Posted in theology

What is the ‘gateway drug’ to heresy?

By Elizabeth Prata

On July 8, 2012, Pastor Jim Murphy of First Baptist Church of Johnson City, NY
delivered a sermon titled “The Subtlety of Satan“. I can’t believe it’s been almost ten years! I remember the impact of that sermon like it was yesterday. The church synopsized Pr. Murphy’s sermon this way:

"Pastor Jim looked back over the last fifty years of church ministry to suggest the slow, incremental, and subtle changes that have created a theological crisis resulting in a move away from the foundational authority of the Word of God and into an experiential, emotional, and radically individualized form of Christianity. Not only will this review trace the consequences of the "little" erroneous theological conclusions that have defined the current struggle within evangelicalism, it will also define the way back to biblical Christianity."

I wrote about that sermon here. One of the things that caught my attention was the fact that the Pastor repented for not paying attention to some of the other gateway points of encroachment satan uses to enter into the church in order to corrupt it. We all know that elders are charged with guarding the pulpit from satan’s wiles against polluting the word of God. But satan enters in through other points in the church too. He enters in via the church library. Via the women’s ministry. Via the music.

Most pastors guard the pulpit well, this gate is usually tended to and secure
EPrata photo
Meanwhile, other fences in the church are left unguarded or are neglected. Satan enters in the gaps.
EPrata photo

Pastor Joel Webbon of Right Response Ministries interviewed Justin Peters about that very point of entry. Peters called music the “Gateway Drug” to heresy.

Music contains doctrine. It can present good doctrine or poor doctrine or heresy. As the congregation sings good or bad or heretical words, it changes the mind and heart. It’s meant to. Good music points to God and changes one’s affections toward Him and extols His attributes. Bad and heretical music points to ourselves and nudges us away from heavenly affections.

Music is one infiltration point. The music you sing in your church matters. The clip below is 6 minutes. Under the video are some resources about the importance of singing good music in church, and why.

Hymns are wonderful didactic tools, filled with Scripture and sound doctrine, a medium for teaching and admonishing one another, as we are commanded to do in Colossians 3:16… ~John MacArthur

The Master’s Seminary Press
Link to Youtube HERE

Michelle Lesley: In My Humble Opinion…The One with the Modernized Hymns

Michelle Lesley: God’s Not Like “Whatever, Dude,” About The Way He’s Approached in Worship

Grace Community Church, Generations of Grace-Hymnody: Here, the ministry of John MacArthur’s church through opera singer Phillip Webb presents a short backstory to a hymn, and then he sings the hymn with instrumental backup. You might need to plug in your email to access the 93 hymns.

Here is a handy outline speaking to The Role of Music in Worship with scriptures.

Ligonier discusses worship music.

Truth for Life ministry by Alistair Begg discusses Music and Worship, with Keith Getty, saying,

Music has been a fundamental element of Christian worship from the earliest days of the church. As Keith Getty points out, though, its power is not guaranteed. Singing lyrics with shallow theology or leaving the actual singing to the “professionals” will not help form the body of Christ. Music’s transformative power in worship is only present when the full Gospel is proclaimed and when the congregation sings God’s truth as one body.

Tend your fences...because satan is subtle.
Posted in potpourri, theology

Prata Potpourri: The Music Edition!

By Elizabeth Prata

I don’t know about you, but I love music. Since I converted my tastes run to to Christian music, my favorite is Southern Gospel quartets and hillbilly bluegrass. I enjoy classical, too. If I listen to secular music my tastes run to ’70s artists like Paul Simon and other soft rock. GotQuestions gives some Christian principles on whether or not to listen to secular music.

My mother loved classical music and would put that on first thing while she was making her coffee, and have it on all day I grew up on Beethoven and Mozart, and I’m glad, because I like classical music now too. Continue reading “Prata Potpourri: The Music Edition!”

Posted in discernment, theology

Music in worship

By Elizabeth Prata

I saw a couple of quotes today one after the other (not linked or published on purpose, just happenstance) that made me think about music in worship once again.

Not to debate contemporary vs. traditional. Though I’m a huge traditionalist, I’m also a realist, and I know there has been good music written after 1900, though, lol.

I enjoyed my own church’s service yesterday, as I always do. We are a nearly three-year church plant. We have a plurality of elders (4), a time of confession during the service, and good music. It’s a mixture of old and new. The team takes care to select songs and hymns that match the theme of the sermon.

Music isn’t all there is to a service, meaning, it’s not primary. But it’s not secondary either. It’s important and has its place. Yesterday I was thinking about how important it is when we hear the word preached and when we sing and hear the song words sung. It is all supposed to edify us.

Ligonier tweeted,

Ligonier Ministries, @Ligonier
3:30 PM – 29 Jul 2018

We should be careful about the words of the music we sing and ensure that those words communicate truth. —@RCSproul

My friend Rachel tweeted,

Rachel, @REL4077
8:21 PM – 29 Jul 2018

I’ve listened to a lot of Christian music from the 70s/80s and a lot of CM from that time focused so much on Christ’s return, who Jesus is, and the need to share the Gospel. What happened since then that we have songs about reckless love and our “messed up” lives?!! Give me Jesus.

I agree. To that end, here is a thoughtful article from the Reformed Church in America. (Note: I liked the article but don’t know much about the website as a whole, but they seem a bit social justic-y to me “make the world a better place”, and they use the word ‘broken’.)

This article lists some thoughtful things about how we approach music in worship.


Here are just a few quotes from the article, which again, I enjoyed. It outlines some facts about music in worship and then outlines a framework to think about when selecting music.

The church’s ministry of song is for the edification of God’s people

The church’s ministry of song is for the glory of God
It is also important that the emotional power of music in worship be evocative rather than manipulative, honest rather than manufactured, and that the congregation’s singing allow for the full range of emotions in worship.

Does our congregational singng include the many moods and types of prayer, including praise, thanksgiving, confession, lament, intercession, and dedication? A congregation which sings only “upbeat” praise choruses and hymns, for example, will have a diminished and restricted understanding of prayer.

I pray that you enjoy the thoughts here, the article at thelink, and most of all, music in worship.

music verse 1

Posted in picture mixture, Uncategorized

Picture Mixture Tuesday: kids’ digital footprint, bacon, 9/11, piano, gelato, more

There are lots of people in my area without power from yesterday and into today due to the remnants of Hurricane Irma passing north through the state of Georgia. Thank you, Linemen, for your dangerous but so important work!

picture 1

Yesterday was the 16th anniversary of 9/11. On waking up that bright fall morning, millions never knew that in a few hours their families would be devastated, and our national security and psychology would never be the same.

picture 2

A new trend, this precious moon nightlight!

picture 3


I’m a vegetarian due to taste and preference issues (not philosophy). I rarely eat any meat. I dislike cooking bacon because of the mess. But this is funny. In the south, I hear many wives mourn the fact that they can’t get their men to eat vegetables, and salads are practically anathema. This dish would be close to the truth in any proud southern home… 😉

picture 4 bacon


I thought this was pretty. I’m getting set to do a musical instrument series. I shot this after church Sunday. The delicacy and beauty of a well-crafted instrument is wonderful to behold. When it is played skillfully by someone singing hymns to the Lord, it’s even better.

picture 5

Something to think about when posting pics of your kids on Facebook. Are you widening their digital footprint to the degree that their future privacy will be lost? More here.

picture 6

Where is the best gelato in the world? Well, duh, Italy of course! After three years and many nations competing, one gelateria in Spoleto Italy has won. I’m not an ice cream fan but when you are in Italy tasting real gelato, your world will be rocked. More here on the winner.

picture 7 gelato

Psalm 63:6-8

On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you; your right hand upholds me

Have a great day!

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

His Mercy is More

Our music leader introduced a new-to-us song this past Sunday. This is a new-ish contemporary hymn written by Matt Papa and Matt Boswell. I loved it. I am not a fan of new music, not because it is new, but because it is theologically light, theologically aberrant, or too hard to sing congregationally. The Boswell/Papa duo write songs that are the opposite of those negatives. This is one of the good new songs.

I positively like this song. I commend it to you.

Have a merciful day!

Live recording of “His Mercy is More”, a powerful new congregational worship song by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa. Filmed and recorded live at Providence Church in Frisco, Texas with worship leader Matt Boswell and Boyce College Choir.



What love could remember no wrongs we have done
Omniscient, all knowing, He counts not their sum
Thrown into a sea without bottom or shore
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

What patience would wait as we constantly roam
What Father, so tender, is calling us home
He welcomes the weakest, the vilest, the poor
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

What riches of kindness he lavished on us
His blood was the payment, His life was the cost
We stood ‘neath a debt we could never afford
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

Praise the Lord
His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

The Power of Music- Baby Moved to Tears as Mom Sings Worship Song

In his book, Real Worship: Playground, Battleground, or Holy Ground? Warren Wiersbe wrote,

Music confronts the whole person, mind, heart, and will- and demands some kind of response. Music instructs the minds, inspires the emotions, and challenges the will. … It should not surprise us that great revival movements, evangelistic campaigns, and political and nationalistic crusades have all swept forward on the wings of song.Even Israel felt a new sense of unity and victory when they sang God’s praises at the Red Sea (Exodus 15), a scene that will be repeated in new dimensions when God’s people arrive in heaven. (Revelation 15:1-4).

I am convinced that congregations learn more theology (good and bad) from songs they sing than from the sermons they hear. Music reaches the mind and the heart at the same time. It has the power to touch and move the emotions…

RC Sproul said of music in his online class Recovering the Beauty of the Arts,

Just as conversion is an aesthetic experience in which the converted person is first awakened to the sweetness and excellence of God in Christ, so our musical expression of worship should continually direct our attention and stir us to adore His beauty and majesty.

But do not take my word for it. Watch what happens when a mom sings “Good Good Father” to her baby

Baby Moved to Tears as Mom Sings Worship Song to Him – “Good, Good Father”

Song Leaders, please be ever so mindful of the tremendous impact music has. Wiersbe said music

can be a wonderful tool in the hands of the Spirit or a terrible weapon in the hands of the Adversary. Naive congregations can sing their way into heresy before they even realize what is going on.

Posted in Uncategorized

“Singing is a holy practice”

I praise the Lord deeply for my church. Our elders are thoughtful and caring about every aspect of how we conduct worship. We are a new church plant, less than a year old, and the thought that went into the plant took months prior to the first service last January, and years of preparation, and an eternity before that, as the Lord sovereignly raised up the men who begot the men who begot the men and who begot…and so on… who planted this church.

Our music minister introduced a new hymn to us yesterday. He said for us to remain seated, and to look at the lyrics as he and the other musicians sang and played it for us. The hymn is a new song by Matt Boswell. Continue reading ““Singing is a holy practice””