May 30, 2018
To our beloved White Stone Family:
Last February, we taught from the scriptures on Biblical Eldership. Elders function as shepherds of the local flock, God’s church. We learned from what the Bible teaches that one of the primary responsibilities of elders is to protect the flock from false teaching whenever we see it creeping in.
Recently, it came to our attention that a number of the songs that we sing as a congregation are written and performed by worship teams from churches that are part of a heretical movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation. The NAR is not a denomination, as we would think of it, but rather a loose association of churches and ministries that adhere to a body of common doctrines. Although some of the churches have denied association with the NAR, nevertheless, the leadership of these particular churches have been key figures in the movement. Among the ministries included in the NAR whose music we have used at WSF are Bethel Worship, Jesus Culture, and the various Hillsong Worship teams.
One of the false doctrines espoused by NAR movement is that the church is currently in a second apostolic wave of new apostles and prophets that speak new revelations with the same authority of the scriptures. These neo-apostles are conveniently the leaders of this movement (surprise!). Another doctrine taught by NAR apostles and prophets is that the church is meant by God to rule the earth now, not when Jesus returns, and should be actively seeking to infiltrate existing governments and power structures for that purpose. Yet another teaching is that the world’s wealth will be eventually transferred to these apostles and prophets to be used on behalf of God’s Kingdom.
These are just some of the disturbing teaching propagated by the NAR. After doing some research and investigation, we began to see that continuing to use the worship music produced by these false ministries would be unwise, displeasing to God, and potentially harmful to our fellowship. Even though the songs themselves contain no false doctrine and are some of the most beloved worship songs we sing at WSF, the elders unanimously agree that now that we know the truth about where the artists and songwriters stand doctrinally, we cannot continue to support their ministries by using their music in our worship.
Here are a few reasons why we have decided to discontinue their use:
- Many of our people search out the songs on YouTube and could easily navigate from there to the church’s website, thus being exposed to a dangerous heresy. Because we use their music, it could appear to our people that we approve of their ministries and teaching.
- When we perform a song from one of these ministries, we report to CCLI and they pay out royalties to the artists, songwriters, and publishing entities owned by the churches and ministries. We do not feel it is right before God to do anything that would financially support the spread of false doctrine.
- Knowing where the songs originate, it would violate the conscience of our worship team and some members to continue to sing these songs in our worship gatherings. In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul is addressing the young church at Corinth over the controversy of eating meat from the markets that was sold at a reduced price after being used in pagan temple sacrifices. He tells them, “For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” (1 Corinthians 8:10-13, ESV) Similarly, we do not wish to sin against our brothers and sisters in Christ by singing songs in our worship gathering that are publicly known to be associated with churches propagating false doctrine. Again, even though there is nothing wrong doctrinally in the songs themselves, and our people are free to continue to listen and use them for private worship as they wish, the eldership and leadership of the worship team unanimously agree that we can no longer use these songs in our public gatherings. To do so would risk wounding the conscience and going against the teaching of the scripture.
- We would not sing a worship song from the Mormon Church even if it was the best song ever written and the lyrics were completely Biblical in every respect. Why not? Because it originates from a heresy that is offensive to God and we are unwilling to bring that before Him in our corporate worship as an offering of praise.
We will continue to review carefully and examine closely the sources of the worship music we use in our gatherings. If we discover that we are mistaken about any of these artists, churches, or ministries, we will review and adjust accordingly. As of now, there is sufficient evidence to give us pause in continuing to use their music. If you would like more information or wish to discuss any concerns about this decision, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will set up a time to meet with you.
Please be in prayer for your elders and leaders at WSF as we seek before God to lead, feed, and protect the flock of the Lord Jesus Christ in a way that is pleasing to Him and that builds up the Body of Christ to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Jerry Davison, Justin Adamson, Bill Edger, and T.J. Thomas