Duplicity? You be the judge . . .

My wife and I often find ourselves in the ethical conundrum of being offended by Christian Music comprised of weak and/or incorrect theology, BUT NOT being offended by a Jack Johnson song or a Styx song [she listens to Styx, not me . . . 😉 . . . ] Why are we so, I don’t know, hyper-focused or hyper-critical about Christian things, but not so much about non-christian things?

This brings up the issue that breaches the topic of culture as of late, in the upcoming memorial ceremonies of 9/11/01. Carl Trumen wrote the following:

It seems a bit of a brouhaha is developing over the exclusion of (or, perhaps better, lack of invitation to) evangelical Protestants to participate in the religious ceremonies at the National Cathedral this weekend to commemorate 9/11.  The prayer vigil will, according to Fox News, include the dean of the Cathedral, the Bishop of Washington, a rabbi, a Buddhist nun and incarnate lama, a Hindu priest, the president of the Islamic Society of North America and a Muslim musician.   But no Southern Baptists, and, presumably, no Missouri Synod Lutherans, PCA pastors, OPC ministers etc.   And no musicians from the classic rock fraternity either, for that matter — unless we are perhaps talking Cat Stevens here.  The president of the Southern Baptist Convention is apparently upset at this act of `tragic intolerance towards Protestants.’

I think  the Rev. Page has misunderstood the reason for the exclusion: it seems the powers that be in Washington understand the implications of the biblical evangel better than some evangelical leaders. Rather than lamenting the situation, the Southern Baptists should be delighted that the organizers had the sensitivity and foresight not to place them in the grim position of having to turn down such an invitation in order to avoid compromising their orthodox, Protestant identity. The public relations disaster that would have followed this elementary stand for biblical truth and exclusivity would have been spectacular.   After all, how could one maintain that one is taking seriously 1 Timothy  2 while sharing prayer time with a real-life incarnate lama?

The Southern Baptists need to stop feeling disappointed that such a well-intentioned but theologically incoherent gathering does not want their presence and they should instead remember the wisdom of Marx – not Karl, but Groucho: you should never want to join any club that would have you as a member.

This is handled well again by Michael Horton where he says,

“It’s one thing when a political leader has to choose a clerical representative out of an array of Christian denominations. Today, however, representing the religious diversity of the Republic in public ceremonies is more complicated.”


“Recounting the history of national days of prayer, including the inter-religious “Prayer for America” event at Yankee Stadium in the aftermath of 9/11, Mr. (Jay) Sekulow’s call betrays assumptions about prayer that, in my view, can only trivialize this sacred act in the long run.”


“Nowhere in Mr. Sekulow’s article is prayer defined in its vertical relation . . . rather, the therapeutic idiom takes over. . . (that) to “the many Americans who find solace and healing in prayer,” helping victims and their families “cope with the lost of loved ones.”


“all of this presses the question: Is the purpose of prayer mainly therapeutic: personal and national catharsis? . . Or is it a solemn act of “calling on the name of the LORD” (i.e., Yahweh, the Father of Jesus Christ)? Does such an act have a personal object? Is that personal object the God who is revealed in Scripture as the Holy Trinity? Is the prayer directed to the Father, through the mediation of the incarnate Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit by whom we confess “Jesus as Lord”?”

This is why we are more sensitive about Christian Songs or Christian Topics – namely because Christianity is not a “topic”, it’s reality. It is not a religion among religions. This is the “Tao” of Lewis’ Mere Christianity; the metanarrative; that which is behind all predicates. It is precisely at this point, the point we discuss That (He) which is most important that we get most particular.

All content matters, but not as much as the content about God and and the things of God. It must be unmixed, unbent, undivided . . . or unaccepted.

I know that Paul Simon and Jack Johnson have missed it – there are no “puzzle pieces in the ground”, but I expect this from them. () When we the Bride of Christ mix and mingle, though, we find ourselves with our sister Israel headed back to Babylon, defiled and defaming the name of the LORD.

I’m not saying be counter-cultural. Be Christ-cultural.

It’s important.

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In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (ESV)

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