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Drumming Up "Jesus"

Commentary by Roger Oakland

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Reaching our present generation seems to be the catch phrase that many emergent church leaders are promoting. In order to be effective in reaching the postmodern mindset, it is necessary to stimulate the senses by providing sounds, sights, smells and tastes that will lead the participant into a sensational experience.

Studying the Bible verse by verse is no longer a prerequisite for mature spiritual growth according to many emergent church leaders. Instead, innovative methods are being promoted to get in tune with “God” or get closer to “God” by re-introducing techniques practiced by the pagans. These are methods that bring instant gratification and sensation. Contact with the spirit world is guaranteed for spiritual seekers who want to have an encounter with “Jesus” by experimenting with the mystical and the metaphysical.

In order to document what I am saying, consider the following news item titled “Feeling the beat: The spiritual side of drum circles.” The article, describes how adults at an Episcopal church in Richmond, Virginia are being instructed how to “drum up” a higher spirituality:

With the skill of a seasoned grand marshal, Cory Blake takes the discordant pieces and leads the group into an amazingly alluring beat. Listen for a few minutes and you understand why shamans use drums to lure themselves into trances. "It's a contemplative tradition," Blake says of the drum circle he's leading. "It speaks directly to the intelligence of the body." [1]

Since Richard Foster and others have led the way for the popularization of the “contemplative tradition” in the name of spiritual formation in countless churches professing to be Christian, practices like shamanistic drumming are promoted as an excellent way to get into an altered state of consciousness in the name of Christ. However, while tuning one’s brain into a hypnotic beat of a drum may “speak directly to the intelligence of the body,” getting into a mindless trance can be lethal for one’s soul.  

While some emergent leaders might consider the “drumming” at the Church of the Holy Comforter in Richmond a bit extreme, it will only be a matter of time before it becomes widely accepted. Apparently “drumming” is a great doorway for ecumenical harmony. As the article states:

(Drumming) also speaks to the simplicity of a good beat -- and the way something as simple as a hand brushed against the skin of a conga drum can transcend denominational and cultural boundaries. [2]

The “drumming circle” at “Church of the Holy Comforter” in the west end of Richmond was founded by Regena Stith. In an interview she stated:

"A drum circle really is what it says it is. It's a gathering of people in a circle with drums. It's really a very ancient form of expression. You move out of your head." 

Stith first experienced the power of drums in the late 1990s during a yoga retreat in Massachusetts. She came home and announced to her husband, "I need to get a drum." [3]

Has Christianity “gone wild” or are we in the last days and the grand delusion is underway? Why are professing Christians buying drums to drum up spiritual experiences? Why are they not reading the Bible that warns about doctrines of demons?

Will the new reformation modeled by the emerging church that promotes pagan spiritual experiences capable of moving one’s mind out of one’s head, send followers to heaven or hell? Will someone please stand up and demand a reality check?

In the future there will be many more ways to seduce the masses into believing they have had a mystical experience with God by the promotion of ways and means to contact the gods. Without God’s grace and the scriptures as our guideline for discernment, it will be difficult not to be led astray.

In order to remain steadfast in the faith, one must have a biblical faith that is based on what God has revealed in His Word. Otherwise, the drum beat being tapped out by the pied piper of deception, will lead even those who have believed, down a path paved by the strong delusion the Bible foretells will happen in the Last Days. 


[1] Zachary Reid,, March 10, 2007,!news&s=1045855934842

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

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