"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

IMB Trustee Meeting, Spartanburg, South Carolina, September 11-13, 2006

I am sitting in the Memphis airport watching the last few seconds of the Dallas Cowboys vs. Jacksonville Jaquars football game. I will board a plane in a few minutes for the Greenville/Spartanburg South Carolina Airport for the September IMB trustee meeting.

I have chosen not to blog during the trustee meeting. I will periodically check the comment section of this post through Wednesday night and will respond to questions if possible, but I am not anticipating posting anything new until this Thursday night.

I understand Marty "How're You" Duren will be present for the IMB meeting in Spartanburg, South Carolina. His blog is located at SBC Outpost.

This coming Thursday morning I will be in the chapel service at Southwestern Seminary. Dr. Frank Page is the special guest and I look forward to hearing him speak to the students and faculty.

Remember, you can watch Dr. Page's message via live video streaming at Southestern's website.

Have a great week.

In His Grace,

Wade

68 comments:

Deaf Church Planting said...

Wade,
We are praying for you and all the trustees. Blessings, Stan

Kevin Bussey said...

Wade,

I may drop down and to see you and Marty!

jeb said...

the people in the pew do not understand

TruthOfActs said...

Jeb,
I consider myself a pew person. What is it that I don’t understand that you are referring to?

One thing I don’t understand, and maybe you or someone can help me out here—our new pastor is about to get his Drs. Degree and has everyone standing for ALL the songs.
What is the purpose of this? I’m serious. Our members are about half old and half young. Some never stand as they are on walkers, and some have to struggle as they are not in good health.

When asked about this, our pastor said that no one has to stand if they don’t want to. But it makes me out of place when I sit with my wife as standing hurts her back.
I’m trying to keep an open mind and it would help if I heard some GOOD reasons. Thanks.
Rex Ray

Mike said...

Why are you not blogging? This seems to be in conflict with past statement from you about the IMB and transparency.

Tim said...

Hey Wade,

TBA is hosting a meeting/lunch with Dr. Page. I'm going to be there. Perhaps you will be there as well? I hope so. I would love to meet you.

Tim Dahl

A 10-40 Window Missionary said...

Truthofacts,

I, too have often wondered about the theological significance of standing during hymns, but now during all of the "praise-worship" songs. I know from my son, who is a minister of music, that anatomicly, standing is better than sitting for songs (something about better control of our breath), but I doubt that is why we now do it. I think this is another tradition that has little significance in the grand scheme of things.

davidinflorida said...

Dear Rex Ray, You can find places in the Bible where woship was done standing. I myself prefer standing during worship just out of respect for a awesome Holy God. Like your pastor says, its not mandatory. I would guess that your Pastor may have been convicted by the Holy Spirit about this. Consider your church blessed for this, and PRAISE GOD..

davidinflorida said...

P.S. TO Rex Ray, I wish my church had this problem.......

David L. Miller said...

Wade, I have a simple question. Is Tom Hatley still a trustee? I know he is no longer chair, but did he rotate off?

Wade Burleson said...

Mike,

I'm not blogging about the IMB meeting this week because I made a decision it would be best to give the Executive Committee of the IMB, and ultimately the entire Board, the opportunity to make a couple of very important decisions without anyone intentionally diverting the Board's focus from the issues before us by making my blog the issue.

Wade Burleson said...

Tom Hatley is still a trustee. He has one more year.

irreverend fox said...

I'm with Rex,

but let me go one step further. Why do we sing hymns at all, let alone being FORCED to stand during them?! What is the Biblical mandate for singing hymns in the first place?

I say no more singing, cause everytime these young people come and hear singing they feel like standing and I've even seen them sway their hips side to side. If we get rid of singing all together then those young people will stay home (or go some where else) and those of us who have kept this church going for all these years won't be forced to stand.

If standing while singing is what it takes to reach all these young people then they can just go to hell.

You'd think these new song leaders would think more about us old people and what makes us happy...we've always been here after all.

Jack Maddox said...

to fox!!!!

Ouch!

and Amen!

I think....

TruthOfActs said...

Thanks for the response. David in Florida said there are places in the Bible where worship was done standing.
It’s true, people did not carry chairs when they followed John the Baptist and Jesus up the hillsides, but where are references that people stood when chairs were available? (Just curious—since I don’t know.) I’ll bet one was not ‘standing’ when he fell out of the rafters when he went to sleep.
David said he prefers standing during worship just out of respect for an awesome Holy God.
Where do you stand? Do you stand at ‘attention’ or at ‘rest’?
David, your words represent the outward appearance of man. God is interested in man’s heart and not the position of his body.
In 709 AD, man decided kissing the pope’s foot showed respect to God. Once man starts ‘broadening the hem of his garments’, it’s hard to find a stopping point.

I believe a 10-40 window missionary gave the best answer why members are asked to stand during all the songs. She said; “I think this is another tradition that has little significance in the grand scheme of things.”
This ‘tradition’ was not around my first 50 years. It seemed to start after the ‘conservative resurgence’ which happened in the 80’s, but I didn’t know until 1997. A lot of Baptists still don’t know it happened.
Fifteen years ago, in our church of 500 in attendance, I asked our music minister at a deacon’s meeting, why didn’t he have a vote of the members on the ‘style’ of music and standing or not. A deacon replied, “You don’t understand; he doesn’t care what the church wants to hear because he’s been trained to know what we ought to hear.”

So, my question still goes unanswered—as to a GOOD reason.
Rex Ray

TruthOfActs said...

Ahh, good old Irreverend Fox,
You’re back in your old style of talking out the side of your mouth in saying what you don’t mean. You say you’re with me, but you’re like James being ‘with’ Peter until James said, “But…” which canceled Peter’s “all saved by the gift of Christ.” (How’d you like the way I ‘worked’ that in?)

One reason I joined this country church where I was a boy in 1944, is they still sang the old hymns. We have a good group of young people. I met with them and their youth director in our home upstairs for over a year until our new church was built. They want me to hurry and finish a 40’ slide. They now have a 30’ by 100’ area upstairs. We are still working on the ceilings. Last night, was first day of Awanas, and I was one of three helping to run our 37’ climbing wall. (Besides making most of it, I can climb it.) I can beat them all in ping-pong. What I’m trying to say, Fox, is our old and young people love each other and the Holy Spirit touches all our hearts together. So don’t play the ‘trump card’ of ‘old vs. youth’.
Changing hymn songs to praise songs and ‘standing’ has only been going on for two weeks. It hasn’t brought anyone in yet—I’m hoping it doesn’t drive anyone away.

The Baptist Standard printed this before I left the city, and I still feel the same way:

Second best October 13, 1999
___I miss the old songs. Sometimes I wonder if I’m out of God’s will or if I’m just that old hippie trying to hold on to the old but surrounded by the new. I feel like the captured Jews when they were told to sing and their reply was they could not.
___I did not rebel against my parent’s songs but learned them by heart and sang them with joy. Each song had a message, showing God’s love for me. The church has gone overboard on praise songs. Can they touch a sinner’s heart like “Amazing Grace’, “Nothing but the Blood”,
or “At Calvary”?
___Why have we settled for second best? Did it happen because the 20-year control by conservatives has taught our song leaders a “better” way”? You hear only them and a loud organ.
___Is there sound when a tree falls in the forest? Do people sing when never heard? How sweet it is when no instruments are blaring and the leader steps back and there are voices. The captured Jews are no longer captives...they’re singing.
___Rex Ray__

TruthOfActs said...

Fox,
I didn’t finish the end of story of the city minister of music. After seven years, he decided to be a preacher and to everyone’s surprise, he left taking a third of the church with him and started a non-denominational church.
It’s hard for a church to ‘grow’ with leaders like that.
Rex

davidinflorida said...

Dear Rex, Its from the heart that I stand. Its from the heart that I praise. Its from the heart that I cry when I worship HIM. Only GOD knows our hearts. Dont judge my heart..............

Bob Cleveland said...

Guys:

What's the common New Testament word for "worship", anyway?

A 10-40 Window Missionary said...

For David in Florida, the Russian and Romanian orthodox churches have no pews, only a few chairs for the old and infirm. Everyone else stands for the entire two hours (it seemed like 10 hours to me). Part of their rationale is that one should always stand before God. So, why do you stand, in your church for songs, but sit when the pastor preaches the Word?

davidinflorida said...

Dear Rex, I tried to give you an honest answer but you didnt like it. I believe that here lies the problem with most of this blogs issues. People worried about other peoples business. When you worship GOD, you should be focused on GOD. Not the hips of someone ahead of you or the person next to you. For you to assume that all those that stand when they worship are looking for attention is sad....... Out of respect for you pastor, if he asks you to stand while worshiping then stand or discuss with him or even better tell the (DIC) DEACON IN CHARGE...Otherwise I would recommend finding another Baptist church that doesnt like to worship. They are a dime a dozen..Maybe when you get to Heaven you can tell GOD to do something about all of those angels constantly worshiping HIM. Also those creatures that never cease saying HOLY HOLY GOD ALMIGHTY WHICH WAS AND IS AND IS TO COME. I am sure that they noisy also

Tim Cook said...

Hi there! Being a music minister of the "young folks" persuasion who also loves the hymns, I think I can shed light on the discussion. I ask people to stand at least part of the time for one simple reason: it keeps their interest and keeps them awake. Young people do like energy and liveliness; no matter music style you decide on, if everyone is singing like they are half asleep and the organist and pianist are getting slower and slower, then you sound like a dead church. Standing helps to fight that tendency. Also, don't stereotype all of us "modern worship" people as hymn-haters. It is not either-or, its both and. It is not so much about the age of the song as it is the style and energy with which it is presented. The music to the hymns sometimes needs updated (not many people listen to organ anymore), but the words and the melody are often timeless. Let's sing new songs, but heaven forbid we ose the words in the old hymns!

Grace and Peace,
Tim Cook

David R. Mills said...

I think it is really sad that Billy Graham allowed Bev Shea to sing hymns and closed his services with "Just as I am." I wonder how many would have been reached if they would have used 7/11 pity choruses.

Tim Cook said...

Again, both-and...artists like third day and sonicflodd have also performed and lead worship at Billy Graham Crusades. Just As I Am is still one of the greatest songs of the church. Why does it have to be one or the other??

David R. Mills said...

But not at invitation time when decisions are being made for eternity - isn't that interesting??

Tim Cook said...

OK, seriously, "Just As I Am" was a new song once...to follow some people's logic, it never would have come down to us, becuase it never would have been accepted. I fully admit that there are some shallow modern songs...but there are also some not-so-good hymns that are really old. The age has nothing to do with it; only the quality of the song, and the heart that offers that worship to God. (I hope you aren't just trying to bait me into this discussion-I am really passionate about this subject)

Tim Cook

Sonya D said...

If the presence of the Lord is truly in the worship service, maybe we should be bowing instead of sitting or standing. :)

Bob Cleveland said...

Sonyad:

Now you're talking!

The word I see most in the New Testament for "worhip" is proskuneo which combines the words for to prostrate oneself before, and to kiss. Strong's says it's like a dog licking its master's hand.

Some of my most memorable worship moments are on my face. And that even happens in our church services sometimes, and it seems to be ok with our pastor.

(big sudden intake of breath).

Tim Cook said...

I often worship on my knees when I am by myself; other times I feel like shouting from the rooftops, so I stand. whatever position you worship in is fine as long as you are focused on God. As a worhsip leader, however, I am skeptical of people who say they are focused on God when they are sitting down, reading their bulletin, or talking amongst themselves. If they are standing, I am more sure that their attention is in the appropriate place.

Lee said...

Wade,

First of all, please know that you are in my prayers, as are all the trustees during this meeting.

Thanks for being a "trustee." For a long time, I have felt that our trustee boards and denominational committees were distant and unresponsive to the average Baptist in the pew. You've convinced me that this is not necessarily the case, and that there are some trustees who are interested in seeing that the SBC helps advance THE Kingdom instead of someone else's "kingdom."

Lord willing, I'll be at the SBC in San Antonio for the first time in 16 years. Thanks to you, and to other bloggers, I'll be much better informed.

I'm looking forward to reading your comments on the trustee meeting, afterwards, of course.

David R. Mills said...

Way to go Sonja d, you hit the nail on the head!!!!

TruthOfActs said...

David,
I’ll start this on a positive note that we both agree that worship comes from the heart. We disagree on the location where you say it has to be higher than sitting.
You said, “I myself prefer standing during worship just out of respect for an awesome Holy God.” If you had said you prefer to stand while worshiping in singing, I wouldn’t have thought you stood for the hour plus service because worship to me is the whole service. So your “honest” answer was confusing and you are right that I didn’t like the implication that everyone should stand the whole service.
That’s why I asked you, “Where do you stand?” And I was making fun by asking, “Do you stand at attention or at rest?
The 10-40 missionary opened my eyes with the question, “why do you sit when the pastor preaches the Word?” Is he correct in the assumption that you sit? I thought you were standing in a corner somewhere. (Just read HIS blog to find out if this missionary was male or female. It was so interesting; spent over an hour.)
Back to his question; are you going to answer? Probably not. (I’ve asked seven and you have not replied to any.)

You state, “For you to assume that all those that stand when they worship are looking for attention is sad.” Would you copy—paste my words that said or implied that? Otherwise don’t put words in my mouth. Also you have “hips” mixed up with Fox’s comment.
You say, “…find another Baptist church that doesn’t like to worship. They are a dime a dozen.” How do you define a church that does not like to worship?
I suppose you think our old way was not worshiping God when we sang two songs standing and three songs sitting.
All I did was to ask for GOOD reasons for standing for ALL songs. With your attitude, you haven’t come close.
Rex Ray

irreverend fox said...

my problem with the hymns is that they are all played to worldly tunes.

most of the old hymns ripped off bar tunes.

most of the newer hymns (from the revival area of the 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's) we ripped off from the honkey tonks.

The style of those hymns are worldly so I'm against them in church.

irreverend fox said...

IN ALL SERIOUSNESS

I do agree with Ray's last post.

Tim Cook said...

You do have to be sensitive to your congregation. When I know that there are some present who can't stand well or for long periods, then I don't have everyone stand all the time...but I do ask everyone to stand at least once a service, just to get the blood flowing or start out with energy at the beginning. What I don't understand is the idea that there should be no standing at all. I mean, you have to be sensitive to physical needs, but must we pupt everyone to sleep?

Tim Cook said...

way to go, irreverend fox! arguing that the hymns are somehow more sacred because of age or origin doesn't make much sense.

TruthOfActs said...

Sonja D,
Sounds good the way you say “bowing”, but that can be done standing, sitting, or kneeling.
I was taught when I talk to someone, to look them in the eye.
That’s when God’s Spirit is close to me when I look my pastor in the face and my vision is hindered by tears.
I think someday we will not be looking at feet but seeing Jesus face to face when he shall wipe away our tears.
Rex

irreverend fox said...

Rex,

a couple thoughts.

1. Our motivation should be, "what is the preference of the unchurched?" Honestly. Music won't bring um in, it won't. BUT, when they do come in through a personal invitation, they see the church sign that says "Everyone Welcome!" (that always draws a big time crowd...) or for some other reason God brings them in they will decide real quick if they'll come back. So, what does the unchurched in your town prefer? Do you know?

2. Asking "what good reason" can be asked for about 10 million things. Can you give me one good reason why a church has a choir, give me a GOOD reason for it. Give me a GOOD reason for the color of the carpet or a GOOD reason for the time of the worship. All of these things, including standing during all of the singing is the preference.

Your pastor is not an idiot Rex. He has alot more riding on the health of that local church than you do, the well-being of his family rides on it. Do you think he'd do something that would needlessly tick most people off? What would motivate that? It's obvious that he feels MOST people PREFER to stand during the singing, I know I do and I believe most people do. That's your GOOD reason, most people prefer it.

At Southside our people stand, sit, kneel, lay on their face or walk/pace during the music (corporate prayer) time of our worship. But we are off the charts by most standards anyway...people raised in a postmodern world (people under 35)are WEIRD!

If the people we are reaching HATED that then guess what? WE'D STOP! The fact that your pastor has them all standing during the music means one of two things, depending on your town and culture.... A. He is an idiot or B. He is not an idiot and knows the context of the people surounding that church.

So which is it, in your opinion?

irreverend fox said...

Rex,

a couple thoughts.

1. Our motivation should be, "what is the preference of the unchurched?" Honestly. Music won't bring um in, it won't. BUT, when they do come in through a personal invitation, they see the church sign that says "Everyone Welcome!" (that always draws a big time crowd...) or for some other reason God brings them in they will decide real quick if they'll come back. So, what does the unchurched in your town prefer? Do you know?

2. Asking "what good reason" can be asked for about 10 million things. Can you give me one good reason why a church has a choir, give me a GOOD reason for it. Give me a GOOD reason for the color of the carpet or a GOOD reason for the time of the worship. All of these things, including standing during all of the singing is the preference.

Your pastor is not an idiot Rex. He has alot more riding on the health of that local church than you do, the well-being of his family rides on it. Do you think he'd do something that would needlessly tick most people off? What would motivate that? It's obvious that he feels MOST people PREFER to stand during the singing, I know I do and I believe most people do. That's your GOOD reason, most people prefer it.

At Southside our people stand, sit, kneel, lay on their face or walk/pace during the music (corporate prayer) time of our worship. But we are off the charts by most standards anyway...people raised in a postmodern world (people under 35)are WEIRD!

If the people we are reaching HATED that then guess what? WE'D STOP! The fact that your pastor has them all standing during the music means one of two things, depending on your town and culture.... A. He is an idiot or B. He is not an idiot and knows the context of the people surounding that church.

So which is it, in your opinion?

davidinflorida said...

Dear Rex, You say I put words into your mouth. You said " your words represent the outward appearance of man " Is this not trying to get attention?.....When you actually put words into my mouth ref standing "it has to be higher than sitting " Where did I say that?....I dont care how anybody worships, you worship how God leads you, and Ill worship how God leads me to. But, I would not judge those who worship in ways that you dont approve. See 2 SAM 6:17-23

Bob Cleveland said...

One other thought: I had a knee replaced a few months ago and I frequently sit down in the service. Even when everyone else is standing. Our pastor sits down when he's tired, too.

Guess what ... after a couple weeks, it stopped bothering me. And I worship sitting like I do standing. I move around, clap, sing, raise up them "holy hands" and all. Sometimes even shout. And I discovered when I worship, I don't care what the folks around me think. If they got their eyes on me, they're looking the wrong way.

I do save my standing for when the pastor reads the Word. We all stand for that.

irreverend fox said...

Bob,

you are a radical. what's it like to live life on the edge?

Bob Cleveland said...

fox:

I don't know. Until now I have been living it old and tired.

Now that I know it's really on the edge, I'll check it out next Saturday in our worship service and let you know.

Rzrbk said...

Since we have drifted away from discussing the IMB meeting and moved on to forms of worship, it is with fear and trepidation that I make a few comments. I am an old guy who likes the hymns and also the praise songs in moderation. I don’t think we need to go 100% one way or the other. I do get tired when music directors make us stand for 30 minutes of 7/11 praise songs that repeat the same few words over and over.
I also live in a 10/40 window country. When I first arrived here many years ago, I had to discover that different didn’t necessarily mean wrong. In my first church service I did not yet speak the national language and everybody started praying at once. It sounded like a charismatic service with everyone speaking in tongues. I found out that it was the custom for everyone to pray aloud during the worship service at the same time. I have come to love this custom but many Americans who hear it for the first time think it is strange. Although we did sit during the 40 to 50 minute sermon we stood during all songs. This is the shocking thing. We always sang every verse! I had never known what the 3rd verse in most hymns said. This really took a lot of getting used to. One other custom is that most churches do not give an invitation at the end of the service. I would probably prefer they did but I understand now the cultural reasons that cause them to not do this. They still manage to meet privately with nonbelievers and lead them to salvation. The first time they appear before the church is when they are baptized. At this time in addition to their baptismal testimony they give verbally the testimony of their salvation. Many Americans would be shocked to know that not every Baptist in the world worships exactly like First Baptist Church, County Seat, USA.

TruthOfActs said...

Fox,
It’s nice to write when we are on friendly terms. You ask a good question: “What does the unchurched in your town prefer?” (That will bring them back.)
Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I’ll draw all men unto me.” Do we believe his words, or do we try to compete in the world with ‘entertainment’ or a dozen other things.

Your other question about ‘a GOOD reason’ is hard to answer why we have a choir when they are drowned out by the song leader with a loud microphone. Fortunately ours is not. The color of carpet should not show dirt. Since Sunday is a day of rest, the service should be at a time to allow ‘resting’, and the same reason for limiting standing.
I mean if there is a Sabbath Day journey, surely there is a Sabbath Day standing. OK, OK, so I’ve turned into another Fox and I don’t believe any of the reasons I’ve given and we do what we do based on preference. I sure hate to agree with you.

I will agree we should stand for ALL singing if MOST of the people want it. But for 62 years, this church has sang hymns and sat through most of them. (But never sitting when singing ‘Standing on the Promises.’)

What I’ve been asking is why the standing and why the change to praise songs without any discussion or voting or anything, how does the pastor know what the people want?
My opinion is the same as the deacon told me 20 years ago: “He doesn’t care what we want because he’s been trained on what music and how we should hear it.”

Time will tell.
Rex Ray

TruthOfActs said...

David,
Don’t mean to turn a discussion into an argument but these are the facts:
1. David—“I myself prefer standing during worship just out of respect for an awesome Holy God.”
2. Rex—“David, your words represent the outward appearance of man. God is interested in man’s heart and not the position of his body.”
3. David—“For you to assume that all those that stand when they worship are looking for attention is sad.”
4. David—“You say I put words into your mouth. You said ‘your words represent the outward appearance of man.’ Is this not trying to get attention?”

David, we do what Fox said, from preference. You even said, “I myself prefer standing” and I have no problem with that but when you say, “out of respect for an awesome Holy God” then that implies those that are sitting do not respect God as much as you do.
You never answered the missionary who asked why you stand for songs but sit for preaching. That’s a pretty hard question because it reveals truth.

FACTS
1. Rex—“I’ll start this on a positive note that we both agree that worship comes from the heart. We disagree on the location where you say it has to be higher than sitting.”
I should not have paraphrased ‘standing’ into ‘higher.’ It was a play on words that did not change your meaning, but if you are really hurt that I put a word in your mouth, then I’m sorry.

I’m glad you say we can all worship how God leads us, but not to put words in your mouth, you said, “I don’t care how anybody worships, you worship how God leads you, and I’ll worship how God leads me to.”
Does this mean you retract that statement about churches that “are a dime a dozen”?
Rex Ray

irreverend fox said...

Rex,

Lifting up Jesus is assumed. Every church does that (or else they are not a church). Why is it that when every church lifts up His name that some churches grow in a healthy way and others don't? If they both lift up His name, sincerly, then what gives?

irreverend fox said...

two more things Rex,

-what defines "entertainment"?

-what, in your opinion, is Paul talking about in 1 Corinthians 9:18-27?

TruthOfActs said...

Fox,
Your assumption that all churches lift up Jesus or they’re not a church should be an eye opener, but sadly many churches become ‘frogs’ in hot water and lift up Jesus less and less. They replace ‘entertainment’ and other messages like ‘a feel good’, or ‘how to succeed’ for the Gospel. Sadly a lot of these grow big but eventual fail because there is no foundation—there is no ROCK.
Power corrupts in churches just like politics. Power doesn’t mind running over people and hurting feelings. ‘I’m the boss attitude or a big ego’ leads to more people going out the back door than coming in the front. That attitude can be with the pastor, deacons, or whoever is trying to ‘run’ the church.
Then there are churches that are satisfied with themselves. They’re not hungry for the lost. “God bless you, me, Larry and Moe—us four and no more”; or something like that.

Fox you ask a difficult question. I think you know the answer better than I and are trying to wake people up. Thanks.
Rex Ray

TruthOfActs said...

Hey! No fair! You ask questions faster than I can try to answer. Entertainment is a ‘joke’, or anything that makes people feel good. It has its place in church, but don’t let the tail wag the dog.

I’m going to pass on 1 Corinthians 9: 18-27 as I need to get off this computer and start putting that Scripture into practice. I know you know what it means, but the Living Bible says it better than I can.
Bye,
Rex

TruthOfActs said...

rzrbk,
I meant to say before now how I enjoyed your comment. It was a nice break in the tangle we were in.
Thank you for your Lord's work.
Rex Ray

Jeff said...

Fox, you ask, "what gives"? What gives is the movement of God. God often sends localized revival. We can be doing everything right and if it is not Gods time for revival there will be none. And to assume that just because we are doing everything right (as we define it) does not mean that God has obligated himself to ensure numeric or observable growth. Sometimes the growth is simply the grace and knowledge of Christ in the hearts and minds of those that are already his. He owes us nothing for our obedience or our work, he has blessed us in every way in Christ and it is our privelage to serve him, results or no results. It is nice to see results from time to time, but to insist that we can always track and quantify those results is the height of presumption. Just a thought.

Jeff

irreverend fox said...

Pros,

I agree with you. I happen to believe that it is God's will to save sinners and that He will use the local church to do it. Churches that reach the lost grow, churches that do not evangelize in with a missional emphasis will and do die. It's that cut and dry.

Why would God bless a backslidden church that is not missional with health and growth?

Why would God not bless a missional church with health and growth?

I have the same opinion and outlook (expectation) as a farmer. I believe that God causes things to grow. But me sitting around here and simply expect God to grow the church is as foolish as the farmer standing on his porch and praying that God will just raise up a harvest.

God gives the increase, but there is a step that both the farmer and the missionary must not skip.

The tilling and prepairing the feild and then the planting...

Let's not be so heavenly minded that we become no earthly good.

I plant, another waters...God gives the increase.

irreverend fox said...

Rex,

do you realize that what you consider worship music I could EASILY label it "entertainment"?

I grew up in a southern, SOUTHERN baptist church where, honest to God, I thought that southern gospel music was sacred. That's all I heard, that was what our church sang, they'd bring in southern gospel and blue grass groups for revival meetings... it was considered sacred.

Do you know what I have found? The very thing that my dad and pastor and deacons and almost everybody else found so spiritually moving in that music is the EXACT same element that I find so moving in the cutting edge, LOUD, rock style worship music that you call (or I have precieved you calling or implying) entertainment.

Do you know what the common element is? Both styles of music APPEAL to the ears of each group. My dad genuinly LOVES that STYLE of music...it doesn't matter if they are singing about a dead dog or the risen Lord, my dad digs blue grass and old time country (country gospel) music. PERIOD. And so obviously if there can be songs in that style that give glory to the Lord...THAT'S GRAVY! It hits him spiritually AND culturally AND it appeals to his (for lack of a better word) flesh.

I LOVE hard rock, progressive, LOUD music. I love it. It's my culture, it's my generation. So to hear that style of music give honor to the King in it's lyrics...THAT'S GRAVY! Man, it hits my soul with the lyrics, I dig the beat, I enjoy that style of music...it is a holistic experience.

JUST LIKE what you experience when the church plays your favorite songs in your favorite style or worship music. It hits you on all cylinders. My hits mine.

The problem it seems that you are facing is that you favorite style is out of style and that bothers you. The younger generation has a, in general, a style that drives you nuts.

As a missionary, if I have to choose between boring this UNREACHED (you do realize that don't you?) younger generation to death with music that only hits on one cylinder just so I can hit ALL of your cylinders and not tick you off...well...you'll just have to be ticked off. You saved Rex, they ain't. You're not my priority.

What you call entertainment I call worship. What you call worship I could just as easily call entertainment. We both can lob that bomb, Rex, because we both enjoy worshiping Christ with music that is relevant to us, the way we were raised and to tunes and tones that appeal to us. I am no more guilty of this than you.

Is it any wonder I'm a church planter? lol. Who has the time or the patience for such nonsense? I'm just at a loss as to why this is a debate, I really am.

Read 1 Corinthians 9 and the get back with the rest of the group, I'm sure we all would love to hear your interpretation of the middle/end of that chapter.

Jeff said...

Fox,
I believe that you are asking legitamate questions, albeit they sound rhetorical. I also think that you are asking questions similar to the question the psalmist asked: "Why do the wicked prosper?" I ask you, do the wicked prosper apart from God's knowledge and providence? I submit that they do not. You closed with the phrase... It is God that gives the increase. I think this answers the bulk of your question. We have no right to demand from God results based soley on the fact that we have done everything right. That would in the end be results based in mans work and mans merit and man would eventually boast. Paul was told by God about the city of Corinth that he was not to fear, he had many people in that city. Other cities that Paul went to there was little to no harvest, see Athens. Should we conclude from that that the apostle was somehow doing things wrong? I think not. Some of the greatest Baptist missionaries William Carey, David Brainard, and Issac McCoy (to name very few) had little fruit and yet all evidence points to their faithfulness, obedience, diligence, etc. We MUST conclude that growth, increase, souls are only from the hand of God based solely on the merits of Christ and not based on a formulaic application of the right evangelical program. It is the message of Christ and the moving of the Holy Spirit, based in the sovereign will of the Father...this is the only path to success.

Respectfully,

Jeff

irreverend fox said...

Jeff,

I don't disagree with you. The danger of taking my position too far is a church who merits God's favor in a works-based set up.

The danger with taking your position too far is sitting on our hands not "doing" what Christ commissioned us to do. Namely, to be salt and light and to be all things to all men so that by all possible means some might be saved.

The danger for us all lies in over emphasising one aspect to the undercut of the other.

Just to be clear. I'm reformed in my soteriology. I'm a maniac in my missiology.

irreverend fox said...

Isn't it amazing how many folks reject in our North American churches the very thing we'd DEMAND out of our IMB missions? Does anybody else find that strange?

TruthOfActs said...

Fox,
I said, “Many churches…lift up Jesus less and less. They replace ‘entertainment’ and OTHER MESSAGES like ‘a feel good’ or ‘how to succeed’ for the Gospel.”
I was referring to the preaching as being “entertainment”, but you seemed to think I was referring to praise songs.
I guess that was the reason you bombarded me with the style and volume of music that turned you on.

Should I apologize for listening to my parents and loving their songs. My father taught me the first sign on an idiot was he liked noise. He was my hero. He taught us good things like:

“I walked a mile with gladness.
She chatted all the way.
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with sorrow.
Not a word said she.
But oh, the things I learned
When sorrow walked with me.”

It seems your generation rebelled against their parent’s music, so they teach music directors what they like.
Do you think the next generation will rebel against your music? Does your music take the blood from the cross, or does it even have a cross?
I heard one director say, “Just turn your mind off and repeat the words.” Sounded like the endless chant of a witch doctor.

Someone said, you can preach any doctrine, but if he got to write the music people sung, they would believe ‘his’ doctrine.
If only one was allowed, would you give a lost person a hymn book or a praise book?
Can you be more specific about 1 Corinthians 9? Also what is the “very thing” we demand out of missionaries that churches reject? Are we supposed to read your mind?
Rex Ray

TruthOfActs said...

Fox,
You asked why some churches grow and some do not even though the same Gospel is preached.
I can tell you from experience that good Christians will leave the church when they get their feelings hurt more than they can take. For examples in my city church:
1. A letter to church read, “I’ve been in this church over 20 years. Not one staff person visited my husband in the hospital. Not one staff person attended my husband’s funeral. This is the first time I can truly say, I am completely without a pastor.”
2. A mother nursed her son who was a policeman shot on duty. He had grown up in the church. They lived 3 blocks from the pastor. Week after week went by. One day he knocked on their door and she thought, ‘At last, he’s come to visit.” He said his wife was making cakes for the deacons and gave her one without stepping through the door.
3. “Come quick! Mrs. xxx tried suicide!”
“No. I know her problem, and I can’t help her.”
4. Teenager (crying), “I need to talk to you.”
“This is my day off. Come by tomorrow.”
1. The song director got criticism for one of his high school ‘followers’ yelling a cowboy ‘heehaw’ at the end of special songs. He ‘fixed’ the problem at the end of a special, by saying, “That song was good enough for our ‘heehaw’ don’t you think? Can we hear it? Good. Now that’s out of your system—don’t ever do it again!”
2. I left after 20 plus years, when I realized we would never have enough money to start a mission because we spent it all on ourselves. I was on the mission committee. Under the leadership’s saying we needed a better ‘looking’ building to attract ‘baby boomers’, half our building was torn down and replaced with a million in debt. I never went back after the bulldozers. The constant sermons on tithing took its toll. For years the membership dwindled. The church was ‘saved’ financially by the death of a millionaire. It still does not have the attendance it once had.

Fox, some will break a leg to save the lost, but won’t lift a finger to help one in the fold.
Rex Ray

irreverend fox said...

Rex,

(Should I apologize for listening to my parents and loving their songs.)

No you should not. Should I apologize for not loving your parents songs (I refer to style, not lyrics)? Honestly, should I apologize? It seems you think I should.

(My father taught me the first sign on an idiot was he liked noise. He was my hero.)

Does the pipe organ make noise Rex? Do you like that noise? How about bag pipes or a harp? Do they make noise? This is what you are totally not getting...what is "noise" to you is "music" to me Rex. Don't you understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder? Do you think I'm an idiot Rex? Come out and say it sir.

(It seems your generation rebelled against their parent’s music, so they teach music directors what they like.)

What do you mean, they rebelled? Having a different preference in music is rebellion? Are you serious?

(Do you think the next generation will rebel against your music?)

Granting a very LOOSE defintion of the word "rebel" my answer is HECK YES they will! Of course they will, why wouldn't they? And to answer your implied question, no, that doesn't bother me a bit. I'll be behind them all the way when the changes come! I can jam my music at home, I'll take enjoyment in seeing 20-30 somthings engaging the Lord in worship when I'm in my 60's and 70's. I'll feel as if I have passed the torch, even if I think their weird in what they like. I'd be ashamed if I looked at our congregation in 40 years and saw mostly white heads in a community where the median age is 35-40.

(Does your music take the blood from the cross, or does it even have a cross?) No. Yes. Not one bit more or less than the greatest of hymns. We can compare song for song for as long as you'd like Rex. This question is baseless and insulting by the way.

Rex, these types of questions and statements prove that you ought not to go by the blogging name "truth of facts" because you, my father, do not base what you call truth on facts...not all the time at least.

What you call truth is very subjective and based far more on emotion than you'd probably ever admit.

Do you know what I want from you Rex? Do you know what my generation of missionaries want from you? You're blessing. That's it.

Greg Cloud said...

er...fox, that last came just a bit mean to me while I was following the discussion.

By the way, Rex's tag line is "truth of acts" --as in the book of Acts.

And I also disagree with your assessment of what our generation desires of our forebears. Yes I want their blessing, but I understand that I also need to earn it.

My grandfather was a missionary, church planter, pastor, and associational director of missions. I have the benefit of much of his wisdom, study and life lessons, since he gave me his library. A great mass of wisdom it is, too. I have a great feeling of debt, appreciation and respect for this man, who, while he was alive, I had far too little time for. He was stern, old-fashioned, and just not cool. Or so I thought.

One of the greatest blessings of my life was the look in his eyes when I told him, two weeks before he died, how much I desired his understanding soul, his heart for people, his wisdom--his blessing.

He was very wise, not uncool. Worthy of my respect. He saw things that with my young eyes I could not see.

Whether we agree with our elders or not, their opinions deserve our respect and thoughtful consideration--always.

P. S.--I love the old hymns. So deep, so rich. Did you ever read those lyrics? Songs like "Alas and did my Savior bleed?" "Oh for a thousand tounges to sing" Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, etc. Wow, deep. I read some of those old hyms and just burst into tears.

irreverend fox said...

143,

opps, you're right. I always thought it was like truth o' facts or something like that. Truth of Acts...hmmm...that is also interesting in context here isn't it?

I'm not sure what I have done or our generation of missionaries have done that would disqualify us from our forebearers blessing. I believe we have earned it, don't you? You act as if we have not. We need their blessing and we need them to recognize that we are not the enemy...that we are advancing the message. My concern is not on our end it is on theirs. Many are with holding their blessing and openly mock and critize us.

Is it wrong to be "mean"? Was Jesus "mean" with the Pharisees? How about John the Baptist? Was he mean? It's not ok for guys like Rex to toss out bombs about us singing songs that ignore the bloody cross...it's just not true. Him saying that is insulting to those of us who love this new music. It is not factually true, plain and simple. My Jesus died and I'm saved because of His bloody vicarious death just like Rex and I love to sing about it just like Rex. What an insult to lob at our generation. It's wrong for him to say that only an idiot enjoys noise...subtly hinting that my/our(?) music is noise and we are therefore idiots. It's wrong and it is not mean of me to point it out and correct it. Did I call him an idiot? No, I called him a 'father'. He is my elder in years and should never be called an idiot. He is a 'father' and he is wrong on this issue. Those two concepts are not exclusive.

I either messed up or my last post was taken down. Either way, it said that in my opinion the two greatest songs EVER written were Praise to the Lord, the Almighty and Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. I LOVE ancient hymns of the faith, they are hands down MY FAVORITE. We jam them pretty hard in our worship gatherings and I'm sure Rex would think we've just ruined them. But they have deep meaning to us like that have every generation since they were written. We sing all those ancient hymns that you mention and many other. At least half our songs are over 100 years old. And most of our 20-something converts have no clue either way cause of the style in which they are played is relevant to their culture and context. Have I "ever" read those old hyms? Ha, I know them all by heart! I cut my teeth on those hymns of the Church. I fight back tears as well each time we sing them...or wherever I sing them...either in a traditional setting or at Southside.

I do not agree that we MUST respect the opinions of elders. I do however believe that their opinions do deserve our honest consideration. But they are NOT infallible nor are their TRADITIONS.

irreverend fox said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TruthOfActs said...

Fox,
We need to agree on the definition of noise. To me, anything that physical hurts the ears is noise. I can put up with noise IF it’s NECESSARY. I’ve worked on jet engines, and in machine shops but the noise didn’t upset me.
What upsets me is a ‘hotrod’ so loud you can hear it blocks away and conversation has to stop until he’s left the area. That’s when I think of “idiot.” Or a kid with a ‘boom-box’ that drowns out the hot-rod.
The first time my city church got the required music directors speakers; I went outside across the street and could hear every word with my hands over my ears. Regardless of the song—that was noise. He got the ‘word’ and never did that again.

With your education, I would think you would have enough vocabulary to express yourself without resorting to SLANG. Don’t you know that your slang word is a sneaky way of saying hell? (That’s something else my father taught me.) Slang is usually said trying to make a weak statement sound strong.

To me, hymns are the Gospel set to music. I’d like to take you up on your challenge of song for song for preaching the Gospel.

Last year, we had many volunteer groups work on our church. One day in their week, during lunch, I would ask one of our 15 year old girls to sing Amazing Grace. She has a wonderful voice. I saw more than one face with tears. Yes, Fox, their hair was all white.
Rex Ray

irreverend fox said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
irreverend fox said...

Rex,

You are wrong about slang. Totally wrong. It is the language of the average man in his 20's and 30's...you know, the heathen. And they are heathen by the way, I mean that literally. They are heathen and pagan.

Rex, I speak using the language of the people God has called me to evangelize. That is part of what I'm talking about when I say that many folks refuse to allow North American missionaries to do what IMB missionaries are expected to do...learn the language and the culture of the average person in a society and then speak to them in that language in a culturally relevant way. You'd expect, nah, DEMAND such a strategy in for example, Benin West Africa...but will rip it, mock it and try to stop it (if they tried it in your church I'm sure) here in North America.

Are you being sarcastic about my education Rex? Surely not. I'm sure that you don't know that I'm a highschool drop out and that I've not been to a seminary. Obvioulsy you had no clue that I ran from God until I was 18...after I screwed up in High School. I'm sure that you were unaware that the only piece of paper I have says "GED" on the top. I'm sure you have no idea that all my theological training has come listening to HOURS of tapes of Sproul and Begg and during my lunch breaks in a hot factory reading all of Sprouls, Pinks, Gieslers, Warrens, Packers, Whites... books. Cause I am sure if you knew that about me you wouldn't say something sarcastic about it.

Rex, the only people whose opinions about me matter is my wife (we have no kids), our new converts and the sinners I interact with every day. I'm not interested in impressing religious people like you.

Read my blog, I've listed a song just for you. I'd love your thoughts on it. Let's take this off of Wades blog. Anybody reading this besides us who are interested can keep up on my blog.

irreverend fox said...

one last thing before this moves onto my blog.

I am not placing the old songs against the new. I LOVE Amazing Grace. I love Blessed be Your Name. I love them all. Any song that gives praise, glory and honor Christ Jesus is sacred, regardless if it is high church, southern gospel, black gospel, asian gospel...chanting, rock...it doesn't matter to me. I'm not into black gospel, the style, but I praise God for it.

I just want to make that clear. Now, let's take this off of Wades blog.

TruthOfActs said...

Fox,
You say I am wrong about slang—it’s the language of the average man in his 20’s and 30’s—and you speak in the language of the people God has called you to evangelize.

My aunt taught me—When in Rome, do what Romans SHOULD do.

You’re saying it’s OK to say, “Heck yes and Heck no” because it’s the language of the people.
Are the people correct and Jesus wrong? Jesus said, “Let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.” (Matt. 5: 37)
Peter was recognized as a follower of Jesus by his speech, then he tried to cover it up by swearing. Fox, do you not want to be recognized by your speech as a Christian?
Rex Ray