Why Worship Wars (Part 2)

Posted on August 16, 2021 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters

Last week we started to talk about worship ways and why. I told you I had two stories to share with you and only had time for one.

The first church I served in as Director of Music, I was also a deacon. Each month a different deacon was assigned to prepare the communion.

Jan and I were on a limited budget, so when we went to the store to buy grape juice and matzah, we looked at the prices and saw that the store brand was cheaper. So that is what we bought.

What we didn’t know was that Jesus used Welch’s grape juice at the last supper so we had to only buy the name brand not the no frills.

I also found out that if you were serving communion, had to wear a black suit, white shirt, and red tie. I wore a sport jacket and khaki pants and you might have thought I committed the unpardonable sin! Several years ago we went back to visit the church and the deacons were all dressed in casual shirts and shorts!!! Wow.

We often take our preferences and turn them into convictions. If we are not careful, we then want to make our convictions into absolutes.

That my friend is what is the source of the worship wars. We bring to the table our preferences and convictions which then shape our view of worship.

Growing up our church used piano and organ for all the worship music on Sunday mornings. We only sang hymns in the morning service. In the evening, we sang gospel songs and choruses and had trumpets and violins joining in with the worship. The singing on Sunday night and was amazing.

Organs were the norm for many churches. But if you study the history of the organ in this country, when it was first introduced to the church, they were dumping organs in the Boston river because it was an instrument associated with the taverns and bars in Europe. Over the years, it finally became an acceptable part of worship.

Unfortunately, we think our style (preference) is the only kind of worship acceptable to God. If I don’t like contemporary music than that can’t possibly be what pleases God.

I have heard people say we need to return to biblical worship. Okay – what does that look like?

If we are talking about Hebrew worship, some would really flip. Hebrew worship was lively. It was demonstrative. It was loud. Very loud. Throughout the Old Testament, Hebrew worship was filled with shouting – loud shouting. David called it “joyful noise.” There were percussive instruments like tambourines, drums, and cymbals. And hold on to your seat – there was the big “D” word and it wasn’t divorce. Dancing!!! Wow, that will rock some saints right into the funny farm.

Or is it New Testament Worship? What was New Testament worship like? In the early church, they were meeting in homes and caves. Not sure if they were using instruments as there is nothing in the New Testament texts describing instruments like in the Old Testament.

What we do see in the New Testament is that we were to sing Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual songs. Some of us are fine with the Hymns – but what is a spiritual song? Is it the new praise songs and choruses? What happened to singing the Psalms?

Most of what we want to make as worship absolutes are all about our preferences and convictions.

One story before I let you go. During Robert Hayes’ absences for treatments, our Colony grad band has been leading worship at our events.
They use guitars, a drum and sing contemporary music.

At a recent Girl Talk event where the average age is 70+, I observed the ladies standing through all three contemporary songs, singing their hearts out, and singing the music that they complain about in their churches. It was acceptable to them because they love the Colony of Mercy men!!!

Hang in there with me. We’ll unpack more next week.

Living in light of the gospel,

Bill Welte, President/CEO
America’s Keswick

Written by Bill Welte, President/CEO of America’s Keswick: Bill has been married to his childhood sweetheart for 40+ years and has four married kids and 12 amazing grandkids. He loves music and is an avid reader.

Think About This: “You can see God from anywhere if your mind is set to love and obey Him.” – A.W. Tozer

The Daily Bible Reading: Ephesians 4 | You can download our 2021 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here. 

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:2-3

Want to get away & have dedicated time to read & learn God’s Word?

Consider a retreat at America’s Keswick retreat center.


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