I was awed when I saw the headlines about Simone Biles performing on Dancing With the Stars (DWTS) to the music of "Good Good Father" by Pat Barrett and Tony Brown.
My first thought was, "Wow, amazing; performing to a Christian song at that level of competition and before that public audience."
I was drawn to watch the video; which brought an experience I was definitely was not expecting.
Watching this very gifted and talented young lady dance to honor her daddy was truly wonderful.
She has made quality choices in her life and overcome adversities that send most spiraling downward not upward, as she has done.
Her testimony about her adoptive parents is a very special story that needs to be heard by the nation and that was an awesome venue in which to share it.
As Simone and her partner were gracefully moving around the dance floor to the words and music of "Good Good Father," the thought filled my mind, "Would they ballroom dance to the music and words of 'Majesty' or 'Holy, Holy, Holy?'"
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The thought just as quickly came to my mind, "You are being critical here, Dean."
Then the question filled my mind. "Why would they select a Christian song to perform on DWTS?" Then I realized. They were not dancing to a Christian song. They were dancing to a song in honor of her earthly father.
She was saying to her adoptive daddy, "You're a good good father, that's who you are, that's who you are."
That is when I had the unexpected experience.
Holy Spirit came upon my heart very strong and spoke to me, "I want Simone and others to honor their daddy. I want dads who are encouraging, faithful, affirming to their children and who are good role models to be honored for what they do. But, I also want heavenly Father to be honored for His character and His nature, and I want it clearly distinguished that heavenly Father is high above any earthly father, no matter how good the quality of the man."
This experience crystallized some things that have been percolating in my spirit for some time.
They relate to our concept of Jesus Christ, heavenly Father and Holy Spirit. I intentionally state them in that order, for this reason.
Jesus Christ made it very clear that He came to earth to bring us to Father (John 14:1-11). Our perception of Jesus Christ will have a direct bearing upon our perception of heavenly Father.
Our perception of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will affect our perception of Holy Spirit.
There has been a gradual decline in the identity of Jesus, heavenly Father and Holy Spirit in the church. We tend to perceive them in human terms and espouse the idea of Holy Spirit as a force more than as a person.
These perceptions are being reflected in music, in the media and in the manner to which they are referred in sermons, writings and teachings.
The danger of this gradual decline is the proverbial frog in the kettle.
I have observed a growing influence of Gnosticism in the church.
One of the great examples is the acceptance inside the church of the recent movies and television mini-series on the Bible and the life of Jesus Christ, produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett.
Roma Downey professes to be Roman Catholic; however, she has graduated from the University of Santa Monica with a master's Degree in spiritual psychology.
The University of Santa Monica is a private, unaccredited university that only offers degrees in New Age study. New Age belief is represented in the movies and television mini-series Downey and Burnett have produced.
Some may think of it as minor, I do not and neither did the Apostle Paul. He wrote the Book of Colossians to countermand such teaching.
This illusion of truth is rapidly gaining traction, even inside the gospel-preaching church, creeping in subtly and gradually.
"Repeat a lie often enough and it will become the truth," is often attributed to Joseph Goebbels, close friend of Adolph Hitler and Reich Minister of Propaganda.
That is what is happening with this misperception inside the church.
Sticking with the song mentioned at the beginning, you do not discover this song is talking about God until the very last stanza. Then, you only grasp it is talking about God if you make the right inference.
"You are perfect in all of your ways."
Is that human perfection or divine perfection? Nothing clarifies that statement.
This is not just being picky.
There are worship songs that are so romantic and intimate they could be love songs on the top 50 charts. They are worship songs to God only if the worshipper intends it so and the words are spoken personally to Him.
There are two serious mistakes in worship today being made that are sending us down a slippery slope
1. The church is removing the sacredness of the worship experience.
When a song used on Sunday to worship the living God can be used on Monday night in a ballroom dance competition, something is missing.
What is missing is the holiness and fear of the Lord in worship.
Also being missed are worship songs that create a holy fear of the Lord in the heart of the worshipper by giving adoration, worship and a holy awe of Jesus Christ, heavenly Father and Holy Spirit.
Worship and praise music must accurately declare the nature and character of Almighty God, and it must proclaim and give adoration to His name.
2. The second mistake being made is the humanizing of the worship experience.
Worship songs are being written using terms of intimacy in public worship that are not seen in any of the holy Scriptures on the subject of public worship.
That level of intimacy between God and the worshipper reflected in the writing of the Song of Solomon is reserved for the privacy of one's own heart and life, not public worship.
The absence of properly identifying Almighty God in the words subtly changes the focus.
When the words of the song have greater emphasis on what the worshipper feels and is experiencing than on adoration, exaltation and worship of the Almighty, that humanizes the worship experience.
When this is combined with the subtle changes in the worship center; low house lights, spotlights on the musicians and singers, smoke and staging designed to bring the focus to the stage experience; this makes the worship entirely human-centered, not divine-centered.
Heavenly Father longs for a personal, intimate walk with each of His sons and daughters.
He greatly desires for us to know His personal love and acceptance.
He also expects us to have deep in our heart the reverence and holy awe that our heavenly Father is the absolute sovereign, almighty God who created all things and who has authority of all that exists.
That is my Father.
His Spirit in me cries out, "Abba, Father."
Dr. F. Dean Hackett has served in full-time Christian ministry since October 1971. He has ministered throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, serving as pastor, conference speaker and mentor. He has planted four churches, assisted in planting 15 others, and currently serves as lead pastor of Living Faith Church in Hermiston, Oregon. Dr. Hackett founded Spirit Life Ministries International in 2001 to facilitate ministries in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina and to open a training center for workers in those nations. You can find him at F. Dean Hackett - Foundational, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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