David Cloud recently sent out via email an open letter to Clarence Sexton in which he reproves him for not practicing separation.
In that letter Cloud seems to be presenting a sort of secondary separation in that he calls for separation from those who won’t separate from what he feels they should separate. Do you understand that, or is it as clear as mud?
Concerning a conference in which Clarence was involved, Cloud said:
The kids at the Impact Conference were taken to Dolly Parton’s very worldly Dollywood for entertainment. Parton’s 2008 album, Backwoods Barbie, mixed a vague Jesus with moral debauchery. There was a song about Jesus, but there were also songs about drinking, carousing, breaking one’s sacred marital vows, and sleeping with someone outside of marriage, all from a very “non-judgmental” perspective. This is 2 Timothy 4:3 Christianity. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” Parton dresses extremely immodestly and has played the madam in an R-rated movie about a house of prostitution. She has covered Led Zeppelin’s occultic song “Stairway to Heaven” and John Lennon’s atheist song “Imagine.” She joined the Dixie Chicks, Carole King, Yoko Ono, and others to record a benefit album in support of the Human Rights Campaign, a radical homosexual rights organization. Parton’s Jesus is not the one revealed in Scripture. She says, “God isn’t the monster in the sky that I grew up with [in the Church of God]. He’s a feelin’ within you” (Parade, Nov. 2, 1980). For the stage production for her song “Go to Hell,” she used 12 dancers. She said, “We do this with six dancers on the devil’s side and six on the Lord’s side. At the end of the song, they all merge and we all go into the light” (“Dolly’s Flame Worthy Streak Continues,” Country Music Television, April 21, 2004). This would appear to depict the New Age-Hindu concept that everything is one, that good is evil and evil is good, that everything is evolving and merging into one. In spite of this, Dolly is popular with the Southern Gospel crowd. The Southern Gospel Hall of Fame is located at the Dollywood entertainment center and they host a 30-day Southern Gospel Jubilee each year. This is another example of the worldliness and unscriptural “judge not” philosophy that permeates much of Southern Gospel today.
Why would Independent Baptist preachers take their young people to Dolly Parton’s entertainment park? Because they don’t believe in separation.
What is wrong with this picture? Isn’t Cloud throwing out the baby with the bath water? Sure Dolly Parton is not modest. Neither has she always sung songs that are suitable for people to listen to, but she has sung some good songs, too. Sure Cloud doesn’t like Southern Gospel music, but where is his plain, Scriptural justification for condemning it and CCM? Why should Dolly’s songs and SGM prevent someone from enjoying a wholesome, family theme park like Dollywood? I take my family nearly every year. We don’t go to Splashtown due to the immodesty, but that doesn’t mean that we should avoid the whole park.
Cloud’s stance is extreme and indicative of why people scoff at Fundamentalists as being against anything that is fun.
The issue with Dollywood at this point is not separation. One should simply discern what is best for them and their families. To lay it down as a rule that Christians shouldn’t go to Dollywood is a legalistic rule reminiscent of the Pharisees. After all, it makes a law where Scripture does not. It is teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.
I believe in separation, but separation of this sort is not Biblical.