Tag Archives: church music

Golden Calf Worship by Michael J. Findley

And the king (Jeroboam I of Israel) took counsel, and made two calves of gold and said to them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Behold your gods, O, Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt! And he set the one in Bethel, and he put the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one, even to Dan. And he made a house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, who were not the sons of Levi. And Jeroboam ordered a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like the feast that is in Judah. And he offered on the altar. So he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. 1 Kings 12:28-32

Through the blessing of Facebook we were able to locate and fellowship with two sets of friends in the Kansas City, MO area, We also met and talked with some Facebook friends we have never met in person in the Denver, CO area. One issue that has come up repeatedly this year, and also came up several times within the last week, is the state or condition of Christianity in America.

I believe that the church in America, as a whole, is worshiping the golden calf instead of the Lamb of God. When we think of the golden calf, we usually think of the one Aaron made while Moses was on Mount Sinai. Moses destroyed that one immediately after it was made, but the two golden calves of Jeroboam I existed until the Northern Kingdom was taken into captivity by the Assyrians.
Our daughter graciously obtained for us tickets for a Voice of the Martyrs conference in Tulsa, OK. We were grateful for the opportunity and also attended the services of the host church the next day. The Sunday School lesson was on children honoring their parents. The question we spent the entire time on was, at what point does this honoring stop? Most members of the class were our age and in our position; having elderly parents who needed to be cared for and adult children raising their own families. Many good points were made and we were thankful for the lesson.

But the Pastor’s sermon was, at least in our minds, just the opposite. He used Psalm 33 as a text and emphasized music being loud. He said that teenagers today would only sing and listen to CCM. (By the way, how is a style that is over 50 years old “contemporary?”) But the important point, in our minds, was the insistence on changing the worship service to give the least mature people in the church, the youth group, the authority to dictate the type of worship. The congregational singing, except for 2 verses of “How Great Thou Art”, was both difficult to sing and unfamiliar. From the number of mistakes the choir made, it seemed to be too difficult or perhaps unfamiliar to them also.

The church has two thousand years of tradition in music, proper attire, attitude, and conduct during a worship service. Yet in church after church, it is all being set aside to “reach more people.”

Part of that desire to “reach more people” is a true, genuine love that longs to reach the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But part of that desire is to pay bills when the church is not making its budget. Has your church reached the point where you have enough people to pay the bills but have abandoned a clear presentation of the Word of God?

Before he made these golden calves, Jeroboam I took counsel. “And the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold..” Do we not hear that before anyone commits a great sin and rebels against the Lord that he “takes counsel?” Sometimes it might be a proclamation of a fast, as Jezebel did before producing false witnesses to destroy Nabal and get his vineyard for King Ahab. Sometimes it might be an annual denominational conference, but rarely do people rebel against the Lord without some kind of support from others. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were supported by 250 other Israelites when they opposed Moses.

First, Jeroboam I lied. “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Behold your gods, O, Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” Decades earlier, when Solomon turned from the Lord, God prophesied to Jeroboam I through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh that he, Jeroboam, would be king. Yet as soon as he was firmly established as king, he set up the golden calves. Jeroboam was eager to tell his companions when he was anointed king, when they implied he was lying about what had been said to him. But by the time he truly became king, honesty was no longer important to Jeroboam I. Jeroboam I was afraid that if the people of the land continued going to the required feasts in Jerusalem, they would turn from him. He displayed no confidence at all in the Lord’s promise through Ahijah that he would be king.

So he appealed to human laziness and lust. It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. False religion, apostasy, and rebellion against the Word of the Lord, are always the easy choices, at least at first. 500 years ago men and women prayed and searched the Scriptures for both the proper way to worship and the proper way to live their lives. Today, Christian churches have little or no emphasis on obeying the Word of God in lifestyle or worship. The message is on doing what is comfortable and easy to “grow” a big church.

The next action Jeroboam I took was to place these idols at the borders of his kingdom for “ease of access.” This was in keeping with the rest of his policy of lies to make his false religion easier.

Jeroboam I also modeled his idols after the idols of the nations around them. The Egyptians worshiped the Apis Bull. The Sidonians worshiped Baal. The Philistines worshiped Dagon. This new worship style “fit in.”
None of this would have worked except for the removal from office of those who knew and understood the Law and replacing them with people willing to “go along” or “follow orders.” Of course this meant new houses of worship, all at the state’s expense. These new state schools became very effective indoctrination centers. And he made a house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, who were not the sons of Levi.

Once the entire false worship system was set up, false feasts, worship services, were set up to run counter the true worship of the Lord in Jerusalem. Americans have been assaulted by a variety of Jeroboam policies from the federal government for well over a hundred years.

What is relatively new, at least only a few decades old, is that the golden calves are no longer just the state schools. Now the idols and the false worship are inside the Church. Men willing to stand for the principles of the Word of God have been removed and churches are led by men who worship in the “new style.”
Except, as Solomon said, “Is there a thing of which it may be said, See, this is new? It has already been in days of old, which were before us.” Ecclesiastes 1:10
“For in much wisdom is much grief; and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” Ecclesiastes 1:18

Image Credit Wikimedia Commons US Public Domain Jeroboam sets up two golden calves, from the Bible Historiale. Den Haag, MMW, 10 B 23 165r Date 1372

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The Greatest Commandment

“Master Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40

Everything we do, every decision we make must have these two guiding principles. Does it glorify God? Does it show that I love my neighbor as myself? This blog post is inspired by a variety of topics that come across my Facebook page.

People have said in many different ways that they want their Facebook experience to be, in effect, “light and fluffy.” They don’t want to talk about religion or politics. A cute picture or a funny story receives many, sometimes hundreds of “likes,” reposts, and comments. Sometimes we like and repost such things too. But important posts, prayer requests for persecuted Christians or links to important news items, rarely show any evidence that anyone has even seen them.

As believers in Christ Jesus, we are not keeping these two commandments when we keep our lives “light and fluffy.” As believers, we are part of the Church, engaged in warfare. As believers we are faced with daily choices. Are our bodies temples of the Holy Spirit, or are they simply, as the Secular Humanist bumper stickers claim, amusement parks?

The Scriptures have detailed teaching about how a church should conduct itself and what it should expect of its membership, and vice-versa. Failure to follow these Scriptures is sin. A church or an individual needs to condemn failure to follow clear Scriptures or the making up of practices the Scriptures do not teach or allow for.

The Word of God clearly commands us not to fellowship with believers living in open sin. Though it grieves God’s heart, some people in positions of church leadership are living in open sin. Sadder still, unbelievers mock and ridicule the Word of God in the majority of the church buildings of Western Europe and the United States. We can neither glorify God nor love our neighbor in these services. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help us discern exactly what type of ministry we should join and support.

But some people say they won’t go to a church service if it does not meet their “needs,” whatever that means. Would you attend a church where men were segregated from women and children? What about a service without pews or chairs, where you had to stand for the entire service? What about a church that met in a different place each service because of threats on the worshipers’ lives?

There are three standards in the word of God for choosing to fellowship and support a local work by joining in membership. First, does it preach the Word of God? This means the whole council of God, not just what I want to hear. Second, is there a place for ministry? If the abilities and gifts God has blessed you with cannot be used in one fellowship, seek out another place where they can be used. Third, can I faithfully attend the services? The perfect fit a thousand miles from your house is not such a perfect fit.

These should not be such high standards. Instead, Christian Churches are filled with people “whose god is their appetites.” Philippians 3:9. These people will only attend a church which meets their appetites. The sad part is, what might be acceptable for one believer, might be a stumbling block and a sin for another believer.

The following is a brief list of some of the issues we have seen which cause people to leave a church. 1) The church is not the right size. These are “Goldilocks” Christians. This church is too big. This church is too small. They go through life forever searching for the church that is “just right.” 2) The music or worship service is not “contemporary” enough. They often tie this to other issues. They say the church is cold, unfriendly, judgmental, sometimes after attending for years and suddenly discovering that all these things have bothered them for years. Do they really mean to say, “I hate this church and I know this church hates me because I hate its music”? 3) The Church isn’t “giving” enough. What they usually mean by this is that other members are not giving them enough. 4) The Church is “legalistic.” This word is so overused that it has lost it’s meaning. In the Bible the word legalism simply means works salvation. Sometimes people simply mean that this particular church has standards they do not like.

So maybe our facebook pages, and our churches, and our lives, should not consist of what is light and fluffy, of what is pleasing to us, but rather of things that fulfill the Greatest Commandment.


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