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    Gospel Music Is in Crisis

    by: General | 8 Comments »

    published: Saturday | December 16, 2006


    Ian Allen Staff/Photographer
    LEFT: Sasha performs with Turbulence at the Macka Diamond birthday bash, held at Mas Camp, Oxford Road, New Kingston, in April. RIGHT: DJ Nicholas and Kerron Ennis perform at Jamaica Youth for Christ
    Genesis Festival at the National Stadium, on New Year’s Day.

    Donald K. Stewart, Contributor

    As a Christian leader, I have tremendous respect and appreciation for our local gospel artistes.

    Over the years I have been a passionate supporter of such musical events as Youth For Christ’s ‘Genesis’, Church on The Rock’s ‘Alleluia’, Glory Music’s ‘Fun in The Son’, Prodigal’s ‘Recharge’, Anointed Praise Station’s ‘Good Fridays’, as well as the frequent ‘Jesus Parties’ at Swallowfield Chapel and elsewhere.

    There is no doubt in my mind that contemporary gospel music has the power to break demonic strongholds, effectively proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and totally transform previously messed-up lives, for the Kingdom of God.

    What we are witnessing at present, however, appears to be a process of systematic syncretism, where the holy and the profane are cunningly being merged and where truth is being embraced by deception, and evangelism replaced by ecumenism, all in the name of national and spiritual unity.

    Dangerous directions

    Some of our more prominent gospel artistes are being lured in these dangerous directions and then subsequently used as "precedent" to justify the defilement of the local gospel music industry as they parade onstage with "strange bed-partners," unequally yoked, yet still trying to walk together (Amos 3:3, 2 Cor. 6:14-17).

    When, for example, we have an individual of Rising Stars fame who performs at Genesis Gospel Festival and yet seems equally comfortable revelling on the carnival stage, giving praise and glory to Bacchus, the god of Bacchanal – then don’t you think that something strange is happening here?

    Is it not true that at a recent Recharge gospel concert, popular secular artistes Red Rat and Wayne Marshall were onstage performing alongside their Christian friend, with tremendous applause from the high-spirited audience? Could it be that these are some telling signs, indicating (to the discerning) that gospel music is in crisis?

    The Gleaner,of Monday, October 23, gave us an interesting report of the recent CD launch of a gospel artiste at the Altamont Court Hotel in St. Andrew. Angel G. Kelly presented her What God Wants You To Know, album backed by her Rastafarian band and with M.C. Winston ‘Bello’ Bell in full lyrical colours.

    Mr. Bell (a Christian minister) was not only wearing a Rasta arm band, but he made some strange, emotionally charged comments worthy of note. According to The Gleaner report, he declared that the venture was an ‘act of ecumenism’ and that "any pastor, any clergyman, any man of the cloth who fight against that is not someone who is moving the kingdom forward."

    I’m not sure whether Mr. Bell was correctly quoted, or whether he really understood what he was saying, or of which kingdom he was speaking. The entire episode, however, indicates a dangerous trend, especially when contrasted against clear biblical teachings regarding the holiness and purity expected of the people of God.

    Jesting

    Do you think that God was merely jesting in Ezekiel 22:26, when he declared, "They have put no difference between the holy and the profane, neither have they shown difference between the unclean and the clean?"

    Anyone who holds the increasingly popular ecumenical theory in which any and every thing "harmoniously" comes together in the name of peace and unity, will need to explain 1 Corinthians 10 21-22, where Paul writes; "Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. Do not provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?"

    Let’s not fool ourselves. Just as iron and clay can’t hold together, the holy and the profane will never truly unite, irrespective of the name that is given to that concoction, and those "enlightened ones" who so articulately preach the oneness of the secular and the spiritual, be careful how you mislead the trusting, vulnerable ones in your care.

    Transformation Jamaica, brain-child of Overcomers World Ministries was held at the National Stadium, October 25-27. But, what really was this massive concert that was endorsed by numerous large Jamaican companies and which boasted an impressive galaxy of famous (and infamous) local artistes?

    Best gospel artistes

    This event, dubbed as ‘A Music Festival Against Crime And Violence’, featured some of Jamaica’s best gospel artistes including Katalyst Crew, Ryan Mark, Kerron Ennis, D.A. Jay, Positive, St. Matthew, Zeela Mac, Omari, Levy’s Heritage, on- stage in "unity" with the likes of Turbulence, Sasha, Fantan Mojah, Red Rat, Tia, High Quality, Heather Cummings, Sherene Anderson and Noddy Virtue

    What on earth is happening here? Is there no one involved in the planning of this spectacle who has spiritual eyesight? Can’t the Christian artistes recognize that they are being led to compromise their moral and spiritual mandates for the proverbial cup of soup, no different from Esau in Gen. 25: 27-34?

    I wonder whether any of the organizers even bothered to consider the fact that true and lasting transformation can only come through the undiluted Gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:16-17, 1 Tim. 1: 12-16, Psalm 127:1). Why then, have they sought to establish an event built on futility and destined for disillusionment? Jamaica needs genuine peace (which comes through prayer and consistent, holy living), emotional, high-spirited events that leave many who are presently in the valley of decision – even more confused and disoriented, in the same valley.

    It is full time that Christian leaders took a clear position on what they truly believe and stop playing the "convenience game." We can’t (with a clear conscience) be preaching to our church congregations that "Jesus Christ is the only way", then go outside and conveniently embrace everything else, hoping to bring national transformation, through the developing of unholy, ungodly alliances with the same people whose own lives need radical adjustment.

    I call on my fellow Christian brothers and sisters to demand personal, moral and spiritual integrity of our church leaders, or we might soon discover that – it is not only gospel music that is in serious crisis.

    Dr. Donald K. Stewart is pastor of the Portmore Lane Covenant Community Church. He may be reached at covcomoffice@colis.com. Send feedback on Mind&Spirit to mark.dawes@gleanerjm.com.

    http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20061216/lead/lead9.html

    Full story here:

    8 Responses to “Gospel Music Is in Crisis”

    1. Rosie Says:

      I was reading the various comments on “gospel music in Crisis. It is all over. Here in Toronto we see the world slowly moving into the church and is accepted. The justification is to win souls. The world will never adapt the christianity, so why is the church adapting their ways?

    2. David Says:

      Great site. May the Lord continue to bless you in your work!

    3. Richard Beadle Says:

      Interesting, thought-provoking article on “Christian Music in Crisis”.

      I am in full agreement with the contributor, Pastor Stewart. It would be interesting to hear his views/ reviews of the Jamaican gospel music in hind-sight, now almost 4 years since the original article!

      As a Jamaican, involved in gospel radio in the Eastern Caribbean, I have my own concerns.

      Just this week, I received an email from a good friend and brother, an up and coming singer, music producer and gospel artiste manager in Jamaica. I had requested his music catalogue for our radio show.

      One of his comments was disheartening! He said “I have decided to focus on doing production work for others, and will no longer handle artiste management. There is just too muchh corruption, even in the gospel genre, and as a Christian I cant continue to do this with a clear conscience!”

      Can it be that Paster Stewart’s words of warning (written in 2006) in just a few short years are to be found to have been prophetic?

      “God, help us! How the songs we sing must burn your ears, when you examine the condition of our hearts!”

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