Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Someone so tiny affecting us so much

I had a blog post in mind about sending my younger daughter off to her first day of preschool. The mixed emotions of sadness and joy warring in me. Then I was catching up on blog reading and Everday Mommy pointed the way to a post that is incredible. It says something that has been on my mind for years. Our churches have gone so far to make their worship services appealing to the masses that they have muddied their connection to the truth. Contemporary worship services, bands, meditation, Saturday night services so you can sleep in on Sunday, video projections, special programs taking the place of preaching, and on and on. Everyday Mommy has written much about this kind of thing and it resonates with me. It goes back to my favorite Thomas Jefferson quote there in the sidebar, "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." There is nothing wrong with making our churches welcoming places. Attractive buildings, quality sound system, convenient scheduling of services, air conditioning, nurseries with qualified staff and beeper systems, etc. The rubber hits the road when the additives become more important than the substance of the service. I have no problem with using your talents for God in a worship service, and many people are gifted musicians. I am all for doing what we can to make our churches user friendly, appealing groups who invite others in and glorify God. I am distressed by the seeker driven movement that seems to care more about meeting needs than it does about glorifying God. According to the Westminster Confession and the Shorter Catechism, "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." So my purpose in worshiping is to first bring glory to God, and second enjoy Him. He will meet all my needs according to his glorious riches, so I need not worry about being entertained at church. If I need it he will provide it. I attend a church with exclusive Psalmody and accapella singing so no worship bands, microphoned soloists, etc. Now that isn't the only way true believers worship, it is the way my denomination worships. I am thus the instrument of God's praise, because I am part of the choir, a choir that encompasses the entire attendance. The side benefit is that everyone learns to follow the music because everyone is part of the music. I can also take comfort in the music I sing will always pass the test, since it is God's inspired word. I have attend on occasion a wonderful church in a nearby town. It is a large church with two services and many programs for the whole family. The pastor is a very Godly man who preaches sound biblical sermons which make a person think and convict them of sin. Even if I lived in the nearby town, I don't think I would make this congregation my church home, and it isn't a doctrinal issue. I can't get past the worship band that leads the service. There are a couple of guitarists, one is electric, a drummer, bongos, a piano and more. There are usually three or four people on mics leading the singing. I don't want to accuse them of wrong motives, but I always get the sense that their performance is less about glorifying God and more about showing off their talent. That may be horribly unfair, but I am not the only one who has commented on this after seeing them. I think everyone has to go with their convictions on this issue. I think churches must make efforts to be inviting to people, and so far as is appropriate, be willing to be flexible to meet the challenging changes of our society. That said, churches must never compromise bedrock principles of biblical worship. That is a deal breaker for me. We can't be so eager to get numbers that we compromise that which we are commanded to do. This post has gotten from where I intended but my point was that we live in a culture that wants instant satisfaction, and never want to experience anything unpleasant. I don't know if this is an effect of abortion on demand or if that is a symptom of the problem. I do know that we as a society don't value life and we want what what we want, when we want it, and as soon as possible.

(graphic provided by Really Cool Christian Graphics!)

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