Worship III

About 20 years ago we heard a lot about “worship wars”,  In other words, whether traditional worship forms and music should be replaced by more “contemporary” types of worship with upbeat “praise music” replacing hymns, bands replacing organs and pastors dressing in Hawaiian shirts and jeans instead of albs or suits.

It was said that non-churched people, also known sometimes as seekers” felt more comfortable in such settings than in traditional churches with their more elaborate settings and music.  “Contemporary” worship was, it was thought, also more appealing to young people.  This was what all the church growth folks pushed and we could see it was working in the American evangelical settings where mega-churches were showing up everywhere.  Chancels were replaced with stages, pews with theater style seats and everything was going to be so cool and new.

The problem with all of that is real worship was too often replaced with entertainment, doctrinally sound hymns with vapid praise songs, and theological depth with something a mile wide and an inch deep.  The focus of way too many services became emotionalism and feelings.  Instead of focusing on God’s self revelation in Christ Jesus, churches began to focus on how to make our lives better in this world.  Instead of preparing us for eternity, people were prepared for dealing with conflict in their daily lives.  Now don’t get me wrong, that’s not unimportant, but the Gospel isn’t about having your best life now, it is about Jesus Christ crucified and risen so that our sins are forgiven and we can have eternal life in presence of God Himself .

One of the country’s first megachurches publicly admitted a year or so ago that they did not do a good job keeping people, they could get them in the door, but once the people had been there for a while, they left because the church never moved from milk to meat in its teachings.

It is God’s desire that His people gather together.  But it is also His desire that people grow in the knowledge  of the Truth revealed to us in Scripture and in the person of Jesus Christ.  Anything that promotes greater understanding of the Truth of the Gospel is good, but anything that fails to do that should be tossed in the trash bin as the flawed idea that it is.

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goodnewsforabadworld

I'm a Lutheran pastor at St. Paul's Free Lutheran Church in Leitersburg, Md. I hope this blog will speak to the hearts of people about the free gift of God in Christ Jesus which is for sinners like me.

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