DiM | “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music

CCM Radio Edition.

January 26, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music which currently sits at #16 on the 20thecountdown Magazine.

This comes from the heresy house known as Bethel Church of Redding, CA. Led by the false-teacher, Bill Johnson and his wife the false-prophetess Beni Johnson. This is undoubtedly designed as one of their worship songs… how it’s found its way onto the top 20 CCM radio charts breaks my heart, and makes me mourn for the visible church. For some background on the problems with Bethel check out PirateChristianRadio.

The voices are incredible… seriously… gifted vocalists. The song is garbage. We’ll look at the lyrics.

Bethel Music Video

Lyrics (via KLove)

You unravel me, with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone

(Chorus)
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

From my Mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again, into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

(Bridge)
You split the sea, so I could walk right through it
All my fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me, so I could stand and sing
I am a child of God

Publishing: ©2014 Bethel Music Publishing (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Writer(s): Brian Johnson, Jonathan David Helser, Joel Case

Discussion

As with most successful cults, Bethel has mastered the art of cloaking their false theology in “churchinese”. The song hits a couple of key terms: slavery, deliverance, womb, chosen, child of God… but how it gets put together is the problem. Nothing in this song points to Christ. It points to “me” being a child of God directly. From what is the singer proclaiming he has been set free? fear. Not sin, death, and the Wrath of God… fear. How are we set free from fear? We just are, in our being, because God’s blood flows in our veins… see how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is just being skipped over here?

It is true that in having been forgiven of our sin and having been set free from darkness, death, and the Wrath of God we no longer have anything (or anyone) to fear. But that fear isn’t because the problems are all gone… sin still exists, death still reigns in our mortal flesh, and the Wrath of God will be poured out when Jesus Christ returns to judge the living and the dead… the difference is that Jesus Christ is the Hope of our Salvation. For we who are of the household of faith are baptized into His death and resurrection. In His death, He bore the full wrath of God against all sin, and His resurrection silenced the enemy and secures for us everlasting life in Him.

Verse 1. First 2 lines are throw-away lines. Those who’ve dabbled in mysticism long enough will key into the emotional/mystical/spiritually-sensual vibe of these first two lines and will likely close their eyes, maybe throw their hands out, possibly start weeping,… because the atmosphere is being filled with the Presence…. these folks don’t need the rest of the song, or any of the churchinese… they’ve moved beyond Christianity, beyond doctrine. The rest of the song is for the unitiated… for the Christian who still needs some indication that Bethel is somehow connected to the Bible. So they mention deliverance… from my enemies. Not from sin, no… that’s too legalistic… it’s more their speed to personify a purely external enemy, the devil, demons, scoffers, discernment bloggers… anyone who’d dare question the authenticity of their “spiritual/mystical experience”, or claim that the familiar spirit is God the Holy Spirit. The point of this mysticism is to numb out… mentally, spiritually, until all fear is gone… and all discernment… and all truth and reality. This is not how the God of the Bible instructs us to worship Him. Bethel records a lot of their live “worship experiences”… this is how they employ this song:

 

Chorus. Nothing more than a bold (I think the singer actually encourages the crowd to sing more boldly) declaration of self. Entitlement. Absolutely no credit to the One who bought us by His blood.

Verse 2. This verse has some more churchinese, with a reference that will remind orthodox Christians of their doctrine of election, but that’s not what Bethel teaches. And that’s not really what is being said… it’s a spiritually-sensual reference to being begotten of God. I think that’s why KLove knew to capitalize “Mother” in the lyric… or maybe Bethel gave it to them capitalized. who knows. The point here is that it’s pointing to us, not to God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit. The verse also super-spiritualizes Jesus. Bethel has very poor Christology… well, they preach a different Jesus altogether. God the Son (Jesus) still has a body, a perfect body, but still an actual body. His blood does not flow through our veins. When we receive communion, we are given His blood and body by Grace… yes… but still His blood is not flowing in our veins. We are indwelt by God the Holy Spirit, sealed by Him for the day of Judgement for the Resurrection in Christ Jesus.

Bridge. Yeah, another hyper-sensual spiritualization of the Red Sea crossing. By this point you are either in, going with the flow, or you’ve left the auditorium. Rescued me from what? Well, according to the song “fear”. Why? So I can stand and sing I am a child of God. Yeah, that ain’t the Gospel.

I’m done with this song. But I think we need to remind ourselves of what the Scriptures say regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s turn to 1 Corinthians 15… the full chapter.

1 Corinthians 15 (ESV) | The Resurrection of Christ

15 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

The Resurrection of the Dead

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

The Resurrection Body

35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another.41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

Mystery and Victory

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Conclusion

The song is worship created and used by the heretical cult of Bethel Church in Redding. This should not be playing on Christian radio, let alone be in the top 20. Bethel preaches a false gospel, a counterfeit spirit, and a different Jesus. It doesn’t point to Christ, doesn’t preach repentance and the forgiveness of sin.

Romans 16:24-27 (ESV) | Doxology

25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “What If” by Prince (?)

disapproveNo, Prince isn’t a Christian artist. I don’t follow him. I also don’t read/follow Christianity Today. My personal Facebook News feed has news stories from theBlaze, which is how I came across this “news”. It seems Prince has released a cover of this song originally by Nicole Nordeman. Christianity Today was all over it in their article, “Prince releases cover of Christian song ‘What If’“. If you’d like to take the time to read the article now, that’s fine, we’ll discuss it after we lay some groundwork looking at the song by Nicole Nordeman first and then dealing with some of the comments in the article.

(Unofficial) Nicole Nordeman Lyric Video

[youtube https://youtu.be/rUhnoralqVA]

Prince version Lyrics (via Genius)

What If?

Prince Ft: 3rdeyegirl & Hannah Welton

[Verse 1: Prince]
What if you’re right?
And He was just another
Another nice guy
What if you’re right
What if it’s true
They say the truth
Will only make a fool of you
And what if that’s true?

What if He takes His place in history
With all the prophets and the kings
Who taught us love and came in peace
But then the story ends, what then

[Chorus]
But what if you’re wrong
What if there’s more
What if there’s hope
You never dreamed of hoping for
What if you jump?
Just close your eyes
What if the arms that catch you
Catch you by surprise?
What if He’s more than enough?
What if it’s love?

[Verse 2: Hannah Welton]
What if you dig
Way down deeper
Than your
Simple-minded friends
What if you dig
And what if you find
A thousand more
Unanswered questions down inside
That’s all you find

What if you pick apart the logic
And begin to poke the holes
What if the crown of thorns is no more
Than folklore that must be told and retold

[Chorus]

[Bridge]
Cause you’ve been running
As fast as you can
And you’ve been looking
For a place you can land
For so long but what if you’re wrong

What if you jump?
Just close your eyes
What if the arms that catch you
Catch you by surprise?
What if He’s more than enough?
What if it’s love?
What if it’s love?

Discussion of Song

What if. The entire song is a “what if”. How is that in any way an Evangelical song? This song doesn’t make any Truth claims. No declaration of the Truth of God’s Word. No declaration of Jesus Christ or Him crucified for our sin, no call to repentance and no promise of forgiveness. Nothing but a “what if you’re wrong”?  This song would fail a DiM review, but it hasn’t really been on the radio or any top-20 chart recently, so it really wouldn’t come up anyway. What I find troubling is how this “news” is being covered in the self-proclaimed Christian magazine.

Discussion of News

From the Christianity Today article, Prince releases cover of Christian song ‘What If’:

Nordeman expressed her excitement about the cover on social media. “I don’t really have the appropriate words for what an honor this is,” she said on Facebook. “If you are a musician on any level, you will immediately absorb the weight of it. This man’s talent is otherworldly. What’s the non-musical equivalent? Tiger Woods asking to borrow your clubs? Neil Armstrong calling and asking if you’d like to take a walk?”

I won’t fault a musician for feeling honored and excited that a world-renown musician is making headlines by choosing to cover his/her song. I don’t fault the emotion of excitement. But how you speak about these events (and your emotions), and how you write about it in social media is important. We have a problem with this praise of Prince’s musical talent. Is it a gift from God, freely given? Yes, as are all of God’s gifts to mankind. Has Prince honored God with his talent? A review of his work throughout his career suggests “no”.

She added that she had been most impacted by the fact that Prince had heard it on a Christian radio station, and used it as an opportunity to encourage those working in Christian broadcasting.

“Far too often Christian radio is accused of existing solely to preach to the choir. Solely for the minivan driving mother of three who wants a safe listening choice for her family. But Prince heard a song about the transforming love of Jesus on Christian radio and now has given it a much wider audience than I ever did or could.”

This portion of the article is poorly written, particularly in the progression of pronouns. The Blaze makes it clear that it was Nicole who was using this news about Prince as an opportunity to encourage Christian broadcasters (see below). My question here is, “are we talking about the same song”? Can that song that never leaves the “what if?” into the “what is!” truly be about the transforming love of Jesus? Perhaps she is talking about her intent behind the song.

Prince became a Jehovah’s Witness in 2001 and has talked – and sung – about his faith for a number of years.

.:sigh:. I’d expect this type of citation from a secular magazine or even theBlaze, but in something labeled “Christianity Today” one should expect a clear distinction between Christianity and cults like Jehovah’s Witness. I am deeply grieved by this article’s praise of Prince (an unbeliever) simply because he chose to cover a “Christian” song.

From theBlaze:

“To my friends in Christian radio, let me take this opportunity to remind you that what you do matters,” she said. “Your morning shows matter. Your afternoon drives matter. Your listener appreciation pledge drives matter.”

Nordeman added that she believes too many people accuse Christian radio of preaching to the choir, but that Prince’s discovery of her song shows that there’s another perspective worth considering.

“Prince heard a song about the transforming love of Jesus on Christian radio and now has given it a much wider audience than I ever did or could,” she wrote. Thank you, radio friends, for what you do. The world is listening.”

To that last point, I agree. The world is listening, and we need to be proclaiming the Truth of God’s Word, not merely settling for “what if” songs or “spiritual positivity” loosely connected to Christian themes. The choir needs biblical preaching, just as much as the World does. The difference (by God’s Grace) is that the choir has faith, while the world remains condemned in their unbelief.

The last thing we need is to give ascent to the notion that our youth should take note of Prince and his version of spirituality. This is sloppy treatment of evangelism, journalism, and discernment by the folks at Christianity Today.

Jude 1:24-25(ESV)

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge