Evangelicals, Worship and Participation: Taking a Twenty-first Century Reading

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Some of the dangers in doing so are outlined below, but these can are summarised well for us in the subheading of the CCM magazine. When worship becomes entertainment, and those that lead us in worship become performers and icons, then the gospel has been done a great disservice. Steve Camp, a recording artist and member of the CCM movement has become increasingly concerned about the commercialism of worship, writing:. Those of us who are privileged to represent our Lord Jesus Christ in the arts should be galvanized by mission, not by ambition; by mandate, not by accolades; by love for the Master, not by the allurements of this world.

Music is a powerful tool from the Lord Jesus to his church intended for worship, praise, encouragement, edification, evangelism, teaching and admonishing. But beloved, the serpentine foe of compromise has invaded the camp through years of specious living, skewed doctrine and most recently secular ownership of Christian music ministries. If our worship music is owned and distributed by secular companies it is difficult to believe that good doctrine will feature very highly in the list of criteria used to determine what songs should be promoted.

Good sales will. They have all Christian recording companies been bought out by secular companies because they see a growing, lucrative market. So a heavy price is paid — not by the record executives or artists — but by young people buying and absorbing the music. Money is winning over spiritual content, which is being diluted. Where is the accountability in the music industry? Rob Warner author of I believe in Discipleship highlights another danger:. Just as pop songs give young people a vocabulary of love to express their feelings, so they need Christian songs to express their faith and related experiences.

But I have to say that many worship songs do not have a particularly clear and thorough grasp of Bible teaching. Andrew Wilson-Dickson highlights the danger of allowing worship to become entertainment. Scores of new worship CDs and song books appear every month and worship tours and seminars are proliferating. And yet, many of these resources fail to address the subject in a Biblically informed way. I consider this to be a significant factor contributing to the current issue. Where there is conflict, I believe church leaders need to deal with it more effectively than simply bowing to the various demands that are made by sectors of the congregation.

Teaching on the form and function of biblical worship is a priority for the contemporary evangelical church. The unity of the church and the glory of God are at stake and we must not allow such great realities to be traded for the petty squabbles of a vociferous minority. These battles are inappropriate distractions from meaningful ministry and fruitful discipleship. Christians need to be more zealous about, and devoted to worshiping God. The Church needs to move on and focus on the One worthy of worship and the desire of His heart - which is to be worshiped with intensity and passion by His people - rather than to focus on the tools used to facilitate our expressions of love and gratitude.

The focus of this discussion moves now to an outline of some of the Biblical principles of worship. It is generally accepted that in the New Covenant worship is whole-life centred. However, our corporate worship has the dual function of affording God his rightful place as we praise him in song, offer our prayers to him and receive his word , and of mutual edification. As we noted above, the content and format of this corporate worship is not determined in detail in Scripture. Nevertheless, if the Biblical principles that should govern our corporate worship are taken seriously I believe much of the conflict surrounding this issue will be resolved.

Seven principles are noted below. These are largely a consolidation of the principles outlined by Carson et al [43] , and by Montgomery [44] , supplemented by some of my own convictions and observations. Worship is first and foremost about God. This may seem obvious to the reader, however, even a brief review of many recent worship resources reveals a dominant anthropocentrism - the centre of focus being the worshipper rather than the One being worshipped.

It is certainly appropriate for us to express our feelings, hopes and fears to God the Psalmist is our supreme model here , but our worship must primarily proclaim the splendour of God and not just our meagre however well intentioned feelings about him. We are losing this, and losing it rapidly. Song must therefore be an important strand in any strategy seeking to halt or reverse this slide. Worship according to Cranmer should be biblical, accessible, and balanced. Cranmer was passionately convinced that the text of our services, including our songs should not conflict with the bible — but should positively express the ideas of the Bible — often in the very language of the Bible.

Hughes explains that the Word must infuse every aspect of our services:. This means that our corporate worship must be Word-centred from beginning to end. This means that the preaching must be wholly biblical — in a word, expositional …. But installing exposition as the main event is not enough. The careful reading of the Word must be central. Hymns and songs must be Word-saturated.

The songs and hymns we sing should play an important teaching role. We must aim to teach the whole counsel of God not only in sermon but in song as well. What we must strive for is growing knowledge of God and delight in him — not delight in worship per se , but delight in God…. There is so much more to know about God than the light diet on offer in many churches; and genuine believers, when they are fed wholesome spiritual meals, soon delight all the more in God himself. This perspective is frequently lost in contemporary worship, where there are few elements calculated to make us remember the great turning points in the Bible.

Matt Redman, one of the most talented and popular of the contemporary Christian musicians admits that this is both a challenge and a responsibility for song-writers. Tim Keller argues that Calvin advocated accessible or simple worship. However, this simplicity must not be at the expense of transcendence:. A lack of simplicity or a lack of transcendence will bore, confuse, or offend non-believers. Non-Christians will not see a people formed and sustained by glorious praise. Christian worship is essential to our unique identity. It is both a cause and effect of our being this distinct community.

The latter can result if too much emphasis is put on the worship as a performance. Keller uses Calvin as a model. Calvin refused to choose between transcendence and accessibility. The glory of God and the edification of participants must be held in tension. This can be achieved if the following principles are heeded: Simplicity, the centrality of the Bible, and congregational participation.

When this is done mediocrity and informality result and there is no sense of awe, no sense of being in the presence of the Holy. Both heart and head should be transformed as worship is both devotional and didactic. The demeanour of those leading is therefore important. Transcendence is served best when delight and awe are evident in the leader.

Hughes stresses the importance of right conduct in corporate worship. I have come to see that while all of life is worship, gathered worship with the body of Christ is at the heart of a life of worship. Corporate worship is intended by God to inform and elevate a life of worship. In this respect, I personally view how we conduct gathered worship as a matter of life and death.

Corporate worship provides mutual edification and strengthens us to live consecrated lives of worship throughout the week. It is therefore whole-hearted, giving over our mind, bodies and soul to the service and adoration of our God. It is more than a buzz on a Sunday. Worship engages the whole being and therefore should be passionate and engaged. We will deal with the issue of balance in more depth because I believe it is often where the battle is fiercest.

We all need a balanced diet and this is as true spiritually as it is physically. However, together these three terms possible indicate that our corporate worship should incorporate a variety and richness of sung praise. I believe this is resulting in an imbalance that is unhealthy. Corporate meetings of the church, however much God is worshipped in them, have the collateral responsibility of educating, informing, and transforming the minds of those who attend, of training the people of God in righteousness, of expanding their horizons not only so that they better know God and therefore better worship him but so that they better grasp the dimensions of the church that he has redeemed by the death of his Son and therefore better worship him — and that means, surely, some sort of exposure to more than the narrow slice of church that subsists in one particular subculture.

The importance of intelligibility in music, let us say must therefore be juxtaposed with the responsibility to expand the limited horizons of one narrow tradition. If we allow a concern to please the congregation to become the primary goal we will have failed in our responsibility, as we will put the focus on the congregation as consumers, and God is reduced to a commodity. The balance must not be reduced to a simple division of songs and hymns, but rather attention must be paid to the balance of genre, emotional mood, tone etc.

Our services must stretch the intelligent as well as feed the simple. They must comfort the sorrowing as well as celebrate with the rejoicing. Much of the conflict has been because we have not treated the Bible, tradition and culture with sufficient respect.

My Issues with Evangelicalism: (1) Worship | kiqojecunagi.tk

Nor is it a thoughtful response to the postmodern rootlessness that now leads so many to seek connection to ancient ways and peoples. The church must also be willing to embrace current developments where these will serve the cause of the gospel and help us to reach out to our culture more effectively.

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Indeed, I believe we urgently need more talented songwriters who can express the timeless truths of the Bible in ways our culture can understand. I also believe that many of the great hymns of the past could be given new a lease of life with sensitive linguistic and stylistic updating. We must also avoid simplistic comparisons between the old and the new. However, we must be prepared to exercise discernment and selectivity in choosing what material we use. Hymns that are written in an idiom that is not easily understood [65] or are accompanied by tunes that are hard to sing should be discarded or linguistically and stylistically updated.

We must also be prepared to draw attention to some of the dangers associated with an easy acceptance of some new material. In many of the latest contemporary worship-songs, the lyrics are almost incidental,…. The fact that many current songwriters and worship-leaders are first and foremost musicians goes some way to explaining the dual phenomena of the popular appeal of their songs, and the general weakness of many of their words. And will be gauged to a very narrow market.

Keller points out that some popular music has severe limitations for corporate worship, as it is the product of mass-produced commercial interests and is marked by sentimentality, lack of artistry, sameness and individualism. The standard of contemporary worship songs is embarrassingly low. In spite of much talk about the great new wave of songwriters that has emerged, when one takes time to examine the theological depth and literary quality of the songs in question, one is left with an over-riding sense of shallowness, sentimentality and sameness. The songs may be popular, even catchy, and the writers may have earned their reputations as competent guitar players usually and leaders of worship at mainstream evangelical events; however, it seems that in many cases their reputation far exceeds the worthiness of their compositions.

Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. It does so by examining the most influential books written by evangelicals in the period The book consists of a foreword by John Witvliet Calvin College , an introduction, 11 chapters and 5 appendices, followed by a bibliography and an index. The main part of the book starts with a chapter defining what exactly an evangelical is. The second chapter discusses the books on worship that are analysed and groups them in five categories. Chapter 3 introduces three medieval horizons of participation sacramentum tantum, res et sacramentum, and res tantum and translates these as participation in human action horizon 1 ; participation in divine-through-human-action horizon 2 ; and participation in the life of God horizon 3.

The next five chapters deal with one of the five earlier defined categories. Chapter 9 offers a summary and comparative analysis.

The main part concludes with two chapters of reflections. This is a curious book in several respects. The objective being to gain insight into how evangelicals have, in recent years, understood worship participation p. The underlying assumption was that the analysis of that literature will uncover relevant issues about evangelicals, worship and participation p. The questionnaire led to a pool of 25 books, both academic and popular, which Rathe gathered in five emphasis groups. A striking finding was that six of the top ten books fit into the emphasis group named Sacramental recovery.

The emphasis on the centrality of the sacramental symbol to authentic worship-encounter with God is strange, because evangelicalism is predominantly a non-sacramental tradition. Two times. Both times, the rigidity of the church made a coward of me, and I did not do what was asked. I can only blame myself, of course; given even a large obstacle, I should have done what He asked. But the obstacle would not have been nearly so large were the church and its customs not so rigid. And so when I say we should have a good liturgy, I do not say it lightly; obviously, more than that is necessary.

This is a side issue to the question of liturgical vs. Liturgical does not imply any particular musical style. The liturgy can be set to any sort of music you want. The same happens with music: Exhibit A is any of the countless s folk masses. This is the problem of culturally relevant for whom? I grew up with Bob Dylan. I have no idea who Tricky is. There probably are even people out there who really related to those s folk masses. The logical conclusion of this is to segregate our worship services by age group and social background.

Is this really our goal? The ideal, it seems to me, we should be striving for is just the opposite: to be timeless. The lazy approach is to have a book of music by dead white guys; but well done, we should be including the best music from any time, from Medieval plainchant through, I dare say, Tricky. We have an advantage with the older material in that we have had many years to winnow out the mediocrities, which abounded.

But a good hymnal should include new material, even as we realize that a lot of it will fall by the wayside. In any case, we should not suffer the indignity of trying to convince our children and grandchildren that Bob Dylan is hip. Convincing them that he is good is much likelier path to success.

Sounds like more of an indictment of their catechesis, and less an indictment of liturgical worship.

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I speak from experience of being a Catholic growing up in the years after Vatican II, when, when more of the Bible was being read in Sunday Mass, we seemed to not do a very good job of teaching it. Some of the most biblically knowledgeable folks in the world are in the center of the Western Liturgical Tradition, Rome. I have a cousin who is a Benedictine priest currently studying Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. I often said that Michael Spencer was peeking inside my head when he wrote some of his posts. Apparently, you Chaplain Mike have inherited that talent.

Your experience and mine are so much the same that I could have written this post. You saved me the trouble. During the time I was contemplating leaving the Baptist church I was attending and moving to my current church, my father was a bit concerned about me. That is, until he decided to come with me to a service at the Lutheran church. After the service, we stood up. Oddly I have heard the same story yet in reverse. I know several men who grew up in the old CRC Churches who when they step into their respective local mega-churches, felt like they were worshiping for the first time.

There is a certain freshness to anything new. In my own limited experience, I have seen a lot of folks attracted to non-denominational free worship and churches over the years because it is different and appears more free. Many of them also later go back, realizing its shallowness and inability to sustain a robust faith for them, compared to something that has deeper roots and more theological depth. Sounds more like a lack of understanding or appreciation for the meaning and symbolism of what the liturgy is.

Michael, this is awfully good writing. I attend a mainline church that follows most of this practice and I wish we were doing all of it. That so well expressed the things I have been thinking and struggling with for several years. The church in which I grew up has, in recent years, become more of a show, and it makes me feel really uncomfortable. When I went to college I found a church that was not really liturgical, but which had more of a congregational mindset that preserved a sort of liturgy. For instance, we had a time of quiet or silent prayer every week and Communion every week my home church does it once a month.

It was a very set structure but within that structure there was so much freedom for the Spirit of God to move. I think your definition of worship with the bullet points is good as it relates to corporate worship. I believe we can do this any time of any day, doing any activity. Brother Lawrence, in The Practice of the Presence of God, writes about constantly being in communion with God, whether it was at the altar or washing dishes in the monastery.

I think it non-liturgical churches can be great I went to one as long as their focus is on Christ rather than on how many people are in the pews. Similarly, I think liturgical churches can be great as long as their focus is on Christ rather than on respecting tradition. My husband former protestant minister was allowed to say a piece as part of the funeral mass, which was received well. We all really enjoyed the liturgy and it was meaningful and enlightening.

I know they have rules n stuff on who takes communion and I respect that. But it just really HURT to be left out like that and it really took awhile to get free of that, like a bruise. I was sure raised with the sacredness and meaning and responsibility of communion, I just have to say that hurt a lot. For my whole family too. My husband did have a kick preaching a sermon on love in a Catholic church he grew up Catholic, but ended up somewhere else. People really appreciated it If they think the RCC is bad, forget the Orthodox. Due to the separation of the three groups, this is ONE area where the Great Schism is in some ways worse than the split caused during the Reformation-era, at least from a Catholic perspective,.

This is a wonderful post for so many reasons — detailed definitions, pointed questions and insightful comparisons. Born a pragmatic, the pursuit of beauty, whether in architecture or liturgical expression, seemed wasteful to me for many years. Now I see its inherent value. Beauty is an expression of our Maker. Another element I find myself longing for is the unifying force of high church worship.

Since I attend a nonliturgical church, my sense is that while my congregation sometimes experiences unity within itself, we experience little unity with the worldwide Church. Another thought that I had as I read this post is that I often fail to come into my church already worshipping. I recognize the same condition in most others I encounter on Sunday mornings. If it is not that, it is shallowness, resistance to give to God or merely attending to satisfy some social need. I love variety and spontaneity and creativity, and rote repetition just drives me crazy.

Heck, it gets on my nerves when I hear the same song on the radio more than once a day. But I do understand that many or even most people need a certain degree of structure and order and repetition in their lives and in their worship. And I understand that only so much variety, spontaneity, and creative expression can be practically pulled off in a sizable gathering of believers — which is why I prefer relatively small, intimate, and informal worship gatherings. But, regardless of the venue, form, or style, I suspect that God is looking for worship that is genuine — worship in which His people are focused on Him body, heart, mind, and spirit and expressing their love, adoration, and thankfulness toward Him in the best way they know how.

Still, I think that too much emphasis has been placed on the worship service throughout most of church history — by which I mean that the worship and relational life of the church has been too narrowly confined to particular places and particular time slots. I think that even home churches like mine can become too centered around our once-or-twice-a-week gatherings, while neglecting to be a closely connected and Christ-centered family of believers during the rest of the week.

The one that gave me any insight into this entire worship idea was a Roman Catholic Easter service. I loved the ceremony, the sense of something greater coupled with the joy the priest was projecting. However, I think that in a lot of ways, I got more out of it than most of the other teenagers there in the chapel at the time. This was a shared chapel for multiple denominations and faiths. I was there by choice, wearing a freshly ironed suit an attempt at a gesture of respect , soaking it all in.

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My peers were there because they had to be. Some might have might as well been in a boring lecture, which saddened me. The congregation is fully engaged, singing, listening, more entranced than I ever was in that distant Easter service. While I cannot speak to how much God is present in whichever aspect in these services, the praise offered up to Him by the congregation seems much more sincere in the storefront Black churches than it did in that Easter service.

Although I grant you that a great deal of this might simply be teenagers and not an artifact of the means of worship. Great thread of thoughts here!! I should say finally that everyone has a liturgy. I desire that one too. What gets me really uncomfortable is the portion of the liturgy wherein there is the intercession for the dead. Somehow I can not reconcile this with my hardcore traditional Evangelical upbringing that concerns this matter. Write to Chaplain Mike. I free those every time I check the site.

Michael Jones J. IM now has a group on Facebook, which is designed to help readers of the Internet Monk blog connect and communicate in other ways and places. To make this as safe and user-friendly as possible, we have made the iMonk Community an invitation only group. If you would like to join, email Chaplain Mike , and you'll receive an invitation. By Chaplain Mike Part two of a four-part series. Needless to say, this aspect of church life has been a huge part of our life and ministry.

Sensational Devotion: Evangelical Performance in Twenty-First-Century America

For his part, when his people gather to meet with him, God applies the benefits of his saving grace in Christ to them through… the living Word, by which the Holy Spirit renews and transforms his people his Sacraments, by which the Holy Spirit reassures and sustains his people the koinonia of the Holy Spirit, which produces unity and mutual edification among his people the filling of the Holy Spirit, which empowers his people for love and service. What do you think of this definition? In my experience, this dichotomy bears no resemblance to reality.

The order basically remains the same week after week.

An annual calendar is followed, though not the Church Year calendar. Church buildings now being constructed have auditoriums that are more like concert halls than sanctuaries.

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These buildings mold us into stage-actors and audience. The form of our architecture tells us that a worship service is something that we attend and others perform.

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In many church services, the only opportunity for congregational participation is through singing. However, even in churches that sing a lot, it is not uncommon for the band and singers on stage to be so dominant that the congregation does not have a sense of lifting their voices together in musical praise. The atmosphere is more like a concert where people show enthusiasm for the music without really being the choir that produces the music. In these same services, often the only people who speak during the service are those who speak from the stage.

The congregation learns that its main job is to sit and listen. One singer, standing at congregation level, leads us by singing the verses and congregation sings the refrain with him. Communion is taken at the altar, distributed by pastor and reader, and a couple from the congregation Blessing, by pastor Closing hymn Announcements, given by pastor and other congregation members Whatever you might think of the individual elements or how they are practiced in this particular church, you must admit that this service is overwhelmingly congregational.

Comments Rick Ro. May 26, at pm. Good stuff! I praise God for the blessing this provided me. Lukas db says. CJ says. Damaris says. Gee, Lukas, so are you saying that we Americans have a tradition of scorning tradition? Mike says. Brendan says. Chaplain Mike says.

May 27, at am. T Freeman says. Go on and let it out. Tell us how you really feel. Ken says. Amen Brother! Preach it! Our church is not high liturgy, and we use contemporary music. Headless Unicorn Guy says. May 28, at pm. Ansel says. May 27, at pm. Eric says. Now, contrast this with a typical service from the liturgical church we attend: That sounds like a standard Western Rite Liturgy, with a lot of commonality to Mass at St Boniface. The form of the Lutheran service is essentially the Western Rite. Richard Hershberger says. MAJ Tony says. Ekstasis says. T Freeman, This is my experience as well, growing up with the liturgical focus.

Jenni says. Chuck says. Dan Allison says. MWPeak says. I like the analogy of honoring a war hero. Jesus, He fights for us. Miguel says. EricW says. Thanks for stating the real truth, Miguel. Partizan says. Jonathan Brumley says. Kaci says. Not an indictment, just an observation. Kevin Bart says.

Evangelicals, Worship and Participation: Taking a Twenty-first Century Reading Evangelicals, Worship and Participation: Taking a Twenty-first Century Reading
Evangelicals, Worship and Participation: Taking a Twenty-first Century Reading Evangelicals, Worship and Participation: Taking a Twenty-first Century Reading
Evangelicals, Worship and Participation: Taking a Twenty-first Century Reading Evangelicals, Worship and Participation: Taking a Twenty-first Century Reading
Evangelicals, Worship and Participation: Taking a Twenty-first Century Reading Evangelicals, Worship and Participation: Taking a Twenty-first Century Reading
Evangelicals, Worship and Participation: Taking a Twenty-first Century Reading Evangelicals, Worship and Participation: Taking a Twenty-first Century Reading
Evangelicals, Worship and Participation: Taking a Twenty-first Century Reading Evangelicals, Worship and Participation: Taking a Twenty-first Century Reading
Evangelicals, Worship and Participation: Taking a Twenty-first Century Reading Evangelicals, Worship and Participation: Taking a Twenty-first Century Reading

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