Witchcraft or Worship?
Robert Wurtz II
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. (1Samuel 15:23)
At first sight these verses are stunning and sobering. God likened the rebellion of Saul, and his refusal to perform what he knew to be God’s will, as “witchcraft, iniquity, and idolatry.” You will recall the words of Jesus to the lost, “… depart from me you worker of iniquity.” So to have something we are doing be labeled as witchcraft, iniquity and idolatry is more serious than anything we could possibly imagine. Saul was rejected of God and David was raised up in his place. Why? Rebellion. Though glorified as a youthful virtue since the 1950s, rebellion is one of the most dangerous sin states a person can possibly be in. Saul was a leader of Israel, the people of God; but he was in complete defiance of God Almighty. We could put a hundred megaphones in our ears and not hear it as plainly as we ought. Simply put, rebellion is a one way ticket to eternal damnation.
An Unholy Matrimony
When the impotent evangelistic techniques of the early 1900s joined up with the rebellious pop-cultural spirit of the 1950s and 60s, they gave birth to what we call modern Western Christendom; the Visible Church in the Western world. This is not the spotless True Church, but Christianity in the main stream. The joining of these two was the perfect match. Millions of people were made to believe they were Christians without having been born again- leaving them in a carnal state. They are not spiritual, their minds are still at enmity with God. They cannot bring their hearts and minds to agree with God about sin and rebellion. It does not make sense to them. What’s the big deal, they ask? This is why they don’t understand why Christians are barred from worldly and sinful practices. Romans 12:1-3 has almost no meaning to them. When you tell them certain things are sinful or of the devil, they just get angry. They think you are being nit-picking, etc. This is one of the tell-tale signs that these people have never been born of the Spirit. They think like the Devil and desire the things of the Devil, but they see no contradiction. They defend sin and compromise rather than righteousness and holiness. Simply stated, they are on the wrong team and don’t even realize it.
Rebellion Becomes “Cool” and “Hip”
Carnal people have generally, and historically, embraced and advocated nearly every expression of rebellion- as it was understood by the Saints of bygone generations. Rebellion is a state of the heart towards God and the things of God, but there are specific ways it has been expressed in the main stream. In fact, in the 1950s and 60s a generation arose that sought to completely break ties with the standards and lifestyle of their parents and grandparents. Standards began to fall and the very foundation of society was under attack. This is why everything from smoking to Rock and Roll was embraced by a generation. Music was shaped by the rebellious to express their spirit. That tool then began to shape them until society began to spiral into total madness. The situation became so shocking, that one famous Rock group of the mid-60s, in their rebellious rant, My Generation sneered… “I hope I die before I get old.” This is now considered to be one of the most distilled statements of youthful rebellion in rock history. Old people were lame, un-cool and un-hip, so they would rather be dead than be what they were. I have often wondered if the lead singer, Roger Daltry still feels that way: he turns 70 in March.
Rebellion As An Expression of Personality
Prior to the 1950s True Christians were very sensitive to compromise. The consensus is that if our grand fathers and great-grandfathers could see what mainstream Christianity has become since their death, they would roll over in their graves. Most will agree with this, but some will add that it is because those “old people back then” were ignorant, legalistic, or any other cynical adjective they can use to dismiss their convictions. The Saints of old understood that everything we do is an expression of who we are. They saw behavior as an expression of the heart. For example, in the 1950s the stereotypical Rebel Without A Cause look was a teenager with his hair slicked back, a pack of cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve of his t-shirt, and looking “cool.” When a person saw that they did not think of Christianity, they thought of rebellion. Like Roger Daltry, they did not mind telling you they were in rebellion. Everything they did telegraphed it. “Were in rebellion and we want the whole world to know it…”
Rebellion As An Expression of Popular Culture
In time, many things that were expressions of rebellion in the 1950s, 60s and beyond, began to shape the peoples idea of normal. Rebellion is now in style! What happens when rebellion is trending? What happens when rebellion has been around so long that it is now fused into the very fabric of society? A few years ago in Missouri, where I live, an EF5 tornado went through one of our towns totally destroying much of it. Homes, churches, were destroyed- and even the hospital (ironically named Saint John’s) was moved several inches off of its foundation. Why? Because the force of the storm was so great, everything in its path, no matter how well established, was effected. This is what has happened in society. The tornado of rebellion and godlessness is ripping through our nations leaving nothing but total devastation. Our homes are being destroyed, churches are being destroyed, and only the strongest of structures remain as they once was. When expressions of rebellion become normative, fashionable, and a matter of “taste” we are on the fast track to perdition.
Rebellion As An Expression of Faith
I was shocked to see that several “Christian” bands are traveling the country under the heading, “The Rock and Worship Tour.” How could those two words possibly fit together? Which is it? Is it Rock or is it Worship, because it cannot be both. As a teenager growing up in the 80s, I had a front row seat to all things “Rock.” In fact, I am probably one of the few people my age that has actually seen Roy Orbison in concert. I have been to the concerts. Sadly, after a steady 5-8 hour dose, I nearly OD’d on MTV. Pop music was in the malls, the department stores, on the radio, in our commercials- it was even on the jukebox in my middle school lunch room. This is why people in my generation typically cannot relate to any other form of music. They were baptized into it.
What happened? Girls shaved their heads, painted their hair, wore huge earrings and provocative clothing. Guys began to wear earrings in the left ear (symbolizing “sophistication), rat tails, concert t-shirts with “666” and the “Number of the Beast”, chains, etc.. The anthem of many was, “Were on a highway to hell…” We knew it was rebellion. Why do you think people did it? I knew in my conscience that these things did not please God, I trembled at some of the things I saw. It is foolery to say we were just being kids or going through a “faze.” We knew what we were doing. However, on the rare occasions I did come to church, I did not expect my rebellious world to be manifest inside the four walls of the church house. With my friends? Yes. On the television? Yes. On the radio? Yes. In the school house? Yes. On our boom boxes? Yes. In the church house? Never. Not in a million years. How has a culture of rebellion changed the face of Christian expression in the last 30 years? Look around. Did any of these people take Romans 12:1-3 seriously? Obviously, they did not and here we are.
Witchcraft or Worship?
Saul started out well, but he fell into compromise. He may have figured, “this little bit of rebellion will never matter to God.” But his attitude was expressive of a generation that wanted him in power. They were rebellious and they wanted a rebellious king. They may not have said it, but God already told Samuel that the people had rejected Him (God) as being their king. This is always where compromise rests; people do not want God as King. A whole generation behaved in this way, save the elect that God had reserved.
It is difficult to convey the truth of what I have written in this post, because so few grasp what is at stake. The world is in a state of enmity with God. It is expressed on its TV shows, in its music, in its trends. Would to God that I could open the eyes of professors of Christ and show them that reality. But when you love something, you don’t like hearing it criticized. It angers you. So the conversation never gets any place. The Devil has deceived thousands of people into thinking they can Rock and Worship, and never see for even a second that they are using a vehicle for rebellion for the worship of God.
Its as if a generation has junked the new cart and ordered a hearse to slide the ark into to drive it around. After all, this is cited as the impetus for the angry, frustrated, sneering example of “one of the most distilled statements of youthful rebellion in rock history” My Generation. Roger Daltry sang it, but legend is told that band member Pete Townshend, reportedly wrote the song while on a train. He is said to have been inspired by the Queen mother who is alleged to have had Townshend’s 1935 Packard hearse towed off a street because she was offended by the sight of it during her daily drive through the neighborhood. Hence, his expression of darkness and death through his music manifested also in the very car he drove. The question is, are we going to load up Christianity into the back of that spirit and carry our faith?