Guest / Limited Access /

For the past 30 years—as a parishioner, pastor, songwriter, musician, and now seminary professor—I have witnessed what some have called the "worship wars" raging in our churches. Many churches continue to be torn asunder because of questions like these: Shall we sing "traditional" hymns or "contemporary" choruses, or both? Shall we accompany our singing with organ and piano only, or with guitars and, gasp, even drums? As we sing, shall we lift our hands or only our voices? Shall we read our lyrics by looking into a hymnal or by looking up at text projected on a screen?

We desperately need theological discussions of worship in general. But what many congregants want is something more practical and immediate—a coherent and biblical understanding regarding the songs we sing and the instruments we use in worship.

1
Our heavenly Father wills that the whole
life of believers should be worship.

Jesus made clear, in John 4, that worship is not an activity limited to certain places or times. Rather, worship is the 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, vocation of all believers. God is Spirit-unbounded by constraints of time or space—and thus his worshipers must worship him everywhere and at all times (John 4:23-24).

Furthermore, that which God requires he powerfully provides for. For with his reference to an hour that is at once both "coming" and "now here" (v. 23, ESV), Jesus presents a theme central to John's Gospel: The Holy Spirit would soon be poured upon all believers, and would permanently indwell us (see John 7:39 and 14:16-17), making us living temples of the living God.

Any discussion of worship, then, must begin with the biblical concern for worship as lifestyle, not merely as a formal gathering that features ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedClothing Matters: What We Wear to Church
Clothing Matters: What We Wear to Church
Why what we put on may be more important than we think.
TrendingFive Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
Five Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
If you want to help people see Holy Week with fresh eyes, start by dropping these familiar fallacies.
Editor's PickGod's Hot Pursuit of an Armed Bank Robber
God's Hot Pursuit of an Armed Bank Robber
After I surrendered to the FBI, I surrendered to the Holy Spirit.
Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article. Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.

hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

January 2005

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.