Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Desperate Cry For Holiness And Purity In Modern Christian Worship

Worship in American churches has evolved into something that gives little thought or reverence to a God Who is holy and to be feared and reverenced.  

Worship has become an activity more akin to a secular rock music concert than a solemn, spiritual activity of adoring hearts and humble souls.   

Sadly, the focus of “worship” has become a question of what is satisfying to the participant and pleasing to the audience, rather than what honors the God of Heaven.  

Rather than active participants in worship, the church in America has relegated its membership to the status of an audience that watches, rather than engages in worship and praise. (source)

I was in a big Christian conference recently. The big stage, various spot lights, an earsplitting roar and beat sounds in the dark crowded hall....from outside, one cannot distinguish whether it is a rock concert or a Christian meeting.

One devout sister reproved me for my distressing remark and said gently that she does not like this kind of atmosphere and the music personally as well, but she affirmed it anyway because she said "there is a good spirit in it and there are good fruits out of their worship." 

And she added that it is a "style" issue so it is better we say "It is not my 'style' instead of "it is wrong." Yes, it is true that we should not mix our personal music taste with biblical validity issue, but even that did not remove my inner distress and cry that something is wrong here !!

Yes, there are serious compromises in CCM.
Yes, they do fellowship with worldly rockers.
Yes, CCM has some spiritual problems — but
I’ve seen them mention Jesus.
I’ve seen them give ‘altar calls’.
I’ve seen them do good.....

The CCM worship.

'Most “Christian” music is taken from the secular world. Whether it is the music of Broadway musicals, Country Western, Las Vegas ballad crooners or light rock or heavy rock and roll it’s secular not sacred. 

When you then add sacred words to the secular music there is a natural disconnect. That’s why so much Christian music (even when it is well written and well performed) doesn’t really work. 

Oh sure, people might like it. They might even have nice feelings about Jesus by listening to it, but the secular music was designed to produce certain types of feelings, and why should those warm sentimental feelings or hard emotional feelings be linked with worship?' (source)

Do you know that many sincere, god-fearing muslim seekers consider this kind of worship as blasphemy to the Holy God? Having served among them for more than 10 years, I testify to you with tears that it is one of the heart-piercing tragedies that sincere seekers have got stumbled by our so-called "Christian" worship and countless souls have left Christian church forever as a result---without encountering with Jesus Christ!

I have also witnessed that sincere Catholic believers/seekers in France and Germany find it difficult to find Jesus in the evangelical churches because of the same reason. How can we, as God's witnesses to the gentiles, answer Him at the last day, -- if "our" way of worshiping God like this, have virtually closed the door of heaven to the seeking souls?

Next year is the 500th anniversary of Protestant reformation. Our spiritual ancestors have fought the fight of faith without compromise. Many had lost their life for proclaiming and preserving the bible truth such as Sola Scriptura, Justification by faith alone, believers' baptism, the priesthood of all believers and so forth.

Has the reformation ended? Do we need to go back to our roots once again? O Lord, help us and give mercy upon us! 

When the Entertainment God Comes to Church by Don Currin  

   Image result for michael w smith concert      

Are we amusing the mixed multitude?

And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.
Psalm 40:3

Only Christianity affirms the relationship between its founder and followers with a song. Where there is an absence of song, there is an absence of the Son. One of the assurances of conversion is the song that Christ places in the heart of the believer. The nature of the Lord's song is revealed in the character of His children.

In David's inspired testimony, he says, “he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God.” Praise characterizes the song of God. There is nothing more noteworthy of Christ's composition in the heart of a redeemed sinner than adoration. Christians have a sense of being out of tune with God when their walk ceases to show forth the praises of Him Who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. While the lyrics may vary from life to life, the outstanding note of Christ's song is praise.

William Cowper expressed his heart of undaunted praise for God when he penned the words-

The dearest idol I have known,
Whateer that idol be,
Help me to tear it from thy throne,
And worship only thee.

The Lord's song has called us to an everlasting preoccupation with Him and we will not be content until we yield to its influence.

Another characteristic of the Lord's song is sacredness. In Psalm 137:1-4, the harpists of Israel were required to perform His song before a people who were bent on entertainment. Desiring to be amused, they commanded these musicians to sing them a song of Zion. Esteeming the Lord's song sacred, these harpists refused to play before these idolaters.

Tragically, in the process of accommodating the demand of contemporary culture that would rather be amused than confronted about their sin, these churches have become more concerned with entertaining the goats than feeding the sheep. This ecclesiastical compromise has led to grievous repercussions in the Church. A.W. Tozer warned in his book The Root of the Righteous:

Related image

For centuries the Church stood solidly against every form of worldly entertainment, recognizing it for what it was-a device for wasting time, a refuge from the disturbing voice of conscience, a scheme to divert attention from moral accountability. For this she got herself abused roundly by the sons of the world. 

But of late she has become tired of the abuse and has given over the struggle. She appears to have decided that if she cannot conquer the great god Entertainment she may as well join forces with him and make whatever use she can of his powers. So today we have the astonishing spectacle of having millions of dollars being poured into the unholy job of providing earthly entertainment for the so-called sons of heaven. Religious entertainment is in many places crowding out the serious things of God. Many churches these days have become little more than poor theaters where fifth rate producers peddle their shoddy wares with the full approval of evangelical leaders who can even quote a holy text in defense of their delinquency.

Sadly, much of the contemporary music that is presented today does not promote the loftiness of the Creator. Rather it humanizes God, magnifies self, and paves the way for a feel good religion. Of the tragic consequences that have resulted, contempt for the Lord's song heads the list. Many church leaders seem to go to any extent to make the song of the Redeemer more palatable to the sensual taste of the lost. 

John Chrysostom warned, “Everything must be banished which recalls the cult of pagan gods and the songs of actors.While noted hymn writer Fanny Crosby admonished, “It is never right to take the lyrics of Zion and put them to the tune of Babylon”.

In his article Music in Worship: Demanding a Distinction, Lenny Seidel wrote, “The church has capitulated to a reversal of emphasis in worship: the focus is now on the individual worshiper rather than on a holy God who is the object of worship. The result is a flood of music characterized by weak theology and designed to make people feel good. The issue is that the gospel should not be presented in an entertainment mode. The reason is that the gospel is about a person-the Lord Jesus Christ-and nothing about His like was entertaining.

With the increased temptation to lower God's standard in music, let us wage war against the God of this age who would seek to bring contempt upon the Lord's song. Let us resolve to guard the sacredness of that holy song by protecting our worship services from music that appeals to the flesh and “serves and worships the creature more than the Creator. Let us strive to preserve the sacredness of the Lord's song that Christ may receive the preeminence that He rightly deserves.

related articles;

Recovery of the reverence and solemnity in our Christian worship: My personal reflections

Why CCM Leads to the Emerging Church pt 1 by Pastor David Cloud
Why CCM Leads to the Emerging Church pt 2 by Pastor David Cloud

The Rhythm of Rock (Lecture series by Pastor Graham West)
These five videos will help bring clarity to the whole area of music discernment. They teach about a unique kind of syncopation that Pastor West calls “beat anticipation.” Each video builds on the previous one, analysing, illustrating and defining this rhythmic device in precise musical terms. Clear illustrations of how beat anticipation engenders sensual body movements are given.
Music and Your Church (Lecture series by Pastor Graham West)
These five messages expose CCM for what it really is, an unbiblical form of rebellious, counterfeit worship. The last message offers practical advice to parents and pastors on how to guide their young people through the musical maze of subtle and not so subtle dangers.