What The Church Needs Now: Worship Perspectives For The New Millennium -- By: Ron Man

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 09:3 (Summer 2000)
Article: What The Church Needs Now: Worship Perspectives For The New Millennium
Author: Ron Man

What The Church Needs Now: Worship
Perspectives For The New Millennium

Ron Man

As the church of Jesus Christ enters a new century and a new millennium, (along with the rest of the world) we find that her worship is characterized by profound contradictions.

The Good News

On the one hand, the last thirty years have seen an explosion of interest in, and focus on, worship among evangelical churches. A. W. Tozer, who bemoaned the state of worship in his day by calling it “The Missing Jewel in the Evangelical Church,”1 would certainly be amazed at the worship reformation (or revolution) which has transpired since his prophetic call in the 1950s. Worship has become a primary concern in much of evangelicalism today. Conferences and books on the subject abound. We have witnessed a landslide of printed and recorded worship materials, and a trend has even developed away from “Directors of Music” to “Pastors of Worship.” As a result, there has been a God-honoring return to genuine worship in Spirit and truth in many churches.

The Bad News

At the same time, worship has erupted out of its former benign neglect to become the leading hot button and center of controversy in the church today. Churches and staffs have split over the issue, while in other situations there is at

least constant foment or an uneasy truce exists. Scarcely any congregation has been spared the debates over individual tastes, music styles, instrumentation, dynamics, audiovisual aids, etc. And whatever decision (if any) has been rendered by the church leadership on these areas of disagreement, it has often resulted in someone leaving the church out of dissatisfaction (or, worse yet, staying with a grudging spirit).

What’s At Stake

Sadly, there is no sign that the storm is abating. It is scandalously true that the supposed worship of our holy and almighty God is among the leading sources of dissension and division in churches today. Tragically, that activity which should most powerfully express the unity of Christ’s body under its Head is all too often the seedbed for disunity, strife, and distrust. In short supply is evidence of the apostle Paul’s prayer, “May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5–6). In many congregations “harmony,” togetherness, and “one voice” hardly seem to characterize either the debate on worship or its outworking; and wit...

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