Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Beware of “Putting Your Faith in Bono”

Here’s an interesting article on CNN.com (click here to read it) about how some churches are using the music and message of U2 in their Eucharist/communion/remembrance meetings. Have they gone too far??? You be the judge. Below are some interesting quotes with some commentary:
Their focus…,“Brooks said the evening was designed to invigorate his once-aging congregation -- attracting young people and those interested in social activism. ‘We absolutely need to grow in order to survive,’ he said.”

Strong emphasis on social activism and growth...not so much on faith.

The first aim of the church is not social activism…or growth…rather the glory of God. Christ will build His church through the preaching of His Word…we have to focus on being faithful.
“Still, the band members are traditional rock 'n' rollers -- they swear, drink and sing about sex.”

I don't think these are the kind of role models for the church that the author of Hebrews was talking about in Hebrews 13:7
"Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. (ESV)"

To me social activism and church growth coupled with immoral behavior seems like a contradiction of what the Bible teaches.
“In Providence [Rhode Island], Blair delivered a homily to pitch the One Campaign, which the Episcopal Church supports. She ticked off statistics about poverty and infant mortality in Africa, underscoring her points with equal parts Bono and Bible.”

Equal parts…Bono and the Bible?! Don’t you think that in a church the Bible should at least come before Bono…let alone have an equal emphasis from both Bono and the Bible for their message. The church should underscore its points with the Bible…not Bono too. 1 Timothy 3:16
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (ESV)”

I don’t see Bono’s name in there…do you?
"If you're a Bono fan, you know the next line: ‘Where you live should not determine whether you live or die,’ she said, then reminding worshippers of a Gospel passage warning that taking care of the needy is what will separate the good from the bad at the final judgment.”

We are definitely commanded to take care of the needy…and this action can be a fruit of genuine faith (Matthew 25:40)…but the way this is phrased makes it sound like human works have some sort of merit to “be separated [as good] in the final judgment.” A call to social activism without mention of Ephesians 2:8-9
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast, (ESV)”

In a Christian church meeting is a big issue. To emphasize social action without mention that “it is by grace we have been saved through faith” is clearly a different gospel…let a lone no mention Christ (They may mention Jesus…but from the article it definitely doesn’t sound like Christ is the focus). But to challenge a congregation to social action because of the overflow of the congregation’s worship to God out of the faith in Christ they have received by the grace of God is more in sync with the gospel communicated in the Bible.

Check out the article...what do you think? Share your thoughts:)

[UPDATE: FYI...I like some of U2's songs...a lot:)]

2 comments:

Rob Young said...

Good word Noah. The church's role is not to be therapeutic in nature. And the inspiration for fulfilling the scripture from Matthew 25 should come from the desire to bring glory to Christ... any lesser inspiration is sinful and is man-centered rather than Christ-centered. And if it takes Bono to inspire our good works, we have reason to question our faith. To follow what Noah posted on Eph. 2:8-9, see Eph. 2:10 - "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Jessica said...

You certainly have a point that some of this church's actions seem to put Bono on an equal pedestal with Jesus, but I beg to differ with you on one point--where you prooftext by saying:
"We are definitely commanded to take care of the needy…and this action can be a fruit of genuine faith (Matthew 25:40)…but the way this is phrased makes it sound like human works have some sort of merit to “be separated [as good] in the final judgment.” A call to social activism without mention of Ephesians 2:8-9
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast, (ESV)”

If I may counter-prooftext you, I'd like to point out Matthew 25:31-46, where Jesus says quite plainly that it is social action that will determine "separation at the final judgment," as you say. Jesus says that those who see suffering and do not help will "go away to eternal punishment," while those who recognize Jesus' face on that of any suffering person, and provide for that person's physical needs (food, water, clothing, a friendly visitor) are the righteous who go "to eternal life."

Certainly, this passage differs from Paul's sentiment in Ephesians 2, but again, I would rather not put any other person, be it Bono or Paul, on the same pedestal with Jesus.