EMISSARY^7 (G²)

COMMISIONED by CHRIST 4 SHARING HIS LIFE/KEEPING IT REAL ADMIST THE LIES (II Cor. 5:17-21))

MUSIC/HIP HOP, BEATS….and CULTURE: What really matters when it comes to MODERN-DAY PRAISE AND WORSHIP???

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on January 31, 2008

NOTE from Gabriel: THIS IS A LONG POST…….SO APOLOGIES IF ANYONE WAS WANTING SOMETHING SHORT AND SWEET…..but IMHO, I believe that for anyone investigating that you’ll be blessed somehow….

Music_clef_demonstration.svg(SVG file, nominally 596 × 123 pixels, file size: 13 KB)

windowslivewriterwhatchaknowaboutholyhiphop-14900hiphop-logo3.jpg

To anyone concerned,

 Had a conversation recently that I thought was interesting and that I wanted to share with you.. Basically, it’s with the man who said that drums in worship are not appropiate for today and that beats are distracting to true worship
Also, if anyone’s interested, one can go here to see the entire discussion for oneself (though since one has to have a “CODE NAME” when at CARM, they’ll have to register if they wish to participate on the discussions…..but thankfully, it’s for free):

Here are his backing/resources on the issue and I was hoping to get your feedback on the issue.

Section 11 – “What About the Musical Instruments and Dancing of the Old Testament? at
http://www.freedomministries.org.uk/masters/idiom11.htm and the sections that follow it.

http://www.crucialchoices.com/Englis…ages/Drums.htm

videos by John Makujina at http://www.dbts.edu/5-1/5-14.asp

http://www.dbts.edu/mp3/rls/031605makujina3.mp3

Similar to some of the views which he has is this article which I recently discovered\

 http://reformedonline.com/view/reformedonline/music.htm

Also, here are some links to resources backing that deal with MY SIDE OF THE STREET AND

http://layhands.com/AreInstrumentsForbidden.htm

Quote:

http://layhands.com/AreInstrumentsForbidden.htm

Also, for others to consider:

http://www.amazon.com/Discerning-Spi…/dp/0802839991

http://www.amazon.com/Art-Worship-Mu…/ref=sid_dp_dp

http://www.amazon.com/Contemporary-W…/ref=sid_dp_dp

http://www.amazon.com/Worship-Maze-F…/ref=sid_dp_dp

http://www.amazon.com/Unquenchable-W…/ref=sid_dp_dp

add this one in the last post….

Also,

Quote:

Just wanted to give those out before procedding since part of walking in wisdom  is to get all the facts before answering, being OPEN TO NEW IDEAS/THE possibility that you or I could be in error/subjective in our thinking, and making certian we were hearing both sides of the story before judging….difficult work, but better than the only alternative—-PREJUDICE (judging before getting all the facts)?

Quote:

Proverbs 18:13-1713 He who answers before listening—
that is his folly and his shame.15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge;
the ears of the wise seek it out.

17 The first to present his case seems right,
till another comes forward and questions him.

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceL…re_You_Answer/

 Now, to note, here are some of the things that he said in regards to the discussion:

In dialouging with this kat/seeing what he had to say, this was his M.O:

“One problem with drums for worship is that they accentuate the beat. Musical beat does not speak to the mind of people. Instead, it speaks to the physical body. Because of this, it cannot convey any truth or give encouragement to live in the truth. there is a difference between beat and rhythm. (But do not take my word for it; do some research.) Yes, there can be a relation between them, but they are not the same. For example, your heart has a beat, but it also has a rhythm. The rhythm of your heart is not the same as the heart beat.

As long as the heart is working, it has a heartbeat. So too, most, if not all, music has a beat.

We need to note that the beat can be internal to the music. Even singing, by itself, has beat. However, the beat can also be inserted into the music from external sources, such as from drums. Concerning music used to worship God, the source of the beat is very important. If the beat is too noticeable, it detracts from the worshippers’ mental focus on truths that exalt God. In addition, if the beat is syncopated, the worshippers are further distracted away from ascribing greatness and extending gratitude to God. That is one reason why adding beat to music used in worship is detrimental to worship in spirit and in truth.””

In response to this individual, another came up and said this:

“Anyone saying rhythm is bad would have to condemn David as well for using the timbrel during praise or anyone clapping even. Basically, all music is based on some form of rhythm, so essentially if rhythm is evil, so is all of music. Music is based on rhythm, not just melody.”

In response, the kat against drums said this:

 Some verses about worship:

“God is spirit: and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24

“And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?” 1 Corinthians 14:7

Some verses about music:

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” Ephesians 5:19-20

“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.” Colossians 3:16

Some verses that speak about what believers need to learn:

“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” Ephesians 4:12-15

“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19

How can music with the following be compatible with the above verses?

  • a heavy driving beat,
  • overbearing sound for the sake of overbearing sound,
  • syncopation that is incompatible with the message of the song,
  • music style that simulates fornication,
  • sounds that are unharmonious with each other,
  • aspects that make it more entertaining than educational/propositional, or
  • musical arrangements that make it almost impossible to understand the words of the song’s message.

How can the above listed characteristics of some kinds of music

  • help to facilitate the impartation of the Word of Christ into the life of worshippers,
  • help to teach worshippers through words about how to live for Christ,
  • help to encourage worshippers with truths about Christ,
  • help to verbalize praise and thanksgiving to God in singing,
  • help to build up believers in trusting and serving Christ,
  • help to train believers to distinguish truth from error, or
  • help to understand Christian doctrines and Biblical truths about Jesus Christ and His love?

In addition, how can choosing music based on its entertainment value (popularity and personal preferences) contribute to the spiritual unity of believers?

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” Ephesians 4:13

 Some things can be decided based on personal preferences. But other things must be determined based on Biblical principles that address the particular thing.

Wasn’t Romans 14 addressed to what a person ate and how a person viewed certain days of the week?

As Romans 14 explains, these two subjects are personal and subjective – a believer has freedom concerning these things.

However, what Biblical passages say that communal worship is to be based on personal choice? Rather than being merely a personal and subjective subject, communal worship is an activity that must be done according to Biblical principles, not according to personal choice.

: When I responded, I brought up this from a website I frequent:

People are always asking if drums or keyboards or, yes, if electric guitars belong in the church. All musical instruments are, in themselves, neither good nor bad–they are amoral. So the question is this: Does a style of music edify believers while bringing honor and glory to Christ Jesus? If so, then what difference does it make if the accompaniment is provided by a piano or a guitar? Perhaps Ephesians 5:19 is the answer to this issue in that it promotes worshipping the Lord and encouraging other believers in three different “styles” of music, “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.”

http://www.gotquestions.org/instruments.html

That seems to be fair to me.

 

Also, how much does Romans 14 come into play with the issue of drums and saying that they’re inappropiate for believers, especially seeing when many believers say quite the opposite and have actually benefited from it in their services and are sincerly seeking to please the Lord?

Quote:
Romans 14

Quote:

The Weak and the Strong

1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11It is written:
” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will confess to God.’ “[a] 12So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

13Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food[b] is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

19Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.

22So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

In response, the brother said this:

 Neither Romans 14, nor any other passage of the Bible, teaches that believers are to ignore things that are harmful to the spiritual growth, health, or unity of believers. Instead, Romans 14 speaks specifically about foods and about esteeming a certain day of the week. The Bible gives specific instructions involving those subjects. Those instructions cannot be ignored when allowing other believers the freedom that the Bible gives concerning those things. For example, believers are not allowed to drink alcohol in excess or to eat food in excess. Also, the Bible does not permit believers to require sabbath-observance of other believers.

Likewise, concerning worship, the Bible also gives specific instructions. Those principles cannot be ignored when allowing other believers the freedom that the Bible gives concerning those things. For example, the Bible does not teach that believers are to allow or to accept anything that hinders worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), that detracts from singing with grace and melody in one’s heart, or that, in any way, deters the singing of words of encouragement (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19).

As I noted in a previous post, the Hebrew term, “toph” is translated in English as “tambourine,” “timbrel” or “tabret.” A person would be hard-pressed to find a Bible translation that translates it as “drum.” Though there are some similarities, a tambourine/timbrel/tabret (as used with music in the Old Testament period) was not the same as the modern drum. One main difference is that the timbrel was played with the fingers, not with sticks. Because of this, the use of the tabret was not the same as the modern use of drums (including snare, bass, bongo, or timpani). In addition, tambourines were not allowed in temple worship.

Also, David did not have any electronic sound amplifiers that further battered attendees with pressured blasts of air.

In this thread, I have not seen any Biblical verses that support the use of an instrument such as a drum to introduce additional beat into singing that is done to worship God.

Likewise, concerning worship, the Bible also gives specific instructions. Those principles cannot be ignored when allowing other believers the freedom that the Bible gives concerning those things. For example, the Bible does not teach that believers are to allow or to accept anything that hinders worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), that detracts from singing with grace and melody in one’s heart, or that, in any way, deters the singing of words of encouragement (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19).

It is true that (in most cases) an instrument is neither moral or immoral. However, it does not follow that the music produced from an instrument is not moral or immoral. Music is the movement of air and is caused by the actions of people. Since music is actions of people, it is either moral or immoral; it either glorifies Christ Jesus or does not glorify Him. For example, music at a volume so great that it destroys cells in listener’s bodies is immoral. Also, if the effect of a certain “style” of music encourages people to think or do something that is immoral, the music is immoral.

Additionally, since a certain kind of instrument has particular uses, those uses must be judged as to whether or not they glorify Jesus Christ. Thus, it does make a difference what the accompaniment is and how it is produced.

Further, the phrase “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” refers to different kinds of music, not to different “styles” of music. (psalms = songs with accompaniment; hymns = songs that have messages that give praise to God; spiritual songs = songs that have misusages that give spiritual edification and encouragement)

For example, Psalm 150:1 says, “Praise you the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.” This shows that the context is not communal worship.

In your discussion of many Psalms and other Old Testament passages, you failed to distinguish between instruments allowed in temple worship and instruments that were not permitted in temple worship. Likewise, dancing was never allowed in the temple.

Basically, there are two viewpoints to that question. One viewpoint says that the standard for choosing music is whether or not the music makes people feel good. The other viewpoint says that the standard for choosing music is whether or not the music follows Biblical truths and instructions. The first viewpoint is self-centered and pleasure-oriented. The second viewpoint is God-centered and theologically-oriented. The first looks at the ability of the music to entertain. The second looks at the ability of the music to facilitate spiritual growth.

In the 1960’s, many of the churches that were formed by converts to Christianity from the hippy/drug culture transferred the philosophy of experientialism into their church practices, including the music that they used. The people who subsequently pushed rock music into churches had the same philosophical ideas that exalted experience/feelings/emotions above Biblical truth. Originally, it was called Christian Rock, but because many churches were adverse to rock-and-roll music it was renamed as “Christian Contemporary Music” (CCM).

This choice of “Christian Contemporary Music” as a label for the music was significant, as some tried to make the subject of debate between the two viewpoints concerning church music to be “contemporary” music versus “traditional” music. But that distinction is only a smoke-screen that clouds the issue. Whether a certain music has existed for a few decades or has recently been composed is not the real issue. The issue should be whether or not the music is appropriate for church worship. Thus, we are again back to the two basic viewpoints: Is the standard for what makes music appropriate for communal church worship based on if it makes people feel good or the standard based on if it adheres to Biblical principles?”””

“””If the Bible gave specific instructions on every topic, the Bible alone would fill up the shelves of many large library buildings. No one would be able to read it all in a lifetime. Even if the Bible gave specific instructions for just one topic, such as music, the Bible would still fill up the shelves of several huge library bookcases. God in His wisdom was able to give us instructions about all of life, and to do it with general, instead of specific, instructions about many subjects.
Concerning music, the Bible reveals truths and principles about the character of God, the nature of man, man’s responsibilities toward God, God’s dealings with man, and the aspects of worship. And what the Bible reveals about these and other things is sufficient for determining the appropriateness of music for communal worship, to decide what kinds of music are not appropriate, and to discern what kinds of music are immoral.”””

Again, the statements of “God has given us principles” still seems at best vague….and IMHO, counter to almost everything that others for drums have said. It doesn’t adress the issue of biases one may have….nor does it do sufficient justice to the MYRIAD of other issues (branches, if you will) that connect with this subject.

For example, we say that music in worship isn’t to make people feel good. OK…….what defines feel good? Is it a euphoric feeling….or understanding better what Gods word says through a song that had much content and slow rythmn that was relaxing? Again, much of the language seems very much subjective…..which is why it’d be beneficial, I believe, if you were to share your definiton of feel good or the kind of tunes you’d want in worship. Some people, even without drums or dancing, have taken the argument that worship with a jazzy tune, urban/hip hop style, or even country feel is out of order because they say that’s “feel good” MUSIC and that it works only on your emotions……regardless of whether the lyrics were biblically based.

In the same breath, they’ll say that only something such as soothing classical music is necessary for singing hymns….but to someone else, that be considered “feel good” to them and a distraction to worship. Or the group may not be for anything but foot-stomping and clapping while singing……..and the one person in the group may feel as if his or her voice is being drowned out by the many or that the voice level doesn’t fit their qualifications/belief for what they consider to be “modest/reverent”…..or someone will say that the music seems to be “drugging” everyone due to how peaceful everyone is afterward and yet not honestly willing to deal with issues within themselves that are contrary to Scripture or making them relaxed when they should be agitated/righteouslly angry on some things…

Or consider what happens when the argument goes in reverse. I once went to a Baptist Church that literally had on the back of the pews this statement:

Quote:

We desire to make a beautiful song to the Lord and to make certain that the Lord is pleased with how we’re sounding before Him. Therefore, IF you cannot sing or have good vocals, please refrain from singing at all

Now, of course, this isn’t reflective of all Baptist Churches…………but the point is, even without instruments, there seems to be confusion. What determines what is or is not a “good sound”? If it’s distinctive? What if everyone’s singing in harmony but the tune they’re singing to may be similar to something which the World does? If the song the church is singing is similar to a tune someone in the world has heard before….and that song serves to remind them of the original lyrics of whatever the song they listened to was, thus causing them to backslide due to meditating on things contrary to God’s heart, WHO’S AT FAULT? The church or the person? Should the cHURCH now stop singing to that tune?

This sounds crazy, but it honestly happens all the time…..especially among black churches. Someone will make a song and the congregation will sing it—-WITHOUT INSTRUMENTS—and someone in the audience will be reminded of a tune similar to what they’ve heard in the world/sin.

Do you shut down singing out loud and have everyone sing quietly from here on out again? The list could go on……but All I’m saying is that I don’t believe that the discussion can be profitable without acknowledging that there is a bit of biases/personal dislike and likes in all that we’re saying. No one’s innocent……..

So again, who at the end of the day determines what is or what isn’t appropiate for church worship? Which church in your opinion do you think has it right? Sincerly, I think many on this discussion would be very much interested in seeing/hearing how your church resembles closely the worship according to the model you are presenting from Scripture as the Biblical one

No one, IMHO, can say to the other

Quote:
what the Bible reveals about these and other things is sufficient for determining the appropriateness of music for communal worship, to decide what kinds of music are not appropriate, and to discern what kinds of music are immoral.

….for every group—-EVEN AMONG THOSE AGAINST DRUMS/CERTAIN MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS—-ARE saying that they are the ones who truly know what is appropiate and there’s not even agreement on those levels for only vocal singing…..and in dealing with instruments, I do not believe that one can simply leave one end done without dealing with the other.

how does one determine this…….especially when the issue of DIFFERING CULTURES/DIVERSITY COMES INTO PLAY.

     
Also, to note, this is EXTREMELY LONG…..so I apologize ahead of time if it gets annoying or repetive (As well as on tangents), but I honestly do feel as if everything I said does connect together.
       
  Also, before procedding, I wanted to give out some links that may be useful for aiding in the discussion.
http://coreybuckner.com/wordpress/ch…1-intorductionhttp://www.coreybuckner.com/cblog/in…ristian-Hiphophttp://www.coreybuckner.com/cblog/in…p-and-Rap.html

http://ct.coreybuckner.com/hub.htm

http://www.trailblazinministries.com….msg171#msg171

Moreover,

http://www.rwlyons.org/2005/05/g-craig-lewis.html

http://www.clarkyboy.com/hiphop.htm

These are some of the ministries/commentaries that I’ve researched and that I base some of my stances on. Seeing that I’ve been on both sides of the fence (from thinking that “Music is just music/lyrics don’t matter” to “music/beats is sinful” to seeing that it’s moreso the lyrics/content that matter” , etc), I wanted to place study material out there which would examine BOTH SIDES of the issue….from “being in the world but not of it” and seeing the verse IN CONTEXT with the rest of the Word of God to others that are used for both sides of the issue—-paticularly, on the issue of beats/tunes in worship, culture, etc…..

 For starters, I’ve been long studying on the issue….and one of the things I’ve always been intrigued by and yet I’ve never heard G.Craig actually adress (though I respect/appreciate MANY Of his views) is the issue of Cultural Concession.
       In an article from Bible.org entitled “Cults, Christianity, and Culture”, one of the writers once said this:
Quote:
When God created the nation Israel and brought them out of Egypt, He gave them the Mosaic Law in order to provide them with a standard of righteousness, with a promise of redemption, and with a prescription for a culture which would isolate them from the godless paganism of the heathen nations around them. When Israel was outside of the land, it was not possible to live completely under the law for they were not able to offer sacrifices in the prescribed places, nor were they able to isolate themselves from the cultures of their captors.The first example of this is found in Joseph. When he realized that he would live out his life and die in Egypt, he ch ose to adopt much of the culture of the Egyptians. Before Joseph stood in Pharaoh’s presence, he shaved (Gen. 41:14), which was culturally very significant. A beard was highly regarded in Israel (cf. 2 Sam. 10:4-5), but in Egypt it was not. Joseph revealed wisdom by adapting to the culture of his day, yet in a way that did not violate any biblical principle. A beard was really a matter of culture, not of creed. By taking the Egyptian’s language, their dress, and even an Egyptian wife (cf. Gen. 41:45), Joseph identified himself with the Egyptians in a way that made his ministry more acceptable, yet without any sacrifice of biblical p rinciple.Perhaps Daniel is the most striking example of cultural concession in the Old Testament. In Daniel 1 we find the prophet and his three Hebrew friends taken captive to Babylon. We know these men best in terms of what they refused to do. All four refused to partake of the king’s choice food and wine (Dan. 1:8-16), which seemed to be associated with idolatrous worship.(In this case, it would be consistent with the prohibitions of Acts 15:20, 29.) Daniel refused to cease praying (Dan. 6), and his three friends would not b ow down to the golden image (Dan. 3). In focusing our attention on what these four men refused to do we sometimes fail to take note of the cultural concession they were willing make. They were submissive to the king’s requirements by becoming educated in the schools of Babylon for three years, and of serving the king as advisors. These men, even in their youth, had the God-given wisdom to discern between what was culturally acceptable and what was not. They were able to faithfully serve God and to be witnesses to Him, even in a pagan land, because they could discern the elements of that culture which were an offense to God. Perhaps they were aware of the words of the prophet Jeremiah:

Quote:
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, “Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens, and eat their produce. Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. And seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare” (Jer. 29:4-7).

        Again, that I found very interesting…….
Many within Urban Christian Culture well understand this…..and that is why MANY of them have taken many measures to ensure that there’s a distinction between themselves and the culture. They speak out those IN URBAN CULTURE claiming the name of Christ but denying His Nature…..and they refuse to join forces with those promoting UNGODLY behaviors/practices. However, they also use discernment in understanding what apsects of the culture are okay to accept as Biblical Characters did, finding ways that we may adjust to our culture as long as we don’t compromise God’s Laws..and NOT MAKING CULTURE ADAPT TO /SERVICE US…..for culture need not be God’s enemy.Daniel and his friends—-ANOINTED OF GOD/TRUE MEN OF THE LORD—learned ALL THEY COULD ABOUT THEIR NEW CULTURE and UTILIZED IT so they could do their work with EXCELLENCE ….but simultaneously, they maintained steadfast allegiance to God, and God gave them wisdom and skill for the task (Daniel 1:8-21)….Though the Bablaloyonians were trying to change the thinking of these Jews by giving them a Babylonian Education, their loyalty by changing their names, and their lifestyle by changing their diet, what did DANIEL DO??Without compromisng, he found a way to live by God’s Standards in a culture that DID NOT HONOR GOD, wisely choosing to negotiate rather than rebel/demand that the culture service Him……and he was able to find a practical, creative solution THAT saved his life and that of his friend. And we who follow God are free to be competent leaders in our culture, provided that we remember that we are required to pledge our allegiance to CHRIST first……Again, if it doesn’t violate God’s Commands, it can aid in accomplishing His purpose.

and Again, things that are BLACK AND WHITE in the Word are not to be used if God says they’re either sin or will harm another……but on the issue of music/beats, where is this clearly outlined in Scripture as ungodly? Where is it shown that a style is harmful to a saint? Moreover, what to make of the examples I brought up where the Word makes clear that NOT EVERYTHING WITHIN A PATICULAR CULTURE is INHERENTLY EVIL or cannot be used in the process of Ministry???

That’s where I’m coming from…….and I see no basis for saying that everything within ROCK, Rap/Urban, or “Street”/Hip Hop culture is of the Devil…no more than it was for Joseph, Daniel, Eshter, or Paul in pagan Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, or Gentile culture…….

Also, as a personal testimony, OBVIOUS IS THE FACT that there’s much mess going on in the name of the movement…..but what many don’t say or see is how many people within the movement ARE NOT THE SAME AND ARE SPEAKING OUT AGAINST IT. Not everyone within URBAN CULTURE or HIP-HOP culture is wearing a BIKINI, dressing like a prostitute, living the “thug” life, promoting gansta lifestyle, or any of the other things seen within the culture. Those things are simply within the culture, but do not mean that EVERYTHING within the culture is EVIL…..To explain better,
I worked alongside this kat, who’s extremely prayerful, pure at heart, and loves to bring God’s People closer to Him. I’ve been to concerts he’s thrown…..and unlike many holy hip hoppers who’d use gimmicks (“i.e shouting “WHAT’S MY NAME???!!, throwing up gang signs, grabbing their crotch, etc) and yet have no power since they’re not submitted to the Holy Spirit, he’s literally stopped concerts and called out sins like masturbation, oral sex, lesbianism, pornagraphy, drugs, cutting, etc…… Many young people repented and have since been seeking to learn God’s standards for Holiness/PREACHING THE GOSPEL. I used to be one of them……As I’ve witnessed first hand, God has done many miraculous things through his ministry, and it’s been a real adventure. Moreover, this kat, as well as many others, has demonstrated not only true humility (James 3:12-18) in all he does but also the Fruit of the Spirit in His Life because of how soaked in the Word of CHRIST/IN TUNE WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT (Luke 6:27-49, Luke 10:25-37, John 15, Galatians 5:16-26, Colossians 3:1-17, Titus 3:1-8, I Peter 3:8-12, James 1:19-27, I John 3:16-20, I John 4, and many others as examples of things I’ve seen that characterize Him and those he’s taught).
To explain even further,
Quote:
Quote:
1 Corinthians 11:14-15
14Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.
Regarding the issue of HIP HOP and taking/practicing things that the culture around you may do in HOLY HIP HOP, I had some thoughts I’d like to share…(bear with me, though, cause they’e pretty lengthy/detailed)
In talking about head coverings and length of hair, Paul was saying that believers should look and behave in ways that are HONORABLE within their own culture. In many cultures long hair on men is considered appropriate and masculine.In Corinth, however, it was thought to be a sign of male prostitution in the pagan temples. And Women with short hair were labeled as prostitutes…..and what Paul was saying was that in the Corinthian Culture, Christian women should keep their hair long, for if short hair on women was a sign of prostitution, then a Christian woman with short hair would find it even more difficult to be a believable witness for Jesus Christ.Paul wasn’t saying that we should adopt ALL the practices of our culture, but that we should avoid the appearances and behavior that DETRACT from our ultimate goal of being believable witnesses for Jesus while demonstrating our Christian Faith.Regarding Hip Hop, their are many t hings within the culture itself that are not inherently wrong of themselves and that shouldn’t be a problem doing—things, for example, like Rap or Dance, M-Ceeing, and even some of the dress styles as well as languages.

However, minus the fact of whether or not the practice is even condoned in Scripture, if the things that Christians are doing are representive of something that those in HIP HOP do that are praised, then it would be best not to do those things. There have been many Holy Hip-Hoppers who would claim that their heart’s intent was to win Souls for Christ—-and though many of them may’ve been sincere, their actions inadvertently lead to making other young Christians more attracted to/acceptable of the Hip Hop Culture than they were to being like Jesus.

When someone like PEDITEE, for example, wears a grill and practically looks like a THUG on His ALBULM COVER……….

Or a group like GRITS uses the same terminology s omeone in HIP HOP would use to make a point (as they did on the song “Memories” On their “REDEMPTION” Cd when they used the phrase “Shag it ROTTEN” to describe their taking ownership of something because that’s how the culture is…………

Or someone feels they have to grab their crotch whenever they’re doing a song cause they how the rappers do it in REAL HIP HOP, or feels that it’s OK to dress immodestly/have FAR TOO MUCH SKIN showing because that’s what’s going on at BET,

Or when someone at a Youth Group takes the mike, begins to rap, and begins to call the youths to yell “WHAT’S MY NAME???!!!” OR raps more about themselves than they do about the Lord while also trying to speak Scripture to them occasionally…

Or when someone gets on stage and does the EXACT same dance moves they saw on BET OR WOULD SEE IN THE CLUB (as Holy Hip Hopper CANTON JONES did when he went to a church I attended called ELIZABETH BAPTIST CHURCH in Atlanta, Ga, for a Music/Youth Rally had the ENTIRE audience of youths doing the DANCE FROM THE LAFFTY TAFFY SONG, to the point where the youths were literally up on each other/bumping and grinding and you couldn’t tell the difference between the church and the club!!!),….

When you do all those things you can inevitably draw attention to the Movement, as if you’re praising it because you’re mimicking nearly everything the movement of HIP HOP DOES itself does. The kids (as is often the case) will flock to it——that, and the fact that those who are not Christians don’t take Christians seriously because, thought their Words/Terminology may be Christian; they look Almost EXACTLY THE SAME AS THOSE IN THE WORLD DO.

To an unsaved person in Hip Hop, many may not even care to listen to those who are saved Holy-Hip hoppers and may say, “There’s no need for me to come to Christ/ya’lls side, cause ya’ll already look JUST LIKE ME…AND AS A MATTER OF FACT, THERE’S NO NEED TO CHANGE BECUASE YA’LL ARE DOING THE SAME THIN GS I’M ALREADY ABOUT. SEEMS LIKE YA”LL WANTS TO BE MORE LIKE ME THAN ANYTHING ELSE…..”

Also, how much of a resemblance do you see often with what appears to be a GREAT majority of Artists within HOLY HIP HOP to what JESUS LOOKED LIKE and how He lived life?

HOWEVER, By no means do all HOLY-HIP HOPPERS ACT THE SAME….and there are many who are sincerely seeking to demonstrate what it means to be sold out to Christ. And many of them, contrary to what many may believe, are TRULY MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD. A good example would be a Holy Hip Hopper by the name of JOHN THE Baptist OR aka: “Johnny Bapt” (His Cd was “Baptize the Game”. )

He goes to my church and was present when G.Craig came to visit once/spoke on “The Truth Behind HIP HOP”…..Growing up on the streets and in the Hip Hop Culture, He knows what it was like and how to relate to the youths.

Even had a meeting with t he G.Craig and dialogued with him on the many things they agreed on (i.e. the need for People to EXALT CHRIST more than HOLY HIP-HOP, the need to stop using Gimmicks/Fun Activities to win young people to Christ when in fact many of them are MORE THAN HUNGRY to grow in Christ but are simply not seeing Youth Ministers challenge them in studying the Word and teaching them the things they need in order to be effective DISCIPLES for Christ.

However, though Craig disagreed with Johnny on some things on Holy Hip Hop, they still respect each other. Johnny is still heavily involved in the church. He’s one of the Children’s Church Ministers and does an EXCELLENT job leading them in memorizing the Word/showing them how it applies to Everyday life, and He works hard at whatever He does.

However, He always CONSTANTLY reminds people TO LOOK first and FOREMOST AT JESUS, not HIM……and He diligently makes sure that in his music he’s simply RAPPING/NOT PROMOTING THE MOVEMENT OF SECULAR HIP HOP above the WORD OF GOD or the POWER OF HIS GRACE. Unlike other Holy Hip Hoppers, He’s the only one who I’ve ever see walk in the Power of God…..and even in conerts where he has to entertain the kids, he’s one of the only ones’ TO ACTUALLY STOP A CONCERT MIDWAY AND CALL PEOPLE or Issues OUT or PREACH THE GOSPEL while giving calls to REPENTANCE……and, as I’ve witnessed and experienced myself, many people were truly impacted, convicted and stirred to become better DISCIPLES OFCHRIST.

As Scripture says, Believers when they are saved are to disengage themselves from all forms of false religion and make a clean break from all sinful habits and old IDOLATAROUS practices (essentially anything glorifying themselves rather than the FATHER):

Quote:
2 Corinthians 6:14-17
Do Not Be Yoked With Unbelievers
14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial[a]?
What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”[b]
17″Therefore come out from them
and be separate, says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.”[c]

And that’s exactly what Johnny does. He doesn’t promote the things within the culture of HIP HOP which are Unbiblical and inherently EVIL, nor does He go and join forces with the same foul rappers that are on stage representing it (as some Holy Hip Hoppers have done)……but neither does he deny that there are some practices which have legitimate merit and are not inherently wrong by nature.

Minus the fact that the clothes are Modest/decent, He doesn’t refuse to wear uniforms from clothing lines like “Ecko”, “Paco”, “Fubu” or “South POLE …..Nor does he condemn those who do so simply because someone in Hip Hop was wearing it and therefore the clothing line itself is now contaminated. Falling for that kind of thinking is exactly what the Corinthians were doing.

1 Corinthians 8:1
1 Corinthians 8
Food Sacrificed to Idols
1Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge.[a] Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3But the man who loves God is known by God.

4So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is n o God but one. 5For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

7But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

9Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols?

11So thi s weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.

Regarding the CONTEXT of the verse, the Greeks/Romans were polytheistic (worshiping many gods) and polydemonistic (believing in many evil spirits). They believed that evil spirits would try to invade human beings by attaching themselves to food before it was eaten, and that the spirits could be removed only by the food’s being sacrificed to a god. The sacrifice was not meant to only gain favor with the gods, but to cleanse the meat from demonic contamination….and such decontaminated meat was offered to the gods as a sacrifice.

That which was not burned on the altar was served at wicked pagan feasts, and what was left was sold in the market . And the reason Paul dealt with it here was because after conversion, believers RESENTED eating such food bought out of idol markets, because it reminded SENSITIVE Gentile Believers of their previous pagan lives/demonic worship.

Paul and other mature believers knew better than to be bothered by such food offered once to idols and then sold in the marketplace. They knew the deities didn’t exist and that EVIL SPIRITS COULD NOT CONTAMINATE THE FOOD that needed to be eaten.That being said, the same can be said of things within the HIP HOP culture that are accepted by many Christians. Simply because someone within Hip Hop wears something (like TIMBERLAND shoes, or URBAN CLOTHING of some sort) does not mean that a Christian who does the same is somehow CONTAMINATED because of where that particular HIP Hopper stood or because he believe in something that was wrong……and to say that the Clothes should be forbidden seems RASH at best……Apply the same logic to the things that we wear but make no fuss about like “Fruit of the Loom”, “Tommy Hilfiger”.

Would I dismiss them as well because they came from a SECULAR SOURCE or were possibly made by someone who denied Christ? Apply that Logic to it’s natural extent and you probably wouldn’t be wearing NOR using much of ANYTHING (whether it be cars or jewelry, makeup, equipment, etc) since it at some point it came from, was used by or was made by someone who wasn’t a Christian and by buying it, you’re representing them AUTOMATICALLY. And if you did do so but still wanted to call out those who wore clothing styles (Modest Ones/General Ones, of course) that many with the HIP HOP Culture happen to use as well, you probably are coming off Hypocritical at best.
The issue is one of CHRISTIAN FREEDOM, which Christ died for us to have…And just as Paul encouraged the Corinthians to buy whatever meat was in the market (I Corinthians 10:25-27), so it can also be said that there’s no need to condemn those who wear ANY KIND of URBAN WEAR that may be associated with Hip Hop.Honestly, when we become too worried about our EVERY ACTION, we become LEGALISTIC and cannot enjoy life. Everything belongs to God (I Corinthians 10:25), and he has given us ALL things to enjoy. And if we know something is a problem, then we can deal with it……but we don’t need to be “nit-picky”/ going out looking for problemAgain, Christ died for us to HAVE CHRISTIAN FREEDOM.,…… n’ Christian leaders and teachers should carefully teach about the freedom we have in matters not EXPRESSELY FORBIDDEN BY SCRIPTUREHowever, that’s not to say that we should use our freedom in Christ at the cost of hurting a Christian brother/sister. We are not to consider ourselves ONLY, but we must be sensitive to others. While some actions may not be wrong, they may not be in the best interests of others.
And While Christians should not make a career of being the weaker person with oversensitive consciences, that doesn’t change the fact that nothing we do should cause another believer to stumble. We do what is best for others.

Remember, in the context of I Corinthians 8, the consciences of some newer converts were still accusing them strongly with regard to eating food without eating spiritually corrupted and guilty. They still imagined that idols were real and evil…..and some believers would be caused to fall back into old sins by getting involved with foods offered unto IDOLS (I Corinthians 8:9-11).

What was Paul’s WARNING? It was that those who cause another to stumble are doing more than simply an offense against that person; THEY ARE OFFENDING THE LORD HIMSELF (I Corinthians 8:9-11). And this is something we must greatly keep in mind when it comes to dealing with the culture of Hip Hop.

I may have the freedom as a Christian to go out and but URBAN STYLE CL OTHING that seems to be generally used by EVERYONE, whether in Hip OR not, and not representing any kind of allegiance to a particular rapper. Bu what happens when I go out and buy a GIANT T-Shirt with a rapper like BIGGIE SMALLS or “SCAREFACE”?

I may see it as no deal……but minus the fact that I KNOW these Men were BLANTALY AGAIST THE LORD, and that THAT IMAGE IS KNOWN TO PORTRAY A PATICULAR IMAGE my wearing of a clothing style with their name in front could make it seem like I’m ADVERTISING THEM and could cause a weaker believer in the Lord to stumble back into accepting them as legitimate …

.and like Paul made clear, my giving no regard to how I may be hurting / offending a weaker brother with one’s freedom will cause the offended person to condemn us (I Corinthians 10:29). Better for me to not bu y the shirt than run the risk of harming another because of it.
That’s why as believers we must make sure that in using our Christian Liberty, we again make sure that the good of others is one of our PRIMARY goals.

Though we shouldn’t necessarily be OVER-SENSITIVE/doing nothing for fear that someone may be displeased , or necessarily “YES” people by going along with everything and trying to gain approval from people rather than from God, We cannot be insensitive and doing what we want, no matter who is hurt by it.

Our goal should be to live in ways that would EDIFY ONE ANOTHER (I Corinthians 10:23-24) —–not seeking our own gratification FIRST or ourselves over others—and to conduct our Christian liberty as well as the most common behaviors to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31). It’s all about being like Jesus (I Corinthians 11:1), and remembering that to love others believers is the STRONGEST WITNESS WE HAVE (John 13:34-35).

And, moreover, regarding Holy Hip Hop, we have to remember that there will be DIFFERENCES OF OPINION in the church (disputable matters) that we should not quarrel over issues that are a matter of opinion. Differences should not be feared or avoided, but at the same time they must be handled with love….and with the expectation that NOT EVERYONE, EVEN IN THE BEST POSSIBLE CHURCH, WILL AGREE ON THE SUBJECT. We need to accept, listen to , and RESPECT OTHERS , especially those who may be involved in Holy Hip Hop, knowing that through the sharing of ideas we can come to a fuller understanding of what the Bible teaches. Again, DIFFERENCES OF OPINION NEED NOT CAUSE DIVISION…..AND can be a source of learning/richness in our relationships (as I’ve experienced as a Youth Worker and working with those like Johnny Bapt or the kids in the youth for Holy Hip Hop)And above all else, we must recognize that for those involved in Holy Hip Hop but whom we don’t a gree with, EACH PERSON IS ACCOUNTABLE TO CHRIST. NOT OTHERS.While the Church must be uncompromising in it’s stand against activities that are EXPRESSLY forbidden by Scripture (adultery, homosexuality, murder, theft), it should be not create ADDITIONAL RULES AND REGULATIONS AND GIVE THEM EQUAL STANDING WITH GOD’S LAW.
Many times (as is often the case with Holy Hip Hop), Christians will base their moral judgments on opinion, personal dislikes, or cultural bias rather than on the WORD OF GOD….and at the end of the day, that is the ONLY STANDARD WE HAVE TO GO BY THAT’LL LAST.

Quote:

Romans 14

The Weak and the Strong

1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man’s fa ith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.
7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
< FONT size=4>9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10You, then, why do you judge your brother?
Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11It is written:
” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will confess to God.’ “[a] 12So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

13Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.

14As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food[b] is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.

17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

19Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.

22So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

In the case that someone should say that the verse is not applicable, go here since it is where I based my research off of:

http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=161

http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=2326

http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=795

For a EXCELLENT REA D ON THE ISSUE, I encourage everyone to check out this article:

http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=1343

It deals with the issues of CHRIST/CULTURE

ALSO, If interested, here’s something that should aid the discussion. It’s from some music videos from one paticular Holy Hip Hop group named “Grits”….and though they don’t necessarily represent everyone’s mentality or style affiliated with HOLY HIP HOP , based on melody/style, I’d be curious as to what you felt the intent of the music was for:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEklIh4u0Qw

Also, regarding the discussion, here’s a clip from a Holy Hip Hopper named “Da Truth”

htt p://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0RFYxGdftA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtVAk…elated&search=

What feel did you get from seeing him? Did you feel he had good intent or bad? To praise God or something else? And moreover, even though both were using beats/rhythms you’d hear in Hip Hop, did they both make you feel the same or did they evoke 2 different mentalities/moods in hearing them?

If people are wrong in thier style of worship, then God will correct as He sees fit. Most likely He won’t hold them at all guilty of any sin in it if thier attitude was correct. If, however, their style of worship is entirely acceptable to God, then you mock thier offerings to Him, which is a dangerous place to be.

Quote:
1 Corinthians 9:19-2719Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessin gs.
With the stance taken agaist Hip Hop AS BEING “COMPLETELY EVIL AND NOTHING IN IT BEING GOOD”, I’ve often questioned how effective one can be when going to differing cultures ALL AROUND THE WORLD….whether it be in Jamaica where REGAEE is used to practically ALL OF THE MUSIC IN THE CHURCHES DOWN THERE, or in AFRICA where DRUMS/BEATS ARE PARAMOUNT TO HOW THEIR CULTURE OPERATES and how children grow up learning things……OR ANY CULTURE FOR THAT MATTER WHERE DRUMS ARE A CENTRAL PART OF THEM….and yet they’re still seeking the Lord and desiring to PRAISE HIM/MAKE JESUS KNOWN….Something to consider
Quote:
Acts 21:17-26Paul’s Arrival at Jerusalem
Paul’s Arrival at Jerusalem17When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers received us warmly. 18The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. 19Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.
20When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. 21They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling t hem not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, 23so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. 24Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. 25As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”

26The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.

Regarding this paticular passage, the Jerusalen Council (Acts 15) had already settled the issue of circumcision of Gentile Believers. Evidently, though, rumor said that Paul had gone far beyond their decision, even forbidding Jews to circumcise their children. This, of course, was not true, so Paul willingly submitted to JEWISH Custom to show he was not working against the council’s decision & camp; that he was still Jewish in His Lifestyle….which shows us how we must sometimes go the extra mile to avoid offending others, especially when doing so would hinder God’s Work.
Continuning, these four men had made a religious vow. Because Paul was going to participate with them in the vow (apparently he had been asked to pay for some of the required expenses), he would need to take part in the purification ceremony for entering the temple (Numbers 6:9-20).
Paul was not observing the laws in order to be saved, but was simply keeping the laws as a custom to avoid offending those who he wished to reach with the Gospel (Romans 3:21-31, Romans 7:4-6, Romans 13:9-10)Paul submitted himself to Jewish custom to keep peace in the Jerusalem church….for although Paul was a man of convictions, he was willing to compromise on non-essential points in order to become all things to all people so he might save some (I Corinthians 9:19-23)…..which is important to note because many split over disagreements about minor issues or traditions, rather than doing like Paul & remaing firm on Christian essentials but FLEXIBLE on non-essentials…..exercising the gift of mutual submission for the sake of the gospel

For good commentary on the subject, go here:
http://www.studylight.org/com/bnn/view.cgi?book=ac&chapter=021http://www.gty.org/Resources/Transcripts/1784Also, as Ray Stedman wisely said on the subject,

Quote:
“Many have misread this and concluded that Paul’s mistake was that he did not boldly acknowledge that he did set aside Moses and the Law, that he did reject circumcision as of no value whatsoever, as you read in his letters to the Colossians and Galatians, for example. But the key phrase is, “that you teach all the Jews” to do so. That charge was totally false. Paul never taught a Jew to abandon Moses, or not to circumcise his children. What he strongly taught was that the Gentiles should not be made subject to these Jewish provisions. He utterly would not allow them to come under the Jewish Law and insisted that they did not have to follow any of these Jewish provisions. But he did not set aside the ritual for the Jews. Rather, he pointed out to them that this was all symbolic, was all a picture, and that it was all pointing toward Christ (Colossians 2:17).The very rituals they were performing and the sacrifices they were offering were all telling them of Jesus in no uncertain terms. Jesus’ coming had fulfilled, and filled out, the picture that the Old Testament sacrifices had drawn. Thus, in the very process of carrying them out, the Jews were simply retelling themselves of the coming of the Lord Jesus. These observances were very much like the Lord’s table is for us today.We go through this ritual every so often — about once a month here. We know that we are dealing with symbols. There is a sense in which those symbols are telling again the story of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus. Doing this does not add anything spiritual to us. In itself, it does not make us any better, but it reminds us.

This was the function of these Jewish rituals. They were reminders of what the Lord Jesus had come to do, and had done. All through the book of Acts we see Jewish Christians going into the temple and offering sacrifices, just as the Lord himself had done. There is no suggestion that they should have stopped, or that it was wrong for them to do this. Until God took the sacrifices away they were permitted this means of expression. The sacrifices ended when the temple was finally destroyed in A.D. 70, when the words of Jesus were fulfilled and Roman armies came and laid siege to the city. His words of warning were, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then flee into the mountains, for then shall be fulfilled all that has been predicted,” {cf, Matt 24:66ff, Mark 13:14ff, Luke 21:21ff}. The city was taken and the Jews were carried away captive, exactly as the Lord Jesus said. But that was several years still in the future from this point in history. So there is no compromise on Paul’s part when, as we read in this next section, he took upon himself certain Jewish practices. James said to him,

“What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you but that you yourself live in observance of the law. But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity.” Then Paul took the men and the next day he purified himself with them and went into the temple, to give notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for every one of them. {Acts 21:22-26 RSV}

Here Paul was following his own announced practice. He said that when he was with the Jews, he became as a Jew; when he was with the Gentiles, he became as a Gentile; and when he was with the weak, he limited himself and became as weak as they — all in order that he might reach them on their level, through the medium and culture to which they were accustomed. He was simply declaring again the freedom he had in Christ. He was free — free to live as a Gentile among the Gentiles, free to live as a Jew among the Jews, free from the Law, but free also to keep the Law if there were certain advantages to be gained by so doing.

So he adopts this Jewish practice, and there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. He is willing to become as a Jew, along with these others, in order that he might clear up a misunderstanding which had a totally false basis. It is interesting that, as you read the account which follows of the trouble he met in Jerusalem, you can see that not one bit of it was ever a consequence of his Jewish practices.” (http://www.pbc.org/library/files/html/0445.html )

Here’s some EXCELLENT Commentary on the verse that may be of benefit to you:
(which gets at the HEART OF THE ISSUE, which is LOVE FOR ONE’S NEIGHBOR/APPRECIATION FOR TRADITION/CULTURE).

Also, consider these as well:

http://preceptaustin.org/colossians_216-23.htm
http://preceptaustin.org/colossians_218-191.htm
http://preceptaustin.org/colossians_220-23.htm

Something else to consider:
DRIVING THE COUNCIL DECISION in Acts 15:19-21 ,

Quote:

Acts 15

Quote:

The Council at Jerusalem

1Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad. 4When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.

5Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.”

6The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

12The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. 14Simon[a] has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. 15The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

16″ ‘After this I will return

and rebuild David’s fallen tent.

Its ruins I will rebuild,

and I will restore it,

17that the remnant of men may seek the Lord,

and all the Gentiles who bear my name,

[b]says the Lord, who does these things’

18that have been known for ages.[c]

19″It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers

22Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. 23With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. 24We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

30The men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers. 33After spending some time there, they were sent off by the brothers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them.[d] 35But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.

for James Judgment was that the Gentile BELIEVERS did not have to be Circumcised, but he still felt that they should stay away from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality ( a common part of IDOL WORSHIP), & from eating meat of strangled animals and from consuming blood (Leviticus 17:14 ).

[b]

If Gentile Christians would abstain from these practices, they would please God & get along better with their Jewish Brothers/Sisters in Christ. For James mentioning a few laws that the Gentile Believers should keep was done with the understanding that a basic morality (i.e. CONSCIENCE/That INNATE AWARENESS THE LAW OF GOD WRITTEN ON PEOPLE’S HEARTS) & living for God would COVER THE REST.

Quote:

Romans 2:12-29

12All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

The Jews and the Law

17Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; 18if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”[a]

25Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

As another wisely said,

Quote:

The dispute raised by Judaizing teachers.

Quote:

Some from Judea taught the Gentile converts at Antioch, that they could not be saved, unless they observed the whole ceremonial law as given by Moses; and thus they sought to destroy Christian liberty. There is a strange proneness in us to think that all do wrong who do not just as we do. Their doctrine was very discouraging. Wise and good men desire to avoid contests and disputes as far as they can; yet when false teachers oppose the main truths of the gospel, or bring in hurtful

doctrines, we must not decline to oppose them.

(Acts 15:7-21)

The council at Jerusalem.

We see from the words to �purifying their hearts by faith, to � and the address of St. Peter, that justification by faith, and sanctification by the Holy Ghost, cannot be separated; and that both are the gift of God. We have great cause to bless God that we have heard the gospel. May we have that faith which the great Searcher of hearts approves, and attests by the seal of the Holy Spirit.

Then our hearts and consciences will be purified from the guilt of sin, and we shall be freed from

the burdens some try to lay upon the disciples of Christ. Paul and Barnabas showed by plain matters of fact, that God owned the preaching of the pure gospel to the Gentiles without the law of Moses; therefore to press that law upon them, was to undo what God had done. The opinion of James was, that the Gentile converts ought not to be troubled about Jewish rites, but that they should abstain from meats offered to idols, so that they might show their hatred of idolatry.

Also, that they should be

cautioned against fornication, which was not abhorred by the Gentiles as it should be, and even formed a part of some of their rites. They were counselled to abstain from things strangled, and from eating blood; this was forbidden by the law of Moses, and also here, from reverence to the blood of the sacrifices, which being then still offered, it would needlessly grieve the Jewish converts, and further prejudice the unconverted Jews. But as the reason has long ceased, we are left free in this,

as in the like matters. Let converts be warned to avoid all appearances of the evils which they formerly practised, or are likely to be tempted to; and caution them to use Christian liberty with moderation and prudence. (Ac 15:22-35)

Being warranted to declare themselves directed by the immediate influence of the Holy Ghost, the apostles and disciples were assured that it seemed good unto God the Holy Spirit, as well as to them, to lay upon the converts no other burden than the things before mentioned, which were necessary, either on their own account, or from present circumstances.

It was a comfort to hear that carnal ordinances were no longer imposed on them, which perplexed the conscience, but could not purify

or pacify it; and that those who troubled their minds were silenced, so that the peace of the church was restored, and that which threatened division was removed. All this was consolation for which they blessed God. Many others were at Antioch. Where many labour in the word and doctrine, yet there may be opportunity for us: the zeal and usefulness of others should stir us up, not lay us asleep. (Ac 15:36-41)

Of course, other actions are inappropiate for believers, but the Jews were especially concerned for these four….& this compromise was what helped the church grow unhindered by the CULTURAL DIFFERENCES of Jews & Gentiles. For when we share our message across cultural & economic boundaries, we must make certain that our requirements are GOD’S, not necessarily PEOPLES’. That’s what Paul was about when He brought up I Corinthians, for all that mattered was that HE GLORIFIED GOD & BROUGHT BROUGHT PEOPLE TO CHRIST, even though he proclaimed he had freedom to do anything:

That’s part of why Paul observed the CEREMONIAL LAW in Acts 21:19-26. As respected theologian Matthew Henry said on the subject, ”

Quote:
James & the elders in Jerusalem asked Paul to gratify the believing Jews, by some compliance with the CEREMONIAL LAW…….the religion that Paul preacheed tended not to destoy the Law, but to fufill it. He Preached Christ, the END OF THE LAW FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS; AND REPENTANCE & FAITH, in which we are to make great use of the LAW

.”….& for study material/commentary,
http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=4262

&

[b]http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=2154

Something noteworthy to consider FROM one of the articles just referenced:

While there were many new Gentile converts, living in far away places, Jerusalem had thousands of Jewish believers, who were still “zealous for the law.” These saints had been distressed by (false) reports that Paul had been teaching Jewish converts to turn from the law and from all of their Jewish practices and rituals, as though this was not profitable, and perhaps even wrong.

It was apparently of no concern to the elders or to these “zealous for the law” Jewish Jerusalem saints that the Gentiles would not observe the law. After all, this was what the church had decided, some time ago, at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). The only requirement placed on the Gentile believers was that they “abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication” (verse 25). The problem seems to be in what the Jerusalem Council did not say about Jewish practice. The Jerusalem elders probably clarified the fact that Jewish Christians could continue to keep the law, not as a means to salvation, but as an expression of love and obedience.

They could delight in the law, not because it gave them any merit or standing before God, but because it had been fulfilled in Christ, and because they were now righteous in God’s sight. The standards of righteousness which the law upheld were now no longer a cause of fear, but the basis for rejoicing and worship. They once were frustrated by their own failure to fulfill the laws demands, but now they rejoiced because Christ had fulfilled the entire law and they were not under the curse. And the kingdom to which the Old Testament saint looked forward was a certainty, which Jewish and Gentile saints would receive together (see Hebrews 11:39-40).

__________________
The question which remained was now what the Jewish Christian was free, as a believing Jew, to observe, but how Paul stood on this matter. Did Paul agree with the position taken by the Jerusalem elders, or did he reject this position, teaching Jewish Christians to discard the law and Old Testament Jewish rituals, as thought they were worthless, perhaps even evil, as some rumors had it? Paul could settle this matter once and for all, by publicly worshipping in the Temple, as a Jew, and as the Jerusalem Jewish Christians did. This is what James and the elders proposed, and what Paul did. This is also what got Paul into trouble, so that he was placed under arrest. This is what would eventually take Paul to Rome.The main question for us is this? Were these elders wrong for asking Paul to do as he did, and was Paul wrong for doing it? I think that the answer must be a categorical “NO!.” The elders were not wrong in asking this of Paul , nor was he wrong in doing so. Paul’s very strong words in the Book of Galatians were addressed to those who would impose the law and law-keeping on Gentile believers, not toward those who were true believers and who wished, as Jewish Christians, to continue to live in accordance with the law and to observe Old Testament rituals. It was one (damnable) thing for Judaisers to insist that Gentile saints must keep the law in order to be saved, and quite another for Jewish Christians to keep the law because they were saved. Even Gentiles were not turned away from the law, but were enabled to fulfill its requirements:

Quote:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1-4).

Paul was not asked by these elders to do something against his doctrinal beliefs or his convictions. In fact, Paul was only encouraged to practice publicly that which he already did. In wha t seemed at the time to be a most parenthetical and unnecessary comment, Luke said this of Paul: “In Cenchrea he had his hair cut, for he was keeping a vow” (Acts 18:18).

Would they ask Paul to participate in worship with some of his Jewish brethren from Jerusalem, pertaining to a vow? This was something which Paul could gladly do, for he had done so himself as a Christian. Paul elsewhere indicated his desire to continue in some of those practices and rituals which he had observed (ignorantly) as a Jew (see Acts 20:16; 1 Corinthians 16:8). Paul did not need to do this reluctantly, b ut he could do so gladly, with conviction and with joy. Paul was only being urged to practice what he (along with these elders) believed, and what he (along with the Jerusalem Jewish saints) practiced.

It was not because this was the wrong thing to do (any more than going to Jerusalem was wrong) that everything seems to have fallen apart when Paul did it. Even when Paul attempted to demonstrate his continued commitment to (true) Judaism, his unbelieving brethren would have no part of him, of his teaching, or of his practice. Note however that it was not the Jerusalem Jewish believers, nor even the unbelieving Jerusalem Jews, who caused this trouble for Paul. It was the “Asian Jews” (verse 27) who created the uproar, and all because of their own hasty and inaccurate conclusion—that Paul had brought a Gentile into the Temple, so as to defile it. Their conclusion was wrong, but it did not take a great deal of evidence to convince these folks, who were predisposed to believe suc h a thing of Paul, that he was guilty.

Paul took the four men who were “under a vow” and participated with them in temple worship. I am not clear as to the precise ritual, though it at least resembles that described in Numbers 6.479 When the seven days of this ritual were nearly completed, some of the Asian Jews, who were familiar with Paul and with Trophimus, and who recognized them both, falsely concluded that Paul had brought him into the temple. This was a horrifying thought to them, and one which stirred them to act, dragging Paul out of the temple and closing the doors behind him.

__________________

On his second day in Jerusalem, Paul and some of his companions met with James and the Jewish leaders (elders) of the church. In considerable detail, he reported to them how God had used his preaching of the gospel to save many Gentiles (21:19). These Jewish brethren rejoiced when they learned that many Gentiles had come to faith in Jesus. But they also wished to convey to Paul a matter of serious concern. Paul was a well-known celebrity in Jerusalem. He had received much of his training from Gamaliel, who apparently lived in or near Jerusalem (Acts 5:34-39; Acts 22:3).

Jerusalem seems to have been Paul’s base of operations when, as an unbeliever, he opposed the gospel and persecuted the church (Acts 26:9-11). Thus, Paul was well known to both believing (Acts 9:13-14, Acts 9:26) and unbelieving (Acts 22:17-21; 26:4-5) Jews alike.

The elders in Jerusalem knew that distorted accounts of Paul’s ministry among the Gentiles had already reached their city:

20 When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all ardent observers of the law. 21 They have been informed about you – that you teach all the Jews now living among the Gentiles to abandon Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs” (Acts 21:20-21).

Enemies of the gospel were eager to believe the worst about Paul and his ministry. Unsaved Jews gladly believed the reports that Paul had turned against Judaism, the Old Testament Law of Moses, and the temple (see Acts 21:28), something that was far from the truth (see Acts 26:5-8, Acts 26: 22-23). Even believing Jews in Jerusalem were being persuaded that Paul was teaching Jewish believers who lived in Gentile lands that they should not circumcise their children or continue to observe Jewish customs.

James and his colleagues were deeply concerned that these false reports about Paul might do harm to the church, and even hinder Paul’s ministry among them. It seems evident that they had already agreed among themselves concerning their words of counsel. They asked Paul to publicly participate in temple worship, along with four Jewish men who had taken a vow. He was to take these four men and go through a purification ritual with them, paying their expenses to do so. This symbolic action would demonstrate that he continued to worship as a Jew. It would also prove that he had no reservations about encouraging other Jews to do likewise. Without debate or delay, Paul set out to comply with this request.

Before we move on, it would be helpful to pause for a moment to take note of several observations regarding the events described in verses 17-25:

First, note the genuinely warm welcome Paul and his companions are given by the Jerusalem church leaders. I believe that identifying with Paul was not the safest option for the Jerusalem church leaders. Paul was a “lightening rod” for opposition, and yet his Jewish brethren in Jerusalem gladly embraced Paul when he arrived. There is no hint of division or of hostility here, but only warm brotherly love.

Second, there was rejoicing on the part of these Jewish church leaders over the salvation of Gentiles. One need only read Luke 4:23-30 and Acts 22:21-22 to see how strongly opposed unbelieving Jews were to the evangelization of Gentiles. James and his colleagues praised God for the success of Paul’s ministry among the Gentiles.

Third, Paul’s arrival raised some legitimate concerns on the part of the Jerusalem church leaders. While some are inclined to view the counsel of James and the elders of the church as unwise or unbiblical, Luke leaves me with the impression that these concerns were legitimate. There were false reports about Paul’s ministry, and these had negatively impacted the church. The church leaders were right to be concerned.

Fourth, the request of Paul’s Jerusalem brethren was a reasonable one. They did not ask Paul to do something that was contrary to his faith or practice. Indeed, they did not ask Paul to do something he had not already done on his own. We simply need to recall what Luke told us in chapter 18:

Paul, after staying many more days in Corinth, said farewell to the brothers and sailed away to Syria accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because he had made a vow (Acts 18:18).

Later in chapter 20, we read:

For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so as not to spend time in the province of Asia, for he was hurrying to arrive in Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost (Acts 20:16).

It seems quite evident that Paul continued to worship as a Jew, and that the request of his brethren in Jerusalem was merely a petition to make his practice public enough to dispel any false information circulating about him. This was for the good of all.

Fifth, the Jerusalem church leaders made it very clear to Paul that their request was in no way to be understood as contradictory to their previous decision at the Jerusalem Council:

Quote:
But regarding the Gentiles who have believed, we have written a letter, having decided that they should avoid meat that has been sacrificed to idols and blood and what has been strangled and sexual immorality” (Acts 21:25).

The relationship between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians needed clarification. The first step had been taken at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). There, essentially the same men as were now gathered had determined that Gentiles do not need to convert to Judaism in order to be saved. That decision is reaffirmed by the Jerusalem church leaders here in our text (Acts 21:25). Now, in the light of charges that Paul taught Jewish Christians (living abroad in Gentile territory) to forsake their Jewish culture and traditions, the Jerusalem church leaders deal with the other side of the equation: Jewish converts do not need to forsake their Jewish heritage because they have become Christians.3 Thus:

Gentiles do not need to become Jews in order to be saved.

Jews who are saved do not need to completely forsake their Jewish heritage.

We learn from our text that Christians (Jews and Gentiles) can worship God differently – in a way that is consistent with their culture. Our text illustrates the fact that culture plays a part in our worship. Where Christianity and culture do not conflict, worship can be done within one’s culture. I have been privileged to participate in worship with fellow-believers in various parts of the world. The musical instruments may be very different, as well as the language and style of the songs that are sung. In some places, a Sunday gathering is considerably longer than here in the United States. (I have also experienced worship with a different cultural flavor in the United States, particularly with my African American brothers and sisters – and frankly, I enjoy it.)

We need to be willing to allow others to worship in ways that are more closely tied to their culture. We need to be careful not to impose our cultural tastes or preferences on others. Cultural diversity can also occur on a generational level. The older generation in a church may want to sing only hymns and a few familiar choruses, while the younger generation may prefer worship songs that are unfamiliar (and even annoying) to some of us older folks. The older folks may prefer the piano and organ; the younger generation prefers guitars, drums, and synthesizers. Let’s be careful to be gracious in showing sensitivity and grace with regard to the musical tastes and convictions of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

This principle of toleration for cultural differences also needs to be observed on the mission field. In former days, if not today, missionaries not only took the gospel to the heathen, they also took our Western culture. Let us be careful not to alienate folks from their culture where it does not conflict with the gospel. This is the spirit I see in Paul, and I believe that we may need a bit more of it ourselves.

(5) I see in our text a practical example of Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 9.

Quote:
19 For since I am free from all I can make myself a slave to all, in order to gain even more people. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew to gain the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) to gain those under the law. 21 To those free from the law I became like one free from the law (though I am not free from God’s law but under the law of Christ) to gain those free from the law. 22 To the weak I became weak in order to gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I may save some. 23 I do all these things because of the gospel, so that I can be a participant in it (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).

In the larger context (chapters 8-10), Paul is dealing with the issue of foods offered to idols.8 Paul teaches that even if one had the liberty to eat foods offered to idols, it would be a sin for him (or her) to exercise that liberty at the expense of a fellow-believer.9 A “right” is “wrong” when it causes a weaker brother to stumble.

In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul sets out to illustrate how this works in his life. Even though he has the undisputed right to be supported in his ministry, Paul has chosen to set this right aside in order to advance the gospel. So also while Paul has the freedom to live as a Jew or as a Gentile (culturally – such as in the foods he eats), he gladly foregoes his rights whenever doing so will enhance the gospel.

Is that not what we see illustrated in our text in Acts 21? When Paul was ministering among the Gentiles, I have little doubt but what he lived like a Gentile. Among other things, this means that he would have eaten Gentile food. But now that Paul is back in Jerusalem, he makes a point of worshipping as a Jew, so that his ministry to Jews (saved and unsaved alike) can be enhanced. Paul gladly forsakes his cultural liberties in order to advance the gospel. I wonder how much we give up for the advance of the gospel. What should we give up? These are questions that are surely worthy of our consideration.

__________________
To add on to that, this is the reasoning behind Acts 16:1-4, where Paul had Timothy Circumcised. Timothy’s Father was a Greek, & by being both Jew & Gentile, Timothy had access to both cultures—an indispensable asset for MISSIONARY SERVICE. The circumcision was done to aid his acceptance by the Jews & provide full access to the synagouges he would be visiting with Paul & Silas, for the Jews could have assumed that he had renounced his Jewish heritage & had chosen to live as a Gentile………& contrary to what some may think, Paul wasn’t doing this soley to “decieve”/play sides. It was an issue of LOVE.As I Corinthians 9:19-23 makes cl ear, Within the Limits of God’s Word & his Christian conscience, Paul was determined to be as culturally and socially Jewish as necessary when witnessing to the Jews (Romans 9:3, Romans 10:1, Romans 11:14). He was not bound to ceremonies & traditions of Judaim….& all legal restraints had been removed, EXCEPT THE CONSTRAINT OF LOVE….Consisdering what would be BEST FOR BRINGING PEOPLE BACK CLOSER TO THE SAVIOR.Within the bounds of God’s Word, he would not offend the Jew, Gentile, or those weak in understanding. Not changing Scripture or compromisi ng the truth, he would condescend in ways that would lead in Salvation/GROWING IN THE SAVIOR……THE ENTIRE POINT OF CHRISTIAN FREEDOM:

1 Corinthians 10:23-33

The Believer’s Freedom

23″Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. 24Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

25Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”[a]

27If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28But if anyone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience’ sake[b]— 29the other man’s conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another’s conscience? 30If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

Romans 14

The Weak and the Strong

1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11It is written:

” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,

‘every knee will bow before me;

every tongue will confess to God.’ “[a] 12So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

13Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food[b] is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

19Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.

22So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

That’s why he had issue with Peter when the Judaizers came to the house of a Gentile & Peter, though he was eating Gentile Foods, backed away from them. The Judaizers already accused Paul of watering down the Gospel to make it easier for Gentiles to accept, while Paul accused the Judaziers fo nullifying the Truth of the Gospel by adding conditions to it. Things came to a climax when Peter, Paul, the Judaizers, and some Gentile Christians all gathered together in Antioch to share a meal. Peter probably thought that by staying away from the Gentiles, as TORAH may’ve required (in my understanding at least), he may’ve been promoting harmony—He did not When they all gathered for a meal…..FOR to eat with the Judaziers, even though Peter had given up all Mosaic ceremony (Acts 10:9-22, Acts 11:1-18), & then decline invitations to eat/fellowship with Gentiles, which he had previously done, meant that Peter was affirming the very dietary restrictions he knew God had abolished (Acts 10:15)…thus STRIKING A BLOW AT THE GOSPEL OF GRACE because he NO LONGER WAS DOING AS HE WAS PREVIOUSLY by MODELING THE IDEAL OF CHRISTIAN LOVE/LIBERTY BETWEEN JEW & GENTILE. …….

Galatians 2:11-21

Paul Opposes Peter

11When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

14When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

15″We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

17″If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”[a]

.& again, for study material, http://www.bible.org/topic.php?topic_id=65Ultimately, as Jesus/others in the NT AS WELL AS THE OT made clear, the ultimate thing that matters above all else is LOVE FOR THE LORD/NEIGHBOR….because in doing that, ALL OF THE PURPOSE OF THE TORAH IS NATURALLY FUFILLED….& BY fufilling those two commands, a person keeps all the others, for they summarize the 10 Commandments/other OT MORAL LAWS…..& rather than focusing or worrying about all we should not do, we should concentrate on all we can do to show our love for God/others:
Quote:
Galatians 5:13-1513You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature[a]; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other
Quote:
Romans 13:9The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Quote:
Matthew 22:34-40The Greatest Commandment34Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:
36″Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: ”[b] ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
In having this discussion with another recently (specifically, from the aspect of whethe drums/beats were appropiate in Worship, which he said NO TO), he brought up this:

Quote:
“God is spirit: and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24

Quote:
[/QUOTE

Quote:
]“And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?” 1 Corinthians 14:7
Some verses about music:

Quote:
“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” Ephesians 5:19-20

Quote:

“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.” Colossians 3:16

Quote:
Some verses that speak about what believers need to learn:

Quote:
“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” Ephesians 4:12-15


Quote:
“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19

How can music with the following be compatible with the above verses?

  • a heavy driving beat,
  • overbearing sound for the sake of overbearing sound,
  • syncopation that is incompatible with the message of the song,
  • music style that simulates fornication,
  • sounds that are unharmonious with each other,
  • aspects that make it more entertaining than educational/propositional, or
  • musical arrangements that make it almost impossible to understand the words of the song’s message.

How can the above listed characteristics of some kinds of music

  • help to facilitate the impartation of the Word of Christ into the life of worshippers,
  • help to teach worshippers through words about how to live for Christ,
  • help to encourage worshippers with truths about Christ,
  • help to verbalize praise and thanksgiving to God in singing,
  • help to build up believers in trusting and serving Christ,
  • help to train believers to distinguish truth from error, or
  • help to understand Christian doctrines and Biblical truths about Jesus Christ and His love?

In addition, how can choosing music based on its entertainment value (popularity and personal preferences) contribute to the spiritual unity of believers?
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a per fect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” Ephesians 4:13

Now, all that was said is valid. Nonetheless, how does one determine this…….especially when the issue of DIFFERING CULTURES/DIVERSITY COMES INTO PLAY.As another once said on the issue,

Quote:
Baroque music and Renaissance music ……….. They have strong beats and rhythms. And right now I’m listening to “Sleeping Beauty” by Tchaikovsky. It has quite a beat to it. Let me guess – it’s demonic and we should not listen to it because it appeals to the flesh. In fact, I guess we should get rid of all waltzes since by definition they have a strong beat.

In saying that, it mad me think of how if I’m going to condemn one style of music because it influencess certain people to do one thing, when the original culture it came from was meant to invoke anotheter and choose to listen to other forms of music that involve rhythms/beast or melodies, that I might be inconsistent at some point…..especially if I’m going to condem one form of Music and hold on to others with similar elements, like Jazz or Funk, TECHNO, Smooth R&B, Frank Sinatra, Classical Music, Contemporary, Instrumental, and various other forms of music…….To one person, a beat that seems “earthy” or “regaee” may truly DO THE FOLLOWING THINGS:

  • help to facilitate the impartation of the Word of Christ into the life of worshippers,
  • help to teach worshippers through words about how to live for Christ,
  • help to encourage worshippers with truths about Christ,
  • help to verbalize praise and thanksgiving to God in singing,
  • help to build up believers in trusting and serving Christ,
  • help to train believers to distinguish truth from error, or
Moreover, it may speak to them and help whatever lyric/message they wouldn’t of listened to come into their minds more easily because it is in a form that they can relate toI’ve been on many mission trips/seen differing cultures, & in Jamaica for example, the style of Regaee is how many of the PRAISE & WORSHIP songs are sung to…..and it’s QUITE BEAUTIFUL TO WITNESS, despite how many have taken that art form here to the States and used it in the CLUBS TO GET PEOPLE BUMPING & GRINDING………AND THE SAME COULD GO FOR a Christian Rapper or Psalmist who chooses to use a beat of some sort that helps to give the feel he’s looking for in His writing……and I think this is funny since even those in the Bible would use certain music to get messages across to their children rather than speak the messages alone since it helped with memorization and learning.To another, a beat or a tone of some sort may influence them to sin….and in other cases, a tone regardless of how it sounds will INFLUENCES ALL PEOPLE TO BE IN A CERTAIN MOOD, regardless of intentions.
On Mr.Lewis’s stance that Hip Hop is evil,and that the BEATS of certain songs are always conducive to sin, no matter if lyrics are godly.Now, I agree that certain rhythms/sounds that originated within Hip Hop are meant to produce certain moods in people and will always do so, regardless of the intentions of those who wish to use it and place Christian Lyrics on it. I’ve seen this myself in my youth group (and used to believe it) when people would take certain wordly songs—-“Let Me See that Thong” by Sisqo or “Ya’ll Gonna Make Me LOSE MY MIND, UP IN HERE”, and so many others too numerous to count. for example—and try to place Christian Lyrics on them. And though we may’ve intededed something else entirely, that didn’t change the fact that the tune we were hearing was reminding us of how we ORIGINALLY FELT when we first heard it on HOT 107.9—BUMPING AND GRINDING, SENSUAL, etc.Though I will say that NOT EVERY musical tones/rhythms that are used in Hip Hop have their orgin in them OR ARE by themselves DEADLY IN NATURE and therefore shouldn’t be discarded, as G.Craig in His Documentary said on His “HIP HOP Documentary” and how his ministry was not shallow enough to believe that agaisnt EVERY STYLE of MUSIC IN HIP HOP was WRONG (especially in light of how he himself is a musician and realizes that some things that are common in the church today, Like RHTYHM IN GOSPEL, was once in the world. Andre Crouch being a prime example with his songs “Jesus Is the Answer” and many others……and if interested, go here to see more:http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/Rhythm , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contemporary_R%26B , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhythm_and_blues,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapping
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beat_%28music%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beats_%28music%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatmatching

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_music &

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazz)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hip_hop_music

&

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_contemporary_gospel)

Also, as another said, what to make of situations with Christian artist within the HIP HOP and URBAN genre, who make music with powerful biblical lyrics that have impacted many with the Gospel of Christ and people have given testimonies of that? Did tHE BEAT OR THE TUNE LEAD TO WORLDLINESS OR HOLINESS AND AID IN DEVELOPING A GREATER LOVE FOR THE WORD OF GOD?Check out this interview from one Christian Hip Hopper named “LECRAEE”, whose CD’s I own and who I highly admire for the powerful biblical lyrics he uses in his songs:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeOVOjelO0Ehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_xxD…eature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2_FF…eature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U00Aw…eature=related

For another example, check out this interview by Christian Rapper

For other examples, consider this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtVAko7UTL4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0RFY…eature=related

Also, consider this. Thi s one’s an interview with that pastor from an Urban
Churchup north that’s a Holy Hip Hop church.
http://www.vft.ag.org/enrichment/fall04.cfm
), whose PASTORED under a man by the name of Urban D. It Seemed
pretty intriguing/insightful on many points, & I think you’ll all be interested greatly by it:
Part 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kClqCYHV-NI

Part 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5fCx…related&search

Part 3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d1tQ…related&search

Part 4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rI_X…related&search

Here’s a music video of his as well:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL2go…related&search

In my opinion, he’s a perfect demonstration of being in the culture but not OF THE CULTURE….and that it CAN BE DONE.

For more examples so one can see what I mean, go here:http://www.theambassadoronline.com/p…p?pageid=25114http://www.theambassadoronline.com/a…&columnid=2146http://www.theambassadoronline.com/a…&columnid=2146

http://www.ihearvoice.com/

http://www.everydayprocess.com/?page_id=5
http://www.hazakim.com/index2.htmlhttp://www.reachrecords.com/index.php

Also, as another said, what to make of situations with Christian artist within the HIP HOP and URBAN genre, who make music with powerful biblical lyrics that have impacted many with the Gospel of Christ and people have given testimonies of that? Did tHE BEAT OR THE TUNE LEAD TO WORLDLINESS OR HOLINESS AND AID IN DEVELOPING A GREATER LOVE FOR THE WORD OF GOD?Check out this interview from one Christian Hip Hopper named “LECRAEE”, whose CD’s I own and who I highly admire for the powerful biblical lyrics he uses in his songs:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeOVOjelO0Ehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_xxD …eature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2_FF…eature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U00Aw…eature=related

Also, please consider checking out this article, as I felt it was very intriguing/Very Informative, especially in regards to sharing the Gospel within the context of whatever culture one’s in, as Paul did with the Jews/Gemtiles:http://www.christianpost.com/article…_Christ%3F.htmhttp://www.rca.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page…611&srcid=2058
, for many, music/beats is merely a way to aid in memorizing the Word/Getting good content into their systems….which I and many others have no problem with since it’s helping them to learn…and the reality of the matter is that EVERYONE LEARNS differently, whether through DRAMA, Dance, Poetry, or any other art form……..For good material on the matter, consider going here:http://www.ihearvoice.com/http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001467.cfm

http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001631.cfm

http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001614.cfm

http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001624.cfm

http://www.religion-online.org/showa….asp?title=342

http://www.calvin.edu/worship/storie…ure_memory.php

http://www.calvin.edu/worship/lit_arts/drama/index.php

Though of course, as another said once, the new question before us is now this:

Quote:
for the advance of the gospel, are certain forms and kinds of worship compatible with the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ?
When discussing the issue with someone else, this was once said to me:
Quote:
The article that you referenced from bible.org is mistaken in saying that the gentiles of the first century who converted to Jesus Christ did not repent of and leave their previous cultures. The New Testament teaches the opposite; in turning to Christ, one must also turn from his former life and the culture. Why is it that one must reject his culture when he or she repents and believes? The reason is that culture is always tied to and based on the belief systems of the society.The following passage shows that Christianity was in conflict with the Roman culture and that believers ceased following the culture/religion: · “And ma ny that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed” Acts 19:18-20 The next passage shows that religion and culture were intertwined at Ephesus.

· “For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, you know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover you see and hear, t hat not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they are not gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worships.” Acts 19:24-27

We can see the same principle at work in our own current society. When a person becomes a believer, because the new believer chooses to no longer participate in the same kinds of activities and conversations as before, his friends leave him or her.

· “For I am come to s et a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Matthew 10:35-36

Can a convert to Jesus Christ continue to do something that he or she did before conversion? Yes, of course. The person still needs to do things such as eat, bathe, and make a living. But even in these things, in some cultures believers have to change their actions because of the religious actions and symbolism that were ingrained in the activities.


    However, I don’t believe that the person was 100% spot on. Regarding the context of Acts 19:18-19, Ephesus was a center for black magic and other occult practices. The people cooked up magical formulas to give them wealth, happiness, and success in marriage. Superstition and sorcery were commonplace. God clearly forbids such practices (Deuteronomy 18:9-13). Even in the OT, those practices were tield to CHILD SACRIFICE…which neighboring religions used (Leviticus 20:2-5), and which were one of the reasons ISRAEL/JUDAH eventually becamed EXILED ( II Kings 17, II Kings 21, II Kings 25, II Chronicles 33-35). The Israelites were naturally curious about the Occult practices of the Canaanite religions. Bu t Satan was behind it….just as he is TODAY with Horoscopes, fortune-telling, witchcraft, bizzare cults…for you cannot be a believer and hold onto the occult, black magic or sorcery….and once you begin to dabble in these areas, you may become obsessed with them since Satan is very powerful.IMHO, however, where I think you err is when you take this passage as a meaning that everything within a paticular culture that may not be “CHRISTIAN” is to be dismissed. In this passage, there was a specific thing outlawed in CHRIST & that God already made clear he HATED. As Acts 19:18 makes clear, it was deeds outlined by God as EVIL/OBVIOUSLY AGAINST THE LORD……and that was damaging to ALL. It was not saying that everything the Jews did in JEWISH CULTURE, or EVERYTHING IN GREEK CULTURE 4 the GR EEKS was an issue. And in context, it was “many” rather than EVERYONE. Not every Jew or Greek practiced sorcery….and just because someone who was Jewish/Greek did practice such things did not mean that as a result EVERYTHING IN THE JEWISH/GREEK CULTURE WAS TAINTED AS A RESULT or MADE INVALID.Moreover, what was destroyed? The MEDIUM or the CONTENT?Only those books containing witchcraft/sorcercy were destroyed…..but were books themselves outlawed? Or those who made them?

Did the ink which was used to make those scrolls made evil and therefore it is “evil by nature/default”?

No one would say such a thing…..but now, when it comes to beats/music (which has been utilized to do MUCH GOOD for THOUSANDS OF BELIEVERS around the world), no one considers that. Rather, it’s a mentality of “well, it was used wrongly here, and therefore it shouldn’t be used at all…”

for many of those within URBAN Culture, this has been the case. Even at the expense of DISOWNING THEIR OWN FAMILIES, many have counted the cost of preaching CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED (Luke 9:21-62, Luke 14:25-35). For many, it has been nothing short of a NARROW ROAD (i.e. having to be made fun of because they don’t listen to the same music as their old boys from the club,,,or being called “fags” and other deragotory terms for wishing to walk in purity and not go “get some”, or ignored for “wanting to get an education). My friend was highschool was literally the ONLY CHRISTIAN in her HOUSEHOLD…..and it was an EXTREME STRUGGLE for her to choose truth and yet have her own family diss her for her FAITH. Some have even seen family members MURDERED…..yet counted the cost of CHRISTIAN LOVE And chose to LOVE THEIR ENEMIES (Luke 6:27-36, Matthew 5:43-48)Moreover, as for those with Urban/Street Culture, they’re SEEING A DIFFERENCE. Drug-Dealers are no longer wanting to do DRUGS, Prostitutes are NO LONGER WANTING TO WALK IN PROSTITUTION but honor the LORD WITH THEIR BODIES AND ARE REALIZING THAT THEY’RE PEOPLE MADE IN THE LORD’S IMAGE RATHER THAN PIECIES OF MEAT, AND CHILDREN ARE NOT STILL GROWING UP IN FATHERLESS HOMES….and in the cases of those who di d (such as myself), they realize that they have a purpose in CHRIST and not forgotten by the Lord….If, however, this is belittled, then I don’t know what else to say…..Regarding Acts 19:24-27 ,In context, Artemis was the goddess of fertility, represented by a carved female figure with many breasts. A large statue of Artemis (which was said to have come from heaven, Acts 19:35) was in the great temple at Ephesus. That temple was one of the wonders of the ancient world. The festival of Artemis involved wild orgies and carousing. Obnviously the religious and commercial life of Ephesus reflected the city’s worship of this pagan deity. When Paul preached in Ephesus, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen stirred up trouble. since they made silver statues of the Ephesian goddess Artemis and knew that if the people started believing in God and discarding the idols, their livelihood would suffer.

However, ARTISTIC CRAFTMANSHIP—which were done in many places AND differing cultures, as well as with the JEWS (Exodus 31:1-6, I Kings 5-7, I Kings 7:13-14, 2 Kings 12:11, 2 Kings 22:6, 1 Chronicles 14:1, Ezra 3:7, Matthew 13:55 , Mark 6:3)—did not become invalidated because of how it was WRONGLY USED IN by some in a paticular regard THAT CULTURE. Even if it was used in Greek Culture with one aspect being a religous aspect, it is illogical to assume that therefore it represents that ONLY in all aspects.

Some of it was used for VARIOUS REASONS besides GREEK GODS….and people in that culture had enough sense to know that how it was used in one regard did not mean it was meant to mean the same in another.
If I may offer a REAL LIFE Scenario, the same thing that happens with Demetrius is what is often the experience of many of those within the Urban Culture. Many who are still “in the game”/making destructive music with bad content are becoming highly upset by the actions of those who used to listen to the music and now SPEAK OUT AGAINST IT. Moreover, because many of these Christian Rap ARTISTS are using what God gave them and utlizing it in an excellent way, many of the same youth who used to listen to explictly evil music dealing with drugs, violence, and sex are no longer supporting their works anymore. “BET” is no longer being supported by these youths, nor are they saying that “MUSIC IS JUST MUSIC” and therefore one can listen to any artist/style and not be discerning or SPEAK OUT AGAINST IT as the Word of God says (Ephesians 5:1-19). Moreover, they’re showing other young people the POWER OF THE GOSPEL and that they GOD IS LORD OF ALLL…..walking in the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT to TRANSFORM LIVES, get folks OUT OF THE GHETTO, GET JOBS, LEARNING HOW TO RAISE GODLY FAMILIES, love the WORD OF GOD AND PREACH IT, and being involved in one’s community.Again, this is not a “ONE SIZE FITS ALL” deal, as I’ve seen it firsthand…….many within Urban culture/FOR RAP are taking SERIOUS HEAT FOR SPEAKING THE EVILS OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND SHOWING THAT ONE DOES NOT HAVE TO GO TO WHAT THE WORLD PRODUCES TO GET GOOD MUSIC but that CHRISTIANS ARE CAPABLE OF CREATING GOD-GLORIFYING MUSIC THAT’LL ENCOURAGE THEM IN THEIR WALKS AND THAT’S REAL…
 We can even take this a step further:Consider Namam’s situation and how he was required to hold the arm of hismaster while his master bowed to a pagan idol, even though the Word seems to indicate that he apparently became a believer in the Lord at one point…II Kings 5:1-27or individuals like Nehemiah being a cupbearer to a pagan king or Daniel having to study/be immersed in all of the knowledge/magic arts of the Babylonians…Nehemiah 1:1-11 and Daniel 1:1-20Or even the Roman Centurion who had faith in Jesus but still had to work in the Roman Army, which at many various times did cruel things like oppressing people and did/believed many things contrary to what a Christaisn should act like…Matthew 8:5-13, etc…

Same thing in Luke 3:12-14, where in ROMAN CULTURE John did not condemn being in the soldier aspect of the culture or the tax-collector aspect, despite how both were often u sed for MUCH WRONG (i.e. tax-collectors were notorious for their dishonesty, and Romans gathered funds for their government by farming out the collection priveligei….and tax collectors earned a living by adding a sizable portion for themselves—whatever they could get away with—and unless the people revolted and risked Roman Retaliation, they had to pay whatever was demanded…….and yet John said God would accept even these men.

Again, perhaps we can deal with these subjects since the idea that there’s never a time when ANYTHING FROM THE CULTURE WE GREW UP IN can be utilized at all will naturally involve all the rest of these areas that by logic dictate that we handle as well, less we be inconsistent…..

 because a certain kind of music that is not specifically approved in the Bible, it is condemned at all points to use that music in evangelism or in worship. Of course, however, that is not being applied……It has been assumed that because the Word doesn’t speak on it, it’s an issue……but so is the same thing with MANY THINGS WE USE IN EVANGELISM today and no one says a thing.Do you believe that the medium of CD’s, Computers or TV, RADIO, —which is something foreign to what the Biblical Culture back in the day was like—is EVIL because of the many people who used it for the purposes of evils such as child pornagraphy, x-rated sites, foul-sitcoms, etc…….
I brought up this issue once with another and in his words,
 Quote:
I will just post a scripture.Rom 11:16For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.Obvious the converse is true as well.Show where this is the perspective of scripture. I read.
Lev 10:10And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;
2Cr 6:17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,
What makes a thing unclean.
Gal 5:9A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.]
What is the need to seek to try and find the truth? Remember Rom 1:18
Rom 1:18¶For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness(false doctrine);

Based on this approach, we would have to make Satan, the Devil a preacher. Because Satan in the temptation of Jesus, quoted accurately Psalms 91

Mat 4:5Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

Mat 4:6And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in [their] hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Psa 91:11For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

Psa 91:12They shall bear thee up in [their] hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

To that, I thought  is was like bad logic. Consider me saying, “Well, Because BIN LADEN used MONEY to purchase things for EVIL PURPOSES like 9/11, I’LL NEVER USE MONEY AGAIN..IT’S ALL EVIL, and the HANDS OF ON EVIL MAN WHO USED IT MAKE IT AUTOMATICALLY EVIL BY NATURE……and if i use it, I’M AUTOMATICALLY AFFIRMING/BOUND TO SIT UNDER THE MAN WHO DID AS WELL”……or saying that “Because someone once used COUNTERFEit MONEY, ALL MONEY IS COUNTERFEIT AND THEREFORE I’LL NEVER USE MONEY AGAIN!!!! Man, how WISE AM I!!”)Now (with the example being a bit extreme, but to make a humorous point), obviously, Is Money in and of itself INHERENTLY EVIL? Was it evil in it’s CREATION and never USED AT ALL FOR NOBLE/RIGHT PURPOSES?
Of course not, and to say that one will never use it again because it was once passsed through the hands of another who used it for the WRONG PURPOSES seems silly….as well as the mentality that one will NEVER EXAMINE MONEY TO SEE IF IT’S COUNTERFEIT and claim that all MONEY is COUNTERFEIT because of an INSTANCE OF ABUSE/DECEPTION (or INSTANCES, for that matter) and not seek USE REGULAR MONEY FOR THE RIGHT PURPOSES, as if it never was used to begin with.IMO, How silly is it to use an EXTREME example of SATAN becoming an PREACHER/ANYONE SUBMITTING TO HIM because he used Scripture to back an argument…..and moreover, HE USED IT WRONGLY.
PSALM 91 wasn’t the isssue/what should be avoided, for the Scripture in and of itself is a BEAUTIFUL SCRIPTURE and NECESSARY FOR THE CHRISTIAN WALK….But, in the case of the temptation, the REAL issue was that he used it for the WRONG PURPOSES (hint: meaning that there was ORIGINALLY a RIGHT PURPOSE behind it as well), and because Jesus was the WORD (John 1:1-5), knew the WORD and RECOGNIZED THE ORIGINAL APPLICATION BEHIND IT, He wasn’t decieved (Matthew 4)………but that does not NECESSITATE the NEED FOR HIS THROWING OUT PSALM 91 ENTIRELY as being APPLICABLE at ANY POINT IN TIME simply because the DEVIL QUOTED IT and it was USED INCORECTLY. It simply means that the DEVIL’S unbiblical INTREPRETATION OF IT was dismissed…….Another example: DIFFERENT PREACHERS HAVE DIFFERING STYLES OF PREACHING…..and depending on what group one has been entrusted with/what they’re like can determine how effective a paticular style is.. (hence, why many within urban culture utilize “rap”/rhythm many times since that is a part of the language in which people communicate/best understand each other…. Nothing wrong, for example, with a preacher who acts very energetic/animated when conducting a sermon (i.e. hoping/hollering, telling the audience “Turn to your neighbor and say……‿, using eccentric humor/methods, etc……Being raise around it, I guess I’m used to it, and kind of like it too)…….OR WITH SOMEONE who’s very monotone/calm and collected.

Whereas it can turn others off (Imagine a Charismatic preaching in a conservative/quiet Presbyterian church on “Predes tination‿, lol), sometimes it helps others stay engaged to what’s being taught, and even Jesus himself was engaging to His audiences (someone labeling the “Men of Gawd” of his time as foxes/dogs, or who spoke in mind-blowing parables/illustrations comparing the familiar things of the people to the unfamiliar things of God is pretty engaging)

The issue, however, comes whenever that’s the ONLY thing preachers go for…..Theatrics…….simply being engaging/animated but not engaging with God’s Truth as the Standard, which opens the door to do as false teachers did (II Corinthians 10:10-13, II Corinthians 11:3-6)….

However, if one says that because one preacher used one paticular style of preaching that ano ther used and taught HERESY and therefore that STYLE BECOMES INVALID, that’s illogical…..it was rather the person and the content of the message that mattered since the style was used for a MYRIAD OF REASONS and has DIFFERING EFFECTS WITH DIFFERENT GROUPS OF PEOPLE.

That’s a general principle of Ministry that most intelligent ministers of the GOSPEL know of/make their students well aware of, for sometimes friends and associates will present attractive reasons why one should avoid something you KNOW Is wrong…..and they may even find BIBLE verses that seem to support their viewpoint…..and that’s why as CHRISTIANS FIGHTING FOR TRUTH or, as you yourself claim to be, desiring of developing a “BEREAN” mentality (Acts 17:11), need to STUDY THE BIBLE CAREFULLY, especially in the BROADER C ONTEXTS OF SPECIFIC VERSES, so that you understand God’s principles for living and what he wants for our life…examining ANY BOOK, TAPE SERIES, or TV MESSAGE ACCORDING TO THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD’S WORD, examing the RESULTS of their teachings, the FRUIT THAT COMES FROM IT to see if their BIBLICALLY consistent, their motives, their direction they’re taking and the RESULTS THEY’RE SEEKING……..

Another practical example, anyone remember Galatians?

Regarding the passagre, Obvious is the fact that some people were preaching “a diffferent gospel”, teaching that to be saved, Gentile Believers had to follow Jewish laws and customs, especially the rite of circumcision…..and giving the appearance that FAITH IN CHRIST WAS NOT ENOUGH…….AND THAT WAS ENOUGH TO UNDERMINE THE TRUTH OF THE GOOD NEWS THAT SALVATION IS A GIFT, not a reward for certain deeds…….According to my study bible, The people who were doing this were the JUDAIZERS, who were an EXTREME FACTION OF JEWISH CHRISTIANS. Regarding Galatian Christians (Greeks), WHO WERE EXTREMELY UNFAMILAR WITH JEWISH LAWS AND CUSTOMS, and JUDAZIERS—-Both Groups believed in CHRIST, but their lifestykes differed considerably……and though some of the Judaziers were motivated by sincere wish to intergrate Judaism with their new Christian Faith, sincere love for their Jewish Heritage or any other factor, their teaching st ill threatened these new churches and had to be countered.

Funny, though, that when PAUL called their teaching A PERVERSION of the Gospel, he was NOT REJECTING EVERYTHING JEWISH (i.e. that which is BIBLICAL). He Himself was A JEW who worshipped in the temple and attended the religious festivals.

But he was concerned for that which would GET IN THE WAY of the simple truth of his message—that salvation. for the Jews and Gentiles alike, is through faith in Jeus Christ ALONE—-and it was with the paticular error skewing his messagge ALONE that he dealt with rather than anything else legitimate surrounding it/attached to it (i.e. the package it came in…..and if you want further information on the issue, go to Acts 15 since it deals with sometime after the Letter to the Galatians was sent and how Paul met with the apostles to adress the issue )

All that said, it is obvious from Sctripture that, as Paul did, we should STRONGLY denounce anything peverting the GOSPEL of Christ….for the issue of PERVERSION is a LIFE OR DEATH ISSUE and STRONG LANGUAGE IS OFTEN NEEDED, as was the case with Paul, even to the point that he extened the curse to include himself should HE pervert the Gospel.

But outside of that, where God’s word is silent, be careful. Some other principles to go by….

  • Before I accept this teaching as true or dismiss it entirely, do the TEACHINGS CONFIRM SCRIPTURE (Acts 17:11) and is it practiced outside within ORTHODOX CHURCHES regularly, or are there other orthodox churches who practice what this false teacher is claiming to have originally created and yet those churches which are sound have not had any contanct with him/fellowship but the teaching is bringing about genuine “Fruit of the Spirit” in the Lives of those practicing it (Galatians 5:16-25),
  • Does the teacher affirm and proclaim that Jesus Christ is God who came back as a man to save people from their sins (I John 4:1-3)?
  • Is this teacher’s lifestyle consistent with BIBLICAL MORALITY (Matthew 12:33-37)

However, this is not the same mentality that seems to often happen when it comes to handling GOD’S WORD, ADRESSING ERROR, and PRACTICING DISCERNMENT.
Something else to consider when it comes to culture:
Quote:
In Athens 16While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?”Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.” 21(All the Athenians and the f oreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)22Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.

24“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perh aps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28’For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

29″Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill. 30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”
32When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33At that, Paul left the Council. 34A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of oth ers.

Check out this article on the issue, as it deals precisely with this:http://www.leaderu.com/philosophy/no…hilosophy.htmlhttp://www.trueu.org/dorms/stulounge/A000000292.cfmAlso, go to this thread for more insight on the issue:

http://www.christiandiscussionforums.org/v/showthread.php?t=69708&page=5

To give understanding to the CONTEXT of this passage, Athens was the cultur al center of Greece—the center for Greek Culture, philosophy, and education—-and home to renowned philosophers in history like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, who was arguably the most influential one of them all. There were also two other significant philosophers taught there and there names were Epicurus (founder of Epicureanism and Zeno, founder of Stoicism—two of the most dominant philosophies of that day

It’s important to note this because, Though Athens was a pagan society, it’s also where many of us have gotten the majority of ideas which we use today…ideas like The Socratic method-—-which is the idea that To solve a problem, you ask a question and when finding the answer, you would also have an answer to your problem, and this method is what led to the beginning of the Scientific Method, in which the first step says to name the problem in the form of a question…..and this meth od is widely used in contemporary legal education by many law schools in the US, Where the professor asks a question and calls on a student to give an answer and The professor either then continues to ask the student questions or moves on to another student……….

The same could be said of Aristotle, who not only helped to shape the ideas of LOGIC that many of the other things we hold as TRUE today, such as in the areas of anatomy, astronomy, economics, embryology, geograp hy, geology, meteorology, physics, and zoology, aesthetics, ethics, government, metaphysics, politics, psychology, rhetoric and theology“have transformedPre-Socratic Greek philosophy into the foundations of Western philosophy as we know it”, (though it’s funny thinking that many would probably say not to listen to him/any of the other Greek PHILOSOPHERS because they weren’t EXPLICITLY “Christian”, believed in other gods and probably were influenced by the enemy in the ways they used their ideas in the way

and some would probably have no problem using Aristotle’s methods of logic/reasoning today when dealing with others but yet still say that if the source is not godly then nothing coming from it should be examined to see what is or isn’t truthful)
Now, like the Word says, Paul was obviously grieved by that culture because…….but did he dismiss EVERYTHING within the culture as WRONG……rather, DID HE NOT FIND COMMON GROUND?The Athenians had built an idol to the unknown god for missing blessings or receiving punishment, and Paul’s opening statement to the men of Athens was about their unknown god, whom Paul WAS NOT ENDORSING but simply using the inscription as a point of entry for his witness to the one true God.For the Athenians were super naturalists who believed in supernatural powers intervening in the course of natural laws….and they at least ACKNOWLEDGED the existence of someone beyond their comprehension who created all that exist. Had Paul not acknowledged where they were correct at, he would’ve never had the opportunity to introduce them to the Creator who could be known by them (Deuteronomy 4:35, Psalm 9:10, John 17:3).

Of course he DID NOT LEAVE HIS MESSAGE UNFINISHED, for Paul eventually moved his message to the PERSON of CHRIST centering on the resurrection (Acts 17:30-31) and the fact that only SAVING FAITH (The COMPLETION OF TOTAL TRUTH) is found in Him. He confronted his audience with not only HIS resurrection/it’s relevance to all people—-whether it is punishment or blessing. And though many Greeks were unbelieving/offended at Paul’s statements (mostly because they had no concept of Judgment, preferred worshipping other gods instead of one, and because he after understanding their reasoning EXPOSED their foolishness in thinking that God could be just an idol, as well as various other things), Paul’s refusal to hold back the truth no matter what they thought of it made the difference in many of them choosing to want more n’ eventually convert (Acts 17:32-34).

But it still must be acknowledged that Paul’s understanding of the need to appeal to the UNIVERSAL and RATIONAL knowledge of the Lord (Romans 1:18-20) and his starting from creation, which is the general revelation of God (Acts 14:15-17) was also a HUGE FACTOR in the process.

WITHOUT A PROPER UNDERSTANDING THAT NOT EVERYTHING WITHIN THE CULTURE HAD TO BE DISMISSED and that COMMON GROUND WAS NOT POSSIBLE, PAUL WOULD’VE BEEN GREATLY HINDERED IN HIS EFFORTS

Quote:

Quote:
19Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
As Paul made clear, there are several important principles for ministry.

  • Find common ground with those you contact.
  • Avoid a know-it-all mentality
  • Make others feel accepted
  • Be SENSITIVE to the needs and concerns of others
  • Look for opportunities to tell them about Christ

These principles are just as valid for us as they were with PAUL, FOR THAT’S APART OF KNOWING HOW TO INTERACT WITH THE CULTURE AROUND US IN WITNESSING ( http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=1343 ) ……& SEEING THAT the study of PHILISOPHY is apart of the culture we live in, be curious to see what others thoughts on regarding this, especially seeing that this is ACCURATELY what Paul practiced when he encountered the Greeks

He didn’t begin by reciting Jewish History, as he usually did, for that would’ve been meaningless to the Greeks. Rather, he began with examples they already UNDERSTOOD to begin building a case about God (Acts 17:22-23), GAINED COMMON GROUND by emphazing where they aggreed about God (Acts 17:24-29), & then moved His message to the SIMPLICITY of the RESSURECTION OF CHRIST (Acts 17:30-31)

:

Quote:

Quote:

MY BAD FOR THE EMAIL BEING SO DANG LONG!!!!!! BUT IT SHOULD BE PLENTY OF INFO TO PICK AND CHOOSE FROM…..and if you’re interested, LOVE TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS Again, hope it blesses ya, Brah. Later……

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: