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June 12, 2021

Answering the Question of Using Hillsong or Elevation Type Music in Church

By Anthony Wade

Examining an often controversial topic that really should not be so


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God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." - John 4:24 (ESV)

Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. - Amos 5:23-24 (ESV)

Spirit-Filled Pastor Addresses Controversial Worship Music Trend -- Charisma News

Shane Idleman is known for his fierce NAR dominionism. He does take time though to weigh in on other church related matters but he is so far in with the NAR, Charisma News crowd that he often spends time excusing what he probably knows deep down he should not. Today's subject, linked above in Shane's latest article, is about worship music from dubious sources and whether the church should use such songs. I chose two key verse sets today to illustrate how easy this subject should be for discerning Christians. Those who truly seek to worship God can only do so in spirit and truth. The spirit part is simply that we must be born again. How can someone worship God without knowing Him? The truth part simply means that worship too must adhere to scripture, the truth. You cannot worship God in deception. Singing Friend of God for example does not make you a friend of God. The second scripture set shows clearly that God does not actually accept false worship or worship that is not aligned with His Spirit. Work on justice and righteousness first, then come tell me how much you want to worship Me! So let us reason together through some points Shane makes and see what God actually says about this crucial subject.

"1. How inconsistent should a group be before we completely discontinue their worship? Should we also eliminate songs from Elevation Worship, Hillsong and a few others because we disagree with some of what their pastors teach? Yes and no. It all depends on the severity of their error. Some people draw the line in the sand much more quickly in regard to removing their music, while others are not there yet. This is what is happening here--many are not prepared to draw that line yet. And a lot depends on the spiritual character of the worship leader. For example, what Sean Feucht and Kim Walker Smith tweet is much different than what I've seen Joel Houston (Hillsong) tweet. I know both Feucht and Walker Smith, and both are solid." - Shane Idleman

No Shane they are not. They cannot be solid because they were taught by Bill Johnson who they still swear by. That teaching comes through in their music. If they were solid, they would be convicted of the false theology and leave their heretical churches. The framing here is beyond problematic. We are not talking about "inconsistent" churches or worship outfits. What this does is set up excuses to keep using them in your own services or listening to them and thinking it is all right. Are there biblically sound worship songs by Hillsong and Jesus Culture? Of course! The enemy always mixes in just enough truth to make people blind to the lies they buy into. Everything a false teacher says is not false. The really difficult ones to discern are so because a great deal of what they preach is correct. Of course mixed into the sound songs are songs that are completely horrible. How He Loves Us is a self-adoring song that worships man instead of God and by the way is poorly written. Only a disgustingly self-absorbed generation cannot see the difference between How Great Thou Art and How Great Am I. So should you eliminate songs from Elevation Music and Hillsong? Yes! If you only disagree with "some" of what Steven Furtick and Brian Houston teaches than THAT is the problem you need to address first. Furtick is the king of narcigesis, making you the hero of every bible story. You are not David staring down your Goliath. Not only is that biblically absurd but it misses the entire point of the scriptures and ignores David as a type of Christ! Houston wrote a book called You Need More Money! Are you kidding me? How many horrible stories do we have to hear from throughout the Hillsong kingdom? Carl Lentz, the pastor in Jersey who sent pictures of his genitalia to congregants, the sleazy silent night, the youth pastor "dressing up" as the naked cowboy for a woman's conference, and on and on.

So why ban their music? The people in the congregation are called sheep by the Lord. They are there for spiritual leadership and guidance. When you sing a Hillsong tune they like and they google it, who did you just lead them to? If they see the credits for a song belong to Elevation worship and they then check out Furtick it is entirely your fault. Kim Walker-Smith tells of a waking visitation from Jesus Christ who whisked her away to the throne room where she met the Father face to face. She says she asked Him why He made her and that God replied by ripping out a piece of His own heart and molding a miniature Kim Walker-Smith to set in a jewelry box before Him. Now Shane, you know this could not be true because the bible says Kim Walker-Smith would be dead if she saw the Father which means she is either lying or cannot tell when being duped by demons masquerading as angels of light. Either way, Kim Walker-Smith is not "solid."

"2. Have I done my due diligence in investigating these bands? The problem is that there are many conflicting reports. I know people who attend Bethel, and they say the complete opposite of those who condemn it. For example, Bethel's leadership condemns grave-sucking, but people still say that they teach it. Yes, I have seen the picture of lead pastor Bill Johnson's wife near a grave, but pictures don't always tell the whole story. But, with that said, I have also heard Bill Johnson say things that he needs to clarify. Because I have often been misrepresented myself, I appreciate those who try to hear both sides. That's where many of us are; are we not allowed that opportunity? I just wish the majority of the critics weren't so arrogant and condescending. This attitude really reveals their heart." - Shane Idleman

Beloved, you cannot discern by the anecdotal opinions of others, especially those steeped in bad worship music. What do you expect Bethel to say when they have received so much blowback for the grave sucking? Of course there is no specific sermon on it. The point is that it was taught at Bethel. Just like their "Dead Raising Team" is not sanctioned by the church but they clearly were encouraged and taught there. As for the pictures, this is not Beni Johnson hanging out at a graveyard. She is hugging Charles Finney's tombstone and lying down on top of another. What possible context do you think is missing? Bill Johnson has said many things he needs to repent of, not clarify. So stop trying to blame those that call truth for what it is Shane. It reveals your heart quite clearly.

"3. Human opinion never trumps God's Word, but there is safety in the multitude of counsel. I have asked countless believers for their input, and a significant percentage saw nothing wrong with playing music that is questionable to some. I also look at the spiritual condition of the worship leaders. For example, any idea on who wrote this: "So much heresy is running rampant in the church because we're not clearly preaching the reality of eternal judgment, the reality of heaven and hell, or the frequent commands concerning holiness, godliness, purity and true Jesus apprenticeship"? Jeremy Riddle, worship leader at Bethel, wrote that on April 10 of this year on his Facebook page. In case you missed it, that's a powerful declaration of sound doctrine. My concern is that we may be throwing out the baby with the bathwater too soon. While not true of everyone, the vast majority of those who have issues with this music seem to disdain emotional worship and are often not open to what is referred to as revival. They don't like to sing "Let It Rain" because they don't want to get wet." - Shane Idleman

As Shane is known to do, he mixes in a scripture that misses the point. The point of there being safety in a multitude of counselors is to say that one should not try to get by solely on oneself. This does not mean however that we simply ask a bunch of people what they think and we are magically safe. Idleman comes from the heart of churchianity so we can safely assume the multitude he sought are as well. Is it any wonder they were predisposed to agree that the origin of a worship song is not a big deal? When doctrine as a whole is not a big deal, why would worship? I am glad if Jeremy Riddle actually wrote those words but why then does he stay at a doctrinal cesspool such as Bethel? Does Bill Johnson teach about eternal judgment, hell, and holiness? Of course not.

People may object to Let It Rain because the refrain is sung over and over again in an effort to gin up an emotional response disguised as being a spiritual move. The problem with emotional worship is that it is sold as being a move of the Holy Spirit when it most certainly is not. The bible does not promise a great end-times revival. It promises a great end-time apostasy. The revival chasers of today are largely baked into the NAR seven mountains heresy, as is Shane Idleman.

"Mocking a Genuine Move of the Spirit. I stand in awe of how many famous conservative pastors quote George Whitefield yet fail to acknowledge the oddities that happened under his preaching. The same is true of Jonathan Edwards and others who ushered in great moves of the Spirit. Now, with that said, I am not validating questionable ministries. I have similar concerns as many of the critics, but it is interesting that those mocking are often the same people who would (and do) mock a genuine move of God's Spirit. I'm hoping that this article sparks dialogue within the controversial bands and a movement to revisit theology is sparked. Most of these worship groups are young and need theological grounding. Perhaps the young musicians in some of these bands just need believers who are spiritually mature reaching out to them rather than calling them heretical. My big concern for many of us is found in Revelation 2:2-5 (NIV), "I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false." Jesus continues, "Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place." Could it be that the very thing we need is the very thing we are running from, that being revival and a powerful move of God's Spirit? My new book, Oh God, Rend the Heavens, was written for this very reason." - Shane Idleman

Jesus Culture and Elevation music are not genuine moves of the spirit. Bad trees cannot produce good fruit. The bible assures us of this. When you get too close to these demonic moves you are easily deceived. Dr. Michael Brown swears to this day about the demonic Brownsville episode but anyone with a discerning eye can see it was not of God. Many who rolled around in the aisle barking like dogs during the Toronto blessing still insist it was God. I am not sorry to tell you it was not. I agree the worship groups need theological grounding but they remain in some of the most heretical churches on the planet. They also have too many people telling them all is well.

"Additional Resources. In this sermon, I talk about when my heart was very hard and I was becoming a modern-day Pharisee. The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) always seems to slip into this type of discussion. Since I don't know much about the NAR, I found a video for those interested: The Truth About NAR and 7 Mountain Theology. Michael Brown also interviewed Bill Johnson in this video. Granted, I would have asked harder questions, but he was still able to clarify many things. Here is what baffles me: it's almost as though people don't want to know the facts." - Shane Idleman

I remove all hyperlinks because I do not wish to promote more heresy. It is a shame that in Shane's attempts to not be a Pharisee he has become a heretic. The reason why the NAR slips into these discussions is because Shane is neck-deep in NAR theology, specifically dominionism. The "additional resources" are all you need to know about what perspective Shane Idleman approaches this from. He claims to know little about the NAR so he turns to Dr. Michael Brown who once tried to pretend the NAR did not actually exist. Brown is the biggest gatekeeper for NAR adherents. This includes the whitewashing-softball interview he granted to Bill Johnson. This was not an interview but rather an infomercial for Bill to pretend ignorance on all the controversies he caused. Brown would ask him if he believes in grave sucking for example and Johnson would say, no. Brown would gush, "well I am glad we cleared that up!"

As for the subject at hand, worship is supposed to be us not only connecting with God but doing so in a way that actually worships Him. That reverences Him. Singing about our inheritance for example is worshipping us, not God. Singing how great we are that God would call us friend, is not worshipping God. Singing how much He loves us, is not worshipping Him. Aside from theological underpinnings however we want to always be mindful of what direction we point our brothers and sisters to. Singing Elevation tacitly endorses Steven Furtick. Singing Hillsong endorses Brian Houston. God's love is not reckless. This article however, that seeks to split the bill by sounding reasonable while condoning absolutely heretical worship outfits and their churches? That is completely reckless.

Reverend Anthony Wade - June 12, 2021

Authors Bio:
Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.