Did Christian News actually watch Together 2016 before reporting on it?

(Update: Christian News has corrected this article now, but there’s still something fishy.)

A headline from Christian News entitled “‘Pope’-Endorsed Ecumenical ‘Together 2016’ Unites Christians, Catholics in Nation’s Capital” reports the following [emphasis added]:

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That would be news to me, considering that I watched nearly the entire livestream, and also considering that Together 2016 stated many times on social media past few weeks that no Pope video would be playing on the National Mall.  Here’s yours truly actually talking with the organizer about it.

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Christian News might have also tried to verify from people on the ground whether a Pope video was played, considering that the event ended five hours earlier than scheduled.

Meanwhile, what actually occurred is that lead organizer Nick Hall brought up a delegation to represent Catholic charismaticism — Lou Engle, “Bishop Robert,” Matteo Calisi and his translator “Bruno” (last name unknown) — to present Roman Catholicism as a legitimate Christian denomination in unity with evangelicals.

The trio of Lou Engle, Matteo Calisi, and Bruno also appeared at the Azusa Now conference.

And Nick Hall endorsed the Azusa Now conference back on April 9th.

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Take additional note: of this trio and Bishop Robert, only Lou Engle was on the publicly released list of speakers.

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Between this and the slander of Apologia Church, Christian News needs to stop, take a breather, and really think and pray about what it really is, because right now it is neither Christian nor news.

So let’s recap the core here.

  • Together 2016’s Nick Hall says that Catholics and Protestants are “on the same team,”
  • Together 2016 announces a special video greeting from the Pope,
  • Christian discerners rightly go berzerk,
  • Together 2016 mysteriously changes the “special video greeting” by deleting social media posts and posting a video invitation and steadfastly refuses to explain the reason for the change,
  • people show up after multiple assurances in social media that the Pope will not be delivering a “special video greeting”
  • and then Together 2016 siccs a Roman Catholic delegation — unannounced — upon the crowd during the event and proclaims Catholics and evangelicals as both parts of the body of Christ.

More to come concerning what was actually said at Together 2016, as it requires some parsing through.  Meanwhile, Christian News, what was not said was anything directly from the Pope.

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Come Ye Sinners (the good one) — Worship Wednesday

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms

Welcome back to Worship Wednesday, where we now highlight the best of worship music that doesn’t get enough attention.  Perhaps the above lyrics are making you wonder about that commitment.  Give them a contemporary beat, and they will sound positively Hillsongian with a sprinkling of Harry Potter magic dust!

There’s a reason for that.

As it turns out, the original author of “Come Ye Sinners,” Joseph Hart, did not write that chorus.  As Indelible Grace Music explains on their page, the modified chorus came in the wake of the Second Great Awakening, the movement for which we know Charles Finney among others.  Let me process that down.  The original words of Come Ye Sinners were too Calvinistic, too reliant upon the sovereignty of God for their tastes.

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Just to keep it short, I’ll stick to verse 4 to explain the effect of the Second Great Awakening revision.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requires
Is to feel your need of Him.

The response of the Finneyites to this truth is to arise to receive a big hug and a sprinkling of pixie dust.  But Joseph Hart says:

This He gives you, this He gives you,
‘Tis the Spirit’s rising beam.

The focus remains on God because saving sinners is the work of God, and God alone!

In terms of corporate worship, the melody of “Come Ye Sinners” is especially eligible for modernization because virtually nobody knows the original melody without the Finnyesque refrain.  Matthew Smith has done that work well.  Smith’s version does well as an opening song in contemporary worship settings.

Enjoy!