In discussions with Christians who believe in unending torment for the damned the main objection to annihilation seems to be Biblical descriptions of eternal fire. A video titled Undying Worm & Unquenchable Fire by Stephen Bohr resolved this issue for me. Deut 4:24 the LORD your God is a consuming fire. Heb 12:29 our God is a consuming fire. Exodus 24:17 the sight of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the mountaintop in the eyes of the Israelites. According to Bohr, God’s glory is the fire from heaven that destroyed S&G. The result is eternal not the process of destruction. Furthermore, he posits that it is the just and not the unjust who will reside in eternal fire, citing Is 33:14 – The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling grips the ungodly: “Who of us can dwell with a consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting flames?” 15 He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity, who refuses gain from extortion, whose hand never takes a bribe, who stops his ears against murderous plots and shuts his eyes tightly against evil. Rev 15:2 I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire. According to Bohr, God’s fiery glory reflects in the sea of glass; God’s glory is the everlasting fire of Scripture. Alternately, one could interpret God’s tongue as the source of eternal fire, based on Is 30:27 – Behold, the Name of the LORD comes from afar, with burning anger and dense smoke. His lips are full of fury, and His tongue is like a consuming fire.
What the Hell
Derek Prince: “Young people don’t have the inhibitions that we older people have. They just go out and tell it like it is. That’s what God wants.” I’ve been street preaching for a few months with other Christians. The results have been positive, although another street preacher doesn’t want to cooperate with me as I hold an annihilation view of hell. I’m not a fan of his style of preaching, which seems to misrepresent God as an angry, hateful destroyer, rather than a holy and loving Creator. His intolerance and divisiveness led me to look into this view more closely. The Bible contrasts death and destruction of mortal bodies and souls with eternal life, not eternal life in hell with eternal life in heaven. In fact heaven is not the ultimate destiny of the saints, but rather heaven is coming to earth (Revelation 5:9; 21:2) – thy kingdom come on earth as in heaven. So there seems to be a lot of unBiblical teaching going on about ending up in heaven or endlessly tormented in hell.
Of course the word hell is never used in the original Bible manuscripts. In the Old Testament 31x Sheol is used to denote the grave. In the New Testament 10x Hades is used to signify the grave or a place of punishment; 12x gehenna is used to signify a city dump; once Tartarus is used to signify a place of darkness for fallen angels – 2 Peter 2:4. Total 54x. When preachers use the word hell many or most may conjure notions from Greek philosophy, Western literature / epics, and the Islamic Quran. I admire the view of scholar John Wenham’s “Facing Hell”: “I believe that endless torment is a hideous and unscriptural doctrine which has been a terrible burden on the mind of the church for many centuries and a terrible blot on her presentation of the gospel. I should indeed be happy if, before I die, I could help in sweeping it away. Most of all I should rejoice to see a number of theologians . . . joining … in researching this great topic with all its ramifications.”
Bart Ehrman: “in the earliest Christian tradition postmortem punishment for sinners is not conscious torment but annihilation. Jesus himself regularly speaks of the ‘destruction’ of sinners, not their torment (e.g., Matt 7:13-14), and often like his predecessor the Baptist, in terms of sinners being judged by ‘fire’ (Matt 3:10 25:41). He sometimes states that the fire is eternal, but he never indicates that the people cast into it eternally suffer. Instead they appear to be destroyed in the apocalyptic furnace, just as ‘weeds’ that are cast into a fire (Matt 13:36-43) or ‘fish’ (Matt 13:47-50): once weeds and fish are burned, they cease to exist; they don’t burn forever. Even in the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matt 25:31-46), those who enter into eternal fires made for the devil and his angels are not said to suffer torment there forever; on the contrary, when Jesus summarizes their respective eternal fates, one group is given eternal ‘life’ and the other eternal
‘punishment’ (Matt 25:46).  This is an antithesis. The opposite of ‘life’ is not ‘torture,’ but ‘death.’ The goats, then are destroyed in fire. Why is it called an ‘eternal’ punishment? Because it will never be reversed.
Paul attests the same view (1 Thess 4:3), as do his followers (2 Thess 1:9: ‘eternal destruction’). Remarkably to some readers, so too does the book of Revelation, which does have the wicked thrown bodily into the lake of fire (20:11-15), but that is their mode of execution, not eternal torment. Only the Beast (Rome!), his prophet, and the devil are said to be tortured in the lake forever (20:10). That is precisely not said of the humans (= mortals) who follow them there. The only exception to this annihilist view in the New Testament comes in the relatively late Gospel of Luke, in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man (16:19-31). Notably, however, the passage does not say anything about the duration of the torment, let alone that it is eternal.
Probably by the second century, at least, the ‘eternal punishment’ of annihilation found in Jesus and the New Testament authors had transmogrified into eternal torment.” (Journeys to Heaven and Hell, 203-4)
Bart Ehrman: “‘When you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust’ (Psalm 104:29)….Humans were originally made from dust (Genesis 2:7) and that is where they return….Ancient Israelites did not subscribe to the view of the immortality of the soul.” (Heaven and Hell, 82)
“there is unanimity among critical scholars that in no case does Sheol mean ‘hell’ in the sense people mean today. There is no place of eternal punishment in any passage of the entire Old Testament.” (83)
“when Jesus teaches about Gehenna, he is thinking of annihilation, not torment.
And so, for example, in Matthew 10:28, Jesus says….’fear the one who can annihilate both the soul and body in Gehenna.’” (160) “it is the fire that is eternal, not the sinner in the fire. The fires never go out. Just as the funeral pyre burns on once the body is consumed – or, more appropriately, just as the executioner’s fire  continues to burn after the condemned has long since died – so too with the fires of eternal punishment. Like the worm that never dies, it goes on, but the people who are punished have expired. They will no longer exist.” (165-6)
Ehrman describes the parable of Lazarus and the rich man as an “imaginative story attributed to Jesus only in Luke, a story readers later took literally to describe what the afterlife would be like for the righteous and the wicked.” (203)
“Paul….says that the unbelievers, at the return of Jesus, will experience ‘sudden destruction’ (1 Thessalonians 5:3). That is to say, as Jesus also taught, the wicked will be annihilated at the Day of Judgement ….This coincides with what Paul later wrote….When Christ returns and the dead are transformed for eternal life, Christ will then ‘annihilate every authority and power’ (1 Corinthians 15:24). If they are annihilated, they will no longer exist. In the end, nothing at all will exist that does not exude the glory of God the Father. Most striking of all, not even death will survive. ‘The last enemy, death, is annihilated’ (1 Corinthians 15:26). Death will be no more, and if that is so, then neither are the people who have gone to death. They simply don’t exist any longer. They aren’t tortured. They are taken out of existence, never to return.
This appears to have been the teaching of both Paul and Jesus. But it was eventually to be changed by later Christians, who came to affirm not only eternal joy for the saints but eternal torment for the sinners, creating the irony that throughout the ages most Christians have believed in a hell that did not exist for either of the founders of Christianity.” (189)
Ehrman: “The book of Revelation shares this view [of Jesus and Paul]. Even though later Christians transformed the symbolic ‘lake of fire’ into a literal description of the fire pits of hell, where people would burn forever – not just for a few trillion years – with no chance of relief or redemption, John agreed with his Lord Jesus and his forerunner Paul. For sinners, death is the end of the story.” (228)
Ehrman: “there was no historical, cultural, or religious necessity that the earlier views of ultimate annihilation for sinners had to lead to the notion of never-ending conscious torment. Yet that is what happened.” (251) There may have been political necessity to install fear in people for ease of control.
John MacArthur, The Truth About Hell: “Gehenna…is the place in ancient times where the city dump was and it was a never extinguished burning fire, and it became the metaphor for the lake of fire, for hell….not annihilation. You can’t make that case from Scripture. When I was a kid everybody had an incinerator in the back of the house…and it seemed as it was always burning day after day….the everlasting trash heap, the burning fires of Gehenna, or hell. That’s what those words are talking about, not annihilation. You can’t make that case from Scripture…..Hell is eternal conscious punishment. There’s no way around this….Enough of trying to answer those lame arguments.” It is his arguments that are lame. MacArthur cites Eccl 9:10: “‘there’s no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol.’…That sounds like eternal boredom…no nothing.” No weeping or gnashing of teeth or burning or torment. Rev. 21:4 “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away.”
John Stott: I would prefer to call myself agnostic on this issue, as are a number of New Testament scholars I know. In my view, the biblical teaching is not plain enough to warrant dogmatism. There are awkward texts on both sides of the debate. The hallmark of an authentic evangelicalism is not the uncritical repetition of old traditions but the willingness to submit every tradition, however ancient, to fresh biblical scrutiny and, if necessary, reform.
JI Packer stated that several “mainstream evangelicals,” along with other prominent Protestant leaders and writers, had written in favor of annihilation or conditional immortality….an increasing number of Bible-believing evangelicals were espousing the idea of hell as annihilation. In this he quoted Peter Toon: “In conservative circles there is a seeming reluctance to espouse publicly a doctrine of hell, and where it is held, there is a seeming tendency towards a doctrine of hell as annihilation . . .conditional immortality . . . appears to be gaining acceptance in evangelical orthodox circles.
Some Biblical Verses About ‘Hell’
Ashes to ashes dust to dust God to A&E you will die, Satan you won’t die. Gen 3:22 God says Lest he live forever.
Ez 18:4 4 Behold, all souls are mine; the soul that sins will die.
Ez 18:20 The soul who sins shall die.
Ez 18:23 Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the LORD. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live.
Ez 33:11 declares the LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!
Jude 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
Rom 2:7 “to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life”
1 Cor 15:53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.
Eccl 9:5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. 10Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.”
Mal 4:1-3 wicked trodden on as ashes.
Mt 10:28 fear God who destroys soul and body in hell
Jn 3:16 Jam 1:15 sin brings forth death.
Ps 37:10,20 Lord consumes enemies.
Is 47:14 wicked as stubble.
Dan 12:2And many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to everlasting life, but others to shame and everlasting contempt.
Rev 20:14 lake of fire=second death 22:12 varying degrees of reward and punishment
2 Pet 2:6 S&G turned to ashes as example
Mt 25:41 everlasting fire 46 everlasting punishment not eternal life
Mark 9:47-8 unquenchable Gehenna
Jer 17:27 God will kindle a fire that won’t be quenched/extinguished in Jerusalem; burnt by Nebuchadnezzar.
2 Chr 36:19 unquenchable fire according to
Rev 20:10 tormented forever, literally to the ages of the ages, until forever no more.
2 Thes 1:7-9 everlasting destruction , will not be ever more
Ps 37:20 enemies will consume away
Jonah 2:6 earth’s bars about me 4ever.
Ex 21:6 servant serves master forever=till death
11 Sam 1:22, 28 Hannah brought Sam to temple forever=as long as he lives
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord…does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
Some Secondary Sources: Edward Fudge’s The Fire That Consumes; Doug Batchelor SDA video – Does Hell Burn Forever; Luther and Tyndale held annihilation views apparently.
Science and God
I’ve been discussing modern science in street preaching and here are some of my notes: Stephen Meyer’s latest book, The Return of the God Hypothesis, claims that three key twentieth century discoveries challenge materialist assumptions and point, not just to an intelligent designer, but to a transcendent God. Not only were most of the founders of modern science devout Christians, the scientific method itself emerged from assumptions found only in a Christian worldview, such as the intelligibility of nature and the need to constantly test our fallen intuitions against the facts.
1 The big bang: the universe is not eternal, as many scientists had long assumed. Because the universe came into being at a point in time, it must have had a cause outside of itself, outside of space, time, matter, and energy. Christian philosophers led by Alvin Plantings have beaten atheist naturalist philosophers.
2 The universe we live in has properties one would expect if it were designed by a God who had us in mind when He made the place: DNA, the inner structure of the cell, or the crucial role information plays in the existence and propagation of life. The more we learn about them, the more outdated a “God is unnecessary” hypothesis seems to be. Preacher John MacArthur: “DNA has spelled the end of traditional naturalistic evolution, which essentially says complexity comes out of simplicity. Intelligent design is the only rational way to view the universe. Somebody intelligent made it.” A growing number of scientists today are willing to challenge the powers that be and admit the design they see in the heavens, the laws of nature, and under the microscope. The chance of carbon emerging are infinitesimally small – 1 in 10 to the power of 42. Science can’t explain the intelligibility of the contingent order, why there’s something rather than nothing, but theism can. As Meyer puts it, “The evidence is crying out for a God hypothesis.” Belief in God is rational; atheism and secular humanism are irrational.
3 A finely tuned universe: The laws that govern the cosmos, such as gravity, electromagnetism, nuclear forces, and the cosmological constant, are precisely calibrated in such a way that makes life possible. There’s not a compelling way to explain this universe within a naturalistic worldview. As English astronomer and former atheist Fred Hoyle put it, “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics…”
fully formed galaxies
Psalm 139:14 I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works
Leading string theorist Brian Greene: “What appear to be different elementary particles are actually different ‘notes’ on a fundamental string. The universe – being composed of an enormous number of these vibrating strings – is akin to a cosmic symphony”
String theory “ties together a number of existing theories in a very pretty way, and makes a number of predictions about the way black holes and particles behave, but none of those predictions are testable or observable.” (199).
Stuart Isacoff refers to “the latest trend in modern physics, known as string theory, which holds that everything in the universe is composed not of atoms, but of infinitely thin vibrating strings – filaments that wriggle and oscillate incessantly in a great cosmic dance. What were once described as different elementary particles are, say physicists, really just different notes in an enormous celestial symphony”
On Christianity and Music
I moved previous content of this home page to a separate Hendrix page as I want this page to represent my musical identity. My criticism of, or more accurately, discernment concerning some ‘Nashville’ inspired musicians is echoed and clarified in a statement of Derek Prince: “I think the majority of Christians cannot distinguish between music that is entertainment and music that is worship, and much of the responsibility lies at the door of Nashville, because for the sake of dollars they commercialize religious music to the point where people look to it for entertainment. Worship is not entertainment. Entertainment is getting for yourself, worship is giving to God.” Worship in spirit and truth necessitates a sacrifice of the selfish desires of the human soul, which would gratify sensuality and appeal to pride. Another statement of Prince@ 9:35: “Worship is God-focused, entertainment says “Bless me, give me a good time.” As a matter of fact, it’s become quite fashionable to go to worship in order to get blessed. But it’s not real worship. Worship is giving of yourself unreservedly.” From Take Heed That You Are Not Deceived: “What appeals to your emotions may not touch your spirit at all. We have a lot of worship in the church today which is soulish. People worship God in order to have a good time, but the purpose of worship is not for us to have a good time. It’s for us to worship God, and we have to come to the place where we’re sensitive to the difference between the spiritual and the souliish.”
From Are You Spiritual Or Soulish? Part 2 of 4: Who Am I? by Derek Prince, on tripartite humanity (spirit, soul, and body) made in the image of the Triune God: “I’ve divided the soul…into three areas….The will, the intellect and the emotions. The soul is also the ego….The soul makes the decisions. When it comes to the will, the soul says I want….The intellect says I think….And the emotions, what do they say? I feel….And basically, unregenerate man is controlled by those three phrases: I want, I think and I feel…..The spirit has got to work through the soul….the body is what acts out the decision of the spirit and the soul in this present age….Normally the spirit cannot operate the body directly in this present age, it has to go through the soul….in the age to come our body will be spiritual, not soulish. Our spirit will control our body direct. We won’t have to bother with persuading our soul to do things….Worship is a function of the spirit….What is the corresponding activity in the soul to worship?…Praise….So, in the spirit we worship, with the soul we praise, with the body we kneel or bow. And prostrate ourselves, clap our hands, lift our hands [dance]….in order to follow Jesus you’ve got to do three things: you’ve got to deny yourself, your soul; take up your cross; and then follow Him….So how do you deny your soul? You say no to your soul. Your soul says I want. You say it’s not what you want that matters, it’s God’s will. Your soul says I think. You say what you think is not important, it’s what God’s Word says. Your soul says I feel. You say what you feel is not important, it’s the impressions of the Holy Spirit that matter….You cannot live for Christ and live for your soul. You’ve got to lose your soul to follow Him. But Jesus says when you lose your soul, then you find something….You cannot communicate Biblical truth in secular language. You cannot use the jargon of psychology or psychiatry adequately to impart spiritual truth. You have to use Biblical terminology….” The Spirit transforms mere entertainment to worship, petty criticism to discernment, unhealthy guilt to conviction, sympathy to compassion. manipulation to revelation, temporal happiness to lasting joy.
From Bible psychology: Spirit and soul- Volume 1: What God’s mirror reveals: “Triune man, spirit, soul and body. The spirit from above brought into being by the in-breathed breath of almighty God who is Spirit. The body, the clay from beneath. The soul, somehow the union of spirit with clay, and that’s why your soul has so many problems, because your soul is being pulled upwards by the spirit and downwards by the clay, and the soul is the decision making factor in you. The soul is what says I will or I will not. Your spirit has to get its way in this life through your soul. Your spirit has to persuade your soul….The soul is the point of union between the clay and the spirit. Your destiny is settled by the decisions of your soul. It’s your soul that is saved….When your soul makes the decision [to be spiritually saved] your spirit begins to come alive, and then you’ve got to learn through the realm of the soulish into the realm of the spiritual.”
I imagine that each of us is as Adam or Eve in the garden and we choose to use our body and/or our musical instruments to worship, praise, thank and serve God or to follow the world, the flesh and the Devil. Better to serve in Heaven than to reign in Hell. I am a spiritual person who worships the Christian Trinity, including the Holy Spirit; one of the fruits of the divine Spirit is humility. Satan is a created being who vainly sought equality with God. In contrast Jesus is the divine Son of God “Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.” (Philippians, 2:6-8) That’s my God.
The musical direction I’m going in consistent with my spiritual identity is country gospel. I thought Johnny Cash was pretentious, but now I have a CD of his in my car and I like it as it shows him to be a fan of Jesus, and so am I. I also started playing some cowboy songs, but that led to a dead end with songs about the shadow of the cowboy – Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys, My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys, This is the Last Cowboy Song… My hero is Jesus and he wasn’t a cowboy.
I am using a thumb pick and am interested in the history of fingerpicking guitar beginning with early country musicians like Maybelle Carter, who was apparently influenced by black guitarist Lesley Riddle to play melody on bass strings and chords with a finger for strumming. Chet Atkins played in her ensemble and he learned from Merle Travis, who learned from a black guitarist in a style emulating stride piano. This fingerpicking style makes the thumb and fingers independent, so the guitar becomes like a mini piano. Unlike pianists, guitarists are able to directly contact the strings, resulting in many musically satisfying nuances. Tommy Emmanuel apparently plucks with calloused fingertips rather than with nails and I’ve adopted this approach. Some finger style guitarists, including Paul Simon and Bruce Cockburn, began using a thumb pick and later switched to using the bare thumb to get a more natural sound. I’ve found that arranging some contemporary worship songs for finger style guitar makes them sound less sentimental. Male Christian musicians are united with the risen Christ; their worship music should not sound overly sentimental, as though Jesus were like a spiritual boyfriend – a rather perverse thought – but that he is their King, Lord, Master, Saviour… This relationship to Jesus seems to me penultimate, for the union with Christ allows the believer to enter the presence of God the Father, so one is ultimately a younger brother / servant of Jesus and a son of God the Father. These seem to me to be practical relationships leading to acts of service, rather than sentimentality and/or passivity, and worship music should reflect this distinction. Worship music celebrates and participates in the new creation, of a new self anticipating a new incorruptible body and a new heavens and earth. Christians are the real progressives for we have a real and sustainable future, and that’s good news worthy of proclaiming. We love even our enemies for hate and hate speech are works of the flesh. Mt 10:22: “all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.” So many who play victim to perceived haters are projecting their own hatred. God have mercy on their hateful and discordant souls.
Global guitar is still relevant as I like to arrange a song with a meditative raga-like intro, play the song with a western cadence, get lost in the middle with Ornette Coleman’s Harmolodics, and find the way back to the song and concluding meditation. I am gigging in pubs, restaurants, and street churches, and even in parks with the Freedom Rally folks in an endeavour to find my voice, which may necessitate singing some old classics, like Put a Little Love in Your Heart / And the world will be a better place…
Larry Coryell on Breau in 1977: “It truly bore out the axiom that mentors and teachers have told their disciples over centuries: It does not matter how fast you play; what matters is can you reach into people’s lives and touch their most fundamental part of their existence? That’s really what music is about.” The Holy Spirit reaches into people’s lives. One should not worship music as a religion. Breau and Coryell were drug addicts at this time.
From Part 1 of 3: Exercising Spiritual Gifts By Derek Prince: “Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to you: as the Father has sent me, I also send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” Now, I want to comment on that last verse that I read. The word that’s translated breathed in secular language is used of a flute player blowing into the mouthpiece of his instrument to produce music. The suggestion to me is not that Jesus stood at a distance and breathed at them collectively but that he breathed into each of them, and as he did so, said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”…Now, the word in Greek for spirit, pneuma, is also the word for wind and for breath. So when He breathed into them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he was saying receive holy breath. It was a direct person to person transaction between them. They became part of the new creation. Your mind goes back to the first creation when God formed a body of clay there in the garden, in order to make him a living soul, what did He do? He breathed into him the breath of life and he became created, he became a living soul. The new creation follows the same pattern but it’s not the Lord in the garden, it’s the resurrected Savior who has passed through death and come out of the tomb and who breathes into His disciples a life that is totally victorious. It’s a life that has conquered sin and Satan and death and the grave. That’s the inbreathed breath of the resurrected Savior.
[He continues] I personally believe that it’s a pattern for everybody who is to enter into new salvation. I don’t believe you can be saved without meeting Jesus. I don’t mean that you meet Him visibly as the disciples did, but I don’t believe there’s any way into the true church of Jesus Christ except Jesus. He said, “I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved.” So, I believe this is a pattern for the new birth for every person. We have to meet Jesus. Not just believe a doctrine or join a church, but have a personal encounter with the resurrected Christ and receive from Him the inbreathed breath of God which is the Holy Spirit, and become a new creation. We pass from death to life.
Derek Prince: What really happened at Pentecost: “The same word that is translated breathed on is used in secular Greek literature of a flute player breathing into the mouth of his flute in order to produce music from it. Now a flute player does not stand at a distance from the flute and breath at it generally. He puts his lips right up against the mouth of the flute and breathes specifically into the flute. And it is my impression that Jesus did not breath collectively on his disciples and say: Receive the Holy Spirit, but that he breathed into each one individually in turn, placing his lips and his nostrils right against those of each disciple in turn and breathed into them.”
Doyle Dykes: “I always ask God to breathe on my music. If God can breathe into a clay figure of a man and breathe into Adam’s nostrils and he became a living soul, then God can breathe on the strings of a guitar and put life into it. And when he does that you feel His presence.” This quote from a YouTube video fits the theme of this essay. Essay means to try, so maybe this is more of a journal or a confession or a pilgrim’s progress. I’m exploring music and worship. There seems a trend in contemporary Christian worship music toward excessive emotionalism, perhaps a more feminine ethos, manifest in Jesus Image, for example. Dykes represents a southern gospel style that I’m exploring. There is joy and simplicity in this style. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty .” The notion of liberty may seem to contradict notions of human submission to divine Spirit and female submission to husbands, described below, but there is a paradox involved, which may involve the distinction between freedom from constraint and freedom to act in a civil context necessitating boundaries. Spiritual freedom exists in the context of a covenant freely entered into and based on trust. A spiritual musician has a covenantal relationship with a divine keynote. From this perspective Ornette Coleman’s harmolodic theory is a rebellious declaration of autonomy from this keynote resulting in social and spiritual dissonance. Coleman shares with many black American musicians, including Coltrane and Hendrix, an aversion or antipathy towards this keynote. I recently discovered the songs of Brook Benton, including Oh Lord, Why Lord, which wrestles with the tension between “equal rights” and “harmony”, which is hierarchical in nature. Paul McCartney’s lines, “Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony / Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don’t we?” may be in part a response to Benton’s song, which borrows its chord structure from Pachelbel’s famous Canon in D Major. This harmonic medium may be the message or answer to Benson’s query, in a mystical / music / metaphysical manner.
Apart from race, blackness and whiteness have been employed abstractly to represent contrary impulses of the human soul. For example, in God Breathed Himself Into Man – Part 2 of 5: From Time to Eternity, Derek Prince describes Plato’s “picture that he used of the soul of man. He pictured the soul of man as a chariot being drawn through the universe by two horses, one was black and one was white. The black horse was always pulling downwards. The white horse was always pulling upwards. Of course, that’s just an allegory, but it indicates, I think, the reality of this tension that there is in man, there’s something in us that’s very earthy, very, very earthy. It’s right downward in its inclinations. But we can never fully gratify that because there is something in us that says, “That’s not all. There’s something more. There’s something in me that belongs above.” And so many men go through their lives tormented by this continual inner conflict. Thank God there is a way to resolve the conflict.”
To avoid charges of racism it seems imperative to distinguish categories of black and white races from discussions of blackness and whiteness in spirituality, psychology, and culture. To eliminate or obscure the differences between blackness and whiteness in the spirit, soul, and music, for examples, is to invite chaos, anarchy, and confusion. For example, Western tonality is founded on a cadence separating a symbolically dark dominant seventh chord, housing a flatted fifth, from a symbolically bright triad. Malcolm X and Black Muslims complained that whiteness and purity were associated in Western dictionaries, but they are also associated in major world religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These faiths are also patriarchal. In Christianity and Judaism God is represented as a symbolically white father figure, who would therefore function as the keynote of sacred music in these faith traditions. Much contemporary popular music replaces this divine keynote, often with a celebration or worship of the self or glorification of sex. The global guitarist seeks to attune audiences to the symbolically white and patriarchal deity depicted in the Holy Bible. A sacred song should simultaneously express love for this deity while destroying rival keynotes, rampant in our present ‘post-Christian’ age of Anti-Christs. John 14:6: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” The Father is the destination.
Having written many essays about musicians, something I find appalling is the apparent lack of awareness or concern on the part of those who advocate for political correctness and multiculturalism. probably mainly for political reasons of theoretical egalitarianism, without seeming to have any regard for the spiritual consequences of these ideas/ideologies on musicians that are influenced by them. I’m referring to musicians who seem to have lost their souls, their salvation, by promoting and identifying with musical forms and cultures that I regard as spiritually dark and dangerous. I think of Lenny Breau, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, and many others lost to discordant music, drugs, witchcraft, seductive spirits… Fans and promoters of these musicians and this kind of music seem to regard themselves as virtuous for replacing the symbolically white and patriarchal deity with what I see as repetitions of the fall, involving pride and idolatry of women, sex, self… This is the direction that the music industry seems to have taken. Bono describes the result: “the music business where never before have so many lost and sorrowful people gathered in one place pretending they’re having a good time.” (Walk On, xiv) Make music patriarchal again; praise the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
From Bishop Fulton Sheen Explains The Devil @ 5:10: “…the word diabolical. It comes from the Greek words dia and ballein. Dia ballein is to tear apart, rend asunder. Anything therefore that breaks pattern, that destroys unity, that corrupts gestalt, produces discord. That is the diabolic.” The third of “three powerful weapons against Satan….devotion to our blessed mother, for at the beginning, in the Book of Genesis it was the seed of a woman that would crush the seed of Satan….the blessed mother.” However, Don Stewart concludes, in What Does Genesis 3:15 Mean: “The Latin Vulgate version of the Old Testament has an unfortunate translation in Genesis 3:15. It changes the pronoun from the masculine his to the feminine. This unfortunate translation gave wrongful support for the claims concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary. The idea that Mary was the seed of the woman has no basis in fact in the Scripture.” Sheen: “The essence of the Satanic or the diabolic is the hatred of the cross of Christ.” Islam rejects the cross, claiming that Jesus never died. Second Vatican Council describes “Muslims” as those who “together with us…adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.” However, Hadith Sahih al-Bukhari 2476 states that Jesus would, upon his second coming, “Break the Cross”. Ahmadis interpret this to mean that he will “make plain the error of the creed of the cross”. From The Cross In My Life, Part 1 – Derek Prince: “Through the law we were married to our fleshly nature….On the cross our fleshly nature was put to death so that we are now free to be married to another – the resurrected Christ.” Derek Prince: 4213-4214 Fullness Of The Cross Self Centeredness part 1 2: “Witchcraft comes in on the un-crucified ego and the only protection against witchcraft is the cross….The cross sets a boundary to Satan’s territory and there is no way he can get beyond it.”
Romantic music vs worship music: Romantic music is somewhat tragic as the performing musician is not presently experiencing the romance expressed in a lyric, but is merely expressing a memory or a desire. Worship or praise music transcends this limitation as the musician is able to experience Spirit and divine presence while performing. Also romantic songs often have a bitter element, like a thorn among roses, whereas spiritual music is free from jealously, triangles, quarrels, and so on. The romantic beloved is an imperfect human, whereas God is perfect. Derek Prince’s commentary on 1Cor 6:16-7: “You can have the carnal, fleshly union with a woman, but the spiritual alternative is to be one spirit with God….that I believe is worship. It’s being united in spirit with God. And as I understand it that is the highest activity of which a human spirit is capable.” “Pray for worship leaders because they are probably number one on Satan’s hit list. Because a worship leader is someone who has the ability by the grace of God to bring us into the immediate presence of God and therefore Satan hates them.”
Derek Prince traces imagery of whiteness in Scriptural images of dove and lamb, from Ministries of the Holy Spirit: “You’ve got to relate to the Holy Spirit as a person….He’s a very sensitive person….What is the dove [Holy Spirit] looking for?…The nature of the lamb….He [Jesus] was always in perfect harmony….Learn to be a lamb, because that’s the nature that appeals to the dove. The dove settles on the lamb….The lamb speaks of a sacrifice, of a life laid down, and it speaks of purity, and it speaks of gentleness. If you want to be friends of the Holy Spirit that’s what He’s looking for….God wants each of us…to be a temple of His Holy Spirit….The Creator of the universe is so humble that He seeks to dwell in the physical body of each believer. …Everything the Holy Spirit does glorifies Jesus….He only wants one person glorified and that’s Jesus, and if you want to attract the Holy Spirit in your life…glorify Jesus….He [Holy Spirit] is the administrator of the total wealth of the Godhead. If you want to share in that wealth make friends with the Holy Spirit.” From The Authority & Power Of God’s Word: “The supreme ministry of the Holy Spirit is to reveal and to glorify Jesus.” From The Cross At The Center, Part 2: “The only thing the Holy Spirit honours is the cross….When you make the cross central He says ‘Now that’s a person I’m interested in.’…To attract the Holy Spirit we need to exalt Jesus and preach Christ crucified.” Derek Prince: What really happened at Pentecost: “When you have a sincere desire to honour and glorify Jesus the Holy Spirit will never let you down, you can trust Him.”
Derek Prince 7005 Christ rules in the midst of His enemies: “If you want to know the seven fold aspects of the Holy Spirit they’re found in Isaiah chapter 11 verse 2….the seven Spirits which are yet one Spirit. If you want a pattern from the natural order it’s the rainbow which is one rainbow split up into seven colours. That’s nature’s parable of the Holy Spirits.” Another version or manifestation or variation of this pattern or parable may be discerned in the seven notes of the musical scale, which Newton based the rainbow spectrum from. God is one, yet is a complex unity of three persons, one whom has seven Spirits, and another who was incarnated to manifest both divine and human natures. God the Father is the source and Creator who creates through His Word and Spirit. It’s interesting to note that Jesus or Isa in the Quran is represented as a Word from Allah and Mary conceives Jesus from Allah’s Spirit, which would contradict the claim that Allah is father to no one, therefore rendering the Quran false, as it claims to be free from contradiction, although there are many. Allah is not the God of Abraham, who is a father to His people. Beware of false gods and false prophets. Here’s what the Quran knows of the Holy Spirit: 17:85 And they ask you (O Muhammad SAW) concerning the Ruh (the Spirit); Say: “The Ruh (the Spirit): it is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little.” Compare with what Jesus says of the Spirit in Gospel of John and take your pick, Jesus or Mo, Bible or Quran. No brainer. Prince continues: “Jesus is still a man…when through incarnation he became man he didn’t become man for just thirty three and a half years. He became man forever. A new order came into being: the God-man race. Emmanuel, God with us, and that’s the new race that God is interested in.” 1 Cor. 15:47 and 1Tim. 2:5.
From How To Cultivate The New Self: “The Holy Spirit works through the mirror of God’s Word….It [the Word, the Bible] shows us, first of all, what we are by nature: the old self, the criminal Barabbas, the one whose rightful place is on the cross. And then, if we will receive that and believe what God promises, the mirror also shows us what we can become by grace, the new self.” Charley Pride sang a song, He Took My Place At Calvary, and The Harmony Quartet sings I Am Barabbas. Derek Prince: The cross, your execution: “In the light you know who you are, whom you serve, and what you’re doing….You have to be willing to acknowledge that the cross was made for you and you belong on it, and this is a humbling acknowledgement….It was made for Barabbas and he was a criminal. And it was made for you and you’re a criminal. Every one of us is a criminal in the sight of God.”
Husbands And Fathers – Part 1, Derek Prince cites Mt. 18:19: “‘if two of you agree on earth, concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.’…the Greek word is ‘symphoni’ from which we get the English word symphony….The only way we can have harmony is if we harmonize with the Holy Spirit. And if two of us harmonize with the Holy Spirit, then that’s the will of God….God is a musician.” I intended to read Dyke’s book, The Lights of Marfa, and was surprised to find reference to this passage in it: “I also love the Amplified version where it reads, ‘Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by my Father in Heaven.” The same word is used in 2Cor 6:15: “What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?”
Good News of the Kingdom, Part 2 – Restoration of the Message – Derek Prince: “Contemporary Western Christendom has the attitude that God exists for our benefit….As a result of the fall Man was imprisoned in self-centredness. Salvation…restores us to a God centred view.”
Fellowship – Derek Prince [on 1Jn 1:13] (How to find your place): “The gospel projects out of eternity into time three things that are inherent in the nature of God: fatherhood, headship, and fellowship, and I will show you a little later on that you cannot separate headship and fellowship; there is no true fellowship without headship….Fellowship follows headship. Fellowship demands order, discipline, and submission.” The gospel is “an invitation to join the eternal, perfect, unbroken harmony of the fellowship of the godhead. And Jesus prays in the seventeenth chapter of John that all believers shall be one exactly as he and the Father are one, in the same perfect harmony and fellowship. This is the consummation of the purposes of the gospel for the church: to bring all believers together into the perfect, unbroken harmony, unity and fellowship which has eternally existed within the godhead….All the purposes of God in time are born out of the fellowship of the godhead. This is true not merely of the godhead but it’s true of the people of God. The birthplace of God’s purposes in his people is fellowship. No fellowship, no spiritual birth.”
Ephesians 5:24-25, 33: “as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives….and the wife must respect her husband.” 2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives.” 1 Chronicles 16:33-35: Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.”