I realize my heathen audience just went “Uhhhhhh???” upon reading that title, but every now and then I like to discuss a Christian topic on my blog, so like it or not it’s par for the course.
One of my beloved readers recommended that I give the “worship artist” Jason Upton a listen, hoping his music would inspire.
Listening to his music did in fact inspire me with hope: hope that he never releases another album. I keed, I keed…. ok not really.
In all seriousness, I think Upton means well, though I was kinda hoping he would be the real deal, another Keith Green in the making, yet when I started giving a few of his songs a listen, something just seemed… off.
And here we go again. As soon as my spirit gets disturbed about something I know I’m about to step into a pile of fecal matter and start knocking over sacred cows, but then again, it’s what I do, and dude, I do it oh so well. :-D
On the surface, Upton’s music and lyrics would appear to be alright and God-focused, but quite a few of his songs also seemed vague and cryptic, their meanings hidden in obscurity. I also noted the absence of any overt call to repentance and living a life free of sin, two of the most common themes found not only in Keith Green songs but in most of the Psalms as well. It might not be a big deal, but Upton’s musical words presented a rather incomplete gospel to me. Curiosity compelled me to do some digging into his background, and what I learned (so far) pretty much confirmed my suspicions about him.
Upton’s musical career began with his album “Key of David,” which according to Wikipedia was a series of prophetic worship sessions, over half of which were “spontaneously inspired by the Holy Spirit.”
Right away I knew some Christian dweeb in love with Upton must have written this. How did they know such sessions were inspired by the Holy Spirit to begin with? Did they ask Him? Did they test the spirit as the Bible instructs us to do? Did they compare their experiences to what Scripture teaches to see if it lined up? Or was it all mushy gushy feelings and since we’re all happy shappy dappy here it must be of God? And what makes his worship music prophetic anyway? Are we insinuating that Upton is not only a musician, but a modern day prophet as well? Sigh.
Things just get more bizarre as the same Wiki entry suggests Upton was able to stop a tornado with his music, and that one of his tracks contained the voices of actual angels singing.
Sure, and I’m Mickey Mouse.
I checked out the lyrics to the song that supposedly had this heavenly choir singing in it:
I declare over you, God has given you the air!
So fly, it’s time to open up your wings,
To shake off the things that hold you down (to leave the things…..)
It’s time to spread out your wings and fly!
Do you see what I see?
Do you hear what I hear?
Do you know what I know?
Do you want what I want?
Angel: (“…undiscernible… I want you to fly …undiscernible… Fly….” )
Do you see what I see?
Do you hear what I hear?
Do you know what I know?
And of course, someone from the audience later claims to have seen one or more of these angels, so we can now accept without reservation that a brigade of angels from heaven just decided to go on tour with Jason Upton.
Really people, can you stop taking everything at face value here? There’s no doubt in my mind that fans have now used this as unequivocal proof that Upton is anointed of God. “Never mind what the Bible says. We heard angels sing! That’s proof enough for us!”
One of the failings of the charismatic crowd today is that they rely too heavily on emotions and experiences for evidence that a movement is of God, rather than on what Scripture teaches. So they never test the spirits, they never scrutinize their experiences according to God’s word, and of course the net result is that they fall away to heresy.
Is there anything overtly heretical about Jason Upton though, other than the fact that he seems to be an ignoramus? It’s hard to say. Reading his website, I noted what a pastor wrote about his first album, Key of David:
The Key of David is mentioned in Revelation 3:7 to refer to the absolute authority of Heaven in Jesus’ hands to open the doors that no one can shut and to close the doors that no one can open. But the Key of David is first mentioned in Isaiah 22:22, where it denotes a fatherly authority, a pivotal place of opening up the riches of the House of David-God’s blessing, God’s presence, and God’s glory-to God’s people. I believe the Lord is going to use worship like this to birth whole generations into His Kingdom in fire.
The Youth in our churches and campuses are going to catch fire quickly and intensely, and they are going to take back for God what the enemy has stolen-they are going to take back the churches, the universities and campuses, and the cities that we, the older generations in the Church, have longed and prayed for in spite of the fact that we have not yet seen the widespread, reclaiming revival fires from heaven that we have prayed and wept for.
Again with this fire thing. Fires and revivals, they’re all the new rage these days, and yet I wonder if any of them even know what they’re talking about. When God’s fire is referred to in Scripture, it’s always in the sense that it consumes sin. Fire purifies and burns away all that is displeasing to God, and it is without exception, a PAINFUL experience:
1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ…
Faith is always described as a precious metal that’s been purified by fire (trials), so if a Christian grounded in the Word asks for an anointing of fire, he is in essence asking God to purify his faith (regardless of how painful that process might be). Yet from the quote above it seems readily obvious that such fire is being defined in a different context, that it instead signifies some sort of vague mutinous takeover of churches and cities by today’s Christian youth.
The more I read, the more I wondered, “What the blue flipping dip are these people talking about?” Then I read about Upton’s strong association with yet another “Christian” movement called The Call, which was founded by Lou Engle. You can see a video of Upton performing for Engle here (what’s with this weaving and bobbing crap by the way? What are we, Hassidic Jews?)
As for Engle himself, he’s a bit of a weenie, obsessed in raising up an “army” of young believers who can help turn back the “black moral morass” that has plagued America since the Beatles, mostly by doing lots of praying, fasting and worship (and a wee bit of political grassroots action.) Some of his bizarre antics have been shown in the anti-Christian documentary Jesus Camp, where he gives a sermon espousing on the evils of abortion and the need to have conservative judges on the Supreme Court… to KIDS. Seriously. Because you know, nothing is more important than making sure children understand the need for having constructionist judges on the bench by the time they’re ten years old. Chuckie Cheese? Pffft, that’s for godless atheists. We’re doing God’s work here.
In spite of this flaming stupidity, some of Engle’s rhetoric still seemed to ring true. Here’s a synopsis of what his movement “The Call” is supposedly all about:
TheCall is a divinely initiated, multi-racial, multi-generational, and cross-denominational gathering to corporate prayer and fasting. We believe that our nation is in desperate need of the mercy of God and a great Spiritual Awakening. TheCall is committed to mobilizing people from all across America to gather together to petition God for His undeserved mercy for our nation in 12-hour solemn assemblies. Just as in the days of Joel, we believe that now is the time to blow the trumpet across our land, to fast, to pray, and return to the Lord with all our hearts.
Sounds all well and good right? Until you start delving into Engle’s background and you start to realize, “Holy cow, this guy’s batsh*& insane!”
It seems Engle’s ultimate goal is really to take America back for Christians, and this “call” is basically a hyped up, Promise Keepers style movement based on the notion that if we just pray really really really hard enough, magical things will happen (and the U.S. Supreme Court will instantly be filled by 9 ultraconservative judges who all graduated from Regent University and are diehard fans of Jason Upton.)
Not that there’s anything wrong with getting involved in the political process, but Engle’s problem is that he apparently thinks God specifically told him to start this movement, in spite of the fact that there’s no Scriptural support for doing such a thing.
The Bible clearly tells us what constitutes a true revival:
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14
Revivals are a call to individual repentance. It’s not the world God is concerned with in this regard, it’s His people. Any revival movement then should always have this as its primary focus: that we as a Christian community have sinned before God and it’s OUR ways we need to change, not the world’s.
Engle’s movement though is not about that. He makes mild overtures about returning to the Lord and all, but what his movement is really about is changing the socio-political climate of an entire nation. His emphasis is on reforming America, not on reviving the church itself, despite the fact that the Bible clearly indicates things are supposed to get worse, not better, as we move ever closer to the end. He and his followers also don’t seem to realize that before God judges the world, He is going to judge His church FIRST:
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? – 1 Peter 4:17
Knowing this, doesn’t it make more sense that we clean up OUR house first before we start trying to save the world? Unless of course, you’re so absolutely mind bogglingly obtuse that you think the church today isn’t facing any serious problems, in which case I’d like to invite you over to my place so I can stomp your face in with my spiked boot.
The fact is, we don’t need a revival in America. We need a revival IN THE CHURCH. The time will soon come when God is going to judge a completely unprepared Christian church before He does anything with the rest of the world. We’re going to be weighed in the balance, and at the state we’re in today, we are going to be found severely wanting.
We are so screwed.