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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Worship in General

So after another class today I have some serious thoughts and scenarios running through my head. My professor advocated against worship being so influenced by music. He stated that the early Baptists were correct in the limiting of service to no singing, and even no music was not necessarily a bad judgment. Better yet he labeled christian contemporary worship music as repetitive trash, and the idea of worship leader a joke.

The point of class seemed to be that the early Baptists were not then and now should not be a group that gathers to worship with "soul patches and arms spread wide singing trash" on the guitar to worship God, they need to be grounded in historical Calvinistic ideology. Hence, the early Baptist service that played and sang Psalms, if any music and entirely being what came from the sermon should be normative, because it should be like a service we find only in scripture.

My problems are these:

1) If we should return to a Calvinistic understanding of our faith why then should we bother how we worship?
2) In addition why do we bother to have outreach?

My what if(s):

1) What if we return to a Calvinistic understand of our faith? If we become strict adherents of Calvin we must remember that there is no such thing as being able to worship unless God divinely directs one to worship. Therefore any way is worship if done in the church or by Christians because a "true church" according to Calvinistic doctrine is any church made up of the elect, because no true church is made up of anything else. There all worshiping is done in a manner in which God has ordained in a Calvinistic church and this argument is mute.

Secondly, if churches that are meeting and worship with a leader and full out rock band are not "true churches" then that would greatly decrease the number of Southern Baptists; in addition if they are not real churches that means their history would be one in which they sent many members to hell, and God divinely directed that as well.

2) Why bother with outreach and missions if we return to Calvin? We have the elect and the doomed. Nothing can change that status, and we should simply focus on our own problems and concerns because God has already saved those he will save, no amount of mission work will be needed because whether or not they hear the Gospel they are saved.

My thoughts stand as this:

I would venture to say that in large part the current SBC does not adhere to mostly Calvinistic thought, though they would argue they do. In addition, Southeastern itself should stand as a walking contradiction. Southeastern has the largest mission program in the SBC, with an entire school and degree programs in missions. If this is the case, why would we waste money sending people to spread the Gospel, or have statistics on those accepting and rejecting the Gospel, God already picked them, we are having no real affect.

Secondly, if worship leaders are not what is needed, and the focus on the service and worship is solely what is coming from the pulpit why do pastors have so little to say? If what is the norm now is that people don't feel like they worshiped because they didn't sing what does that say came from the pulpit, little. It seems than that the problem is not based on singing in worship but that many pastors don't say anything that has a lasting impact on the congregation like a song that can tell a life story, or speak of God has the ability to do.

Further, if the only understanding for what our churches should look like comes only from scripture, why then do we have to have leaders with doctorates, schools, seminaries and everything else to minister. The early church was led by fishermen! They had no doctorate, no book deals, they taught what was their life, what God had intimately done for them. Apparently, our churches today do nothing but have to train people what to say because they have no experience of their own.

Further I would argue that we need to mostly reject Calvin, and Luther and whoever else because our theology should come from God. Calvin said that we can do nothing on our own accord, whether we worship or curse God comes from God, therefore we would have no outreach, no anything. Further, Calvin as leader in Geneva murdered, as leader he burned at the stake those who disagreed or were counted as heretics. His understudy Zwingli did the same. So how can we return to that theology? It is like taking everything that Luther said, he also argued on Good Fridays for the beating and attack of the Jews? That doesn't sound to scriptural to me either.

If we are to be a Church, not an SBC, a Methodist, a Catholic one we need to check ourselves at the door. Remember it should be Christ who lives in us, no Calvin. We read the Gospels and forget that Jesus was homeless, poor, and counter-culture, read the sermon on the mount. How can we then disrespect his blood, on his cross by saying that he only died for a select few. Think now of the 6 billion people plus that live on this earth, how can we say he only died for a few of them in totality when we think of how many have lived on earth. That is a trivialization of the passion that I want to have no part of and Mr. Calvin can answer to God for that on his own.

Further, I am fine with a worship service based on the sermon that is how it should be it should be God's word for his people at that time. So Pastors, do your job, stop googling sermons and getting them off a website, stop using book print outs for a sermon. Search for God, and search him for hours, beg him to give you what needs to be said, say something other than we need a bigger sanctuary, stained glass, more pews, more seats, more involvement. Your passion should make people run to the altar in tears, or run out of service to get a friend to bring them to hear what you are saying.

If worship leaders, and Chris Tomlin's songs are the biggest problem with the Southern Baptist Convention and with churches in general, that is a road that I do not want to be on. Let me not even take time to mention if we return to Calvin and the NT that the women are told they can not speak, or teach in church anymore. And church pageants, man, there goes another one out the window, I don't think Peter and Paul were trying to audition for one when they were serving, at least we don't have it in scripture, there goes another ministry.


Oh, America, how we have become so comfortable that our arguments come over singing in church, and christian rock. Meanwhile millions go poor, millions are murdered, and millions walk out of a church where nothing is said every Sunday for a lifetime and its Chris Tomlin, Jeremy Camp and Hillsong's fault for singing of the Glory of God. But not the Pastor who has neglected his flock because he doesn't have the time to search God's word for his church but can use an outline from Rick Warren for 40 days! Its not the national leaders that spend time in hotels, and argue over the communion bread, or the wording of a sentence when they should be out preaching to the lost. It is the words, it is the chords, and its the music that are hurting the people of the church. Somehow, it seems there is more to it.

In closing it is said that David became undignified before his wife for singing and dancing before God, his wife was punished while David was given a covenant with God that through his family the Messiah would come. For David his actions and words inspired all those around him, while Michal looked only at the words of the Law. For David the Law was on his heart, it was God that so inspired him, for Michal she had the commentary of men on how one is follow the code, but not the relationship with God.

If we continue down the rode of how we should preach, how we should worship, and how we should vote instead of where we should go, where we should preach, and where we should praise this will be our tombstone and it will read:

We became like Michal. Our legacy was like hers, the American church from then was barren until death.

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