worship wars

Russell Moore on worship wars:

Maybe you’re like me, reared to have the worship music tastes of a seventy-five-year-old woman. That’s because, I think, a seventy-five-year-old woman was picking out the hymns and gospel songs in the church where I grew up. I tear up when I sing “Just As I Am” or “To God Be the Glory.” And I’m left cold by what some people call the “majestic old hymns.” They sound like what watercress-sandwich-eating Episcopalians from Connecticut would listen to (not that there’s anything wrong with that). And so many of the contemporary songs sound as if they were written by commercial jingle writers, trying desperately to find words to rhyme with “Jesus” (“Sees us?” “Never leave us?” “Diseases?”). I’m not saying aesthetics don’t matter in worship. Worship is, after all, commanded to be offered with “reverence and awe” (Heb. 12:28). I am saying our varying critiques of musical forms are often just simple narcissism disguised as concern about theological and liturgical downgrade. We need more worship wars, not fewer. What if the war looked like this in your congregation—the young singles petitioning the church to play more of the old classics for the sake of the elderly people, and the elderly people calling on the leadership to contemporize for the sake of the young new believers? This would signal a counting of others as more important than ourselves (Phil. 2:3), which comes from the Spirit of the humiliated, exalted King, Christ (Phil. 2:5–11). When I insist that the rest of the congregation serve as backup singers in my own little nostalgic hit parade of back-home Mississippi hymns, I am worshiping in the spirit all right, but not the Holy Spirit. I am worshiping myself, in the spirit of self-exaltation. (“Tempted and Tried,” location 2196)

So sad that this is so true. Where is your focus? Yourself, or others?

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