I have made it a point on this blog to say that I have given up visiting the sites of certain “watchdog” Christian organizations…now it seems I am going to have to give up something else…Christian talk radio! (With the exception of Tony Beam and Dave Ramsey!)
I was driving home the other day and was listening to an interview with a pretty popular fellow in Christian circles–he was being asked about worship and he said, “I am not trying to be a cantankerous old man, and I have thought about it…and I just don’t see how someone can truly worship God with a booming sound system.”
I nearly ran off the road! I could not believe my ears…and he went on to say, “We have forgotten how to worship God with hymns–we need to bring them back–that is true worship…not some of these modern praise choruses that simply repeat themselves.”
It has taken me several days to calm down about this dudes comments…and I have several thoughts concerning his opinion…
#1 – Is there one particular worship style that can be dictated to everyone?
When he made his comment about the worship and sound system I said out loud, “Who in the heck are you to mandate how I worship?” I have literally been moved to tears in our worship services before and have experienced the presence of God in ways that I can’t even describe–and yes, the sound system was BOOMING!
Different worship styles work for different people–and all of them are necessary! And just because something doesn’t particularly fit with my methodology doesn’t mean that it is wrong!
#2 – What did the early church do before hymns?
Seriously, if hymns are the only true way to worship–then how in the world did people worship for the first 1500 years of Christianity? I mean, heck, they didn’t have a book where they could sing hundreds of songs–1st, 2nd and last verse only!
#3 – Is it wrong for a song to repeat itself?
As I read the book of Revelation the angels seem to be pretty obsessed with singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Do they have it wrong? In Psalm 136 the writer seems to be overly obsessed with, “His love endures forever!” I guess this guy from the radio show can inform the Holy Spirit inspired author when he gets to heaven that something like this is just a little too emotional!
#4 – Is it wrong for music to be loud?
In reading Scripture I see many occasions in the OT where the Bible says that the sounds of the celebrations were heard far away! I also see David (a man after God’s own heart) saying in the psalms to worship the Lord with drums and cymbals (both of which are loud!) In Revelation 7:9-10 we are told that the singing in heaven is going to be loud! I think its time the church STOPPED looking like a funeral parlor and started acting like the tomb is EMPTY!
#5 – Is innovation right for one generation only?
As I listened to this guy I could not help but think about recent church history. In the 1970’s and early 80’s one of the most innovative things a growing church could do was to have an orchestra. AND for some churches–THIS WAS A BATTLE! Seriously–churches split over this very issue–some people were so offended that ANY instrument other than a piano or organ (neither of which are in Scripture for the true literalist out there) would be on stage.
These guys fought that fight–they stood for “innovation,” yet they are the ones who seem to be most resistant to it today! (This really challenges me to embrace the next generation!)
Go back a little further in church history–when churches first began introducing piano’s in the worship services it was considered “worldly” and “sinful,” today it is common. Once again people fought that fight–at one time it was new and innovative.
Heck, many of the hymns were actually bar tunes rewritten with Christ centered lyrics to minister to those far away from God. The “Christians” of the day were most likely turned off by the way people tried to reach out “to those pagans.” NOW it is common!
It seems to me that those who fought the fight in their lifetime would actually embrace those who are thinking of fresh ways to carry Christ to the world–not resist them.
Just my two cents…