The Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast: Part 2
This just in: Brandon Lake just broke Amazon Music’s global record for first-day stream for a Christian artist single with the song “Praise You Anywhere.” That’s a fancy way of saying that for a single-song release (in the contemporary Christian music genre), Lake now holds the record for first-day listens. The feat should come as no surprise, as only a few weeks ago his song “Gratitude” took home the 2023 K-LOVE Fan Awards’ Worship Song of the Year.
Will Lake’s recent success in the Christian music scene begin challenging the prominence of fellow contemporary Christian artist Lauren Daigle, who has garnered 4 AMA, 6 Billboard, 11 GMA Dove, and 2 Grammy awards, all within the last few years?
Despite the widespread acclaim these and fellow Christian artists have received for the influence of their music, even in secular circles, some question the authentic working of God’s Spirit in their careers. Daigle especially faces scrutiny as she expresses a theology which contradicts traditional understandings of God (ie. God’s “gender,” LGBTQ+, the power in the name of Jesus, etc.).
Could her and other contemporary artists’ success in the Christian music scene, as some propose, be workings of the antichrist? Are their lives deceptions to lure marginalized believers into false religion?
Although it may be important to first analyze the lyrics of the praise songs, and to step back to evaluate our own lives before drawing any final conclusions – for we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) – this controversy echoes Christ’s warning that Satan works to deceive the elect through the works and lives of other alleged believers (Matthew 24:24). The only way we can be ready for the spiritual warfare is to put our trust in our Savior, Jesus Christ, and to put on the armor of God, as instructed in Ephesians 6:10-18. And, of course, that means spending time regularly in prayer and in the Word.
Connecting: Can a Christian get away with saying “Do as I say, not as I do”? Are there exceptions?
Sharing: What gives you peace and assurance regarding the time of the end, and why? Consider the following points before discussing with your small group or journaling your thoughts.
- Christ has already won the battle and God is in control
- The ending is not “unknown” because Christ has warned we will face persecution
- Those who abide by the seventh-day Sabbath and morality laws are strengthened through scrutiny already faced
- Holy Spirit is with us
- We have communities of believers to boost our strength and encouragement
- Heavenly reunions that are to come
Applying: Some Adventists get so wrapped up in fearing a Sunday law that they become blind to other counterfeits (such as fundamentalism) lurking at their doors. In a small group or by yourself, brainstorm and then apply ways you can gently point these believers back to a life of revering God more than they fear the end.
Valuing: Consider the organizations and communities of which you are a part, and if these relationships help or deter developing deeper relationships with God.
~ Stefani Leeper