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I love listening to worship music. . . . . music that exalts God, proclaims the Good News of Jesus Christ, and ministers to my soul.
But one thing that I have noticed is that over the years, as I learn more about the Lord and grow spiritually, I have become more and more selective when it comes to the worship music that I listen to.
Songs that I use to like, I no longer listen to because as I grew in God’s word and gained discernment, I eventually realized that the lyrics weren’t sound.
In some cases, the lyrics were man-centered and self-centered rather than Christ-centered, even though Jesus’ name and terms from the Bible were sprinkled throughout the lyrics. It made me wonder, who is really being worshiped here? The creature or the Creator?
Of course, there are some Christian music artists who seem sincere and have remained true to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
But it seems like there are many more music artists who use the ‘Gospel’ music industry as a marketing tool to promote themselves and pursue fame, wealth, praise from men, power and high-standing in the world.
I have heard people lament that the black ‘Gospel’ music industry has gone downhill. And that is most certainly true. The apostasy (the falling away of professing Christians) can be seen in the decline of black ‘Gospel’ music.
But I’m not sure if the black ‘Gospel’ music industry was ever faithful to the Lord and His word. When I look at all of the bad fruit that has come out of the black ‘Gospel’ music industry, to me, this indicates that the roots of the tree are bad as well.
“A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” (Matthew 7:17-20)
James Cleveland, the “king of Gospel,” was an unrepentant homosexual who had a thing for fatherless young boys and eventually died of AIDS.
Bobby Jones, the “Ambassador of Gospel music,” has yet to voice a clear stance on homosexuality, and strangely enough, appeared in a homosexual-affirming movie called “Dirty Laundry” which was produced by homosexual activists Keith Boykins and his male lover Nathan Williams.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the questionable figures who laid the foundation and sowed the seeds of what has grown into the modern-day black ‘Gospel’ music industry.
None of this surprises me. After all, it IS an industry, which by definition makes it a profit-making enterprise.
Like the secular music industry, the foremost concern of the black ‘Gospel’ music industry is financial gain — not wholesome character, not glorifying the Lord, not edifying God’s people, and not reaching the lost with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The black ‘Gospel’ music industry is no ‘holier’ than the secular music industry. In fact, it might be worse, because it is presented as being “anointed” “from God” “safer” and “cleaner” than secular music, when in fact, it is more deceptive than secular music because it teaches professing Christians to worship themselves under the guise of “worshiping God.”
There is something “extra sinister” about a music industry that professes the name of Jesus Christ while glorifying self, unrepentant homosexuals, adulterers, pedophiles, sociopaths, false prophets, self-absorbed sensual divas, materialism, and a false ‘gospel’ of ‘Christian hedonism.’
“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
The Black ‘Gospel’ Music Industry Doesn’t Care About Women & Children
As the list of ‘Gospel’ music artists exposed in scandals gets longer, the list of ‘Gospel’ music artists that I listen to gets shorter.
I have tried to keep hope alive and see the glass half full, but I have finally decided to throw in the towel.
I can no longer support this twisted twilight zone of evil and religious hypocrisy which blasphemes the name of Jesus Christ, makes merchandise of men, and celebrates perverse and violent men.
Of course, I don’t require that a person is sinless and perfect in order for me to support their music. But I do draw a distinct line in the sand when a person promotes a false ‘gospel,’ a false god or a false christ, is a sexual predator, or inflicts violence on women and children.
As far as I’m concerned, people who engage in these behaviors are operating in another spirit, not the Holy Spirit, and their demonic behaviors eclipse and overshadow their musical talent.
I don’t care how many riffs and runs a person can sing, how great of a writer they are, or how good their beats sound if they exalt a false god or a false christ, a false ‘gospel,’ sexually assault anyone, or inflict violence on anyone.
The black ‘Gospel’ music industry on the other hand, continues to promote and celebrate individuals who do all of these things — making it abundantly clear that it values money, talent, and entertainment over human lives, truth, and Jesus Christ.
I cannot do this anymore.
I’m over it.
Here were the two final nails in the coffin: Sherman Allen and James Fortune.
Sherman Allen claims to be the “pastor” “apostle” and “prophet” of Christ Cathedral Church in Arlington, Texas.
What’s wrong with that?
Numerous documented assaults have been noted at the hands of Sherman Allen.
Eight women have alleged that Allen beat them, sexually assaulted them, and even practiced occultism (voodoo rituals, hypnotism, magic or illusions, and healing potions).
One of Allen’s victims was only 13 years old when her mother gave Allen permission to “discipline her.” She miscarried as a result of his vicious attack.
The allegations of sexual assault and beatings go all the way back to May 25, 1983 when Allen was the 22-year-old “pastor” of Allen Memorial Spiritual Pentecostal Church in Fort Worth, Texas. Read more by clicking here.
Each year, Sherman Allen hosts a
pathetic “prophetic” summit in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The February 2013 ‘prophetic’ event was headlined by ‘Gospel’ music artists Myron Williams, Tasha Cobbs, Michelle Prather, Marquinn Middleton & the Miracle Chorale.
What were so-called ‘Gospel’ artists doing at the ‘prophetic’ event of an alleged serial rapist and abuser?
Why do they continue to support someone who is known for assaulting women and children?
Why do they refuse to separate themselves from him as 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 commands?
According to a civil lawsuit, “Fortune burned his stepson leaving the boy disfigured with severe burns over nearly 50% of the child’s body. Fortune, who is from and still lives in the Houston area, is named in the lawsuit with his wife Cheryl Fortune.
According to the suit filed against the couple, James picked up Cheryl’s 4-year old son from pre-school and the teacher said the boy “misbehaved by coloring on a table”. The documents claim the gospel singer “scolded the toddler” on the way home, put him in time out at home, “continued to yell and berate the child” then started “preparing a scalding bath” for the 4-year old boy.
The lawsuit goes on to say “James instructed (the child) to remove his clothes and began to whip the naked toddler with a switch”. Then the suit accuses James Fortune of “pushing the toddler in the scalding water and holding him down causing second and third degree burns to 47% of his body”. The little boy was flown by “life flight to Memorial Hermann Hospital. The doctors determined the injuries were too extensive and the boy was flown by life flight to Shriners Burn Hospital in Galveston where he remained for 63 days” according to the lawsuit.
The boy has had “numerous skin graft operations to both hands, legs, buttocks and genitals and is permanently disfigured”. Child Protective Services was called and charges were filed. That all happened in 2001. In 2003 James Fortune pled guilty to felony Injury To a Child and received 6-years deferred adjudication.
That 4-year old boy is now 15-years old and his biological father is suing the Fortunes for five million dollars. The family says that money would be used to pay for plastic surgery to correct the boy’s disfigurement from the burns.” (the original article can be found here)
And now, James Fortune is in court AGAIN. This time for a domestic violence incident involving his wife Cheryl — the stepmother of the young boy who was permanently disfigured with second and third degree burns by James Fortune. Yes. . . she stayed with him. . . .
According to court documents, Cheryl Fortune is the “complaining witness” supporting the charge against him of aggravated assault family violence. He was booked on October 23, and posted the $20,000 bond the next day.
A Fort Bend County, Texas criminal court has awarded supervised child visitation to James Fortune. The order establishes that visitation will take place at an address other than Fortune’s residence and with the presence of one of two persons named in the order.
Even after beating and burning a helpless child and allegedly assaulting his wife, the black ‘Gospel’ music industry continues to show James Fortune unwavering support.
On January 25, 2015, various ‘Gospel’ music artists performed at a “Restoration Praise Celebration” for James Fortune.
Excuse me?? A ‘restoration’ from what to where??
To my knowledge, James Fortune denies all allegations that he assaulted his wife. So if, as he claims, he didn’t beat his wife and he’s innocent of the charges, then he doesn’t need to be “restored.” Right?
I know I’m not the only person who sees that this doesn’t make sense.
Restoration is not for the innocent, but for those who committed a serious offense.
True restoration requires confession of sin, turning away from that sin, and making things right with whoever was harmed. Yet James Fortune has not done any of this. So he has not and cannot be restored to anything.
This “restoration praise service” was a vain attempt to justify James Fortune before his fans and make it seem as if God has elevated him, “restored him back to ministry,” “given him the victory” or “brought him through a storm.” In essence, it was a phony “prodigal son” celebration.
Throwing a fancy “restoration praise service” does not mean that someone has truly been restored back to God. It was an act of false humility, pride, self-righteousness, denial, and concealment of sin. It was a “fig leaf” covering the sin of rebellion.
“Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.” (1 Samuel 15:23a)
“People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
Denying allegations of wrongdoing and claiming to be innocent are the exact opposite of humility and godly sorrow which produce repentance.
“You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” (Psalm 51:16-17)
God does not desire “restoration praise services,” hypocritical religious performances, and pious acts of absolution. He desires a broken spirit and a repentant heart. But does James Fortune look broken to you? Does he seem repentant? Not at all.
He seems happy, joyous, prideful, and as if his life and music career are carrying on as normal.
How can someone burn almost 50% of a child’s body, allegedly assault his wife, and then walk around smiling, perpetrating as a “man of God,” and attend the Stellar Awards as if nothing happened? This is the behavior of a sociopath and a reprobate.
And the sad thing is that professing Christians are smiling right along with James Fortune, nominating him for awards, enabling his violent behavior towards women and children and coddling him in his religious delusion while he pretends that “everything is fine” and that his “set back was a set up for his comeback.”
This is not normal. This is not what humility, repentance, and restoration looks like. This is sick, disturbing, and insane.
Where are all of the “good black men” in the black ‘Gospel’ music industry speaking against this?
Where are all of the “anointed women of God” in the black ‘Gospel’ music industry who claim to be advocates for women and children?
Why were so many black Christians rebuking Ray Rice, but they aren’t saying anything about James Fortune? Do church folks have a higher standard for secular celebrities than so-called “ministers of music”?
Black women are the most religious demographic in the United States. They are the main ones falling out, crying, and running around at black ‘Gospel’ music concerts. And sadly, they have greatly enriched a ‘Gospel’ music industry that only sees them as a dollar sign and doesn’t care about them or their children.
Is James Fortune spending the money you spent on his albums and concerts on legal representation? Did he use some of it to post bail?
If you continue to support these enablers who use you as a cash cow, that is your choice.
But as for me. . . I consider any ‘Gospel’ music artist that still supports James Fortune, Sherman Allen, or any other predator or sociopath a disgrace, a despicable hypocrite, an enemy of the Cross, and I will not listen to their music ever again.
“They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.” (Titus 1:16)
“For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.” (Philippians 3:18-19)
“And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” (James 4:6-10)