Woopi worship - Wineskins Style
By Bill Lockwood
It seems that it is all one can do to keep tabs on Satan's schemes introduced into the church any more. Any person who supposes the devil's influence to have been dead among church members needs only to scan a few publications circulating among us, and he will be grievously shocked at the many unholy practices advocated today. One such came from-the pen of Dan Rhodes in Wineskins, November 1992.
Rhodes reviewed the movie, Sister Act, starring Whoopi Goldberg. She played the part of a night-club singer named Deloris who was forced to take refuge in a Catholic convent. However, unreligious Deloris eventually took charge of the choir and fine-tuned it into a cutesy stage show where the stiff nuns learned to swing to upbeat rhythms.
Our Wineskinny brother thinks that Deloris' hipsy act, which brought people into the cathedral, can work for the church if a few of us baggies would learn to get with the beat. Though not advocating a choir necessarily, Rhodes supposes we can jump with the same Motown motion to become "more able communicators of the grace of God." Sister Act, he suggests, could serve as a "focal point in an intergenerational-sharing experience, bridging gaps, decreasing fear, and promoting understanding and trust." But Rhodes warns of Uncle Scrooges in our assemblies, such as me, who "are locked into a particular time period (circa 1950) and see the movie as ... 'irreverent and frivolous.'"
Well, I have known for a long time that the Lord's church is despised by denominational people, but I cannot shake the feeling that the mod, liberal jet-set among us actually seems to hate it more than these enemies. What else can one conclude when we are continually bedeviled by such a rehash of blatant guilements as that the "traditional" churches are somehow "locked into" a particular time frame and are only too mule-headed to change old habits?
I have never denied that human traditions have become more honored to some of our people than the word of God. But the bumptious blasts of perverted nonsense from Wineskins modernists who chirp that we somehow oppose their swingin,' Whoopi-worship style because we are "locked into a time frame of the 1950's" is the biggest bunch of balderdash I've ever heard. And this shows that the Shellyite crew cares not one whit for the honest and sincere (not to mention scriptural) objections that are offered by spiritually minded persons to their balmy innovations. The Wineskins crew from Nashville is determined to get their way, even to the extent that they will tromp conscientious objectors with iron-spiked propaganda boots.
First, the style of music now practiced by the church is not 1950's. I suspect that Rhodes knows this but says it anyway to score points with a rowdy youth who think the passage of time is the same thing as saying "obsolete." For one thin , the Catholic so in the movie, Hail, Holy Queen, was not a 1950's, but, as Rhodes says, "a classic Catholic hymn." Another foolish assumption inherent in this lie is the idea that the Lord's church habitually revamped its music style to keep pace with the times, but somewhere along the line of time, circa 1950, we got the idea that any further advance was wrong. This is absolutely absurd. Rhodes should "fess up" that this is not the case, but rather, the songs we sang in 1950 were at that time sung in an ancient time-honored style of music called a "hymn." The real difference in 1950 was that we did not have a covey of change-agents dipping their hands in the modernistic sop of whipped-up tomfoolery as we do now. Our people did not swoon for self-appointed fashion designers who would make our worship more taste appealing to young rockers.
Second, this brings to mind a more vital blunder that the Nashville distillery allowed Rhodes to make. I think our young folks will see it. The jive sound of a finger-snappin,' toe-tappin,' body-swayin' beat is not introduced among us today out of a desire to fit the music more carefully to the dictates of doctrinal teaching, admonishing, and encouraging one another - or even out of a more concerted effort to praise God. It is popular solely because of the catchy up-beat movement. Words are an afterthought, as seen by the fact that many cannot catch the fast-paced rattle of words, let alone prayerfully offer them as responses of the heart. This is why Whoopi. changed one song from the popular "My Guy" to "My God."
Then we see in the film the young leather-padded punkers filing into Whoopi's cathedral because they had heard on the outside an entertaining ghetto-blasting sound, nothing more. And when "the pope" visits Whoopi's little band in the movie, we see him bebopping his head as if he too is learning to be cool. Likewise, the Wineskins tune is popular entirely because it appeals to the carnal appetite. It is "performance oriented" lusting after the applause of crowds, nothing more. But this, I declare, is completely illegitimate and out of harmony with worship of Almighty God. If "performance oriented" is not out of harmony with what we are to be about then why waste time with choirs and up-tempos? Bring in worship jukeboxes and advertise "boxers for Jesus" to duke it out in a center-stage ring.
If our youth want to attend an innocent concert, that may be one thing, but I wonder when liberal caterers of the Shelly-type will quit treating the church like idiots by pretending it is all a valid avenue of reasonable worship that is acceptable to God simply because no instrument of music is used. No, there may not be a mechanical instrument in Rhodes' proposition, but his ideas are fueled by the same gas as ran the instrumentalists' motor. And isn't this interesting? The entertainment media are increasingly forsaking entertainment in order to preach such valueless values as homosexuality in a Garth Brooks' tune or in a boycott of Colorado, while at the same time those who should be preaching and teaching cannot get out of that business fast enough to become top-notch caterwaulers performing to applause in our churches. This whoop-it-up Whoopi-worship is a shameful disgrace of a devilish nature spurred only by a wicked desire to be like the nations about us.
(Editor's note: Hollywood is no friend of the church. Michael Medved in his book, Hollywood versus America: Popular Culture and the War on Traditional Values, observed,
It is difficult to name a single film produced by Hollywood in the last 15 years that portrays religion - or at least Western religion - in a sympathetic way .... There is a growing list of film that caricature, lampoon, or attack religion, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish. The assault on religion is part of a systematic, across-the-board attack by Hollywood on traditional values. At bottom, Hollywood, despite its protest about artistic integrity, is pandering to a post-adolescent audience - especially young males - who get their thrills watching sex, gratuitous violence, profanity, and crude behavior on the screen. The net effect of this kind of entertainment has been devastating, contributing to the skyrocketing promiscuity, illegitimacy, and rampant crime that blanket the nation.Sister Act is more of the same, and it is incredible that the producers of Wineskins fail to see it - or maybe they agree with it - or just don't care - Dobbs)