Evangelical (Idol) Worship

Ok, things are much worse than I originally thought.

I don’t think any additional commentary is needed.


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19 Responses

  1. WOW. I did not see that coming. We watch idol here at the Barber house, but usually just the performace night and the las ten minutes of results night. Not “idol gives back,” can’t really stomach that one. You would think lightning would strike while they’re trying something like that.

    Our church has a rock style worship, w/ the lights low and candles lit. Since I was on staff, I know the leaders and their hearts. I feel they are authentic and strike a good balance without playing on people’s emotions. I’ve been in churches where that kind of stuff was done – you can tell the difference, if it’s really about Jesus or just feeling good (or guilty, whatever the sermon calls for that week.)

  2. Funny, Patrick was telling me about this last night. He said that, at first, it really interested him, but then it really made him feel sick.

    I think I’m getting the theme of what you’ve been saying: we’ve made Jesus a fun, trendy, convenience. Very different from the Jesus spoken of by Hudson Taylor in Chris’ blog.

  3. Apparently, the first night they said “My Shephard” but the second night they said “My Jesus”. And here is a link with a lot of inside information: http://www.joshharris.com/2008/04/inside_scoop_on_shout_to_the_l.php

    The thing is this is offensive on at least two fronts. One of the eight contestants doesn’t identify as a Christian. Here is a quote that really bothered me: “I was told that Jason Castro encouraged a few of the others to sing “Shout to the Lord” after they at first balked at the lyrics.”

    So, let me get this straight, some of them felt uncomfortable, but through “righteous” peer pressure caved. Wow. Just wow.

  4. Also, the only two weeks that Kristy Lee Cook wasn’t in the bottom three before this was when she sang a patriotic/religious song and a religious song by Dolly Parton. Do you think the producers missed the connection?

  5. Angela,
    Thanks for the Josh Harris link. It’s been a long time since I’d heard of him. I really like this excerpt from his post:

    “Oh, and let me gently disagree with people who are upset about the song being sung, edited or not. Don’t get so worked up about unsaved people singing songs of praise to Jesus. It happens every Sunday in churches around the world. It happens in my church every Sunday. Thankfully, a large portion of people at our church are Christians. But there are many people who claim to know Christ that don’t. And there are many unbelieving people who come who need to repent and believe.

    Here’s reality: we live in a secular, pluralistic society. We need to be good neighbors to agnostics and atheists and people of other religions. Christian faith and practice shouldn’t be forced on others. And we shouldn’t be overly surprised when “gospel” music that is very meaningful to believers is co-opted and used in secular settings by people who don’t have personal faith in Jesus. How many times has Amazing Grace been sung and loved by people who don’t really grasp its truth? Like it or not we live in a culture where many people view gospel music as merely a style that is part of a cultural tradition. That’s all it means to them.

    Moments like this are reminders for me that the songs and trappings of Christian culture are not the hope of the world—Jesus is! We need to make him known. We need to love and seek to serve the world around us through prayer, through faithful evangelism, and through Christ-like service of those in need. “

  6. We did watch the Idol gives back special (but then, we watch Idol, shamelessly), and I wasn’t aware they sang the song more than once. We didn’t see the end of the Idol gives back special, though, so it may have been performed then. We didn’t actually watch the results show, either (power outage), but I watched the youtube video. I still am not entirely sure what to think. I thought (and think) it’s bizarre. Who chose the song? Why are they singing this song on IDOL?!? And then part of me thought there was a great deal of truth in these people of different backgrounds professing (knowingly or not) Jesus’ lordship.

    But over it all was a sense that this was just really bizarre.

  7. Hoesayfina- I completely agree with Josh on this issue.

    But (and I realize you weren’t saying otherwise) it does bother me that, according to this source, some might have been pressured into it. And the source made it sound like he/she thought that was a good thing. Think about it. If one of the kids had said no, but the other seven had said yes, and they went on with it, what do you think would have happened to the one who opted out because it wasn’t in line with his beliefs. Dollars to donuts he would be in the bottom three and probably out in the next round. Statistically he just lost 76.3% of his voters by not singing. It smacks of coersion.

    Islam grew as quickly as it did, because there were severe economical and societal threats associated with not converting, when Mohammad was marauding around Arabia. It is even acknowledged in the Koran that a lot of converts did so out of greed, threat to life, etc. Mohammad said this type of conversion weakened the religion, but was ultimately necessary. Is this what Christianity really wants?

    Also it bothers me that the integrity and purpose of worship is being convoluted to suit the whims of the entertainment industry. I have lost my faith, but I see something horribly wrong with degrading the faith of others by commercializing something profoundly spiritual and profoundly personal. I equate this to Billy Graham, the talking cow and the Disneyland-type circus at his future tomb.

    Sorry if this comes across as an angry rant. Mostly I just find the whole thing sad.

  8. Here’s another interesting response:

  9. Oops – meant to include a quote from the post I linked. Here it is:
    “Second, we we need to live in such a way that it’s clear being a Christian is more than giving money to worthy causes and being emotionally moved as we sing songs of every genre together. We want to do all we can to ensure that those who walk into our meetings see clearly that we’re not a local version of American Idol.”

  10. One of many thoughts/reactions:

    I bet the kids who didn’t want to sing “Jesus” had to face Him, for a moment, in their souls. I bet the kid who made them do it (whether he was gracious or pushy) had the chance to practice interacting with people about his faith. And _we_ don’t know what happened inside them, or afterwards.

    Maybe God used this event in many ways for the people on stage who were actually involved.

    You never know…

  11. i talked to my friend about this the night it aired, but had never seen footage til now. and i think my reaction was…it is NEVER good when xianity goes mainstream. and not because it makes me feel uncool, as a christian (even though it does because it is embarrassing) – but because the message and the jesus that i try really hard to take seriously – turns into a joke. or a public service announcement. or both. and that is hard to deal with – and hard to explain to my friends who are already skeptical of any religion.

    and as for the “idols” who decided to sing the song, even though they wouldnt consider themselves christian…i would rather them just be honest about how they feel about god, instead of sing a pretty loaded song about how wonderful god is. and i actually think god would rather they be honest about their faith, too…rather than put on a show. i dont think god likes that very much. but i could be wrong.

  12. Thanks for all the responses here – lots of stuff I didn’t know about.

    A couple things real quick, first, I’m not too upset about a tv show using a worship song. I do have a problem with making non-Christians sing such a song, but really I don’t feel any kind of evil was done. Largely, I don’t care what happens on American Idol. However, second, I do think this is a perfect example of what Evangelical Worship has become – just something to be consumed. I’m not sure Sunday worship services are much better than American Idol in this clip. I don’t mean the people singing are bad people with bad intentions, I just mean the system is wrong.

  13. To all those letters applauding the worship on ‘Idol’, blessings to you. To all those who spoke negatively about it, shame on you!. If you are a non-Christian reading the trash-talk being thrown around by so-called Christians on these kind of sites, I want to appologize to you for the confusion caused by Christians who slander other Christians for worshipping God on national tv. If you were listening to “Shout to the Lord” and God Spoke to your heart, and you heard Him, and now realize there is a God and want to worship him yourself, then take the time right now to speak to him. He holds the whole world in his hand, yet knows all of our thoughts all the time. So just say out loud right now, ‘God I want to know you personally and to live my whole life for you as the God of creation, and I thank you that Jesus (in the song) died for my sinful life so I can be free from the turmoil in my spirit.” Now go to a Bible beleiveing church and ask for a Bible and some help from a pastor to understand how to learn who God is, and start reading the Bible. Go to a Christian book store and even buy a worship cd Like “Hillsongs United” that plays songs like the one you heard on ‘Idol’.
    Now, for all you who wrote negative letters, take this as an example, that any opportunity can be used as a ministry opportunity. We as Christians need to stick together and encourage one another, not put each other down. If you call yourself a Christian yet speak out against other Christians, speak in contempt of worship going out to God, or think of yourself as more spiritual than others and are therefore a judgemental person of others’ lives, then ask yourself these questions:
    -When was the last time you encouraged someone
    -When was the last time you sang or yelled out in praise to God so loud that your throat hurt
    -When was the last time you performed a miracle
    -When was the last time you prayed for a person because they said they were sick
    -When was the last time you prayed that God would speak to someones heart and call them to himself – just because.
    We need to be caring, compassionated, not-judgemental, and above all, loving. If we are not this way, yet call ourselves Christians, then we should keep our mouths shut and go away into a quiet place with God until we understand his heart. We need hearts of ministry where ever we are, and need to be intercessors in prayer constantly, so that when a song like “Shout to the Lord” is proclaimed and the name of Jesus is sung into the heavens, spiritual bondages are broken and God’s Spirit and His angels are commissioned to do His bidding. That’s how God gets things done anyway. To those who are naive of the understanding of true Christianity I urge you to first gain spiritual understanding before you vomit your ignorance all over the internet, causing not only confusion towards Christianity, but causing people to run away from God and His people rather to Him. This is the refuge people need to see in us.
    And to the management at Fox, I pray blessings on you and your families, if there is anyone sick or diseased that you will see miracles and healings beginning today for your participation in ministry across North America, for letting the name of Jesus Christ to be sung out!

  14. Jon – thanks for setting us right.

  15. Just felt like I had to say what I said. Hope I wasn’t to harsh. I tried to be as pastoral as I could, and I also learned from it as I can be a little judgemental sometimes, but we’re all learning and every day has new struggles. It’s just that in my spiritual journey lately, even though I’ve spent years in Bible college and ministry, cast out demons and performed miracles, I feel like I’m just now really understanding what it is to be a Christian. I know there are alot of Christians who have a much clearer understanding than I do and who have much more effective lives than I do to people around them, but God has been giving me much clearer revelation of the scripture and understanding than ever before through various ministries, dreams, visions and words of knowledge, and I’m humbled. I hope I am not coming across self-righteous in any way, but that what I have shared has boosted peoples thirst for understanding a little bit. I am just typing up a series of letters about being a Christian, that God woke me up with one morning a week ago and will be emailing them as chain letters. If you want I can post them on this site, as well, if you want. I believe the face of the Christian church has been changeing over the last couple of years and we all need to jump on the train so we will be a powerful force to be reconned with.

  16. One more thing, If I haven’t said too much already. I believe God is a creative God, beyond what we could understand, and that sometimes we just need to sit back and pray for patience to see the ‘fruit’ of the creative forms of ministry out there today, and maybe we will learn something. Don’t you think God is more concerned with the fact that hearts are changed rather than the style of a ministry? Also FYI, there is a movie coming out in theatres by “Hillsongs United” who originally sang “Shout to the Lord”. The movie is called “With Hearts as One”. Check it out on u-tube and see how with their style of worship, and in my opinion some very powerful and anointed songs, have brought over 25,000 people to a fervent relationship with Christ.
    I hope you all go see it, and not only watch but go buy the cd’s or vid’s and learn the songs, so that when you watch the movie with the rest of the world you can join in worship in the spirit, which is true worship, and with a joined effort in worship we will have a profound spiritual effect in the heavenly realms as one body of Christ.

  17. Jon: In case you actually care, I thought your original post came across as extremely self-righteous and not humble at all.

  18. Sorry if I came across that way Mark, maybe it was just too much passion or maybe it seemed a little harsh. The negativeness just made me sick to my stomach so I had to say something. Really I just want to encourage people to increase in their Christian walk and get away from sensless thinking and words(which is just a waste of time and energy) and more toward Kingdom(of Heaven) thinking. I hope you could see my heart more in the last 2 postings.

  19. Jon: I appreciate your response. I don’t know if you know any of the people that frequent this board, but those that I know (including the author) are all people that are very serious about matters of faith.

    The video clip made the subject of this post is one that could give a reasonable person cause for concern for a number of reasons. You liked it. Others did not. This is a space for respectful dialogue and (often) disagreement. Phrases like “call yourself a Christian” and “keep your mouth shut” fall short of the standard Adam has set here.

    You took offense that some here were critical of the Idol concert, saying that they should not speak out against other Christians. Yet their words will never be read by any of those Idol contestants. However, your harsh words directed at them WILL be read by them. Your original post was hypocritical for that reason.

    It sounds as though you are very excited about the things you believe God is doing in your life. An important aspect of spiritual maturity is to allow others the space to let God do what he will in their lives, without insisting that others validate your experience. While I have absolutely no interest in “Hillsongs United”, and will not be buying the CDs or DVD, I would be interested in reading why these songs are important to you as a part of your spiritual journey.

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