IFB Dishonesty

A pastor acquaintance I recently met at Shepherd’s Conference this past year exposes a couple of instances of Fundamentalist tale bearing.

Of particular interest is the second one in which my pastor acquaintance uncovers the dishonest exaggerations of Kent Bradenburg.

Kent’s an occasional commenter under any of my posts pertaining to John MacArthur and my church. Most recently are his comments under this post.  As my pastor acquaintance notes in his report, Kent, who didn’t even attend the Shepherd’s Conference and only listened to a little bit of the on-line streaming, didn’t like the music that was used to lead worship at the conference. That’s all well and good, because people have different preferences when it comes to music, but he practically likens it to a rock and roll concert.  That of course is a lie and my pastor acquaintance, who did attend the conference and even video recorded many of the sessions, exposes his falsehood.

Even if one disagrees with what we do, at least be an honorable person that doesn’t lie against detractors.


15 thoughts on “IFB Dishonesty

  1. Fred,

    Let’s judge your posting with what seems to be your definition of lying, OK? That is, since you like to throw around the term “lie” so easily. First, I’m not a fundamentalist, either historic or modern. Lie #1. Second, I comment on more than posts about John MacArthur and your church. Lie #2. Third, I never said it was a rock concert. Lie #3. I said it was rock music. And I said that I saw pastor’s “rocking,” which I defined as swaying to the rock beat. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t see that, since I saw that. Fourth, he never exposed what I saw or didn’t see. Lie #4. I played the music on his blog for my wife. She didn’t know what she was listening to. I asked her if she thought that was rock music. She said, “Yes.” As I asked your pastor acquaintance, Is she lying? She must be, according to your definition.

    He had less actual conference in his blogpost than I saw on your life stream. He didn’t have the section of the auditorium that I was watching on your lifestream, but even in that lifestream, I saw pastors swaying. That bothers you. Again, Fred, why should i bother you? You don’t care if they sway. You don’t care if they rock. You are not bothered by rock music. So why does it bother you that I report it. If rock music is fine to use for worshiping our Creator, Almighty God, sitting in His Holy Temple, then you should be rejoicing in it. But no. Instead, you call me a liar. Are you going to call Iain Murray and Peter Masters liars, because they something similar to what I have written, Masters almost identical. Iain Murray reports it in his biography of MacArthur. There’s a lot about John MacArthur I like. I believe the same as him in numerous ways. But I report something like this, and you call me a liar. Guess what. You’re lying about it. So what does that make you? For me to be a liar, I didn’t see rock music or pastor’s swaying to the beat. If I did see that, you are the liar. You’ve got to prove that I didn’t see that. Have you proven that, Fred? Are Murray and Masters liars?

    Conservative evangelicals such as yourself believe in due process, right? So I expect an answer.

  2. Why does this remind me of what James White is having to deal with regards to Peter Lumpkin? Why do I think this is nothing more than jealousy over the success of MacArthur’s teachings and church. Not to mention the seminary/college.

  3. Peter Nelson,

    Based on your extra sensory perception, John MacArthur speaks against Joel Osteen because he’s jealous and the Pyros speak against the elephant room because they’re jealous of Driscoll and T. D. Jakes. It’s lazy analysis. If you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras. I’m not jealous of anyone. I’m extremely happy. I love John MacArthur and Christianity and the Bible, and I’m pointing out something that is bad, like MacArthur is pointing out things bad about the Charismatics in his new book Strange Fire. Is he jealous of them because he writes a book about it? Some squirrelly friends, returning from the woods from foraging for nuts, might be all excited about your explanation, but it isn’t true. And it’s about par for the course for evangelicals as a comment about a post about lying.


    Skinny jeans relate to rock music? So you’re saying that certain type of dress means something? You better rethink that, because you’ll get the skinny jeans crowd upset with you and call you a liar. And by the way, I didn’t see anyone rolling, only rocking. I’ll keep you updated though.


    Here’s what I’m going to do, mainly because I’d rather not have the tension and keep it to the issue. I’m going rescind my comment on swaying pastors to the rock beat. Let’s say I never saw that at all. You guys have a grainy video taken off the grassy noll with a crevasse of people showing and they weren’t bumping and grinding, so you’ve got proof I’m a liar. I retract that statement, because it’s just going to get in the way. You’ve got three guys who were there that don’t remember seeing anything, so let it go. I’m giving in on it. So we’re left with it being rock music used for worship. That’s my final answer. And unless I think I need to answer anything else here, I’ll be done with you guys for now.

  4. This is all just a fantasy narrative of misrepresentation by omission founded on categorical errors and the redefining of common terms. I contend that it is not rock music, noting that the only categorical point of reference to rock made by Mr. Brandenburg is “rock rhythm and instrumentation” and physical movement of the worship participants. When he says “rock rhythm and instrumentation”, I assume he means drums and electric guitar, perhaps bass guitar as well. Note how broad these terms are, even with the adjective “rock” place before “rhthym and instrumentation.” Inherent in this use of the adjective “rock” is a silent admission that there also exists a category or rhthym and instrumentation that is not “rock”. Therefore, there must exist a type of drumming and guitar playing that is not representative of rock music. This is exactly the type of rhthym and instrumentation which was found at GCC during the shepards conference. Because of the construction of drums, as a base instrument they will tonally sound similar regardless of the performance style they are used for. A kick drum sounds like a kick drum, toms sound like toms, cymbals like cymbals, etc. So while the playing may be any style, often the tone of the instrument sound similar across these styles. This can account for the perception of the listener (Mr. Brandenburg quotes his own wife) regarding the sound of a drum kit or electric guitar as “rock” even when the style of playing is not rock.

    Categorically, the only drum parts that could be misconstrued as rock music were the light use of fills and accents during chord changes. These are par for the course in the artform of drumming, whether rock music or any type of music. They “fancify” the rhthym to some degree or another. It is important to note that not having these drum parts would basically render the drum beat equivalent to a metronome. At the shepards conference, the drumming was a simple, almost predominant 4/4 beat. This is one of the most basic beats possible and can be found in any style of music, including rock. This particular tempo can even exist when there are no drums, such as in classical music when the composer acts as the drummer through the actions of his wand. Unless the music you make or listen to is purely ambient sounds, it will have an inherent tempo. The drums just represent this overtly. The question is, what satisfies the parameter distinctions between rock rythym and non-rock rhthym? Since Mr. Brandenburg has chosen to define the music as rock base on the grouping of rhthym and instrumentation as on category, then both these parameters must add up to what constitutes rock music rhthym and instrumentation. Also, is it not convienent that there is no discussion of the missing “rock” vocals, the other ingredient to rock music?

    But, Mr. Brandenburg cites the music as rock without defining it’s parameters, therefore he is appealing to his readers predetermined definition of rock music and it’s broad terms. One example is where he described the physical movement of the worship participants as “rocking to that music” and “they were ‘rocking’ like at a rock concert”. The use of the term “rocking” is also broad and may conjure images dramatically contrary to what actually took place. Mr. Brandenburg illustrates his own misuse of that term when he elsewhere describes this movement as “swaying”. And I ask, which is it? “Rocking like at a rock concert” or “swaying”? How does one reconcile the two very different mental images conjured by these terms? What one sees in the videos, is that when understood under the pretense of labeling the music as rock, his use of “rocking” is very misrepresentative. “Swaying” however, is accurate. Equally, the broad use of “rock” is also misrepresentative. For example, another person might assume as I had that the music featured loud and distorted guitars. As a guitarist, this is one of my own preconceived notions regarding what constitutes rock music. But in watching the videos, there were no distorted or loud guitars to be found. Rather, the guitar I heard was tastefully mixed in accompaniment with the piano and vocals, just as the drum beats were.

  5. Jared,

    Your comment at least seems to try to keep it on my topic, even if it still fails at that. No one even dealt with what I talked about in my post. I could write the same post about revivalist churches and their use of southern gospel, not rock music. I chose to use MacArthur as an example because he himself says that rock music means something.

    No one like me believes that it is rock music because of the instruments used. That is insulting. Psalm 150 brings in every type of instrument that is used. I would say, however, that there is reason, since modernism, why you’ve got an electric guitar and a trap set. That is an intelligent way to consider it. These lent themselves to the kind of music. That doesn’t make the instrument wrong any more than a hockey stick is wrong if it is used in modern art for painting, or that a camera is wrong because it is used for pornography.

    You are definitely under representing the rock music of the rock band. I asked the men over at the post to which Fred linked if there was a difference between the piano/organ and, in general, the full orchestra, with the rock band. Of course there was, and it is an obvious intentional difference. The music program, whoever was in charge, was going for something different with the use of the rock band. And here we’re arguing about whether it was a rock band and whether it was rock. Rock aspects were used in some of the choral and solo work too, but not to the extent that it was with the rock band, not strangely enough. With rock music, you don’t have to break it down to syncopation or the beat the drummer played on, or the guitar riffs or the drum combinations on the rock beat, or even the soul patches of the participants or the bed head, or whatever we want to point to. People know that’s soft rock. Why argue against it if you don’t oppose its use in worship. People don’t want Mark Driscoll to use profane language in preaching, and people don’t want profane music used in worship. Some say there is no profane music, and some say there is no profane language. The Bible doesn’t tell us what either of them are. We can judge these things. I haven’t defined the parameters, no. If I started breaking it down, I would be mocked for that too. I read the Rolling Stones History of Rock and Roll and they talk about why they do the music they do — what is inherent in the music that is not fitting with the nature of God. MacArthur himself talks about this in his Ephesians commentary and he has said it again at different times.

    I know why rock music started being played in churches. It was opposed by all evangelicals, then by fewer, and fewer. The frog in the kettle. Same with the Charismatic movement. Now the same with complementarianism. You hold the line somewhere and you’ll be attacked. They’ll say, you like the 1950s. That’s simplistic and false. This started far before the 50s when Finney discovered that music was a new measure. Moody took it further. Evangelicals kept with it. Fundamentalists at a slower pace. Now there is no objective beauty in Christianity, when historic Christianity wrote about this a lot. There is one beauty, as there is one truth and one goodness. If you destroy what is lovely (and scripture doesn’t tell us what that is, we are assumed to know), then our affections for God will also be diminished.

  6. I do not understand what your accusations of a lie come from. A personal opinion is not a lie, it’s a personal opinion. If someone gives me sweet potato pie I will say “it’s like pumpkin pie” is that a lie too?

    As for worship music, I personally prefer Country Gospel, and will avoid contemporary music with a deep heartfilled passion because to me most contemporary Christian music glorifies the performer, not the Father. That’s my opinion, which I am free to express without being accused of lying. I also think that some of it is very poorly done, which is again my opinion and not a lie. However I also avoid it because I find much of it is based on the heretical blasphemous twisting of the Message bible parody, which is not an opinion and not a lie.

  7. I call it a “lie” because he was more than just giving an opinion. He was providing an insinuation that John and our church, by using what he has erroneously defined as “rock” music to lead worship at SC, are hypocritical or worldly or confusing or whatever. None of that is true however. The music selection and performance was perfectly acceptable for worship and does not fall anywhere near being what normal Christians consider “rock.”

    He further insists that he saw men swaying or “rocking out” which could possibly fall into the category of “his opinion” but he has to explain why any “swaying” (this of course after we gauge what is a “sway” what is not) is sinful or to be equated with charismania and unacceptable for a shepherd to do. Yet, him drawing attention to “swaying” is meant to convey the notion that there was present at the conference some high energy, rock and roll atmosphere that one finds at a secular rock festival. Which of course implies there was a spirit of hypocrisy on John’s part and comments he has made at other times regarding music and Christians. And that pastors were engaged in false worship that only feeds the flesh.

    Now, he never said those exact words, but that is the implication. He wants to smear our church as being hypocritical and dishonest regarding what we stand for and thus paint us as what is really wrong with churches in America. That of course is a lie and the reason I use the word.

  8. No Fred,

    I believe that you are deceived, because the heart is deceitful, and desperately wicked, and I find agreement from Iain Murray and Peter Masters. Nobody is lying. They are telling you the truth. Now you obviously think they (and me) are wrong, but it doesn’t constitute lying. They (and me) are providing proof with it, not book length proof, but what is normally required in a blog post. You’re saying they’re wrong, but that is different than a lie. The way you are defining a lie here verges on a form of derangement. If someone believes you are wrong, he is lying. If your crowd goes with that, then it does say something about you and them, something that should be very odd, but in fact is an abnormality that is now viewed as normal in America and then evangelicalism. MacArthur would get what I’m talking about, even if he saw it as a disputable matter. I heard him recently tell your church that no child should read fantasy like the Twilight series, and the way he presented it was as though it was akin to following Satan to do so. I agreed with his assessment, but I’m guessing that you’ve got a number of people in your own church that would disagree with him and think they’ve got liberty to read and watch Twilight. If you went to their facebook pages, they would “like” Twilight. If they were you, they would call MacArthur a liar because of the implications of their liking Twilight. That, my friend, is deranged.

  9. Kent writes,
    I believe that you are deceived, because the heart is deceitful, and desperately wicked, and I find agreement from Iain Murray and Peter Masters. Nobody is lying. They are telling you the truth.

    Both Masters and Murray have spoken at our church and have had both Phil and John speak when they are over in England. Murray frequently comes to our church and even teaches at the various Sunday school classes and SC. Are either one of those men as desperately wicked as us? Murray sits and listen to the “rock” music in the services and I have yet to see him leave and separate out of protest.

    MacArthur would get what I’m talking about, even if he saw it as a disputable matter. I heard him recently tell your church that no child should read fantasy like the Twilight series, and the way he presented it was as though it was akin to following Satan to do so.

    I heard the same thing and he did not present it as though it was akin to following Satan to read fantasy literature.

  10. Fred,

    This is a case study in talking past each other, but in your case, I’m going to say it’s on purpose that you don’t want to get this, so you’re playing dumb. And that’s a compliment, because the alternative is that you really are dense. The question really isn’t on this occasion and never has been whether Murray or Masters would separate over the music. I am saying that they say either the same or similar things on the music as I do, and you don’t call them liars. I know you get this, but you are choosing to play it like you do. You can’t give in; you’re stubborn — which is in fact like the religious leaders in Jesus’ day. They knew what Jesus was talking about, but they couldn’t give in, because it would mean changing, and they weren’t ready to do that.

    Regarding the heart being desperately wicked, I think you believe that’s the case and it is what your church preaches. That’s why Christians will be different. They can’t both be right. In this case, we’re not both right, and if one of us is wrong, it could be for several reasons, but I believe it is deception. I’m saying you are deceived. You say I’m purposefully lying. The latter is worse, I think, and not true (which makes it a lie, ironically). And Murray and Masters would be lying too. You won’t admit that when they make the same observation, that they are lying. Why? They preach at your church. Talk about a red herring. I would like to anticipate that we could say things that we are actually saying, rather than twisting it slightly to send it a different direction, like you are doing. Just say you don’t agree that rock music is wrong for worship. That would end it. And that I’m off the rails thinking it is. Why can’t you admit that? Instead, I have to be a liar. It must be. Well, then Murray and Masters are liars. No, they’re not. It reminds me of preaching the gospel, and asking someone if they deserve Hell. They say “no.” How many sins does it take to deserve hell? Answering: “One.” Have you committed one sin? “Yes.” Do you deserve Hell? “No.” Can’t admit they deserve Hell. You can’t admit something, because it won’t work for your story.

    Here is MacArthur’s transcript from the Q and A I was talking about, that I said I agreed with:

    JOHN: So do I think it’s satanic? Sure, absolutely. I wouldn’t allow any child at all to get anywhere near that kind of stuff because what it does…they’ve got enough evil in the real world and what it does is create a horrifying unreal world, a fantasy world where you can get away with even worst things.

    You know, there are certain confines in the real world? You know what I mean?

    EMILY: Yes.

    JOHN: In the real world, certain behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable. In the real world, there’s a level of outrage. But in the world of vampires and werewolves, from what I understand, you can fly through the air and bite off somebody’s head and spit it out, or you can morph yourself into some kind of a horrible ghastly creature that can wreak havoc and massacre cities and people. That is evil the way Satan would want it to be in an unrestrained world. But he can’t pull it off in this world because he is restrained. But in the fantasy world, Satan is unrestrained. And I think that’s all that is, that is a fantasy world in which Satan runs unrestrained. And I…I mean, this comes down to video games, this comes down to books, this comes down to movies, anything that takes people into a fantasy world takes them to a place of danger because there are no boundaries there are no limits for behavior in the fantasy world. And that is why we have the kind of behavior in the real world that goes beyond these bounds to a degree that we’ve never had in human….in our lifetime in the past because people finally obliterate the line between the fantasy world and the real world and they turn in to monsters that do horrendous things that even appalls the criminal element in society.

    So I think everything needs to be done by a parent to keep your children out of the fantasy world, keep them out of the unreal world.

    Come on. Just let the audience decide. I’m fine with that. I’m ready for you to retract the liar, lie, dishonesty idea. It just isn’t true. I wouldn’t do the same thing with you. I don’t think it’s the way to have a discussion about things with which we disagree, but it might be par for the course with you.

  11. Kent, your exaggerations know no bounds.
    You specifically wrote in the previous comment,

    I heard him recently tell your church that no child should read fantasy like the Twilight series, and the way he presented it was as though it was akin to following Satan to do so.

    Okay. We have two things here. One is that John is saying no child should read fantasy literature like the Twilight novels. The other is that John is against fantasy literature of any kind. Add to that there are people in our church that apparently you know about who read it anyways. Perhaps there are, I know of none off hand.

    Other fantasy literature I happen to like and I know other Christians do read and no, we do not find it satanic, nor would John depending upon the context of the literature.

    At any rate, you forgot specific details to Emily’s question. Let me highlight the key points,

    EMILY: Good evening, Pastor MacArthur, my name is Emily.

    JOHN: Hi, Emily.

    EMILY: I just have a question. Are you aware of the Twilight Series?

    JOHN: Am I aware of the Twilight Series? Yes, I’m living it. (Laughter) This is it. No, I’m not aware…I don’t know what you mean by the Twilight Series.

    EMILY: Okay, it’s a book about vampires and werewolves…

    JOHN: Oh, one of my favorite subjects, vampires and werewolves.

    EMILY: Yes.

    JOHN: I don’t think I’ve ever read ten words about vampires and werewolves but anyway….

    EMILY: I was just wondering, do you think vampires and werewolves are satanic?

    JOHN: Well, first of all, they don’t exist.

    EMILY: Right.

    (btw, those interested can see the transcript here http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/70-28/questions-and-answers-part-56 a Q&A session from 2010).

    You’ll note here that John was asked about books he doesn’t even know about, about a subject he doesn’t care about, and whether such things are satanic. I can understand why he said what he said.

    That does not calculate into him being against certain elements in literature, against all fantasy literature in general, or that anyone who reads it is involving themselves in satanism. You are attempting to prove more than what is there.


  12. Honestly Fred,

    I don’t know how you get that I exaggerated from my comment when you look at part of the transcript, the whole transcript, part/whole, whatever. I’m preaching through 2 Corinthians right now, my second time through in my life. It is interesting to see the personal nature of your attacks on me and the parallel with how false teachers at Corinth attacked Paul. The stuff I’m dealing with GCC (which has national influence) is in the nature of doctrine and philosophy, and you go personal and call me dishonest and a liar. That’s how the false teachers dealt with Paul. They attacked his integrity, not his preaching or his doctrine. You still haven’t said whether you think rock music is any good for worship. It would be easy to answer. I understand why you would hold off though. Instead, you deal with whether I’m lying about it or not, which has now turned to exaggeration which “knows no bounds.” That’s ironic to the point of humorous. “Knows no bounds?” Exaggeration?

    Again though, people really should judge as to whether I’m exaggerating what MacArthur said, because I AGREE WITH WHAT HE SAID. One could say that if I was exaggerating, it was the other direction, because it was even more extreme than what I represented. I said “fantasy like Twilight” and his answer was very dogmatic about fantasy period, that Satan has no limits in his work in the world of fantasy. I’m bracing for another personal attack here. MacArthur is dogmatic here like Paul was dogmatic and Paul was attacked for that. I don’t attack MacArthur for dogmatism. Anyway, people really should judge it based on scripture and I’m willing to let it stay there, Fred. It’s again just a red herring from that small point, that is, MacArthur makes some of the same type of applications. That’s just one example. The danger is defending yourself, and the Apostle Paul found this too, is that the people will just keep twisting the words that you use. That’s you.

  13. Is it just me or does it seem that the very article that Kent is trying to rebut is proving more and more true based on Kent’s very own rebuttals ?:/

    And you do realize Kent that no matter how much you attempt to divert the subject of IFB dishonesty to what is the appropriate music genre for all of Christiandom , it is to no avail , you really should quit while your behind and as you demand that Fred and those on the blog from which this blog post is based , retract your original statement on the SC, and apologize to all that you’ve attempted to malign.
    And in the future might I add, if your going to ” report” on what is said or done at a conference or ,what is said in a Q&A session from another mans ministry please do as Fred has done and post all the facts if you expect us to ” pass judgement” on another brother based on your ” reporting”. Thanks, your brother in Christ , Webb Bailey.

  14. Kent writes,
    Again though, people really should judge as to whether I’m exaggerating what MacArthur said, because I AGREE WITH WHAT HE SAID.

    It doesn’t matter if you agree with what John said, you draw our attention to his comment because you wish to demonstrate some perceived area of hypocrisy between what you think John is saying and what you think happens at our church. In order to accomplish the completion of your accusation, you overlook any significant context and impugn individuals you have never met with the worst possible character.

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