IIIM Magazine Online, Volume 4, Number 6, February 11 to February 17, 2002

Music Matters
Show 15

by Robert Barnes

Hello, I'm Robert Barnes, and it's time for Music Matters.

You may have heard of two men debating styles of worship. They spoke eloquently and passionately for their positions, one being from the more contemporary camp and the other from a more classical camp. At the end of this very frustrating debate that left neither participant convinced of the value of the other man's position, one man said to the other, "Well, you worship God in your way, and I'll worship Him in HIS."

You may smile at this comment, but we need to remember that we tend to baptize our opinions over forms of worship. Just as countries tend to Christianize national conflict, those who debate worship philosophies usually think they are arguing for God's side. In the early church, men came to fistfights over the church calendar. In the eighth century, clergy in the Eastern Church came to blows over the use of icons as an aid to worship.

As the traditional and contemporary groups face each other in these dynamic conversations that happen every day of every week, usually someone gets fired, someone gets angry and leaves the church, or someone looses their sanctification. That's because, first, there never was much sanctification. But secondly, people are unable to make distinctions between allowable differences in worship and deadly differences.

First, you can have what I call "Deadly Differences." These are two areas in which churches and worship directors and pastors should be taken out and shot for foisting upon their flock.

It is not acceptable to do things in worship that the Bible forbids. If there is command, for instance, the teaching about women being silent in worship, that your church is in violation of, then you need to ask your leadership what their explanation is. There may be a very good one, or they may beat around the bush and plead "cultural differences." Regardless, it is a difference worth disputation when someone claims to be creating Christian worship, but the content of the service is anti-biblical.

The second area of deadly difference is not doing what the Bible commands. If your church worships or adores someone other than Triune God on Sundays, that's a deadly difference that needs to be addressed immediately. The Bible commands that we worship God and God alone. A church should be empty the very next Sunday after the leadership allows the worship and adoration of another person or thing in the place of the one true God. Some of you are saying, "I'm glad that's not my church." I want you to take another look. Maybe you aren't worshiping Gaia or the Virgin Mary on Sundays, but make sure you are not ignoring God altogether in your Sabbath worship.

If you can identify deadly differences in your worship or in the worship of those around you, God commands you to preach the truths of Scripture to those in charge and expect that they will repent.

Next time, we'll look at the dynamic differences that exist between worshipers. Until then, I'm Robert Barnes, and this has been Music Matters.