get church your way right away!

get church your way right away!

most if not all of those who read this blog would be familiar with “the worship wars” that plagued the church throughout the 70’s,80’s and 90’s – and as some would argue, are still going on.

piano and organ, or guitar and drums?

“music minister” or “worship leader” [or for the “passionate”- “lead worshipper”]?

one music leader or a “praise team”?

hymns or “praise songs”?

 

 the answers to these questions have been many and they have been passionate. they have split churches and even founded new segments and denominations upon which their answers to these questions are the identity of the church itself.

how many times have you described your church, or first heard a church described to you where the musical style was one of the first things mentioned?

“it’s a really nice church…contemporary worship, good programs…”
“our church is very welcoming with lots of involvement… and we have blended worship!”
“is your church traditional or contemporary?”

how many people have you known who have changed churches because they liked the building, personalities of the leadership, programs, or the music better somewhere else. the old place wasn’t “bad” per se’, but “this is more of what i prefer”.

as the son of a minister and a pastor myself, i can think of exactly one time where someone’s stated reason for leaving the church they were in was because they felt like the church’s main emphasis was not the gospel. i can think of at least 10 without trying where someone left because of one of the other reasons mentioned above.

all of this is not to say that it is a sin, or even wrong to look for a church that you enjoy going to and participating in, or to ever change churches. the problem comes in when these questions:
“are they faithful the scriptures?”
“do they preach the gospel, and preach it clearly, and more often than just on ‘high attendance’ days?”
“does this church seek to intentionally bring glory to god in every aspect of its life?”

are questions that are never asked when deciding on a church…or they are asked after other matters of personal preference have been satisfied.

in too many circles, “church” has become a product to be marketed to consumers, who are attracted by the packaging rather than the content. the church exists for the glory of god – if that is not it’s draw, then it is “selling” the wrong “product”.

the final “sola” of the cambridge declaration does not seek to speak to which form of musical expression is correct, but rather to point out that it is the content, not necessarily the musical genre or “title” given to our services that is the point. worship is about much more than what kind of music is played. while music is an important medium of worship, it is not the definition of it.

 “soli deo gloria” – to god alone be the glory, is concerned with the content of the sermon, the prayers, and the music of our worship services. if what we are doing in our worship services is not god/christ centered and god/christ focused, then whatever else it is we are doing is not christian worship.

if we were to do a survey with people who had never before been in a christian worship service and afterward asked them to tell us what the service was about, would they say anything similar to “the glory of god in the gospel of jesus christ”? or would their answer be something like
“how to have a better…”?

it is this issue that the next article addresses.

Soli Deo Gloria: The Erosion Of God-Centered Worship

We deny that we can properly glorify God if our
worship is confused with entertainment, if we
neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching,
or if self-improvement, self-esteem or
self- fulfillment are allowed to become
alternatives to the gospel.

Wherever in the church biblical authority has been lost,
Christ has been displaced, the gospel has been distorted,
or faith has been perverted, it has always been for one reason:
our interests have displaced God’s and we are doing his work
in our way.

The loss of God’s centrality in the life of today’s
church is common and lamentable. It is this loss that allows
us to transform worship into entertainment, gospel preaching
into marketing, believing into technique, being good into
feeling good about ourselves, and faithfulness into being
successful. As a result, God, Christ and the Bible have come
to mean too little to us and rest too inconsequentially upon us.

God does not exist to satisfy human ambitions, cravings,
the appetite for consumption, or our own private spiritual
interests. We must focus on God in our worship, rather than
the satisfaction of our personal needs. God is sovereign in
worship; we are not. Our concern must be for God’s kingdom,
not our own empires, popularity or success.

Thesis Five: Soli Deo Gloria
We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has
been accomplished by God, it is for God’s glory and
that we must glorify him always. We must live our
entire lives before the face of God, under the
authority of God and for his glory alone.

We deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship
is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law
or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-
esteem or self- fulfillment are allowed to become
alternatives to the gospel.

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