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Frequently Asked Questions - Life B-P Church Practices

FAQs - Life B-P Church Practices

The Lord's Supper is meant to be taken in a reverent manner as it brings us into close communion with Christ. In New Testament times there were some in the church of Corinth who took it in a very disrespectful manner:

1 Corinthians 11:20-22 - When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

Here we can see that some were treating the Lord's Supper like another meal to fill their stomachs or to indulge their appetites. Some of them even started to eat and drink the elements before the Lord's Supper began! (vv. 33,34)

This irreverent partaking of the Lord's Supper was quite obvious in the church and needed to be corrected quickly, before others would begin to do the same thing. Thus God Himself caused those who had persisted in this irreverent behaviour to fall sick and some even died: 1 Corinthians 11:30 - For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

But this was only meant to be a disciplinary measure by God, to correct a wrong behaviour. Thus, it does not mean that those who fell sick and died were not saved. The "condemnation" or "damnation" (v.29) is therefore to be understood only as chastisement (v.32) and not eternal condemnation in hell.

Today, the Lord may not use such measures on those who partake of the Lord's Supper in a wrong manner, because the example of the Corinthians who were severely chastened (now permanently recorded in 1 Corinthians 11) should already be sufficient to warn all Christians to treat the Lord's Supper reverently.

However, Christians today who do not partake in the Lord's Supper in a right manner will be denied of the spiritual blessings that come from taking it in a proper manner. They will probably remain spiritually dry and gain no spiritual benefit from it. The Holy Spirit may also convict them that they have sinned by treating the bread and the cup irreverently.

The Word of God says about marriage:

"Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Matthew 19:6)

Christians who get married are to understand that they are entering into an institution that was ordained by God, and not by man. Hence it is proper for them to have their wedding in church. There are at least five good reasons for having one's wedding solemnised in the form of a church worship service:

1. The couple should offer thanks to God for bringing them to meet each other and to get to know each other. It is God who providentially provides Christians with their life-partners (Proverbs 19:14 - "House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.").

2. The couple should seek for God's blessing upon their marriage. (Psalm 127:1 - "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.")

3. When Christians take their wedding vows, God is called upon to be the principal witness. (Numbers 30:2 - "If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.")

4. Every Christian wedding held in church serves as a reminder to all those who are present, that marriage is instituted by God as a permanent union between one man and one woman only. It is like a visualised Bible lesson that teaches truths that are being forsaken by the world today.

5. Having a church wedding provides an opportunity for the Christian couple to invite their unsaved friends and loved ones to church, who would normally decline invitations to come for any church worship service. When they come, they have a chance to see what a church service is like (with the singing of hymns, prayer and preaching). This makes it easier for them to come a second time.

In order to partake of the Lord's Supper reverently we can do the following:

1. Preparation of Heart

Since the benefit of partaking the Lord's Supper is a spiritual benefit, we must prepare ourselves spiritually for it. This involves the preparation of your heart. As JC Ryle said, "To enjoy a spiritual feast we must have a spiritual heart, and taste and appetite. To suppose that Christ's ordinances can do good to an unspiritual man, is as foolish as to put bread and wine in the mouth of a dead person. The careless, the ignorant and the wilfully wicked, so long as they continue in that state, are utterly unfit to be communicants¡­.A worthy communicant is one who possesses three simple marks and qualifications - repentance, faith and charity (Love). Does a man truly repent of sin and hate it? Does a man put his trust in Jesus Christ as his only hope of salvation? Does a man live in charity towards others? He that can truly say to each of these questions, "I do," he is a man that is Scripturally qualified for the Lord's Supper." (Practical Religion, pp.148,149) When you partake of the Lord's Supper you can use these three questions to examine yourself.

2. Understand the Meaning of the Lord's Supper

Nothing will be gained from partaking the Lord's Supper if it is done without understanding. For this reason, the minister who conducts the Lord's Supper reads a relevant portion of Scripture, and reminds communicants about the significance of the Lord's Supper in his remarks and prayer before the Lord's Supper, and leads the congregation in singing a hymn. According to JC Ryle, taking the Lord's Supper with understanding can provide communicants with "clearer views of Christ and His atonement, clearer views of all the offices which Christ fills as our Mediator and Advocate, clearer views of the complete redemption Christ has obtained for us by His death on the cross, clearer views of our full and perfect acceptance in Christ before God, fresh reasons for deep repentance for sin, fresh reasons for lively faith."

3. Let Your Soul Respond

When your heart and mind are able to apprehend these things, the next step is to let your soul respond to them. There are at least four responses of the soul in the Lord's Supper:

a. Contrition: The sight of the emblems of Christ's body and blood reminds us how sinful our sin must be, if nothing less that the death of God's own Son could make satisfaction for it, or redeem us from its guilt. It should deepen our repentance.

b. Comfort: The sight of the bread broken and the cup reminds us how full, perfect and complete our salvation is. We are reminded of the enormous price that was paid for our redemption, and that "there is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)

c. Consecration: The bread and the cup remind us what a great debt of gratitude we owe to our Lord, and how thoroughly we are bound to live for Him who died for our sins. Romans 12:1.

d. Commitment: Every time a believer partakes of the Lord's Supper he is reminded to his commitment to lead a consistent life. It should have a restraining effect upon him against yielding to sin and to the world.

With these three steps in place - preparation of heart for the Lord's Supper, understanding of the meaning of the Lord's Supper and the Responses of the soul during the Lord's Supper, the true Christian will find the Lord's Supper to be a great source of blessing to him, and will look forward to every occasion when the Lord's Supper is served and he can partake of it.

Baptism is a sign of the means by which a believer is saved from sin. Hence it only needs to be done once, to symbolise his entrance into salvation and the beginning of his new spiritual life. When he is saved, he does not need to be saved again and again.

The Lord's Supper is a sign of the means by which a believer is sustained in his new spiritual life. Hence it is done repeatedly, to symbolise the continual nourishment he receives as he grows into the image of Christ.

Since sustenance must come after salvation, a person should first be baptised, and after that he should regularly partake of the Lord's Supper. If a baptised person does not partake of the Lord's Supper, he is symbolically denying himself the sustenance that his new spiritual life needs. If a person takes the Lord's Supper before he is baptised, he is symbolically trying to sustain a spiritual life that does not exist yet.

However if a person takes the Lord's Supper without being baptised yet but he did it in ignorance, there is no harm done at all. In fact, if he has already believed in Christ, he would begin to gain spiritual benefits from the Lord's Supper.

Definition of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM)

“Contemporary” means “modern, present-day, fashionable, up-to-date, current, etc. “Christian music” is, well, Christian music. So does Contemporary Christian Music means Christian music that is modern, present-day, fashionable, up-to-date, and current. To a certain extent this statement is true. However, CCM is not just a term to describe present day Christian music; it is a genre of music itself. There is contemporary Christian music that is not Contemporary Christian Music.

CCM is Christian lyrics or words of praise set to the music of the present age, namely rock and its other forms. It is multi-million dollar industry and is hardly distinguishable from the secular rock industry. There are concerts, artists, fan clubs, t-shirts, mugs, etc.

How did CCM come along? CCM started in the 1960s with the Jesus Movement – hippies who had come to believe on Jesus who created Christian music according to the musical styles of the day. The 1960s were a time of great political and social turmoil. Rock music was used to promote political and social propaganda. Big names like the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, etc. all contributed to the changes in society. Rock and Roll became synonymous with sex and drugs. There is a song entitled – All I Need is My Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll. The Bob Dylan song entitled Mr. Tambourine Man promotes drug abuse. But it was in that environment that people in the Jesus Movement started to compose their own music with their own message to rock music. An important figure in early CCM was Keith Green.

The philosophy of CCM is based on the idea that music is inherently neutral and that the words of praise may be set to these forms of music. CCMers have created their own creed poorly fashioned after the American Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all music was created equal, that no instrument or style of music is in itself evil – that the diversity of musical expression which flows from man is but one evidence of the boundless creativity of our Heavenly Father” (CCM Magazine, November 1988, p 12). However, music is not neutral as we have studied.

Evidence shows that CCM is mostly rock, but it covers every style of music associated with rock. Like rock music, CCM is not easy to define. “There is soft rock, hard rock, folk rock, mood rock, country rock, blues rock, acid rock, punk rock, 50s rock, 90s rock. There is reggae, rap, ska, industrial, and metal – but it is all rock. The same is true of CCM. It is 95% rock music, but it comes in a wide variety of rock styles” (David W. Cloud. Contemporary Christian Music Under the Spotlight. Port Huron: Way of Life Literature).

Issues Involved in CCM

Music Genre

Because of the philosophy of CCM, every CCM artist will write music to his style of music. It has always been this way, however. Wesley, Watts, Crosby, etc all wrote their hymns to musical genres of their day. The Metrical Psalters were written with the meters commonly used in that time as well. However, these musical genres differ from rock. The genre of rock has been seen to be dubious at best in its associations, themes, origins, fruits, etc. Rock is a musical genre that provokes sensuality. It has been seen that music should have a set pattern gleaned from Scriptural principles: Melody, Harmony, Rhythm.

There is some CCM music that contain God-honoring lyrics and dignified tunes, but the majority do not. Compare:

Let Us Pray by Steven Curtis Chapman:

I hear you say your heart is aching, you’ve got trouble in the making; And you ask if I’ll be praying for you please, And in keeping with conventions; I’ll say yes with good intentions, To pray later making mention of your needs; But since we have this moment here at heaven’s door, We should start knocking now, what are we waiting for?

Let us pray, let us pray, everywhere in every way, Every moment of the day it is the right time; For the Father above, He is listening with love, And He wants to answer us, so let us pray.

So when we feel the Spirit moving, Prompting, prodding, and behooving; There is no time to be losing, let us pray, Let the Father hear us saying; What we need to be conveying, Even while this song is playing let us pray; And just because we say the word “Amen” It doesn’t mean this conversation needs to end…

The Holy Ghost Hop by Carmen:

Everybody used to do the twist, the mashed potato and it goes like this; The funky chicken, monkey too. There wasn’t nothin’ they would not do; But there’s a new dance no one can stop, A leap for joy we call the Holy Ghost Hop

Now get ready, hold steady, Don’t deny it, just try it; Be bold now, let it go now, Give the Holy Ghost control now.

Hey all you brothers and you sisters too; Don’t let tradition tell you what to do, Release your worries and your fears; ‘Cause we’ve been hopping in the church for years; If King David was here I know that he would do the Holy Ghost Hop with me.

Philosophy

Big names in CCM have done crossovers. U2, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Jars of Clay, Six Pence None the Richer, etc.

Quotes by Amy Grant:

“I have a healthy sense of right and wrong, but sometimes, for example, using foul, exclamation-point words among friends can be good for a laugh. It seems to me that people who are most adamantly against premarital sex have experienced some kind of pain in their own lives. Like people who say absolutely NO to rock and roll. Chances are it has something to do with a past sadness…” (Ladies Home Journal, December 1985, p 210).

“That’s one reason I started writing songs, because I didn’t want to impose my religion on anyone. This way the audience can sit back and draw its own conclusions…My art and the feeling I am trying to communicate through the songs, it would be silly for me to say, this is who God is; I don’t have any answers” (The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 21, 1984).

“I’m a singer, not a preacher…I’m not looking to convert anybody” (CCM Magazine, January 1989, p. 20).

Quotes by or about Steve Camp:

“I am dedicated to good music whether it’s pop, Christian, gospel, R&B, blues, jazz, classical, rock, or whatever, I just love good music” (MusicLine Magazine, Feb 1986, p 22)

“Though potent, the message [of Steve Camp] never overwhelms or becomes preachy” (MusicLine Magazine, June 1985, p 20)

Quote by Rich Mullins:

“I’m really sick of all this heavy-handed Christianity. Musicians take themselves too seriously. They should have more fun, and they should stop preaching unless that’s what God has called them to. If I want to hear a sermon, I’ll go to church, thank you” (CCM Magazine, April 1987, p 12)

Quote by Michael W. Smith:

“I know if I’m too blatant about my Christianity and talk about Jesus I won’t succeed in the mainstream. But hey, I’m not an evangelist, I’m a singer” (Wall Street Journal, Sept 11, 1991, p 1).

“…you’re always going to have those very very conservative people. They say you can’t do this; you can’t do that…you can’t drink, you can’t smoke…it’s a pretty bizarre way of thinking” (The Birmingham News, Feb 1993, p 1B).

Quote by Mark Stuart

“…the only difference [between rock and Christian rock] is the lyrics and then the difference is sometimes subtle…at the basic root, there’s no difference…Christianity is about rebellion. Jesus Christ is the biggest rebel to ever walk the face of the earth…he was crucified for his rebellion. Rock and Roll is about the same thing – rebellion…to me rock and the church go hand in hand” (Pensacola News Journal, March 1998, p 1, 6E).

Quote by Dan Haseltine (Jars of Clay)

“The topics we deal with are universal in many ways. And we’re not only singing to Christians, so why would I want to write a song that uses all this language that only Christians would understand? That would be shooting ourselves in the foot. An artist spends most of life in a prison tainted by his experience. Ours is tainted by our experience of being in church and being Christian. Hopefully people who hear us are going to go “Wow! That was a good song!” (Religious News Service, Dec 1997, p 17).

The latest is Singapore’s own Ho Yeow-Sun.

Morality

Divorce rates as well as adulteries in the industry is high. Amy Grant has divorced husband Gary Chapman and is now attached to country singer Vince Black. Michael English, after winning a Dove Award, confessed to having had an affair with another CCMer, and returned his award. Fans insisted he keep the award. Sandi Patti is divorced and says that it has allowed her to write her music more freely without being encumbered with the grief of an unhappy marriage.

Ecumenism

CCM has always been an ecumenical glue, bringing denominations, liberal or conservative, together. CCM music was the music of the massive Key ’73 evangelistic program which was promoted by Billy Graham and many other key Christian leaders. The program brought together Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Pentecostals, Charismatics, and Roman Catholics. To create such a broad ecumenical unity requires that doctrinal issues be ignored. CCM was also the music of the largest ecumenical charismatic conference of the 1980s. The New Orleans ’87 of four days of Christian rock brought together 40,000 ecumenical-charismatics in attendance. 40 denominations were present and approximately half (20,000) were Roman Catholics.

Gather At the River (20 Contemporary Christian Hits Vol 2):

Sometimes we don’t see eye to eye, we don’t agree, we don’t know why / But Jesus prayed that we’d be one, for the sake of God’s own son / Can we put away our differences, lay down our pride, it’s time we start turning the tide.

In 1996, Michael Card (Protestant CCMer) has cooperated with John Michael Talbot (Catholic CCMer) on an album called Brothers. They sing – “There is one faith / One hope and one baptism / One God and Father of all / There is one church, one body, one life in the spirit / Now given so freely for all.” These words to a Catholic mean entirely different things to the Protestant.

Card testified that “doing this project has enabled us to become real friends. And along the way, the DENOMINATIONAL LINES HAVE BECOME REALLY MEANINGLESS TO ME AND TO JOHN TOO.”

John Michael Talbot is a Roman Catholic and Mary devotee who believes in tongues speaking, dreams, and other forms of extra-biblical revelation. He became a lay brother in the order of Secular Franciscans and lives in a hermitage. He stated, “Personally, I have found praying the Rosary to be one of the most powerful tools I possess in obtaining simple, childlike meditation on the life of Jesus Christ. I am also feeling the presence of Mary becoming important in my life…I feel that she really does love me and intercedes to God in my behalf…Music is an extension of my life. When I became a Christian, my music became Christian music. When I became Catholic, my music because Catholic music.”

What About Praise and Worship Music?

We must understand that Praise and Worship Music is still CCM.

Firstly, it is not doctrinally strong and clear – while there are exceptions, they are only that. CCM sings of Jesus and grace and love and salvation, but in such a doctrinally non-specific manner that the modernists can find their Jesus and the Catholics their grace therein.

Secondly, praise and worship music is popular even among unregenerate religious people because it is the same rock music to which this generation is addicted.

Thirdly, praise music is evolving from an ecumenical philosophy of positivism and spiritual neutralism.

Lastly and importantly, praise and worship music has its roots and continues to be largely Charismatic based.

The fruits of the Charismatic movement is ecumenism and apostasy. As Bible-believers we must be discerning and consider whether we should listen to such music. It is not a matter of Why Not? But a matter of Why Should We?

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

November 19 & 26 - The End of the World

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10