Published October 2, 2012

Paul's Epistle...

Many of the columns in this space recently have been about the need to take a stand for Christ in these last days — more than ever before. Here's a guest column that appeared in Singing News magazine that makes just such a call. Although aimed primarily at people involved professionally in Southern Gospel music, it really applies to every true Christian. Please take a few minutes to read, absorb and implement the truths presented here as they apply to us all.

- Paul

"I Have a Burden"
by Adam Borden

I have a unique perspective as a Southern Gospel industry professional. In the past, I have been a performer on the road, but now I work behind the scenes as a marketing consultant for this magazine. The most important part of my perspective is as a God-called Bible preacher who works weekly within a local church body.

As I look through the window of those perspectives I can see a very close comparison to the modern church and the Southern Gospel industry. Both are made up of people with the greatest message on earth, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Both are made up of leaders and followers, faithful and unfaithful, pure and pretenders, spiritual and worldly. The determining factor in those comparisons is sin versus purity.

Sin? In the church? Or among our Southern Gospel music ministers? Surely not!

Oh yes, I'm afraid so. According to Romans 3:23 we all have to deal with sin in our lives. To flippantly give in to it because of our humanity makes too much of the liberty of God's grace (Romans 6:1-4, KJV). The apostle Paul described the struggle best in Galatians 5:17 when he said that the "flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh…"

Over the years there have been incidents in both the church and Southern Gospel music that were immoral in nature and, as a result, turned my stomach. For example, just as we're seeing more and more of in the modern church, there is an underlying struggle with "orientation" of many industry individuals who perform, write, promote and/or produce Southern Gospel music. It is very easy to decry the abomination of physical immorality associated with "orientation" (Leviticus 20:13, KJV), as we should. But, keep in mind that in God's eyes there are many sins listed in the Scriptures, such as Proverbs 6:16-19 and Galatians 5:19-21, that are just as repulsive to God.

I am burdened in my heart.

How do we best address the issue of our sinful flesh? I believe the answer for all of us — whether we are regular church attendees or traveling Southern Gospel professionals — is personal purity. Personal purity depends greatly on an individual decision to live a dedicated life for the Glory of God through His Son Jesus Christ.

So what is my burden?

Because our beloved Southern Gospel artists spend years on the road away from their own home churches Sunday after Sunday, I submit that they can be more susceptible to the snares of Satan. Please do not misunderstand me—I am not saying that groups are out of the will of God if they sing on Sunday. Obviously, in Ephesians 4:11 God calls "some…evangelists," and we all know that preaching evangelists are in different churches all over the world on Sundays.

But the Word also says in Hebrews 10:25 that we should not "forsake the assembling of ourselves, as the manner of some is." My burden is for those road warriors who leave on buses on Wednesday nights and get home Monday mornings. That lifestyle puts understandable strain on families, so it is reasonable to accept that it can also create a strain on the spiritual life. I am truly burdened.

My burden is attached to a challenge. Industry leaders, I call on you to keep a short account with God concerning sin in your life. Set a biblical, godly example for those in your organization, whether a group, record company, booking agency, radio station or magazine. Make the spiritual well-being of your employees a top priority. Keep each other accountable for the words you say, the words you read and the practices you allow in your organization. Pray for—and with—each other. Have the hard conversations when you see a brother in a fault (Galatians 6:1). Why not try God to see if He will bless your business if you make faithful Sunday church attendance a priority. He might just surprise you if you don't forsake "the assembling of yourselves..." (Hebrews 10:25). I know a few groups that can say "Amen" to that priority.

Southern Gospel professional, examine yourself. Make a priority of the Word of God. As much as possible submit yourself to the biblical leadership of your pastor. Develop a relationship of accountability with him. Does a personal sin have control of your life? Why are you doing what you do? Is it out of desire or calling, ego or humility, self-will or obedience? Would you be better off being a blessing to our home church? The vain glory of bright lights, big stages, awards and applause will lose its luster after a while, but making the personal decision to allow God to fulfill His perfect will through your life is what really matters.

Finally, take a stand against sin. First Corinthians 5:11 says that we should not "keep company" with a brother who is in willful sin even if he or she writes songs like nobody's business, sings like a bird or can take your single to the top of the charts. If it costs you some worldly gain to guard your associations, then I believe God will faithfully take care of you.

In these last days I am burdened for every Southern Gospel industry professional. However, if we will let the Holy Ghost deal with us over our sin and keep our lives as pure as possible, I believe Southern Gospel music can reach its fullest potential in spreading the gospel to more and more people.

Adam Borden is a contributing editor to Singing News magazine. The above column appeared in the magazine's September, 2012, issue (pages 68-69), copyright 2012 by Salem Publishing, and is used here by permission. Emphasis added.

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