What a flash point worship music has become! On the other hand, it has apparently always been thus.
In writing about church focus, concerning theology and doctrine, I considered worship music to be a side issue simply involving preferences. However, the comments on “What is the cure, Doctor?” indicate it merits a separate thread. It is clearly both a dividing line and a divisive issue for many congregations. Congregation do, and have, split based solely on animosity over this issue.
Anecdotal evidence would indicate that one major dividing line is drums, as in a modern drum set. The appearance of this instrument actually results in the summary exit of some people from not only the service but the congregation. Worse, I heard a Pastor remark on this topic that the congregation was being held back by such people and they should just go quietly if they couldn’t embrace the changes (hard to believe but that is actually what was informally said).
Thinking about it, the implications appear to extend well beyond my original thoughts of simple preference. What I preseumed could be solved by simply blending styles and alternate presentation seems to indicate issues beyond that.
One suggestion might be that this scenario is a demonstrable symptom of the movement of the church into functioning as an entertainment medium. In that scenario, the assumption that would follow (as with any service provider) would be that the church has a responsibility to service each attendee’s need for a joyous and uplifting experience. The existence of any discomfort would be counter-productive. Notice that one of the undergirding assumptions here is that the responsibility for the experience is placed solely on the church, not on the congregant. This reflects the societal issues appearing today in many other forums with the emergence of entitlement rights. This could be taken to illustrate the church and expectations of its responsibilities mirroring societal change, and therefor completely separate from any Biblical expectation. Many would say this is good and that entitlement is driving positive developments. In most respects, I would not be among them.
A related area of exploration could be around the function of the church in supporting and providing comfort for the member or adherent. Is the worship service for us or for the Lord? Without doubt most Evangelicals would say that it is for Him, but isÂ that the reality? Isn’t the reality that the church is often views as if it is for us? In all of this, where does simple individual preference come in, and to what degree?
Lastly for now, let us move to the Pastoral comment on naysayers. Now, I do not doubt that the comment was serious, and in context am also quite sure that the person it was said directly to (not me) agreed in principle (evidenced by their comments in other venues). But however true it might be for them, it was pretty appalling to hear it stated out loud. It would appear that those who left were likely better justified then they realized. It could could also be legitimately projected that there were likely other people and other issues that would eventually fall to the same solution eventually. So the question needs to be asked, is ‘my way or the highway’ a legitimate response in any of these situations?
There – that’s a start. Again, for me this seems peripheral to the foundational issues, but I could be missing something. I have my preferences and some things appeal to them and others don’t. But we will see what shakes out in comments…