Saturday, 5 November 2016
Thursday, 14 July 2016
Tuesday, 9 February 2016
Some of you may have heard that we are not singing at the Indiana Acapella Gospel Sing this year after all. We were looking forward to seeing you there, and are disappointed that we won’t be able to do it this time. You may be surprised to hear this, especially after seeing our name on the group lineup on the AGS website. And so we feel we owe you an explanation!
New Heights Quartet has from the beginning strived to share a clear Gospel message, and do it in a way that honors Christ. We are not perfect and have much to grow in many areas. But we do believe that if we know something will probably not bring glory to Christ, God’s blessing will also likely not be in it. And if God’s blessing is not in it, our ministry will be poor and will not really touch people’s hearts like it should.
Our group has come to understand that joining hands in spiritual ministry with other groups that don’t have similar biblical beliefs does not truly honor the Lord. We understand that unless public statements clearly defining and exposing unsound teaching are made at venues such as AGS, we would be compromising the clarity of our message in song. In other words, if from the same stage come contradicting expressions of Truth, whether explicit or implicit, our message will be weak, blurred, and confused. And since we are not keen in making such public statements, we feel the only other option is withdrawing for this year.
We remember with a smile our first AGS experience. We were the guinea-pigs along with the other groups! Ray did a good job in making us feel welcome. Those were two nerve-wracking happy days! We all must have been good little guinea-pigs, because we’ve been invited over and over again. And over the years, it’s been a good opportunity to share the Gospel message with hundreds of people, get acquainted with other Anabaptist acapella singing groups, and make new friends like you!
When we were invited to sing at this year’s AGS, we were not fully aware that a Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) group (Emmanuel Quartet) was invited to participate at the AGS. When we did find out, we were already on the list. We want it to be absolutely clear that we love SDAs in a Christ-like way, as we do people from any other denomination, religion, or philosophy. We have no issue with relating to them in an unaffiliated basis, getting acquainted with their beliefs and way of life, or listening to a presentation of theirs.
The thing we have come to understand, as we have already said before, is that Christ would have us make a clear distinction when engaging in spiritual ministry. We understand that the differences in belief between Anabaptists and SDAs are so vast, that our expressions of faith are incompatible and cannot be joined in a concerted ministry. And we have felt that while there may be three options to take (joining hands, exposing error, or not participating), we only see the two last ones as valid, and have chosen to take the last one. We see that the tendency in ecumenical programs (where unity in diversity of belief rules) is to lower our expressions of Truth to the lowest common denominator, and to hide the deeper tenets of our faith under a bushel.
This decision was not an easy one to make. Upon submitting our resignation we were not completely sure what the response would be. The AGS organizing committee did reply with kind words, and removed us from the lineup, while, to our knowledge, all other groups remain as they were before.
We are sorry to disappoint you this year. Hopefully another year will be different!
In Christian love,
New Heights Quartet
Paul, Tristan, Bryan and Eddie
Click here for a more in depth statement on ecumenical efforts.