In the days leading to May 12, 1997 at 7:30p.m. we were warned by radio and television our town would be invaded by the band News Boys along with two others as they came to Rapid City South Dakotas Civic Center Arena. It was then I decided a follow-up article was needed to the article my wife and I put together about DC Talk last June. The article examined the unchristian behavior and lack of a gospel message to the unsaved persons attending these concerts. After our experience last year, I was prepared with earplugs to help drown the heavy bass and I needed them!
Last year in the DC Talk concert I witnessed the behavior seen in the secular rock scene of "body-surfing, moshing and head banging" this concert was calm in comparison --- but it was not for a lack of trying, there was no "mosh pit" so they simply were not set up for it. During the concert a News Boys video was shown exhibiting this behavior and even one of our local "Christian" radio station representatives jumped into the crowd and was "body-surfed" back onto the stage. Other irresponsible behavior by the crowd was subdued by the security at the stage. One teenage boy bared his top half to the crowd danced around on stage twice before security could catch him and remove him. --- Look and see for yourself the behavior which goes with the music! This is the true spirit of "Rock n Roll" not godly Christian music. Eph 5:19-20.
Even the review of this tour by our local newspaper saw the problem with the News Boys, titled:" "Newsboys' message lost on latest CD" and comments such as: "Although most of the choruses are straightforward, the verses are hard to follow, a flaw that serves to trivialize the band's Christian message." and "Built on lyrics that leave too many holes to be filled, the band's message gets lost somewhere in the alternative music." With this as an overview I will now give you my first hand account of the News Boys "Take Me To Your Leader" tour.
As I walked into the Civic Center I noticed the ambulance parked by the arena doors and while entering saw the young man in front of me snuffing out his cigarette before going in. Yes, here I am again, the only member of the crowd in suit and tie, boy did I get some strange looks, mostly from the teens and some adults who had donned their "grunge" clothes. I found myself a seat towards the back of the arena and awaited the concerts start. Looking around I counted 20 speakers on each side hanging above the stage though in comparison they were not as large as the ones used by DC Talk. The crowd appeared to be a composed of more young teens than the DC Talk concert, definitely more kids that appeared to be 10 years old or younger.
The announcer from one of our "Christian" radio stations came on stage to introduce the first group "3rd Day" and said to the crowd loudly, "gotta get pumped!" He went onto say how the News Boys "Take Me To Your Leader" tour was voted No# 1 by CCM Contemporary Christian Music Magazine. The announcer then introduced a new "stand-up comic," Bob Smiley --- now we have stand-up comics for Christ too?! Hmmm, maybe we should open a Christian night club for him! After some poor attempts at humor the band 3rd Day came on stage. They opened with a piece from the secular song "Celebrate," then went into playing loud hard rock music. I will say the first two bands were to be exceeded in volume by the News Boys. Other than this band encouraging the audience to jump up and down you could hardly understand a word of their lyrics. Prior to the concert I read their lyrics but unfortunately I seriously doubt anyone understood them as they were drown out by their heavy beat. After about forty-five minutes they finished their session and the radio announcers returned to "rev" up the crowd more. One of them got the crowd to start making a "hooing" noise then said to the effect, "90% of your time at the concert tonight should be screaming and losing your mind and the other 10% left for your drive home. The comic returned wearing multiple tee-shirts and gave a sales pitch for them and the dog-tags, pendants, crosses and posters of the bands and how all money made from these go straight to the bands.
The group "Plankeye" was then introduced. Plankeye was very much like the first group, 3rd Day. With their loud music you could hardly understand a word of what was said because it was drown out by the guitars. Plankeye in a short break shared more of a Christian message (one maybe, two minutes) than any of the others. The band member spoke of "no excuses," "Jesus came to give life abundantly" --- but no mention of how to know Jesus unless you take their next "slow" song as the gospel which says in part, "Please take my life away to give it away to Jesus." --that is no gospel either. Then in about a minute they returned to the heavy metal sound. At a point in one of their songs I noticed a child, maybe 8 or 9 years old holding his ears and his Dad or guardian leading him out of the concert arena, a few minutes later he returned with cotton freshly inserted in his ears! A testimony based solely on action alone!
At the end of the Plankeye session one of the band members said of the teens who were bouncing at the front of the stage, remarking how they were "jumping because Jesus made a difference in their lives." I put this right up there with "holy laughter," we now have "holy jumping!" I believe it was a member of Plankeye who went into a commercial for "World Vision" and how the News Boys had teamed together with them to feed and educate some of the poor of the world. He also mentioned they teach them with the Bible. They brought out a small screen and turned on a commercial saying what they can do with just $20 a month. At the end of the commercial a sales pitch was given to get you to sign up on sheets in the foyer of the arena. Intermission time.
During the intermission some notable music was played over the speakers. Movie theme songs to Close Encounters, Superman, 2001, The Star Wars Series and others. --- The whole bit was really an introduction to the alien encounter I was about to experience! Alien to Christ that is! At the end of the intermission the lights are dimmed and the crowd gets as wild as it gets for the night, cheering, hoooping, yelling and stomping their feet for the News Boys to start. Was this a concert for Jesus or a football game!? Then they turned out all the lights. The sound of a deep bass drone fills the arena for a minute or two and the theme to "Star Wars" starts playing. Immediately after, strobe lights turn on underneath what is supposed to be three "flying saucers" descending onto the stage. I then noticed the band members on top of these "saucers" dressed in space suits and lights on top of their heads. In addition to the strobe lights, black lights are used to enhance the special effects. As soon as the "saucers" landed the band members jumped off and onto the stage and started into a very loud rock music piece. The band members were jumping up and down and the crowd jumped with them. The bass beat, just like or worse then DC Talk, went right through my body. The beat combined with the strobes and black lights even caused me to experience a bit of nausea. The lyrics to the News Boys music proved to be more unintelligible than the other bands with the exception of a slow piece entitled, "Lets talk about love." The News Boys, like DC Talk, are fond of the strange lights and using moving hypnotic patterns, similar to a sixties rock group. At one point the music used an extremely heavy deep bass while you heard an enchanting but unintelligible voice. The "saucers" were then lifted up sideways and became large video viewing screens. At this point they showed clips from their movie "Down Under the Big Top" and they sang a song about joining the circus. During this part of the session they played secular music "Funky town," and another piece I remember from Peter Frampton but I do not remember the title. Next, one of the News Boys crew went down in front of the stage with a live video camera, eyeing the band up close. As the lead singer went on singing he got his face very close to the camera and it gave him the appearance of having his eyes darkened due to the lack of light, and with his bald head it was quite a sight; not a pleasant one! In one of the next pieces the heavy bass beat and guitar continued but the video was of the band riding ATVs and motorcycles. This would not really be interesting except to say they were performing jumps into the air where they would even dump the motorcycle -- a potentially dangerous thing to do or promote!
The band made some attempts at humor, even the lyrics had some silly remarks that would make some laugh --- but there is no laughing when I put their words next to scriptures. There is no gospel message and the name of Jesus is not said even one time in the "Take Me To Your Leader" album or the previous album "Going Public." There are references made to God, Lord and one to the cross ---thats all, only unclear references to being a Christian. When reviewing the lyrics I noticed another prominent C-Rocker, Steve Taylor, who wrote or assisted in the writing in eight of the eleven songs on the album. I found this ironic since Taylor has been criticized in the past for the same lack of gospel in his music!
They went into a dueling drum piece about midway through the concert which was almost too much to bear for the shear thumping of the drums. The incessant drumming truly reminded me of my unsaved years. As an unsaved teen Im sure I would have cheered them on as this crowd did. It ended with one of the drummers throwing one of his drumsticks into the crowd! That was really stupid --- who knows where it could have landed and that was not the first time the band threw objects into the crowd. After the "duel" they went in to one of their earlier albums "Going Public" and sang the song "Shine" which is obviously quite popular with their fans. You really had to struggle to hear the lyrics until they sang the chorus,
"Shine, Makeem wonder what youve got, Makeem wish that they were not, On the outside looking bored, Shine, Let it shine before all men, Letem see good works, and then Letem glorify the Lord." Reading the lyrics I saw the rest of the song as nothing but nonsense.
This song is typical of their music giving vague references to the gospel, maybe not as abstract as those of DC Talk but unclear none the less. Following this song, they brought back the weird lights and video clips on their saucer screens, clips of different leaders and pieces of the news, TV shows, even one from a nasty cartoon which is put on by MTV B&B. Then the music stopped and what is to be their gospel message began. The band member who spoke said to the effect, we should have a passion for our faith, that people should see we are different, we should be salty Christians, that we should tell our friends what Jesus did in our lives and how God has changed us. He told how salt preserves, and how we can help stop the spread of decay and corruption and how if we lose our saltiness we are good for nothing. The band member then gave his version of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, saying these were people just interested in "doing their own thing." He spoke of how Abraham bartered with God to spare the cities, and then he used this reasoning to say God destroyed these cites due to their lack of righteous people, not sin!? I listened very carefully to the points he made and scripture does not agree at all:
"But the men of Sodom [were] wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly." Genesis 13:13
"And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;" Genesis 18:20
"And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them." Genesis 19:5
"The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide [it] not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves." Isaiah 3:9
"Sinners before the LORD exceedingly," "because their sin is very grievous," "bring them out unto us, that we may know them," "and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide [it] not." The people of Sodom were evil, wicked sinners and demonstrated it in homosexual behavior! They were not only, "doing their own thing" they were a reprobate and perverse people. The News Boys band member speaking, changed the words of God into a completely different meaning, softening the judgment of God upon sin. There is more than a problem with semantics, this is false teaching! In conclusion, he said to those who didnt know Jesus to ask those they came with or ask someone around them about what Jesus did in their lives and he said to the effect, before going back into their rock music, "I know you dont want to hear anymore preaching." There may have been another couple of songs until the close of the concert with them climbing onto the now lowered platforms/saucers and raising them off back to the planet from which they came. The invasion ended! But who won the battle? As the curtain closed a sheet was dropped down which read, "Live long and Prosper." -- A phrase which gets its popularity from the "Star Trek" series. For a group that puts down the New Age movement they do a great job promoting it!
You can call this a "Christian" concert if you wish -- but I promise you it is not. Like DC Talk, maybe these are Christians singing Rock, but it is not Christian music. Eph. 5:19-20. In addition, the same unchristian behavior is the earmark for both of these concerts NOT a presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The so-called "preaching" left off a few of the most key elements like quoting scriptures! We as Christians are responsible to share the gospel with the unsaved Matt 28:19-20. Here are a few of the missing elements: First, we are sinners. Ro. 3:23. Second, we need a savior Jesus Christ who died on a cross for our sins. Third, to ask Gods forgiveness by faith believing on the finished work of Jesus on the cross. And others were omitted from the preaching as it was with DC Talk. The News Boys as "salty Christians," or as ones with "a passion for their faith" failed miserably in their gospel presentation if their faith is in Jesus Christ.
Christians can have "fun" without all of the world's nonsense and fads. The idea we need these C-rock concerts to reach teens is bunk. What we are actually doing is telling them its "OK" to rock! My advice to C-rockers, is simple -- Repent! Quit trying to rationalize the behavior, quit distorting the Bible's teachings on music to make them fit what you are doing. The heathen -especially the homosexuals- do the same thing! Return or turn to the music that is truly spiritual. I have read a group of testimonies of mostly teenagers and the damage C-rock did to them. One of the known side-effects of this music is rebellion against parents and God! The folks of CCM need some hard looking at since they called this the number #1 tour for the year. It appears that the less you say of Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross for our redemption the more popular you are! Something is amuck in the Christian music scene and it comes down to the love of money, and a lack of a genuine love for lost souls. Many of the applications included do not apply to Christian music alone --- many have gone away from the faith and have adopted doctrines foreign to scriptures. Many of the same verses of scripture that reprove those who participate in Christian Rock speak just as strongly to those involved in the so-called "Holy Laughter" movement. The same ridiculous behavior, the same kinds of teaching permeate Christian Rock and the laughter movement --- the same spirit! The spirit of the anti-Christ! A simple word or two on what a spirit filled Christian does, shows the contrast!
Ephesians 5:18 - 21
18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21. Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
Being filled with the Spirit has what results? Speaking to
yourselves in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in
your heart to the Lord. Then we are to give thanks always, and
submit to one another in the fear of God. Col. 3:16 closely
parallels Eph. 5:18. Being filled means to let the word of Christ
dwell in you richly! The behavior of Christian Rockers and the
like are the opposite! So if our kids are attending these
concerts saved and unsaved what are we really accomplishing???
Nothing, short of indoctrinating them to the rebellious rock
scene. It is this writers heartfelt belief as alcohol leads
to drugs, lessor drugs to harder drugs these so-called Christian
Rockers are the pied-pipers with music leading to Hell. Using
seductive methods to excite the emotions of our teens which
include heavy bass, hypnotic lights, loud guitars and a variety
of theatrics helping to strip away our teens inhibitions to
perform acts in the flesh. This is seen in the bodysurfing,
head-banging, moshing and jumping too! Secular rock concerts and
the violence of these acts are clearly seen, it is riotous
behavior they are introducing as Christian! (Read Romans
13:13-14) The Bible teaches much more on this subject
which there is not enough room to go into here. To close here are
a few more Bible references which will help the person serious
about following Jesus Christ to leave the rock scene: 2
Corinthians 6:14-18, Exodus 32:17 19,
Romans 12:1-2, 2 Timothy 3:16, Jeremiah 10:2, 2 Corinthians
5:15-17, Mark 9:42, James 4:4
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