are upset and discouraged with their music because they consider it worldly and inappropriate for the service of Christ. Christian rockers have taken over countless once-traditional churches even to the extreme of pushing aside and running over anyone who got in the way of their musical “choices.” Instead of sympathizing with the saints who oppose their music, they slander them as Pharisees and legalists and mindless traditionalists.
This is not the spirit of Jesus. He solemnly warned about offending those who believe on Him (Matthew 18:2-10). Paul, too, issued this warning. “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. ... Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:13, 19).
The Gettys are a bridge to the Roman Catholic Church.
In July 2012, the Gettys joined Townend and Roman Catholic Matt Maher on NewsongCafe on WorshipTogether.com. They played and discussed “The Power of the Cross,” which was co-written by Getty-Townend. The 10-minute program promoted ecumenical unity, with Maher/Townend/Getty entirely one in the spirit through the music. Fundamental doctrinal differences are so meaningless that they are not even mentioned. Spiritual abominations such as the papacy, the mass, infant baptism, baptismal regeneration, and Mariolatry were ignored. Jude 3 was despised and Romans 16:17 completely disobeyed for the sake of building the one-world church through contemporary Christian music.
Keith Getty collaborated with Catholic Margaret Becker in the song “Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer.” In an interview, Becker said, “One of my missions has been to say, let’s not label ourselves, let’s not put up walls between each other. I may go to a Catholic church, that does not mean I’m Catholic, in that I cannot (disagree with) any Catholic rhetoric or Catholic belief” (“US singer to make an appearance at Cross Rhythms ’95,” CR Magazine, June 1, 1995).
Getty also collaborated with Roman Catholic Máire [pronounced Moya] Brennan in writing “With the Early Morning.” Brennan says, “Christians fighting Christians, Catholics and Protestants! It breaks my heart, because we're all stemming from the same rock. We should look at that and not at what we’ve become. I discovered an awful lot, being from a Catholic background and getting married to a Protestant” (“Back to the Rock of Ages: Maire Brennan Talks to Christina Rodden,” rootsworld.com).
The Gettys are a bridge to other heretics.
In October 2012, the Gettys joined hands with emerging heretic Leonard Sweet at the National Worship Leader Conference in San Diego. Sweet calls his universalist-tinged doctrine New Light and “quantum spirituality” and “the Christ consciousness” and describes it in terms of “the union of the human with the divine” which is the “center feature of all the world’s religions” (Quantum Spirituality, p. 235). He defines the New Light as “a structure of human becoming, a channeling of Christ energies through mindbody experience” (Quantum Spirituality, p. 70). Sweet says that “New Light pastors” hold the doctrine of “embodiment of God in the very substance of creation” (p. 124). In Carpe Mañana, Sweet says that the earth is as much a part of the body of Christ as humans and that humanity and the earth constitutes “a cosmic body of Christ” (p. 124). Sweet lists some of the “New Light leaders” that have influenced his thinking as Matthew Fox, M. Scott Peck, Willis Harman, and Ken Wilber. These are prominent New Agers who believe in the divinity of man, as we have documented in the book The New Age Tower of Babel. Sweet has endorsed The Shack with its non-judgmental father-mother god, and he promotes Roman Catholic contemplative mysticism and dangerous mystics such as the Catholic-Buddhist Thomas Merton. (For documentation see the book Contemplative Mysticism, which is available in print and eBook editions from Way of Life Literature -- www.wayoflife.org.)
At their Sing! 2019 worship conference, the Gettys featured flautist Pedro Eustache. He claims to be a “Christ follower” (not a Christian) and talks about Jesus and the cross, but his Christianity is not Bible-based. It is doctrine-less, indefinable, and mystical. His gospel is so vague as to be meaningless. There is no mention of sin, the blood atonement, repentance, or saving faith. He claims that everything is “spiritual” and that nothing is “secular.” (“Pedro Estache,” interview, July 28, 2016, isharehope.com). Thus, he has no problem in playing background music for the World of Warcraft video game and a wide assortment of wicked movies. He has recorded with New Age musician Paul McCartney of the Beatles, Persian “diva Googoosh,” and many others of like spiritual caliber. He performed prominently for the soundtrack to Mel Gilbson’s The Passion of Christ, which is filled with Roman Catholic myths about Mary.
This is the ecumenical Christianity of the Gettys. They are fairly conservative in their own theology and lives, but they have no boundaries. They don’t believe in biblical separation.
Therefore, any bridge that Bible-believing churches build to the Gettys is a bridge beyond the Gettys to heretics such as C.S. Lewis and Bono, to the Roman Catholic Church, to the charismatic movement, to theistic evolution that denies the literal account of Genesis 1-2, to the filthy world of secular rock, to emergents and New Agers like Leonard Sweet, and to every element of the end-time one-world “church.”
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