And take…the sword of the Spirit, which  is the word of God.   Ephesians 6:17


Volume 14, Number 40

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
Bellingham, WA 98228
       (360) 752-2692

Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship..10:30AM; 6:00PM

Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
All sing last Wednesday

Web sites:
Mt. Baker church
Bible Answers

Editor......Joe R. Price

Morris Bass
Rick Holt
Joe Price

Aaron Bass
Rich Brooks
Mike Finn
Dan Head


In this issue:

Music Wars "Rock On"
Joe R. Price

An article appeared in USA Today this week chronicling the battle among Protestant Churches over worship music (“Church music wars battle for souls with song”, Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today, Nov. 17, 2011). Grossman noted that “in many U.S. churches today, worship musicians bang the drums for God and singers croon as if Christ were their boyfriend.”

Rick Muchow (music pastor for the Saddleback Church founded by evangelist Rick Warren) is quoted as saying, “The Bible does not have an official soundtrack.”

The nation’s fifth-largest Protestant church, with nine satellite locations, runs several concurrent worship services Sunday mornings at its main site in Lake Forest, Calif., each with a different genre of music.

Muchow lists: a Gospel praise service; a “straight-ahead rock” called Overdrive; one called Fuel that’s “geared to 20-somethings with more alternative music”; and a Traditions service with piano and a singer. Traditions is the only service using hymnals.” (Ibid)

Muchow uses the classic defense for denominationalism to justify this buffet of worship music: “There are all different kinds of churches for different kinds of people. We don’t worship music, we worship God.” (Ibid)

This sentiment is echoed by Tommy Kyllonen,

also known as Urban D, the Christian hip-hop artist pastor behind Tampa’s Crossover Church, is down with the new music.”

We have a big world and a big God. As long as people are worshiping in spirit and in truth, we can worship in any way that reaches our hearts, he says. After all, the Bible calls for believers to ‘sing a new song to the Lord.’” (Ibid)

These “music wars” are not limited to America. A Lutheran Church in Sweden now offers “techno Mass”:

STOCKHOLM (AP) - Simon Klemenjak does some street dance moves and throws his hands up in the air to cheer on the crowd before he starts singing to the techno beat in front of the altar in the Church of All Saints in Stockholm. (“Swedish Lutheran church hosts ‘techno Mass’”, USA Today)

     Klemenjak makes no apology for using faddish music to attract young people:

There is already a hip hop Mass, there is a rock Mass and a jazz Mass,” the 28-year-old priest said. “But it is mainly club music that we listen to and that we like dancing to, so it felt like a natural choice.” (Ibid)

     New Testament Christians are not immune to seductive calls to adapt and accommodate worship to the emotional desires of men. We must be biblically informed and faithfully committed to true worship, not to the will worship arranged and offered by men (Jno. 4:24; Col. 2:23). So, let us briefly examine these worship music “wars” in the light of Scripture.

The Bible does not have an official soundtrack”

     Far from Mr. Muchow’s claim, the word of God does reveal “an official soundtrack” for worship: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16, emp. mine).

     Psalms are sacred or pious songs, and immediately remind us of the inspired selections in the Old Testament book of Psalms. The Bible says when a Christian is cheerful to “let him sing psalms” - not “club music” that rocks the joint in the name of Jesus (Jas. 5:13)!

     Hymns are songs of praise addressed to God (Vine). As such, they must be reverent, holy and humble; a far cry from the “straight-ahead rock” heard at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church. When Paul and Silas were imprisoned at Philippi they were “singing hymns” (praises) to God - not hip hopping to a techno-beat (Acts 16:25). David prophesied of the Messiah (fulfilled in Jesus), “in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise (humneo) to you” (Psa. 22:22; Heb. 2:12). Who can envision Jesus with hands waving and rock music blasting, hip-hopping hymns to the Father in heaven? Such blasphemy offered by men is not true worship (Jno. 4:24).

     Spiritual songs (odes or chants) are songs of spiritual rather than carnal content. These songs to do excite fleshly actions and appetites (like dancing to club music). Instead, they focus the mind upon spiritual and eternal things. Christians are not to be carnally minded (controlled by the flesh), but spiritually minded (controlled by God’s Spirit-revealed law, Rom. 8:5-9). The “contemporary” worship music offered up by the denominations and the megachurches do not meet the Bible test of being “spiritual” songs.

Different churches, people and music”

     In striking contrast to the ecumenical plea to “join the church of your choice”, the Bible says there is “one body” (the church of Christ, Eph. 4:4; 1:22-23; Matt. 16:18). The issue is not that people are different; it is that “you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Men and women do not have the right to build different churches or to offer up music that is different from what Christ approves in His gospel. Christ is our ultimate authority, not Moses, not David, and not our contemporary styles and preferences (Matt. 28:18-20; 17:5). When the word of Christ dwells richly in one’s heart, the authority of Christ is obeyed in all things (including the music used in worship of God, Col. 3:16-17).

Sing a new song to the Lord”

     Now, that is a self-serving interpretation! In both Revelation 5:9 and 14:3 a “new” song is sung, but not like those sung by “Urban D”! It is sung before the throne of God, praising the Lamb for His worthiness to redeem sinners (5:9). Then, a new song is sung by the redeemed in a triumphant scene of glory (14:3). The fresh, new nature of redemption’s song is being emphasized. There is nothing “new” about sinful attempts to worship God observed in today’s churches. God rejects heart-devised worship (Jeroboam, 1 Kgs. 12:25-33). Let us all take heed lest we worship at Jeroboam’s altar!


You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS

The Way of Escape

Scripture Reading:   Joshua 7:19-25

1. The devil is trying to devour us, 1 Pet. 5:8.
2. Resist him steadfast in the faith, 1 Pet. 5:9.
3. God gives us ways of escape from sin, 1 Cor. 10:12-13.
4. We must equip ourselves to resist the devil and his temptations (Eph. 6:10-13).


  A. The Command of God and Sin of Achan, Josh. 6:18; 7:1, 2-9.
  B. Achan’s Journey Toward Sin and Our Ways of Escape, Josh. 7:20-21.

    1. I saw it, 7:21. 2 Sam. 11:2 (1 Jno. 2:16).
  -The way of escape:
      a. Covenant with eyes, Job 31:1 (Mt. 5:28).
      b. Flee temptation, Psa. 1:1-2; 26:5 (1 Cor. 15:33).
      c. Get busy with doing God’s work, 2 Sam. 11:1; 1 Ths. 5:5-7.

    2. I coveted it, 7:21; Jas. 1:14-15.
  -The way of escape:
      a. Control your mind, Phil. 4:8; Col. 3:1-3.
      b. Put covetousness to death, Col. 3:5.
      c. Control how you use your body, 1 Cor. 6:20 (Rom. 6:13).
      d. Remember and use the word of God, Psa. 119:9-16; Heb. 4:12.

    3. I took it (7:21), Jas. 1:15; 2 Sam. 11:4.
  -The way of escape:
      a. Be content, Heb. 13:5-6.
      b. No fulfillment in sin; only death.

    4. I hid it, Gen. 3:8; Jno. 3:19-20 (2 Sam. 11:6-26, 27; Psa. 32:1-4); Num. 32:23.
  -The way of escape:
      a. Christian: Confess your sin to God, Josh. 7:19; Psa. 32:5; 1 Jno. 1:9.
      b. Lost sinner, Acts 2:36-38.


You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS

The Pulpit

Scripture Reading:  Nehemiah 8:1-8

1. Right and wrong expectations and demands put on preachers, cf. Isa. 30:10; Jer. 5:31; Matt. 15:12; 2 Tim. 4:3 | Acts 20:27; 1 Co. 2:2.
2. The goal of gospel preaching is conviction and conversion of souls, Jno. 16:8; 2 Tim. 4:2. 
3. It is God’s work and we must not cheapen it, disable it and invalidate it by turning it into the work and wisdom of man.

  A. A Soapbox to Promote a Personal Agenda, Phil. 1:15-16; 2 Cor. 10:12, 17-18; Gal. 6:12-15.
  B. A Stage to Entertain the Audience, 1 Cor. 2:1-5 (cf. Acts 8:9-11); 2 Tim. 4:3-4.
  C. A Lectern for Academia (Human Wisdom), 1 Cor. 1:26-29; 2:1, 4; Col. 2:8, 18; Eph. 6:19; 1 Tim. 1:4.
  D. A Rifle Range to take Target Practice (pot shots) at Others, 3 Jno. 9-10. (Matt. 16:6; 2 Tim. 2:16-18; 4:10, 14-15; 3 Jno. 9; Rom. 16:17) Acts 20:20; cf. 1 Tim. 2:24-26

  A. A Divine Charge, 2 Tim. 4:1-2 (1 Cor. 9:16); Neh. 8:8; Acts 20:20, 25-27; 2 Tim. 4:2.
  B. A Sober Responsibility, 2 Tim. 2:25-26; 4:5; Phil. 1:15, 17; 1 Tim. 4:16; 2 Tim. 4:5.
  C. A Perpetual Work, 2 Tim. 4:5; 2:2; Phil. 3:1 (2 Pet. 1:12-15); 2 Tim. 2:2; Rom. 10:14-15; Acts 13:2-3.


1. The pulpit is a blessing, but when misused it becomes a curse, Eph. 4:11; Gal. 1:6-9.
2. Preach to us “right things” (Isa. 30:10).


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Faded Glory
Joe R. Price

The sale of the Crystal Cathedral to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange was approved Thursday by a U.S. bankruptcy court judge for $57.5 million. (A 40-acre complex in Garden Grove, CA, the cathedral houses 10,000 congregants and is where the late televangelist Robert Schuller broadcast his weekly “Hour of Power” TV show.)

     Built in 1980, Dr. Schuller dedicated the Crystal Cathedral “To the Glory of Man for the Greater Glory of God” (see the Crystal Cathedral website).

     How sad and foolish to think such a building today glorifies God. “The Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says: ‘Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool, what house will you build for Me? Says the LORD, or what is the place of My rest? Has my hand not made all these things?’” (Acts 7:48-50)

     Sadder still is imagining that a cathedral is for “the glory of man”! The glory of man?! Scripture says, “the glory of man is as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away…” (1 Pet. 1:24) Robert Schuller is now dead and his legacy is bankrupt (not only financially, but also spiritually). To coin a phrase, “Oh, how the mighty have fallen”. (In an online video, Sheila Schuller Coleman of Crystal Cathedral Ministries says “there is still time for a miracle”!)

     By contrast, Christians have “a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1). In the heavenly abiding place “the Lamb is its light”; there will be no need of the sun or of the moon (Rev. 21:23). Heaven is filled with the glory of God, not the fading glory of men (cf. Rev. 21:24, 26).

     Men build cathedrals that temporarily glorify them. By contrast, Christ built His church which eternally glorifies God (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 3:21). The glory of cathedrals, even crystal ones, fades away, but the church of Christ is promised eternal glory (Heb. 12:22-23; 2 Cor. 4:17; 2 Tim. 2:10; 1 Pet. 5:10).


Created by Chuck Sibbing.  11/21/2011

The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
Send all questions, comments and subscriptions to the editor at: