September 8, 2016
Poke'mon Praise and Worship Reveals the Church of Uzzah
By Anthony Wade
Another look at the further erosion of worship in the church today...
All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. -- 1Corinthians 12: 11 (ESV)
It seems every few months I have to do a devotional about the worship of Almighty God. The reason is that seemingly in this seeker friendly church landscape, Christians have literally no idea what worship is and what it is not. We must understand that the genesis for this phenomenon is rooted in the false theology of Rick Warren and the purpose driven church model. Rick openly tells the story about how when he was going to open his mega church that he canvassed the surrounding neighborhoods in order to find out what the unsaved masses wanted in the church they never attended. Not surprisingly, they did not want a lot of Jesus but entertainment was at the top of their list. Church was known for those crusty old hymns and the goats wanted club lighting, smoke machines and rock and roll. So Warren gave it to them just like Bill Hybels removed all crosses from his sanctuary at Willow Creek for the same reasons. Seems that the image of the cross offended those for whom Jesus died. Thus the madness started sinking in. With this shift towards worldly music disguised as worship, there was money to be made and people stepped in to take advantage of that. Thus the Hillsongs and Jesus Cultures of the world were born and their craft has spread like cancer throughout the body of Christ.
The problem was not only fueled by the desire to entertain people instead of actually worshiping the Creator of the universe. It was also corrupted by the fact that these outfits were sitting under such egregious false teaching to begin with that there was literally no chance their music would end up being biblically sound and pleasing to God. Yes, there are some Hillsong and Jesus Culture songs that seem to stay true enough to Scripture but a lot of it does not and what we repeat over and over again becomes our theology. Think about it beloved. The "hook" in a worship song is the often repeated portion that can go on for several minutes. I remember one prayer service where we sang three words, "let it rain", for twenty straight minutes. Thirty years ago the hook was "How Great Thou Art"; which meant that we reminded ourselves over and over again how great God is. Not only was this very pleasing to God but it continually reinforced sound theology. God is great. Overwhelmingly great! Fast forward those thirty years however and now the hook becomes, "How He loves me." That may seem subtle because it is how the devil designed it but take a look at what worship has devolved into. Where once we were reinforcing the greatness of God now we are reinforcing our own greatness. It is not worship to tell God over and over again how much He loves you! It is narcissistic at best draped in false piety.
Hillsong is led by Brian Houston and Jesus Culture came out of Bill Johnson's church. These are two of the top ten heretics on the planet. Brian Houston's empire is built upon a version of the prosperity gospel so blatantly unapologetic that Houston himself wrote a book entitled, "You Need More Money." He markets his false church model of cultural relevance without the trappings of the actual Gospel all around the world. Bethel Church in Redding California is ground zero for many different heresies courtesy of Bill Johnson. They are heavy into the false signs and lying wonders gospel. Johnson has had fake "glory clouds" appear at services, claims of angel feathers fall around him in diners, gemstone manifestations, gold dust appearing for no reason, and allows anyone to come up and prophesy on open mic Prayer Services, each Friday night. He believes God always must heal you despite wearing corrective eyeglasses. He has supported grave sucking, where kids spend the night at the tomb of a dead false teacher in order to suck off some "residual anointing." Johnson also runs a "School for the Supernatural" where he thinks you can teach people the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which our key verse today clearly says you cannot. The Spirit gives out the gifts as He decides. So is it any wonder when these money making music machines produce something it is far removed from the actual Gospel of Jesus Christ?
I can't outrun
This heart I am tethered to
When every step
I collide with you
Like a tidal wave crashing over me
Rushing in to meet me here
Your love is fierce
Like a hurricane that I can't escape
Tearing through the atmosphere
Your love is fierce
This is a song snippet from the lyrics to one of Jesus Culture's new songs, "Fierce." The only thing fierce about this is the level of inappropriateness. This song seems like it could be sung by Barry White instead of Joel Houston and no one would know the difference. The sentiment belongs in a Harlequin Romance Novel, not praising and worshipping the King of Kings. Tethered to your heart? Tidal waves crashing over me? You are a hurricane tearing through the atmosphere? Just as the theology and purpose driven teachings seek to mix the carnal with the holy, so does this. We love God as our Creator. We love God as our deliverer. We do not love Him as our boyfriend. I remember an old Rick Pino song that asked Jesus to lead us into His chambers. What? I shouldn't feel the need to shower after singing a worship song.
How depraved is the theology we are talking about? The main worship leader for Jesus Culture is Kim Walker-Smith. Her testimony, which she regularly regales tens of thousands of youth at a time with, is that Jesus once led her into the throne room of God the Father. Not during a dream but rather during a waking visitation. There, God reached into His heart, ripped out a piece, and molded it into a little Kim Walker Smith. He did this so He could set it in a music box and every time He would open the box the little Kim Walker-Smith would dance and praise Him while He clapped gleefully ecstatic that she would worship Him. I kid you not. This is easily found online. Besides the overall absurdity of the story, it is so biblically inaccurate it should make any real follower of Jesus Christ want to get as far away from her as possible. The Bible clearly teaches us that no one can see the face of God let alone chill out with Him in the throne room.
But, "he said, "you cannot see my face, for no man shall not see me and live." - Exodus 33: 20 (ESV)
But I do not blame Kim Walker Smith entirely. I assume she is being genuine and honest. The problem is she has been taught so poorly that she is doesn't know any better. She cannot see that there are only two choices here. Either she is mistaken or God is a liar. The only logical and biblical conclusion is that Kim was visited by a demon, disguised as an angel of light and she could not discern. And you want to be led into worship by her? Be careful of what you end up worshipping then. Please do not think this is just an anomaly either:
You have wanted me
Just one pulse of Your heart
You were wooing me
God is a lover, looking for a lover
So He fashioned me -- Misty Edwards
I wanna be an extravagant lover
An offering, a sacrifice for thee
I find in you my passion and pleasure
Til I am consumed with the spirit of burning
A laid down lover, that's what I wanna be -- Nikki Mathis
Misty Edwards is the Worship Leader for the International House of Prayer (IHOP), led by the wildly heretical Mike Bickle. This is not to be confused with the pancake franchise, which has far better waffles and theology. At Bickle's IHOP, they teach impressionable youth the sexually charged Bridal Paradigm, which is a gross distortion of the Bible. Youth are led to believe they are the Bride of Christ instead of the collective church. Even more problematic is they all appear to be really looking forward to the honeymoon. God is reduced down to carnal and lustful terms. Instead of the Almighty, He is just a lover looking for a lover. The notions of Him "wooing me" and Him "wanting me" are akin to the narcissistic self-worship we have been discussing. He is only relevant in light of His desire for us. Once again, how great I am because look at how much He loves me! Likewise, Nikki Mathis is an up and coming worship star who sees her god only through the lustful lens of the world. Finding this bedroom god within her passion and pleasure and wanting to be consumed with a spirit of burning? She just wants to be a laid down lover? Pass the disinfectant.
I say this as a backdrop of some recent stories that are quite disturbing to my Spirit. Stories involving the church itself and what they are allowing and incorporating into worship. We saw last month that mega-heretic Andy Stanley has now turned over his worship set to the world. One week he had a sexually charged boy band song because his seeker friendly theme that week was the 1990s. The following week he had his worship band do a Beatles set to celebrate the 1960s. It was only fitting that this would soon be followed by a sermon where Stanley argued that Christianity no longer needs the Bible. What the heck right? If you are not going to follow it anyway, may as well. Let us remember the previous year in which we saw the following all done during what was supposed to be church worship:
Hillsong London performed the club hit, "I like to Move It, Move It."
Hillsong Australia performed a burlesque version of Silent Night.
Perry Noble and New Spring Church played heavy metal's ACDC classic, "Highway to Hell."
Multiple churches did tributes to the deceased androgynous pop icon Prince.
The Gathering Church recently ran a sermon series expositing the lyrics of Taylor Swift
This is in less than one year and is only the tip of the iceberg beloved. The modern church cares so little about God and actually worshipping Him that they continue to lower the bar in more and more absurd fashions. Enter one of the most ridiculous false churches today, Church by the Glades. This place is a virtual cesspool of false teaching, false worship, and utter carnality disguised as a Christian church. They just finished a sermon series on Alice in Wonderland, complete with dressed up characters and now are boldly entering into an exposition of the Harry Potter films. You know; the one that promotes witchcraft and the occult and markets it to children? Recently during worship however they did a Poke'mon praise song. I kid you not. So imagine if you will people got up on a Sunday and drove to church. A place that is supposed to be reverent. A place that is supposed to be holy. A place where people should feel the presence of God during corporate worship focused on the Author and Finisher of our Faith. Instead they got to sing along to a song praising the worldly phenomenon known as Poke'mon. Oh preacher! Aren't you taking things too seriously? It is just a little harmless fun! No beloved it is not.
We have dumbed down God and made him our buddy and wingman instead of our Lord and Savior. The "friend of God theology" is crippling real relationships people are supposed to have with Him. You think the worship of Almighty God is a small matter? You think He doesn't care that we are singing songs from the 1990s about being turned on? In His House? From His bride? You think that Creator of the universe chuckles with a wink and nod when we are singing about Poke'mon instead of Him? Or when we repeat over and over again how special we are to be loved by Him? Or when we petulantly shout about the blessings we feel we are due? The Bible says the Lord is looking for people to worship Him in spirit and in truth but instead we worship the spirits of this age and ignore the truths contained in the Bible and we think because we made the effort we should be excused? Woe to the church today for thinking in such a manner! Remember the story of Uzzah! King David was returning the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. It was a time of celebration and great joy. The procession was singing praise to God and David was dancing with all his might. It was a time of worship. Beloved, all worship starts with obedience however. David assigned the transportation of the ark to a cart, which was guided by a man named Uzzah. When the cart hit a bump the ark was going to topple over and fall but Uzzah stepped in and steadied the ark with his hand. Crisis averted? Not quite:
And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. -- 2Samuel 6: 7 (ESV)
Uzzah probably had the best of intentions. He was only following the orders of his king. He was trying to prevent the ark from spilling over. David probably had the best of intentions. He was bringing the ark back home. He was praising God with all of his might! Did God care about their intentions? God "knew their heart" and that did not help them that day. Why? Because David and Uzzah had violated the law God had outlined regarding the transportation of the ark. It was only to be carried by specific members of a specific tribe and Uzzah was not one of them. It was also to be carried on their shoulders by using poles, not on a cart.
It seems sometimes that we think that God should be happy that we are praising Him regardless of the form that praise takes. Ask Uzzah if that is so. I have had people try to use the "do not judge me for worshipping differently than you" defense and that misses the point. The issue is not that you worship differently from me. It is that you worship differently than God has outlined. The problem we see throughout the corrupted bride these days is the utter carnality and worldliness displayed during the time that is supposed to be solemn and holy unto the Lord. The "God knows my heart" defense is equally fragile. We already know that God knows all of our hearts are wickedly deceitful above everything else. So it does not matter if you think you have a pure heart while wanting to be a "laid down lover" for God. It does not matter if you think you are just trying to entice more people to attend your church by singing praise songs to Poke'mon. Last year, Word Faith heretic Victoria Osteen insisted that we do not worship God for Him but rather for ourselves. A week later after much uproar she doubled down and her Husband Joel agreed. It was quite possibly one of the most honest moments within the false church in recent memory. When we use the time allocated for the worship of the King of Kings to instead listen to ACDC, Miley Cyrus, or sing songs riddled with lust we are essentially taking what is holy and throwing it on the back of a cart going down and uneven and rocky road. We are going to hit a bump at some point. God help us all.
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.