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Jars of Clay + Philippine Red Cross + Good Works = Sharing The Gospel?

I'm conflicted about this one.

I'm conflicted, because on one hand I want to acknowledge a gesture of good will that I learned about today, but I'm conflicted because I don't want my writing about it here to be viewed as some kind of tacit approval of certain things.

Those "certain things" are ALL THE THINGS that I know write against, and write to expose, and they are ALL THE THINGS that I wanted to leave behind when I escaped American Evangelicalism recently.

I'll admit, I'm not sure how the Pastors from Table Talk Radio would "crunch" one of the many praise songs from Christian artists Jars of Clay so please keep that in mind here as you proceed.

Even so, I thought it was great to see a well-known, contemporary Christian rock band out in front of the current relief efforts for those in the Philippines.

Here's an exclusive interview I found with Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay about their partnership with the Philippine Red Cross.

Help Jars of Clay Raise $50,000 For Typhoon Relief

"This video was a gift to us from the Filipino people. It was shot and produced in Manila last Easter by Filipino Director Luis Daniel Tabuena and features actress and model Rhian Ramos. All of their time and talents were given as a gift at no charge to us. Join us and the many others as we hope to be generous in turn with our love, prayers and finances during this great time of need for our friends and neighbors that have been ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan. Download 'Fall Asleep' for free from NoiseTrade, today and proceeds from all tips raised will go directly to typhoon relief via the Philippine Red Cross."

As of the last official count, almost 2,500 have been confirmed dead, and over 22,000 people are still unaccounted for. In response to the immense destruction and the sustained great work that lay ahead, the band is offering their song "Fall Asleep" with 100% of tips going straight to the relief efforts of the Philippine Red Cross.

That's pretty cool. For what it's worth, NoiseTrade itself has been an excellent partner for Christian musicians looking to distribute their songs for His glory...for FREE! So, I figured it was the least I could do to make others aware of their partnership with and promotion of Jars of Clay in this case.

At the same time, I'm conflicted. I'm conflicted because you'd never know that Jars of Clay is a "Christian" anything from the interview they gave to NoiseTrade let alone from the song and video that they're using to raise funds for the Philippines relief effort.

I'm sorry, but I have a problem with that, especially if you're going to insinuate that the only reason why you're doing this sort of thing in the first place is because of your faith.

It's sort of a false humility to say that, but then never even mention faith in Christ, or the Gospel at all, isn't it? I mean, doesn't that remind you of the "Christians" in Matthew 7:21-23 who relied on their good works "in Jesus's name" instead of relying on Jesus Himself?

In addition, the video to this song features Rhian Ramos who was one of the central figures in a major sex video scandal (and an alleged abortion) in the Philippines just a few years ago.

Yes, she was just a teenager at the time, yes she's human like the rest of us, and yes, we preach a message of forgiveness and grace to sinners like her (because we're all sinners!; Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:6-8). However, I didn't hear anything about sins, repentance, forgiveness, salvation, or justification --let alone of Jesus -- in the lyrics to the song that accompanies the music video she stars in for this fundraising campaign.

Forget about the Philippines right now, this young girl's life and soul seem so broken. I'm sure her starring in this music video was no accident. She can relate to the lyrics I'm sure. But what she really needs to hear is the Word of God and the Gospel that can redeem her. She needs the Savior! It's tragic that it's missing when it's clear that's what was needed the most and when it's clear that is what's needed the most in the case of the people in the Philippines right now.

See, this is one of my major criticisms with American Evangelicals (and I used to be one only a few months ago). Their hearts and motives might be in the right place, but they somehow think that "good works" is synonymous with "sharing the Gospel" with people. It's not!

Yes, good works are important and necessary, but they are not the Gospel that saves souls.
Only God can do that as the Holy Spirit works through an accurate and faithful confession of the Word itself where it is purely preached. Don't leave that out of the equation!

Bottom line, what I'm getting at here is that this was an incredible opportunity that Jars of Clay had to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified, died, and resurrected for the sins of all mankind to the entire world as everyone who would've wanted to support their efforts would've received it just by downloading the song and listening to it in the process of helping out. So why didn't they do that if it's the Gospel -- not clothing, food/water, shelter -- that really saves people? Could it be because of Galatians 1:10 perhaps?

For all these reasons, this is why I would strongly encourage you to prayerfully consider making any donations through the LCMS Disaster Relief Fund as opposed to the more secular Philippine Red Cross. That's because more I dig into this press release, the more I realize that I don't see anything at all about Jesus Christ mentioned in any of the interviews, lyrical content, and mission statements of some of the humanitarian groups that Jars of Clay regularly works with (i.e., Blood: Water Mission; One Campaign). That's a serious problem and a real shame, my dear friends.

Plus, I'm seeing all the faces and names of the people I just ran away from when I escaped American Evangelicalism who are standing behind such organizations.

Like I said, I'm conflicted.

Once again, we see the "Social Gospel" being promoted at the expense of the Gospel of Salvation since there is absolutely no "good works" effort being done here that also includes a sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as far as I'm able to tell.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, I pray I'm wrong about all of this, but if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck...

[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with Lutheran doctrine -- in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word -- so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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