Friday, February 26, 2010

Doctrine, Theology, and a School Choir? (Feminist Music in Church)

There are blogs I read that often discuss the dangers of contemplative spirituality which is New Age thinking that has appeared in some churches. According to the Lighthouse Trails Research Project, it is a "belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in mysticism and the occult but often wrapped in Christian terminology. The premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and pantheistic (God is in all). Common terms used for this movement are 'spiritual formation,' 'the silence,' 'the stillness,' 'ancient-wisdom,' 'spiritual disciplines,' and many others. It has much similarity to the PUMSY/DUSO Hinduism train of thought that was taught in school under the "Self Esteem" movement in schools." [1]

These false teachings are rampant in many notorious false teachers (Rick Warren), notorious megachurches (Willow Creek), liberal publishers, and even a popular book (The Shack) [2].

This information leads me to a note I received while attending "More Light for Haiti: Candlemas Anno Domini MMX, The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord," a benefit event for Catholic Relief Services (a concert that featured Creole music in addition to art songs and beautiful choral music, from Thomas Fettke and Linda Lee Johnson ("The Majesty and Glory of Your Name, which I love), to the Requiems of Mozart and Duruflé's, the Pie Jesu from Andrew Lloyd Webber, the Ave Maria from Charles Goudod, and selections from musicals ("Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music) and operas ("Viens, Mallika, les lianes en fleurs... Sous le dôme épais" from Lakmé), new Creole-influenced music and selections from both musicals (Phantom of the Opera ). My hometown college (not my alma mater), a well-known chorus led by Liliann Quackenbush (who was one of the conductors of the Die Jahreszeiten selections that I sang last August, and conducts the Washington Street UMC Messiah singalong I attend each December), and that host Catholic church's choir. The note mentioned the choir of Concordia College of Moorhead, Minnesota's concert being held at the church (which I have attended a few concerts), and it mentions new works by director René Clausen, along with "traditional chorus pieces".

That choir will perform in churches the traditional selections of hymns, "Clausen arrangements" of movie music, selections with another choir, and an "avant-garde piece" that uses the live chorus, piano, theatrical lights, and pre-recorded nature soundtracks and choirs that has the "faking it" zing that was been a warning over the years. But the most dangerous portion to me was the use of Bobby McFerrin works.

Normally, you might just give it a pass. But I remember while in college, while writing a review for a college paper as part of my arts requirement in college, I was highly suspicious of a McFerrin work used in a dance event. It was a suspicious setting of Psalm 23 (not to be confused with the settings I've heard in various places) from Mr. McFerrin, which was clearly a feminist-oriented theology based on God as feminine. That was highly sacrilegious and inappropriate music to be used, and to be using this feminist tune with "invented" "added to this to appease one group" that you do not see in a legitimate Bible translation does not make any sense.

How can a church offer a concert in their setting with such feminist false doctrine and theology being sung in the holiest of holy settings, in such a wonderful church?

So on one side (as I mentioned earlier in the week) you have New Age thinking and kids jiggling to highly controversial music with questionable lyrics at deafening volume louder than what's permitted at many NASCAR K&N Pro Series tracks, and on the other side you have a religious college's choir likely performing feminist theology works in the sanctuary of a church. Sometimes you cannot win, and at other times you keep asking yourself is contemplative spirituality coming into the church with such a feminist theology? Having studied Psalm 23 when I was barely in first and second grade at the parochial school that no longer exists, and heard the McFerrin and Troccoli interpretations of it (they were both around the same time; Miss Troccoli's arrangement was based on her mother's last days but I don't hear the wicked feminist tones I hear in Mr. McFerrin's, which drew instant red lights), I cannot wonder why Concordia would sing such feminist and incorrect doctrine in their tour. They are, in the words of Heather Payne when she commented about false teacher Rob Bell, "leading people astray" when such false teachings are being used.


[1] Lighthouse Trails Research
[2] Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcy. How Now Shall We Live? Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1999, p. 263-271.


  1. We need to reclaim our sanctuaries from secular events taking place in them. We need reminders that these are CONSECRATED spaces; not concert halls.

  2. The worst part, Cathy, is too many sanctuaries have been replaced by theatre stages. While on a business trip last week, I noted the chain car dealer had moved its dealership 20 miles east and shut down its "assigned" region, and its building was sold to the corrupt Life Enhancement Centre that claims to be a church. This is the same LEC that built its own sanctuary in 2001, sold it in 2008, and began meeting in an old supermarket building next door to another church. This LEC is establishing a second branch in that city 20 miles from its own home base at the former car dealership.

    They don't even teach God's Word in the building, and the music is excessively loud. At times you might confuse it for a mosh pit.

    Today's generation who only knows feelings doesn't understand anything except entertainment replacing a study of the Holy Word of God.

  3. Hey Bobby, please point me to scripture that says we're suppose to meet in Cathedrals and only sing 200 year old hymns.

    Thanks in advance.

  4. CID_0687,

    The issue I was discussing in this blog is inappropriate material that has been used in churches. A friend used a noise meter from work to measure volume of a church sound system, and learned it violated OSHA's maximum noise levels for work sites. How can you hear the sermon after 30-35 minutes of 90 or 100 decibel rock music, often with just a beat and little, if any, message?

    As for content in music, we of the blog (all nine of us) are versed in classical music, especially sacred music. Some have choral singing experience.

    In the eulogy for Mr. Proulx in this blog, he warned about church music of modern times. Similar warnings have come from Charles Colson and John MacArthur. Mr. MacArthur noted a change in church music came about 150 years ago from teaching God's Word to based on other things, and modern music is all feelings-based, similar to the way of our government. The false teachings of Life Enhancement Centres inflitrates modern church music as the writers lead worship at such places (see Lakewood).

    I played varsity baseball for a small parochial school as a sixth-grader, and we had to learn fundamentals. In the pre-gospel music era, sacred church music taught fundamentals in song. Now they only teach feelings, similar to what is taught in schools for subjects everywhere today. If you're saying a version of Psalm 23with feminist theology that makes God feminine is acceptable as Concordia did recently, then that's trouble. That was not taught in second grade.

  5. The problem with that is you're using a broad brush. Not all modern Christian music is based on feelings, much of it is based on scripture. And not a feminized version of scripture. If you like the sacred music of hundreds of years ago that's fine...but that doesn't speak to some people. And I'm sure I could look through some of the hymnals I have here and find some older songs filled with feel good meism.

    I find it sad that you want to conform God and His people to your definition of what is godly.

    Perhaps you should test a pipe organ in a cathedral sometime, and see how many decibels that thing is cranking out...I bet you'll be surprised.


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