63 thoughts on “GOH: The Old Preacher Man”

  1. So that was a first, then… What amazes me is not so much these performances, after all anyone has a right to sing lacklustre songs in their own service, but that people think it worth filming and posting on line for the world to enjoy.

  2. A sentimental song about an old preacher dejected because people don’t want to attend his old-fashioned church seems like a strange choice to give teenage boys to sing.

    1. Programming. Reciting the cults mantras. If you repeat something often enough and sincerely enough it will become “truth” to those who say it and those who hear it.

  3. I would feel for the preacher if people were deserting his church because they rejected his message of salvation through Christ.

    However, having known plenty of preachers, my guess is that he wasn’t just preaching that “the highway to heaven still goes by the cross” but rather things like “women who wear pants are no different from street walkers” and “churches that let their members drink coffee are catering to the flesh.” I’m guessing (if this song were about a real situation) that many of those members who left weren’t going to hedonistic, liberal, Gospel-denying churches; instead they found a church that still taught the cross but had discarded all the old-fashioned traditions that old preachers have tied to the Gospel and made of equal importance.

    1. So true, PW. So happy I’m in a church that preaches the LOVE of Christ through salvation and all that other stuff falls away like the chaff.

      1. You’ll have to ask those old-timey preachers who make these sorts of statements! And only the more reserved ones use “street walker.” Some of them, for example those from HAC, delight in using more forceful language which I don’t want to use myself.

    2. I’m late coming to this with very similar observations; I have sympathy for the “old preacher-man” if people are leaving because they reject the message of the cross.

      But there is no honor in merely not changing. After all, everyone (including the “old preacher-man”) is supposed to be growing in Christ, and what is growth but to change. If one hasn’t changed in 40 years, then perhaps one is no longer growing.

      God’s truths are eternal and never change, but methods can change. Our own opinions can change, especially if we realize they were based on man’s reasoning instead of the Scriptures.

      If this man refused to consider having a web site or perhaps he continued to exalt Jack Schaap or Jack Hyles and refused to acknowledge their errors. The more that comes to light about the leaven that Jack Hyles injected into fundamental baptist churches, the more disgusted I am that people like Bob Gray, Sr, continue to lift him up as the ideal man.

      Standards are trickier… they SHOULD be based upon the Bible. If he is convinced that they are, he should be able to convince others also.

  4. Man, that’s one group of fellas who do NOT want to be up there singing that song!

    Watching them with the sound off, I could swear they’re singing a Mournful Dirges Medley.

    Oh, woe is me! Alas, alas!

    1. No joke! I got no sound and they totally have the look of “Please God, don’t let my friends see this on youtube”.

      1. I thought the same thing. I probably have some unwanted videos of me out there and I pray they never see the light of day. If they ever do, I will take a play out of the fundy managod scandal playbook–deny, deny, deny.

  5. Maybe it wasn’t so much the OPM’s preaching as it was his making his grandsons stand up and sing. :oops: No doubt the congregation enjoyed it just as much as our young songsters do, the only difference is that they did have the choice to get up and leave. :grin:

  6. You can tell how spiritual a singer is by the lack of swaying and the elevation of the eyebrows during the long notes. These boys must not be saved.

  7. The song’s actual title is
    “Highway to Heaven”

    HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN
    by The Rochesters

    The old preacher man stood there in the pulpit,
    The church house was empty almost;
    His eyes filled with tears, his mind filled with memories,Of not so long ago.

    When the church house was full,
    not one pew was empty,
    The altar was stained with Saints’ tears;
    As he stands there this morning and sounds out the warning;
    Once again letting them know.

    There’s a Heaven to gain,
    and a Hell to shun;
    The way is still straight,
    there’s a race to be run.
    You can live as you please,
    but you must pay the cost;
    And the highway to Heaven
    still goes by the cross.

    Some of the members thought he was “old fashion”,
    Unwilling to change with the times.
    So they found a new church with more modern day preachers,
    Who were willing to let things go by.

    But the old preacher stood for what he believed in,
    And what he had preached forty years;
    As he stands there this morning in a near empty church house,
    His opening remarks are these words:

    There’s a Heaven to gain,
    and a Hell to shun;
    The way is still straight,
    there’s a race to be run.
    You can live as you please,
    but you must pay the cost;
    And the highway to Heaven
    still goes by the cross.

    Now the old preacher man stands there in that city;
    The city he’s preached of so long.
    Oh, but he’s never seen such a great congregation
    All gathered to welcome him home
    And he’s never heard more beautiful singing,
    That is coming from that heavenly band.

    He’s preached his sermon,
    He’s carried his last burden.
    He’s a rest in that heavenly land.
    But He’d still wants you to know.

    There’s a Heaven to gain,
    and a Hell to shun;
    The way is still straight,
    there’s a race to be run.
    You can live as you please,
    but you must pay the cost;
    And the highway to Heaven
    still goes by the cross.

    http://youtu.be/zm8ER3k77d4

    If it is the Gospel message they are rejecting then like PW I have sympathy for the Preacher. Too often this song is used to cannonize the pastor. This song is sung to praise the pastor, and make him out to be a supersaint. Look it up on youtube ans see how many comments speak of how great their pastor is, how uncompromising, how hard he preaches… totally missing Christ and the Gospel message. The song itself focuses more on the man of god rather than God. Performance, doing, and man centered message.

    Where is Christ?
    Hidden behind the man-o-god

    1. Great Googly Moogly! that is how the song is supposed to sound? :shock:

      I agree with your assessment. Generally a good song, often used to canonize the pastor as the person who can do no wrong and 100% right all the time. :neutral:

  8. Well, they get an A for effort anyway. But Good Lord, why doesn’t someone in that church teach those boys to sing parts? Every fundy church I’ve ever attended could sing the hell out of some four part harmony–I thought it was an integral part of the gospel.

  9. It’s true that highly conservative “fundies” often add extra-Biblical criteria to their standards of salvation. However, this is only because they deviate from the proscriptions of the Holy Bible.

    That said, I’ll take a group of well-meaning fundamentalists over 98% of professing Christians any day. Check out Hipster Christianity–there’s a real hoot.

    At least you’ll never catch fundamentalists using contemplative mysticism and Catholic liturgy in their church services.

    1. Slave of Christ,

      Your logic is dizzying.

      And if you will gladly take a group of well-meaning fundamentalists over other Christians, I will gladly allow you to have them.
      :lol:

    2. Mmmm, not to be toooo picky, but the often added extra-biblical criteria are almost exclusively proscriptions. Deviating from biblical proscriptions is usually the realm of liberals.

      I imagine you probably mean PREscriptions.

      I’m not usually a spelling Nazi, but this is one of those cases in which a common error effects a 180 degree change of meaning.

      Hipster Christianity–as a transcultural missionary I fully support efforts to communicate unchanging biblical truth in ways that resonate with any particular worldview, and (this may be a news flash) worldviews are not static, so while Truth never changes, its presentation must. Being hip in order to be liked can be empty. But if we truly believe the Gospel is for everyone in every culture, a properly contextualized presentation of biblical truth will by definition be hip. It is only offensive to the unregenerate. To those who are being saved it is the power of God, it meets their deepest need and as such is welcomed as the best thing that could ever happen to them. Doesn’t get any hipper than that.

      1. Or, to sum it up:

        Churches must be seeker-friendly by acting like the lost to win them?

        How has the seeker-driven formula worked out for contemporary Christianity? Having come OUT of that apostasy, I can tell you that seeker-driven Christianity does nothing to save souls. After all, why attend church when church is exactly like the world?

        1. How has the seeker-driven formula worked out for contemporary Christianity?

          meh, probably about as well as the legalist/separatist/easy-believism formulas have for the IFB movement.

          The man-made formulas obfuscate Christ and hide the Gospel behind man-centered, performance religion. They tend to make “Church” more about where it is done and how to do it rather than actually being the Body of Christ in and to a world of lost sinners. Formulaic camps, such as these, are about “doing” rather than “being.”

        2. Well, modern IFB missionaries to Australia choose to wear suits rather than the more biblical robes of Old Testament times.

          We should not be sinning. A lot of what ‘the lost’ do is NOT sinning. It’s just living a normal life. Wearing a suit and tie is different to what Jesus wore, but it’s acceptable for our culture, and it’s not sinning, so that’s what IFB pastors do. There are plenty of things that hipsters do that is not sinning that we can do in order to share the gospel with them.

        3. “At least you’ll never catch fundamentalists using contemplative mysticism and Catholic liturgy in their church services”

          Yeah.. Catholic liturgy.. Almost as bad as not being circumcised.

    3. “At least you’ll never catch fundamentalists using contemplative mysticism and Catholic liturgy in their church services.”

      I adore this statement (in my highly sarcastic, smart alecky way), because fundamentalists are SO scared to actually open their minds to learn something. They’re so scared that if they actually study another denomination it’ll rub off on them, and then what? You can’t lose your salvation, right? Sooooo, what then? Will learning about Advent at Christmas make you backslide? Will leaving the confides of fundy tradition to learn about worship that puts more of an emphasis on Christ and off the managawd, make your faith weak?

      But, that’s just it, isn’t it? We take a step out of the fundy bubble to learn how to worship God more, and we look less at the managawd.

      And that becomes a big, fat fundy problem.

      1. Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

        If my worship of the Lord was based upon the traditions of men–a la the Roman Catholic church you seem to adore–then you’d be correct.

        My foundation is Holy Scripture. Specifically, the King James Bible.

        1. I challenge you to study the various methods of persecution employed by Rome to silence her critics. Fox’s Book of Martyrs is a good start.

          Be happy that Protestant Christianity prevailed in this nation and not the doctrines of Rome. Fundies may “judge” you (!) for various infractions against their conservative codes, but in more prosperous times, a zealous Jesuit priest would torture you into submission.

          But reality is not the aim of this blog–you simply engage in the ad nauseum destruction of strawmen.

        2. My foundation is Holy Scripture. Specifically, the King James Bible.

          Ok, I’ll challenge that.

          1) Do you attend church were there is A: one man rule or B: Plurality of Elders?

          2)Does your group practice carrying out Ephesians 4:12-16 or is there only one minister in your congregation?

          3)Does the King James make what you do more holy than if you used say the NASB, the ESV, the NIV or the Geneva Bible?

          4a)By using the King James are you a better Christian than anyone of us?
          4b)Are you more sanctified because you use the King James?

          5) When was the last case of Inquistional torture recorded? Before or after 1776?

          you simply engage in the ad nauseum destruction of strawmen.

          You keep propping them up and we’ll keep knocking them down. :cool:

        3. “traditions of men a la”…

          mandatory suit and ties
          no facial hair
          women wearing skirts and dresses
          and hose
          and the occasional long men’s basketball shorts if they want to go to a women’s only Curvers
          “three to thrive”
          eschewing “small groups”
          Sunday School
          bus routes
          with candy
          and lots of rounds of “Hey, hey Captain Jack”
          Old Fashion’ Hymns
          wooden pulpits
          KJV Bible’s
          dinner on the grounds
          Harvest Festivals
          boy’s only baseball leagues
          Saturday morning “soulwinning and bus calling”

          That is not an exhaustive list of the “traditions of men” found within Fundamentalism. Try to get rid of any of those and see what happens.

          You will be labeled a backslider, liberal, compromiser, hypocrite, apostate, neo, emerging church, hipster Christian, contemporary, seeker sensitive instead of Savior Serving, and… “possible not even saved”

          Who is making the traditions of men into the commandments of God?

        4. You may not be Baptist, but you’re definitely a fundamentalist. If you want to be, okay, but you might as well answer: If it’s so great, why have people like Francis Schaeffer and Billy Graham left it?

        5. Seriously, Slave?

          You’re spouting the SAME rhetoric I’ve heard all my life (and I’m not exactly young). I challenged it all, and I now have a closer relationship to God than I EVER had in my fundy bubble. Because, back then, like you, I was too busy being separate and pointing fingers.

          Take heart to what the guys said above. If you knew the people here, personally, I doubt you’d be so quick to judge them.

    4. That said, I’ll take a group of well-meaning fundamentalists over 98% of professing Christians any day.

      And I’d take a group of well-meaning “hipster Christians” (TM) over 98% of professing Christians any day.

  10. Having been at one time where these young men are at, I can tell you two things:

    1) They don’t believe for a minute what they are singing.

    2) They don’t ever listen to this type of music when they are alone.

    They have been taught to “parrot” what someone else says instead of knowing what they believe and having a genuine and personal relationship with Christ. It is as sad as their singing!

  11. Slave of Christ,

    How did you come up with the 98%? How do I know if I am in that group or the 2%? Is this related to 47%? or?

    And, does professing mean anything? Many people profess things but are not sincere.

    1. I think the precise published number in all the official research papers is actually 97.6%, SoC was merely rounding up.

  12. I couldn’t pay attention to the song. I was too busy counting how many times the kid in the red sweater bounced up on his toes.

    1. The Rochesters do tend to adapt and reword C&W and Bluegrass songs to their Southern Gospel/Bluegrass style of music. So it is entirely possible that Willie’s song influenced this one.
      They are a multi-talented, musical instruments playing family… and genuinely nice folks. They do have a following here in Andy Griffith Country.

  13. Dear SFL Reader:

    If anyone in this group had an ear for music, they’d understand the why feet rush out the door.

    Christian Socialist

  14. I love the implicit self-righteous criticism in this verse:

    Some of the members thought he was “old fashion”,
    Unwilling to change with the times.
    So they found a new church with more modern day preachers, Who were willing to let things go by.
    But the old preacher stood for what he believed in,
    And what he had preached forty years;

    There’s an implicit (explicit) assumption out there that “modernizing” aspects of a church service somehow compromises the faith. Of course, the stance is illogical, and almost instantly contradicted by those who take the stance when they employ guitars, microphones, early 20th century harmonies etc.. into their expression of worship. Why are others not allowed to make the same manoeuvres?

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