Regarding hero worship

After reading Michael English’s new autobiography, David Bruce Murray is having some very serious, thoughtful, and (in the blogosphere) rare second thoughts about his longstanding support for English. Money quote:

I’ve drawn a few conclusions in the past few hours. One is that I was extremely gullible at the time…gullible to the point that I was willing to invest my hard earned dollars based on a principle that was fundamentally false. I’ve always been prone to rooting for those I perceive to be the underdogs, especially if the underdog is a first class musician or vocalist. This has been one of my basic character flaws.

Another conclusion is that fans will project onto a gifted person the image they want to believe, even when there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary. I’ve always known this to be true of other people, but I never thought I had given in to it myself to any great degree. However, you can go over to Google and do a Usenet search right now if you like. It shouldn’t be too difficult to locate examples of me defending English in the late 1990s even in the face of evidence provided by people living in Nashville who knew his reputation a lot better than me.

Read the whole thing. The kinds of perils of hero worship DBM writes about are in part why I have always been dubious about making the artist’s sincerity or character the primary basis for my enjoyment of music. But I’m not trying to come off smug or superior here. One thing that DBM’s post reminds us is that there is no easy way to separate the man (or woman) from the music, and that sometimes we get burned.

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Comments

  1. Rhonda Berry wrote:

    Arrogance will get you every time, won’t it. I have always sensed an arrogance from Michael English that diminished my enjoyment of his music. THere is no disputing that he was a great vocalist in his day, but it is my opinion that the blessing from God he abused has been seriously diminished.
    While everyone who gets on stage to sing has to have some ego, and none of the men and women who sing Christian music will ever be absolutely perfect, it is essential that they stay away from believing their own press. Michael English obviously believed his.
    I admire DBM for his honesty in stating how he had felt and what he had learned. That’s the humbleness of heart that Michael English either forgot or never had.

  2. Videoguy wrote:

    I wanted to give ME another chance - again.

    I saw ME in concert about a year ago. I needed to see his heart.

    The time came for him to be transparent, to fess up, to reach out. He fell just short of blaming his woes on the drug manufacturers, and that the public should push for “better labelling”.

    Exactly how many chances am I supposed to give?

  3. not a grammarian wrote:

    I believe the # given in scripture is 490 (seventy times seven) but I’ve always thought that if you were keeping count, you weren’t really forgiving.

  4. gc wrote:

    I can promise you that ME has suffered and will continue to suffer from his poor decisions. He does not need any of us to help beat him down. If you can’t respect him enough to enjoy his music or support him, that is very understandable.Don’t support him but you MUST forgive him for his numerous mistakes. I still think his music WAS incredible even though he has not been in his personal life.

  5. Ed Butler wrote:

    People really need to read DBM’s entire blog. It is a tremendous piece of writing and show’s DBM’s compassion - as well as his hurt.

    JEB

  6. Rod wrote:

    I for one was and am a huge ME fan…Again this blog reminds me of the scripture, “He who is without sin let him cast the first stone”. Although I was hurt and confused by the constant mistakes he made I found myself looking at my own life and the many mistakes I made…None were advertised like his and many no one even knew about…I WAS singing professionally at the time. Guys I think many of us would be surprised and appalled by the many faults some of our “favorite” artists have or have had but the fact still remains if God forgives then we should too. In my own life it has been an incredible learning experience and as I now sing about 130 solo dates it has given me a greater witness as I believe it has ME. Think about it and next time we want to condemn a brother…LOOK IN THE MIRROR. There’s a CCM song there I believe.

  7. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    Thanks for that, Ed. Many people are catching the point I made, but some aren’t.

    This is not a matter of whether I’m forgiving Michael English.

    Although it’s no secret that Michael English has sinned in ways that are foreign to many of us, he has never sinned against me personally. In our one business deal, he delivered exactly what I paid him to do when I hired him to sing…a great concert.

    Here’s the point. The reason I felt inclined to promote a concert was because I felt Michael English had been unfairly treated by the Christian music industry. I had never promoted a concert before. At this moment in time, I’ve never promoted a concert since.

    (I’m actually in the midst of promoting my second concert event, which takes place one week from today. There was a ten-year gap between the two events. Hopefully, there’s a different motivation this time around.)

    My perspective in promoting the Michael English concert was that perhaps I could do this “small thing” as a token of appreciation to an artist who was…from my point of view…being shut out in the cold by those who should have been working to restore him.

    When I read his autobiography last week, I suddenly confronted (by his own words) with the sort of life he was living…the sort of life I WAS REWARDING at that time.

    That doesn’t change the point about restoration I just mentioned. There’s a whole more to restoring a fallen artist than paying them thousands of dollars and putting them right back into the same sort of situation they obviously couldn’t handle in the first place.

    By the way, Daniel Britt has since posted a great article at Musicscribe.com regarding how all artists are sinners. His thoughts have crystalized an attitude that has been forming for some time.

    From here on out, I’m going to be a fan of the music only, not the singer.

    Obviously, there will be some sort of distinction if the artist happens to be a good friend of mine. It’s only natural to pull for the success of those you know.

    But for someone I don’t really know on any sort of personal level, my “fan” mentality will be limited to what they produce.

  8. Daniel Britt wrote:

    In no way am I supporting sin, but as a friend of mine said: “Look at Jim Bakker. He can live his life with such freedom now and have such a ministry without pretense because he has nothing to protect anymore. He can say anything and we aren’t shocked.”

    Good point, that.

    Isn’t that the freedom in Christ that his imputed righteousness has given us? Why do we squelch such freedom that Christ went to so much trouble to grant?

    We all need to take our clothes off (metaphorically) and confess our sins to one another. It might just revolutionize and revive the church.

  9. jean wrote:

    I don’t think the issue is about FORGIVENESS. I think the issue is that when a person is given a platform - especially a religious platform - even the Bible sets a different standard for that person.

    Essentially, in my opinion, the question is a deeper one: is Christian music and the wide spectrum of people who publicly perform it a ministry or a career?

    And furthermore, do you define ministry as set forth in Scriptures? Because if you do, there’s nothing in Scriptures that describes a “Christian Artist”.
    If it’s simply entertainment, that’s fine also.
    An entertainer’s personal life is not part of the equation - his entertainment qualities are.

    I think we want it both ways - we want to be entertained and we want to tell ourselves it’s ministry. Impossible.

  10. SL wrote:

    I’ve learned it’s helpful to let go of expectation and just try hoping good things for these people in the spotlight.

    Somewhere along the way we’ve been told they are accountable to us, but lately I’ve found very few ‘role models’ who live their lives for MY benefit. Maybe this idealist notion is just unrealistic in our society.

    I do think you can have faith in someone without expecting them to be perfect. But becoming completely indifferent for the sake of protecting ourselves - well, that is a sad way to live.

  11. Rod wrote:

    DBM…I get what you’re saying…I totally understand but some people aren’t getting it. Also Jean…Christians can entertain and have ministry at the same time…And yes we can have it both ways…It’s a different culture and society now…Get use to it and adapt and HAVE FUN in your walk.

  12. Daniel Britt wrote:

    When Hovie answered “yes and yes” to the question of ministry or entertainment, he was right.

    I think even if you set out to be exclusively entertaining … you’re bound to minister at the same time. You can’t help it, especially if the words are the gospel!

    And you know — I have received a great blessing from a good steak at Stoney River. (I’m kidding … sort of.)

    I struggle every day with “Ministry vs. Entertainment.”

    Mark Lowry said what he does on stage is entertainment/career/business. What he does when he visits a children’s hospital on his day of is his ministry.

    I like that.

    And we all should be ministers every day where we are, regardless of our “day job.”

    In the recent blogger meeting, someone said that if you are really into 100% ministry, and nothing else, then go minister and leave the industry alone. Don’t follow the charts; don’t bother radio; quit advertising in the magazines and just go sing to a hurting world. We need people like that. We really do.

    The problem is when you try too hard to straddle that fence — something’s got to give.

    (Good heavens, listen to me … I sound like I’m speaking from Sinai. This is a good time to point out: I could be wrong. These are just my thoughts on it all.)

  13. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    To quote myself:
    “True ministry happens off the stage much more often than on the stage.”

    This particular comment section could go a number of different ways at this point. We’ve already been through the ministry vs. entertainment debate a number of times in the past.

    I’d like to address the “higher standard” comment mentioned by Jean. I’d like for Jean, if she’s still reading, to defend her statement that the Bible holds ministers to a higher standard. I think she may be right, but I also have a point to make about this…this should NEVER be an excuse for us to belittle a person who has been given a platform for their sin.

    I think the Bible does lay out qualifications for deacons and pastors, but if you read over them, it’s stuff we all should be doing anyway. You can’t really say those standards don’t apply to us. Being “honest” and of “good report” are qualifications for deacons, but shouldn’t we all be “honest” and of “good report?”

  14. Rod wrote:

    Great thoughts Daniel…And no one will mistake that you are (or not) speaking from Sinai. :)

  15. JW wrote:

    I haven’t thought through it completely yet, but I just feel we as Christians have been manipulated and bullied into confusing just plain common sense with this “you must forgive” herd mentality a lot of times these days.

    The Apostle Paul would be labelled the most mean spirited bigot alive if he was preaching today I think. I think we have lost touch with speaking the truth in love as taught in the Bible.

    I don’t have any grudge against English as I don’t know him personally. But, don’t we have some kind of responsibility to use our minds as well as our hearts and judge (yes, judge) what we are seeing and hearing?

    I’m sure some will place me firmly with those “mean spirited, judgemental” Christians and so be it. But, I feel the Good Lord didn’t take away my reasoning and common sense when He saved me and it’s my obligation to use them.

    Judging unfairly is bad. But, I wonder how many more people were hurt by continually giving English opportunities to manipulate them just to make themselves feel good about being “forgiving and non-judgemental”?

  16. bp wrote:

    DBM, “From here on out, I’m going to be a fan of the music only, not the singer.

    Obviously, there will be some sort of distinction if the artist happens to be a good friend of mine. It’s only natural to pull for the success of those you know.

    But for someone I don’t really know on any sort of personal level, my “fan” mentality will be limited to what they produce.”

    That is an interesting thought, but it is difficult one to carry out. Not so much on the lines of Christian music, but in the field of Christian authors I have struggled with this lately and still do.

    I was recently really convicted by the Holy Spirit when I found out that six of my favorite pastors/authors were staying in the same hotel I was in. I rushed out and bought a disposable camera hoping to be able to make a picture with some or all of them. Through that experience, I was really convicted over who I was really worshipping. Was I worshipping the men or was I worshipping the God they proclaimed?

    I think the same is true (I know it has happened to me) with Christian singers and songwriters. Christian music is distinct because to truly, deeply reflect worship and move the hearer to sanctification it would seem that at least the songwriter would have to be growing in the faith and their writing would be an outpouring of that experience.

    Isn’t that true of the great hymns that have survived? It Is Well with My Soul, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, God Moves in Mysterious Ways, and the list could go on are great songs, but they have wonderful, faith-enhancing stories attached to them. The writers were pouring their heart out to God while writing.

    Yet, I guess those people didn’t write those songs to try to make the cover of a magazine or to be played on radio or climb the charts. Perhaps that is why there seems to be a disconnect so often with the singer, songwriter and the God/faith they are directing the hearer to in the song.

    I have been as guilty as anyone else with being caught up in the celebrity of the industry these days. And that has taken a toll on my ability to listen, grow and worship whether it is reading a Christian book authored by a Godly person or listening to a song that has been written and sung by a Godly person.

    Perhaps there is a reason we don’t have a picture of Jesus, Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, etc.

  17. Practical Fellow wrote:

    How does entertainment vs. ministry work eventually work it’s way into every conversation about gospel music? I guess it’s a worthwhile debate, but it feels a little like the weeds in my garden: always popping up in annoying places.

    My two cents? Good ministry entertains and good Christian entertainment ministers. If you’re up in front of a crowd in the name of Jesus, you’re a minister, whether you label yourself that or not.

    As for Michael English, burn your audience once - shame on you; burn us twice and you probably need to limit your singing to the shower. It’s not a matter of forgiveness, it’s a matter of trust.

  18. jean wrote:

    David,
    Thanks for the comments. I didn’t say HIGHER standard, I said DIFFERENT. And I do agree with you that the standards set for pastors and deacons are just the regular standard that all Christians should live by.

    However, it would be wrong to not also acknowledge that the Bible is teaching us that there will and SHOULD be leaders in the Body of Christ, and that the prerequisite for them being able to be LEADERS is the way they ACTUALLY live their lives. Not just when they are in front of an audience. Conversely, a person whose life is not a life that is ready to be exemplified is someone who is not ready to be lifted up as a leader…. or a minister. (The Bible also warns about pushing a “novice)
    Are they our brothers and sisters? Yes. Are they less than anyone else in the Body. No.
    Do we all struggle with weaknesses. Absolutely. Are we all called to be leaders? No. Some of us are called to be sheep.
    The Bible doesn’t say leaders must be “perfect”..it says their lives must “honorable”… and an example to all who would follow.

    Let me also re-read my original post where I clearly said that “if it’s simply entertainment, that’s fine also.”
    I am NOT against entertainment for entertainment’s value only.
    Music is meant to be enjoyed.
    God created it that way.

    Why can’t we just admit we just like the music and we like the way the people singing it are singing it?

    My point (which evidently I did not state clearly) is that we are being naive to believe that we can have Entertaining
    Ministers or Ministering Entertainers.
    This is simply a byproduct of the culture we live in. It is not in the Bible anywhere.

    This is why the issue keeps popping up, Practical Fellow, because the issue is at the core of why we consistently see these people “falling”.. because we put someone who is simply an entertainer at heart (nothing wrong with that) and we add the burden to his life of being a “minister”. He is not a minister. He is an entertainer.

    I believe we are confusing the term “ministry” with the term “witness”.
    We are ALL called to be witnesses of Jesus Christ. Being a witness- telling what He’s done for us - is NOT the same as being a someone who is a leader in the Body of Christ.

    I don’t criticize people who require love offerings and record sales and fan clubs to keep their Christian singing careers going, and I don’t doubt that their public witness while on stage brings many people to a relationship with the Lord. So will their private witness - in the grocery store or at the bank.

    But it is WE who insist on denying that we are fans of the music itself. The guilt of feeling that we have to have ANOTHER reason we love the music is why people who are simply entertainers must cloak themselves in the term “minister”.

    They are witnesses of Jesus.
    They love to sing.
    They love to sing about Jesus.
    We love to hear them sing about Jesus.
    And then some of them would sing about anything at all if the churches would still book them.
    Ok. Outta here.

  19. Joe wrote:

    To Jean, Daniel, and DBM-

    Shepherds (elders/pastors) and deacons ARE held to a higher set of standards in the NT, (in Timothy and Titus) than other believers are. In fact, there are long lists of specific qualifications.

    As to “ministry or entertainment”- I have wanted to say something here for a long time- and now’s the time. Music, of ANY kind, is neither a ministry OR a gift, as defined by the NT.

    In any description of ministry, music is absent. In any list of gifts, music is absent. In fact, music is hardly mentioned in the NT at all…until Heaven.

    Just for your consideration.

  20. gc wrote:

    joe,
    so your point is? Christian Music is?

  21. Jean wrote:

    Hey Joe,
    I agree with you and my fine point on the “higher” vs “different” is that I meant that pastors aren’t better than the flock.. or higher.They are called to a different, set apart life.

    I’m just for being honest and transparent enough to say that many of the people who sing SGM sing it because they love to sing.. and their witness of Christ on stage is no different than someone else’s witness somewhere else (at work. etc)
    Anyway.. I think I’ve said enough.

  22. gc wrote:

    Col 3-16 states we are commanded to use music to edify,encourage and teach using music. This would conclude that music is a tool of ministry to reach people.

  23. Daniel Britt wrote:

    Jean, in post #18, you said it so well. I agree.

  24. Jean wrote:

    Actually, ge, the verse is not about evangelism.

    It’s instructing and directed toward the Body (see verse #15) and begins with the admonition that the Word of Christ is ALREADY dwelling richly in them. It’s an example of how church people should be communicating. The whole chapter before and after is a scene of how the Body of Christ should act and treat one another.

    It doesn’t describe a scenario where someone stands up in front of other people singing songs, entertaining them and calling it ministry, or calls the person a minister. I’m not saying that doing that is wrong… I’m just saying it doesn’t constitute someone being considered a Leader in the Body of Christ.

    And my main point is that when we do that - when we call someone something they are not - it places an unfair burden on them, and creates a situation where we are looking for leadership from someone who is not a leader in the Church.

    They are a witness. They are singing about their relationship with Jesus. People respond to that. We are ALL called to be witnesses. We are not all called to be LEADERS. A microphone does not a leader make.

  25. quartet-man wrote:

    Michael had two sides to him. There was the insecure boy who felt like nothing was good enough, and then the other side that got some success and got cocky and arrogant.
    However, I believe that the little boy was always there. Even when he may have thought he was all that, I am sure the little boy would rear his ugly head. I think part of the problem was he enjoyed hearing the kudos and pats on the back that he had lacked in childhood. He finally found acceptance and people who saw good in him. I like the line that Bill Gaither quotes from the poem “If”
    “if you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same.” He also hit it on the head when he told artists who thought they did poorly on stage that they weren’t as bad as they thought they were, but they weren’t as hot as they had thought they were a short time before.

  26. Howland wrote:

    Both sides on this isssue are overlooking one key element: the Name of God. Which of you will stand before a holy God and let Him know that you thought it was just fine that folks co-opted His Name (in each of its Triune forms) so that folks would be entertained? “But Lord, some people got blessed real good!”

    Could this, in effect, be taking His Name in vain, because by using His Name the person was moved perhaps emotionally (made to feel better) but not changed spiritually?

    The model prayer that Jesus taught us begins, “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed… His Name is not like any other word we use, and all of us will be held to account for the ways we used it.

    Of course, this thinking will be scoffed at by the majority of Christians today, where entertainment has become a divine entitlement and the utilitarian and pragmatic, “but God can still use it” reigns supreme.

    Entertainment isn’t bad. Neither folks who minister and happen to be “entertaining” on some level. We’re talking a heart/motivation issue here….but we should be careful how we handle that precious Name. It has been said of a certain gospel music legend, “He can really read an audience, always knowing whether they need to be entertained or ministered to.” Is it any wonder that our churches seem to be making little impact on a morally and spiritually bankrupt nation.

  27. Practical Fellow wrote:

    Jean,

    I just now got to read your response - I’ve been gone a few days. Eh. I partially agree with you - not everyone is a minister in the “full-time ministry” sense of the word. But should we work so hard at changing the perspective of the audiences (i.e. “don’t put them on a pedestal, Earlene!) or rather, tighten up the filter on the folks that get center stage in the name of Jesus? I think if you’re going to stand up and make a paycheck off of his good reputation that automatically makes you a spokesperson for him… in other words, a minister/witness. And when you engage in ridiculous behavior and get caught… then you drag that precious name through the mud with you. If folks want to get up and entertain only, then book a date at karaoke night at the VFW and save us the drama. This argument reminds me of celebrities who say they aren’t leaders and yet somehow continue to influence the culture at large every day. Ugh.

    P.S. I am a fan of the music and sometimes a fan of the artist themselves. I’m proud to say it (annonymously, of course).

  28. Rod wrote:

    I’ve been gone a few days myself…Let me just say this…Some of the post split too many hairs and take everything in the bible literally…I know many of you KJV only bible thumpers will rake me over the coals but…How about God giving us a brain and maybe some common sense.

    Joe-Music is A GIFT…It doesn’t have to be defined in the bible or the New Testament. It is a gift goofball

    Secondly Jean I get what you’re saying and mostly I agree. Thanks for clarifying

    How about good ministry and entertainment coexisting without a bunch of theology lessons to prove who’s wrong or right. As an artist I enjoy singing AND ministering as do most of us what is the big deal. Michael English is just among many artists who failed and are failing…He’s just been the only one (Besides Kirk Talley) to get caught.

    Oh and HOWLAND…God used an ASS…So he can still use Michael or anyone he chooses. His name will be HOLY regardless of what we do or say about it.

  29. Howland wrote:

    So Rod, we bear no responsibility whatsoever in how we use His Name? Do you think He is unconcerned about this?

    (I recognize that my post is departing from the original topic, Michael English, but I was following the posts before me that were headed in this direction)

    Yes, God used an ass. But He could use a porn star. Or a drug dealer. Or a pedophile. Or a backslidden preacher. That’s not the point. Those who use His name are responsible for the way they use it. I’m not so sure that He’s an “aw-shucks,-he’s-a-good-ol-boy-even-if-he-is-taking-my-Name-in-vain” kind of God. In fact, I’m confident He is not.

    Further, when we mix entertainment (that uses His Name for the purpose of making people feel better) with religion, it can innoculate people to any change, any real repentence in their life. The fact that this has been accepted for the last 60 years or so makes no difference. In that time a new paradigm has emerged: If a evangelical Christian music group or artist achieves a certain amount of notoriety and celebrity, they can do almost no wrong AS LONG AS THEY STAY IN CHRISTIAN MUSIC. Over time they can morph into full-blown entertainers-only. And they will be accepted by the majority of the Christian public. And if they sin, even what some would consider gross sin, regardless of their infraction they will almost always be placed maybe 2 or 3 steps back from where they were, in terms of their career.

    The Christian public will embrace them with open arms. But God is not looking at polling data. His Name and His purposes are very important to Him.

    There is currently no Don Imus type sin for well-known Christian artists — one that disqualifies them from having a platform.
    Michael English, who I wish well and hope he prospers, has taken a hit because of his repeated foibles. But nothing like it would have been 100 years ago.

    In fact, a case could be made to show that some artist have actually benefitted (in terms of concert bookings, book deals, television appearances, etc.) by their sin. This is Christian music in 2007.

  30. Joe wrote:

    Rod-

    Music is a “gift”, as defined by men. It is NOT a gift, as defined by God. There are three lists of NT spiritual gifts, each lesser in length as time passed in the early church. Music is not found in any of them. Nor, is it ever called a ministry in the NT sense of this word, no matter what gc seems to think Gal. 3:16 says.
    Jean already pointed this out to him.

    I was stating this in response to the recurrent question here, found in many threads…is music a ministry or is it entertainment? Scripturally defined, it is the latter.

    And did you call me a “goofball”? I would think a goofball might actually be one who “takes” the Bible, but doesn’t take it literally. Who might you be to pick and choose? God DID give you a brain. Hopefully, some common sense as well. But don’t ever think you are so smart, that you can take or leave whatever parts of the Bible YOU decide are literal or figurative. Dangerous ground, my friend. Howland (#26) touches on this, above.

  31. Rod wrote:

    Can I ask this first…Are you preachers???

    OK Mr. Howland…First I understand I have a responsibility as an artist for making sure I honor his name and I live to a higher standard. No problem there and I wasn’t saying we shouldn’t…My point was HE IS HOLY NO MATTER WHAT WE DO…What part of that statement do you not understand?

    You said:

    If an evangelical Christian music group or artist achieves a certain amount of notoriety and celebrity, they can do almost no wrong AS LONG AS THEY STAY IN CHRISTIAN MUSIC.

    Are you SERIOUS…Most Christians love to eat alive the failures of Ministries (Excuse me SINGERS) since we can’t be both (Right Joe). If a fan/Christian knows about a sin or failure you can bet your KJV bibles that they’re not going to sweep it under the rug…What planet do you live on? There might be a few diehard fans which probably aren’t Christians themselves that will be ok with it but not the majority. Oh and Mr. Howland no book deal or booking or record contract will EVER get Michael back to what he once was or the enormous money he was making. My point is this…Many, many, many Singers, evangelists, preachers make mistakes or have failures (some known…MOST NOT) and still preach and sing…They ask forgiveness just like you do…God forgives them…Case closed…Right. WRONG they have to be embarrassed, humiliated and made to ask FORGIVENESS 20 times and oh let’s not forget they can never be ministers and singers again. That’s exactly what most people like you guys want us to do.

    Also you said:

    And if they sin, even what some would consider gross sin, regardless of their infraction they will almost always be placed maybe 2 or 3 steps back from where they were, in terms of their career.

    What do you want a crucifixion? How about forgiveness and restoration…Michael did finally get some people to “Come to his rescue” but by then it was too late…They ate him alive first then decided they wanted to help…How many people would want to still trust us?

    OK Joe…Here we go…Hey I’m a poet and didn’t know it… :) And yes I called you a “goofball”.

    Music is a gift might not be found in the bible but can you actually be ignorant enough to believe God in his infinite Mercy and Grace didn’t bestow upon us this wonderful, awesome and powerful way of communicating HIS message…Are you on CRACK??? JOKE!! Really think about how powerful it is and how it has changed so many lives and pointed so many people to him. You can think of it as entertainment all you want but the 6200 people who have been SAVED under my ministry (oops entertainment) would beg to differ and I couldn’t give a flip about your scriptural theology agreeing or disagreeing with that.

    PHARISEE!!!! Now I’m Mad.

  32. CG wrote:

    Rod wrote:

    “You can think of it as entertainment all you want but the 6200 people who have been SAVED under my ministry (oops entertainment) would beg to differ and I couldn’t give a flip about your scriptural theology agreeing or disagreeing with that.”

    With all due respect, the Word of God will NEVER return to us “void”; however, may we never get so focused on ourselves that we confuse God’s blessings for his approval (if you don’t believe me, remember the Israelites roaming in the wilderness; they were often disobedient, yet still blessed).

  33. Rod wrote:

    CG…You probably need to read the previous posts…That was my whole point to Joe and howland…Maybe I wasn’t clear. He Will get the glory no matter what we do or say…We can either be blessed and an instrument or we can mess up and cause confusion…Regardless we are insignificant and he will still be HOLY. And I realize it is not about me…My other point is it can be entertainment and ministry at the same time…No matter what scripture is pulled to dispel it…I have seen the PROOF…I don’t need a so called bible scholar to try and tell me otherwise.

  34. Joe wrote:

    Rod-

    Now you’re mad…so, is it Hot Rod? Honestly, Doug is not interested here in his readers taking potshots at each other. So, if this gets posted, it will be my last. As CG just kindly admonished you, I must do the same. I really feel you need to re-read Howland’s first post.

    Pharisee? Me?

    You are angry…so were they.
    You called me names. So did they.
    You have told us all about “your ministry”, and 6200 saved…they loved to stand on the street corner and pray, making sure everyone saw and heard.
    You can’t “give a flip about scriptural theology…” Neither did they.
    You are furiously pounding others for specks of dust…and logs are present, just as with them.

    I may be a “so-called Bible scholar” in your eyes…I admit that I have studied the Book for over 40 years, and have been through it, in the Hebrew and the Greek, dozens of times. I believe what it says, not what I want it to say.

    You took me to task for what I said it did not say, in answer to the question of this thread. Your problem is essentially not with me. It is with the Author. Please take it up with Him. And by the way- the final summary of “your ministry” is not yours anyway. That will also be His call.

    Thanks.

  35. Howland wrote:

    Rod,
    Yes “He is holy no matter what we do.”

    But what we do matters.

    And the bible and all it says about the use and/or abuse of His Name matters, too.

    Perhaps we are talking semantics here — the fact that you mentioned the number of people that have come to Christ under your ministry shows me that, on some level, you care about this,

    Again, it’s not Entertainment=BAD, ministry=GOOD. There are country singers who are “called” to entertain using country music. They view it as a platform for reaching folks that many gospel groups would never reach. They often (not necessarily always) try to work in some type of testimony into their events, making it clear what Jesus means to them.

    I have far more apprciation for committed Christian entertainers in the secular ranks than I do for the religiously over-emoting gospel group that whispers to each other as they walk off stage to yet another standing ovation, “Boy we ripped ‘em a new one tonight!”

    It’s the focus, whether it be standing o’s, product sales, blowing the next group off the stage, etc. WHILE USING GOD’S NAME TO DO SO, that I’m questioning here. I simply don’t believe that God’s laughing, slapping His knee while this is going on.

    Certainly no one is perfect — the most godly people in gospel groups in the world have, from time to time, thought of all of the above. But if the focus is: moving people emotionally (entertainment) by using “I-just-got-touched-by-the-Hand-of-the-Lord” phraseology, I feel that, not only will very little true, lasting, life-changing ministry take place (although it could,) but those listening will become inured to the real, because, doggone it, it just doesn’t feel as good.

    Because the real deals with sin and the fact that most of us aren’t exactly living sold-out lives for Jesus. (I’m not speaking for you, Rod).

    To entertain, a group could simply use other song material — go patriotic, use some uptempo songs from the 50’s, throw in some morally-relevant country songs, and yes, do some gospel — rather than wrapping the program in the cloth of ministry.

    Yes, I know this won’t work….Any who try this will suffer a far worse fate than that of recent fallen gospel singers! They will have committed the unpardonable sin: “Martha, they done gone and WENT SECULAR!”

    What if: a group selected songs that would minister first and foremost, rehearsed like crazy to be the best they could be, put a program together (let’s do this song here, this one here…) that would be ENGAGING, made a concerted effort to pray for the people attending the concert, held each other accountable privately,on the bus and even on stage, dropped every last hint of “How many of you loves the Lord tonight??” and other cornball, let’s-have-church type phrases, operated in a level of transparency (not the artificial kind) almost unknown, had a GOAL, a spiritual goal for each concert (e.g., get folks to pray for their pastors, or kids, reach out to the poor in their community, etc), and all-around, make a spiritual event of the evening.

    Maybe even a little less time at the workout gym and tanning booth….

  36. Rod wrote:

    Ok, OK ,OK…I had Howland pegged wrong…Great Comeback or should I say book…You cleared some things up…I just get a little hot under the collar when people try and make me just an entertainer because I package it in music. Thanks for clearing that up…Also Joe…When I say “goofball” and “enlightened one” is a little jab in fun…No offense but that is just my personality. I am passionate about what I do and we (artists, entertainers, whatever) have gotten a lot of flack over the mistakes of a few. Also I am not disagreeing with the majority of what you guys have said. It is just this ole cut and dry legalistic mentality I read a lot (Maybe not by you) just drives me crazy…I also Believe what the bible says but I also believe that it is an inspired work that guides us and we should have enough sense to let it also be relevant to today…You guys know as well as I do anybody can twist the meaning to make it “FIT”. Anyway I am rambling…I like the debate this commentary brings and think for the most part I can actually learn a little something in the process…I don’t know it all…Only MOST of it…:)

  37. Rod wrote:

    Howland- Tanning beds make me ITCH

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