- Too loud vs. Too Soft.
- Old Hymns vs. New Songs
- Piano vs. Keyboard
And that’s just to name a few. It’s the War going on in a lot of churches today. But this isn’t a new war. This has been a problem all throughout the history of the church.
- When the Gregorian Chant became the official music of the church, it was characterized by a single monophonic unaccompanied melody sung only by men. Later young boys with unchanged voices started singing with the men but their voices were displaced by an octave. There were many who objected. Later harmony was added to the music of the church but many were against it.
- When Luther started writing hymns for the church in 1517 there was a great revolt.
- In 1540 Calvin stated that only the Old Testament Psalms sung in a metrical rhythm were appropriate for worship (The Genevan Psalter). This caused great division among the church between Calvin’s followers and Luther’s.
- Near 1750 the Wesley brothers wrote hymns that taught theology and doctrine. It again caused great struggle among church leaders.
- The music of the 1880′s Sunday School Era was looked down on by many because the hymns and testimony songs being written were subjective (personal) and not objective (directed toward God). Many thought there was no room for music like that in the church.
- Jazz influences of the early twentieth century brought out an edict from the Pope that the piano was forbidden in the Catholic church, because of its worldly influences.
- Soon after came the Jesus movement with drums, bass, guitars, and other instruments. Choruses and praise songs were following close behind and all of it was hotly debated in the church.
Over the course of time, sadly, there have been churches divided, denominational splits, and Christian Brothers and Sisters become rude to each other over an issue that has NOTHING to do with them in the first place.
Charles Swindoll (in The Church Awakening) summed it up very well:
What God intended for His glory and for our corporate and personal growth—worship—has been transformed from a soul-deep commitment to an ugly, carnal fight.
If there is anything that brings delight to Satan, it is the disruption of the worship of God.
Worship isn’t about us! It’s all about him.
Yet we hear people say… “Well I like MY worship sung with Hymns and led by someone with a suit and tie on from a grand piano. The Old Choruses were real worship.”
And we hear others say… “I like MY worship to feel like a concert. With lights and fog and a dark room. I want to feel the bass in my chest and I want it to be led by a hipster guy in skinny jeans and a V-Neck T-Shirt.”
You see one group perceives themselves to be relevant. Trying their hardest to reach the next generation of people. While the other group precieves themselves to be reverent. Trying their hardest to reserve the past.
The problem: Both have elevated their preference to a place of principle. They are taking a stand not for the betterment of the Church… But for their own comfort and concerns.
The simple truth:
When we would rather have Jesus then the song “I’d rather have Jesus”… Revival will happen.
When we can sing about the greatness of God without having to sing “How great is our God”… Revival will happen.
There is a real war going on outside of the church. A war for souls. There are people everyday dying without ever knowing the hope of Jesus Christ.
Yet we are at war with ourselves over song style and selection. It’s so sad. Worship was meant to bring unity to believers not division.
God forgive us!
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