“The idols are different but the results are the same.”
The “worship wars” are beating the drums throughout the church today. This isn’t new. Repeatedly in the Old Testament God judged His people for false worship. Exodus 32 says they were punished for both worshipping a false god and worshipping God falsely. In John 4, Jesus shared with the woman at the well the true principles of worship. It was not the physical location, but rather the spiritual condition of the person.
In all the “worship wars,” music is the battleground. Many church services begin with a long period of “praise and worship,” as if this is worship, and the rest of the service is something else. This is not new. In Exodus 32:4-6, Israel had come to the place where God was going to personally give them His Word. They missed it. Their self-appointed “worship leader” made a golden calf, called it god, rocked out the music, added dancing and eventually immorality, and called it worship. This led the people into God’s judgment. It was an abomination to God. Does this have any of the contemporary flavor? Can it be found in this “worship war” of music and dance today? Aaron (the first worship leader) led the people in dance and music to worship in Egypt’s style and turned their hearts from the eternal God to Egypt’s golden idol. The idols are different, but the results are the same. The absence of the leader opened the door to perverted worship. Perhaps this should be a warning to the leadership in the church today. Maybe there is cause for alarm.
Ron Owens in his book, Return To Worship, talks of “the rise of the chorus and the death of the hymn.” We are stealing from this generation our greatest heritage and our greatest teaching tool. Martin Luther used the power of hymns as he sent out singing groups to teach the people doctrine (Colossians 3:16) which played a great part in the Reformation. We still sing his great hymns 500 years later.
Isaac Watts wrote 875 hymns 250 years ago. Many, like “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross,”are in our hymnals. Charles Wesley gave us hundreds of hymns, like “O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing.” John Newton, the converted slave trader, gave us “Amazing Grace.” The longevity of these hymns in the Church has been the bedrock of much of the indelible learning of doctrine. Yes, there have been many hymns written in the past hundred years that are wonderful as well. The great concern is that a pastor or worship leader may close the hymn book and steal our greatest tool for teaching the Truth to the next generation. Can we sing some choruses? Of course, we can. But it is like serving the appetizer and forgetting the main course if we neglect the hymns. In time, we will find a famine in the land for the Word of God.
This is one reason BBN shares the great hymns daily. It will nourish you because it is God’s will as seen in Ephesians 5:17-20. It is the will of the Lord to sing hymns.
– Lowell Davey, President of BBN
For more about this topic visit BBN BI and take the course 50300 Study of Music