Tag Archives: worship style

Wineskins and Worship Wars

Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.

“Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” Matt. 9:17

old-wineskin“Worship style” definitely gets the prize for being the most troublesome issue dividing churches today.  I believe it is troublesome because it hits many of us at a pretty deep level.  We each have our preferred “language” for worship, and these worship wars have a way of calling into question the legitimacy of my “language”.  I’ve mentioned this in previous posts here and here and here, but our questioning each other’s worship style is a little reminiscent of the money-changers questioning the legitimacy of each person’s sacrifice.

In Jesus’ much-studied conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well (John chapter 4), he is asked a pointed question about the appropriate time and place to worship God. For those of us who are struggling even now with “worship style” issues, this woman’s question is a prime example of a “worship style” question.  Jesus’ response, that “a time is coming” when God’s restrictions on time, place and form would no longer be central to worship, seems to me to be a clear signal that an important change was about to happen. Jesus’ remarks in Matthew chapter 9 about “new wine” and “new wineskins” seem to signal the same thing: a profoundly new way of relating to God.

Isn’t that what Pentecost (Acts 2) represented? Wasn’t it the ushering in of an entirely new way of relating to God? Surely, Jesus’ teaching to the woman at the well that God is seeking …

Languages of Worship (The Biblical Illustration)

Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.

The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him. Genesis 12:7

David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might… II Samuel 6:14

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:3

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death… Philippians 3:10

My first post on this topic (and by this title) was  here.  Think of it as an introduction.

If you have ever had to plan a corporate or “gathered” worship experience for a diverse group of people, you know how challenging it can be.  This person prefers hymns, that person prefers choruses.  This person loves  Power Point, that person hates it, and so on and so forth.  And it is those differences in preferences which have contributed to what we call the “worship wars” troubling so many of our churches today.

I believe those differences can be sorted out into two categories.  Some of them have to do with cultural upbringing.  In that respect, the preferences are learned languages which we have developed over time.  I grew up singing hymns so I have developed a love for them, a preference.  Others did not grow up with them and find them to be difficult to understand.  They prefer a more “user friendly” chorus.  This category of preferences is very …