Style vs. Substance — Does Praise and Worship Music Convey the Gospel?
Rev Jonathan Fisk of Worldview Everlasting has a great v-log addressing the difference between style and substance in the so-called worship wars. The use of contemporary Christian music has been justified on the basis of relevancy and stylistic differences. And if it was really JUST a matter of style, it would not be so controversial — especially in the Evangelical/Charismatic/non-denominational world.
We really are not asking the right questions, are we? One of the basic assumptions of the contemporary music movement is that Worship is all about praising God in His presence and hearing an inspiring talk for about 20 minutes. Since we gather to Praise and Worship, we need a leader trained in song to lead us into the presence of God, to get us in the right mood for God. But is that really what Worship is about? Is it about ME and what I do for God? Is it about ME doing, or better yet, ME following a worship leader into the presence of God? Or is Worship really a passive activity where we receive the forgiveness of sins and new life based on the action of the Word acting through the preacher and the sacraments delivered to me? Isn’t Worship really about Jesus, and His saving work for you and for me? Isn’t worship about the Gospel — the proclamation of repentance for the forgiveness of sins? And shouldn’t everything that comprises worship serve the purpose of proclaiming the Gospel message?
To determine whether music in your church is a style or substance issue, you merely need to look at the words — do the lyrics proclaim the Gospel? Do they lyrics talk about me and what I am doing or have to do or want to do, or do they really tell what God has done FOR US in Christ? Remember, the Bible is not about YOU…. Worship is not about YOU… It is NOT about ME and what I do…. Worship is all about JESUS. The Bible is all about JESUS. Christ is and must remain at the center of all we do. If not, well just look at the apostasy taking place in the church in America today.