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Question 7:

I have heard you make negative comments about K-Love in the past. Could you tell us what you don't like about K-Love?

I like this question, mainly because the actual answer to this question is a principle that has application into so many different areas of the Christian life.

First, let's begin with a basic statement and then we can develop it from there. The statement is: Not everything that sounds Christian, or that uses Christian language, actually is. This is the basic principle that I will use in relation to K-Love, but I will also come back to this at the end for other application as well.

Now, just to illustrate that statement and point, think about all the TV Evangelists that have filtered through the airwaves over the last 30-40 years. Almost all of them use Scripture verses, talk about God and Jesus, most of them have a cross in their auditorium, and so on. However, I would guess that many or most of you know that a large percentage of TV evangelists have no interest in the eternal salvation of souls or of the one true gospel being preached. Instead, they are the men Peter warns against in 1 Peter 5:2, who lead the church for "shameful gain". Thus, even though these men and women might look and sound Christian, they are nothing of the sort.

K-Love is an organization whose expressed purpose is to be "positive and encouraging", bringing music that has a positive message for the masses of church-goers who want an alternative to secular, worldly music that is often wrought with sexual expressiveness, foul language, open debauchery, and a denial of anything holy. This seems like a worthy endeavor, and removing the secularistic and often sinful music of the world from our minds is a good and worthwhile thing.

However, as bible-believing Christians, it should not be enough for us to be happy with music that simply removes the worldliness. If God must be worshiped in Spirit and in truth, then the words we sing about Him and to Him must be words that are true and accurate, whether we are in our cars or gathered as the church on Sunday's or any other time. My issue with K-Love is that they have replaced worldly music with music that has a positive message but theological inaccuracy. Let me give you just one example.

These are the lyrics from a wildly popular song on K-Love called Touch the Sky by United, which is a group associated with Hillsong Church.

What fortune lies beyond the stars
Those dazzling heights too vast to climb
I got so high to fall so far
But I found heaven as love swept low
My heart beating
My soul breathing
I found my life
When I laid it down
Upward falling
Spirit soaring
I touch the sky
When my knees hit the ground
What treasure waits within Your scars
The gift of freedom gold can't buy
I bought the world and sold my heart
You traded heaven to have me again

The song goes on from there, and you can look up the entire lyrics to the song to see what the rest says. However, what you probably notice is that this song makes no mention of Jesus, the cross, or any other lyric that would be distinctly Christian. In this example, there is absolutely nothing about this song that is Christian at all. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this song could be played on secular radio without any anyone asking its premise.

Certainly, not all songs on K-Love are as obvious as the one above. However, let's look at one more example.

This is a song that was the most played on K-Love for many weeks in a row. The song is called Holy Spirit by Francesca Battestelli.

There's nothing worth more
That could ever come close
No thing can compare
You're our living hope
Your presence, Lord
I've tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord
Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord

On the surface, this song seems good, right? However, the lyrics of this song are based on a couple faulty premises. First, that God is not omnipresent, being everywhere all at once. To sing for the Holy Spirit to come and fill a place is to assume that God was not already there. This would deny a basic tenant of Scripture, that God dwells all places. Psalm 139 is one of many good examples of this truth. The second point is that these lyrics indicate that the Holy Spirit is an external force upon which a person can affect the Spirit's presence through prayer or request. Scripture tells us that the promised Holy Spirit comes upon believers when they are truly regenerated, to dwell within them, guiding them into all truth.To assume that the Holy Spirit works together with us and that we have power to control the work of the Spirit is to deny the omnipotence of God. Finally, in our day, there are many songs and churches who promote the idea that we can ask or receive more of the Holy Spirit than what we currently may possess. This is a twisted way of understanding that an infinite God, whose Spirit dwells in all believers, somehow desires to come into a life but is powerless to do so. The truth of Scripture is that a person receives all of the Holy Spirit at regeneration, and it is more of our being that is brought into alignment with the precepts of God over time (called sanctification), not a gradual filling up of the Spirit in our lives. As Steve Lawson says, "We don't get more of the Spirit, the Spirit gets more of us." The lyrics of this song are crafted in a way that seems correct, but, as you hopefully can see, they are skewed ever so slightly, so much so that they do not convey the truth of Scripture accurately.

Typically, when I speak of these issues, I get one of two responses, or sometimes both. Let me answer those here, and if you have further questions, please ask. The two questions are, "Well, this seems to be splitting hairs, don't you think?" Or, "Isn't the music on K-Love better than listening to the worldly, secular music?"

First, yes, this is splitting hairs. The problem is that in our post-modern, "let's accept everyone who calls themselves Christian" church culture, splitting hairs is viewed as bad. I won't take the space to put them all here, but if you read your New Testment from beginning to end, you will see that Jesus, the apostles, and the early church leaders all felt like truth, in its purest sense, was important and worth "splitting hairs" over. There have been great heroes of the faith through the generations who have stood up for truth in their generations as well. And to take this principle and apply it to these songs: We should want ourselves and our children to sing lyrics that accurately worship and portray God in truth. The Holy Spirit should be sung of truthfully. God the Father should be sung of truthfully. Jesus should be sung of truthfully. Call it whatever you want, splitting hairs or whatever, truth matters.

The answer to the second question is going to be tougher to swallow. Yes, we should stay away from worldly, foul music. However, replacing worldly music with music that is equally inaccurate theologically doesn't solve the problem, and actually makes things worse. I say that because in singing K-Love type songs, one often begins with the idea that the music is good and pleasing to God, simply because it sounds Christian and is positive. And, whether we know it not, and has been proved by researchers, music has a profound effect on us. If we are singing truthfully inaccurate lyrics, the message of those lyrics will affect us over time. Which means that if we are singing "positive, encouraging" songs, but songs that teach falsely, we can and will become skewed in our thinking because we will assume those lyrics convey truth, when they actually do not. Music like what K-Love presents can actually make us think we know Christ, when in fact we know a false version of him through false teaching.

One last note...K-Love also partners with some very clear false teachers. Many of their devotional teachers (people with 2-3 minute segments) are decidedly false teachers, and should be avoided altogether. K-Love also promotes the music and concerts of groups who are associated with false teachers.

All of this is because, at the root, K-Love exists not for truth or the defense of it, but for "positive, encouraging" messages that make people feel good. To do so means that all who call themselves Christian are included, regardless of doctrinal belief. And, therein lies the issue. Without doctrinal purity, God can not be worshiped in truth. To allow ourselves or our children to listen and partake in this music is to condone and promote that which is false. This doesn't mean that all music on K-Love is false or wrong, but it does mean that a large percentage of it is, and we should be like the Bereans and search the Scriptures regarding the things we hear, even music. When compared with Scripture and with discernment, it is clear that much of what K-Love puts out promotes a false understanding of God.

And this is where the original principle becomes universal. As true followers of Christ, who have the Scriptures as our guide, we should test all things against the words of truth to see if they are true. Books, movies, TV shows, radio programs, sermons, and music are all places where we need to be discerning and wise. Paul says in Philippians 4:8 that we should only think on the things that are holy and profitable. Which means we should first discern what aligns with the truth, and then think on those things. If you listen to music that is inaccurate, you will believe inaccurately. If you take in other media that is false, you will be susceptible to being led astray. We must be discerning in all areas of life, and the music of K-Love is a perfect example of why. Again, not everything that calls itself Christian or sounds Christian actually is truly Christian.

Thanks to Mike for the question this week.

Because of Christ,
Pastor Jayson
jayson@watersedgebible.org

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