Elsewhere in the Christian apologetics site I lay out the scriptural requirements for a valid worship experience. I won't repeat them here, but I will say that there are a lot of different flavors of worship. Those accustomed to the traditional, structured services at a Catholic, Lutheran, or Episcopal church would be completely out of place at a charismatic church. No doubt they would be tempted to go write a web page on how evil those services are! But those from a charismatic church would feel equally out of place in a traditional setting. Been there - done that! I know of sincere believers that have their faith shaken by the changing of one word in a confession of faith or the addition or deletion of one hymn. I know of other believers that do not feel like they have worshipped because the Holy Spirit did not take over the entire service with prophecy and tongues. I ask you, though - isn't God big enough to be present in all of these diverse services, and ministering to each person at their point of need? Of course he is! Denominations, far from being evil - are there becasue God wants each and every believer to have a church body where they can express their devotion to Him in the way they know how. Apply this to music!
There seems to be confusion over whether a Christian rock concert is a worship experience or an entertainment experience. Even the artists themselves seem to straddle the fence on this - often stopping the whole concert to give a testimony and altar call. Many artists and churches are in the midst of a raging debate over whether to charge admission to a concert - after all - if it is worship, shouldn't it be free so even the poorest unsaved can come? I think the answer is that a concert is neither entirely entertainment nor worship. It is a peculiar blend of both. The trappings of the concert and the musical style is a non-threatening environment where non-Christian kids who never would enter a church under normal circumstances can come and be introduced to the gospel. They have absolutely no conflict about paying admission, and in a lot of cases were taken by a friend or parent who paid for the ticket anyway. Bottom line - there is no answer to this dillemma. I don't think there is a "right" answer to this question - it is more the attitude of the heart of the person attending than anything else. Those who are being entertained may overpower the perception of an observer - who doesn't notice those who are more quietly worhipping. The critics tend to focus on the loud, bositerous ones and ignore the others in the back.
The music performed may or may not be appropriate for a church setting, depending on which church it is. But then traditional worship music may not be appropriate for more youthful, progressive churches. It could end up being just as much of a stumbling block to the believers there as rock music would be somewhere else. An example: I am personally more comfortable with up-tempo music during worship than slow music. I personally think a lot of pastors shoot themselves in the foot by arranging the musical selections to start up-tempo, then become slower and slower towards the sermon. I ask - WHY put somebody to sleep with elevator music just before you want them to be alert and intellectually receptive to the points of the sermon? Wouldn't it be better for them to be moving around to the rhythm, clapping hands, and excited by the music (keeping the blood and adrenaline flowing) than slowing them down? After all, you are going to ask them to sit down for 30 to 45 minutes while you talk, and you don't want them falling asleep while you talk!
Since when is excitement and fun not consistant with worship? There are churches who are so scared of having fun that they flee from anything that approaches pleasure! The pews are hard wood, the air conditioner only marginally cools, everybody has to dress up in starchy clothes, the preacher feels like if you aren't willing to sit there for three hours - you aren't spiritual! Worship should be synonymous with suffering - right?! Didn't Jesus suffer for you? Shouldn't you be willing to put up with discomfort in return? (I head for the door rather fast whey I encounter this type of HERESY!!!) I am not saying this to throw stones at any denomination or church. I just want to show how sad it is when people deny the joy and excitement that is supposed to accompany worship. One of the strongest Christian men that I know loves to dance in church - lose himself in the Holy Spirit and worship God by dancing in the Spirit. He is so used to persecution that he was hesitant to ask me where he could find a church to express himself. Thankfully - I knew of a church where he would be welcome. For him - the music is how he worships, he studies the Bible extensively on his own and needs only a minimum of teaching from the pulpit. For other people - music is nothing and should only last a few minutes, followed by extensive preaching. So - can we have fun? Of course - it isn't for everybody and every church won't be fun - but each person has their own unique taste. If you are not looking forward to your church service - you need to find another church. There are more and more churches available every day that feature upbeat, exciting music - and people are flocking there. But a warning - if the preaching isn't on target, they have a large turnover. Truth is truth from any pulpit, and the spiritual hunger can only be filled by correct doctrine. Traditional churches, in most cases, are full of frustrated people - wondering where all their teenagers, college students, and young families went. Sad - really sad.
Even sadder are the rock critics that tell people that if their church is "corrupted" with this "spiritless" Christian rock - they sould leave and return to traditional churchs. Real smart - guys - leave people who need to be reached on that level with nothing. YOU - my friend - are responsible if they abandon the church. Show the church of tomorrow you love them today - OR YOU WILL NOT HAVE A CHURCH TOMORROW!!!! I received a visit just the other day - from a Baptist church up the street. I have a scripture posted on my door "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". I do that so there will be no mistake if a time of persecution starts. It is also excellent to deter cults from knocking, and it should encourage churches who are performing visitation to concentrate on unsaved people in other houses. Unfortunately, there is too much member stealing going on out there ----. Anyway, a friendly black lady had two teenage girls with her, and after initial introductions - she solicited us to come to her church. Thanking her warmly for the invitation - I took the opportunity to ask her and her church to join in our efforts to establish Christian rock on the radio in our community. I was told in no uncertain terms that her church did not believe in it, and would have nothing to do with it. Lovingly starting with Psalms 150, I tried to show her that her stand was in error. The teenagers behind her were silently nodding their heads with me, smiling at me like I was a kindred spirit - particularly when I told her if there was not Christian rock available, the youth in her church would be listening to perverted secular stations, and she would never even know it! I saw the gleeful look in those girls eyes when I said that - they are doing that exact thing!!!! I pray you two are on the Internet and that the Lord guides you to this page --- stop by without your closed minded leader: I NEED dedicated Christian announcers - at 14 you CAN be FULLY licensed!!!
Another aspect of the visit above that deserves its own section - I also mentioned to the nice black lady that traditional hymns cannot possibly keep up with social trends in our society. Some of these trends - like racism - are only dealt with by Christian rock artists. I gave the specific example of "Colored People" by DC Talk:
COLORED PEOPLE Pardon me, your epidermis is showing I couldn't help but note your shade of melanin I tip my hat to the colorful arrangement Cause I see (the) beauty in the tones of our skin We gotta come together, and thank the maker of us all We're colored people, and we live in a tainted place We're colored people, and they call us the human race We've got a history so full of mistakes And we are colored people who depend on a Holy Grace A piece of canvas is only the beginning It takes on character with every loving stroke This thing of beauty is the passion of an artist's heart By God's design, we are a skin kaleidoscope We gotta come together, aren't we all human after all? Ignorance has wronged some races And vengeance is the Lord's If we aspire to share this space Repentance is the cure Well, just a day in the shoes of a color blind man Should make it easy for you to see That these diverse tones do more than cover our bones As a part of our anatomy
When was the last time you heard a traditional hymn address this issue as eloquently?