The Gospel According to Taylor Swift

We wish this was satire, but it's not. This is real:

This church spent three Sundays analyzing and explaining the lyrics of Taylor Swift songs... so people could be pointed to the Gospel of Jesus? Do we even need to explain how ridiculous this is?

No, we don't. 

Welcomed by Sadness at The Rock Church

Sadness (the character) literally welcomed you if you attended the Inside Out theme at The Rock Church. The images provided by their Facebook page are a perfect unintended metaphor for what is going on.

So what’s the big deal? This wasn’t an extra curricular outreach. The Rock Church was doing this during their official Sunday worship service. They are unintentionally confessing many things by greeting people at the door with movie themes.

They confess that entertainment, movies, movie characters, and not Jesus are to be on your mind as you enter church. What greets you at the door? What is your attention drawn toward?

Jesus wouldn't be the first thing on my mind if I viewed the above at the door of my church for Sunday worship.

I like Star Wars, but should my church be drawing my attention to Stormtroopers before an official church worship service?

This literally does church inside out. Is our “product” so lame that we think gimmicks are needed to make it appealing? Is the problem that we view the gospel as a product that needs pop culture references to make it appear relevant?

If you attend a church like this, or are involved in leadership making use of these gimmicks, please repent of this nonsense. Our message is the power of God unto salvation. God works through word and sacrament, he doesn’t need manmade religious gimmicks, which are actually neo-traditions of men if you think about it. If you’re looking for something that is actually dry, cold, manmade tradition, then movie theme gimmicks are it. Go back to focussing on the gospel, that is God’s message and God’s power.

Hands Up for the British Invasion at North Point Community Church

Andy Stanley’s North Point Community Church attempted a reboot of the British Invasion during their official worship service on Sunday.

They described it as a Beatles medley on their Facebook page.

They sang segments from Beatles classics, ending with Hey Jude. They called upon their audience to sing along and wave their hands to the Beatles tune as they sang, “na na na na na na na…”

You can watch the entire video here (you may notice some of the people sitting in the audience who look pretty expressionless; you have to wonder what they're thinking about this "worship"). This idea of singing Beatles songs at church isn't new; here's a much less professional video from a tiny church that, at least, changed the words of "Hey Jude" to fit their communion service. Is this really where the Evangelical, "Bible-believing" church wants to go? Really??

The week before they did an opener with rather suggestive lyrics singing, “Baby love the way you turn me on.”

Some more suggestive lyrics from an opener. Segments from the original lyrics. They did some adjusting, but not enough.

Nowhere to hide when I’m getting you close
When we move, well, you already know

Feeling good, good, creeping up on you
So just dance, dance, dance, come on
All those things I should do to you

(I can’t stop the feeling)
Wanna see you move your body
(I can’t stop the feeling)

Oddly enough, Andy Stanley has this quote on the NPCC website.

Why write about this? Because Andy Stanley and many other churches use these tactics which in the end detract from focusing on the gospel at an official church worship service.

Official church worship services are not extra curricular activities. There is plenty of time for fun, recreation, and out of the box creativity, but that can be done outside of an official church worship service.

I used to agree with, and promote these approaches to ministry. It took a “rude meanie head” to open my eyes. I hope this article serves as eye opening food for thought.

In case anyone is asking themselves, "does North Point Church know that this form of "worship" might be a really bad idea? Maybe they are just making an innocent mistake? Maybe we should just let them have some fun and not make such a big deal out of this..."  

Here's what you need to understand: North Point Church is deliberately doing these secular cover songs in church in spite of objections from fellow Christians. They are going so far as to remove Bible verses off of their own blog, and now they have stopped allowing any comments at all. Why aren't they allowing any comments on their blog? It appears that they don't want people to read all the Bible verses that have been posted there (or the Bible verses that people have tried to post there). Here's a screen shot from August 3, 2016-over a week since they put up their "boy band/love the way you turn me on" video on July 25:

North Point Church knows exactly what it is doing: 

"Secular songs? Yes! Bible verses (that might make our strange choice of songs look bad)? NO!"

This type of "worship" service was unthinkable just a decade ago. With the huge influence of Andy Stanley and North Point Church (one of the biggest and most influential churches in the world) it's sad to think that more and more churches might be abandoning worship and replacing it with mere entertainment. Here's an article about the top 50 mega-churches in the USA (btw, this is a "puff piece" about these mega-churches). Here's an excerpt: "As an individual congregation, North Point could be much more influential in the public arena, but it chooses not to be in order to extend its influence through the training of hundreds of thousands of leaders. North Point has opted for exponential influence..."

How long before true Christians say "enough is enough!" and stop tolerating such worldliness in their churches?


For those who think it's mean, judgmental and un-loving to criticize Andy Stanley/North Point Church (or any other popular teacher/church) here's something just for you: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know.

If you're having a knee-jerk reaction to try and defend this church's ideas, check out: Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs.

Finally, here's an article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.


"Love the way you turn me on!" at North Point Community Church

"Love the way you turn me on." "You got the right stuff, baby."

Imagine you're sitting in church on Sunday during an official worship service, and singers on stage are singing those lyrics. Would you really want to hear lyrics about how a girl turns a guy on because she has the right stuff baby? That's what happened during a Sunday worship service at North Point Community Church-Andy Stanley's church. They opened an official Sunday worship service with hits from the 1990s.

The Apostle Paul said, "We preach Christ and Him crucified," but Stanley seems to be saying "we will put on an elaborate and worldly show to draw a crowd." 

Is the Gospel of Jesus Christ not good enough? Does it really need to be dressed up with cheesy boy band songs from the 90s? On top of that, can anyone imagine that any of those performers had any free time left to study God's Word? This is a tightly choreographed and professionally performed medley of (secular) hits; it must have taken many hours of practice and rehearsal to accomplish this. Is this what a church should be encouraging it's people to focus their precious time on? North Point and Andy Stanley have a gigantic effect on other churches in America; many smaller churches study their methods and try to emulate their "success." Lord have mercy...

Here's a quote from Andy Stanley that might help:

For those who think it's mean, judgmental and un-loving to criticize Andy Stanley/North Point Church (or any other popular teacher/church) here's something just for you: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know.

If you're having a knee-jerk reaction to try and defend this church's video, check out: Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs.

Finally, here's an article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.

UPDATE JULY 28, 2016!!

Apparently North Point Church refuses to allow Bible verses on their blog:

This is a screenshot from 6:53 pm of a comment made this morning. The comment is simply three Bible verses-not commentary or criticism. Why doesn't North Point want to allow these Bible verses to be shown on their website?? Maybe because they'd have to remove the Bible verses... like they did earlier on this same morning:

Read the follow-up article: No Bible Verses for You!!!

VIP Seating, Popcorn, Candy and Movies at Christ Fellowship Church

Christ Fellowship is handing out popcorn at the door, giving away VIP reserved seating, and conducting a special effects smoke & flame show with "Ironman" on stage during their official Sunday worship service. The VIP reserved seating has a mini refrigerator with drinks, hot popcorn, and candy. To potentially qualify for the VIP reserved seating you have to take a picture of yourself by a movie set at a church campus, post it to social media, and then tag the photo. Does this seem like pandering to get people to show up to you?

Is this really the type of atmosphere an official church worship service should have? This may be fine for an informal church outreach event, but this is supposed to be a gathering of the church to worship. But a big sign on stage saying "AT THE MOVIES" confesses that the focus here is on a movie. 

Below you will see the absolute distraction and mess they make of a church service...

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
— 2 Timothy 4: 3-4

The Naked Cowboy: He's a Hillsong Pastor?!

Pastor Ben Houston on stage with fellow pastor and "naked cowboy" Diego Simila

Pastor Ben Houston on stage with fellow pastor and "naked cowboy" Diego Simila

The big story last week was about the "naked cowboy" appearing at a Hillsong women's conference in New York. The "naked cowboy" (who actually has underwear/briefs on) turns out to be a Hillsong youth pastor. In case you don't know, the "naked cowboy" is a real character who walks around Times Square in New York City. So it appears that the staff at Hillsong thought it would be funny for someone to portray that guy on stage at this woman's conference. Once again, Hillsong has been caught on camera doing something questionable and inappropriate, but we're supposed to trust them and not believe what we can see with our own eyes. Dr. Michael Brown, the very respected and scholarly Charismatic leader said this:

Yes, Dr. Brown, it's accurate. Are you gonna ignore this obvious and blatant example of charismatic worldliness-you know, just like you normally do?? Here's an article from the great researchers at Church Watch Central that fills in the details of this situation: Church Watch Central

Super Soaker "Baptism"

We'd like to "thank" Godz Gang for this awful example of treating the holy in a profane manner. Of course, all of this is being done in the name of being relevant and supposedly meeting the youth where they are at. The truly tragic part is that if you pay careful attention the kid being baptized wasn't actually baptized, he was only drenched by super soakers.

"I Like Big Buts" Easter Promo Video

Relevant Church has made this little video to promote their Easter services; it does briefly contain some actual Bible verses, but it seems the truth of the Gospel isn't good enough, so they had to make reference to a cheesy and offensive song... after all, this is Relevant Church.

James Bond Marriage Series? Really??

Because "spies are cool," and because men might show up at church more often if they talk about James Bond and pretend to be in one of his movies, Church by the Glades has done this:

So this church service is not focused on Jesus, but is more of a "marriage enrichment" session. And if that weren't a big enough distraction from the Gospel, they have this strange obsession with the fictitious character of James Bond, who is a "really cool" womanizer/adulterer. 

For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.
— Romans 16: 18

Who Will Be the First Vision-Casting Leader To Sport a Man Bun/Braid?

Since the entire Seeker-Driven movement is predicated on false notion that pagans won't make decisions for Jesus unless the church is cool, relevant and culturally hip, it is only a matter of time until Seeker-Driven Vision-Casting Leaders start sporting Man Buns, Man Braids or a combo of both.

We're certain that it is only a matter of days until we see this happening on the stage of one of the big box multi-site church's and we'll be sure to note who the winner is by honoring them with their own exhibit here in the Museum. In the meantime, who do you think the first Seeker-Driven Vision-Casting Leader to sport a Man Bun/Braid will be?

Will it be...

Levi Lusko
Steven Furtick
Ed Young
Perry Noble
Carl Lentz
Rick Warren
Mark Driscoll
Judah Smith
Andy Stanley
Eric Dykstra
Bill Cornelius
Rob Bell
Bill Hybels
Pope Francsis
or some other leader not listed here?

Follow Up to Sleazy Silent Night

From the Hillsong Silent Night video

From the Hillsong Silent Night video

Michael Brown recently wrote this article for Charisma News:

Hillsong, Silent Night and the Danger of Judging by Outward Appearance 

Dr. Brown is one of the most respected members of the Christian Charismatic world; he's a brilliant debater, an actual Biblical scholar and someone who has been warning (to some extent) about false teachers in the Church. In this article he says that he, too, was appalled by the worldly and obnoxious Silent Night video that has gotten so much attention, but he refrained from making a judgment about it until he could get more information. But after he saw a Twitter comment from a pastor at Hillsong he could understand why they did the song the way they did.

There are a couple of really interesting things to note from this article: First of all, Brown makes a pretty amazing statement about how he couldn't talk to anyone from Hillsong, because he didn't have an "open door to interact directly with Hillsongs leaders (despite my attempts to do so in the past)." Please take note, everyone who says something like this: "You shouldn't say anything bad about pastor so and so until you talk to him face to face! Have you met with him and heard his side of the story?? Well then stop judging him!!" 

Even Dr. Michael Brown can't talk to the "powers that be" at Hillsong. Hmmm.

Another amazing thing about this article is how he has "differed with some of Hillsong's methods and message over the years…" but he still needed to get the true story from a reliable source before he could make a judgment. How have you differed with Hillsong, Dr. Brown? Have you spoken out against the blatant Word of Faith heresy that Brian Houston continually puts forth as Christianity? That's kinda important… but it gets side-stepped in his article. 

Here's the really disappointing part of this article: Brown believes he is able to make a correct judgment about this whole thing because he sees a Twitter comment made by a Hillsong pastor in Australia, and he accepts everything this guy says with no further inquiry:

Here's the big fat lie (intentional or not) in that Twitter comment: "This video was not released by Hillsong, nor would this number ever be an item on it's own." Except that the video was released by Hillsong... as an item of it's own… on Hillsong's own YouTube channel!

After Chris Rosebrough shared the video on Facebook and it started getting thousands of views (and negative comments) Hillsong quickly pulled it off their channel with no explanation, but we had made a copy for Vimeo (knowing that Hillsong would probably do the very thing they did). So now when everyone sees the Vimeo copy, Hillsong can claim that "somebody posted it out of context!" That's correct Hillsong, somebody did post it out of context-you did.

So, we now have a "sort of" official explanation as to why they made this "Sleazy Silent Night" and it does make more sense than before. This situation is still pretty irritating and here's why:

It seems Michael Brown (and lots of others) will let the heresy at Hillsong continue. That word, heresy, is not too harsh-it's an accurate statement made after a thorough evaluation of the teaching at Hillsong. Here are a bunch of programs where Chris Rosebrough has played Brian Houston's sermons and compared them to the Bible. Houston twists, distorts and mis-handles God's Word all the time! Here's an article that documents the history of covering up abuse by Brian Houston and his friends: Church Watch Central. And here's a very disturbing Australian TV Investigative News Show called Inside Hillsong

And almost nobody cares-because Hillsong is famous! Brian Houston is famous! Everybody loves Hillsong's praise music! Tens of thousands of people love and attend Hillsong! So we showed their ridiculous Silent Night video to draw attention to the problem… but now we are the bad guys because we didn't understand the correct context for the video (that Hillsong published without explanation and then silently removed). Fine.

We are sorry to have not made such a fuss over that video.

Now can we talk about the false-teaching, Bible-twisting, power-grabbing, money-loving, pedophilia-ignoring cesspool of corruption that is brewing at Hillsong??!


Along these same lines, here's an important article from our friend J. D. Hall at Pulpit and Pen:

An Open Letter to Dr. Michael Brown

Pastor Tells People to Say "F-You" to Each Other

In this ridiculous and desperate attention-getting stunt, "pastor" A. R. Vernon tries to be clever and funny, but he ends up being offensive and counter-productive...

Abstain from all appearance of evil.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:22
If anyone considers himself religious and does yet not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
— James 1:26

What Would Jesus Brew? Serve Beer to Attract Young People!

Because some people need a good, solid reason to attend church...

This is an article from NPR about churches that are serving beer to attract people to church. This topic is similar to the previous Museum of Idolatry post, (the "tattoo church"): sometimes it looks pretty desperate when churches try so hard to be "relevant."  

Photo credit: Corey Grunewald

Photo credit: Corey Grunewald

This is not a post against the responsible consumption of alcohol; we have the freedom in Christ to drink (but not to engage in drunkenness). This is about the worship service becoming much, much less than a worship service. When a church adds beer (or anything else) to attract new people, it's really hard for the central focus of our faith to remain so. But there are some notable efforts being made to use the craft-brew phenomena as a way to start a dialogue with non-believers. For example, here's a very interesting group called "The Bible and Beer Consortium" that holds meetings apart from the worship service to discuss the Christian faith. Here's another group called "What Would Jesus Brew?" And here's a good, short article addressing these "beer/church" issues and the NPR article; and here's one more.

There's a difference between a gathering to exchange ideas, listen to speakers and socialize, and an actual worship service. When churches remove all of the sacred elements from the worship service in the name of attracting new people, they end up hurting the very people they are called to serve.

Ultimately, it isn't a good idea to depend on beer (or any other worldly, cultural thing) to bring people closer to God-we've been given Word and Sacrament by God Himself. Praise be to God!

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God, as you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
— 1 Peter 2:1-5

Get A Tattoo Onstage During The Sermon!!

Because nobody can listen to a regular sermon anymore...

So, let's think about this for a minute:

The God who created the entire universe from nothing, who was born to a virgin, lived an amazing life full of miracles, teachings and healings, then willingly gave His life on the cross to pay for the sins of all the world, then rose victoriously from the dead... all of that is not good enough to get people's attention? 

But if someone get's a tattoo onstage during the sermon-that's gonna make the Gospel message a lot better? If only we would have known this before! 

“I didn’t want to repent of my sins, but now that some lady got a tattoo during a sermon, I believe. Plus, it’s easier to pay attention to a sermon while being completely distracted. ”

— Said Nobody Ever

Closing thoughts: If pastors continue this downward spiral, where will it end up? If we say that "people are different nowadays" and "we need a gimmick to get people to church these days" aren't we just setting ourselves up for even more ridiculous and embarrassing stunts? And if a person comes to church only because they were attracted to the spectacle that made it "new" and "relevant," what kind of person are we attracting, and why are they really showing up? 

Hillsong's "Sleazy Silent Night!"

The following video is wrong on so many levels. 

Aesthetically, it's just weird, confusing and embarrassing. 

Hillsong Music Director: "Hey everybody, I've got a great idea! Let's take the beloved and peaceful Christmas hymn 'Silent Night' and turn it into a loud, obnoxious, roaring twenties style, Las Vegas big-band production! You know, kinda like Christmas in a whorehouse! What'ya think?!"

Everybody Who Should Know Better at Hillsong: (silence)

But beyond the ridiculous nature of this one particular song/video there's the more serious problem that this "thing" claims to be the church...

Hillsong leads the way when it comes to "churches" featuring worldly, gigantic and expensive spectacles to attract a large audience. They are laughing all the way to the bank, too, as this global empire continues to gobble up followers around the world.

Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life-is not from the Father but is from the world.
— 1 John 1: 15-16
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what it the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
— Romans 12: 1-2
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.
— 1 Thessalonians 4: 3-5

Closing thoughts: For those of you who say "but this was a performance at a special concert event-this wasn't an actual worship service; you need to see this in it's proper context..." Here's a question; why would a "church" have an event/concert with moral guidelines that are different from the moral guidelines that govern a worship service? Why be "a little more like the world" to attract people to a spectacle (like this video) and then "re-adjust" things for a Sunday morning service? If this video is supposed to be sleazy on purpose to somehow try and teach a lesson, Hillsong doesn't mention it anywhere-and this is from their own YouTube channel. It seems that this is just a very obnoxious version of Silent Night to grab the attention of the crowd. Note: A few hours after we posted this video, it was "made private" by Hillsong; the video on this page now is a copy we put on Vimeo.

For more information, here's a link to Church Watch Central's Hillsong page.

As of January 14th, 2016, here is an important Follow Up Article!


"Star Wars" Pastor Defends and Promotes Cosmic Christmas Publicity Stunt

Here's the "Han Solo" pastor attempting to defend his church's publicity stunt/Star Wars obsession with obviously pre-planned, "sound-bite" style answers (and a winning smile!):

This video came from an web page dedicated to getting publicity-it's an online "press kit." Seriously. Here's the "publicity stunt" web page:

In this online press kit the pastor, Tim Lucas, says, "We believe we have the greatest story in the world, but the challenge is reaching people with that story. There are no rules that say church has to be dry and boring."

     So, the story of God coming to earth as a baby so that He can eventually die on the cross for our sins isn't enough. That would be dry and boring. But if we talk all about Star Wars and dress in costumes and replace Biblical characters with Star Wars characters that's so much better. The church's press kit says: "Rather than focus on the birth of Jesus on earth, Lucas will share the story from heaven's perspective, which includes a rogue emperor, evil rebellion, miraculous birth, and a cosmic war behind the stars. The idea stems from Lucas' own passion for Star Wars."  Yep. This pastor is really passionate about Star Wars.

Is this guy familiar with the term "idolatry?" Or at least "bizarre fascination with nostalgic childhood movie memories that cloud one's ability to fully embrace reality and rightly handle God's Word?"

Nothing Says "Desperation" Like Star Wars Church at Christmas!!

This pastor (who dressed up as Han Solo to preach on Sunday morning) has jumped whatever remains of the shark. Welcome to Christmas in the land of Evangelical Embarrassment. After church you can get your picture taken with the Storm Trooper "Magi:" 

Here's some more examples of "Star Wars at Church" from various places...

In the following episode of Fighting for the Faith, Chris Rosebrough does a partial analysis of a sermon from the "Han Solo" pastor-the sermon review starts at 00:11:46 into the show: