We Were All So Young
Almost 30 years ago, I had a remarkable dream that I immediately
knew had significant prophetic implications. I was deeply involved
in Christian music in those days, and had an intense desire to be a
vessel of honour whenever I was given the opportunity to minister in
music. It was common to engage in prayer with the pastor or
evangelist that would give the message that would invariably follow
the music, and I was profoundly honoured to be used by God in the
cultural art form known as contemporary Christian music.
In the dream, I saw a Christian music group performing at some
point in what I perceived was the somewhat future. They were seedy
looking, and an air of worldliness encompassed them from head to
toe. One of them was smoking a cigarette, and they all had that
sullen look that the rebellious rock generation found so familiar;
and yet this was considered a "Christian" rock band.
After awakening from the dream, the LORD spoke to me that
this imagery communicated the deterioration of spiritual purity that
would eventually overtake the then nascent Christian pop music
culture. As the years went by, I saw the reality of the Christian
music industry become conformed to the prophetic understanding I had
seen so many years previously. In the process, the LORD broke
the bondage of music that had so completely enslaved me, and
slowly reconstructed me into a vessel that could be used in a
ministry of Bible prophecy.
The ironies in this story are almost endless, for the aversion to
the pop culture that so many ministers held was, at the time, a
refusal to recognize that God was indeed moving in the social
constructs of our time. Now the roles have been reversed, and
significant numbers of the churches have gradually yielded to the
cultural inertia in an attempt at remaining relevant. It's not that
I now see music as intrinsically bad - it's that the Christian
leadership has consistently refused to follow where GOD
wanted them to go.
I see a good illustration of this in the ministry that GOD has
given me. In what can only be a supernatural revelation realized in
the context of Bible prophecy, I've had numerous prophecies
strikingly fulfilled with incredible specificity. I preach
from the King James Version of the Bible, and have a
consistently orthodox outlook in that I teach Christ will physically
return in the near future. I espouse the doctrine of the Trinity,
Justification by Faith, and so forth.
And yet, although I've done 5 national speaking tours in recent
times, I haven't spoken in a church in years. In my home
country, in the religious arena, I am completely without honour. In
fact, under the present circumstances, it would be extremely
unrealistic to think that I will ever be invited to speak in any
church within a few hundred miles of my home.
At the same time, I am acutely aware that if I were to pursue the
opportunity, I could get out an old guitar, and get an invitation to
play in a Christian church within a matter of hours. In fact, I
could probably get paid for the effort. What events could
possibly conspire to create such a strange dichotomy?
Many have commented on the obvious spiritual entropy in what used
to pass for the behavioural center in the secular arena. The
families personified by Leave It To Beaver and Father
Knows Best have given way to The Osbournes and Will
and Grace. The purists that worried about Elvis' pelvic
propensities were right - but it's not the Marilyn Mansons
that are the threat, it's the more benign "Christianized" version of
Britney Spears or the latest packaged 'boy band' that
supposedly posits a pop version of the Gospel.
Embarking on a rare trip down musical memory lane the other day,
I listened to an old Amy Grant CD that had been sent out to
radio and industry movers and shakers. After the tasty little title
track (which was being heavily promoted at the time) was a heartfelt
monologue from the pop star in which she waxed eloquently about the
folksy family life on the farm in Tennessee - with then husband
Alas, Gary's gone and country icon Vince Gill now sleeps
with the still appealing Amy. Far beyond the sub-culture that was
contemporary Christian music, Amy is now starring in a network
television series. Ironically, as I was wistfully looking back on
those early days of pop Christian music, the next tune I cued up was
called We Were All So Young - a melancholy
account of the story of Christian music penned by Gospel rock music
veteran Randy Stonehill. A moody lament that longs for the
clarity and purity of the early Christian music that was bathed in
the Holy Spirit, the lyrics poignantly demonstrate the collective
regrets of so many of pop Christian music's pioneers.
As if to add their approval to the sentiment expressed in the
song, Stonehill was joined by contemporary Christian music
heavyweights like Larry Norman, Phil Keaggy, Russ Taff, Barry
McGuire, Paul Stookey, Annie 'the poet' Herring, and even the
legendary band known as Love Song:
"It was rock n roll about the Gospel truth,
and it caused a stir that was front page
and we quickly learned that you can't please everyone.
But we wanted to stand for what is real,
for more than the money or the record deal,
as the critics all sneered we sang at the top
of our lungs,
we were all so young...."
Utilizing the modern analysis driven systematic marketing
methodologies that capitalize on local demographic data gathering,
the American mega church has declared their success is proof
positive we are in a revival. In spite of the fact that
vast numbers of churches still preach JESUS and declare the
Bible to be the Word of God, the country has come to what the
experts call 'the post-Christian era.'
Even when the leaders sense that something has gone
desperately wrong, they are all in the spiritual quicksand of
non-discernment, and the more they struggle the more contrived and
artificial the remedies they offer. The simple truth is, GOD
wants the Christians - but not the churches.
Deeply immersed in the legal and intellectual constructs of the
"Christian" world, the leaders of the "churches" can't fathom a
Gospel without their tutelage, their theological perspectives, or
their tax incentives.
Like the Pharisees of old, the church hierarchy cannot envision a
move by God that is completely apart from what they are absolutely
certain is true. "We have our father Abraham!" has been replaced by
"We preach the Bible!" - and anyone or anything that steps outside
of that legislated grace must be of the Devil.
But God is Sovereign and He has made His will known. He
has told His people to "come out of her" but most have simply
redefined the "her" so they can still feel comfortable in their
non-compliance to His compulsory directive. He won't be mocked and
the inevitable result of Hosea's God breathed declaration
that "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, because thou
hast rejected knowledge" has already resulted in the great
"falling away" so plainly prophesied by Paul the Apostle.
We were all so young, but now America's Christians are at
the end of the line. The spiritual bankruptcy of the church
exponentially dwarfs the corrupt accounting debt-bomb threatening
our entire financial order. The only course of action that makes any
sense at all is to try to come face to face with JESUS CHRIST
through intensely seeking to do the will of the Father. The Remnant
does it without the comfort of fellowship, conveniently located
buildings, or emotionally charged support mechanisms such as
immersing ourselves in the world of "Christian" culture.
Those of us in the remnant are out in the spiritual wilderness,
and it's become painfully evident this is precisely where God
wants us to be. If you'd like to wake up from your longest dream, I
would urgently advise you to come out of the whore the Christian
church has become, and look at these issues as if your life depends
upon it. The truth is, it does.
January 20, 2003 - James Lloyd
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