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An Example of the Legalism of the “Running the Race” Teaching

January 24, 2014

I happen to stop by David Cloud’s “O Timothy” to see what he’s harping on these days, and it’s the same old non-stop criticism of new-evangelicals and related “old vs new culture” subjects. This is a person who seems to be fairly respected in “old-line” fundamental Baptists (particularly Independent Fundamentalist Baptists or IFB’s), and basically harps on “compromise” through modern music and worship, modern Bible translations, psychology in Christian teachings, female pastors, and “associations” seen as leading to “ecumenicalism”.

While there is a lot of grains of truth in all of these issues; maybe even a few legitimate points, still, leaders like this publish unceasingly “exposes” on all these errant movements or secular influences and those who begin opening up to them. The premise is the message of Paul to Timothy: “preach, exhort, rebuke” (2 Timothy 4:2). The “about Way of Life” statement at the bottom of articles says:

The name “Way of Life” is from Proverbs 6:23: “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” The biblical instruction that molds men to God’s will requires reproof. It is not strictly positive. It does not focus on man’s “self-esteem.” It does not avoid controversial or unpopular subjects. It warns as well as comforts. It deals with sin and false teaching in a plain manner. It is reproves, rebukes, exhorts with all longsuffering and doctrine (2 Tim. 4:2)

But you have to wonder if Timothy would then spend quite THIS much time badgering these sorts of issues. They wrote their epistles, but not periodical publications repeating the same things over and over about every leader or movement that was wrong, and most importantly, having a premise of some “godly culture” mixed in with it. All the “separatist” language, historically, ends up tied to America and it’s supposed “godly past” which was destroyed by “liberalism” and its influence in the Church.

Jesus, Paul and others admonished people and churches to clean up sinful behavior, but it was those imposing the strictest applications of the Law whom they reserved their sharpest denunciations for! They were mostly the “false teachers” referred to throughout the New Testament.

And this raising the question of whether a lot of what this [modern] teacher and others like him is teaching really even the “faith once delivered to the saints” the Apostles were guarding to begin with!
The KJV didn’t exist then, and neither did what he considers “godly music” or any of the hymns he would consider “acceptable”, or any of the other “Anglo-American” cultural trappings of the Baptist faith he is promoting (and the “trail of blood” theory they use to dispute that last point is a total distortion of history).

And leaders like this take warnings such as v3 about “falling away” as referring to our time, which acts like Paul was writing directly to them, and their churches are equal to first century Christianity. (What about the actual “falling away” Paul was referring to then, that ⦅according to most Baptist and other views of history⦆ led to Rome and everything in between and afterward? That couldn’t have happened then as he wrote, if we still had it all together until recent generations, when this “end times apostasy” supposedly “really” began.)

Typical of his literature is an article on rap listing HUNDREDS of deaths, to prove its “violent” nature. While there’s a lot of truth to that for many of them, he includes Heavy D, who died young, grant you, but of “unknown causes”, rather than violence or even a sinful lifestyle (substance abuse, AIDS, etc. And he was not even one of the “violent” rappers!) It looks like the insinuation is like he died just for being a “rapper” (do I hear “[spiritual] CURSE”, as fellow KJVO Jack Chick might argue? I’ve seen the same thing with rock and CCM, listing Rich Mullins, who also died from a non-“lifestyle” related cause). Does this mean that people who follow the “way of life” as filtered through his beliefs never die at young ages?

So now is this article on how people grow tired of “paddling upstream”, and as soon as they slow down and stop, they get totally caught up in all the “bad” (“downward”) modern trends.

End-time apostasy is like a great river sweeping everything along with it, and the Bible-believing New Testament church is like a boat. If we aren’t paddling hard upstream — through such things as conversion salvation, separated Christian discipleship, and uncompromising preaching — we are carried along with the flow.

There is no neutrality, no relaxing, no retiring. If you get tired of the work and put down the paddles of godly living and biblical reproof and separation, you immediately begin to move with the flow.


The thing that everyone keeps repeating is that life is so much more fun now that we don’t have to paddle upstream. It’s wonderful to finally be free to make your own choices and not be hemmed in by the rantings of some fanatical preacher.


They start feeling a bit uneasy…by now it’s too late. They are moving too fast. The river has them firm in its grip. There is no turning around. And then they hear something in the distance, a sort of roaring, and it is getting louder. And louder. And then they see it. The water is heaving and boiling as it is swept over the great fall. They are helpless now, in the grip of something too powerful to resist. The time to turn around is past, and they shoot over the fall and crash on the rocks below.

Just before they go over, their cool pastor cries out, “But all we did was stop paddling!!!!”

This is the epitome of the “merit of discomfort” philosophy that undergirds most of Christianity (even though many may have softened it down in different ways as he constantly scolds). Just like the rest of their teachings. The discomfort of giving up your lively music in favor of old hymns with plain “marching” rhythms, or learning the old English of the KJV, or just accepting pain as God’s “tests” and developing a “cheerful attitude” to heal instead of psychological therapy.

This “paddling upstream” is not even a Biblical analogy, but is taken from the natural phenomenon called the “salmon run”, where they swim upstream. This I don’t think even occurs where the Bible was written, but was purely a North American (or at least northern Atlantic/northern Pacific) occurrence.
(So when Michael Horton, Beyond Culture Wars, p.145 rhetorically asks if our sermons are “essentially pep talks seasoned with personal anecdotes and helpful illustrations?”, we see the old-line “separatists” are just as culpable as the new evangelicals both of them are criticizing).

It’s supposed to be an allusion to the “hardships” faced by “true Christians”. But is his camp really “paddling upstream”? They’re not the ones who have to give up any music, worship style, Bible version or associations they might really like, like they’re telling others to.
(He’ll claim “his flesh” likes the rock beat, but I don’t think these people are secretly struggling thinking “man, I really wish I could bop to some rock right now” when singing their hymns. He can appeal to a “changed nature” making him like the old style, but then you are still doing something you “enjoy” just as much as anyone else, and the debate becomes whether what they enjoy is really of “the flesh”, while what you enjoy is of “the spirit”).

It’s also noteworthy that in the “female pastors” issue, he cites 1 Tim. 2:9 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves…with shamefacedness and sobriety…” The word that sticks out to me is “shamefacedness”, which is the KJV translation for the Greek aidōs, which is believed to stem from “a-” (without) + eidō (to see), and thus “(through the idea of downcast eyes); bashfulness, i.e. (towards men), modesty or (towards God) awe:—reverence”; hence “a sense of shame or honour, modesty, bashfulness, reverence, regard for others, respect”. And that’s pretty much what their wives look like, from what I’ve seen in the movement.
But the same word is also translated as simply “reverence” in Heb.12:28, which applies to everyone, not just females.

Of course, this is the total opposite of the haughty “preacher against sin” posture Cloud and the rest of the male leaders in his circle take on. They have anything but any sense of “shame” or “bashfulness”. (Even though old time preachers, from Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon and others, on, would often call themselves “lowly worms” and such, however, when addressing others they saw as “sinners”, all of this went out the window, and they acted like anything but self-recognizing lowly worms, but instead called the other person that and worse. I would say such behavior was really the “proof of the pudding” of how they truly felt about themselves, as the penance is revealed to be just the “false humility” Paul describes in Col. 2:18).

And so we see part of the reason the KJV is so favored by them is because some of its language is easy for them to take advantage of like this. The result is always for the leaders like this to be granted the same level of haughtiness, self-interest promoting and practical “pride” they condemn as ungodly in everyone else, as in fact a Biblical mandate. Who could ask for anything more? It’s basically Heaven on earth!

So they get to maintain and defend what they like and also think is right. No one is persecuting them. They may feel the encroachment of the new trends upon them (e.g. people trying to bring it into their churches), but they then get to stand up in a righteous posture and preach against these influences. (That’s where the “fight” really lies, but it looks like it comes pretty easy to them!
As we shall see, it’s money and power that’s the real threat!)

The attitude here is pure works-righteousness, but they won’t see it as this, because notice, he’s not exactly saying any of these people are going to Hell (i.e. not saved. And he elsewhere speaks of “the heresy that a born-again believer can lose his salvation”). They’re just “disobedient ‘carnal Christians’”. (He doesn’t say what “crashing on the rocks” is supposed to represent, but it probably would be the “end times One World apostasy”).
It’s pretty much like the Adventists not denying the salvation of Sundaykeepers (at least not until the “third angel’s message” when Sunday officially becomes the “Mark of the Beast”). They’re just “disobedient” to one of God’s commandments, and God has called the sabbatarians to set everyone straight.

Of course, the teaching of both groups is grounded in the common theme of futurism, with its focus on the still future “soon” end [of the “world”], and all the “apostasy” (assumed to be some “one world religion/government” scheme with these movements as the latter day prophets against it); yet ignoring that “soon” was spoken to Timothy and the rest of the NT hearers and readers, not us thousands of years later. For that is no longer “soon”.
Hence, them thinking the “falling away” is whatever pet peeve they are criticizing in the modern Church today. (Cloud also mentioned “allegorical interpretation of prophecy” as one of those things others are wrong for not taking a stand against, but then the clear language of “soon” becomes allegorical or worse in futurism. It’s less clear language and figures in prophecy they insist are “literal”).

Of course they also have to engineer the definition of “legalism” so that it doesn’t include their teaching.

As I mentioned in my page on CCM (also aimed at old-line IFB teachers like this) legalism is redefined by them as only “adding works to God’s grace”, or “doing things to gain God’s favor”, ignoring that it also means a preoccupation with rules, and being so quick to judge other believers on issues like this, and this is not even dealing with the issue of whether or not all the rules they are trying to impose are even really biblical to begin with. (In which case, it does in fact become “adding works to grace”! You have to keep paddling “hard”, keep striving, can’t ever stop and relax, remember!)

Another CCM critic had said “we do good, not to gain God’s favor, but to show our love to Him”. But this puts the cart before the horse. We are debating whether some of the points of this radical “separatism” are necessary acts of “doing good” in the first place. If they are not, then adding them as a mandatory rule of not just love, but “obedience” and “pleasing God” IS a type of legalism, whether you call it “gaining His favor” or not. (Mark 7:7, 9)

This page: comes up with this list of what real “Pharisees” are:

1) supplanting the Word of God with man-made tradition
2) rejecting Jesus Christ
3) perverting the Gospel of the free grace of Christ into a work’s salvation.
4) self-righteousness
5) the practice of religious hypocrisy

But this movement has done all but #2, and with that one, you must remember that even they did not always directly reject Jesus. In John 8:30-1, many “believed Him”, but when He began destroying their false sense of wholeness (i.e. not being in “bondage”, thus misunderstanding the purpose for which Christ came to begin with), within several verses, He’s revealing that they’re really children of their father the devil (and of course, afterwards, they eventually turn solidly against Him).
We do not have Jesus in person today to perfectly expose people’s error like that, but if we did, then a lot of these people’s tunes would change, when they see themselves abased lower than the “sinners” they spend so much time condemning.

“It is a great error to label a Christ-loving, Bible-honoring, grace-preaching, self-debasing, peace-loving Christian a Pharisee.” When do we ever see Cloud and others like him “debasing” themselves? It’s like “are you kidding?” This is precisely one of the problems with them, and why people see them as overly “judgmental”.

“Jesus did not reject the Pharisees because they loved God’s Word and took it too seriously.
Jesus did not reject the Pharisees because they were careful to honor the details of God’s Word. Never did Jesus reprove them for such a thing.
Jesus did not reject the Pharisees because they judged by God’s Word. They didn’t judge by God’s Word; they judged by their own vain tradition. Jesus warned against hypocritical judgment, but He encouraged judgment based on truth.”

But they still appealed to God’s Word (the Law), and did “judge by it” (like every accusation they tried to make against Jesus and others), and claimed to be taking it seriously, and particularly, “honoring the details”. This is precisely where they actually ended up adding “vain tradition”. It’s in trying to put a “buffer” around the Law, so that you don’t come close to sinning.
They get so caught up in that motivation they can’t even see that they’re no longer doing what the Law actually says. So this is really the same thing with the “rules” on music and some others. (Should be pointed out that the much touted example of Uzzah being struck down for steadying the Ark of the Covenant in 2 Sam.6, was but an attempt to protect what was “holy”).

“Jesus did not reject the Pharisees because they marked and avoided false teachers. Jesus Himself warned about false teachers and instructed His people to beware of them (Matthew 7:15-23). Jesus commended the church at Ephesus because they had ‘tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars’ and for hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:2, 6). Imagine that! Jesus commended the church for hating the deeds of false teachers. Obviously, that type of thing is not Phariseeism.”

But what he is conveniently cutting right out of the verse, is that despite that, they had still “lost their first love” (v4). Now the passage doesn’t say what exactly this meant, but it is clearly showing a misguided “zeal” for truth. You can’t be “zealous” for just anything, and think as if the zeal in itself automatically makes what’s being taught scriptural. (The above mentioned other CCM critic at one point seemed to argue that way, in pointing out that if the music “standards” aren’t correct, then “a lot of people are wasting time” preaching against it. But that’s what happens when the zeal becomes misguided and based on tradition read into scripture).

“Zeal for God’s Word is right and godly”; but be careful, for the “emulation” mentioned as one of the “works of the flesh” in Galatians also means “zeal”! People, in trying so endlessly to correct others, get so into proclaiming “I see”, that they become “blind”, and their sin will actually remain! (John 9:41).
So the Ephesians actually ended up receiving one of the most severe warnings of the seven churches, —even more than the “compromising” churches; to have their candlestick (position as a legitimate Church) removed! (v5) Perhaps this is what’s happening as the world and even the modern Church increasingly turns away from this “old-time” brand of religion.
He concludes saying “The modern Pharisee would be more akin to the Roman Catholic priest with his sacramental gospel and his traditions exalted to the place of Scripture”, but fundamentalists have done the same things, minus the sacramentalism. People can read anything into scripture.

This one similarly splits “legalism” off as the “traditions” or “works” that only other groups do. (He even throws the Worldwide Church of God in there, although it has abandoned sabbatarianism for 30 years and is now an accepted “evangelical” church).
He concludes “Strict obedience to God’s Word by Christ’s grace is the way of liberty, not bondage.” But this means what he is calling “paddling upstream” is supposedly liberty and not bondage. He obviously does not know what those two words mean, even by Paul’s own actual uses of them!

(Interesting to note, is that he mentions the old rules on beards and facial hair, calling it “more than ridiculous; it is legalistic, because not only does the Bible not forbid facial hair on men, it encourages it”, citing several scriptures on them, including for Jesus. But this teaching went hand in hand with the so-called “music standards”, taught by the same brand of “fundamentalist” churches! From what I heard, the rationale was the “association” of facial hair with communists and hippies. —Just like much of the music argument is about “association”.
So again, he decides a rule is not necessary, finds scriptures that contradict it, and then levels the “legalism” charge at someone else!)

Connected to this is the issue of “judging”. On this page he defends “judging”, where it’s defined as “that believers are not to judge ministers by their own human thinking as to what a minister should be and how he should teach and act, but they are to judge righteous judgment according to God’s Word. He is talking about being judged by ‘man’s judgment’ (1 Cor. 4:3)”, “hypocrisy”, and also as “speaking evil”; while “The truth is not evil and speaking the truth in love is not evil”.

But meanwhile, his own movement’s ideas on “plain disobedience, such as worldly music…” are assumed to be “spoken plainly about” in the Bible, when some of them such as that one, really aren’t! So what are they, but “their own human thinking”?
It thus also does cross over into “speaking evil” (like the racism behind their original definition of “worldly music”, and some of the stuff they say about younger generations and Christian rock stars), and definitely ignores what he also says there: “therefore, we must be humble and cautious in our judgments in this present time (1 Cor. 4:4-5). Even though we have the Word of God and we are obliged to judge everything on the basis of God’s Word, we must not think that we are infallible. We have to walk in the light that we have and live our lives and exercise our ministries on that basis, but our knowledge is very imperfect in this present world.”.
He now sounds like the “new evangelicals” and “ecumenicalists” he criticizes, and of course, this principle is only what they use when more radical fundamentalists criticize their walk. But he won’t ever give that same grace to anyone less conservative. Everything he says is God’s Word, is 100% surely God’s Word. This is why people tell them not to judge!

With this utter emphasis on “paddling hard upstream”, and you can’t relax at all, to stay on the right course before God; you wonder what happened to Hebrews 4:10 “For he that is entered into his REST, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.”

Leaders like this generally think “works” must only refer to “old Jewish laws” like sabbaths, circumcision and the sacrifices. And of course the Adventists will think it refers to only the laws other than the weekly sabbath (and dietary laws), and the more radical sabbathkeeeping groups will simply subtract what other sabbaths and laws they think are excluded from this scripture. But all will greatly emphasize this “paddling upstream” philosophy against those who are not as rigorous in rules and laws as they are.

They’ll even cite Christ’s “Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST. Take my yoke on you…and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt.11:28-30)

Ultimately, to all of them, “His rest” and “light burden” ends up as the “peace” of the “changed attitude” toward the pain of the “struggle” of “paddling hard upstream” or whatever other analogy they employ. (This is actually what’s meant by “grace” in the above quote and is what purportedly makes this “liberty” as opposed to “bondage”. This then becomes the basis of their war against “therapy”, for “all you need” is this “peace”, which then solves all non-physical “problems”).
In other words, you’re really “laboring and heavy laden” from “swimming upstream”, and taking the “hard path” (people assume “narrow path”=”hard path”, and is in opposition to “easy”), but then Christ makes it “easier” in your mind only, through your own self-willed “faith”).
But there really is to be NO real, actual REST!

Of course, they all turn to various scriptures about obedience and repentance (including many from the Old Testament), and like the rest of evangelicalism they criticize, “running the race” to “the end”, and other passages commonly understood as “behavioral improvement” are appealed to.
“Holiness” is another concept they appeal to, but holiness is the goal of sanctification, which is not about our acts, but rather God’s, and ultimately positional, not behavioral.

Evidence of the true context of all these “effort”/”behavior” scriptures (which would seem to contradict the Hebrews verse, Christ’s “easy yoke” and the rest of the “Grace not works” passages) can be seen in both Christ and Paul’s warnings about being “handed over” to the “judgment” system (which Paul calls “Satan” in one instance. It was referring to the legal system of Israel; hence punishing sins like blasphemy or adultery).
The special power to obey, or more accurately, manifest love (through faith in the risen Christ) that these leaders emphasize (as the answer to therapy) was part of the “testimony” of Christ.

We can see in Rom.3:7,8 that people were accusing Paul of teaching “license”. In Jude 4, it is very likely that the false teachers “turning grace into licentiousness” were actually those preaching “the Law” (not doing away with it), and accusing the concept of “Grace” as being licentious. (This is what we hear constantly from the sabbatarians, when we tell them “the Law”, regarding the sabbath and others, is no longer binding in the “age of Grace”!)

Hence, “testimony” indicating a trial, as in a court; it was against the accusing Law system (which still stood and imposed itself during the NT). A system that is long gone now!
This is the only way to reconcile “grace” and “works” in the New Testament.

Naturally, to such leaders, (following those Paul and Jude wrote about), removing Law as our motivation leads us to no motivation at all to please God or do anything good. (They characterize the entire non-Christian world as TOTALLY a-moral; and of course morality is judged by pre-1960’s America).
This betrays the works-righteousness and essential [hidden] lawlessness of their mindset. The only reason to please God is the fear of either Hell, or at least “falling into the end-time apostasy”. Without that, there is no other reason.

Cloud himself has this page sounding just like Lordshippers Ray Comfort and Paul Washer, where it’s evident that only the fear of Hell (which an emphasis on our “sinfulness” and God’s “holiness” is specifically tied to), as the motivation to repent and obey God’s Law, are right in conversion, (not merely “not being perfect”); citing the First Great Awakening as having such a good effect on America and England.
Again, as much as leaders like this uphold certain periods on the Church and Western nations and societies as so “godly”, and “exceptional” (despite all the evils that actually went on that are not acknowledged as evil), they really do not understand the full extent of this “sinfulness” at all (in being so quick to exclude themselves). They think the sin nature can be scared away with their preaching, and then, the effects of sin are totally eliminated, apparently. This of course is taken as a given for them personally; it’s all behind them, since they are already “converted”. This is why they are always on this high horse in preaching at others, and as if they could never be wrong! But then, this again is really no different than the Pharisees! (And totally is contradicted by what Paul articulates in Romans 7, showing the Law is what makes man rebel all the more).

And thus it is shallow, as they only look at the initial fear-based response to those old revivals. They don’t consider the even bigger backlash that would always result later as apart of it. That’s always blamed on some preachers simply ceasing to preach Hell. (Then this is what ends up transferring the “falling away” Paul discussed, from the first century, to ours, as if all was perfect before!) But this should beg the question of why they would cease preaching it to begin with, if that method really worked so well. It should be seen that what came afterward was the “fruit” of it! The original “falling away” prophesied in scripture would be from the original preaching of the Gospel (which was of course, perfect, but opposed by the religious institution of the time), not from some human-led “revival” from a previous ‘falling away’ over centuries (and when the Church itself was the ruling institution).
So this should bring to mind the parable of the sower and seeds, where there were seeds that fell in “stony places” that sprang up fast, but had no “root”, and so died just as quickly (Matt.13:5,6). But no one ever applied this to the much decried “falling away” they complain about now.

While it’s true that the purpose of the Law was to show us our sinfulness to drive us to Christ; the way he’s in practice using this, is that the purpose of being driven to Christ in the first place is to keep the Law! (Where we “couldn’t do it without Him”). This turns the Law back into the central “end” (goal), rather than Christ! And while warnings of judgment were issued to apostate Israel, that was not the general tactic used on converting everyone else.

And the goal, as always, is to maintain “order in society”; i.e. the lessening of preaching of Biblical “rules” has led to all the evil in the world. This changes the Gospel into a utopian scheme every bit as much as the liberals who thought preaching “peace and love” or using the state to impose it would do the same thing. It’s basically the “conservative social gospel”.
It’s all about “control“. (Which they see the Church as having in the past, when “revivals” could stir up such fear and outward obedience; but having “lost” now!)

Love is to be our motivation now, and “true Love casts OUT fear”. (1 John 4:18, 19).
If people “take advantage” of this, and you fear they won’t do good, then all that has been done is to expose what would otherwise be suppressed (Luke 8:17, 12:2,3). Even with the fear, sin is still there, loopholes are found, and then people think they’re doing so well, they are entitled to a few slip ups (that can often spiral into a total “fall”). How do you think all those big time preachers fell decades ago? They were not the “liberals” or “modernists”, but rather the moral conservatives! Even the IFB movement has started to have some sex scandals revealed at times!
The only thing we lose is the illusion of “order” in society, but what is this really before God? (Isaiah 64:6)

New-evangelicalism has remained largely silent towards this “Separatist” movement, fostering the illusion that these leaders are truly on the side of the Bible, and thus cannot be refuted, and that the “wayward” modern Church is simply ignoring this “godly reproof”.
Michael Horton is someone who somewhat identifies with New-evangelicalism (at least he criticizes separatism and praises Harold Ockenga, who is pretty much the founder of new-evangelicalism), yet does criticize a lot of the excesses and deviation of modern worship, other trends, and ignorance of doctrine. Yet he ties this in as having its beginnings in new-evangelicalism’s “old-line fundamentalist” roots.
(For instance, the whole “Christian ghetto” approach to worship and entertainment basically stemmed from “separatism”; where the Church started out rejecting “the world” but then ended up having to get their own copies of everything in the world! The old-liners are no less guilty of this, even if it’s the ‘culture’ of generations or centuries ago they reflect, which they seem to think was not “worldly” like today).

Anyway, in his excellent exhortation Beyond Culture Wars, he makes two good points that speak to this issue:

But we have confused the Law and the Gospel in our day, just as the Galatians had done, and the medieval church had done. We would know better than to say ‘We are saved by our obedience to the Law’, but we find it more difficult to detect that ‘We will achieve victory by following these principles or steps’ is a new way of saying just that. (p.114)

Again, old-line fundamentalists might not use those exact terms as much as new-evangelicals, but clearly, what they are teaching as the way to avoid this “downward stream” is the same exact thing! It’s clearly “the Law“, and that term they even do use, as in the citation of Prov.6:23.
And most importantly, regarding the “spiritual armor” in Eph.6:

Each piece of the armor has something to do with the objective Gospel. Not one piece of this armor is something we have fashioned. Nowhere in the list, for instance, is ‘the pistol of piety’, or ‘the boots of a good heart and cheerful attitude.’

[And no “paddles of godly living and biblical reproof and separation” either! This was also brought to mind by the steps, -er-, points of Cloud’s supposed “Biblical path” cited in the article comment linked below].

Not because piety is unimportant, or because our inner experience is insignificant, but because when the enemy comes, he is not coming to ‘bind’ our house or give us generational curses; he is coming to strip us of our faith in the Gospel. He is coming to try to persuade us that we are too sinful; too unholy…We have not advanced enough in the Christian life; we have quenched the Spirit
It is faith that unites us to Christ and all His benefits, so if the devil can take away our confidence in His atoning work, he couldn’t care less about wreaking temporal havoc on our family line.(p.233)

Now Horton criticizes the modern “therapeutic” approach and focus on “self-esteem” in the Church just as much as Cloud and the others, yet Cloud and others’ answer to self-esteem seems to be to focus on “sinfulness” and “unholiness” and remain there, just having the preacher preach against it to the congregation; to the body of Christians (of course, like the model inspired by Spurgeon and Edwards and the great revivalists of old), and to individuals seeking counselling.
Recall, the believer struggling with some problem needs “regeneration”, “repentance” and “obedience” among other things in order to “soothe [his] conscience” in place of therapy. (See

Hence, the universal answer boils down to how people “have not advanced enough in the Christian life”, and this the cause of all their problems.
This is the true message (accusation) of the Devil! We can judge it by its fruits: “hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies…” (Gal.5:20). Of course those guilty will all claim their “hatred”, “variance”, “emulation” (oneupmanship; trying to outdo the next guy preaching), “wrath”, “strife”, “sedition” (dissension) —is simply them trying to “reprove, rebuke, exhort” everyone else’s “heresies” (or “lawlessness”)! (We can see this in someone even more radical than Cloud, such as his one time sparring partner, hyper-KJVO Peter Ruckman).

One thing that is particularly striking, is that the traditional “five fundamentals of the faith”

1. The inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture
2. The deity of Jesus Christ
3. The virgin birth of Christ
4. The substitutionary, atoning work of Christ on the cross
5. The physical resurrection and the personal bodily return of Christ to the earth.

that originally defined fundamentalism, omitted grace alone; which is THE “fundamental” of fundamentals! There is absolutely NO GOSPEL at all and the others are essentially meaningless, without that one. (“Substitutionary atoning work of Christ on the Cross” doesn’t specify grace vs works! Other versions have been put out, that may add other points by combining some of these to make room).

This is a manmade list drawn up purely on the specific doctrines conservatives felt were under threat 100 years ago, in the beginning of the battle against “modernism”.
And this list allows people to virtually deny grace in favor of works, and yet still be accepted as truly “fundamentalist” or “orthodox”! (Then, people like this will often go on to insist that the true Gospel is not just five doctrines after all, but “every doctrine”, by which they get to denounce other evangelicals as heretical or “compromising”; and yet they continue to set the standard themselves).

This is why this movement has slipped by the radar of apologetics that goes after any one or any group that teaches anything seen as remotely softening on those other doctrines or the Gospel.
So this is what we are seeing here.

Seeing the removal of Law as our motivation to please God as leading to no motivation at all betrays the hidden lawlessness of their mindset. The only reason to please God is the fear of Hell; there is no other reason. This changes the Gospel into a utopian scheme every bit as much as the liberal “social gospel”

As for the problems of ecumenicalism and even other issues such as shallow worship and female pastors, the problem there is in the Church growing into an organization that has to survive financially, and thus essentially become subject to what any other money-making corporation has to live on, which is “market” factors!

The Church was originally an informal body of believers in Christ who fellowshipped, at first in the synagogue most of them came out of, and as they were cast out of that institution, they met in homes. Apostles spread the Gospel, and “overseers” (episkopos) acted as “shepherds” (poimen or “pastors”), including “elders” (presbuteros) and “teachers”, to safeguard the teaching.

When Christ did not return “soon”, at least in the way that many thought He would come, the succeeding body then reshaped itself in adaptation to the secular world. Leaders took on a lot of authority in the face of persecution, false doctrine and schism. It became a paid “profession” like “doctor”, “lawyer”, etc. that would become almost kingly. It eventually grew into the very “Romish” system leaders like Cloud condemn evangelicals for softening up to. It then fractures into smaller bodies, all with power-wielding leaders. These continue to fracture into smaller bodies, and finally, “independent” congregational bodies. Yet still with “offices” as paid, professional positions.

This is what the IFB movement advocates. (Though they will claim theirs existed side by side with the big churches the whole time, since the apostles. But the “small persecuted groups” they cite as forming this “unbroken chain” or “trail of blood” had vastly different doctrines and practices from modern Baptists. And even if some of the smaller churches don’t have seminary trained pastors, the position they in practice hold is still an official “profession”).

Yet even this scaled down organization begs the questions of why can’t women have “equal opportunity employment”, just like they supposedly can in any other incorporated institution? Isn’t it financially “responsible” to follow the market (the backbone of the capitalist system they believe is so “godly”), and give people what they want, make it “user friendly” for them, to survive and keep the money coming in so we can pay the leaders, and for the building and any other “staff”?
And people today want modern music, entertainment, “meeting felt needs”, psychological therapy, gender equality and harmony with other religious groups.

The point here is that while this movement argues about “separation” from the trappings of the big institutional churches, it still holds on to one of their central tenets, and that’s the magisterial power of the leader. (Even though they never use the term “magisterial”. Yet in practice, it’s just a microcosm of the same thing as the big churches). Some of these leaders have even been described in terms like “mini-popes”. A “pope” ruling over a single congregation. Revivalist Sam Jones, whom they follow, said “The pastor is king and the pulpit is his throne”.

So if you argue “the purpose of the Church is not to meet people’s needs”, then why do we have it meeting only one person’s need; the one “hired” (John 10:12) to run it?

Giving up that power and going back to the actual New Testament form of fellowship would break all these trends Cloud and others condemn. If you hosted fellowships in your home, then your wife would not be running it, and you can use whatever kind of music, Bible translation or counseling principles you think are Biblical, and associate with whatever other leaders, fellowships or movements you think are teaching the truth. If people don’t like it and leave, then there’s no pressure to entice them back in by changing.

But you would likely lose the adoration, power, and most importantly money and accommodation official paid leaders enjoy. (But the money now could all go into spreading the Gospel, and it was those who were not settled and constantly moved from place to place who were the ones Christians were commanded to support or accommodate, and also struggling churches and brethren. More on this subject:

The reason many of these issues have become so disputed as far as what Scriptures really teach is because Scripture does not recognize this later developed Church system. Not the huge powerful version, nor the scaled down “congregational” version. So it is not teaching us how to run it.
So it ends up with basically every man having their own idea of how the scriptural teachings are applied, and then splitting off from an older body to do it their own way.

If they were really consistent with avoiding the corruption of “the world” and the big churches, they would go back to this pattern. But most of them will not want to do that.
So they can just continue maintaining and guarding their little [501(c)3 protected] power base against all the encroaching enemies from without, and talk about all the effort “paddling upstream” and then comparing themselves to others seen as not keeping up enough. That really is the “easy” path!

  1. On a side note (since music is one of the ways they emphasize “paddling upstream” against the modern trends of “the world” coming into the Church), here, as much as they may fiercely deny, is the original sentiment of their teaching on the “holy” vs “profane” in music:

    As I point out on the CCM article, instead of trying to salvage the corrupt doctrine built on this bad foundation, it’s time to admit it’s wrong. It is part of a false gospel of “chosen” races (as if this African so-called “savagery” were exclusive to them, and white Christian culture was naturally “better”, rather than all men being stained with sin whichever form it takes; and that was supposed to be the very “Gospel” those “good Christians” of old preached!), as much as they try to cover up that part of it!

  2. On FB, someone posted this book excerpt:

    The “gospel” in the churches today is no gospel at all. It’s a call to personal and social activism that engages the affections with sin, self and sanitation: we must do away with sin, we must control ourselves for Jesus (known in Christian camps as, “dying to self”), we must sanitize the world for Christ…
    Morality campaigns in churches today are displacing Colossians 2:10, which says that we are complete in Christ. I’m not saying there is no place for instruction in the living arts. I am saying that knowledge of self in our modern churches is substituted for knowledge of God and Christ. The cross was Christ’s message that self is finished, yet the Christian message today is self’s new beginning. It’s the digging up of the corpse of the old humanity that Christ buried at Calvary.
    Yet scripture is a revelation of God’s work, not ours.
    Freedom from sin, therefore, has to do with what Christ did, not with what we are doing. Otherwise, we could never be free from sin.
    Martin Zender

    How to Be Free From Sin While Smoking a Cigarette (2007) Page 26

    Looking up the book on Amazon, I see some good reviews:

    Once again, Martin takes a shot at traditional Churchianity and delivers a solid blow, using scriptural backing to make his points. Martin once again has great illustrations (literal pictures and parables) to deliver his message in a way that is always effective and never boring.

    One of my favorite parts of the book is where Martin discusses the passages in Romans and I Corinthians that clearly show that the same principle that says all were condemned in Adam, says all were made alive in Christ. Churchianity has no problems with the first part of the passage. Say you weren’t there when Adam sinned, they say “It doesn’t matter.” Say you don’t “accept” Adam’s acting on your behalf, they say “Too bad.” But, OTOH, they tell you that you have to accept what Jesus did for you for it to count. They have no problem with you being unfairly condemned. Yet, they think you have to be “fairly” justified. You have to perform some act to be justified when you had nothing to say about the condemnation. There’s a cartoon on page 36 that is one of my favorites of Martin’s (sorry, you gotta buy the book to get it). It’s very simple and to the point. Of course, Martin addresses the inevitable charge that he’s actually encouraging people to to out and sin more (just as Paul had to). It always amazes me when people jump to that.

    Martin points out that being a slave of Sin doesn’t necessarily mean we are committing lots of sin. Being a slave of Sin means being obsessed with sin. If we’re fretting about sin, worried that sin is removing us from G-d’s favor, we are, in effect, slaves of sin. I had never thought of this this way. But, it makes perfect sense to me. If we want to be free from sin, the first thing we have to do is stop obsessing about it.
    (Brian D. Smith)

  3. Modern creationist leader Ken Ham is someone endorsed in part by Cloud, though with some reservations:

    “Some of the New Evangelical ministries do a lot of good, and for this reason fundamentalists are enticed to associate with them. For example, Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research do a fantastic job of defending the literal Genesis account of creation and defending this against Darwinian evolution. Ken Ham’s Creation Museum is a masterpiece of biblical apologetics. Ray Comfort does a tremendous job in apologetics and personal evangelism. I truly and fervently thank the Lord for what these men are doing for the cause of Christ ……. as far as it goes.
    The problem is that it doesn’t go far enough, and the part that is lacking is very serious.”


    Of course, what’s “lacking” is his position on “separation”, meaning “a clear stand against unscriptural modes of baptism (e.g., infant baptism, pouring, sprinkling), women pastors, allegorical interpretation of prophecy (rejection of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture), the heresy that a born-again believer can lose his salvation, errors pertaining to Holy Spirit baptism, sealing, and filling, Franklin Graham-style ecumenical evangelism, the errors of the church growth movement (e.g., Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, and Bill Hybels), the error of Christian psychology, and the heresy of modern textual criticism.” (So, “I am not saying that we won’t use some of their materials; I am talking about joining hands together for ministry.”)

    Note, association with Catholics and Modernists, the traditional objects of “separation”, is not even on the list anymore, but it’s all about the “errors” of New-evangelicalism and charismaticism. These are whom “separation” is now to be from (they have now been downgraded to the level of those other two groups), indicating the “degree” has been stepped up from groups seen as outside the faith, but others could step it up even further and say he shouldn’t be using their literature then!

    And it’s not even that Ham necessarily associates with these groups; he simply doesn’t actively “stand against” them (pointing out his ministry is “not a church” and thus doesn’t have to concern itself with other issues besides Creation).

    This type of dynamic is covered in new article “Emulation: The Forgotten Sin (Oneupmanship)”:

    Any way, the point today was this article on Ham:

    Creationist Ken Ham Says Aliens Will Go To Hell So Let’s Stop Looking For Them

    “You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe,” Ham wrote on his blog on Sunday. “This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation.”

    This is totally unbilical logic.
    It starts from their understanding of “Adam’s sin affecting the whole universe”, which is based on assumptions about Eden and the immediate effects of the Fall, which of course ties into their “young earth” literalism —all physical death, thorns, etc. are assumed to have begin then, and ignored is that the “death” God pronounced, to begin THAT DAY was obviously spiritual, not physical. They will acknowledge spiritual (hence, everyone defaulting to a Hellbound state), but assume physical as well, and this is where the whole problem in their doctrines, from Genesis to Revelation, begins up to Ham’s current statements!

    As one commenter (either on that site or on the FB post) pointed out, this is just making the earth the center of the universe all over again. There is nowhere in the Bible that even remotely indicates such a thing. Yet this is what led to Christians generations ago insisting vehemently that there CANNOT be any other life in the universe. Only now, Ham, is remotely allowing that there could be, but going past the others in saying they’re all going to Hell, then. But he’s still “compromised” from that earlier “faith of our fathers” in allowing even that much.

    As Armstrong used to point out, in an old article of one of his magazines, “Yes, there IS life out there!”, referring to the angels. Not in the physical universe, but still, “extraterrestrial” in a very technical sense. Their “fall” was before Adam in order for Satan to be in a position to “tempt” Adam in the first place, and yes, then he and those that followed him seem to be left without any kind of prospect for salvation. But the angels that did not follow him remained “good”, and were not so affected by “Adam’s sin”.
    This right here obliterates the argument used by Ham and all those before and beside him that all creatures in the universe would have inherited “Adam’s sin.”
    (They’ll probably try to emphasize a difference between the physical “universe”, and the spiritual realm where the angels reside. But again, scripture makes no such distinction. Sin is ultimately spiritual, and it could only be a spiritual means by which it would even spread across the physical universe, where the descendants of Adam have had absolutely no influence).

    The condemnation that leads to Hell is based on a person’s own PERSONAL commission of sins. Likewise, let’s not forget infants under “the age of accountability”, whom they adamantly insist will go to Heaven if they die in that state. (Some Calvinists may argue otherwise, but these “revivalistic” type “fundamentalist” leaders tend to be among the most vigorously opposed to Calvinism).

    What Adam’s sin gave us is a nature that leads us to sin. This says nothing about aliens trillions of miles away.
    For a start, what about our own animals then? They are sentient creatures, but no one says any of them are going to Hell (though many will dispute whether they’ll be in Heaven or not).

    So even apart from the matter of what the “universal” spread of “death” really means, what none of these type of apologists has ever considered, is that for any “aliens” to be apart of any plan of salvation, their counterpart to Adam would have to have sinned. (And this assuming God is even working out the same kind of plan with them as He did with us).
    The One we know as Jesus Christ was really the eternal creative Word who had existence outside the fleshy form He took on in earth history. So He could just as well manifest as Savior to that race. If you say He couldn’t that is limiting God’s omnipotence and going WAY outside scriptural bounds!

    And this is again granting their definition of “the universal effect of Adam’s sin”

    But again, as radical as Ham is, he’s still seen as too moderate by the likes of Cloud! They really don’t think of what a bad testimony stuff like this gives. It’s everyone else who is blind or “rebellious”.

  4. And here, an article from a whole site focusing on Bill Gothard, who is an influential leader in IFB circles, especially with his “scientific” supports for their teachings on music:

    I like how it especially focuses on the “mechanistic” approach to human personality and the Bible, which is what I’ve been criticizing.

    There are ten steps for this and five steps for that, yet eight steps for another. Such an approach to human personality accords neither with the variations in people or with the dynamics of Scripture. The listing of these “steps” is pure human invention, but Gothard presents each of the lists as though they were the direct teaching of the Bible. This is my principle objection to his ministry.

    The Bible uses various terms at various times to describe differing people, or even the same person in differing aspects. That is, the presentation of folly in the Bible is dynamic and relational, not mechanistic and impersonal.

    Gothard’s approach is not that of the careful exegete who wishes to determine the meaning of the text, but of the engineer who wishes to use the material in his own programmatic approach which is mechanical and not personal, mechanistic and not dynamic. Gothard does not really teach the Scripture; he really uses the Scripture to fit into his own categories.

    The Book of Job presents a point of view that is dramatically different from Gothard’s lists. In fact, Gothard is a splendid modern example of Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar—each of whom approached the problems of Job from a mechanistic, cause-and-effect, point of view. Here was their principle error: while there is a cause-and-effect approach to reality that is found at times in the wisdom literature of Scripture, that is not the only approach to life that the Bible teaches.

    The clear teaching of the Book of Job is that a mechanistic, cause-and-effect approach to life may be way off base!

  5. Here’s a Campbellist (Church of Christ) on worship. While I don’t advocate all the jumping around he’s characterizing in many churches today; still I find it funny how he uses a few select passages and then mostly artistic portrayals showing the people of God bowing, while the pagans dance around; he appeals to not just Islam, but even Buddhism, as examples of the right way to worship, even though, it’s a “fake god” as he calls it. His point is that we’ve done a total turnaround, where “pagans” are “reverent”, and Christians want to dance and party.
    But if the dancing and liveliness by pagan worship anciently was proof it was indelibly wrong, then how can “solemn” worship being used by them today be taken as proof it’s the right way?

    He makes the mistake of the IFB’s in assuming ALL pagan worship was rhythmic. They forget about the ascetics, Stoics, etc. And I wonder if this guy ever addresses David’s dancing, and the fact that “there is a time for everything” —solemnity-to mourn, to dance, etc; it’s not ALL one OR the other.

    And he makes the mistake a lot of “old-time religion” makes as if “the presence of the Lord” is confined to that one place (and that “if you curse or tell a little white lie; you ought to know better than to do it HERE…!”) This actually supports the compartmentalizing of one’s walk with God that many of these wayward modern [nominal] “Christians” people like him condemn, have fallen into. [Edit: great article on this: ]

    Everything is copied wholesale from the Old Testament. EXCEPT, of course, for the original sabbath (in Campbellism, two or three passing references to Sunday in the New Testament are assumed to somehow command the new day), and the rest of the specifically “Jewish” aspects of the Law.

    It’s amazing how this absolute perfectionism regarding obedience to God can be preached, when they’ve selectively picked and chosen what aspects are still in effect, using weak proof-texts, and then going on and on about how others are failing.

    What stood out to me, is not only using artistic illustrations of Old and New Testament services as absolute proof, like they were part of the inspired text, but then, “That looks like US; the way WE worship”. It’s not even “We’re aiming to look like them (to copy their reverence)”; it’s “they look like us“. Clearly, that is tickling the ears, and making themselves the standard; the reference point even scripture is judged by!
    And of course, it is always about comparison with others who fall short, including the reference to 2 Tim. 4:2; that it’s his JOB to compare with others. This is the “emulation” I discuss here:
    And like a good Campbellist, salvation (“getting into Heaven”) is not just believing, but also getting all the works right, including the worship, as well as of course, baptism. (Which is where they will be cast outside the “pale of orthodoxy” by many who might otherwise agree with them).

    People like this don’t realize that if salvation was on our doing everything right, even the ways shown above of how they’ve distorted scripture would render them in the position of those Old Testament people who worshipped the golden calf or brought strange fire. May the Gospel of Grace be true, and these men be liars!

  6. Above, I mentioned that IFB’s are starting to have sex scandals revealed at times. So just now, I run across this:

    “Nearly everyone at Bob Jones grew up in a fundamentalist environment, so if you were abused, your abuser probably came from inside that bubble, too, which is what happened to me,” she said. “The person who supposedly counseled me told me if I reported a person like that to the police, I was damaging the cause of Christ, and I would be responsible for the abuser going to hell. He said all of my problems were as a result of my actions in the abuse, which mostly took place before I was 12, and I should just forgive the abuser.”

    Notice the assumption that the “abuser” was lost; and as far as I know, BJU is typical [Baptist] four-point Arminian which believes in “once-saved-always-saved”. This is subtle denial of any sin in their ranks, by “splitting” the offender off as “unsaved”. Ultimately; it’s all about the image, especially as this school is supposedly so strict on sexual morality, that skirt lengths were measured, and rock beats were condemned for their “sensuality”.
    What we’re seeing here is the huge “shadow” of this institution, and the whole movement. (And of course, psychological terms are conveniently rejected as well. Though Biblical Discernment Ministries thinks BJIII “compromised” by using a particular term in a book!)

  7. Here’s another one (not sure what movement he is, though he is of some sort of “perfectionist” [i.e. you can “stop sinning”] persuasion).

    He dismisses the common teaching on Isa 64:6 in saying “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” and Rom 3:10 “There is none righteous, no, not one”.
    He claims these were just referring to those particular people (would he accept when the Fulfilled view says all those warnings of judgment; Rom 1, etc. apply only to specific people? I think not).
    In other words, to people being “ungodly”, their righteousness is “filthy rags”, and no, “not one” of them does “good”. But isn’t that really all of us? No, “These are the description of the rebellious ungodly people, who are even filthy criminals. Why these preachers pull this passage and connect it to godly people? It is because they want to deceive godly people. Is it not the work of Satan?” (So here we see the justification ot taking one’s self out of the equation of “all”, and just pointing at “others” that characterizes much of “conservativism”; both religious and political).

    So then we get three scriptures mentioning “the righteous”:

    “Deut 6:25 says- it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us. Yet, they teach that we can swap our righteousness with Jesus Christ. It is a lie of the devil. Nobody swap nobody’s righteousness. Yet false preachers teach this.”

    “2 Sam 22:21 The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. 22 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 23 For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. 24 I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity. 25 Therefore the LORD hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight. These preachers say the righteousness of godly people is filthy rag.”

    “Rom 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. … 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”

    The problem is, who really lives up to any of this, in actual practice?
    Deuteronomy is giving us the condition: “IF”. The nation as a whole never satisfied this, and individuals had to rely on the atonement system to represent a [temporary] means of “grace”. So in that case, if they were doing all the right things as much as possible, and then being “covered” properly, then they could claim “righteousness”. But this was not the final setup. Something CHANGED after the Cross, and furthermore, after the system of Law was finally removed, but people like this assume everything is the same, except that [only] physical blood ritual is removed. (And notice the direct denial of imputation. “Nobody swap nobody’s righteousness”! If that were true, then nobody could be “covered” by Christ at all. We would simply stand on our own righteousness!)
    What was being taught the whole time was that man couldn’t actually work his way to the perfect, literal “righteousness” that God requires.

    The Samuel passage is David’s Song of Praise. He was obviously a sinner, doing worse things than many of us, and yet, in the end was declared righteous. This was not from his behavior, or him just “trying”, or never sinning again after that. It was obviously GRACE; his sins not being COUNTED against him (2 Cor. 5:19).

    And Paul’s whole discussion of “freedom” in Romans tells us that the “power” of sin is the Law; and that’s what we’re made “free” from! So “sin” and “Law” are used interchangeably, for “by Law is knowledge of sin” (3:20).
    Teachers like this turn the whole premise on its ear by citing the verses where “sin” is mentioned only, and teach that this “freedom” then is a “difficult” path of striving against “sin” every day, and [in the case of someone like this], by that means, you can “stop sinning” completely. (And the stress is on “difficult” process, as no one believes you can just say a prayer or something, and are “changed” automatically, where all bad habits are automatically broken).
    So it’s like another one of those counterintuitive “paradoxes”; that that (a difficult, strict “daily process”) is actually “freedom“! But it’s not the Gospel (“Good News”); it’s just the same old “law of sin and death”, rehashed, and actually the very “slavery to sin” scriptures were talking about! (And he even concludes that this is how we’re saved!)

    And its result is denial of one’s own sin (you must, in order to maintain the claim you’ve stopped sinning), and then, judgment of others (as we see here), and everyone trying to rise up and correct each other, leading to all the dissension. As I pointed out in the sister article of “Salvation or Psychological Health”, this page: points out: “the Law gets softened into helpful tips for practical living [such as “steps” for getting over habits and addictions], while the Gospel gets hardened into a set of demands that we have to live out.” That’s ironic, that they are the ones actually softening the Law (which many of them may be heard accusing others of), but again, they have to, in order to reach that “perfect” status.

    The demands of the Law have to be brought down in some way, for it to be attainable. It’s often things they refuse to even consider as sin, while deflecting focus toward other sins (this is how the past society and all the stuff that went on back then could be seen as “godly” simply because one area of sin: sex, was repressed then, but burst out into the open more recently. Or how meanspiritedness and even hatred could be justified. They claim it is “preaching the truth” to the sinners of the world, while one’s own sins —such as meanspiritedness itself, is completely reattributed to a “godly” intention).

    He basically acknowledges Satan as an “accuser”, but applies it to people saying “the godly” are still sinners. But it’s those who think they’ve got sin completely licked in their own lives, who always then go after others they see as not on that level. This is the true “accusation” of Satan, as we see all throughout the New Testament. And when the accusations come back on them, it really is Satan, but they are the ones who “gave him occasion”.

  8. “Noah could have basked in God’s goodness and grace and favor day and night, but if he didn’t obey God’s commands, he would have drowned with the rest of the world.”

    See this one on FB, and from a Christian, meaning an evangelical (a charismatic leaning “new”-evangelical; not even an old line fundamentalist or anything like that), rather than a “cult” group that openly teaches salvation by obedience.

    If he could have basked in “grace” all day, and still not be saved, then what is “grace” then?

    People just don’t get it, that while the Old Testament is for us to learn from, it is not for us to copy. “Learning from” means seeing its whole point, that when man is left to his own efforts to save himself, almost no one is saved. The whole lesson with Noah was that “only eight souls were saved”.
    And that’s exactly the way it would be today (with eternal salvation rather than from a flood), if God were holding us up to the same principle. That’s why there was a New Testament, and during the transition (in the part of the Bible we call the “New Testement”), the Noah story was appealed to in an “antetypical” fashion; that too would end shortly, when the the system of Law would finally pass away in that generation.

    Commenters give the usual “methodistic” interpretation of “grace” (and as typical, the Hebrew names of God come out, showing you the sort of groups this kind of meme attracts. Keep in mind, nearly all of today’s major “cult” groups ultimately stem from the Methodistic traditions with its “impartation” of “whole sanctification”; whether with charismatic “gifts” or no gifts).

    You have a choice in life. You choose to live the life God instructed you to live or to live your own life, not considering Gods law. Grace is in abundance, your choice if you want to open the tap. You can close the tap to the source or you can open it. Jesus life on the cross gave us the chance to enter heaven, even though we sin( open the tap) The tank is full of grace, for every one. The ticket for your trip to heaven is paid, you have to use it and get on the train. The important thing is. Do you want to accept the grace of Jesus perfect life. If you say yes, then you have the responsibility to live your life according to Gods will, take responsibility for your actions( use your ticket with your name on) Grace will not get you in heaven if you don’t accept it, or not to life your life according Gods will. If you are in the train( made your choice) you may fall, but you are still in the heaven train. You are moving forward, by accepting your mistakes. Alot of people think, If you accept Jesus death on the cross alone, you are saved. Not true. Even the devil accept that Jesus died on the cross for human kinds sin. If we all were saved by grace alone, regardless of our actions, why do we preach of a “hell” . You see. Grace became a cheap ticket to use to get into heaven, to live your life as you wish, regardless of the boundaries God set up for us, not regarding Gods will (law) for your life at all . Paul said. If it was not for the law, how would he know wrong from right. So there is a wrong and a correct. Jesus said to the people on earth when He lived here for just more than 30 years of He’s perfect life. Pick up your bed, go and sin no more. When you confess your wrong doing, you receive the privilege of Jesus perfect life , you pick up your new life and you move on in life with caution. Jesus lived the perfect life for you and me, but we need to be cautious. Once saved, always saved is a lie the devil is teaching us from the pulpit( church) . we cannot live a perfect life, God knows that, that’s why He give us a choice. Yes, also true, you can forget to confess some sins, you may say, so I will be lost. No, God knows your life, He knows if you put Him first in line every day and He’s grace steps in because of the relationship you have with Him. To stand in relation to someone is to please or not to please that person in your doing. So you can have a bad or good relation. The thief on the cross, crucified next to Jesus. He accepted Jesus as the saviour, hes sins was forgiven. He confessed hes wrong doing by taking responsibility of hes wrong doing. If he was given the chance to get down from the cross, hes life should have showed hes new choice in Jesus. But for him, grace was enough because of Jesus perfect life on the cross.

    So we see here the “tap” concept that Horton, Christless Christianity refers to. As he calls it in this book, it’s “Law Lite” or “neo-nomianism”. Not the full Law as given in the Old Testament, but a greatly scaled down version, only retained, because of the assumption that God has to “require” something of us, in order to maintain order. You also see the “payback” principle, that we must give God something, and once we do, then He gives us something. The mistake this makes is projecting human legal interaction (such as buying and selling, as well as the need to maintain order through fear of punishment and promise of reward) onto God. And that something He then gives us is that then and only then, does He now look at our limited ability and imperfection and pardon the “mistakes”. Grace then “steps in”. (A constant back and forth system of transaction, just like in daily human affairs. Which is also how they see prayer and devotions, which many will even revoke someone’s salvation over, if they’re deemed not doing it enough!) They would cry holy heresy if someone said the unconverted would saved by their “sincerity” (as many in the world have pled), but what they’re teaching here is precisely “sincerity”, but only in addition to some works, on top of “faith”.

    This shows us that they are the very ones who have a mindset of a “cheap ticket to Heaven”. But unlike these others they talk about, who think “nothing” is required, they can claim to be doing “their part”. Then, they’re “off the hook” (for now, that is). And then in the position to go and point at others. (And we see this is not even completely coherent, because it says the ticket is paid for, and the person must “use” it, so then what is a “cheap ticket”? In reality, the cheap ticket would be the “our part” in contrast to Christ’s payment of the ticket. The analogy is really poor, because once on the train, you’re still not in Heaven yet, and so the train represents the “Christian walk”, which is still all about our efforts at [the “process” of] getting to the desination, again, even though being onboard now grants us the pardon for “falling”).
    This is why there is so much dissension in the religious world, and especially all the different movements arguing over “once saved always saved”.

    Sentiments like this also don’t realize that all of this “caution” contradicts the “rest” we are promised (Heb.4). “Rest” to them, then ends up as some nondescript “peace” God gives you IN all this “difficulty” of the “walk”; not taking any of the discomfort away, but rather changing your attitude about it. I guess, IF you’re “doing your part” (with His “help”, of course, whatever that really means), then you will have the peace of forgiveness. But only until the next time you sin, of course. (Again, it’s an on and on, back and forth transaction).

    And notice how Hell is “because” of salvation (presumably) not being by grace alone. (i.e. “if” that were so, then “why do we preach hell?”) The answer, to scare people into doing the right thing. But they all forget, it’s supposed to be about “love”, and “true love casts OUT fear”. (1 John 4:18) It’s good for maintaining an institution of control, though!
    As “death” (what they’re calling “hell”) is the wages of sin, this is why it must be grace alone. To maintain a bit of Law, and simply reduce the amount of works “required”, man still falls short, and then would earn “death”.

    And again, this is completely unaware of the transitional nature of much of the New Testament, (and that most of the Gospel accounts were pre-Cross, and thus wholly under the Old Testament, still, even though they are considered part of the “New Testament”, because they are where it is introduced). When Christ said “go and sin no more”, it was not because “the next time, I won’t give you grace”. Who was threatening to judge the person in the first place?
    The doctors of the Law! A group of men, in an institution that had been given that legitimate authority by God, but by not recognizing their own sinfulness and by getting hung up in the politics of the time, had corrupted it; and misused the Law, both on the people (like the actual law they were appealing to actually said to bring BOTH the MAN and woman taken in adultery, but where was the man in that instance?), and to try to trap Jesus, who angered them by exposing their sin. THAT is who would “judge” her, and the next time, He might not be around to rescue her from them.

    This is not to say that Jesus doesn’t want us to try and sin no more, but this really is not what salvation is about, and to make it so, denies His work on the Cross, every bit as much as those who rejected Him, with the Law back then, or without Law today. Either grace is free, or it is no more grace (Rom.11:6, 4:4).
    It should also be pointed out, that when Paul spoke of “knowledge of sin” being by the Law, he was showing how for this very reason, it brought death; not how by looking at it and doing what it says, it brings life. (Recall, that “knowledge of good and evil” is what marked the Fall to begin with, not the loss of knowledge of good and evil!) James appears to say something like that, but then you must remember, both apostles were writing to people who believed they were still under the Law, and so had to show them exactly what it required, and the ultimate conclusion, brought out by Paul, is that with man’s nature, it is futile, and so grace alone is what’s needed.
    And while the devil knows the truth about God, his evil is deceiving man about His plan, and urging them to save themselves, and then accuse others (his main function) who aren’t working hard enough to do so.

    Also, someone else just now asks: “I heard somebody say that self-pity is the sin of idolatry……..
    What do you think?”

    There may technically be some point to that, but then it’s just part of the natural self-focus all of us are inclined to engage in, so it’s highly unfair to try to hit someone unhappy with something with that charge (as if they’re particularly ‘worshiping self’). But that’s exactly what many Christians, including leaders will do (and then go back to bemoaning their loss of influence in society, or how people aren’t giving enough in church, thinking they’re not doing the same thing they scolded the other person for doing).

    To throw out the term “idolatry” is to appeal to the Law, and people forget, none of us keeps it right (as can be seen in the above example). So we need grace and mercy instead of judging each other.

    • This same meme, reworded:
      Faith did not save Noah ...obedience did

      In the ensuing discussion, people of course mentioned “true faith” that without works, was “dead”.

      “Faith” and “grace” have been conflated here, and the argument becomes contrasting them to works. But they are different, and we’re dealing with two different ages.

      So no, “grace” did not save Noah, because grace (as we know it; in Christ) was not being offered at that time. Man had fallen, by taking on the knowledge of good and evil, and God was holding man up to this, so beginning with Cain and Abel, he had to do works. But this was not some eternal blueprint, to show us what’s “required” from us today. The point was, to teach man, that his works could not save him, at least for long. Someone like Noah might [relatively speaking] be able to be called “righteous”, but the rest of men would always quickly devolve back to rampant sin.

      In the New Testament period, the two “ages” were overlapping, and as that old age was getting ready to finally pass, antetypical fulfillments of Noah, Israel in the wilderness, etc. began to play out in the Church. That’s why the Church is given those analogies and pointed to a kind of “grace” that came through a “faith” that must be expressed through works. That doesn’t mean that “grace=faith=works” for all time as this argument is saying. It was an “EARNEST” of the fullness of redemption that was to come “SHORTLY”.

  9. Much of religious concept of “holiness” goes beyond being directly about obvious sin, but rather supposedly “questionable” things that will “lead you” into worse stuff. But this ends up becoming focused on us and our efforts at saving ourselves (whether from a particular result, if not from eternal condemnation itself) by being good.
    There are scriptures they can use that seem to support this, beginning with the strict commands to “learn not the way of the heathen”, “the “strange fire” and other such strictures in the Old Testament. While this is obviously “the Law”, in the new testament, they appeal to Romans 1: people being “given over” to worse [sexual] sin, to which we plug in “they must have been starting with lesser sin, and then got ‘jaded’, or they ignored conscience and general revelation [v18-20, ch2:15] and God finally got fed up with it” [I remember waiting for a certain ‘Christian’ person I knew, to “fall” because of all the stuff he was doing on the downlow, but he never did; and then it’s like, what am I doing waiting for someone to fall?]; “demons coming back sevenfold”, “the spirit of the Law”, where even our thoughts violate the commands, and avoiding “the appearance of evil”.

    The strength of the argument is that you can’t disprove what they’re saying; that what you’re doing is going to take you down a path to other things. And they can appeal to the “fall” of many other people into habits, addictions, and even crimes. So to not heed them, you’re just being another stubborn blind rebel.
    But this ends up having people live totally by fear, as well as piling up precautions to ensure we come “nowhere near crossing the line”. This is why the Israelites of Christ’s time had added 39 restrictions on the Sabbath. So it ends up leading to self-righteousness (trust in ourselves, even as we claim to “trust Christ”), and hence, leading to those leaders rejecting Christ. Today, it just causes the “division” Christ promised (which is not from His Gospel offending the sinners, but rather the people with the Law, being offended by the Gospel, and trying to kill others’ freedom under the guise of trying to remove sin).


    Article criticizing something called “Womanist Theology”, which “is a feminist theology that was created starting in the mid-late 1980s by a sector of black feminist academics from secular theological schools and universities. It was actually based on feminist theology and black liberation theology, both of which themselves draw from liberation theology.” They’re calling it “another gospel”.

    What struck me, is their alternative:

    “What is the Gospel?

    ‘[For the LORD] cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.’ (Ps 96:13)

    ‘And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.’ (Daniel 12:2)

    Every person who have ever lived, including all of the dead, will one day stand before God to be judged for the things each has done in his or her life on this earth. That judgment will decide how each person spends eternity. The eternal state of all sinners will be condemnation, ‘everlasting shame and everlasting contempt’ in an eternal lake of fire originally prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt 25:41).”

    Basically judgment is the Gospel, which is the “Good News”.
    The above is all the BAD news, that necessitated the Good News.

    It does then, get into “According to scripture the Gospel is the good news that God has made a way through His grace to escape this coming condemnation and to live with Him for eternity”. (And from there, the basic facts about Christ, and Him being the once in history offering; leading to this Gospel being “exclusive”).
    One can claim that all that bad news is needed, to establish the premise of the good news, and that is correct, except that the focus here is clearly on the judgment, with the “escape” sounding almost like a sort of afterthought tacked on at the end. And of course, the “exclusivity” is not about its efficacy in itself, but in man’s effort to “come” unto it. (Which then is what narrows its efficacy to a relative “few” who are convinced of it and then make the mind and life change, which is often said to be a “hard walk”).

    Clearly, this is all a “works” focus, which is the very “other gospel” Paul was warning about in the cited Galatians passage. Manual application of the gift (through repentance and faith) was still preached then, because they were in the transition to the full age of Grace, and the Law system was still partly in effect, yet on its way down. So “grace, not works” was preached, yet it was only an “earnest” that they had to “run the race” in order to fully gain the redemption.

    Though, of course, evangelical ministries like this don’t believe that part of it. So we end up with all these contradictions -er- “paradoxes” in modern Church teaching today. The difference between Paul’s teaching and the Galatians and other legalists is that they maintained Law as a permanent means of maintaining behavioral order and pleasing God, with the Messiah to come to reward the “godly nation” with rulership; that is, if not for all these “sinners” within, not following the Law, bringing “judgment” instead (sound familiar?)
    To Paul, it was largely to not give the enemy “occasion” to defame the Gospel (Eph.4:27, Rom.3:7,8, also Jude 4). That’s why some human effort (repentance, basically) could be preached then, without contradicting “Grace”.

    It’s when we today claim to be fully in the new “covenant”, and that the old one has COMPLETELY ended (you especially see this when sabbatarians come and point out to non-sabbatarians that they themselves are not keeping “all the commandments”), and yet seeing this as an extension of the same “New Testament age” recorded in the NT. The “age to come” then becomes something else besides “Grace” in itself, and the “age to end” now becomes the physical universe, deemed evil and “fallen”, including the people still born into it. “Soon” as the timeframe for this end, becomes stretched out to thousands of years and counting, because hey look, we’re still in this physical world. We must have misunderstood what “soon” meant (rather than considering we may have misunderstood what the “age” or “world” meant). Every moral or political shift is then taken as the start of this “soon” end, though none of them ever comes true. Yet we must keep preaching this, to try to scare as many people as possible, into the fold.

    So then “repentance” and good works afterward become the means of getting out of this [physical] old age and into the [“spiritual”] new one. But removed from the framework of Law vs Grace, it becomes a contradictory age of partial Law and conditional “grace”, where salvation is still based on the same “give and take” transactional process leading to death (for most), as it was under the old full Law.

    So then, the Gospel becomes purely about behavior and some often non-descript peace of mind or other good effect in general life, such as “happiness”, “fulfillment”, “abundant life”, etc. This then becomes what other philosophies (whether political liberation, psychological therapy, etc) are put down or condemned in favor of. People’s genuine earthly needs and concerns are dismissed, because “all they need” is this spiritual “cure” for life’s ills. However, when this is spelled out in common Christian teaching, it’s a whole lot of self-initiated mechanical “steps” that is not “exclusive” to the Christian Gospel or any specifically supernatural act of God.

    “The Gospel of the Bible offers a sure foundation, a heavenly affirmation and a genuine liberty and hope which no man-made theology or philosophy can offer. ‘Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,’ commands the Lord Jesus (Matt 3:2). God wants us to enter His kingdom through the only Way that He has ever created — faith in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and in the Holy Scriptures that He inspired. The way of the Bible offers everlasting life, greater freedom and liberty, and a better way to achieve any worthy goal than any way this world can offer, and that Bible Way is the only Way that the Christian should follow.”

    The “freedom, liberty and hope,” were from the curse of the Law, but here, they are made essentially part of the Law (notice, how man’s “response” to “the way” is made the central point), and also the fulfillment of earthly “goals” (is it any wonder, the “prosperity gospel” has become so prominent in evangelical circles?) So while we can have earthly liberty and freedom (like what conservatives often push for in political debates), we still end up in spiritual bondage, with the demands of the Law hanging over our heads, ready to condemn (which we must then continuously broadcast at the world, and every other belief system or lifestyle that arises in it), if people have not proven themselves through obedience and the right beliefs and actions.

  11. Looked up the “pillars of Reconstructionism” to see how they compared with the table I put here

    I first find an “Arminian revivalist” old line-fundamentalist page, on “the Scourge of Calvinism”, and then look at some of their other articles.

    Drawing upon a military analogy:

    Day after day, month after month, year after year for the past 95 years, there has been a constant and continuous vigil maintained over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. From April 1 through September 30, the sentinels are relieved every half-hour. When relieved, the relief commander gives the verbal order to the relieved sentinel, “Pass on your orders.” The relieved sentinel then passes on to the relieving sentinel, “Post orders, REMAIN AS DIRECTED.” The newly posted sentinel then responds, “Orders acknowledged.” This would be consistent with saying, “Orders remain unchanged.” For 95 years the mission has not changed, the purpose has not changed, and all things remain as they have been without any deviation. Times have changed, society has changed, culture has changed, sentinel personnel have changed, but the mission has remained the same – exactly the same. Nothing has been altered nor tampered with. One could have attended every changing of the guard over the past 95 years and there would not have been one scintilla of difference. “Orders remain unchanged” and “Post orders, remain as directed.”

    For 2,000 years our orders have not changed. As one generation has passed on to another, and there has been many “changings of the guard,” yet our “orders remain unchanged.”

    As the super-sharp sentinels of the 3rd U.S. Infantry have their mission statement and their operational manual and directives, we also have our “Mission Statement,” our “Operational Manual” and “Operational Directives.” Our orders are contained in the Word of God, “which liveth and abideth for ever.” These orders are issued by our Commander in Chief, the Lord God Almighty, and they are to be obeyed without any deviation or variance. We are to change nothing, tamper with nothing, add nothing, and take away nothing. Our “orders remain unchanged.” We are to “Post orders,” and “remain as directed.” As a good soldier of Jesus Christ we are to obey and do whatsoever our Supreme Commander bids us to do. But sadly we live in a day of professing Christianity that is marked by rebellion and compromise. The agents of change have been hard at work attempting to reinvent and redefine the mission of the Army of God, and this disobedience to orders has wreaked havoc as many have committed the ultimate act of mutiny against a holy and righteous God. Many churches today are being led by mutineers who fill them up with folks who are being given what they want. Giving a worldly-minded people what they want is the basis behind the entire emerging church movement.

    1. This assumes their Baptist tradition is the original first century church. “Nothing has been altered nor tampered with. not…one scintilla of difference“? Are they serious? They’re worse than the sabbatarians and Church of Christ with this one! Things have changed a LOT, and many times since then, and there was no “trail of blood” of an identical “Baptist” group going all the way back.

    2. If the orders have not changed, then that changes the whole scope of modern evangelism, as they have been practicing it. People have really skipped over some of Christ’s actual teachings and the recorded “acts” of the apostles. Like if we find all the people in a society are rejecting the message, then we are to move on, not stay and just complain about how everyone is falling away, under the guise of “revival”. Never was there any “pastor-king” with a “pulpit-throne”, ruling over, then losing, and then trying to take back culture, then lamenting how everyone is turning from their old traditions or in any way “taking” something [nation or “culture” itself] that is really “theirs”.

    I find it funny how they are so hung up on these military analogies. This we shall see again, below. While the Bible does use such analogies, old line fundamentalism seems to be a little bit too “into” them, and it seems to create this cold, dictatorial cult-like mindset (but they’re not considered “cults”, because they have a “historic” denominational name, and believe in the “five fundamentals” or the Trinity, Sunday and Hell).
    Really, this (all so common in the writing and preaching of these types) would fit what Horton described as “pep talks seasoned with personal anecdotes and helpful illustrations” (Beyond Culture Wars, p.145), even if plugged into a scripture passage. Of course, the new evangelical churches are guilty of this, but this is where they got it from!


    11. Standards

    “I believe that every Christian ought to practice holy and separated living. ‘For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.’ (Titus 2:11-12) However, I have found that around four decades ago, there was an emphasis on standards that was not based upon teaching and understanding, but more on pressure and force, more on force and not faith. The result today has been “backlash” and rebellion. Though rebellion is never justified, I am not sure we would have seen the magnitude of this rebellion if good men would have patiently taught sanctification and holiness, waiting upon the Holy Spirit to change hearts so the preaching and teaching of the Word of God could change minds. Emphasizing external change without a changed heart can eventually create spiritual casualities. When we substituted standards for sanctification, we got ourselves into trouble. I am for godly standards, especially in the area of modesty and pure living. But, it must be recognized that when the pressure is lifted from those who have not been properly taught and indoctrinated, they will drop any standard that was adopted only as a result of human pressure. We must have a godly standard for our church leaders, but care must be taken that they are in those positions because they have standards the result of biblically held convictions, not after they are placed in a position of responsibility and required to have standards in order to keep that position. Sanctification will lead to a good, godly standard, and I believe we should have them.”

    This is interesting, and something I’ve never seen from a fundamentalist. (And precisely what I’ve always been saying in my treatments of them, and what new evangelicals often say when they do address them. Like in the CCM issue, I had pointed out “The Biblical way to resolve this would have been to all sit down and discuss it prayerfully as brethren, but the problem was that those favoring the old ways were usually totally unreasonable, and did not even believe in discussing or debating [and I later gave an example of at least one who still didn’t], so actually, the brunt of the blame for this discord would fall more on the traditionalists! If leaders on the conservative side…knew scripture so well, then they should have been the ones to have handled this scripturally from the beginning! Instead, they allowed emotion to take completely over, thus setting the stage for one of the very things they criticize CCM fans for— choosing music based on emotion and feelings!”).
    So here is someone on that side saying practically the same thing! It’s usually an insinuation that those “good men” (here we go with that again, like John R. Rice said regarding race) in the past were completely right, and people just up and started rebelling for no reason at all, or because “the godless” captured their minds.

    However, the aim here to fix the “not based on teaching and understanding” is with all of these ridiculous, pseudo-intellectual arguments they have come up with, as in the music issue:

    22. Music

    “I believe that God’s Word establishes clear standards with regard to music totally apart from personal tastes or modern trends. I believe that Godly, triumphant, melodious, sacred traditional music alone meets those Biblical standards and that only such music is acceptable for the worship and service of God. These standards exclude what is commonly known as Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), and any form of the rock beat, or music of the country and western, rap, bluegrass, pop, jazz, or southern Gospel genre. (Ephesians 5:9–10, 18–19;¹ Colossians 3:16–17;² 1 Thessalonians 5:21–22³)”

    I see Southern Gospel mentioned in there. While Tim Fisher, who did the book we used in the IFB music class I once took, was giving a light warning about “gospel songs” (particularly “19th century” ones) as far as being shallow (and setting the stage for that aspect of CCM), now it seems “gospel” has been totally cast onto the heap with rock and the others. (Including country and bluegrass, which the loudest anti-rock critic I ran across seemed to offer on his site).
    I’m not completely sure what exactly he’s calling “Southern Gospel”, as “gospel” is a very broad category. It’s probably the more “soulful” and/or “lively” hand-clapping style (which is very black-influenced, of course). Most likely stuff like Gaither, which these types seem to have been suspicious of as too close to the “line” all along. When I look it up, on videos, I see a lot of the same sort of “quartet” singing they seem to think is the “sacred” style.

    Now, to truly be “scriptural”, and not just use empty “proof-texting” (“citing without saying”, which has been recognized as a common “cultic” technique), the cited scriptures are:

    1) “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
    And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord”

    2) “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

    3) “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

    This is the standard anti-CCM fare, and none of it mentions (let alone “clearly establishes”) the specific meticulous details they employ in these “standards”, nor does it prove only “triumphant, melodious, sacred traditional” music alone is “what’s acceptable”. Meaning, it’s not just any “standard” that men may establish, but SCRIPTURAL standards. (This particular style, didn’t even exist as we know it, in Bible times! It’s clearly a late “Western” product).
    Yet, as always, this whole argument is built off of these three passages. (When the first passage says “make melody in your hearts”, it is not going into any comparison with “rhythm” or “harmony”, and arguing which should be “dominant”. Especially when you have a separate category there, called “spiritual songs”, and again, rhythm and style (overall sound) were not seen as determining what was “spiritual” as the Platonists had done. And the marching-style “battle” music [see below] they are advocating can be seen as an “appearance of evil”, like to those who watched military marches in evil regimes like Nazi Germany. How in the world is that seen as “sacred”?)

    While disclaiming “Reconstructionism” and “Dominion Theology” in point #2 of the statement of faith, they don’t realize how all forms of “superiority” (such as this music issue) stem from the Puritan Calvinist (and ultimately, Catholic Augustinian) notion of the Western Church-controlled nations as God’s kingdom, and its people as the “exceptional” new “chosen” ones, while others are “cursed” (which is ultimately why their music is no good, while traditional Western music is no less than “sacred”). Like I said in the Reconstructionism table comment, people chip off various parts from the whole ideology, trying to “dog-whistle” the message through indirectly, or in many cases some might genuinely have lost sight of the full agenda, but its watermark is still clearly printed all over it.

    Basically, it should be “too good to be true” that your culture and identity is the “godly” one, while others’ are evil, and need to be given up in order to be “right with God”. All have sinned, and no one has been placed into any “exceptional” category.

    Then, looking up what this “triumphant” music is (which I had never heard of; I figured it’s the same thing I was calling “majestic” in the old CCM essay. You know, the “King proceeding out of the drawbridge of his castle”, which was the sound of nearly everything the class played).

    I find this:

    “CCM is not just rock music; its elastic, existential nature reflects the multicolored facets of contemporary styles. We are witnessing today in such churches an enticement toward the perimeter of these contemporary facets. This attraction is evidenced by the surrealistic, ethereal, easy listening sound of piano and orchestral accompaniments as well as by the soft, meandering melodies rewritten for our stately traditional hymns.”

    That’s interesting. (And note, the “multicolored facets” point!) So apparently, even some soft, melodic orchestral music is being gone after now! Does this refer to regular classical? I imagine it might be something like the old Maranatha or Integrity Hosanna music I used to hear when first becoming a Christian. This was what the more modern, moderate charismatics, such as in Brooklyn Tabernacle, used to listen to a lot. When considering whether I had to give up all secular music and listen to worship only, this seemed to be the default, and what I was calling the “praise tapes” in the CCM article, thinking this was part of what they were saying was the good style. To that particular church I took the class in [which actually has the same initials as this one, and I at first thought it might have been the same, except for seeing it is in NC], it might have possibly passed, but now, some are really doubling down on the “standards”!

    When I played some of Fisher’s “Sacred Music Services” files years ago, some was the “majestic” sound, some sounded almost a bit like “show tunes” (!) my wife pointed out, and some was that soft “meandering” sound (where the vocalists “pulled/stretched” the words, as my wife put it). So again, if they’re condemning even this now [more evidence below], it seems they’re “upping the ante” as far as these “standards”.
    So when Fisher himself talked about how CCM (those with lighter standards then his) were “dividing” the church, what I keep seeing (as with the sister KJVO issue) is old-line IFB-ism fracturing from positions more strict than his! As we see [especially] in today’s political headlines, this old racially/culturally defined paradigm is dying, and so they’re tightening up and battening down on everything, leading not to more unity among themselves, but rather more fracturing, as everyone tries to run behind higher or more radical standards on everything (including political candidates in the secular arena), and each leader, emulates [Gal. 5:20] the prophets or apostles calling out everyone else as “false” or at least “compromising”. They end up becoming, instead, what Paul described as “contrary to all men” (1 Thess.2:15).

    “The Liberals took the blood out of their hymnals; we are now witnessing the destruction of honorable militancy from our hymnody. The book of Psalms, the divinely inspired hymnbook of the Bible, gives not only praise to God but also a militant call for the battle. May God help us to preserve this paradoxical legacy.”
    But if you were consistent, isn’t that “music that sounds like war”? Of course, if David did it, it must have been OK in that instance; but then David also danced (rigorously, apparently) as well.

    All of this is the “emulation” mentioned in Galatians. Copying the zeal of the Old Testament, but then picking and choosing what you copy, often out of context, and using it to erect bogus “standards” (propped up by nonsupporting proof-texts) you then sharply judge others by. Their whole theme is “battle”; the “us vs them” mindset that pervades both conservative religion and politics. Yes, that did figure in both the Old and New Testaments, but it in practice becomes an end in itself with them, with themselves readily assumed to be the “good” guys, no matter what they do or teach, and this is the whole problem.
    So their use of “battle” is not “the Lord’s battle”, but rather Satan’s, manifest by its own “fruits” of accusation, discord, and the rest mentioned by Paul as “the flesh” (even if it is accompanied by dry “contemplative” or “marching” style music!)

    They sell a book Confronting Contemporary Christian Music, H. T. Spence, which seems like an expanded version of Cloud, Godwin or Fisher’s books.

    The foreword is the typical “guilt by cause and effect forecasting based on generalized patterns” I have noticed; like what I describe above regarding Cloud’s “paddling upstream”. “Dr. Spence demonstrates the truth that the rock musicians of our age are a part of Satan’s plan for attacking our culture, destroying logic, and preparing the world to accept the Anti-Christ.” Again, it always, without fail comes back to “our culture”, showing the indelible nationalistic undergirding of this teaching, and plugging it all into the dispensational futurist assumptions, elevated to one of the “fundamentals” (the prophecies of which were all supposed to have occurred “shortly” after the NT prophecies were written, but that’s an entirely separate debate that we’re not ready to get into here [re: Heb.5:12-4], when this movement can’t even separate their “culture” from original scriptural contexts and stop thinking of themselves as “exceptional”, despite all the well-known clear scriptures saying all nations are sinful).

    “Yes, this is another book on contemporary music. But, it is not the same as most of the others. It takes its time in getting to the point by laying a biblical foundation and then tracing the extensive genealogy of CCM. It identifies the major writers and performers in the field. It names names.”
    Uh, that’s nothing different from what all those others do as well.

    When you see these chapters and sections:

    Chapter One: The Principle of Light for Music – An “A Priori”

    General Principles of Light
    The Electromagnetic Spectrum
    The Various Forms of Light
    Spiritual Light
    A Presupposition for Light
    To See and Know My Age

    Chapter Two: The Jamming of Light

    Philosophical Approaches to Broadcasting
    External Broadcasting – A Jamming Effect
    Spiritual Jamming
    Present-day Jamming

    It seems clear that he’s going to take the “scientific” approach, (which Fisher did, but apparently nowhere near to this extent), to build the case of how the “frequencies” are what make the sound bad, no doubt. He starts not with “sound” (which is what you’d expect for music), but with the other form of sensory energy, light! Never seen anything like this before; he’s really going to great lengths to build the argument. And we see, he suddenly introduces “spiritual” light, in conjunction with physical light. When people try to cross physical and spiritual analogies like this, to make a spiritual point, that’s where they usually go off track. (He sounds a bit like some of the most way-out charismatics with that, or even [occult] gnostics or spiritualists!)

    Otherwise, it’s the standard format, of the overarching power and “philosophy” of music (which they fail to realize is itself an ancient pagan philosophy), the “world”, the “flesh” and “separation”, the good Christian or at least classical past, and the “music of Hell” in the 70’s, and leading up to it, and beyond, the “The Crossover to the White Sector of Society” (which is what this is really all about, as we saw clearly in the CCM article), and naturally, the evil of the secular rock stars, like the Beatles, who have their own chapter. Also, an outline regarding various “Gospel” music (including “early commercialization”, Southern, Black, and “recent decades”), and in the chapter on Fundamentalism, “Influences of the Neo-Evangelical Music: The Soft, Non-offensive Sound” (apparently what we saw addressed on the other site; on Amazon, I can see he even claims Garlock has “accommodated” —even with his “presuppositional melodic fabric”, and that is basically the same circle [BJU/Greenville] Fisher was in), and also something about “The Steve Green Issue”. The final section: “A Final Word on Endtime Music”. The book closes on how everyone is falling away, and while the Bible described a “falling away”, we’re now heading into the [real] “falling away”, after God had raised the fundamentalist movement in the 19th century.

    Again, the whole issue is grounded upon futurism, and they are pretty much making the same argument the sabbatarians make; that the wider Church is “disobedient to one of God’s commandments”, and this is going to lead to “the Antichrist” and the rest of the “endtime” scenarios. But at least the sabbath is one of the actual Ten Commandments (nothing there about avoiding backbeats), and there’s a recurring prophetic reference in Isaiah about an “end-time” sin of eating “swine’s flesh”. IFB’s reject those two precepts, but insist even more fervently, on nearly the rest of Old Testament, via “principle” (not even “Law”, but principle, which is cloudy and prone to faulty interpretations, and they have clearly gone beyond what was written, just as much as the rabbinical leaders of Jesus’ day).
    While they can easily appeal to the destructive effects of the secular rock stars’ lives, the only thing they can hit churches (including, increasingly, ones they formerly identified as fellow fundamentalists/IFB’s) with is “what it will lead to”. They’re waging this entire war over something that is not even concrete; but they’re only ‘forecasting’ (i.e hypothetical), purely from “guilt by association”; based on a generalization of what others have done.

    Now, for their own sound files:
    Standard “quartet” sound, and some is a-capella, reminding almost of old chanting, and another has a simple organ, like what you would hear in a cathedral. Then you have the standard horns and strings rendition of “Blessed Assurance”, (Then, another one, a female quartet that goes Sorrow shall be…, sounds a bit jazzy in places, if you ask me. Really, the nitpicking over the different styles is ridiculous, and is nothing more than a cultural “association”. Whatever Garlock is doing now, it can’t be all that different from this). One song, I believe “The God of Abraham Reigns” reminds me of Nat King Cole’s version of “The First Noel”, especially the vocal opening (I’m very traditional like this when it comes to Christmas music).

    Pretty nice, but there is no scriptural warrant to say this is the only acceptable music, and judge everything else by it. If the rock stars did a lot of crazy things and sinful behaviors, the “cultures” producing these styles did horrible Satanic things of their own. He lists various Christian leaders such as Luther, as having “godly influence”, contrasting with a list of evil dictators (Hitler, etc) as “ungodly influence”; but the Reformers (who still held onto a state church controlled society) could be tyrannical themselves (especially Calvin; and Luther was extremely anti-semitic), so this ongoing attempt to split off some people with such broad categories (as applies to what he calls a “presupposition” based on one’s “inner thoughts”; with a whole “practical” philosophy built off of Psalms 1 and Prov.23:7, which they all forget is the Law and not the Cross) just doesn’t work. (Like Hitler and the others mentioned [Mussolini, etc.] likely used precisely the kind of music he’s saying is good!)

    “This world’s sin is the amalgam of the thoughts of the hearts of many people. Inheriting this evil legacy, the next generation draws thoughts out of its own sin-polluted well and pours them into the contemporary melting pot with the philosophies of previous generations” (p.8).
    The mistake they always make is taking their own “culture”, or at least earlier generations, or “society” of centuries ago out of the equation, just because they more openly “reverenced” God and suppressed “sin” (only certain ones, that is), or an individual gets “converted” and prays and reads the Bible, and so as the philosophy goes, he’s “filling his heart with the things of God”, and thus can safely be excluded from this negative dynamic working out in the rest of “the world”.
    Any charges brought against them, like racism, conquest, the problems of capitalism, or even the meanspiritedness many of these types are known for, is just a “satanic attack” against a “true man of God”, for some ulterior purpose (usually, to “take our nation/culture from us”). They just can’t ever be wrong, because they have the “godly influence” from what they fill their “inner thoughts” with. This is how the other kind of “presupposition”, as used by Reconstructionists, works.

    People like this may appeal to (and justifying their “national” focus) Prov.14:34 “Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people”, (but often ignore verses like 31 in determining which “sins” to judge this by), and that really, what nation is truly “righteous”? These verses are setting God’s standards, but the Gospel would later show how none lived up to them. But many people take scriptures like this an think they or their “nation” are actually living up to them!

    But if this were true, then the people who rejected Christ were really the most “spiritual” of all, as they were the ones most versed in scripture, and worship! On the other hand, most cult leaders will say the same things about “inner thoughts” and cite the same scriptures on them (especially sabbatarians like Armstrongism), but still teach all sort of wrong things, and some even engage in things most of us would regard as wicked and immoral, including sexual deviations. Sorry, there is no magical formula for inerrancy or maximum “truth” or “exceptionality”. (And it sounds very “psychological” to me. They reject that over some of the terms and concepts it uses, but then end up turning scripture into essentially the same thing).

    And these teachings always go off into space with Satan, using him to (quite literally) “demonize” everything they dissociate themselves from. But we must realize (which most don’t, following the futurist eschatology that extends the Law to our age), Satan is not [everyone else’s] “play-pal” (as everyone assumes), who deceives them into ceasing to “paddle upstream”, and instead have “fun”, which God does not want for us (He wants us “marching” to battle, as in an endless boot camp, after all!) He is primarily an ACCUSER (that’s what his name means), who opposes Christ by upholding the Law, deceiving men into thinking they are keeping it (which nullifies Christ’s precious blood; His work on the Cross), and then in turn judging (accusing) others with it (which denies Grace and thus the Gospel, in favor of works, and leads to endless strife and confusion), as we see these people are doing with much of these “standards” of theirs, which are not even completely biblical; and the almost solid reliance on the Old Testament (which they also selectively filter, as to which of the “commandments” that are there are still to be kept. At least the first century Israelite leadership preached actual commandments from the Law of Moses, though they too likewise added to it).

    It is too bad so much energy is being invested into propping up what they fear is a dying culture. The fact that they so identify with it shows they are not really trusting in Christ (whether returning “soon” in the future, or not). They are trusting in their identity, and just “baptizing” it in shoddy scripture “proof-texting” and then identifying it with Christ. (i.e. to follow that culture is to be “holy” or “revere” the “sacred”).

  12. His last words were it is finished not it's up to you

    Somebody quotes 1 Corinthians 9:24, Hebrews 12:1. 1 Timothy 6:12, and 2 Timothy 4:7

    I pointed out:

    Running the race and fighting the fight (to be SAVED) were all about EFFORT, and were thus part of the Law, which was passing, as Grace was being phased in. (They had to “run” and “fight” while that system was still there, potentially judging them; and this only UNTIL the full redemption they were running to was in place, which would be in their lifetimes, not in OUR yet future!)

    I also realized, that I’ve never addressed a common verse often used by “lawkeepers” (sabbatarians): “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” (1 John 5:3)

    I’m surprised no one recently has brought this one up, since the Fulfilled view seems to say that they are “burndensome” (newer translations). But the “commandment”, from the context, is “love” (which in the preceding chapter he said casts out fear!)

  13. MOVED (Really more on topic here; didn’t look through the topics enough):

  14. Another scripture used to “warn” others for “slacking off” is Rev.3:14-18, on the church of “Laodicea”, which is “neither cold nor hot: I would thou were cold or hot.”, but instead is “lukewarm”, and will thus be “spat out of Christ’s mouth”. It’s then taught that “being lukewarm [inbetween] is worse than being cold”.

    But we are reading our own colloquial meanings into it; we think of “hot”, that’s GOOD; think “ON FIRE for the Lord”. “Cold” is BAD; a ‘cold’ body is DEAD; so it must be someone spiritually “dead”.
    So “lukewarm” is INBETWEEN. This makes us think of “COMPROMISE”. So it became the perfect fodder for older Christians to level at younger Christians turning away from their old rules. Especially given a common interpretation of the seven churches as representing “eras” of the Church, which falls right into their claim this modern age is the great “falling away” before the “return of Christ”.

    But the passage tells us exactly what Christ’s rebuke of that church was. There is no need to speculate, or try to fill in some general meaning. And that was thinking of themselves as “rich and in need of nothing”. (This of course is referring to ‘spiritual’ wealth). This actually describes the attitudes of older conservatives far more than younger moderates or progressives who they tag with it.

    (The true meaning of “lukewarm”, is water that has NO USE. Cold water is for drinking; hot water is for cooking. Nothing about one being good and the other bad, as we read it; both are good, but “NEITHER” is what’s bad).

    I would say that an old-line type making constant overboard, but partially true criticisms of the younger Church, yet still retains some sense of their own sin, might fall into the “Ephesus” group. The Ephesians were the ones commended for their opposition to true ‘compromise’, embodied in a group called the “Nicolaitanes”. Yet, this zeal apparently still superseded a true focus on Christ. Like many of the IFB issues against “new evangelicals” that are really grounded in bigotry against other cultures and generations, yet start from a somewhat true premise of the modern Church “compromising” with sinful culture.
    However, many of them go further than that, and imagine they’ve got sin in their own lives completely licked (or at least speak to others like that were true), and that this gives them the licence to be harsh to other sinners; just like the unjust steward. This is the worst offense to Christ, even beyond “compromise”. Both of these groups receive the harshest warning!

  15. Just curious on what Cloud is saying about current events, I go check out his page.

    He generally speaks well of Trump, prayed for him, wanted to see him reelected, and says “I have no doubt that there was corruption in the the 2020 election on the part of the Democrats.
    It is possible that Trump won, and it is possible that Trump didn’t win.”

    Doesn’t seem to say anything about his “foul language” and moral lapses at that point (actually made the in practice, most “unspeakable” (even more than the “f-bomb”) sex term into a household word; and in the context of ideated actual sexual assault!) but did go into some of the latter in criticizing Jerry Falwell Jr. for supporting him; this back in 2016, when it was not known if he would win, and most Conservative Christians were generally not behind him yet! (He was too over the top for them, initially). So Cloud at that point was skeptical of him.
    Once the other candidates they preferred were out, and he was in, their tune, including Cloud, all changed! So now, he is officially a “Trumper”! Didn’t quite think he would stoop so low, but then the desperation of changing times is driving conservatives this way on many counts!

    (Also says “America was only great when it was good (and it was never truly good, nor truly great by God’s standards), and it can never be ‘great’ again unless it is good by biblical standards which can issue only from God-fearing churches.” So which is it? How can it be great “again” if it never was great, which is only by God’s standards?)

    Does caution against stuff like “politics, rallies, campaigns, secessions, revolutions” and “conspiracy theories” as a waste of time, since “America’s problems are spiritual”, and we’re waiting for Christ. However he seems to agree with all the same narratives driving those things in the secular Right! (Which we shall see next).

    And he simply moves the “conspiracy” from men to Satan, which would be good in heeding the scripture “we wrestle not with flesh and blood…” but the problem, shared with the rest of conservative Christianity, is confusion over what Satan’s real goal actually is. He and others think its leading man astray using “fun”, such as through music, sexual behavior, etc. (and so as we will see below, Satan is putting all of this energy into trying to get fundamentalists to add little elements of “bad music” into the fold bit by bit, so the slightest change must be called out and strongly denounced as if they had instantly brought hard metal into the Church, because that’s what it’s going to become “in less than 50 years”).
    But Satan’s real goal is to oppose the Cross and Grace through self-righteousness through the Law (greatly stepped up in application), which always gets manifested through “dissensions” and “emulations” (the quoted but never explained term in Gal.5:20; means the misguided “zeal” of ’emulating’ prophets and apostles in preaching at others) such as this.

    Mass shooters suffer from “fatherless homes” ( Nothing about the white supremacy; which as usual is left out of all his descriptions of the evils of modern society. This “fatherlessness” claim was usually aimed at black crime, but now it’s white criminals we are talking about, and those on the Right, not the Left!
    I didn’t know whether they [any or all] had fathers or not, but just to check a couple: Dylann Roof had the same father, who was divorced twice, and kept Dylann the whole time, rather than the mother keeping him and the father being gone! Of course, not a stable family (this is probably the “only one raised by his biological father” in the article Cloud cites, but the blanket claim of “fatherlessness” is still shown as false). Even moreso, Buffalo shooter Paul Gendron had a father active in his life, and it apparently was an “honest family”, and they were so shocked In fairness, Cloud’s news article was from four years before that shooting, but it’s clear that only time would be needed to falsify such a generalistic statement!

    Any [brief] mention of racism (KKK, etc.) is blamed strictly on “the Democrats” (thoroughly disproven conservative talking point, ignoring the obvious “Southern Strategy”. People like need to be asked which party people from the past they thought were “godly” belonged to).

    Mentions “The government confiscates the wealth of hard workers and redistributes it to bums.”

    “The fearful destruction of the black family, for example, is not only the result of the welfare state; it is the product of a vile pop hip-hop culture.” (“What changed with Trump” again)
    So he basically follows the all so familiar “Grasshopper theory” that blames everything but discrimination and Right wing ideology and policy.

    Lists 101 black conservatives, including Sowell, West, Elder, Owens, Cain, Carson, even Diamond & Silk, etc.
    Have to include “the good ones”!

    Musical obsessiveness

    Find that he now echoes Spence in criticizing BJU’s Frank Garlock (Majesty Music) as having “switched over” to “CCM”!

    Sees him as still preaching “the truth” in 2001, but already making some subtle changes in the music “pointing that way”.
    So by 2013, the music completely “changed”.

    Focuses on the “easy listening sound” like Spence.
    Special focus on the “Patch the Pirate” series for children.
    “Southern Gospel” now clearly is thorougly classified as full “CCM”, and worth “separation” over!

    Plays some clips from that or something, and one he compares to “60’s rock” (a bit of an exaggeration), and two others sound a bit like calypso.

    Emphasizes that ANY deviation (even the slightest, even) from the previous standard is tantamount to a wholesale change to what they rejected.

    (I guess I should have figured Cloud would be this meticulous when he called Charismatic music “jazzy”, which is a great exaggeration as it is!)

    “Music is a language”. True, but has to go WAY beyond scripture to make this support the meticulous criteria he’s focusing on (such as the criticism of Garlock and one or two other churches). Yet this is just taken for granted as if it was clear and central to the faith as Jesus being the Savior.

    Here is what he says causes the problem in rock:
    Syncopated dance rhythm (of course, the old “backbeat”, which is one-TWO-three-FOUR, instead of “the march beat”; ONE-two-three-four. Also other stuff, like skipping a beat, etc.)
    Unresolving chords: Here’s one I hadn’t seen before: “a chord cadence other than the ‘perfect’ or ‘authentic’ cadence, which is used by the old hymns and which resolves back to the first tone. A ‘weak cadence’ or an ‘imperfect cadence’ does not resolve in this way. It is always more ‘feely.’”
    Sensual vocal techniques (the only understandable issue here)
    Electronic modulation “reverberation, echo, feedback and other types of electronic modulation…used to intensify the sensuality of the music and to create a mystical atmosphere.”
    Rise and fall in intensity “a dramatic rise and fall in the sound level and intensity of the music. This is used to create an emotional roller coaster”. Again, more “mystical”.
    Repetition: this is course is self explanatory!

    To see the ridiculous nitpicking this is extended to, it’s interesting to look more at the “unresolved chords” point:
    “The emphasis is on the IV chord. The V chord is always called the dominant chord in music, but in CCM it is avoided as often as possible. It doesn’t resolve.”
    “Music works like this: You have a question (phrase) and then an answer (phrase). There is tension and then release (resolve). Contemporary praise music seems to present questions with no answers, no absolutes. It is wispy and draws on the emotions, with no intellectual purpose or guide. This is the philosophy of the Devil.”

    You can get the basic sense of this here:

    You can see the first two examples (the “perfect” cadence) give that “hymn” sound, as the need to land back on chord I limits where you can go with the harmony. That’s part of what what makes the hymns sound so “dry” (or “straight-laced”). So it’s obviously very fitting for a march! But the last two examples (the “imperfect” cadence) leave it open. (This is useful to be able to “go more places” with the chords afterwards. The site says “Listen to how frustrating it sounds that the music doesn’t continue”; universalizing the “affect” to everyone, like the CCM critics do. So this is more likely a matter of what one is used to! I don’t find it “frustrating” at all, though I can acknowledge it sounds a bit incomplete. But then again, let’s not forget this is just a one measure clip that cuts off. If that was the entire piece of music, they would have an argument. (Who normally listens to just that?)
    So I’m used to it leading to something else nice or interesting! So in an actual full piece of music, it does “continue”! It just doesn’t start over at that point).

    So SERIOUSLY; to make this an issue of an AFFRONT to God?! To equate music with verbal communication (there may be parallels, but it’s still a totally different form of communication) and then conclude that it amounts to a “question with no answer” (like that’s necessarily a sin, and like many traditional doctrines don’t have that; such as the Godhead; you know; “it’s above your comprehension”, etc.!), and then jump it to “no absolutes”, and from there, the Devil! To spend so much time denouncing over this, not only “contemporary” Christians now, but even other IFB’s who may have started using some of these things? (And there we see the criticism of the “emotions” central to this teaching! This whole teaching is all about emotional control!) Even the old “rhythm” argument is more understandable than this!
    People really need to think about some of this stuff they’re teaching, in God’s name! (Prov. 30:6. And all based on the supposed supremacy of classic European standards, which is what this is really all about, regardless of what they try to say otherwise!) To come out and say just anything that sounds right to you, just distorts the Gospel (Rom.2:24, and causes most of the people you are trying to influence to just ignore you, as much of the “CCM crowd” has done, as the critics complain)! “Taking His name in vain” is not just placing a curse word after it!

    If this much mental energy was placed into other areas of life, the Church and the world would be a much better place!
    These all simply take the way secular artists have used the various elements, and presume that must be what’s causing the “sin”. It’s basically a “correlation-causation fallacy“. And it should also be pointed out that the observation of these sort of “effects” is psychological, and it is grossly hypocritical for Cloud and others to employ it in their arguments on music, when they follow the Jay Adams (BCM) doctrine that criticizes all forms of psychology in every other area (even so much as using a term associated with it, and crticicizing other evangelicals and fundamentalists for “compromising” on such minute points, exactly as they do with this music issue)!

    The lively nature of Hebrew worship and David’s dancing, etc. was dismissed because the Church is now (basically) in mourning for her Bridegroom’s absence, even though nowhere in the NT even hints at any such application of “waiting for Christ”.

    In Baptist Music Wars (2014; he has so many titles on music now; where before, it was primarily CCM: Under the Spotlight) he repeats this and acknowledges that dancing might resume in Heaven, after God has “fixed” us in the resurrection (and he acknowledges he’s not infallible (!) and “won’t be surprised” to see some CCM people and others he’s now denouncing for error, there. —which sounds kind of like he’s assuming most of the CCM’ers to be lost), but it still won’t be the “rock” party beat of today. But then if it’s so negatively affecting us in our fallen state, and that is removed, then why wouldn’t those possibly be ‘acceptable’ then?
    So the effects must not be the real issue. It’s just that God simply doesn’t like it. But then the reason it is held up as so offensive to God is these [supposedly] “sinful” effects, coupled with this [much emphasized] conspiracy of “sinful society” to use it that way. (Which is also how he distinguishes it from David and the OT’s music).

    So here, we see the “vicious cycle” I illustrated in the CCM essay, where the negative “associations” (how secular rock stars, voodoo, etc. used the rhythms or sounds for sinful purposes) are the main and starting premise against it, and why God so doesn’t like it, which is the (“spiritual”) reason we are to avoid it; and then when those apparently don’t seem to have enough proof, the “physical effects” are brought in as the ultimate “empirical” (scientific, basically) evidence it led to the original sin being pointed out in the starting premise. (And when the simple “syncopation” argument got old by itself, now this cadence “resolve” issue is brought in!)
    So I said in the essay “The entire argument hinges on taking the negative charges, claims, admissions, etc. people (including science) have made about the history or supposed fruits of rock; holding that up to scripture, and of course, in such case, the contemporary styles always fail to stand. (e.g. rock causes or is connected with sin, sin is condemned in scripture, so rock is anti-scriptural). But considering the extreme statements [many have made against it (and its users)], plus the fervor in which this “battle” is waged, it seems we need much better scriptural [and empirical] support than what is being presented here.

    So we can plug any further point into this cycle:
    —The imperfect cadence “presents questions with no answers” [which yield]—> “no absolutes”; “draws on the emotions” [which are often used for sinful purposes] and therefore —> “This is the philosophy of the Devil.”
    —Scripture condemns lack of absolutes, “fleshiness” and the Devil
    —The imperfect cadence is against scripture and an affront to God, and anyone who uses it has already “sold out” to ungodly contemporary music

    But the problem is, these “sinful” effects are totally overgeneralized (which is what yields the Platonism of the teaching, which in its pagan, “mystical” fashion ascribes too much power to these affects) and based on an assumption that all rhythmic moving is always “fleshy” (sinful). I mentioned in the essay how this “moving” effect has made the styles good for exercise and other nonsexual physical activities, and that the “energy that lives in the hips” that might lead to sexual urges is actually released in such uses (where trying to suppress it might lead to worse eruptions of sin)! This has not been thought of at all!

    Yet then, Cloud (perhaps realizing how ridiculous judging so harshly over some of this meticulousness sounds) also goes on to tell us that no; the individual elements, such as even the backbeat or even drums, he is not saying are bad by themselves. It’s how they were used. —Which now takes us right back to the initial “associations” argument. The argument will be that the elements “naturally” lend themselves to being used that way. Which is just a roundabout way of saying they cause the sin. Yet again, once sin is removed in Heaven (which will take the “affects” away along with it), then these associations should be removed as well, but he’s saying they won’t be.
    So again, the real premise isn’t these visibly evident issues (used for sin; negative affects causing the sin). They (as the most reaily “provable”) are only used to strengthen the otherwise unprovable assertion that God simply doesn’t like it. (The best they could do might be to try to tie this to “His nature is expressed through the created order”, thus trying to connect it back to the empirical argument. But [aside from the overrating of the “natural” affects to begin with], the empirical argument should be removed once this world is over. But in truth, they really want to make it against God’s nature beyond any earthly reason, and this likely would stem from the original racial basis of this teaching we shall discuss again below; and remembering the original Puritan Calvinist belief that everything that plays out on earth is by God’s “eternal decree”. Even this modern “old-line” religion that condemns “compromise” in newer churches, is itself softened down from the earlier frameworks it draws on, so a lot of the original connections are lost!)

    Also, of course, the Church is in “battle” with “the world”. Again, there is no hint of any “our music must have a marching rhythm and be ‘battle’ themed” principle in scripture. The key proof text for the music philosophy is “psalms, hymns, spiritual songs”, but to try to extract something like this from those three words is blatant reading into scripture. Also, both him and Spence’s position completely ignores the key old “music that sounds like war” argument others use against rock. What is “marching” and “battle”-themed words, but “war”? The NT mentions spiritual warfare, but never applies it to music and worship. They have taken the “war” analogy and run with it. And others have claimed “the puerile instruction of the Law”. Ironic that music that is now seen as so contrary to God’s Law was only allowed under it’s paradigm. Now, in the Church age, we are to surpass even the Law’s strictness, —all in the name of the Law. You would think the “marching” stlyes would better fit the “puerile instruction of the Law”; especially the way these teachers are using it to try to mechanically maintain order by taming “the flesh”, as if Christ and the Spirit had not come).

    This, as I’ve said, then becomes a purely Platonic philosophy, which is ever so ironic given how ‘purist’ he is about any “pagan” or “worldly” influence.

    He now seems completely obsessed with the music issue. It appears to be what he dwells on in his criticisms of others (such as Falwell Jr. and John MacArthur as we see in above and following links) more than anything else, where before, “associations” (Catholics, etc.) “psychoheresy” and modern Bible translations were more prominent. (I mean here:, it’s the bulk of the article; he just goes off with it! So for all of MacArthur’s focus on “holiness” in his extreme “Lordship” doctrine (which you would think Cloud would admire him for); Cloud can “one-up” him and talk about him as if he were a total liberal or nominal just because of the music!)

    Peter Masters (who shares the music philosophy) is quoted: “When I was a youngster and newly saved, it seemed as if the chief goal of all zealous Christians, whether Calvinistic or Arminian, was consecration. Sermons, books and conferences stressed this in the spirit of Romans 12.1-2, where the beseeching apostle calls believers to present their bodies a living sacrifice, and not to be conformed to this world. The heart was challenged and stirred. Christ was to be Lord of one’s life, and self must be surrendered on the altar of service for him.”

    But what they fail to realize is that “the world” in Paul’s use refers to the “age” (aion) of Old Covenant Israel, which had been trying to impose itself on the Church. (We tend to assume that the main battle in the Church was with the “godless” pagans. The pagans only persecuted the Church as the Israelites turned them over to them!)
    So “bodies” is not just talking about sexual behavior, or drinking, etc. as people assume with these ridiculous fixations the Church has had! It’s what you actually devote yourself to; whether Christ and His Gospel, or a false “gospel” of dead works!

    And as always, we get into the assumption that this Anglo-American Christian culture Cloud, Masters and the rest of the “old-liners” hold up was so godly. These people hate the race issue, but than that’s because it’s a big spot that destroys their whole premise! So you really insist their “selves” were all “surrendered” in “service” to Him back then? (They seemed to busy making others surrender to them!) It’s just a matter of what works one considers “service to Him”, or “service to self”. All decided according to what exalts what one identifies with, and demonizes others!
    Plus, the Church of previous centuries said the same things about what’s now the ‘old’ music style; even down to common chords and church instruments being of “the Devil”; etc. so they wouldn’t see that generation as “consecrated” either!

    So then, according to them, it’s not that Spence and now Cloud have gotten more strict; it’s Garlock and others who have “changed”. (Wonder how he and BJU like getting a taste of their own medicine now!)
    No chance at all that maybe their “old ways” were wrong (meaning, not really biblical, as they claimed. Though when it comes to race, then as we see, he seems to grant those representing “old ways” in that area were wrong, but then those were the same secular enemies they are fighting today; never the supposedly “godly Christians”).

    “This is a very, very strict standard of separation. It means that the believer is to constantly measure things by God’s Word to see if it is an unfruitful work of darkness, and he is to have no fellowship with such works. In fact, not only is he not to have fellowship with them; he is to reprove them. It was commandments such as this that led me to reject rock & roll as young Christian and also to reprove rock in my preaching and books. If anything is an unfruitful work of darkness in this world today, it has to be rock & roll and the rock/pop culture.”

    But he’s going way beyond “God’s word” in the criteria he and his movement have been using on music, such as “the beat accents are wrong”, or “it sounds a bit like this secular style”, or “it will lead to it”.
    It ignores that the original criteria was borne of the belief that blacks were “cursed”, and therefore the elements of their music were cursed along with them. Based on a total unabashed butchering of Genesis 9, now brushed under the rug as if it never happened, and instead blamed on the Left (“Democrats”, etc.) or even [Genesis-rejecting] atheists. (Yet, see poster image in first comment. Fellow KJVO/separatist IFB’s Mike Paulson and “brother” Mike O’Neal boldly retain this clear basis of the teaching!) THAT I would call an “unfruitful work of darkness”, but it was totally baptized in this “faith” they are “contending” for.
    (Though I haven’t read Spence, I see even his chapter or section titles include racial topics!)

    Like Fisher and others, Cloud thinks he can just quote Little Richard connecting it to voodoo, and that proves it isn’t racist; you know; a black man said it; now you don’t think he is racist, do you? (Basically, a whole new spin on “tokenism”!) But the racism isn’t the mere connecting to voodoo, it’s first of all, the original premise behind the condemning of the music, as we just saw; and the “voodoo” association was just used to bolster the demonization of the people via the false Gen.9 interpretation. (Voodoo was likely seen as stemming from the curse; —or at least the evidence of it, not the other way around. The above poster, for instance, doesn’t mention voodoo; it assumes blacks are a bad people whites shouldn’t allow to influence their children in any way!)
    So then, as I put it, it’s “singling out” Africa via the bare elements of music, and overgeneralizing its “effects” to rule out all styles with any of these elements, and yet assume by default the classical European styles are the “sacred” music that have no pagan connection at all (especially given the original teaching, still held by some, identifying specifically the African origins, and the “curse” associated with them. Like notice, you don’t really hear about Asian music, except for Paulson saying that as fellow “Japhethites”, it’s on the good side versus “Hamite” music; though not as good as Caucasian music. “New Age” is of course condemned, and that is often heavily influenced by “eastern” elements, but the connection to “Asia” (as a whole continent of people) is never made as clear as the connection of “rock” to Africa and Africans. Their common expression “the world”/”worldly” would theoretically cover everything, but excludes secular European styles such as classical (as the “principles” make them “acceptable”), and what they are fighting against is what they have identified as “African” influence).

    Other KJVO’s and anti-CCM’ers who vehemently deny racism and reject “the race card” have not distanced themselves from, renounced, corrected even [“rebuke, reprove, exhort”, etc.] or in any way addressed teachings like this (except now to blame it squarely on “the Democrats” but ask either of the Mike “brethren” if they’re now Democrats!) It doesn’t even seem to be an issue of “separation from error” to them. They never call it an “unfruitful work of darkness” (even when blaming it on others, whose other beliefs and actions are what they see as the “darkness”). So they neither break fellowship with, nor “reprove” those fellow old-liners holding it! So it looks like they are in complicit agreement with it!

    The “New Testament Law”

    “It is not ‘legalism’ or ‘Phariseeism’ for a saved-by-grace, blood-washed saint to have a zeal to obey every commandment of the New Testament faith.”

    “Paul taught Timothy to keep the New Testament commandments ‘without SPOT, unrebukeable’ (1 Timothy 6:14).”

    This is a subtle tweak that changes the meanings of things. Paul gives one commandment “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life”, but cloud is turning it into “The New Testament commandmentS”, making it sound like a whole new body of Law just like the Old Testament commandments. He does the same thing in citing 2 Thess. 3:4, 6, 12, which is describing general things Paul is instructing. (And uses this to say “the CCM crowd typically rails against ‘rules’ and ‘regulations’).
    Keeping a whole body of “commandments” perfectly is a whole different ballgame than keeping one or a few simple instructions perfectly! Think I’m exaggerating about him turning the New Testament into the Old Testament? “It is instructive that Paul used the word ‘commandment’ in this passage… By my count, the epistle of Ephesians contains 88 commandments for New Testament believers that we are to keep by God’s grace and through the indwelling Spirit.”

    WOW! Counting them, even; now! Just like the rabbinic Jews identifying 613 commandments (for themselves, and about 66 for gentiles. I wonder how many “commandments” he could count in the whole NT, then? Might it have 613 also? Maybe even more?)
    So basically, the only thing Christ accomplished really was to just change the Sabbath to Sunday, allow us to eat pork and shellfish, and do away with blood sacrifice and circumcision! Everything else is exactly the same! But otherwise, he sounds just like the sabbatarians! (Which he regards as false “cults”. But at least they preach actual commandments —rather than just inferences, or “principles”)!

    Criticizing “commandment-keeping” draws the accusation of being “lawless”, but what hardly anyone seems to realize is that a focus on point by point “commandments” promotes “loopholes” that allow all manner of sin to pass through (often on “technicalities”), no matter how strict the rules. We saw this with the Israelites of Christ’s day, and we see it all the time now, when Christians “fall”.
    Pointing to Jesus’ teaching that the Law is really summed up in what’s been called the “Golden Rule” (Matt.7:12) may sound “liberal”. But this is because liberals took it up because conservatives felt that was too “lenient” and totally abandoned it in favor of the Law! (To wit, all of the callous scoffing at “victimhood”, when people are offended at their conservative religious teaching or political rhetoric or policies they favor; like suffering under capitalism, or even if people have a personal problem like the critics determine is solely from “sin”).

    Even though the apostles gave instructions to the Church, they still resisted the mindset we are seeing here, with these so fitting statements:

    “if I build again the things I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor” (Gal.2:18)
    It should be noted, Paul’s “old life” was about keeping the Law!

    “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? (Acts 15:10)

    The main issue there was circumcision. Now, think about it; truly, is circumcision in itself really so much of a “burden”? It’s something done only to males, when they’re too young to even remember, let alone have a choice in/be “responsible” for, and is one time for life. So that’s a “burden”, but all the other stuff modern leaders like this are retaining of that Law aren’t? Or is it the Sabbath, instead of the day after?
    No; it’s being under the Law (with the onus on us to perform) altogether that is the burden! And yet, ever since Acts, people, in the name of “holiness” (and later, “sanctification”, “regeneration”, etc.), have been trying to bring us back under that Law, in one form or another!

    This creates nothing but animosity toward humanity in general (which they think is justified because of “man’s sin against God”; taking themselves out of the mix, because they are “converted”, meaning their sins are “cleaned up” out of their actual behavior. No matter what they actually do before people!
    1 Cor.6:11, which is likely one of the passages this idea is based on with the “such were some of you”, cannot be used that way, as it wouldn’t make sense, since Paul is admonishing them to [still] clean their behavior to begin with. This is the infamous Corinthian Church, after all! So “were” is obviously “positional”, and Paul is telling them to live up to it! But it obviously cannot mean they have gotten over their sins to the point they can act like they are above others or not apart of the literal sins of the broader society, as I get the sense it has been used. That would obviously be ludicrous!)

    People who think this way, as reflected in their attitudes toward other people, are described as “contrary to all men” (1 Thess.2:15) We still just see the utter CONTEMPT toward the “wickedness” of society (and from there, what is deemed “compromise” with it in the Church). Which is not our place to have, as if the world’s “sin” was against US rather than God. Or we’re His divine “prosecutors”. This is the “emulation” of Gal.5:20, as it is trying to copy the language (and zeal) of the prophets and (to a lesser extent) apostles, but [in our case] completely omits the contexts (whom that “instant preaching” [e.g. 2 Tim.4:2] was really directed to*), and basically treats the secular world as the Church or the new counterpart to “Israel” (i.e. the nation); with the preachers as the rightful rulers over it using God’s Law. (Hence, it is their job to thunder all the “rebellious” subjects back into line, using fear.
    *Even inasmuch as the passage is being applied to within the Church, they still have moved it to our time, as if they are the original apostles and this “apostasy” is just beginning now, which ignores the whole corrupt “church history” behind us, and which they have built their own platforms upon. This is really all about their own loss of power!)

    Surprised on the “praise transforms churches” page, he twice mentions the contemporary Church turning “grace” into “license”; echoing the NIV poor translation of aselgeia. This has misled people into thinking this is about “permission to sin”. It’s really about legalists accusing the Christian teaching of grace, of that (Rom.3:8), which is precisely what he does! (You wonder why he didn’t just stick with the KJV’s “lasciviousness”. In the context of Jude, “murmurers” points not to just any and all “sinners”, but rather to the rebelling Israelites, as their great War was brewing, and in v.7 regarding “Sodom” and the other sins mentioned there; spiritually, this was what they were (Rev.11:8), regardless of the outward lawkeeping, and it goes along with Romans 1-2, that they did many of the literal sins as well, even as they preached to others against them. Many of the most strict Christians today have followed suit!

    He uses Titus 2:11-14 just like the Campbellists do to say that “grace” is “a very strict, very careful, very holy, very separated way of living“. He and his followers and comrades see nothing amiss with this at all!
    “Grace” means “unmerited favor“. It is God NOT counting our naturally sinful life against us! Cloud is in lockstep agreement with the Church of Christ and even the Catholics and most “cults” in turning “grace” literally into works. Rom.11:6 says ” if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace“! If the “NT commandments” aren’t enough, then, he of course goes back to the OT, with Psalm 119:128. Why are Catholics, cults, including sabbatarians etc. wrong then? Because they keep the wrong “[strict] rules”!)

    Syncopation, unresolving chords, modulation, intensity and repetition, in contrast to “marching rhythms” have NOTHING to do with the “commandments” of the New Testament; they are an ignorant hangup filtered through centuries old cultural bias, and read into scriptures on “holiness”, and in desperation (when that apparently isn’t enough), trying to use scientific style arguments (including psychological); piling more and more on, and all greatly overgeneralized to actually end up jibing with ancient pagan dualistic philosophy! (Also, let’s not forget, even Satan can quote scripture!)

    He even accuses Bill Gothard of being “a conservative in dress and music who attracts many from the contemporary rock & roll circles” (
    Gothard was at least for a time, the one of the central authorities (along with Garlock, basically) on these “principles” of music, and he and Cloud are very similar in this unbelievably strict “rules” approach (yet Cloud is criticizing a lot of his other teachings as well). With all of Gothard’s “rules”, he still allegedly fell into the most vile and “carnal” violation of all (even recognized as such by “the world”, like in 1 Cor.5:1); some form of indecency with young females. Whatever exactly he did, it goes way beyond whatever “fleshiness” may possibly be present in someone bopping to some syncopated rhythm. All those “rules” were no help, then. Avoiding and preaching against rock music and “sensuous beats” did not help. That was not the problem! The whole issue was a deflection and distraction from the underlying real issue of some deeper problem with sin! (Especially as it focuses on what other people are doing, while thinking one is “washed” from their own in-practice sinfulness).
    This here highlights the danger I’ve been discussing, of the “willful” or “practicing sin” intepretation that is supposed to identify the “true” converts from the “false” ones! Anyone can fall into this, figuring all along they’re not actually “practicing” it, or doing it “willfully” (“It was just a slipup”; “I got in the flesh”, “God is still working on me”, etc.)

    Cloud (and Spence) may have never been accused of anything like that (as far as I know), but with this utter obsession on music, even down to these meticulous bare elements, there is something they must be feeling the need to suppress within themseves. And that’s what the “rules” are, and the “paddling upstream”, and the Adamsian “nouthetic counseling” (anti-‘therapy’) philosophy. It’s also what is being condemned in Romans 1 and 2 (“Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?”), but people are so busy leveling this at “others” not trying to keep the Law, that we don’t see it!
    Maybe it’s his testified pre-Christian life as a “hippie” (along with other loudest critics, Godwin and Watkins. Do you see a pattern there?) But then this is precisely what drove Augustine, with his “chaste severity” teaching that corrupted Christian sexuality for centuries to come; and Cloud is staunchly against Augustine (again, for being Catholic).

    It is highly unfair and ungodly to put this internal guilt on everyone else (again; Acts 15:10); and why would anyone be still even suppressing guilt when Christ was supposed to have taken care of that? More evidence of this; he also in condemning self-esteem refers to “the biblical path of regeneration through repentance and faith followed by a Christian walk of obedience and confession” and “the absoluteness of God’s Law, the necessity of strict obedience” as the “biblical means of soothing the conscience”! (Notice, how no less than regeneration is all our own efforts! “Soothing the conscience” is a term often used when someone tries to make up for their offense with some deed of their own choosing to placate the other person. So we see here how leaders like this think! Make up meticulous rules on areas such as music and various other subjects [calling it “faith” and “grace”], in order to “soothe your conscience”! That’s the very antithesis of the Gospel, and the definition of “works-righteousness”!)

    He appeals to the old “the Spirit helps us keep the laws” concept. Likewise, Gothard appeals to “the mighty power of the Spirit” in implying rape victims were “better off” suffering the attack because of this “power” (i.e. supposedly prompted by that situation). But where was this ‘power’ for him? Why didn’t it help him “keep the commandments”? (This should show why an unfelt “power” having these “supernatural” behavioral/mental/emotional etc. affects on us is sorely a misunderstanding of the work of the Spirit! It doesn’t even work in their own lives! Which is because, what they’re claiming there is not something actually being promised in scripture! Why should anyone listen to them, then, when they pontificate on and condemn people’s choices in their sexual or mental issues?). But what the Spirit was to do for us was to bear witness of our redemption (Rom.8).

    Everything here is backwards! The Spirit “helps” us do the works to prove our salvation by “soothing our conscience”, but it’s really all on us, and we still sin, sometimes grievously, yet can still maintain this righteous platform against others seen as not striving hard enough! For people so hard on others’ walk; others’ beliefs, etc., it seems the basic premise of the Gospel has been totally skipped over. It’s all about the works of the Law (though now modified).

    He concluded the previous page with “The music issue is not ‘peripheral.’ It is a doctrinal issue and getting it right is absolutely necessary for spiritual victory and protection today.” and the old “It is better to err on the side of being too careful and too ‘strict’ than too tolerant.” line.
    Not when man (and especially the “religious” conservative) has problems with self-righteousness! What does he even consider “spiritual victory”? (This was the aim of his “paddling upstream” teaching). It’s just some abstract goal he uses to motivate people to this strict regiment of behavior. I repeat, from the OP, Horton’s “We would know better than to say ‘We are saved by our obedience to the Law’, but we find it more difficult to detect that ‘We will achieve victory by following these principles or steps’ is a new way of saying just that.” But Cloud has come very close to literally saying just that! Just substitute words like “regeneration” and “sanctification”! (Also, Horton’s treatment of the scriptural “spiritual armor” being crafted of God, through the Gospel, and not ourselves).

    But now, with all the “perfectionism” he’s teaching; it’s actually OK to “err” (potentially) after all; just as long as it’s “the safe side”! This is clearly self-righteousness. Steve Miller, (The Contemporary Christian Music Debate p.71) warns us that “The adherence to an authoritative teaching of principles that is more strict than the Bible is far from safe ground according to the Scriptures—rather it is a subtle form of worldliness instigated by the enemy. It is not safe to err on the side of the conservative. It is never safe to err.” (emph. added). And this clearly is basically a kind of ‘salvation’ or sanctification by our own efforts!

    It should be pointed out that Uzzah (in the much touted “regulative principle” advocates’ example, of him touching the Ark and being struck dead 2 Sam.6), was actually trying to “err on the safe side”! He himself wasn’t cutting some corner to try to make things “easier” or have “fun”; he was trying to “protect” what was holy.
    Now the fact that it was being carried on the cart instead of the Levites’ backs as God commanded was cutting a corner to make it easier, but that wasn’t Uzzah’s decision. (It at that time was under David’s instruction, and they had been placing it on carts since at least 1 Sam.6!) He was responding to an existing condition. And that’s actually the position contemporary Church and CCM critics are in, as they are reacting to things in the contemporary Church they see as sinful (and sometimes legitimately are, but this is no excuse to “up the ante” by adding to Biblical instruction to try to rein it in!)

    This shows, again, these leaders have no idea what the Gospel was about, and what Satan’s role and real goal is. They’re just following whatever they were taught, by the so-called “godly Churches” of the past. So it’s just a big tug of war with God trying to impose order, Satan trying to oppose Him by leading us into “fun”, and man is supposed to take the “hard” road of God’s “order” under these leaders’ control!

    The Church

    On the podcast, he seriously questions John Calvin’s salvation (for still being, basically “catholic”. Also, “more of a philosopher than a Bible teacher”. —which is basically true).
    Though he still speaks highly of Spurgeon and his Metropolitan Tabernacle [now run by Masters], and the older “Reformed Calvinists” as opposed to the “New Calvinists” (basically, the professing Calvinistic side of new-evangelicalism) which Masters and the [Reformed] ES Williams he also quotes from condemns.
    Fundamentalistic Arminians (seemingly) really want to claim Spurgeon as their own, as if he weren’t Calvinist. Exactly the whole problem is following a man so much and filtering scripture and preaching/teaching methodology through him, though they are not aware they are doing this (just like they would condemn cults and religions for).

    If he’s so strict on “separation” and so against Augustine the perennial Catholic, and considers Calvin “false” enough a teacher to be possibly unsaved, then how could he follow or even speak well of Spurgeon or any other Reformed, whose whole soteriology is originally from Augustine and Calvin? (He seems to have a hidden admiration of them because of the “toughness” of the teaching, though still knocks “Calvinism” in places!)

    In conjunction with this, he takes a shot at “church fathers”, etc. He’s obviouly maintaining the “Trail of Blood” premise, where the “independent Baptist” was the “true” church from NT times, and coexisted the whole time separately from the larger Church; which is done by stringing together various small sects over the cenuries, leading up to the Anabaptists. (Which is the only one they could legitimately, directly claim. I’ve seen at least one person in a forum associate him with the “Briders”, but that’s a deeply Calvinistic group that believes only they are saved. They would, however only be able to do this via the Trail of Blood theory. This is also the same method cults use to make the same claim that they were the true “small flock through the ages” standing against “the world’s churches”).

    [Discussion of Tertullian moved. Seems like there is a character limit before WP collapses the paragraph breaks]

    So again, it should show that as much as one points out the “error” and “compromise” of others, you could be guilty of the same things, and not know it. That’s why more grace is needed, instead of all these harsh denunciations of everyone. Paul said to “reprove, rebuke, exhort”, but the problem is turning everything you see into a calculated deliberate “conspiracy, and then conveniently keying this into scriptures like 2 Tim. which then “contextualizes” it into something it wasn’t orignally describing. For that has Paul talking over his readers to us today, —which doesn’t even make sense, when Cloud and others do believe the “turning away from the truth” Paul described did occur then, creating the very “fathers” and the Catholic system he’s condemning. So this “apostasy” is stretched out over history, with the final erosion of Christian control over the Western world as the final, “true” fulfillment, especially as this is supposed to be when the future return of Christ will occur “really, this time”. (That’s the problem with futurism).

    Now get this one:
    THE CHURCH is “the pillar and ground of truth”. (Just like the Catholics say, and IIRC, the Campbellists and other cults as well. NOT, “the living GOD” whom the Church is referenced there as being “the Church” OF. Would perfectly explain his “biblical standards which can ISSUE only from God-fearing churches.” which is an unwitting admission that that these doctrines they are calling “biblical” really spring from their own ecclesiastical authority).
    The whole attitude of this movement is what’s known as “presuppositionalism“. That is a term used mainly by Reconstructionism, which is another Calvinistic, radical group that believes in dominance. Yet this all stems, as I’ve said, from the original Puritan framework (where “truth” is disseminated by the “regeneration” of unconditional election), and all of these groups have retained the presuppositional aspect of it (even if they don’t use the term), while dropping others such as dominionism and/or Calvinism. But the presuppositional authoritativeness of “we’re just right, and won’t even discuss it with you”; the only interaction allowed being “we reprove; you repent“, or be marked as condemned (and only they decide what, if anything, is a “lesser issue” they can admit possibly being “fallible” on), is the common thread in most of them.

    “Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, WE SEE; therefore your sin remaineth.” (John 9:41)


    As always, there is deafening silence in responding to him. It’s pretty much just, still, David Stewart (an unknown lone guy with a plain HTML site, just like me, and who, though a fellow KJVO, considers him a hellbound “lordshipper” for teaching “works”; —though now I have to rethink, can we blame him so hard for that, when we have Cloud counting “New Testament commandments” and associating them with “regeneration”?)
    And then, there’s aomin (James White) who challenges his “tradition”, only on the issue of Calvinism (John 6:37 debate).
    (I did find this blog series and this forum [“Exposing the Dangerous Teachings of the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Denomination”] after a bit of searching!
    Miller is still the only person I’ve ever seen with a published book responding to criticism of CCM, but he doesn’t respond to any particular critics. There’s also Frame’s Contemporary Worship Music: A Biblical Defense, but Horton is the one I remember him mentioning a lot. Horton criticizes CWM and CCM for its “shallowness”, which I always said was the more legitimate concern, yet doesn’t excommunicate those who use them, the way the IFB “separationists” have done).

    Christianity is in a sad state, when the only people who can speak up in these issues (one way or the other) are those pitching a “hard doctrine”, which by that very definition is not “Good News”! It’s what leaders like this thrive off of, because it “proves” (confirms) to them, they are “unrefutable” or “unrebukable” (as in his use of 1 Tim. 6:4), and those simply ignoring them (as most are doing) are the “rebellious house” who’ll suffer judgment, like in Israel! When I was in an IFCA church for awhile, and once or twice told “evangelical” (and IIRC possibly from the somewhat charismatic NYC “Tabernacle” churches) brethren what the IFB teaching I was exposed to said about their music and worship, they told me “If you’re in that church, submit to them!” (Like they’re trying hard to prove themselves “the bigger person” and be so reverent to “the Church” and its authority, regardless. The IFB leaders certainly wouldn’t return the favor. They would never say that to me if I told them about the evangelical and/or charismatic churches I had been involved with. They would tell me, squarely to get out of those churches as they are “false”! I should have told those people, if I did “submit” to them, I wouldn’t be here talking to you friendly, but rather preaching to you, as a “compromiser”!)
    To the “new-evangelicals” (or more moderate fundamentalists); either they’re right and you’re wrong (“compromising”, etc. and then why aren’t you “repenting” of this?) or they’re wrong and slandering the Gospel (evangel) as supposedly being represented by you! (And so why aren’t you defending the Gospel, as you do against supposed “outsiders” like the “cults”?) If it’s true that Garlock and others are changing, why are they doing it subtly, as if on the sneak, and not openly acknowledging that the old standards they are turning from were apparently wrong (if they are wrong now, they were wrong in the past when you followed them) and coming with a biblical defense of their new position? What they’re doing is just “proving” the conservative old-liners’ that any change is completely antiscriptural, and part of a Satanic conspiracy to corrupt the Church, gradually!

    Where in the political world, nonconservatives have finally waken up, and begun answering their conservative opponents —after allowing them to create solid “unanswered” narratives for decades, the moderate evangelical church is still asleep to this internal dissension, and like the secular liberals, will it take them one day looking up, to find these ideologies all around them taking root again, for them to snap out of slumber?
    With all of Christianity feeling under attack now, it could happen, as this is driving the entire Right into more and more radical positions! Just like many of the new evangelicals had rebelled against their fundamentalist parents, the disillusioned younger generation can well rebel against them, and go back the other direction (seen as perhaps the solution to the encroaching “secularization” after all), and it will likely be further radicalized, as its political counterpart is.

    • I also always find it ironic how the IFB’s take for granted the “catholic” Athanasius and Augustine’s Nicene formula almost verbatim and in lockstep agreement with the same “historic Church” they condemn on everything else. Even though scripture never expresses the Godhead in exactly those terms. It’s still assumed the apostles and maybe even OT writers, all held it, but just never wrote it down, —which is precisely the Catholic “oral tradition” argument!
      In he says Tertullian “taught that there was a time when the Son of God did not exist and when God was not a Father.” He doesn’t actually say the Son didn’t exist (as in the sense an Arian or unitarian would say). He wouldn’t be held as an orthodox trinitarian if he did; and don’t forget he’s the one who gave us the term trinitas in the first place! So again, it’s a bit of a double standard for Cloud to use the term, then; let alone judge anyone else over it, if Tertullian was so “heretical” as a “Catholic father”!

      In actuality, Tertullian and others of his era held an “economic” position of the Godhead, where the “Son and Spirit proceed from the Father”, which is what’s directly taught in scripture. So they also shared the eternal “one essence” (the “ontological” [tri]-unity), and didn’t “not exist” before “proceeding”. Here, we see “The idea in Tertullian’s mind seems to have been, not that there ever was a time when God’s Ratio or Sermo [i.e. the ‘substance’ of Logos] did not exist, but that there was a time when He did not exist as Son” .

      The “official” position of Athanasius (conspicuously absent from Cloud’s list, and only mentioned in passing in a quote) is where we first got this appearance of a perfect eternal three way symmetry of what were called “persons”, which eventually led to the redefinition of “Son” from His being born into the earth by the divine Conception, to some undefined “eternal generation” (and which even led to questions of why the Son is “generated” while the Spirit only “proceeds”). He actually was heavily and directly inspired by Origen, who of course is really denounced in this list as teaching “gross heresies” (and justifiably so). This (Origen’s “preexistence of all souls” theory) is where the insistence on three separate self-conscious entities side by side for all eternity ultimately came from (and even then, the Nicene Creed appears to have not really been intended to be taken quite that way, with the Father still held to be the “source”, and not an equal “third” as later expressions implied, but it was the across the board language of “persons” and “substance” that made it look that way. Another point that is not realized, is that the common statement “One God in three Persons” is not even from the original Nicene Creed of 325, but rather more from the “Athanasian Creed”, which was likely written by Vincent of Lerins 100 or more years after Athanasius, and “uses the exact terminology of Augustine’s On the Trinity (published 415 AD)” The first person to even speak in terms of “Three Persons” [hypostases] was Origen himself! Anyone who uses the form “One God in Three Persons” [which is the entire body of “historic orthodoxy”, including Cloud and and all of the IFB’s who maintain it verbatim] is using the language of Origen (in addition to Augustine)!

      Meanwhile, the Nicene creed had been revised in the Council of Chaledon (381) to add the past eternality of the “begetting”, since even Arians were able to still claim to accept the original creed. So again, people who claim to reject Augustine so much really do not realize how much their own doctrines are shaped by him!
      Another flaw of Tertullian’s view is that the Son and Spirit are considered “portions” of the “substance” rather than the entire substance, but this is just another step in the development of the view of “three thirds”. The more modern apologetics would insist it was really “three wholes”, but the problem is really the perfect symmetry of the entire thing). But in any case, there is no evidence of the Nicene formula being the “original” view taught by the apostles.

      So with Tertullian’s other errors, such as subordinationism, and saying God was only “Father” when the Son was differentiated from Him, this further shows the doctrine was being developed, and went through these stages as the Church sifted through the various views, determining Arianism, modalism and unitarianism were wrong. What seems to be generally believed, as I point out here: is “that it was originally taught, and that pagan concepts infiltrated it, and then the ‘development’ we see is nothing more than the doctrine being ‘restored’ to its ‘original purity’, but such a theory flies right in the face of all the biblical and historical facts, which are now acknowledged by some respected trinitarian scholars.”
      (That would go along with the likely IFB view that the underground “proto-Baptist” churches preserved it faithfully the whole time since the apostles, and then Athanasius somehow found it and got it back into the mainstream Church. Or James White’s “confus[ing] men’s knowledge and understanding of God’s revelation with the revelation itself, which was in the Incarnation and coming of the Holy Spirit”. But those two events do not set forth the whole Nicene formula. There were a lot of specific elements, such as the “symmetry” and terminology, which are bring read retrospectively back into the revelations. And in either of those cases, to say the apostles taught it in that form, but the early postapostolic Church was ignorant of it due to the scriptures not being 100% clear on it, but then rediscovered it later, would again make it an “apostolic oral tradition”).

      This is why we have to be careful using the Church Fathers’ doctrines to build an argument either for or against one’s position (i.e. they either prove the doctrine was apostolic and biblical, or they prove the doctrine was part of the “great apostasy”. Obviously, the non-Nicene theologies are not what the later “corrupt” Catholic Church finalized; so why use them as a “warning” about that later church; —and while you yourself agree with and judge other views by the very view that actually was codified by that same later church, without even any question of whether that’s what the scriptures are really saying, —like you scrutinized all the other “catholic” doctrines?)

  16. Now I found this IFB KJVO church that gives the rationale for the anti-immunization sentiment:

    Click to access SBC-Immunization-Exemption-Form.pdf

    Matthew 9:12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

    Haggai 2: 13 Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean.
    Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.

    Leviticus 15:13 And when he that hath an issue is cleansed ofhis issue; then he shall number to himselfseven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe hisflesh in running water, and shall be clean.

    “The following verses teach that people should not come in contact with unclean things such as dead animals, blood, bodily fluids, diseases or anything that has been defiled by such items. Immunizations present a contrary view of health and well-being by injecting fluids that either contain or have been defiled with viruses, animal products, aborted baby cells, and or toxic materials. Additionally, Jesus instructs people that they do not need to seek medical intervention when they are healthy. The Bible teaches immunity should be maintained through sanitation principles such as washing with running water, soap, hygiene, exercise, and quarantine of those that are sick. ”

    So in the first instance, we see the typical worst of “proof-texting”; taking a verse that looks like it’s addressing the issue, and turning it into a virtual command for or against something.

    The Pharisees had asked the disciples, “Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?” (v.11) The issue was obviously spiritual health and not literal physical. (i.e. the “medical”, as these JayAdamites put it). And spiritually, the whole point is that no one is actually “healthy” (by default); for that’s the Biblical doctrine of the sinfulness of all men, isn’t it? So what was Jesus saying? He was addressing Pharisees, who were totally unaware of their “sickess”, and could only see the “sinners” as sick. So He rhetorically “grants” them their premise that [only] others are sick, and so they’re the ones who needed Him. Of course, those who thought they weren’t sick were blind to their sickness (John 8:32-44, 9:41), but He wasn’t going into that right that moment, but it would obviously come to the forefront of their interaction later.
    Immunization is preventative so that you hopefully don’t get sick. Spiritually, this is moot, but they still do believe in taking measures to prevent further spiritual “sickness”.

    With the other verses, we’ve now gone back squarely to the Law. Stemming from the same Leviticus that forbade pork and shellfish, which they say was abolished. All the other commands (beside homosexuality) they presumed “ended at the Cross”. Yet now because the government is telling them to do something they key into their endtimes conspiracies, they have gone and dug something else out of the Law of “clean and unclean”, in utter desperation!
    I’ve never before seen a Christian appeal to the law against touching dead animals; not even the “kosher” sabbathkeepers! And where those types of groups were usually very Zionist, this one is going even against that now (likely back into an antisemitic position, as among their list of “false doctrines” is “Jew worship”).

    Under “doctrine”, it states:
    “SIN – Sin is defined as a transgression of God’s law. This includes the entire Old and New Testament except where the New Testament expressly states that there was a change of the law. (1 John 3:4, Hebrews 7:12, Hebrews 9:10, Colossians 2:16, Romans 14:20)”

    John supports the first sentence, and Hebrews 7, simply that there would be a “change” of the Law. (But doesn’t say what).
    Colossians is the familiar verse used against sabbatarians stating “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come”. But this does not say that these are the only things changed, nor gives any replacements, such as Sunday being the new commandment.
    Romans is “For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.” This is what’s missed by those like this forbidding things because of others’ sinful uses of them. The next verse continues “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.”
    So then wine is in the same category as meat! Yet he then next goes on to include all “alcohol” as part of “major sins that our society deems acceptable but are not”.

    Proof texts are:
    Proverbs 23:29-35: mentions “They that tarry long at the wine”.
    Proverbs 20:1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”
    Joel 3:3, “And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.”
    Genesis 9:20-25, Noah gets drunk (this never figured when regarding the “curse of Ham”; rather, they think God uttered it!)
    Isaiah 5:22, Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:
    Isaiah 28:7-8, But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.
    Deuteronomy 32:32-33, For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.
    Habakkuk 2:15, Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!
    1 Timothy 3:2-11, “A bishop then must be…Not given to wine”
    Titus 2:2-6, “That the aged men be sober…Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.”
    1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”

    Most of these are condemning drunkenness (and “given to” in Tim. (paroinos) also means “drunken”), and there is a difference between drinking some alcohol, and being drunk. Of course, the drinking can eventually lead to being drunk, but it is possble for it not to, and this is what the Bible was teaching.
    Of course, it is more “safe”, where drunkeness is impossble, if you never touch the stuff. But the Bible is not saying that, and to make it a rule anyway is then blatantly overriding scriptural authority, and judging “the Law” itself (as actually too lenient!), which then is not actually keeping the Law, yourself! (James 4:11). This again, is tantamount to Uzzah steadying the cart to try to “protect what is holy”, when the Law had already been violated from way before the start! (And trying to use the term “scriptural principle” does not change it from overriding scripture! For then, your own hand-selected extension of “principles” is then superseding what is actually written!)

    Deut. is another example of poor contextualization. This is from “the Song of Moses”, which is describing the errant nation (embodied in “Jeshurun”), and saying everything about them has become corrupted, even their “wine”. It’s not saying all wine, for any time!

    The closest thing that might look like a universal ban on drinking it, period, is Isaiah 5, but that specifies “the mighty”. These would be men in a position where the possibility of being drunk would impair their work. (And the next verse seems to tack onto this, it leading to poor judgment of the wicked and righteous). So it’s what we call in my industry today, “safety sensitive”.

    So we see again how this position that claims to be “following every word of God” (and denouncing others over this), is really reading more into scripture than they are out of it. More and more radicalism is surfacing on the right, rather than ignoring it making it go away.

  17. Here’s a point I pointed out in the OP, above:

    View at

    In that typically tin-eared thinking, Law uses literal integration of bible verses to prohibit women from the office of pastor — yet appears oblivious to the fact that terms such as “Senior Pastor” — which he claims for himself — do NOT appear in the Bible. Ever.

    In fact, there is no straight-line correlation between “the office and work of a pastor” in the New Testament and the contemporary job of being a church pastor.

    As the early church developed in the years following Jesus’ life and ministry, pastors — and it’s invariably a plurality — operated in a volunteer role within the evolving Christian community.

    The whole concept of a bloke who was upfront and “ran the church” was unknown back then.

    In those days, churches were typically small enough to meet in homes. They were simply not in a position to afford a professional ministry class, even if it had been deemed appropriate.

    Fast-forward 2000 years, and pastoring is now a professional “job” like any other — with salary and expense packages that are the envy of many other professions.

    Pastors train in a full-time educational setting, apply for their roles and enter into a complex hierarchy of Assistant Pastor, Youth Pastor, Teaching Pastor and — the holy grail — Senior Pastor.

    Literally, NOTHING that makes up the professional class “pastor” in the modern-day church is as described in the bible.

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