“Unbelievable!” That is the only word to describe it! A brother expressed concern in one of our publications about the “have it your way” mentality of those advocating contemporary worship. He clearly articulated the inherent danger of putting the focus on us instead of upon God, thus seeking to please ourselves instead of Him. In the next month’s issue, one respondent quickly cast aside this valid warning by asserting, “After all, worship is a human enterprise that God calls for without specifying how it must be done.” He further states, “God calls us to worship and leaves the how to us (in large measure).”
Not only are these comments unbelievable, but they are blatantly false! God tells us in the New Testament, the covenant under which we live, exactly how He wants us to worship Him. In John 4, the Master set forth the proper object, the proper manner, and the proper method of worship. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). We are to worship “Him” (God) — the proper object. We are to worship Him “in spirit (sincerely, from the heart) — the proper manner. We are to worship Him “in truth” (according to His word, John 17:17) — the proper method.
Did you notice the word “must” in John 4:24? The Master said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (emphasis mine, DF). In God’s Word we are authorized to sing, to pray, to teach and study His Word, to give of our means, and to partake of the Lord’s Supper. The singing is to be congregational and without instrumental accompaniment. The prayers are to be simple and fervent. The messages proclaimed and studied are to be Scriptural. The contribution and the Lord’s Supper are only on the first day of each week. In the assemblies where both men and women are present, only males are to lead in worship. These points are easily documented in Scripture. Anyone who says, “God calls us to worship and leaves the how to us,” is either blatantly ignorant of the Scriptures or totally rejects them.
The cry today: “We need contemporary worship.” I believe in contemporary (current) worship! The question is, “How contemporary (current) is God’s Word?” If the Bible is His word, authoritative and relevant, then we need to follow it. Period! “We like it” needs to be squashed with “Will the Lord be pleased?” Better yet, we ought to like what He likes! The Master said, “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). Let’s be that contemporary!
Findlay church of Christ