The New Fundamentalism of “Religious Affections”

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Greg Long's picture

This is absolutely spot on and I could not agree more.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Greg Long's picture

Quote:
To be fair, I do not think that these people have actually said that those who don’t agree with them are dumb. (At least a quick word search in their archives of “dumb” does not immediately reveal evidence of this.) It’s just inferred. The new wave of fundamentalist intellectualism is just like the old wave of fundamentalist anti-intellectualism. Its tactics are the same. They’re not as attached to the term “fundamentalism” as the previous generation because they’re much more sophisticated in their thinking. They like “conservative” better. But they are still very much the same. Instead of making you feel like you’re a heretic by virtue of the fact that you diverge ever so slightly from their opinion on all matters, they make you feel like a dummy for diverging from their opinion on just a few matters. And dumb people just don’t get how holy God is.

They make you feel like your worship is second-rate, that you’re a half-wit if you can’t grasp their casuistry, and that you are guilty of heteropathy. They don’t shun you by running you out of their circles; they shun you by talking all about any position that differs from theirs as worldly and ignorant. They’ll talk with you by talking down to you. They’ll even go to church with you because they must. (There are so few churches that get what real worship is all about, after all.) One of their own boasts of simply refusing to sing with his congregation when the driveling bauble of simpleton worshipers he must associate with sings songs beneath his standards of orthopathy. Having the religious affections of a person grateful to be making a joyful noise with the blood-bought, covenanted people of God doesn’t overcome his devotion to form. Like Michal peering through the lattice of the upper window, they scorn the bad form of joy-driven God-lovers dancing among the people.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Jay's picture

The queer Mozart’s Laudate Dominum (Psalm 117) makes me fall to my knees every time I hear it. I dream of the day we can do it in church!

But the point that I insist upon here is that the movement was cold and dead from the beginning, having the “form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:5). Good form and right feelings can be damnably misguided.

Consider the God-ward, God-glorifying form of the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14. “I thank thee God that I am not like that poor Chris Tomlin singer over there who shuts his eyes and lifts up his hands with the pitiful, artless, crude hip-swaying style of corrupted orthopathy.” Ah, yes! The feelings of thankfulness were genuine in the Pharisee. He had, in fact, religious affections of sincere gratitude that God — indeed, he credited God! — had not made him as that poor loser in the corner, crying out to God with bad poise, seemingly unconscious of God’s glorious transcendence and preference for hymns. No one had more concern about form worthy of God than the Pharisee. No one...

God did not delight in the very forms that He had ordained when the forms became an opportunity for wrong affections. “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord. I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or goats” (Isaiah 1:10). Let Jesus talk about religious affections: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another.” Let Paul talk about religious affections: “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them” (1 Corinthians 9:19). Here’s Jesus again when the worship and ministry police disapproved of his style: “Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds” (Matthew 11:19).

But when form has become so important to you that you celebrate men who refuse to sing with the blood-bought covenanted people of God whenever they sing poetry that is less than the very best, it is you and not the boy with the guitar that is on the slippery slope. God sanctifies music just like He sanctifies His people; with His Word. Indeed, He sanctifies everything in one way: with His Word and prayer. “Everything created by God is good, and nothing should be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, since it is sanctified by the word of God and by prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5). Jesus Himself is the ultimate Word that listens to the repetitive and simple chants of boys and, because of His mystical union with us and ours with Him, turns that which comes out of the mouths of intellectual babes praise!

Yes!

 

"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

GregH's picture

Wow, scathing. What is Bob talking about when he refers to the fruits of their teaching in his own city?

I agree that these guys are the new version of the old music "experts" though on the surface, more sophisticated. The one thing they do way better than Garlock and company is avoiding getting specific about their music "rules." Those guys will skate around and do contortions to avoid getting specific because they know that as soon as they do, they start looking ridiculous. Or elitist. Or Eurocentric. Or racist...

 

 

Bob Hayton's picture

I agree, excellent post. I appreciated this part:

Consider the God-ward, God-glorifying form of the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14. “I thank thee God that I am not like that poor Chris Tomlin singer over there who shuts his eyes and lifts up his hands with the pitiful, artless, crude hip-swaying style of corrupted orthopathy.” Ah, yes! The feelings of thankfulness were genuine in the Pharisee. He had, in fact, religious affections of sincere gratitude that God — indeed, he credited God! — had not made him as that poor loser in the corner, crying out to God with bad poise, seemingly unconscious of God’s glorious transcendence and preference for hymns. No one had more concern about form worthy of God than the Pharisee. No one.

He's very direct but I think you need to be. Not that everyone who prefers traditional music thinks this way, but the danger is present and needs to be warned against.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I just read Bixby's post. I suspect he is a good man who was badly burned, and is quite hostile to fundamentalism as a movement. He erects straw men based on the unfortunate, un-Biblical actions of those on the extreme, dictatorial, right-wing fringe of fundamentalism.

He is not somebody I plan on paying any attention to, unless he shows signs of calming down. I've read two posts by him. I can almost picture him frothing and spitting at the keyboard in fury as he typed each of them. There is none of that coming from the separatists at SI regarding NIU or other contentious issues issue.

I am honestly puzzled at why anyone gives credence to the man. He evidently has a large axe to grind, and he has apparently posted himself at the grinding wheel for the long haul. Good luck to him. I'll steer clear.

 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Joel Shaffer's picture

Tyler, 

Bob is not arguing against extreme right-winged dictatorial fundamentalism.  He is arguing against a certain conservative educated wing of fundamentalism that stereotype and make faulty assumptions about those that seek to engage culture that differ than their preferences/Biblical convictions of music, while coming across quite arrogant towards these same people.   Maybe I'm wrong, but I felt Bob used a polemic style of argumentation to get his point across.  Alex G. often uses the same style.  I used to get frustrated and offended at Alex because it seemed at first uncharitable.  But the more that I read his posts and a few of his blog posts, he used this type of argumentation to emphasize his point.........

 

ADThompson's picture

TylerR, I've appreciated your recent interaction with the material on Sharper Iron (and your submitted articles) regardless of my own point of view. Your interaction with Bob's blog article seems, however, less helpful than I've come to expect from you. 

  • You claim Bob is bitter. We are, unfortunately, familiar with this particular approach to disagreement. "I suspect he is a good man who was badly burned, and is quite hostile to fundamentalism as a movement."
  • You claim that Bob is guilty of faulty argumentation. I would encourage you to document this claim. "He erects straw men based on the unfortunate, un-Biblical actions of those on the extreme, dictatorial, right-wing fringe of fundamentalism."
  • You are concerned about his tone, but perhaps that doesn't justify attributing "frothing and spitting" to a brother you have evidently never met.
  • You question the discernment of those who value what Bob has to say. "I am honestly puzzled at why anyone gives credence to the man."

Again, I've appreciated your contributions. I'm not sure what happened here.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I think God actually wants us to work out these details - music, clothing, entertainment, personal habits - in the process of spiritual growth and sanctification. But it is an individual journey;  and what's more, my path to holiness ain't necessarily your path, and just because the destination is the same, that doesn't mean we all must hop on someone's theological version of Route 66 and carpool and shout "He who is not with me is against me" out the windows. 

BryanBice's picture

TylerR wrote:

I just read Bixby's post. I suspect he is a good man who was badly burned, and is quite hostile to fundamentalism as a movement. He erects straw men based on the unfortunate, un-Biblical actions of those on the extreme, dictatorial, right-wing fringe of fundamentalism.

He is not somebody I plan on paying any attention to, unless he shows signs of calming down. I've read two posts by him. I can almost picture him frothing and spitting at the keyboard in fury as he typed each of them. There is none of that coming from the separatists at SI regarding NIU or other contentious issues issue.

I am honestly puzzled at why anyone gives credence to the man. He evidently has a large axe to grind, and he has apparently posted himself at the grinding wheel for the long haul. Good luck to him. I'll steer clear.

 

Sorry, TylerR, I don't see what you do. Perhaps because I know Bob well enough, I know that your supplied graphic is most uncharitable & verbal characterizations are far from accurate.
Furthermore, when I read his article after reading your comments, I couldn't help but compare Bob's to the countless diatribes I've read over the years from various "reputable" fundamentalist sources (and I'm not talking about the loonies, either!) and found Bob relatively mild. He didn't personally attack anyone by naming names, flamed no one, didn't resort to name-calling, didn't lift things totally out of context -- all tactics used in the many "open letters" and "yellow journalism" articles that have come across my desk. I wish (sort of) some of those truly caustic pieces were available to place alongside Bob's. The contrast would, I think, speak for itself.

Greg Linscott's picture

I am wondering if Tyler is familiar with the specifics of those Bob is addressing. It might help if the context was understood. The Religious Affections guys have not had as vocal a presence at SI as they did a few years ago. Who knows... maybe this thread will mark an exception... Smile

By the way- I understand where Bob is coming from. I think he's over-reaching, but there are observations he's made that bear consideration.

At the same time, I think it is good for Fundamentalism (whatever that means these days... Smile ) to have those who come from the  intellectual end of things. I think you also need those who are driven by compassion and service (like I know Bob to be). 

I may try to interact more specifically (either here or at Pen-seeze Smile )with what Bob has said, but it's looking to be a busy day here. 

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Charlie's picture

I posted this on Bixby's site:

Pastor Bixby,

I heartily agree with the general thrust of your article. I would like to point out, though, that fundamentalism has always had an odd mix of anti-intellectualism and fawning for (the trappings of) intellectualism. It has always been important for big-church fundamentalist pastors or educators to get the doctoral degree, even if that meant nothing more than an honorary certificate or a sham PhD program. Likewise, remember all the arguments by Garlock and friends about syncopation, plants, backmasking, etc.

The issue, then, is not anti-intellectualism or pro-intellectualism, but securing a monopoly on intellectual capital. The anti-intellectual rants are to scare the congregants so they don't listen to OUTSIDE expert opinion; the pro-intellectual posturing is to dazzle them into thinking the speakers know what they're talking about. As always, it boils down to control.

You are right about the Tractarian/Pusey ideology. My second master's degree is from a Catholic university. I have many colleagues that follow Hans Urs von Balthasar's aesthetic approach to Christianity, as well as Pope Benedict XVI's preference for highly traditional, aesthetic liturgy. Even Latin Mass is making a comeback on aesthetic/traditional grounds.

In my opinion, the RAM guys are trying to appropriate insights from this movement and graft them into a culture which is somewhat alien. Not only American evangelicalism, but the whole Reformed church out of which evangelicalism sprung has a rather different aesthetic approach. Zwingli simplified church decoration and removed music. The Puritans ripped out organs and insisted on simplicity in music. Congregational singing as opposed to trained musicians required a kind of egalitarianism.

So, I think it is right to raise the question to the RAM people, "You say you are taking us back, but back to where?"

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I saw this link to an article at Smithsonian.com yesterday at Tim Challies' blog- Eight New Things We've Learned About Music.

Based on MRI scans, they found that when people listened to music they liked, the limbic and paralimbic regions of the brain became more active. They’re the areas linked to euphoric reward responses, the same ones that bring the dopamine rush associated with food, sex and drugs.

 

 

TylerR's picture

Editor

Folks,

Perhaps we're reading different articles! I don't know the man, but he seems pretty angry about something. If I didn't enjoy interacting with those I disagree with, I wouldn't be here at SI. I don't mind if he disagrees with fundamentalism, but why in the world is he so hostile?

His entire article seems to be interacting with the legalistic excesses of some while castigating the rest of us at the same time. Would anybody here appreciate an article on a left-wing evangelical which broad-brush scorched the entire movement, to include D.A. Carson, Al Mohler and everybody one else as spineless theological illiterates? Would any of you listen to me?

I honestly want to know why Bixby's article should be heard. His tone is rude, condescending and his characterizations of fundamentalism are incorrect. I am surprised at the favorable reaction.

Pkease help me understand. Maybe I'm just missing something . . . 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

TylerR's picture

Editor

If you folks know the guy, then I understand if my graphic offended you. I don't know him, and I haven't the slightest idea why he is so hostile. Different perspectives.

AD Thompson:

Bitter:

The new wave of fundamentalist intellectualism is just like the old wave of fundamentalist anti-intellectualism. Its tactics are the same. They’re not as attached to the term “fundamentalism” as the previous generation because they’re much more sophisticated in their thinking. They like “conservative” better. But they are still very much the same. Instead of making you feel like you’re a heretic by virtue of the fact that you diverge ever so slightly from their opinion on all matters, they make you feel like a dummy for diverging from their opinion on just a few matters. And dumb people just don’t get how holy God is

What in the world is that about? I don't act this way. I suspect you don't either.

Straw Men:

They make you feel like your worship is second-rate, that you’re a half-wit if you can’t grasp their casuistry, and that you are guilty of heteropathy. They don’t shun you by running you out of their circles; they shun you by talking all about any position that differs from theirs as worldly and ignorant. They’ll talk with you by talking down to you. They’ll even go to church with you because they must. (There are so few churches that get what real worship is all about, after all.) One of their own boasts of simply refusing to sing with his congregation when the driveling bauble of simpleton worshipers he must associate with sings songs beneath his standards of orthopathy. Having the religious affections of a person grateful to be making a joyful noise with the blood-bought, covenanted people of God doesn’t overcome his devotion to form. Like Michal peering through the lattice of the upper window, they scorn the bad form of joy-driven God-lovers dancing among the people.

This does not characterize me. I suspect it doesn't characteriz you either.

Tone:

They’re separatists by condescension. They don’t practice separation; they practice superiority. And that separates them

Negative. That is way out of line.

You:

You question the discernment of those who value what Bob has to say. "I am honestly puzzled at why anyone gives credence to the man."

Why do you read the guy? If you know him on a personal level, that would make sense. Has anything he said here characterize your ministry? Or is it a straw man against the dictatorial excesses of some?

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Don Johnson's picture

Bob's post is typical of him, spitting and spueing, full of sound and fury...

He does touch on some possibly legitimate points, but they get lost in the outlandish passion.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Jay's picture

TylerR wrote:

The new wave of fundamentalist intellectualism is just like the old wave of fundamentalist anti-intellectualism. Its tactics are the same. They’re not as attached to the term “fundamentalism” as the previous generation because they’re much more sophisticated in their thinking. They like “conservative” better. But they are still very much the same. Instead of making you feel like you’re a heretic by virtue of the fact that you diverge ever so slightly from their opinion on all matters, they make you feel like a dummy for diverging from their opinion on just a few matters. And dumb people just don’t get how holy God is.

What in the world is that about? I don't act this way. I suspect you don't either.

I didn't have to look too hard for this:

We (or I, at least) am quite open to anyone disagreeing with my interpretation of Scripture or how I apply Scripture to musical choices. I welcome discussion on these matters. Anyone who reads me honestly will have to admit that I welcome such discourse. That doesn't mean I will agree, of course. But if someone is willing to say, "Here is why I think the form of rap is fitting with biblical principles" (for example) I am more than willing to hear him out.

Yet you are denying us even the right to claim that we have these convictions based upon Scripture. You insist, rather, that we admit that our judgments are based on personal preference alone. Folks like you are unwilling to disagree with us on the basis of our interpretation or application; rather you shut down any discussion by claiming that the Bible doesn't say anything about musical style or that we are defending preference.

So which is the more charitable option? (a) Take us at our Word that we have with all honestly attempted to rightly apply the Word of God and have based our judgments on those applications, and therefore engage us on that level, or (b) insist that our convictions are baseless and based on preference alone?

If this whole debate were founded only on preference, then I would agree with you wholeheartedly that we should allow each to have his preferences (you prefer steak? I prefer tofu! eh, who cares!)

But at least allow us the right to hold (what we truly believe are, at least) biblical convictions and engage us on that level.

You should note that anyone who disagrees with Scott does not allow him to hold 'biblical convictions' and that those who disagree with Scott do so on 'personal preference alone'.  We 'shut down any discussion' when we argue that the Bible doesn't have anything to say about 'musical style'.

Or perhaps I could quote Scott again:

Dan McGee wrote:
Brent, let's decide if musical style is an essential matter of doctrine by simply quoting all the specific passages of Scripture that deal with the issue. You go first.

Now substance or content is a different matter. Scripture speaks clearly and forcefully to the issue.

Scott's reply?

Ephesians 4:29.

Your turn.

Should I find more examples?  It wouldn't take too long.

"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

Greg Long's picture

Tyler, he is not addressing you or even all fundamentalists. He is addressing a specific subset of fundamentalism who makes specific arguments about music based on "proper affections." His arguments are entirely appropriate for what he is addressing. These are not straw men he is dealing with.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Matthew Richards's picture

"The original author of “The Religious Affections,” Jonathan Edwards, would be revolted by this bastardization of his beautiful theme. If you want to know what Jonathan Edwards would have felt about worship and religious affections, pay attention to John Piper (few moderns know Edwards better), not the young men with next-to-no pastoral experience at the Religious Affections Ministries. I read them for entertainment, mind-stimulation, thoughtful discussion, and for sometimes profitable insight. I don’t read them for wisdom in ministry. I read them like I read other philosophies that I can learn from without totally imbibing. If you want to be part of the glorious ambassadorial ministry of reconciliation that is bringing in people from every tribe, tongue, nation, and ethnicity, then don’t become part of a movement that gloats in being the best and highest form of what they have always been: They’re Westerners, White, American, Evangelical, Fundamentalists. And it all comes through in an undiluted sub-culture of religious isolationism and superiority."

Matthew

Matthew Richards's picture

TylerR wrote:

If you folks know the guy, then I understand if my graphic offended you. I don't know him, and I haven't the slightest idea why he is so hostile. Different perspectives.

AD Thompson:

Bitter:

The new wave of fundamentalist intellectualism is just like the old wave of fundamentalist anti-intellectualism. Its tactics are the same. They’re not as attached to the term “fundamentalism” as the previous generation because they’re much more sophisticated in their thinking. They like “conservative” better. But they are still very much the same. Instead of making you feel like you’re a heretic by virtue of the fact that you diverge ever so slightly from their opinion on all matters, they make you feel like a dummy for diverging from their opinion on just a few matters. And dumb people just don’t get how holy God is

What in the world is that about? I don't act this way. I suspect you don't either.

Straw Men:

They make you feel like your worship is second-rate, that you’re a half-wit if you can’t grasp their casuistry, and that you are guilty of heteropathy. They don’t shun you by running you out of their circles; they shun you by talking all about any position that differs from theirs as worldly and ignorant. They’ll talk with you by talking down to you. They’ll even go to church with you because they must. (There are so few churches that get what real worship is all about, after all.) One of their own boasts of simply refusing to sing with his congregation when the driveling bauble of simpleton worshipers he must associate with sings songs beneath his standards of orthopathy. Having the religious affections of a person grateful to be making a joyful noise with the blood-bought, covenanted people of God doesn’t overcome his devotion to form. Like Michal peering through the lattice of the upper window, they scorn the bad form of joy-driven God-lovers dancing among the people.

This does not characterize me. I suspect it doesn't characteriz you either.

Tone:

They’re separatists by condescension. They don’t practice separation; they practice superiority. And that separates them

Negative. That is way out of line.

You:

You question the discernment of those who value what Bob has to say. "I am honestly puzzled at why anyone gives credence to the man."

Why do you read the guy? If you know him on a personal level, that would make sense. Has anything he said here characterize your ministry? Or is it a straw man against the dictatorial excesses of some?

Tyler,

If this doesn't describe you, then why are you so defensive about it?  Slow down and take a deep breath.  

Matthew 

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Bixby Becoming What He Hates

I realize Bob Bixby meant what he said, his earnestness is not in question. However, as one has suggested, this is not a thoughtful piece which one would or should take seriously. There are places and times to make charges or to use exaggeration if, indeed, we are clear it is exaggeration or hyperbole and as well a time for elevated passions well worded.

Unfortunately Bob Bixby’s article, hence he, represents everything wrong with those who have left or are opposing fundamentalism, or should I say Baptist Fundamentalism. Their disaffection leads them about instead of objectivity and good and fair reasons. So let me document:

They make you feel like your worship is second-rate, that you’re a half-wit if you can’t grasp their casuistry, and that you are guilty of heteropathy. They don’t shun you by running you out of their circles; they shun you by talking all about any position that differs from theirs as worldly and ignorant.

One would imagine serious men who wish to be heard would cite who the “they” are who have magic control over Bob’s feelings. But blaming others for the way one feels is one of the hallmarks of one who is led about by their disaffections. So Bob has a straw man here that he can knock down and pretend he has taken on someone or something real.

The fad for superior form is not new.

It appears Bob has a tiny circle in which he moves. Outside of his circle, liturgy forms are not considered fads. They are serious constructs of a rigorous theology. Of course maybe to Bob the Lutherans, Anglicans and various Baptists, not to mention Episcopalians and so on, are all just, well, “intellectualists”. Maybe a peek into the seriousness of it by the LCMS will help:

From the LCMS: Worship is like that: one foot in heaven with the other here on earth. What brings heaven into our earthly worship is not dependent on the elaborateness of the service or the sincerity of our devotion. Rather, it is because of the One who is present in our worship that we experience heaven on earth.
If worship is "heaven on earth," then it stands to reason that what we do and say in worship should in some sense give us a foretaste of that great feast to come. In the following tour of the Divine Service we will see how the ancient texts of the liturgy give us that glimpse of heaven and, more importantly, how they deliver to us, here and now, the eternal benefits of forgiveness, life, and salvation.

Learn more about the part of the Liturgy
• Invocation
• Confession and Absolution
• Kyrie
• Hymn of Praise
• Word of God and Sermon
• Creed
• Offertory
• Sanctus
• Words of Our Lord
• Agnus Dei
• Distribution
• Nunc Dimittis
• Benediction

Again, though, the LCMS must be intellectualists, cold and legalistic types who are simply taking advantage of Joe the Mechanic who does not know better, that liturgy or form in worship isn’t a serious matter.  Or maybe some know why form in worship is so serious and that it represents the divine and Bob has yet to learn this. You may not agree with the concluded forms by some groups but to complain that form is not to be taken seriously and cannot be a valid issue is to depart from historical and considerate theology and practice in Christianity.

The original author of “The Religious Affections,” Jonathan Edwards, would be revolted by this bastardization of his beautiful theme. If you want to know what Jonathan Edwards would have felt about worship and religious affections, pay attention to John Piper (few moderns know Edwards better), not the young men with next-to-no pastoral experience at the Religious Affections Ministries.

Mood? You wish to raise objections to mood emphasizers and then appeal to John Piper? This cannot be more ironic (other than your overall lack of citation for your caricatures and exaggerations in this article). This is never minding Piper’s own heretical interpretations, namely Future Grace and his novel and errant Christian Hedonism.

If you want to be part of the glorious ambassadorial ministry of reconciliation that is bringing in people from every tribe, tongue, nation, and ethnicity, then don’t become part of a movement that gloats in being the best and highest form of what they have always been: They’re Westerners, White, American, Evangelical, Fundamentalists. And it all comes through in an undiluted sub-culture of religious isolationism and superiority.

Poor Bob, caught up in race baiting and racializing where none exists. But this is part and parcel for the disaffected. But then he was willing to pass judgment on George Zimmermann without all the facts, here. This has nothing to do with race but Bob injects it and that injection is nothing but pure, unadulterated poison.

But when form has become so important to you that you celebrate men who refuse to sing with the blood-bought covenanted people of God whenever they sing poetry that is less than the very best, it is you and not the boy with the guitar that is on the slippery slope. God sanctifies music just like He sanctifies His people; with His Word.

I find it amusing but of course revealing that Bob, who is so upset that men emphasize form has taken men to task for their form of word use such as orthopraxy. “My, my, my”, Detective Joe Kenda would say exclaim.

And to the “God sanctifies” claim, sorry Bob but while food was sanctified by God he did not receive it as sanctified when Cain offered it. Your argument is Cain’s, at best.

Absent of a robust theological sifting to remove impurities and deficiencies. No, you want a simple answer that is not actually stated or implied in Scripture. No where does the Scripture teach God has sanctified music like he sanctifies his people; with His Word. That is a made up, a fictional and imagined teaching which does not exist in the NT.

 And yet they would tell the African-American grandmother that sings her soul out to Jesus with Black gospel that she is diseased in orthopathy. She cannot feel rightly because she uses a form that is not classical European.

Who said this Bob? Who? Please, by all means provide the name and citation. Is this genuinely representative of most fundamentalists? The answer, of course, is no. This is posturing, race-baiting and disingenuous caricatures of the worst kind. You have displayed a rottenness and sourness beyond remedy. Do you really think there is anything serious with such outlandish charges which will result other than you becoming the very thing you claim to oppose? Well Bob, you have indeed become the tyrant you claim to oppose so much. It is one thing to disagree but to represent in such a barbarous fashion the arguments of others so that you can easily dispatch with a fair and honest trail, indeed makes you a man that desires to be prosecutor, judge and jury.

Anne Sokol's picture

bixby's thoughts. i guess it helps that i know his history and know him personally.

I am in the little group he is writing for. i've been scratching my head how to deal with all this classical-is-best-and-only-God-worthy-form type of posturing, and he pretty much discerned out some good points. 

i still haven't googled "orthopathy," but I was puzzled by it ... my guess: it's like being "sick" (pathy) with rightness (ortho)? shucks, I will google it when I post this ...

heh heh.

nice post. and attacking his "voice"/style doesn't discredit it for me :) 

DavidO's picture

. . . all this classical-is-best-and-only-God-worthy-form . . .

I don't think anyone Bixby addresses in this post thinks this.

Anne Sokol's picture

i'm oversimplyfying. I just was reading one of the books that mike harding recommended, and i watched the author's church on youtube, and that's pretty much what it was ...

GregH's picture

I see Bob is getting hammered for introducing the race card. I would be curious to know how many people think race might be part of it. I have read enough of certain music leaders from not too long ago that shows them to be racists. Prominent organizations associated with the ultra-conservative side of the debate have racial baggage to put it mildly. I am not saying that the RAM people are racists. But they are not many steps disconnected from racists and we are all shaped by our influences.

Brenda T's picture

I saw one comment over at Bob's blog written by just one person and it included only one line questioning why he brought race into his argument. Other than that one I didn't see any other comments over there or here that mentioned race, but there's a lot to wade through so maybe I missed it. Otherwise, one comment consisting of one line written by one person on one blog doesn't constitute being "hammered" IMHO. Nor am I sure we want to encourage anyone to go down that road here on this thread. But, again, that's just my humble opinion. Perhaps there is another time and place for a discussion like that.

Bob Hayton's picture

but to complain that form is not to be taken seriously and cannot be a valid issue is to depart from historical and considerate theology and practice in Christianity.

That isn't what Bixby is doing.

Is this genuinely representative of most fundamentalists? The answer, of course, is no.

He isn't speaking of most fundamentalists. Read the comments over on his post for more clarifications.

And as for race baiting, us white conservative Christians make it impossible to raise any questions about race ever in such conversations. When is it right to say there may be some race-issues here? Why is it that whenever anything is spoken to us and our group we can never admit that it is valid to explore whether there are race-issues? That and prominent schools in fundamentalism have long held to no interracial dating and other race-problematic postilions. There are still fundamentalist schools with such rules!

When every culture's music except for one (that of 18th/19th century Western music)  is rejected, we should pause to make sure that racism/elitism is not the cause. It may not be, then again it may be an inadvertent elitism.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

GregH's picture

Brenda T wrote:

I saw one comment over at Bob's blog written by just one person and it included only one line questioning why he brought race into his argument. Other than that one I didn't see any other comments over there or here that mentioned race, but there's a lot to wade through so maybe I missed it. Otherwise, one comment consisting of one line written by one person on one blog doesn't constitute being "hammered" IMHO. Nor am I sure we want to encourage anyone to go down that road here on this thread. But, again, that's just my humble opinion. Perhaps there is another time and place for a discussion like that.

Alex G hammered him here on SI. Regardless, I am not sure why race should be out of bounds in this discussion. It is always the elephant in the closet in this issue.

Jay's picture

Let's look at what Bixby wrote:

I read them like I read other philosophies that I can learn from without totally imbibing. If you want to be part of the glorious ambassadorial ministry of reconciliation that is bringing in people from every tribe, tongue, nation, and ethnicity, then don’t become part of a movement that gloats in being the best and highest form of what they have always been: They’re Westerners, White, American, Evangelical, Fundamentalists. And it all comes through in an undiluted sub-culture of religious isolationism and superiority.

Let's see who the spokesmen are for RAM:

Scott Aniol (President) - White, American, Evangelical, Fundamentalist

Ryan Martin (Board Member) - White, American, Evangelical, Fundamentalist

Greg Stiekes (Board Member) - White, American, Evangelical, Fundamentalist

Michael Riley (Board Member) - White, American, Evangelical, Fundamentalist

Jason Parker (Board Member) - White, American, Evangelical, Fundamentalist

Um...yeah.  No White, American, Evangelical, Fundamentalists there.  Not at all. Smile

Seriously - the Bible is pretty clear that the church is multinational, multiethnic, and multicultural, which is exactly why their arguments can't work for people who don't speak or sing in the styles they argue for.  Revelation 7:9-12 is the plainest passage:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Or there's John 17:

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

There's also Ephesians:

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

...I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”

...And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

There are other passages as well that I could reference like 1 Cor. 1:10-11 or Philippians 2, but I'll stop there.

The long and short of this is that sin is always what divides God's people...not truth.  I don't have to worry about what they teach, because I'm not the one forcing my "rights" (Scott's term that he used in a different thread) on people.  I'm a slave of Christ's - I have no rights.

Furthermore, I'm the one that accepts both hymns, modern Christian music, and music from cultures that I've never met with or worshiped with in our services, although I do not believe in an 'anything goes' methodology and have said on SI that I'm not comfortable with 'Christian Rap'; they are the ones that are teaching people that they must worship God in their specific methods and styles.  The guys at RAM are the ones that have problems, and no amount of spinning or ignoring the questions will make them go away.

"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

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