Satan has a plan to infiltrate and defile the modern worship movement.
The first sin in the universe was pride and the first being to sin was Lucifer, an archangel who dwelled in the very presence of God in heaven.
Theologians believe that Lucifer was the worship leader in heaven, in the very presence of God. He was exceedingly beautiful and endowed with special abilities. As we see in the passage from Isaiah 14, Lucifer looked upon his own beauty and wisdom—attributes created in him by the Lord —and he decided that he would raise his throne above God. He foolishly declared, "I will make myself like the Most High."—CBN
Luciferianism is a belief system that venerates the essential characteristics that are affixed to Lucifer. The tradition, influenced by Gnosticism, usually reveres Lucifer not as the devil, but as a liberator, a guardian or guiding spirit or even the true god as opposed to Jehovah. For Luciferians, enlightenment is the ultimate goal. ~Wikipedia
As one who lives much of my life with headphones on, including as I write this article, with anointed worship music being pumped into my spirit night and day, this is a challenging message to deliver. It's challenging due to the fact that I highly revere the anointing that rests on so much of today's and yesterday's worship music. It disturbs me that such an article would even be necessary. The obvious argument would highlight the overt evil, immorality and demonic culture we live in, and the filth in media that results. The argument would declare it's highly inappropriate to attack music that, in comparison, should be celebrated.
I concur that the majority of music and media today is offensive and a stench in the nostrils of God. I also agree that we must encourage all to flood their lives with truly anointed media, including worship music. For years, my prescription for people who have come to me confessing struggle in their walk with God was to eliminate all media for a season that was not explicitly anointed, worshipful and godly. In fact, I'd go so far as to ask them to consider turning off even contemporary Christian music (or whatever else they enjoyed) and take in a steady diet of Vineyard (my favorite back in the day) or other worship music for a month.
Without fail, those who took me up on my experiment reported powerful breakthrough while those who did not continued to struggle. Worship music anointed by the Holy Spirit is more powerful than we might realize. So is music that's anointed by Lucifer.
A recent, related article that I wrote for Charisma Media has been shared over 50 thousand times from their site alone. "Worship Leaders Must Take a Stand Against Homosexuality" addresses the need for holiness in worship leaders, and it was a call for them to make a vocal stand in opposition to the spirit of the age. Why is this important? Because the theological and moral positions of our worship leaders will directly impact the advance of revival and the kingdom. Additionally, the enemy, just as he did in the very beginning, is looking to seduce today's spiritual generation by subtly twisting worship music just enough so that it takes on his anointing instead of God's.
Three Ways Lucifer Can Infiltrate Worship Music
Many people wrongly believe that the worship leader's theology is unimportant. The train of thought is that the senior pastor is the gatekeeper regarding theology in the local church, and the worship leader plays a lesser, supporting role. All we have to do is jump back a bunch of years to see that the great gatekeeper, God himself, was assaulted and his mission was radically damaged.
How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weaken the nations! For you have said in your heart, "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also on the mount of the congregation, in the recesses of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High." Yet you shall be brought down to Hell, to the sides of the pit. Those who see you shall stare at you and ponder over you: "Is this the man who made the earth to tremble and shook kingdoms, who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?" All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, each one in his own tomb (Is. 14:12-18).
Lucifer, the worship leader, was not unified with God, and truth was violated. God Himself couldn't (or didn't) stop what happened next:
- One-third of the angels fell with Lucifer.
Countless millions of humans will burn in the hell that was made for him after he was cast out of Heaven.
Bad theology in your worship leader can easily lead to many others in the church succumbing to the deception.
Why? "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness" (Ezek. 28:17a).
The mix of pride and beauty can be extremely seductive. I think we'd all admit there are worship leaders we absolutely love. Their music, their stage presence, their passion are all extremely attractive. For those who are truly humble and godly, there is nothing wrong with that. However, for those who embrace theologies and belief systems that are unbiblical, their anointing will remain—but the source of the anointing will change. The music, stage presence and passion will be as compelling as ever, but the truth will not be what is driving their worship. Bad doctrine compromises anointing.
You would be shocked at how many worship leaders (and pastors for that matter) affirm the grisly act of abortion. Others have been conditioned by false-grace doctrines, supposed "gay Christianity," prosperity, me-centered theologies and other beliefs.
For many, the goal of a worship experience is enlightenment. To tap into another realm and experience the supernatural isn't bad. It's good, as long as it's the right realm. Unfortunately, too many simply want the high regardless of just what anointing exists there. This is Lucifer's goal. Seduce with enlightenment and trap people with what the biblically compromised worship leader is offering.
They retain their "beauty," the enlightenment is powerful and their attraction is intense. However, their anointing can be very dangerous indeed.
2. Secret Life
Worship leading should not be the primary job description of worship leaders. It should be the natural outflow of a life of intense, continual prayer. Praying in the spirit night and day must be job one for all of us, and especially those who are supposing to lead us into an encounter with a holy God.
It should be obvious that we cannot lead people where we have not gone. I propose many of today's worship leaders are simply pointing people to the holy place instead of going ahead of them and leading them there.
One of my favorite takeaways from my time at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City was the worship culture. Every day, the worship teams spent hours in the prayer room, praying, studying the Word, pacing around the room crying out to God, and only then would they take the stage. Only then would they truly have something to offer. Only then could they hope to lead people into the encounter they just had with God. The result was powerful, often-spontaneous songs that were deep and spiritually alive instead of the karaoke worship we are all so used to.
But so many of Sunday morning's worship leaders and musicians are taking the stage after possibly saying a quick, casual prayer together, often after spending many prayerless days. Many are coming off a Saturday night filled with unholy media and movies. Others are secretly struggling with sins—while others aren't struggling at all. They are embracing a sinful lifestyle wholeheartedly.
Decades later, I'm still shocked at the times early in my Christian walk when I witnessed worship leaders, pastors and others in the church casually enjoying vile, R-rated movies or listening to music that was unholy. They'd fill their lives with the pleasure of the day, every single day, and then sing and preach in God's house of prayer. My spirit is still sickened.
Sadly, the church has become so desensitized that we can't tell when the anointing has departed.
The secret lives of worship leaders absolutely can result in Ichabod being hung above the doorposts of the church: "She named the child Ichabod, saying, 'The glory is departed from Israel,' because the ark of God was taken ..." (1 Sam. 4:21).
Do we even understand the cost involved in hosting the ark of God today?
Does anybody else notice the trend in worship music toward the glorification of man?
Benefits, our position, our experience—shouted in song after song.
We need to get back to God-centered lyrics that proclaim His goodness!
- "We exalt thee! We exalt thee! We exalt thee, oh Lord!"
- "All hail the power of Jesus' Name! Let angels prostrate fall;/Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all."
- "Blessing and honor, glory and power/Be unto the Ancient of Days/From every nation, all of creation, Bow before the Ancient of Days/Every tongue in heaven and earth shall declare Your glory/Every knee shall bow at your throne in worship/You will be exalted O God/And Your kingdom shall not pass away/O Ancient of Days"
- "Are you washed in the blood,/In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?/Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?/Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?"
Friend, it's not about us. It's not about our benefits. It's not even as much about how much God loves us as it is about how much we love Him.
Imagine writing a love song for your spouse, and then passionately singing it to them. Imagine the lyrics were all about how much he or she loves you instead of how deeply you are in love with them. That would be bizarre. We need to exalt God a lot more than we do celebrating his love for us.
It is becoming more and more common to hear worship lyrics (and contemporary Christian music lyrics) that are either wishy-washy and watered down or simply not biblical at all.
Let's Initiate a True Worship Movement
There is a true worship movement that emphasizes our death and exalts God that will shake the foundations of the earth.
As we live lives of humility, deep prayer and holiness, the music that comes out of this movement will cause demons to flee.
Worship leaders, I plead with you: Don't allow your beauty and your passion to lead the people God has given you to serve. Lead from your knees, from the prayer room, from that secret place of intercession. Only then will you have what is necessary to set the captives free and introduce a troubled and demon-assaulted generation to the love and power of a holy God.
It happened that when the evil spirit from God came on Saul, David would take the lyre in his hand and play. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him (1 Sam. 16:23).
John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 20 years and is a sought-after teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. He has authored nine books, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. Additionally, he planted two churches, has initiated two city prayer movements and is currently directing a prayer- and revival-focused ministry school in Detroit called theLab University. John also has a web- and graphic-design business and is continually developing new and exciting ventures. He and his beautiful wife, Amy, have five children and live in the Detroit area. He can be reached via his website at johnburton.net.
This article originally appeared at burtontv.net.
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