Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What's The Real Issue?

When it comes to leading congregational singing in the worship of God there are a number of factors a Pastor and Worship Leader (not to mention the worshipper) must be aware of. Much of the debate about “worship” today usually centers on a “contemporary verses traditional” type argument. I believe that pitting one against another is wrong and that our attention on congregational singing—what many singularly classify as “worship”—should be focused elsewhere. The question isn’t, “Which one is right?” instead, we should take a step back and ask, “What’s the real issue?” To say that the terms “contemporary” and “traditional” are loaded is an enormous understatement. Then we throw in the term “blended” to solve all our problems when in reality it just becomes contemporary vs. traditional vs. blended!

When we argue for “our side” we are in affect telling another Christian that “we know that we are right and we definitely know that you are wrong.” And what do we base it on? If we are honest we see that it is based on our own ideas or desires. The weirdest (and dumbest) thing about this debate is that all sides seem to agree that Scripture has nothing to do with it (unless they find a verse they believe supports their argument!). The common argument is, “Oh, well Scripture is silent on the whole matter.” In one sense they seem right, which might be a reason for the never ending-ness of the debate. Scripture doesn’t tell us what “style” to play our music. But is that what God really cares about? Don’t you think that if God was only to be worshiped in one particular style of music He would have commanded us to do so? “Thou shalt only play thine organ.” What God does care about is that worship to Him is to be done in “spirit and truth” through Christ. And essentially what that means for those leading the people of God is that we are to guard the worship of God from “flesh and error” and from “worldliness and falsehood”. Otherwise God is not glorified.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

War Is Over! (if you want it)

One of the most harmful and detrimental attacks that the enemy has launched at the church in recent decades is what we have (affectionately?) dubbed the “Worship Wars”. I am here today announcing to the Christian world that the War is over…if you want it.

That is to say, if there ever really was a “war” to begin with. Oh to be sure, battle lines have been drawn and it seems as if every sanctuary is a combat zone, but what we’ve carelessly deemed as “war” is nothing more than demonic distraction from our ultimate goal. The only winner in such a “war” is the enemy. (That’s Satan, in case you think it is the person sitting down the pew from you.)

I despise the expression “Worship Wars” because it has nothing to do with worship. A more appropriate phrase might be “Preference Wars”, or we could call it by its technical term: Sin. But ironically, while what we fight over has absolutely nothing to do with true worship it is for that very reason we have lost the very essence of worship. A truly cunning plan arranged by the Serpent. Distract the people of God with that which is most important to God by confusing what worship really is so that while they fight over temporary and meaningless issues the eternal nature of true worship falls to the wayside without anyone noticing what went wrong.

So how do we break free of this “War”? I firmly believe that the best way for people to come together and reject this demonic distraction is what we find in Paul’s letter to the Romans. We need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This can be done in a manner of different ways but first and foremost there needs to be teaching on the subject. Pastors and teachers in the church are crucial in fulfilling this role. I pray that this blog can contribute to that as I endeavor to teach sound doxology.

I pray that this blog will be a resource to you, one that will assist you in renewing your mind in regards to worship. If you have a question about worship please email me anytime (sounddoxology@gmail.com) or post in the comment section. Some of the best learning comes from dialogue. You can also follow this blog and subscribe so that you are notified whenever there is a new post.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord,or who has been his counselor?”“Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Romans 11:33-36