Monday, 11 January 2010

Worship again!

With the heightening irreverence in much of what passes for Christian worship today, it is important to realise that there is still sufficient conscience left in the 'rock brigade' to know that it is inappropriate for drum accompanied jazz improvisation to be used in singing the Psalms.

I was interested to see what will happen when the minister of the church I was attending recently announced a Psalm for congregational praise. What amazement I experienced when I noticed the drummer standing at his pew, and the Psalm was sung, accompanied by the piano only.

This was most welcome, given that Psalms are only sung three or four times a year, despite it being a 'presbyterian' church where this happens.

What accounts for this change of worship format on this occasion? It's hard to say, because there appears to be no discernible pattern to what goes on in much contemporary worship, except that it is largely undignified and irreverent, weak theologically, extremely subjective, sloppy and sentimental, and something a group of religious people do on Sundays.

Perhaps, the 'worship group' knows instinctively that when the Psalms are sung, we are dealing directly with the Word of God, or better, that God, through His Word, is dealing with us! Is there a covert admission that many human compositions do not deserve the respect that the Psalms are given? How sad it will be if the Psalms were given the same 'treatment' that is given to other worldly compositions.

Sadly, the perpetrators of worship violence provide no certainty that they will not revert to form. If they imagine that some worshippers identify the rightness of abstinence from worship violence, they will not appreciate this, and will return to 'doing what they know best.'

What is it going to take to bring professing 'reformed' churches back to their traditional practices in worship? I think one thing necessary is an urgent return to submission to the authority of God's Word in all matters of faith and practice. The apparent absence of any submission to God as Lord is conspicuous. The lack of reverence for God and His House and worship is a very worrying attribute of much contemporary worship. One is forced to ask whether or not it is good for any informed Christian to even attend a church that treats God so shabbily? Is he wittingly or unwittingly supporting what he believes to be wrong? Does his presence provide a level of credibility to such theological violence?

Unless and until there is a return to a real and practical acknowledgement of, and submission to, the authority of the Scriptures over all matters, including worship, there will be no likelihood of the situation improving. God must take control in His church again for acceptable worship to be offered to Him, and not the current 'strange fire.' He must be given His place within the life of His church, and the place currently given to 'the young people' relegated to its proper position, that of a part of the congregation like any other part. No sectional interest ought to be allowed to determine what goes on in the life of the church. And certainly not inexperienced young people whose minds have been infiltrated by modern decadent youth culture.