Paul's Passing Thoughts

Repost: Crowns Lexington Concert; Mark Hall Sends Mixed Messages About Truth

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 23, 2013

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Oct. 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 Godtheology 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

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3 Responses

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  1. paulspassingthoughts said, on September 23, 2013 at 6:56 AM

    Reblogged this on Clearcreek Chapel Watch.

    Like

  2. Joseph Wilson said, on September 25, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Paul,

    Thank you for reblogging this. I ran into a similar situation this week with one of the songs we were going to play in the worship service. It was a song by Jeff Slaughter, who was a song writer for Lifeway V.B.S. material. The title of the song is The Word and in it he uses John 1:1 to describe the bible, which in effect makes the bible synonymous with Jesus and would ascribe deity to it. When I dared to mention that the theology was not good, one band member said, “It’s just all in praise.” Apparently it doesn’t matter what the song says as long as it makes you feel good. What’s worse is this guy is a bible study leader.

    Like


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