Steve Pettit and the Skillman family

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Larry Nelson's picture

Regarding the Rocky Top lyrics:

"In 2013, the moonshine reference got the song banned at Plymouth High School in Indiana, where it had been shouted from football stands in support of the Plymouth Rockies for over 20 years. Dan Tyree, the school's superintendent who banned the song, explained: "We have a hard time seeing how we can continue to let our whole student body celebrate to a song that's about alcohol."

https://www.songfacts.com/facts/osborne-brothers/rocky-top

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So a song that is banned by at least one public high school because of its "moonshine reference(s)" is fine in the BJU orbit.........I'm just sayin'...........   Smile

G. N. Barkman's picture

I did not deny there is a connection between musical styles and sinful hearts.  I denied that music styles constitute a fundamental of the faith.  In truth, there is a connection between sinful hearts and Everything in this world.  But that doesn't make everything a fundamental of the faith.

The point being that when one contends about too many things, Fundamentalism is diluted because no clear distinction is made between the fundamentals and everything else.  One also ceases to be Biblical, because rules are made about things the Bible puts into the category of Christian liberty.  Pharisaism destroys Fundamentalism.

G. N. Barkman

Don Johnson's picture

Now where do you get that in the Bible? 

Are all arts the same? Painting, sculpture, literature, etc? All matters of liberty?

Are the animistic totems of Native Americans (First Nations in Canada) simply a matter of liberty?

How do you define a Biblical standard for any of these? Ought you to?

How do you define a Biblical standard for the conservative music of your church?

If music is just a matter of liberty, you should have no objection if a soloist wants to perform a contemporary piece in a contemporary way.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

G. N. Barkman's picture

Don, are any of these fundamentals of the Christian faith?   To answer your first question, here is where I get that in the Bible.  Those matters which are not Biblically prohibited or required, fall into the category of Christian liberty.  To address your second question, saying arts fall into the category of Christian liberty is not the same as saying they are all the same.  Where in the world are you coming from with that equation?  I skip your third question to address the fourth.  I do not attempt to define a Biblical standard for the conservative music for our church.  I have told people that as long as I am pastor, my judgment prevails.  When the church has someone else as senior pastor, he will use his own judgment, which may or may not differ significantly from mine.  Church is not a free for all with everyone having equal authority in what we utilize in worship.

But back to the original premise.  Do you consider music styles a fundamental of the Christian faith?  How many other fundamentals do you include?  I believe that when everything becomes a fundamental, nothing is a fundamental.  The word "fundamental" indicates something of greatest importance.  If everything is equally important, nothing is of greater significance.

G. N. Barkman

TylerR's picture

Editor

Greg wrote:

I do not attempt to define a Biblical standard for the conservative music for our church.  I have told people that as long as I am pastor, my judgment prevails.  When the church has someone else as senior pastor, he will use his own judgment, which may or may not differ significantly from mine.

Agreed. A man in my church recently wrote up a brief statement about music that is excellent. I'll find it and post it here for comment.  

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Don Johnson's picture

G. N. Barkman wrote:

But back to the original premise.  Do you consider music styles a fundamental of the Christian faith?  How many other fundamentals do you include?  I believe that when everything becomes a fundamental, nothing is a fundamental.  The word "fundamental" indicates something of greatest importance.  If everything is equally important, nothing is of greater significance.

I don't consider music styles a fundamental of the faith, i.e., they are not "the faith." But I do consider them to reflect and be intimately connected with the faith, especially the doctrine of the fall.

Jude says: Jude 1:4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

It is possible to turn God's grace into licentiousness and thereby deny Christ. I consider that a fundamental doctrine of practice (while not a fundamental of the faith exactly). To embrace the world is to deny Christ in some measure at least.

So the reason we have conservative standards in our church isn't "because the pastor says so" but because it is right to have conservative standards.

It's a little shocking to hear you articulate your views in this way.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Larry Nelson's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

I don't consider music styles a fundamental of the faith, i.e., they are not "the faith." But I do consider them to reflect and be intimately connected with the faith, especially the doctrine of the fall.

Jude says: Jude 1:4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

It is possible to turn God's grace into licentiousness and thereby deny Christ. I consider that a fundamental doctrine of practice (while not a fundamental of the faith exactly). To embrace the world is to deny Christ in some measure at least.

So the reason we have conservative standards in our church isn't "because the pastor says so" but because it is right to have conservative standards.

It's a little shocking to hear you articulate your views in this way.

So this upcoming weekend, when about 3,000 people in four contemporary worship services at my church sing several contemporary worship songs that were scrupulously and prayerfully selected by our Worship Pastor, we will not be expressing our love and gratitude for our Savior, but will instead be denying Christ.  Because, after all, what was once contemporary itself is now deemed "conservative," and has become the immutable standard against which the propriety of worship is measured.   

Either that, or you have grossly misapplied Jude 1:4 in your comments above.

G. N. Barkman's picture

You are an intelligent and capable man.  You need a better understanding of Romans 14 and the I Corinthians liberty passages.  I respect your opinions on music, and am happy to let you apply them to your church.  But what I find shocking is your defense of holding everyone else to your subjective opinions about music styes.  In truth, our preferences in music are probably pretty similar.  The difference is, I do not make my church's practice a fundamental of the faith and you do.  A fundamental has to be truly fundamental.

G. N. Barkman

Don Johnson's picture

Greg, you are putting words in my mouth. I didn't say music standards are a fundamental of the faith. I said they are connected to a fundamental of the faith, ie, the sin nature/fall of man.

Regardless, you said yourself that your church standards are "because I say so" - I find that pretty shocking.

Where we do disagree is that I don't think music falls under Romans 14 at all, nor does any art form. The arts are not indifferent. Whether you eat meat or are a vegetarian is indifferent. Doesn't matter. But the arts are expressions of the heart.

Anyway, since we keep saying the same thing, maybe it is time to stop?

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Bert Perry's picture

I'd agree that the case for drinking moonshine even with a "wine is OK" mood is iffy--the straight stuff has a taste somewhere between nothing and kerosene, I'm told, and drinking 180 proof (90%) without getting drunk basically means you stop after a few sips--but it strikes me that if we're learning about American culture, moonshine is basically something we see a LOT in conservative circles; tax avoidance and rejection of overbearing government.  The apparent murder of revenuers is something of a morality tale that when Uncle Sam gets too overbearing, things won't go too well for him. 

It's not exactly a choir anthem, for sure, but historically and politically significant.  Plus, there are a lot of bluegrass Gospel songs out there, and it strikes me as somewhat odd that Pettit doesn't use some of those.  Alison Krauss has done a bunch of 'em. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

In defense of Greg, I don't understand the distinction you're trying to make. I don't know what you're saying.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Kevin Miller's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

Greg, you are putting words in my mouth. I didn't say music standards are a fundamental of the faith. I said they are connected to a fundamental of the faith, ie, the sin nature/fall of man.

Regardless, you said yourself that your church standards are "because I say so" - I find that pretty shocking.

Where we do disagree is that I don't think music falls under Romans 14 at all, nor does any art form. The arts are not indifferent. Whether you eat meat or are a vegetarian is indifferent. Doesn't matter. But the arts are expressions of the heart.

Anyway, since we keep saying the same thing, maybe it is time to stop?

For the Romans, wasn't eating meat "connected to" a heart thing? For us today, eating meat or being a vegetarian is indifferent, but for the Romans, eating the meat was connected to idolatry, which definitely is a heart thing. If eating meat associated with idolatry (a heart thing) is a matter of liberty, then why wouldn't the arts be a matter of liberty?

josh p's picture

I doubt that anyone here would say that all art is indifferent or strictly a matter of individual conscience. If you accept the premise that all art communicates, then it stands to reason that it has to be evaluated to see what it communicates. That’s not always easy and, when you get down to the application of music into the worship service it is more challenging (as the countless mega-threads on SI indicate). I have to admit I’m a little surprised by Greg’s statement that they use conservative music because that’s what he wants. I know Greg that the Lord has blessed your ministry there but it seems like people need a better justification than that.

G. N. Barkman's picture

Don, I do not understand exactly what you are saying about the arts not being a liberty issue.  Why are they not?  (I can't help but think of the occasional nudity in the BJU Art Gallery, roundly condemned by some.  Was it a matter of liberty for BJU to include those paintings?)

G. N. Barkman

Larry Nelson's picture

G. N. Barkman wrote:

Don, I do not understand exactly what you are saying about the arts not being a liberty issue.  Why are they not?  (I can't help but think of the occasional nudity in the BJU Art Gallery, roundly condemned by some.  Was it a matter of liberty for BJU to include those paintings?)

Somebody is bound to reply, "context," which to me doesn't at all begin to justify or even explain why a student having a poster of some of the very same artwork on their dorm room wall would in all likelihood face its removal, and demerits.....

Bert Perry's picture

It wasn't just "associated with" idolatry, it was the offering.  If you read Homer, you'll see innumerable examples of the ancient Greek heroes offering the "thighbone of a hog" to Zeus.  Huge difference there.    Nobody was objecting to meat because it was similar to meat that had been part of pagan worship; the historic testimony was that it had actually been offered.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

So the reason we have conservative standards in our church isn't "because the pastor says so" but because it is right to have conservative standards.

True, but that brings up more questions:

  • Who sets the pastor's standards? 
  • Is it OK if my standards don't align with the pastor's standards, or does that become a sin issue?
  • What does a person do when they change churches and the 'new' pastor's standards are different from what they are used to be, either because they are 'stronger' or 'weaker'? 
  • Or what do they do if a newly hired pastor says that bluegrass is OK when the old pastor did not?

Our church is in the middle of a pastoral transition, so these are all real issues I'm thinking about now.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

TylerR's picture

Editor

If the Man of God, in the House of God, hears the Voice of God, telling him what to say about the Word of God, then all we can do is submit to the Man of God. Haymen!!?

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Bert Perry's picture

Given that David wrote a lot of the Psalms despite being neither prophet nor priest, and given that a fair number of Psalms are unattributed, and given that 1 Corinthians 14 notes that early church services had a lot of people bringing their own songs into the congregation, is the Scripture really consistent with the notion of the pastor setting the musical tone for the entire congregation?  We might wonder whether music in Bible times was effectively "crowd-sourced."

I can see some basic limits on music-the message ought not be heretical or obscene, preference will be given to lyrics whose poetry effectively uses poetic devices, the tunes used ought to be fitting to the topic and winsome--but perhaps we might find that the degree of control a pastor ought to exert might be far less than is typical in today's fundamental (and evangelical) churches.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

John E.'s picture

I don't know if I've organized my thoughts enough to defend what I'm about to write. However, I'm going to write it because I'm curious to hear more thoughts about this issue.

I don't believe that all music (or art, in general) is a Romans 14 issue. For example, and to use an extreme example, does Motley Crue's "Girls, Girls, Girls" fall under Christian liberty? (If you're unfamiliar with the song, don't look it up on YouTube because, if I remember correctly, the video is set in a strip club.) Does a work of art that so blatantly objectifies women and mocks God's sexual ethic fall under Christian liberty? 

I think the disconnect in this thread may be that some are simply referring to style of music (genre) when they say they leave it up to an individual's conscience. While others view style (genre) and lyrical content ("Girls, Girls, Girls") as inseparable. Growing up, I was told that even if the lyrics weren't bad the style of music was sinful. If someone believes that, then they're not going to be able to agree to disagree that style (genre) is a subjective matter. Nor, frankly, should they if that's what they believe in full faith before God. I can disagree with someone over whether the style itself is sinful and still recognize that they're speaking in good faith and trying to pursue holiness in ways that bring God glory. 

Mark_Smith's picture

My question wasn't meant to be a "crazed hypothetical." It was meant to ask this, but let me start with some context. I spent 12+ years as a charismatic. I am embarrassed that I was deceived by that. I regret every nanosecond of it. Spending that much time in that errant theology ruined my life. Yes... RUINED. You don't get 12 years back, especially at that time. Now, all the time I spent leading worship, yes singing Hillsong music and others, counts for nothing. In fact it is worse than nothing. Now, at 45, there is simply no way to get back on track. Its lost. I'll never be able to do things in ministry that I could have done had I not wasted 12 years being a charismatic. As a result I despise anything charismatic. Especially the stuff that causes people to think it is good.

So, imagine my horror at the relative ease with which evangelicals, and especially Baptists, even "fundamental" Baptists such as yourself lap up material produced by charismatics. The CCM industry is overrun with charismatics.

So what you say. We worship with it, have our doctrine, and all is good.

That leads to my question. You have compartmentalized the music. You have your theology and doctrine, and add Hillsong, for example, as a little cherry on top. The problem is, the youth around you might not, and likely will not, do that. They will google Hillsong, and listen to that music. Then they will click the links on the side to other charismatic music. Then they'll see "Bill Johnson" or someone else, and listen. Some, will be deceived...

If that doesn't bother you, so be it. But that scares the h e double hockey sticks out of me.

Mark

AndyE's picture

For years, all I knew about Rocky Top was its role as the unofficial fight song for the University of Tennessee.  I didn't even know there were lyrics to the song.  Now it is no longer neutral to me. Thanks everyone....

Jim's picture

AndyE wrote:

For years, all I knew about Rocky Top was its role as the unofficial fight song for the University of Tennessee.  I didn't even know there were lyrics to the song.  Now it is no longer neutral to me. Thanks everyone....

Our job ... was to ruin it for you! 

You're welcome!

TylerR's picture

Editor

I know nothing about Hillsong. I know nothing about the CCM scene. Literally, nothing. I just listened to one album, liked some songs and appreciate the lyrics, and disliked others. You wrote:

So, imagine my horror at the relative ease with which evangelicals, and especially Baptists, even "fundamental" Baptists such as yourself lap up material produced by charismatics. The CCM industry is overrun with charismatics.

The real world is overrun with all sorts of horrors. I can't separate from that. Nobody can. Shall I keep my children in tupperware containers, lest the popular culture destroy them? Of course not; people have to be taught to eat the meat and spit out the bones, so to speak. They need to be taught discernment. This is true in real life, and it's true with music. The rub is that many people disagree about what's worth discerning. Issues of style, genre, and lyrics now come into play. A good deal of this is subjective; no matter how desperately proponents try to make Scriptural cases.

I've found this much to be true:

  • Everyone has a pet issue, be it ecclesiology, eschatology, soteriology, bible versions, or music, or alcohol - sometimes a combination of these
  • People are very willing to overlook heterodox positions on other issues, if a person agrees with them on a "pet issue." Thus, while separation is often championed as a high ideal, the actual application is often ... selective!
  • These hobby horses make for some very strange bed-fellows. This is why, for example, associations of KJVO churches generally agree on the KJV, but tolerate insane doctrinal aberrations on a host of other topics.

For some people, music is the issue. My issues are theology proper, christology and soteriology. I'll work with a Reformed guy who has contemporary music over a fellow Baptist who models his ministry after Hyles. We each make our decisions about separation over what we perceive to the "the issues". Everything isn't a fundamental. Everything can't be.

For me, music isn't a fundamental; I allow wide latitude within the general umbrella of theologically accurate lyrics, and a holy style and manner of delivery.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Bert Perry's picture

AndyE wrote:

For years, all I knew about Rocky Top was its role as the unofficial fight song for the University of Tennessee.  I didn't even know there were lyrics to the song.  Now it is no longer neutral to me. Thanks everyone....

I am not enough of a Vols fan--sorry Andy--to know how it's presented, but if people are singing a song for years, but don't know the lyrics, one might guess the message is not getting across.  I am thankful (h/t John) that the times I heard "Girls Girls Girls" played, I also did not get the message.  And in the same way, if a church is using a song but people are not catching on to the lyrics, then either the song or its presentation is at fault.  It's failing in a primary purpose of Christian music, to impart God's Word in lyric form to God's people.  

And along the same lines, Mark, I understand your concern, but again, the bigger question is not whether bad influences are going to come in (have you read the papers lately?), but rather whether people in the church are going to be equipped to handle them.  Do they understand and appreciate the main points of theology that would allow them to be discerning?  And exactly how much would be required to "protect" them here?  The Amish have one solution that works....really only, if at all, until Rumspringa.  Colossians 2:20-23, no? 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

John E.'s picture

You wrote:

For me, music isn't a fundamental; I allow wide latitude within the general umbrella of theologically accurate lyrics, and a holy style and manner of delivery.

I'm assuming that you agree that pursuing holiness is commanded by Scriptures. If so, does music (or any entertainment choices) fall under the umbrella of pursuing holiness? This next question may be unfair considering the format here, but if entertainment choices do fall under the umbrella of pursuing holiness, would you mind sharing how you discern what crosses the line to where you can't "allow wide latitude?" 

 

TylerR's picture

Editor

I'm referring to a corporate worship context.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

John E.'s picture

I know, but I'm still curious. 

TylerR's picture

Editor

Similar to Bro. Barkman, what we allow in a corporate worship service is what I say we allow. That's my criteria. We don't have a group of talented musicians. We typically do a song leader with a piano accompaniment. Occasionally, we have some accompaniment with a violin, saxophone or a trombone. We had a guitar once, too. We have several older ladies who would leave if we ever rolled out drums. I'm theoretically not opposed to drums or guitars, if someone had the talent to use them.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

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