methods of worship

8 10 2006

Have you ever read how the Bible describes praise and worship?  There are commands on how we are to worship, and there are examples of people worshiping.  But when I look at most modern churches, they are very different from what I read in the Bible.  I realize our culture is different, but do the Biblical methods of worship not apply today?

The Bible tells us to sing, shout, dance, bow, play instruments skillfully and loudly, make a joyful noise, raise our hands, etc.  So obviously these methods of worship are Scriptural.  And I don’t see where any of these methods directly conflict with our culture (not that it matters in this case).  Yet many churches dictate what style of worship is acceptable, and it usually doesn’t fit with the Bible.  Why is this?  Are we applying our opinions and preferences to what is acceptable?  Or are we bound by tradition (even if we don’t know where the tradition started)?

I’ve talked with numerous people about this, and I’ve found some people who will vehemently defend their church’s worship methods and not even know what is scriptural.  This amazes me.  And what is even more amazing is how quick they often are to denounce other methods as unscriptural (even when they are listed in the Bible).  Obviously this is bad.  As Christians, we must use the Bible as our guide, not man’s traditions or preferences.

Many churches will say exuberant types of worship such as shouting and dancing aren’t reverential.  But what if they are listed in the Bible?  Who are we trying to please here?  I’m afraid many of the leaders in churches are determining on their own what is “right” and acceptable, based on tradition and preference.  (This is also happening with foundational doctrine, but I’ll save that discussion for another day.)  God established the Church, and the Church exists for His good pleasure.  The Psalms are full of examples of worship, and they are in the Bible by divine inspiration, so we can’t just toss them out because they may not be how we think worship should be.

Worship is about pleasing God, not us.  So we must be careful that we aren’t choosing our styles and methods of worship based on our own preferences.  God wants us to rejoice and dance and sing and shout and lift our hands.  Also, there are times when there is such a reverence that no music or singing is necessary, when tears and crying out to God are in order.  We need to let the Holy Spirit direct our services, leading us into what God wants us to do.  We may think sitting quietly through a few songs and a sermon are pleasing worship to God, but the Bible tells us to do more than that.  I realize things like dancing and shouting may take us out of our comfort zone, which is all the more reason it is fought against in many churches.  Also, some people prefer the subdued “religious” atmosphere because it hides the fact that some people in our churches aren’t excited about God.  But we can’t let these excuses keep us from true worship!  Remember, it’s all about God, not us!

I encourage you to read the Bible for yourself on this, to see what God desires.  It makes me really sad that many churches are misrepresenting God.  Some people truly want to live for God yet are being led a little bit off the path by their leaders.  We must conduct our own study of the Word, to verify that our pastor, deacons, and teachers are leading us the right way.  Some churches claim to be about God, but they are more focused on maintaining their “religious” traditions (which can make the Word of God of no effect, see Mark 7:6-13).

Remember, the time of praise and worship in church services (and as part of your lifestyle) is to glorify God.  The main thing is not what you like or how you think it should be done, but what pleases God.

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1 05 2007
Beppo’s Blog » Blog Archive » the focus of worship in the Church

[…] That can be difficult to maintain, because we want to offer our best praise and worship to God.  I think the Church should have the best music and the best singing, because God certainly deserves the best we can offer.  However, in seeking after what is “best”, we can end up choosing what we think is best, rather than what God likes best.  I sometimes struggle with this, being a musician on the praise team at my church, because I want us to do our best from a musical standpoint.  The Bible tells us to “play skillfully”.  But the most important element in leading worship is that we’re anointed.  And from the standpoint of worshipping, the most important aspect is the condition of our heart toward God.  (By the way, God has prescribed how we should worship.) […]

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