Cover Photo by Wikimedia Commons | Coexist (U2 Vertigo Tour)

Someone could justifiably say to me, “You just have one string on your banjo…all you talk about is how the church is surrendering to the culture.” It’s true…try as I might, I keep coming back to this issue. In researching my book, I mentioned an encounter I had with member of a scholars’ blog. The topic had to do with engaging  the culture.

In my post I pointed out something I felt was germane to the discussion. I mentioned that Bono, lead singer for the rock group U-2, was an example of how cultural icons were influencing the church. I related the true story of an Episcopalian church that was so enamored with Bono that they advertised an upcoming communion service in which U-2 music would be played. They called it—are you ready—a U-2charist!

I posted this in the blog and was immediately chided by another Christian scholar, the official historian of his denomination, who replied, “What’s wrong with that? Bono is a very spiritual person.” I was stunned. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, in that progressives have been making inroads in heretofore evangelical circles for quite some time. Many Christians assume that Bono is a Christian because he appears on the platform with Christian leaders like Rick Warren.

Fuller Seminary recently announced with great pride the launch of their new FULLER studio,

“Dear Alumni and Friends of Fuller

I am beyond delighted to announce that after years of planning, and cultivating support for FULLER studio. This robust online site of resources officially launches April 26th, 2016!

FULLER studio has been given an extraordinary opportunity to premier an exclusive 20-minute short film…Bono, Eugene Peterson and Psalms, documenting the unique relationship between this notable musician (of the band U-2) and the author of The Message revolving around their common interest in the Psalms.”

When I read this email, I was reminded that the previous President of Fuller observed Ramadan “in solidarity with our Muslim friends…”
Note the raised index finger in the photo of Bono and Eugene Peterson, and listen to his quote by a reporter covering one of Bono’s concerts

At a recent U2 Concert, One writer (who is called a Christian) discussed her turmoil in hearing Bono point to the Cross, the Star of David and the Crescent Moon on his bandana and repeat: “Jesus, Jew, Mohammed-all true. Jesus, Jew, Mohammed-all true.”

I can resonate with a little “discomfort” at the words “all-true,” but I was more unnerved by a Christian being “devastated,” as she put, at the thought that other religions might have something in common with Christianity. We may not believe in Mohammed, but we certainly worship Allah (despite the differentiation K-Love and Focus on the Family try to make – historically, He is the same God, and if you want to say the God of the Jews and the God of Islam and Christianity are all different, then so is the God of Catholics, the God of Baptists and the God of Pentecostals).

Make no mistake,  when Bono displays the One Way sign he is not confessing Jesus as the only way of salvation. He is rather co-opting the symbol to his stated view that Jesus, Mohammed and Buddha are the same God.

The other day I was reading through my Facebook friends’ posts and read what I believed to be a currentnews item from the online version of The New York Times (I neglected to read the date…I saw the word April and assumed it was current. Someone apparently re-posted it)

George Beverly Shea, who escaped a life of toil in an insurance office to become a Grammy-winning gospel singer and a longtime associate of the Rev. Billy Graham, appearing before an estimated 200 million people at Graham revival meetings worldwide, died on Tuesday in Asheville, N.C. He was 104.


Shortly after reading this, I learned that the rock icon Prince had died. Surely you caught some of the 24-hour news coverage. It rivaled the coverage usually afforded the death of a head of state. Listen to what the New York Times published

Let me tell you why “Adore” is the central song in the Prince canon. Because in “Adore” you get the commingling of two keys to understanding the man and his music: his sexuality and his spirituality.

In the second verse he paints the picture: “When we be making love / I only hear the sounds / Heavenly angels crying up above / Tears of joy pouring down on us / They know we need each other.” They’re having sex under a sprinkling of angel tears, which are flowing because of the angels’ admiration of their love. This is the erotic intertwined with the divine…

After reading seeing footage of some of Prince’s onstage antics, I was appalled that The Times saw fit to run this opinion piece. As if to complete the trifecta, I noted just one more posting. A friend posted a quote from the late Erma Bombeck. April 22nd is the anniversary of her death in 1996.
Here is the quote,

Don’t confuse fame with Success…Madonna is one Helen Keller is the other.’

Erma Bombeck

I came away from this experience with a renewed vigor to speak out against what I believe to be a seduction of the church by progressives who blur the lines, and promise fame and acceptance to those who sidle up to celebrities.

George Beverly Shea sang the praises of his Lord to over 200 million souls and slipped off into eternity with little notoriety. A rock singer whose hyper-sexualized music earned him fame and fortune is spoken of in reverential tones.

I agree with Os Guinness who wrote in his book, Prophetic Untimeliness—A Challenge to the Idol of Relevance

We therefore need to examine the modern promise of relevance and reinvention. Could it be the means to advance the good news to a confused weary battered world that is hungry for news that is genuinely good? Or a Trojan horse that we wheel into the camp at our peril?”

Os Guinness | Prophetic Untimeliness—A Challenge to the Idol of Relevance

If I have but one string on my banjo, I plan to make sure it is in tune with the truth.

Dr. J.