I lived in Idaho for my formative years of Jr. High School and college, though college was a bit vague since I either skipped classes or slept through them. What stood out for me though was the huge presence of the Mormons in our area (near Boise). When my father was looking for a solid church it was not an easy task, essentially you could choose between the Mormons or a Nazarene church. Being Christians we obviously went with the Nazarenes.
That last sentence could be seen as jarring for some due to the tremendous job the Mormons have done in marketing themselves as a Christian church. They are not. Sadly in the current state of the Church in America this is not so clear as you can read from one man who accepts the title of an Evangelical “beg[s] to differ” on that cult thingy. The man is wrong in every way that matters but, of course, this post is not about Mouw and his horrid, dangerous words.
This is about the Piano Guys, who are somewhat of an internet sensation and are fun to watch and listen to. I like their music but I have noticed lately many people posting videos of them and at times posting them in the context of being Christians. They are not. They are Mormons.
Some will say, “So?” and it is a legitimate question. The music they do is good stuff and as a Christian can’t we enjoy their music? As is typical of me I think it is not such an easy thing to decide but I have made my personal decision and I write it out here for others to consider. Is there a qualitative difference between the Piano Guys doing Christmas music and Mannheim Steamroller, who don’t connect their music with a claim to being Christian? I think that there is even though I know others would disagree.
When I grew up in Idaho the Mormon Tabernacle Choir would always do a huge TV special of Christmas carols. We would not watch it. The reason was that they were a cult who did not even truly believe the words they were singing and in fact actively proclaimed a different gospel. I didn’t appreciate that distinction then, but I do now.
When the Piano Guys do a Christmas carol they are doing it with the belief that they are both Christian and that they believe those words, at least in some way. They will posture themselves as Christians. And unsuspecting, poorly taught Christians will hear them, click on their website and see nice things about their belief. Go ahead and click that link to Mormon.org at the bottom of their page.
BAM! John 3:16 right off the bat (assuming you are clicking near around the time I post this). You don’t get more Christian than that do you? Click on that link and the next page you can see at the top that you can read about the Christmas Story. There you will see a nice, vanilla description of the birth of Jesus with closing words being, ” As we embrace His teachings and follow the example of His perfect life, we can become more like Him, and experience true peace and joy.” Imbedded in that sentence is the basic lie of the Mormons, salvation is not in Jesus alone, it is through following His teachings and living in a proper manner. But if you are a weak Christian like so many are, then this sounds good.
What is missing? Well little things like that God the Father is only one of millions of gods who exist. That our “salvation” is not apart from our works but because if them. Jesus’ death is not one that secured anyone’s salvation or forgiveness of sin. There is a lot more but this post is not merely about the beliefs of the Mormon cult. If you want to read a bit more on their false view of salvation this page is replete with them, though you have to read with care. My “favorite” quote on that page is how the fall of Adam “wasn’t all bad because they could now feel great joy. “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25)” Thank goodness that now we can feel great joy because we are dead in our sins!
So, a little post became a long one. Here is my point. If you listen to the Piano Guys as a Christan just be aware of who they represent. Be wise as to how to speak of their music and to whom you recommend them. They are not neutral regarding your Lord, they advocate a different gospel of which Paul would say that they are “accursed.” For me, they just are not on my play list. If you lean toward my thoughts then I recommend folks like Page CXVI, Cardiphonia, or Sojourn Music to name a few.
Edited to fix some egregious errors, more to be found late I am sure.
I am guessing this title will draw hoards of people to the blog. Nothing gets the blood pumping like a discussion, no matter how short, on the doctrine of bibliology. Why, the WordPress dictionary doesn’t even know what it is and tries to change it to “biology,” which is probably some latent atheistic, evolutionary programming trick. Of course it doesn’t have “wordpress” in the dictionary either so they may just be a tad dumb.
Well, enough of an introduction. I want to give a quick observation about the nature of the bible, from a biblically conservative perspective. Doug Wilson has penned a great article on the necessity of the virgin birth of Christ. It is a great article that is easy to read due to his great skill as a wordsmith. I want to quote his opening paragraphs before going on:
You don’t need to be a Bible reader to know that the prophet Isaiah prophesied that a time would come when a virgin would conceive and bear a son. The passage has been included on countless Christmas cards, and so many non-believers of many stripes manage to get a dose of this doctrine just by opening their mail: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14).
Theological liberals like to point out that the word rendered as virgin here is the Hebrew word almah, which can mean “virgin,” but it can also be legitimately rendered as “young woman.” So then, the thinking goes, “You conservatives ought to think about this a bit harder, and join the rest of us in the 21st century as soon as you are able.” But centuries before Christ, when the Hebrew Old Testament was translated into Greek by Jewish rabbis (70 of them, according to tradition), the Greek word they chose to render this word almah was parthenos—and parthenos means virgin, as in a literal virgin. The famous Parthenon was a temple built in Athens to the virgin goddess Athena. With the use of this word, there is no wiggle room whatsoever.
So here is my point. Whenever you have a liberal Christian, or a non-Christian (often one-and-the-same) trying to pooh-pooh away the virgin birth they camp on the meaning of almah. Doug shows that this is not a proper approach but it comes from an assumption within him. That the bible is not a random collection of stories written by who knows who and are not really connected by anything real.
This is why he goes to the ancient Greek translation of that passage. And then he takes us to the New Testament and shows that this is how Matthew wrote it (parthenos) and most certainly how Mary understood it. And I would assume she would know that she was a virgin.
You cannot not know a passage all by itself. You do not form or demolish a theological point with just one passage. You consider it in light of the entire revelation of God, understanding that there is a continuity and unity there that is unlike anything else in the world.
When a liberal tells me that Isaiah 7 refers to just a young maiden I am forced to make a decision. Do I follow his or her declaration or do I take Matthew’s and Mary’s, and the translators of the OT into Greek. 5 bucks to the first one who get the right answer.
Something to consider at this point in time. The stores are going hot and heavy, consumerism is still the love of most Americans. And the death and suffering that is going on around the world in small villages and big cities would cause Sandy Hook to pale in comparison.
So, instead of buying all that you planned on buying, no matter what the price is, or how many gift cards you get back in return, how about trying Kiva? Kim and I have supported several people through micro loans over the last year or so and have not had one default on us. They need that money for the real sexy stuff in life. Vitamins for their pigs, upgrade in the types of dishware they sell, new cattle to breed. You know, just like what we are seeking this Christmas season.
The process is painless, the cost per loan is less than 30.00 and the reward is, well, eternal. Your choice. I write this because about six months ago I sent out a broad invite to join this organization via Facebook. I got several “likes” and positive comments. But, according to my account I have a .27 percent success rate in inviting people to participate. Bummer.