Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Decline Continues...

If you need anymore proof as to the legitimacy of Thabiti's thesis in The Decline of African-American Theology or further justification for our writing Experiencing the Truth, here it is:

Without a doubt the lines between the sacred and the secular, the holy and the profane have been so blurred as to not even exist in most religious African-American context. This saddens me because I am a son of the predominantly African-American Baptist Church and continue to believe there is hope, though there is so much to the contrary.

Now some will defend this brother and claim that he is being relevant and contextual. I would beg to differ and say that he is being common and vulgar (in the classical sense of the word). You see, it takes no great effort or spiritual insight to appeal to the fleshly desires and tendencies of people. Appealing to them at their base level will always garner a positive and enthusiastic response. Yet, the call for us as Christians is to realize that our hearts and minds are not to be set on things below, but on things above (Col. 3:1-2).

Most people have a hard enough problem trying to deal with indwelling sin and resist the tempting allurements of the world day-to-day, not to have the same tempting allurements presented to them on Sunday morning as worship.

Friends, according to Scripture our minds are to be renewed (Rom. 12:1-2), not just rearranged.
(HT: PureChurch)


LouLove said...

I thought I would make it perfectly clear on your blog as I did over at our Fellow Elder's blog.

This brother ain't no kin, so don't even try it Carter.

FellowElder said...

You know that's yo cuzin! Stop playin'.

ajcarter said...

You know I was thinking that. When I heard him singing, I immediately thought about you. He sounds like he has a little South Bend flava. Did I hear him ask for a flash light?

FellowElder said...

Head over to GospelTube to the original post of the video and read the comments (http://www.gospeltube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=237ac28b92c3472c5668). That's where we see how deep the decline is! Man, "makes me wanna holla... throw up my hands!" (to add one more tune to all this).

ajcarter said...

T, as go the pulpit, so goes the pew. Amazing!

LouLove said...

See, both of yaw trippin.
If he was any kin to the kid, he would have broke off something like, "You Make Me Feel Brand New"
by the Stylistics or "Betcha By Golly Wow" or for sure "Devotion", now that'll work.

He ain't no kin of mine cause he has no class.

LouLove said...

I checked out the comments Carter, and it is truly sad.

What a gross misuse of the Pastoral office.

We have once again been reminded that there is much work to be done in our communities, among our people.

DeeDub said...

Bro. Carter,

Deeply sad since so many of these brothers have moved into churches that lacked the biblical immunity to recognize the threat when it appeared. Interestingly, having talked with many folk in these churches, there is a real undercurrent of distaste for the self-centeredness and entertainment baggage that comes with it. I believe the foundation for reform is being built even in our National Baptist and similar churches...but it won't be easy or fast!

Bro Love, been a few years now since we were kicking it at the "Soul Dynamic" conference back in '02! I'm always glad to see your ministry is staying strong!

Keep at it, brothers!!

Anonymous said...

Brother Carter,

This is typical of an entire school of thought in "contemporary worship." This whole "Jesus is my lover" philosophy.

Ironically, a national recording artist visited our church Sunday. As I was critiquing a terrible song that asks Jesus to "dance with us and romance," I was unaware that the song was actually on this guy's CD.

This faulty hermeneutic collapses the love-language of the man/woman in the Song of Solomon with the picture of the church at consumation as the spotless "Bride of Christ." It also feeds on the sensuality of our culture.

Thanks for your books, blogs, and labor. I must get you to speak in one of my seminary classes at Southern.


ajcarter said...

Dr. Smith, You have got to be kidding! He was actually in attendance. I wonder if he humbly heard the biblical critique. Hopefully your words were a wake up to him to use his gifts within the God honoring framework of biblical theology. I would love to know his response.

Keep preaching and teaching brother. We need you on that wall.

Lionel Woods said...

Hey at least I won't be labeled the bad guy because I thought this was rather um... whats the word um.... effiminate. Now I am not trying to be ugly. But this is the reason why churches with majority black congregants have very weak men who don't know their bibles, don't lead their families, and don't come along other men to help them in the faith (AKA disciple).

I was disgusted and still am disgusted by such foolishness. Now we can disagree on some issues and still get along but I would have got up and walked out of this church right around the second bar of the second song. Look through the congregations and listen to the voices though AJC. Full of women who love this romantic Jesus stuff (the women in this paticular gathering).

Maybe you guys next book can be "Being A Black Man in a Black Church: The Agressive Attempt to Feminize Our Males"!

Whats even worse is that because of this preface to his message I can almost gurantee what is consisted of!

Pastor Lance said...

great post brother Carter.

hopefully this will move us to encouraging musicians to put the psalms and other biblical passages to music that reflects our cultural heritage.


wayner said...

This kind of thing seems to be more and more common in white churches. You don't have the preacher singing, but the praise band will open with a secular song. I like to tune into Granger Community Church to see what they have selected. My 2 favorites were songs by those great hymn writers Bon Jovi and Ozzy Osbourne!

Anonymous said...

First,I have no doubt that what is going on in this clip is inappropriate and should be left at home. However, as I watched this clip I could not help but think about the Wesleys. They blessed the church with some great hymns, some of which derived their inspiration for British taverns and pubs. Therefore, I ask what is the difference and where does one draw the line?

ajcarter said...

To "Unknown":
Your apprehensions about this clip are warranted. Yet, if this clip reminded you of the Wesleys then you should probably spend a little more time studying the Wesleys. While their songs might have been in a common meter, they surely were not in common or vulgar language, but were in the language and theology of the Bible and church (as much as a good Arminian can be, I might add :-).

To Wayner:
Your observations are right on. No doubt the decline of the spirituality of the predominantly AA Church is reflective of the decline in the church as a whole.

Ian said...

Man alive, this almost seems like a caricature.

LouLove said...

Hey Carter:
I agree with you and Warner that what we see in the AA Church is indicative of the overall crisis facing the American Church in particular.

However the AA Church's crisis is deeper. I say that only because we do not have a host of solid seminaries putting our men in ministry. We do not have a host of other reformed outlets that come along side our Churches, i.e Ligonier, T4G, Gospel Coalition, Shepherd's Conference, etc.

So while this might be more and more common in white Churches according to Warner, it is less common in the AA Church for a conference, seminary, or Christian publisher to address it.

So Lionel might be on to something with the book idea (you might want to tweak that title, cuz if you don't the publisher sho will)

I also want to send a shout out to Deedub my Brother. Man, it has been too long, hope to see you soon at one of the upcoming conferences.

Anonymous said...

To Carter and Woods:

The gentleman stated that I have given him some things to think about. However, his wife was quite irritated with the situation. He has a cousin in our church, so I hope to keep in touch. He is a member of the group that recorded "Praise is What I Do."

As Bro. Woods, I suggested that approach led to effiminate attempts at worship. I used a Mark Driscoll line about "sweater-vest boys singing love songs to Jesus." I also suggested that that song would fit well in the Metropolitan (homosexual) "church."

As noted earlier, this appeals to women (in a natural way) and repulses straight men (in a natural way). Jesus is our Lord, not sensual lover. BLASPHEMY!!! Please excuse me for yelling.

Our 42 year old church has gone from 20% male to 37% and we are pressing to 50%. Secular love songs that dishonor the glory of Christ and seek to make our men spiritual "punks" is certainly a verification of Thabiti's point in his book.

GUNNY said...

Trust me, this is rampant in Caucasian circles as well, at least from what I've heard on "Christian" radio.

At least this I found entertaining, though I found myself wanting to shout out a request for some Bill Withers.

Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone
Lovely Day
Just the Two of Us
Lean on Me
Use Me

Don't laugh. It could happen, you know.

ajcarter said...

"Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone"

Gunny, that's funny!

Pastor Lance said...

uh. . . actually I'm pretty sure that Kirk Franklin's already done 'lovely day' and 'lean on me'.


Rae Whitlock said...

What really strikes me about this clip is the fervent singing along of the audience . . . err, congregation, I mean. It's like watching Amateur Night on Showtime At The Apollo!

Ebony Puritan said...

Ha! Well put, Rae!!!

Donald said...

Tragic, Tragic. This is sad. And Gunny I don't know if you're familiar with Kirk Franklin, but he's rehashed some of those old R&B tunes already!

Don't give him any inspiration, I work a secular job and all I keep hearing is Kirk rehashing old secular tunes. And some cat wailing about Never would have made it.

I don't know if that guy is singing about a woman, or a man, or the Lord?

But you could literally fill in the blank though.

This is typical of many of our black churches.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Carter -

First let me say that this is an awesome blog! I've visited SWCF a few times with my wife and children recently (looking for a new church home AND studying reformed theology after being an ordained leader AND fleeing the Word of Faith heresy at an Eddie Long satelite church here in the ATL...wow, that was a mouthful)

At any rate - I agree that this was yet another shameful display of what is considered "good preachin'" in most churches today. As a black man, I'm saddened by how many of us would rather be entertained by the "preacher" standing (or singing, or dancing, or singing AND dancing) before them than to sit still and listen intently to a "boring" expository sermon (http://imspeakingtruth.wordpress.com/?s=expository).

This video is a classic example of why most "Christians" can't defend or contend for the faith - because to many, the bible "just ain't interesting" unless you make it palatable to their immature sensibilities. And I don't say that piously - I was submitted to two entertaining "pastors" for the past 12 years - and I eagerly ate their garbage disguised as the Gospel until the Holy Spirit drove me back to the Word of God. I fled the wicked assembly I served in and have been blogging against doctrinal assault ever since.

And one final note - notice that the video was taken at "Bishop" J.W. Walker's church outside of Nashville, TN. This is the same man who is "submitted" to Paul Morton - and allows the young girls in his youth choir to dance suggestively ON TOP OF SPEAKERS in his church (still searching for the youtube vids to support what I've seen with my own eyes on the Godless Word Network).

Sorry for railing on - may the Lord keep you in this awesome endeavor...maybe I'll see you at SW this coming Sunday...

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