Paul's Passing Thoughts

Crowns Lexington Concert: Mark Hall Sends Mixed Messages About Truth

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 23, 2011

Susan and I just returned to our home in Xenia, Ohio from a weekend getaway to attend the Casting Crowns concert in Lexington, Kentucky. We have both attended their concerts on multiple occasions (a total of eight between us). My prior reviews have been 100% positive.

The concert was part of a 40-city tour with three other acts: Sanctus Real, The Afters, and upstart Lindsay McCaul. Among the warm-ups, I enjoyed  McCaul most who was indicative of the sincere humbleness that embodies those who can’t believe where God has brought them. Besides that, she is mega-talented—I will definitely buy her CD.  Sanctus Real and the Afters employed worldly openers that were a real turn-off; the lead singers opened by mingling among the crowd with a wireless microphone. Gag. It’s  kinda like, “Look at me, I’m a big star willing to mingle among the common folks. Or, “I think I will give the peasantry a thrill by actually walking among them.” Could my reaction be biased because this concept was started by God- rejecting rock stars? Probably. Moreover, I think these acts have too much separation in talent; McCaul seemed to be a perfect fit while the other two pale in comparison to the Crowns’  phenomenal song writing ability. However, I get the idea from this concert that Crowns lead singer and song writer Mark Hall would say that Jesus writes all their songs for them. Maybe the other two bands need to start letting Jesus write for them more than they do.

That bit of sarcasm brings me to the theme of this review. Christianity needs to start being honest about the silent debate going on and the importance of truth in general. Is the new birth part of the gospel or not? And if it is—is the new birth a mere display of what Jesus does, or are we working also? And don’t give me that separation of music and preaching load. These concerts impart spiritual ideas through music, and in a very strong way. In our day, how many pastors who are responsible before Christ for the souls of His sheep critique the contemporary music their parishioners listen to?  They don’t, probably because of something like Hall proclaimed during the concert: “[paraphrase] the world needs to hear more about how we are just train wrecks receiving mercy than what we are against.” Oh really? First, the apostles did not describe Christians as anything like “train wrecks” and they had plenty to say about what they were against. In fact, of the seven letters Christ wrote to the churches named in Revelation, He was against things going on in six of the seven churches. I also have some news for Hall: Christians couldn’t be that hypercritical if one of the most popular Christian songs of our day is the blasphemous “More Like Falling in Love” by Jason Gray which is nothing more than an antinomian anthem.

Today’s Christianity is saturated with Gospel Contemplationism as a primary means of spiritual growth. Let go, focus on the gospel, and let God. The so-called new birth just refers to the new obedience produced in us by Christ as we contemplate the gospel. We don’t participate and colabor as born again new creatures—we are the prepositions in the gospel narrative, and verbs like “obey” are truly four-letter words because they imply participation on our part. And how do we know if Christ is obeying for us, or if we are  trying to obey “in our own efforts and talents”? Well, as Jason Gray says, it will feel like love. Likewise, in a book that is all the rage in Christian circles, Francis Chan tells us that when we are working in our Christian walk, “it feels like work,” but when we are loving, “it feels like love” (Crazy Love p. 110). Do we really want to be teaching Christians that biblical love is validated by good feelings? And is Mark Hall any different? I wonder. In his new song, “The Well” he states: “And now that you’re full of love beyond  measure, your joy’s gonna flow like a stream in the desert.”  Hall wrote the lyrics with Matthew West who also wrote the song, “Strong Enough” which implies that Christ doesn’t work through us until we give up: “I know I’m not strong enough to be everything that I’m supposed to be, I give up, I’m not strong enough.”

Though Casting Crowns’ lyrics are far  more substantive than the vast majority of Christian songs heard today, they seem to be playing both sides of the fence.  While “Courageous,” the song they opened with,  presents a robust participation by Christians in the sanctification process, other songs by them are indicative of the let go and let God theology that saturates contemporary Christianity. Implied in other lyrics by Casting Crowns (and comments by Hall at the concert) is the idea that the only difference between the regenerate and unregenerate is that believers are privy to how helpless we are in being anything, or doing anything for God.

Therefore, if that’s the route they want to take, and in regard to truth in general, let me suggest where their concert planning could use more Jesus in two particular areas. In all three concerts I attended, Hall makes light of the fact that he has (if you believe it’s a valid label) Attention Deficit Disorder. ADD is far from being a laughing matter. Besides the fact many doctors think it’s a fraud, Christian doctor Larraine Day states the following:

“Attention Deficit Disorder and Ritalin have become almost synonymous. Up to 90% of children who are first diagnosed with ADD receive a prescription for Ritalin. At least a dozen other drugs are prescribed for these symptoms as well. There has been a 500% increase in the use of Ritalin alone since 1991.”

And:

“The adverse reactions (side effects) for Ritalin include nervousness, insomnia, joint pains, fever, anorexia, nausea, dizziness, palpitations, headache, dyskinesia, drowsiness, increased blood pressure and pulse, rapid heart rate, angina, cardiac arrhythmias, abdominal pain, actual psychosis. And there is a major warning in the Physician’s Desk Reference regarding drug dependency.”

And:

“The Physicians’ Desk Reference of Drug Side Effects notes that, regarding the pharmacology of Ritalin: “The mode of action in man is not completely understood.” And this is what you’re giving your child! The pharmaceutical manufacturers admit that they don’t even know how it works. They’re just experimenting — on your child!”

And:

“Does the public school system have the right to force parents to accept the drugging of their child? They do in America. But the drug’s side effects, according to vocal opponents of Ritalin, include: zombie-like behavior, growth suppression, behavior or thought disorders (exactly what it is supposed to treat) seizures; headaches, blurred vision, scalp hair loss, barking like a dog and babbling profanities. It can also result in mood swings, depression, drug dependence and inclination for criminal activity.”

And:

“Ritalin has effects similar to other stimulants including amphetamine, methamphetamine and cocaine. There are 6 million prescriptions for Ritalin filled annually. The U.S. pharmacists distribute five times more Ritalin than the rest of the world combined. No other nation prescribes stimulants for its children in such volume. In fact, the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board has on two recent occasions written to U.S. officials expressing concern about the sixfold increase in Ritalin usage since 1990.”

And:

“The American Psychiatric Association describes a hyperactive child – the target child for this drug–as follows:

‘One who exhibits behavior such as fidgeting, squirming, answering questions before being called on, difficulty playing quietly, engaging in physically dangerous activities such as running into the street without looking, or one who has difficulty following instructions.’ That sounds like a normal kid to me!”

Hall needs to stop giving credibility to ADD because medical doctors disagree on its validity and Hall is not a doctor, and at the very least—he needs to stop making light of it.

Secondly, regarding the practice of having an artist create an image of Christ during a song, what part of Exodus 20:4 does Hall not understand? And exactly how does such an image edify? What is that image intended to invoke in the minds of the audience? What’s the purpose?

I see a progression in the Casting Crowns concerts. More confusion with each concert. Is it let go and let God, or the able and courageous Christians presented in the movie that they wrote the theme song for? Truth is both negative and positive. Both have been stated here as I see it. When Christians go to a concert they should interpret what’s being taken in, and what’s being taken in is either truth or not truth. 2 Corinthians 10:5 will be taken seriously or not taken seriously. Taking every thought and opinion captive and bringing it into submission to Christ does not stop at a concert. With all the talk about Jesus at these events, His wish to have every thought brought into submission to His truth seems to be last on the list.

Frankly, that’s all I care about, and I will not be dissuaded by good music, and Hall does write some great music, but truth is waaaaaay more important.

paul

7 Responses

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  1. Messages said, on October 24, 2011 at 2:13 AM

    An informative hub, must say. Keep writing.

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  2. lydia said, on October 24, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    One of the major problems I see in the progression of Christian music (thanks to my musician mom pointing it out years ago) is that before the focus was mainly on God and/or what Christ did for us but now it is focused mainly on US…and how WE relate to God. In other words, it is man centered. That is a slippery slope with a dead end.

    One reason why I teach my daughter many old hymns which are rich with scripture.

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    • paulspassingthoughts said, on October 24, 2011 at 12:30 PM

      Lydia,

      Yep. And page 131: “Regarding the thesis of this book, their gospel makes much of God and little of Man by reducing our role in God’s work to the least common denominator, but they have done that so well, that much is being made of the men who have done such a good job of making much of God. The four men who founded T4G, a Presbyterian, two Southern Baptists, and a Charismatic, have been dubbed the “core four” and have a cult following that approaches creepiness.”

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  3. lydia said, on October 24, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    “Truth is both negative and positive”

    On another note, this has been my motto for the last 7 years.

    Really try and explain this to the shallow believers in churches today. They cannot handle negative truths about anything whether it is about the bad news associated with salvation or the bad news associated with sanctification. (Christians should at some point start to act like Christians. That is too much for them and they have been trained to answer: No one is perfect) Or even any disagreement with pastors, etc, over doctrine is seen as sin. They cannot abide by negative truths.

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  4. Jesse said, on January 2, 2013 at 3:16 AM

    You all seriously need to read, re-read, re-read and RE-READ Chapter 2 of Romans, alone, first and foremost.

    And then you, Paul, need to read these words, yes, paraphrased, but the message is the same (lest you turn into even more of a Pharisee than you already are, by calling Jason Gray “blasphemous”)

    “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
    If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”
    -1 Corinthians 13:1-3

    Mark Hall isn’t sending any “mixed messages”. He’s sharing the Gospel of Christ with the measure of faith that has been given to him…

    “For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.” -Romans 12:3

    Same with Jason Gray. Serving Jesus SHOULD be more like “falling in love” than giving our allegiance, for doesn’t He call His servants ‘servants’ and His ‘friends’ friends? Look at this passage and you tell me if Mary is “falling in love” with Jesus or not? Stop separating feelings from the equation when God endowed us with the very feelings He is attributed with… the only difference is, He is more than capable of handing those feelings like, jealousy, anger and hate than we ever will be this side of His glory. But that does not make it “blasphemous” to sing about “falling in love” with Jesus. May it never be!

    While they were traveling, He entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.[w] She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.”

    The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.” -Luke 10:38-41

    In Christ alone,
    -Jesse

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    • paulspassingthoughts said, on January 2, 2013 at 9:20 AM

      Jesse,

      Thank you thou philosopher king. I am presently trying to figure out how to bow down to your profound unction while typing.

      Like

  5. Eric said, on August 8, 2015 at 11:27 AM

    Eric,

    Your comment is not posted because it does not align with PPT moderation policy: https://paulspassingthoughts.com/2015/05/11/new-ppt-moderation-policy/

    Like


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