Festival to Explode Campus

By J. T. Smith

The above headline, taken from The Graphic, the official newspaper of Pepperdine College in Los Angeles, California, introduces another step toward complete digression and apostasy by those who are in charge of that school. The article says, “A Jesus Music Festival Pepperdines first — will be presented free of charge at 7:30 Friday night in the University auditorium.” “The festival will feature a variety of contemporary music, ranging from hard rock (in the Chicago style) to folk tunes. Three groups — the Philharmonic, the Dennis Ryder trio, and the Hallelujah singers from Calvary Chapel — will perform.” “Ted Switzer, former public relations head for the Beverly Hillbillies and other Film way productions, will be master of ceremonies.” “Personal testimonies will be given by Tom Harris and Bill Lawerence. Harris was co-producer of The Cross and the Switchblade, the film story of David Wilkersons evangelism among New York street gangs. Lawerence is a deacon at the Vermont Avenue church of Christ and a speech therapist at North High School in Torrance… Festival worker Tom Barber expects the concert to explode the campus wide-open, spiritually. We expect people to get a new and different outlook on Jesus as a person. We want to present His life as real and vital to our lives in the Twentieth Century.”

Just one week later, February 17, 1972, The Graphic ran another article entitled “Jesus Music Festival Here Attracts 700 for Worship.” The article starts out, “I worshipped show business for a long time-now I worship Jesus.” “The statement was made by Fed Switzer in his opening remarks as emcee for the Jesus Music Festival in the auditorium Friday night.” “Switzer, who has worked as public relations director for The Beverly Hillbillies and has been involved with show business since 1948 stressed that theres a real difference between knowing the Son of God and knowing that Hes the Lord of your life.” “Testimony such as Switzers was a major I part of the festival.” “Several types of music were presented during the evening.” In addition to telling the names of those who performed, this article adds that Dennis Ryder and Steve Snell, folk-country singers, accompanied themselves on piano and guitar. The Philharmonic group, composed of 12 members, featuring drums, electric guitars, and a strong brass section, “shared some of their experiences in changing from a professional group to one that performs for the Lord.”

Also, in another article in the February 10 issue of The Graphic, entitled “Revolution Through Education, “they told of a Catholic folk mass, folkloric dancers, and rock groups on campus.” And this is supposed to be “worship”?

What Constitutes Worship?

For a number of years the denominational world has argued that “worship” consists of “testimonies,” “playing on instruments of music,” etc. Now, those who were once counted as “faithful brethren in the Lord” are allowing such to be termed “worship.” Jesus said, you will recall, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Both of these things are necessary. It is not enough to have the enthusiasm, doing what you do with all your might. Saying Hes Lord in your life is one thing. Worship must also be according to truth. Paul expressed the same thought in different words. He said, “My hearts desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. For they going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3). No doubt, those who put on the “Festival” have a “zeal for God.” The problem is – it is “not according to knowledge.” The question that comes to my mind is why are those brethren (1) who are in charge of the school allowing such foolishness to be presented under the guise of “worship?” And besides that, A Catholic Folk-Mass???

What About Those Who Sanction or Endorse Pepperdine??

Many have known for a number of years that brethren were drifting away from truth, and closer to digression and complete apostasy. Many brethren have counted those of us who have cried out against the first steps (taking such positions as “there is no New Testament Pattern in Benevolence” etc.) as being radicals, hobbyists, and antis. What are they going to say now that these “first steps” have taken brethren into such digression as this? Also, what about those who get so upset when you point out the steps away from the truth that men like Ira North and others have taken in all of the institutionalism, begging money for colleges, social affairs and many other un-scriptural things they have engaged in; now that they are encouraging, with full-page ads in religious publications, our young people to go to Pepperdine College to receive their education at the feet of men like Frank Pack, William Banowsky, President of Pepperdine, and others who allow such “goings on” as the above mentioned things, to be “fed” to our young people under the guise of “worship”? If these are the kind of things that are being taught and practiced by brethren, and they are, we are not just about to have digression among some who were once counted as “faithful”, they are already there.

The words that the Lord had John to write to Christians in the church at Sardis would seem very appropriate to me, as we attempt to exhort these brethren to come back to the truth. “I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” “He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev. 3:1, 3, 5, 6). May God help us all to study His Word and abide by its teachings while we have life upon this earth.

TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 31, pp. 11-13
June 8, 1972