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  • Writer's pictureJacob Mamachan

Antichrists Have Gone Out From Amongst Us

The current issues pressing Kerala Christianity.



Part 1


It is not a surprise to say Kerala has undergone a shift in culture. This has not only affected our lifestyle generally, but also our spiritual world. There was a time when church was a place of reverence, but now it's more popular, at least among the young crowds, as an entertainment center. And the ones that question these extreme choices, radically different from the established order of faith by holy men of God, are deemed wrong while the others are right. “What is the mistake?”, they ask or “why do we have to do it that way?”. These are the cries of a sinful, rebellious, hard hearted and unregenerate crowd, not a holy church. They have no idea of what’s right or wrong and yet they claim spiritual sense. Individuals have dispersed to other apostate faiths that claim Christian links. Why is this so? What is the reason?


The fundamental reason, in my opinion, is materialism and worldliness or as the scriptures would say - 'spirit of this age that now works in the children of disobedience'. They want to associate with the world or be a part of the world, but since the process of sanctification is done by the Holy Spirit and the subsequent instructions on holiness found within the pages of scripture are primarily culture based, most verses are ignored or are even treated uncritically to say the least.


Therefore, here are some thoughts of a Non-resident Indian looking at the Christian culture of Kerala…


1. Worship Leaders –

(This section aims to shed light at the increase of worship leaders such that it has become a necessity in the local churches of Kerala)


New.

This is a new concept especially at this scale in churches. It has less to do with theology and more to do with the “entertainment” factor I mentioned earlier. To a certain degree if every worship leader would focus on exegesis of scripture, then this would have been another conversation altogether. But the rampant introduction of the “worship leaders”, has become a bane for Keralite Christianity and surely there are clear western influences on our worship. I find it an offense to demean the holiness and beauty of God in adoration through psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to something where a chosen few orchestrate the Holy Spirit, or “lead worship”. Where ever did that theology or phrase come from - to lead worship. One can “lead” a heard of sheep or swine, but to “lead” worship would be folly, since we are all called to be led by the Spirit of God - 1 Cor. 12:7-11 in worship and life.


Talents.

Another observation is that these things are promoted with an intention to improve talents like singing, stage presentations, musical prowess and so on to show it is encouraged by the church itself. The church of Jesus Christ is not the place for talent shows. The church is the gathering of saints (corporate and individual), where ordained leaders shepherd the congregation and every believer ought to build themselves and each other with the Word of Christ (Ephesians. 2:22, 1 Peter. 2 etc). I hardly think Peter, Paul, James, John and the other apostles were busy promoting talents. They were undergoing fierce persecution and were encouraging believers to stand in faith. Paul in fact instructs Timothy to suffer along with him, 2 Tim. 1:8 and he even says he was burdened to an extraordinary degree, 2 Corinthians 1:8. Teaching, preaching, exegesis of Scripture, establishment of doctrines, rebuking and exposing false teachings and healthy conversation on sound doctrine must be the ultimate focus throughout local church bodies.


Paul is clear in 2 Tim. 3:16 - all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. Taking isolated passages from the Old or New Testament to build a weak case for worship leaders is to show lack of reverence and honor for the scriptures, because this kind of thinking demonstrates no knowledge or interest in the biblical backgrounds. I am thinking of passages like David dancing - 1 Chronicles. 15:25-16:1, 2 Samuel. 6:14 and how they are misused. We should consider the genre of the writing and pulling verses to support our theory is immensely mishandling the holy scriptures. We must have good traditions, but they ought to be derived from scriptures. And when it goes wrong it must be restrained almost immediately by pastors and elders of the church - this aspect of pastoring or shepherding seems to have nullified over the years. My intention here is to lay a sort of rhetoric against such misuse of worship and its theological implications in honoring the triune God and not exegesis of any scriptural passages in particular.


Leaving Church.

Some say that the youth would not attend the gatherings if these things are not promoted. Sometimes I wonder what is the authority or textual basis of those who say such things. Firstly, it demonstrates their lack of concern for Christian history or the power of God in history to save. Secondly, to those who say we ought to keep the youth with these things, is it not clear in the Gospel of John, where Jesus plainly says “My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John. 10:27). Instead of trusting God to effectually call them to salvation why do we nullify the gospel for such foreign traditions? Paul says in Romans that the Gospel is the power of God.  An amazing synthesis of salvation from sin. So I would instruct every such person to study what it means to say (as Jesus says in the gospels), by Paul - The Gospel is the power of God unto Salvation to everyone that believes, Romans. 1:16.


Music and emotion.

How many ever times a person would claim that they are “in love with God” or “they experience the power of God in worship”, I find that most of those claims are purely emotional. We need emotion in our adoration and praise of the triune God, but if it is only driven by emotion then we need to examine our hearts because anyone could claim an emotional experience. Nevertheless experience does not save, the gospel does!

How can we determine if it is only emotion? If it does not reflect as fruits unto righteousness then we can be sure. A parallel passage would be John the Baptist calling out the Pharisees to bear fruits unto repentance. We can see a positive focus on doctrines and the study of scriptures to defend and perfect oneself in the faith that was once delivered to the saints. Another issue that the enemy has planted amongst our youth and churches is the extensive use of music to a point where it drowns every lyric and possibility of meditation on the Lord. Music should teach and not improve freestyle dances! At least that’s what the New Testament emphasizes in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16.


Conclusion.

My aim is not to advocate removal of worship leaders (even though I find that term unbiblical) but to promote right theology and attitude in worship. I prefer to see in all a reflection of the holy prophets and apostles who are the foundation of the Church, a model of rebuke and call to repentance, that can cause saints to be perfected, which in essence is the goal of this blog.


May the Lord lead your hearts to the peace of Christ!

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