We are often asked our opinion regarding "contemporary worship services." I pray that I will answer this according to God's word and will. I want to be careful because I feel there are many "babes" (1 Corinthians 3:1) that are sincere, but deceived about this matter. One can be a "babe in Christ" without being a new Christian. I spent many years with little or no growth in my Christianity, so the length of time one has been saved has nothing to do with their maturity in Christ. I want to be kind, but more so, I want to honest and scriptural. Love is never Godly love if it is dishonest.
Some churches have gone to two worship services, one traditional worship and one contemporary worship. This is foreign to scripture. Jesus said:
"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." John 4:24
There does not seem to be two ways to worship or two types of worship. Can there be two right ways to worship the Lord Jesus Christ? We know there can be two wrong ways, but can there be two right ways? Where did man get the idea that we could worship two ways?
According to John 14:6, Jesus said He was "the way," no options, no other way. He did not say He was the best way, the Christian way, the superior way, but "the way." The definite article excludes all other ways.
Somehow, somewhere, man has decided there are different ways and different truths other than what God first taught.
Let us look at the average "contemporary" service and some constants that always appear:
- Any version of the Bible is acceptable EXCEPT the King James Bible.
- Room lighting and mood music take precedence over "in spirit and in truth."
- New Age atmosphere and channeling are appropriate; repentance and conviction over sin are not.
- Experiences and feelings transcend Bible doctrine.
Some things may change from one contemporary service to the other, but the above four things will remain fairly constant.
If one feels the "contemporary service" is right and godly, then what is the "traditional service?" They both can be wrong but they both can't be right! Are there two Gods? Are there two gospels?
The appearance of the traditional service will certainly be different from the contemporary one. One man told me he attended a contemporary service in tennis shoes and Bermuda shorts and felt over dressed. Flip flops, halter tops and tight shorts are the order of the day. Don't tell me that appearance makes no difference:
"Abstain from all appearance of evil." 1 Thessalonians 5:22
"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works." 1 Timothy 2:9-10
If there is an invitation in the service, it will be void of tears or conviction for sin. People may come and go with no more God consciousness than a Lions Club meeting.
The contemporary music must not resemble the traditional service and it doesn't. Neither will the music resemble "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" (Ephesians 5:18; Colossians 3:16.)
The preaching will focus on building one's self esteem, religious tolerance, anger management and helping one's fellow man. Subjects that are foreign to contemporary services are the deity of Christ, redemption by the blood of Christ, the virgin birth of Christ, hell and the wrath of God.
The whole purpose of a contemporary service is to compete with the traditional service. People in power obviously feel the traditional service is a failure, incomplete or has shortcomings. The whole purpose of the new, contemporary church of the Rick Warren and Bill Hybel ilk was to attract those who were not attending church services. The approach was based upon the idea that there was something wrong with the church service, not the backsliders that were not attending. What you have with the Osteen-Warren-Hybel congregations is a "one size fits all." These people actually think that "Chrislam" (Christian and Muslim) is an achievable goal and that the Bible and the Koran can co-exist. Their position is that there are other ways to heaven. Jesus said there is not:
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6
Either He is the only way or He isn't.
"God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged." Romans 3:4
It is time we listened to Paul:
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Galatians 6:7
Keep Looking Up!