Key ’73 is an interdenominational program to reach all the people in North America with the Gospel by 1973. We have reported on this program in past issues. We have a couple of other related matters to report in this issue of The Standard Bearer.
We have obtained a copy of the pledge which some participants in this program have been asked to make. It reads as follows:
1. We pledge our spiritual gifts and resources to establish evangelism as a priority and set specific evangelism goals for which we will pray, plan and work.
2. We pledge to be open to the Lordship of Christ and to the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we analyze our Church fellowship by using the Thrust Booklet “Called To Serve” and set goals for the future.
3. We pledge to discover, rediscover and emphasize the Biblical teachings of the purpose of our redeemed community in the changing world and local communities in which God has placed us.
This is so far removed from all that is Scriptural and Reformed that it scarcely needs any comment.
In contrast to this, Christian News carried a resolution passed by unanimous vote by the annual meeting of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches which reads as follows: Since the Word of God enjoins believers to “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1); and,
Since the Scriptures clearly warn: “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, bath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed. For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” II John 9-11; and
Inasmuch as the program, organizational makeup and personnel of KEY ’73 completely ignore the above teaching of Scripture in the name of evangelism; and
Inasmuch as the Executive Committee of KEY ’73 includes leaders from apostate denominations; and Inasmuch as KEY ’73 “proposes to raise an overarching Christian canopy in both Canada and the United States under which all denominations, congregations and Christian groups may concentrate on evangelism during the year 1973,” and
Since KEY ’73 leaders emphasize that it is a “smorgasbord of ideas” in which “each church or group may choose the precise form or extent of its participation” and that “varieties in evangelistic expression are anticipated” thus opening the door to confusion about the central message of evangelism;
BE IT RESOLVED: That we, the messengers to the annual meeting of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, meeting in San Diego, California, this 30th day of June, 1972, go on record as being thoroughly opposed to any ecumenical evangelism which seeks to promote unscriptural cooperation without regard to the doctrinal position of the participants; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That we warn our people of the confusion which will result from a KEY ’73 program that allows the presence of liberals, Roman Catholics and others whose social gospel or sacramental gospel is not the gospel of Christ; and
BE IT RESOLVED: That we urge our pastors to boldly proclaim the message of Galatians 1:8: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That we urge our pastors and people to faithfully, fervently and daily reach the lost of our communities with the gospel of Christ in a program of evangelism that honors the full intent of the Great Commission and insures the purity of the local New Testament Church.
In Affirm, a conservative publication of a group in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, we ran across the following very interesting results of a poll taken among Lutherans. To understand the chart, the reader must know that “L” = Laity, “C” = Clergy, LCA = Lutheran Church of America, “ALC” = American Lutheran Church, “LCMS” = Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, and “WELS” = Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.”
1) The Bible is the Word of God in all its parts.
(L) LCA—29 ALC—35 LCMS—62 WELS—77
(C) LCS—10 ALC—19 LCMS—74 WELS—100
2) Only those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior can go to heaven (agree).
(L) LCA—56 ALC—58 LCMS—75 WELS—84
(C) LCA—43 ALC—52 LCMS—84 WELS—100
3) Man plays no part in his own salvation (agreeing).
(L) LCA—14 ALC—16 LCMS—19 WELS—26
(C) LCA—22 ALC—33 LCMS—73 WELS—93
4) Do you tend to see all Protestant religions as equally good? (Yes)
(L) LCA—72 ALC—71 LCMS—55 WELS—44
(C) LCA—60 ALC—28 LCMS—10 WELS—0
It is interesting to note that the Wisconsin Lutherans are by far the most conservative body among Lutherans in this country. But it is also interesting to note that there are differences at rather key points. Among all but the Wisconsin Synod Lutherans the laity are more conservative than the clergy in the first two questions and less conservative in the last two questions. But among Wisconsin Synod Lutherans the clergy are, throughout, more conservative than the laity. It is also interesting that among the laity there are only small percentages of people that reject the heresies of Arminianism and Pelagianism. While the clergy in the Missouri Synod Church and Wisconsin Synod Church generally believe the doctrines of sovereign grace, the laity do not. This is rather surprising and shows to what extent Arminiansim has gained a foothold in the thinking of the people in these denominations
A long time ago already a very interesting and instructive article appeared in The Banner under the title “A Church Musician’s Credo” which was written by Howard Slenk, Professor of music at Calvin College.
We cannot quote the whole article in these columns, nor even the interesting parts. But a few quotes are nonetheless worthwhile repeating.
In connection with “rock music” the author writes among other things:
Since I believe that the meaning of music lies in its relationship to our bodies and minds as they move through time, I believe that rock has very clear extra-musical meanings. I believe that the insistent, overpowering beat is a call to an immediate and intense motor response to the music, and that the extra-musical meaning of this strong stimulus is movement without purpose, action without thought. I also believe that the obsessive repetition of melody and harmony has a similar anti-intellectual meaning. All three of these elements of rock, plus the ear-splitting volume at which they must occur, have convinced me of the basically sensuous, sometimes hypnotic, meaning and effect of this music. The musical meaning of rock, not to mention the social effect, does indeed have moral implications.
In connection with the insistence by many that the Genevan tunes are often adaptations of secular songs, Slenk writes:
Here I insist on laying to rest the old myth that the Genevan melodies were forged from the popular tunes of the day. Although you will read this in all the encyclopedias, even music encyclopedias, and find it in the writings of great men like Albert Schweitzer, there is not a scrap of musical evidence to support it. About a century ago, a French writer, Gretiu Douen, illustrated some similarities between a few Genevan melodies and some French chansons. The similarities are limited to short groups of notes here and there, and can more easily be described as idiomatic coincidences than as direct borrowings. Pierre Pidox, the Swiss authority on the music of Calvinism, has shown conclusively that the Genevan melodies are fashioned much more after Gregorian chant than after French chansons. Altbough it is true that a few Lutheran chorales, such as “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded,” are adaptations of tunes first used for secular words, this borrowing process involves only a very small part of the total Lutheran repertoire. It should no longer be used as a justification for the use of popular music or folk music in church.
He concludes with the words:
To conclude, I would like to stress again that we consider music as music. So often we listen only to the words, or we remind ourselves of the sincerity of the performer, and never give a thought to the music itself. Music has meaning, universal meaning because of its resemblance to the motion and actions of human life, and particular meaning because of the individual cultural experiences each listener brings to the music he hears.
Both types of meaning reinforce the claim that there are different kinds of music. There is dance music for use in dance halls. There is folk music for use at work, at play, and around the campfire. There is rock music for use as . . . There is theater music, beer-hall music, and concert-hall music.
And there is church music! It does not have to be old to be good. It does not have to be played on the organ to be acceptable. It need not use archaic language to be religious. But it must be honest in its meaning as music, not a campfire ditty or a dance-hall tune or a barbershop arrangement or an operatic aria parading as church music.
If we believe that man may rise to the contemplation of-the divine through his senses, then we will also believe that through his senses, man may sink to the exploitation of the carnal. I believe that music has this twofold power.
To this we respond with a hearty “Amen.”
The loud pleas for liturgical change which are being made in the church world today are subject for contemplation. Such contemplation took up a considerable amount of my time the other day as I was reading John Calvin’s reply to Cardinal Sadolet. Our readers probably know that when Calvin was ousted from Geneva, Cardinal Sadolet thought he saw a good opportunity to woo the citizens of Geneva back to the Roman Catholic fold. He addressed a letter to these citizens to accomplish this purpose.
In a very masterful work, Calvin answered the Cardinal and defended eloquently the Reformation. Among other things, Sadolet had said in his letter: “Nothing (is) more perilous to our salvation than a preposterous and perverse worship of God.” To this Calvin responded with the following:
The primary rudiments, by which we are wont to train to piety those whom we wish to gain as disciples to Christ, are these; viz., not to frame any new worship of God for themselves at random, and after their own pleasure, but to know that the only legitimate worship is that which he himself approved from the beginning. For we maintain, what the sacred oracle declared, that obedience is more excellent than any sacrifice, (I Sam. xv. 22.) In short, we train them by every means, to be contented with the one rule of worship which they have received from his mouth, and bid adieu to all fictitious worship.” (This is taken from the Beverridge translation, p. 34.)
Calvin insists here that that worship only is proper which is in obedience to the demands of God. One could wish that those who claim to be Calvinists and yet holler so loudly for liturgical change which is founded upon the fads of the times rather than upon God’s Word would pay a little more attention to what Calvin himself wrote.