Rev. 3:1,2....Spiritually Sick Theologians Produce Evangelical Church of Sardis

Be watchful and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die. For I find not thy works full before my God."  Rev. 3:2

In his commentary, Matthew Henry notes that hypocrisy, and lamentable decay in religion, are sins charged upon Sardis.  Outwardly things appeared well to men,

"... but there was only the form of godliness, not the power; a name to live, not a principle of life. There was great deadness in their souls, and in their services; numbers were wholly hypocrites, others were in a disordered and lifeless state..." The works of Sardis were hollow and empty because their inward affections were not, "suitable to outward acts and expressions; when the spirit is wanting, the form cannot long remain. In seeking a revival in our own souls, or the souls of others, it is needful to compare what we profess with the manner in which we go on, that we may be humbled and quickened to hold fast that which remains."

Those who are in dead worship do not love truth, thus are without the Divine Revelations of faith.  By dead worship is meant believing one has purchased a ticket to heaven simply by hearing messages, talking about God, benefiting from church programs, and  maybe doing some good works but yet have no desire to know the truths of  faith.  

That such worship reigns throughout America's church at this day is known and the subject of much contempt.

Walter Kirn, literary editor for GQ magazine, made known his contempt in a withering critique of the humanistic contemporary Evangelical church and how it has spent millions of dollars to in essence accommodate itself to America's morally degraded pop-culture.  

Kirn writes,

"Today I will leave behind the fallen world of secular American pop culture and enter the self-contained parallel universe of American Christian pop culture, within which I've vowed to dwell, exclusively for seven days....."  (The Marketing of Evil, David Kupelian, p. 229)

Pop Christians have built themselves a new Ark said Kirn, but this one was built to save the chosen from the Great Media Flood.  Like the old Ark it has two of everything,

"You say you're a Pearl Jam fan?  Check out Third Day.  They sound just like them---same soaring guttering vocals, same driven musicianship, same crappy clothes, just a slightly different message: Repent!.....Your kids enjoy Batman, you say?  Try Bibleman. Same mask, same cape, just a slightly different (message)....That's the convincing message of the Ark: If a person is going to waste his life cranking the stereo, clicking the remote, reading paperback pulp and chasing fad diets, he may as well save his soul while he's at it.  Holy living no longer requires self-denial.  On the Ark, every mass diversion has been cloned...and it's possible to live inside the spirit, without unplugging oneself from the modern life, twenty-four hours a day." (ibid, p. 229)

Kirn sees youth evangelism as just "lame mimicry" of our fallen culture and concludes that what makes the contemporary Evangelical church,

"... so thin, so weak and cumulatively so demoralizing...has nothing to do with faith.  The problem is lack of faith.  Ark culture is a bad Xerox of the mainstream, not a truly distinctive or separate achievement.  Without the courage to lead, it numbly follows, picking up the major media's scraps and gluing them back together with a cross on top." (p. 23)

Contemporary Evangelicals vainly believe that they can lead the unsaved to Christ by accommodating the church to our degraded pop-culture.   Lost in the shuffle are Paul's admonitions:

".....what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness?  And what communion has light with darkness?  And what concord has Christ with Belial?  Or what part has he that believes with an infidel?  And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God: as God has said, I will dwell with them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  Wherefore come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor. 6:14-18)

Paul Smith, author of "New Evangelicalism: The New World Order" notes that behind the contemporary pop-culture evangelical church are humanist seminaries that train men and women to take a traditional church, 

"...and mold it into a postmodern accommodating mindset that will reach a postmodern culture."  (p. 128)

In other words, contemporary seminaries are actually training men and women to transform traditional churches into the church of Sardis.   The Purpose Driven model is one of the most popular of this genre,

"The Warren message remains uniform and prefabricated to the point where Saddleback Church reports that thousands of pastors weekly download Warren's canned Purpose Driven sermons...to preach and promise their church growth hopes."   (p. 128)

It is unbelievers who ultimately developed the contemporary postmodern theology that thousands of evangelical pastors have uncritically bought into, said Smith.   Postmodernism is a humanist philosophy that rejects the God of Revelation, heaven, hell, truth and moral absolutes and insists that everything about our culture and church must therefore be shaped around and controlled by consensus of felt-needs, appetites and emotions unfettered by morality. 

In the profoundly insightful article, "Oh God, Poor God---The State of Contemporary Theology," William J. Abraham observes that the contemporary or modern theology issuing within the whole body of the church from Roman and Eastern Orthodox to Protestant/Evangelical,

"...begins with the rejection of the classical Christian tradition as this is generally known in Western culture." A modern theologian is "one informed by the canons of rationality developed in the European Enlightenment." (from Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers, Christopher A. Hall, p. 19)

Enlightenment rationality is the elevation of man's mind over the mind of God, thus it inevitably leads to rejection of Divine Revelation beginning with the Genesis account of creation ex nihilo, belief in miracles, immutable truth, moral absolutes, original sin and man's need of a savior.   The unfortunate result is that the contemporary theologian is no longer shaped,

"...in any profound way by the institutions of Christianity but...cut loose and alone in a sea of individualism and autonomy."   (ibid, p. 20)

In effect, contemporary theologians have endorsed atheist values,

"...as more Christian than those of the traditional believer and...seek to join the secular person in his or her quest for authenticity, community, peace, and justice."   (ibid)

Consumed by hubris and love of the world, the humanistic contemporary evangelical church no longer serves its true purpose: Acts 20:28,32; Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Tim. 4:2; John 21:15-17, I Peter 5:2;; Mark 16:15; 2 Cor. 5:20;Eph. 4:12; Col. 1:28; Col. 1:28; Eph. 4:13-15; Acts 20:27; Matt. 28:20; 2 Tim. 3:16; Eph. 4:12.   

Given that it resembles Sardis its collapse follows the deterioration of the mainline Protestant church, which long ago accommodated itself to Enlightenment rationality, evolutionary thinking, the canons of naturalistic science and a synthesis of heresies.  

 Like mainline Protestants before them, contemporary evangelical theologians have been tempted by their own hubris and fail to acknowledge the limitations of the human mind.    Thus Abraham calls for repentance and cultivation of the virtue of humility, and adds that contemporary theologians need to be reminded,

"...a true and truly Christian theology will surely be deeply rooted in revelation and tradition, in worship and prayer in the Christian community, in compassion and service in the world, in fear and trembling before the wonder of the Christian gospel, and in humble dependence on the grace and agency of the Holy Spirit.  Yet precisely these notes are the ones missing from the prevailing canons of theological discourse."  (Abraham, p. 20)

To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

"These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God." Rev. 3:1-2)

Wake up! Be watchful, and strengthen and nourish the things that remain....the reverence, true belief, love of truth, humility and traditions that still live and linger among you. 

@Linda Kimball

Voodoo: Satanic Source of Rock and Christian Rock

Religion has been the foundation stone and source of higher ethics for every civilization that has ever existed.   When the foundation is destroyed  society disintegrates and dies.  The dying culture actually annihilates itself as it falls into institutionalized Satanism in its' every manifestation:  break-down of family, hedonism, rebelliousness issuing in rejection of truth, rules, standards and authority whether Divine or temporal;  sexual perversions, pre-occupation with self and personal power, moral relativism, irrationalism, the occult, decadence, pornography, violence, and killing.   

Cultures which have lost their spiritual roots are dying cultures, and this is the case with the post-Christian West and America, which even now is witnessing the collapse of its' Christian denominations and higher moral law.  In the resulting soulless wasteland:

"The power and violence of the satanic is something which youngsters bereft of hope, and with a stunted conscience, can easily gravitate.  Children who find it difficult to identify a coherent value system, or who were raised with no values at all, still must identify with something...All children---and in a very large sense teenagers are yet children----give heed to the feeling of a Higher Power.  Troubled and abused youngsters, through a sort of insidious imprinting of experience, believe the Higher Power must be evil.  Heavy metal affirms this 'theology' and institutionalizes it in the music." (Painted Black, Carl A. Raschke, p. 275)
 
Carl Raschke is  Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Denver, specializing in  Continental philosophy, the philosophy of religion and the theory of  religion.   He is an internationally  known writer and academic who has authored numerous books and hundreds of  articles on topics ranging from postmodernism to popular religion and culture  to technology and society.  He is also a leading authority on America's subculture of darkness, which he fully documents in his landmark book, "Painted Black."

Raschke's chilling book presents the frightening facts and cases behind an invisible wave of evil sweeping over our dying culture,  capturing our youth by their minds and parents by their hearts.  In part three he documents the epidemic of violence connected to fantasy role-playing games and heavy metal music, "audio pornography at extreme decibels:'

"The strains of violence, fury, hate, insurrection, primitive sex, and, as the kids call it, 'head-banging' in heavy metal music cements a neural bond with all stripes of alienated adolescence.  The incitement of heavy metal....is markedly increased when an adolescent abuses drugs (for then) the music instantly becomes the most impressive furniture in the mental housing of chemically dependent youth. The chemically dependent adolescent adopts a life-style of swagger, brutality, theft, and sexual-excess---all of which is reinforced by the yowling and bellowing of the metal groups." (pp. 274, 276)

Satanic Source of Rock Music

In his 1984 book, "The Secret Power of Music," secular researcher David Tame traces rock music to its' satanic source in Africa as well as revealing  extensive scientific research demonstrating the destructive effects of rock music on both mind and  body : 

"Were we to scour the globe in search of the most aggressively  malevolent and unmistakably evil music in existence, it is more than likely  that nothing would be found anywhere to surpass voodoo  in these attributes ... as the rhythmic accompaniment to satanic rituals and  orgies, voodoo is the quintessence of tonal evil. ... Its multiple rhythms,  rather than uniting into an integrated whole, are performed in a certain kind  of conflict with one another. ... What is certain is that to hear this music  is to become instantly encompassed by the sound of its raw, livid power. ...  Musicologists and historians are in no doubt that the drum rhythms of Africa  were carried to America and were transmitted and translated into the style of  music which became known as jazz. Since jazz and the blues were the parents of rock and roll, this also means that there exists a direct line of descent from the voodoo ceremonies of Africa, through jazz, to rock and roll and all other forms of rock music today." (pp. 189-190)

Tame reveals that rock music affects digestion, internal secretions, circulation, nutrition, respiration and neural networks of the brain:

 "Researchers have discovered that consonant and dissonant chords,  different intervals, and other features of music all  exert a profound effect upon man's pulse and respiration -- upon their rate  and upon whether their rhythm is constant, or interrupted and jumpy. Blood  pressure is lowered by sustained chords and raised by crisp, repeated ones. ...It has also been found that the tension of the larynx is affected by  melodies, that sound stimuli can have a negative effect upon the skeletal  muscles, that rock rhythms cause the heart beat to lose its perfect rhythm,  and that certain rhythms can even cause a rare malady known as "musicogenic  epilepsy"  with which some of its  victims have been tormented to the point of committing suicide or murder. ... We can see, then, that music affects the body in two distinct ways: directly, as the effect of sound upon the cells and organs, and indirectly, by affecting the emotions, which then in turn influence numerous bodily processes."   (p. 137)

Musicologist Alice Monsarrat points out that it,

 "....is precisely at this point that rock 'n' roll ... becomes potentially  dangerous. This is because, to maintain a sense of well-being and integration,  it is essential that man is not subjected too much to any rhythms not in  accord with his natural bodily rhythms" (ibid, p. 199)

Tame writes that like human nature itself, music cannot possibly be neutral in its  spiritual direction,

"... ultimately all uses of tone  and all musical lyrics can be classified according to their  spiritual direction, upward or downward. ... To put it plainly, music tends to  be of either the darkness or of the light."   "In his famous work, Laws, Plato lamented the musical revolution of his time and its "unmusical  anarchy": 'Through foolishness they deceived themselves into  thinking that there was no right or wrong in music -- that it was to be judged  good or bad by the pleasure it gave. By their work and their theories they  infected the masses with the presumption to think themselves adequate judges.  ... As it was, the criterion was not music, but a reputation for promiscuous  cleverness and a spirit of law-breaking" (pp. 187, 189).

With a clear-eyed discernment  lacking in most  Christians today, Tame concludes,

"More than any  other form of the misuse of sound, it is rock with which we must deal today.  ... It is a global phenomenon; a pounding, pounding destructive beat which is  heard from America and Western Europe to Africa and Asia. Its effect upon the  soul is to make nigh-impossible the true inner silence and peace necessary for  the contemplation of eternal verities. ... How necessary is it in this age for some to have the courage to be the ones who are 'different,' and to separate themselves out from the pack who long ago sold their lives and personalities to this sound....I adamantly believe that rock in all its forms is a critical problem which our civilization must get to grips...if it wishes long to survive." (p. 204)

Noted German theologian Kurt Koch (1913-1987) agrees with David Tames conclusions.  An expert in the occult, Koch pastored and counseled those suffering from occult oppression in its various forms in 65 countries and 5 continents.  In "Occult ABC: Exposing Occult Practices and Ideologies,"  Koch writes that from his travels in South America and Africa, he learned first-hand that rock music is the kind of music used in cultic dances:

"Primitive people dance themselves into a frenzy to such music, often ending in sexual orgies." (p. 180)

Koch observes that there is a kind of music which uplifts and a kind which destroys all that is good and drags people down, and this includes Christian rock music:

"There is a music which has divine inspiration, and music which has demonic inspiration." (p. 181)

Ex-rocker Bob Larsen  concurs:

"(rock music) has a spirit which comes from dark and muddy waters.  It cannot be cleansed and used for the Holy Spirit." (Koch, p. 182)

After leaving his rock music days behind, Larsen became an evangelist.  When he spoke to rock fans he found they agreed, saying,

"You are on the right track.  Go on as you are.  We all feel something of the demonism of this music." (p. 182)

But when he spoke in churches, where truth and spiritual discernment should be found, he was attacked.    In a sign of the times in which we live, spiritually blind Christians will teach about spiritual warfare even while assuring evangelists like Larsen that rock music,

"...can be used for the gospel, too." (p. 182)

Koch notes that Larsen's discovery that where the truth ought to be found, it is rejected, and where it is not expected it is accepted, means nothing less than that a rock fan is nearer to the kingdom of God than some elders of the church.  This is a present-day version,

"...of the words of Jesus, 'The tax-gatherers and prostitutes go into the kingdom of God sooner than the hypocritical Pharisees." (p. 182)

As David Tame reveals,  there exists a direct line of descent from the voodoo ceremonies of Africa, through jazz, to rock and roll and all other forms of rock music today.  And this includes Christian rock, which like its' parent is not of the Holy Spirit but of an unholy spirit.  This is why it causes confusion, anger, contention, and division among Christians, said Gordon Sears in his booklet, "Is Today's Christian Music 'Sacred'?"

If Christian rock is of God, as many Christians contend,  then asks Sears, why is it:

(1) ....causing so much confusion and division among Christians?

(2) Why is it not received by all orthodox Bible-believing churches?

(3) Why is it readily accepted by the non-Christian world? The ungodly  never accepted the old Christian hymns

(4) Why is it that Bible-denying universities and popular secular TV  entertainment shows invite well-known Christian artists to give concerts with  Christian rock? This never happened with the great spiritual hymns

(5) Why are there hundreds of churches with godly pastors across America  that strictly reject it and forbid it in their services?

(6) Why does it have such a strong effect upon the physical body?

 Speaking of the growing divisions among Americans and between Christians, David Tame observes that in contemporary American society there stands in one corner the ancients and in the other the traditionalists.  Traditionalists hold  that music affects character and society, therefore the artist has a  duty to be morally responsible and constructive, not immoral and destructive.  Standing in the opposite corner against the traditionalists, are the morally relative ancients (neo-pagans, pantheists)  disclaiming personal responsibility and need  for moral judgments, and paying no heed to the consequences of their yowling, disharmonious sounds.

The second  camp contains not only the antinomian progressive avant-garde, but the entire mass of American moral relativists, both within and without the Church.

Kurt Koch is not surprised by any of this.  He writes that the Bible tells us that in latter days people will give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons:

"...demons are capable of finding people to speak through.  Many rock musicians have allowed themselves to be used as the mouthpieces of demons." (Occult ABC, p. 182)

Satanic influence is very strong in the popular music field, said Koch.   And undiscerning Christians have brought it right into God's House where it divides Christians and hastens both the death of the Church and the foundation-stone of American society.

@Linda Kimball