Friday, December 5, 2008

Q & A Fridays #3- Where To Minister?


Purple Soapbox Admin asked,

"Should a Christian artist go to the church of a heretic to minister?"

Interesting question. By "heretic", I'm assuming you mean a false teacher who denies essential Christian doctrine. I don't think it is a simple yes or no answer, but rather something that would need to be handled on a case-by-case basis. This is a discussion I've had with other Christian emcees and here are some of the pros and cons:

Pros:

1. Churches that are led by false teachers often have at least a few genuine believers there. They may be new to the faith or immature in their knowledge of the Lord. For their sake, it could make sense to go and minister to them and possibly be the means that God uses to bring them into sound teaching.

2. Churches led by false teachers often have unbelievers there who have been deceived into thinking they're saved when they aren't. The false teacher is tickling their itching ears. The sound Christian artist may be the only exposure to the Biblical gospel that they ever get.

3. Some "heretics" may be deceived themselves and unintentionally leading others astray. The sound Christian artist may be the instrument that God uses to bring him to repentance. I know of specific instances where Christian artists have been invited to the churches of unsound pastors/ leaders and used the opportunity to have discussions about the Scriptures with the pastor behind the scenes. Some pastors/leaders have come into sound teaching as a result.

Cons:

1. Ministering at the church of a false teacher- particularly if they are well known- could be seen as an endorsement of the false teacher and lead the undiscerning astray.

2. At churches led by false teachers, it is often the case that the leader from that church who speaks after the Christian artist effectively dismantles what the emcee just did because they are so steeped in falsehood.

3. If a Christian artist takes strong stands against false teachers, ministering at one of their churches/ events can be seen as confusing at best and hypocritical at worst, serving to alienate those who have supported the artist over the years.

Those are some things to consider. In some cases, I think it's right to not "cast your pearls before swine". In other cases, "feeding the sheep" takes precedence over everything else. Either way, it's something that should be weighed prayerfully with the help of godly counsel. Pray that God would grant wisdom to the Christian artists who face these kinds of difficult decisions regularly.

grace and peace,
shai

8 comments:

Jacob Abshire said...

I would agree with your points. In my experience, Bible ministers preaching at "heretical" churches has caused those in heresy to latch on to someone with good teachings. There is something about personally visiting a church and speaking before them. It builds some kind of relationship with the people there that when the minister leaves, the people follow (either online, television or some other media).

I have been fortunate to speak at some places with starving believers (Christians who are genuinely saved - seeking - but never really exposed to healthy doctrine). After my delivery, they felt a connection with me that left their heart opened to other things that I may want to say.

So, when I quote someone like Piper or MacArthur, these people pick up on that and assume these men are Bible teachers too. These men were names they would have never heard before I spoke there. This drives the hearers to listen to these preachers (who are so much better than I) and taste of God's goodness.

Of course, from then on they must have that taste again and again. My point is this, even if ministers are not at the church pulling the whips out on heretical teachers, the connection with these people can go a long way for the good.

Shai, you have a unique way of building that connection with people. Here in Houston, Christian rap is mostly associated with heretical churches (or less than healthy ones, I guess I should say).

**This is not a campaign to get any of you Reformed Rappers to hit these kind of churches (but ... well ... secretly it is!).

Paul never abandoned the churches, he faced them, prayed for them. This reminds me of Da Truth's appearance on TBN. Not sure what it did to his popularity, but I think it did open the eyes of many who were less than spiritually healthy.

Good post.

Bible Nerd 9 said...

Informative as always shai. That is so right on point with the pros and cons. I have found even going to minister and build a relationship with cats who r straying from the fundamental truths of the faith and schooling/ministering to them over time has an incredible impact.

I find most of the times, actually i havent ran into any case contrary so far, that false teacher and misled flock just dont know any better they think they are preaching/learning the truth until they are informed otherwise.

Purple Soapbox Admin said...

Good points Shai, I certainly agree with your approach. Each situations must be properly discerned with use of the information available and of course the whole counsel of God.

David said...

Thanks shai for offering your perspective on this. It definitely is a case by case issue that takes wisdom from the Spirit to discern how to respond.

d.

SK Schultz said...

Great post. We used the book pictured above in a class here at Dordt College.

I'm really digging your music and I wanted to let you know that I'm adding you to my blog roll. It is so refreshing to hear your passionate confession of faith!

SK

Lotus said...

quick question:
In the situation where you feel that the Lord has called you to deliver the Biblical Gospel message in a church/event where normally the Biblical Gospel is not preached, do you feel an obligation to follow-up with anyone who responds to the message? The reason that I ask is because one of the teachers that I partner pointed out a potential con that you did not list and that is the lack of follow-up on the part of the ministers. I would like to hear your thoughts on how to gauge your involvement in the follow up.

shai said...

Lotus,

Good to hear from you bro. Part of it depends on what you mean by "follow-up". If by that you mean walking with them in a close discipleship relationship? My answer would be no in that case. As one who travels around the country and comes before large groups of people often, it would be impossible to personally "follow up" those who appeared to respond. That responsibility must be on the local church. Also, I don't do "altar calls", so those who respond might not always be apparent at that moment. However, I do try to be accessible while I'm there. Someone who responded could email me, and at that point I would point them to a sound church in their area. Does that answer your question?

grace and peace,
shai

Anonymous said...

This topic touches a particular place in my heart because I have come from just the type of church that is being discussed.

I have no pros or cons but I can say a few things:

When I was under the false teaching of my former church I loved the hip hop of biblically sound artists. I listened all the time and was encouraged. However, it wasn't until my eyes were open to the deception I was under that what these artists were saying made sense to me. A few of these artists came to my old church.

Behind the scenes I witnessed a youth pastor at my old church, which was a mage church, criticize one of these artists because of his strong adherence to scripture and the gravity of his persona with regards to the gospel.

Looking back I could easily see my former pastor taking great offense if someone tried to challenge his teaching from (what he believed was) his pulpit.

But, if "on an individual basis" a Christian hip-hop artist believed it was in God's will for them to minister at such a ministry...I would be all for it. It would be worth it to possibly open up the eyes of some undiscerning soul not aware of the deception all around.