By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
For over four decades, Calvary Chapel has attained the title, “the king of Christian rock and roll.” While also known for the phrase “simply teaching the Bible simply,” the Creation Fest rock festival held each summer in England certainly seems to maintain the “rock and roll” status, but there may be a lot more being taught at Creation Fest than simply the Bible. It seems Creation Fest organizers have chosen sensual stimulation (as shown by the footage in the video below), which is a postmodern technique used by the emerging church. This rock and roll musical mystical machine can produce euphoric altered states of consciousness, similiar to that in a Transcendental Meditation practice. While this may draw the crowds of young people, what is it drawing them to?
The best way to evaluate what is actually happening at these Christian rock concerts is to observe with your own eyes and ears by watching and listening and then make your own decision. Keep in mind that “Rock and Roll Evangelism” requires a massive stage equipped with multi-colored strobe lights and other special effects to stimulate the senses.
Pastor Larry DeBruyn, in his article, The Music and the Mystical, states:
[M]usic possesses a mysterious, if not occult, power to sway the soul. The only question for Christian believers becomes, do their musical preferences, acquisitions and experiences hinder or facilitate the Holy Spirit’s work in their souls? . . .
When engaging rock music while attending rock concerts or through headsets connected to an iPod or CD player, individuals testify as to the medium’s ability to create mystical experiences within their vulnerable souls. . . .
Though music can and does engender mystical experiences, true spiritual feelings do not reside in any music per se. When artificially induced, human feelings can be a distraction from worshipping Almighty God. 1
Such events as the Creation Fest cost tens of thousands of dollars to put on. The church needs to ask itself a few questions:
“Will this rock and roll setting really lead young people to a lasting solid relationship with Jesus Christ?”
Or “Will the “relationship with God” disappear when the lights all go out and the rock and roll music fades?”
And finally, “Is this a good way for an organization to spend missionary/evangelism funds?”
For several years, we did everything we could do to warn Calvary Chapel about the direction leadership was headed.* We were met with hostile comments such as “don’t touch God’s anointed.” The warnings fell on deaf ears by most pastors and board members of the mega churches. Now the cat is out of the bag – what will the next phase unveil? Only time will tell, but if the music presented at Creation Fest is any indication, the future for Calvary Chapel looks dismal. We know that there are Calvary Chapel churches that would not approve of what is happening at Creation Fest; but sadly, the voices which are speaking up are far and few between.
Keep looking up,
P.S. There are two video clips below. The first clip is from the 2011 Creation Fest event. The second clip is an interview with the founder of Creation Fest.
* For a detailed account of my years with Calvary Chapel, read Let There Be Light.