Christian Life 

Music in praise and worship

Recent issues in one denomination has wrestled with the questions of music, praise and worship.

first published 16/11/2011 / augmented 19/02/2014

Ed preface. The first of the  short videos below is a (OK, rather cynical) caricature (by Americans) of their native scene. However it touches on some very important issues for churches well beyond the USA.

The second video is taken at a (for real) praise service at a Christian music festival in the UK.

Christians Together site member Carol Vincent in America has written on the 'Forum' section of the CT website:

Entertaining the People with Bigger and Better Report this to a moderator
I've been a Christian for well over thirty years and have watched with interest the church move from true worship into an entertainment industry where people are given music and bands like the world in order to 'move with the times'. I'm far from an old fuddydud and play guitar myself in church, but watching some church services and today's pop concerts, there's really no difference. People are not content with church any longer, where Jesus is the main focus of our adoration, but they're looking for bigger spectacular bands, signs and wonders and something to pull people in.

For full text, see click here.

 Parody of Modern Church Service 

 From Creation Fest (Cornwall, 2013) 

Roger Oakland of 'Understanding the Times' ministry writes: "Many who attended Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa in the past under the leadership of Pastor Chuck Smith are wondering what changes to expect now that a new generation is at the helm. The [above] video clip of "worship" at the Cornwall, England Creationfest in the summer of 2013 sanctioned by the new leadership of CCCM should provide a clear answer to that question."

Christians Together, 19/02/2014

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David (Guest) 22/11/2011 18:40
I think we do agree I quiet a few pionts
Like you say
worship God in tight or revealing clothing with dancing akin to that on the nightclub floor?

Thats the sort of thing I mean as double standers
Steve Taylor (Guest) 30/11/2011 11:48
This video enters very dangerous territory. The question is when does paradoy become mockery? Think of the planning, preparation, the filming and editing of this short production. To what purpose - but to mock the way another group of believers worship. Who are we to judge the heart? This mockery has no place here - it crosses a dangerous line. It is a line which proved very costly for Michal King David's wife. The principal holds good - mock another mans worship and live in barrenness yourself. I first saw this video (I have not watched it on this occasion as it makes me angry) on the FB Page of a Church leader who apparently has a heart for revival in our nation. He obviously though it was funny. Sad indeed. May God have mercy on us if we think mockery of the way our fellow believers worship is the way to know God's blessing.
Tom Phillips (Guest) 30/11/2011 12:45
"This video enters very dangerous territory." I don't know what the scene is like in Scotland, but in the US much of what is called 'chuurch' has become just fleshly entertainment dressed up (or shoujld I say dressed down).
RF (Guest) 30/11/2011 13:01
I agree that one should not mock but I see little wrong in shaking one's head in disbelief that otherwise rational people swallow the religious packages currently on offer.

Let me give you one example of what I see the problem to be: there is the - was Jesus mad, lying or telling the truth argument; the Christians often say that his utterances were so profound that he cannot be a liar,he was so articulate that he cannot be mad etc. but to me they have missed out on a trick; they too readily accept that the reported words of Jesus are accurate in the first place.Have a look at the religious courses on the website of 'Academic Earth'and track the interpretation of important aspects of of the bible, courtesy of world class scholars and lecturers. Look at religion in the round and surprise yourself. Then enjoy the release.
Seumas, Tobermory (Guest) 30/11/2011 13:12
This video enters very dangerous territory.

No it doesnt. It show by satire, the nature of a lot of what goes on in churches these days. These places are so infected by enterntainment based "worship" that you could be forgive for thinking you had gone to a rock concert.

I'll mention it again since no one seems to have remarked on it (or maybe it hit a nerve and needs to be avoided)

Look at this page:

Heavily promoted on this web site. There is NO MENTION whatsoever of God, Jesus or the bible on that home page. Striking image of a Les Paul guitar however

The modern church esp in its clappy happy charismaniac form is obsessed with music, usually the inane repetitive, mawkish, cliche-drenched type, and having " an awesome time" - no doubt it is "cool" as well.....

It deserves to be mocked ridiculed and shown up for the hollow experience-led sham that it is.

It has been said before and needs saying again "If you need the ways of the world to get them INTO church, you'll need the ways of the world to KEEP them there!
Editor 30/11/2011 15:40
Just to mention that the Luis Palau event was 'outreach' and not 'church'. These are - or should be - two quite different scenes.
But this 'cross-over' (or mixture) is perhaps part of the problem. Church is for believers; outreach events are aimed at the lost.
John L (Guest) 29/05/2014 19:21
I wasn't aware there was a distinction between church and outreach-however can there be?
There are many, many lost people in churches.
Seumas's comment makes much sense.
According to the Editor there should be a banner outside an "outreach event" saying something like "Come in all you lost sinners and hear the gospel faithfully preached"?
I often walk past a couple of local churches and they DO have great big banners outside in bright yellow with messages such as "Repent ye and believe the Gospel" Mark 1.15.
Can an "outreach event" do better? Sadly...NO!
Editor 30/05/2014 09:30
John L, you said: "I wasn't aware there was a distinction between church and outreach-however can there be?"

There is an extremely important distinction between 'the church' and 'outreach'. And the failure to distinguish between these two groupings and what is done in reach of them respectively is perhaps the most significant factor in the leading to the apostasy we see today.

You put words into my mouth "Come in all you lost sinners and hear the gospel faithfully preached?"

Absolutely not, and as I have mentioned the 'get 'em in through the church (building) door' as a form of 'outreach leads to disaster. It is like trying to mix oil with water, but that metaphor is flawed because it is quite obvious when these two are brought together that they don't mix. However an unsaved person is often very similar (externally i.e. behaviour, church-speaak, etc.) to someone who genuinely knows the Lord.

Regarding the "big banners" that you speak of (often referred to as wayside pulpits) there is indeed great power in the Word of God, but that does not invalidate outreach.

PS What I have said should not be taken as a 'prompt' to engage (as some recently would wish to do) in declaiming the part that we all are commanded to play by Christ, the head of the church in going into "all nations" with Gospel.

Nor to provoke another debate on the (unbiblical) actions of (men) trying to pull up the tares from amongst the wheat. [The verse has nothing to do with 'discernment' between true and false doctrine as the 'field' in the verse refers to the 'world' (Matt 13:28)and not 'the church'.]

Making a assessement (I avoid the word 'judgement' because,it has both a legitimate and illegitimate meaning) between 'true and false'. We need to do that within the 'church' and expose error and apostasy.

But as this article is about 'music' rather than these wider themes, let's stick to that, recognising - as already mentioned - that there is an immense and spiritual difference between the church (as the body of Christ) and 'outreach' into the world.

So when discussing 'music' we need to recognise the distinction. What might? be acceptable in 'outreach' might not be at all suitable in the church.

Footnote: There has been a recent spate of 'off-topic' postings by an anonymous person (or persons) in an anti-everything fashion. So please be aware that any anonymous postings with these characteristics will very likely be deleted.
John L (Guest) 30/05/2014 13:48
Apologies for putting "words into my mouth" as you say, (I didn't think you would have had a problem with that simple message, as I thought that was "Outreach"). Although I should have said "Repent and believe the gospel" Mark 1.15, then you could have had no complaints? If I'd had more time yesterday I would have worded my post differently.

The reason I fail to see a distinction is because the Church and outreach are inextricably linked, they are one, cannot be separated. But then all this hangs on what we mean by the Church? The Church is His body, His bride, Colossians 1.23-25,for just one example: And we are commanded as His body to preach the gospel, make disciples, Acts 17.30, Matthew 28.19-20 etc-is that not outreach?
But then these "Outreach" events as you call them seem to be more like pop/rock concerts and very, very worldly in their make up. I think Spring Harvest and Greenbelt for example would be considered by some as "Outreach", yet what sort of message do say proclaim?
As has been said elsewhere on your site, "If you use worldly music and entertainments/social groups/clubs etc to get them into the Church-then you have to keep using worldly entertainments etc to keep them in"? (Or words to that effect).

Editor 30/05/2014 14:05
Thanks John, I think we are saying much the same thing. And as you correctly point out (in discussions like these and indeed in a wider sense) we need to define what we mean by 'church'. I have - in other discussions - used the word 'ekklesia' (to mean the body of believers) as distinct from 'church' (meaning organised churchianity).
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