Seeking Balance In Worship -- By: Eric E. Wright
RAR 9:3 (Summer 2000) p. 25
Seeking Balance In Worship
In a cartoon, worshipers are greeted as they enter a church with a question concerning the section where they would like to sit, “Clapping or non-clapping?” The cartoon captures one of the differences that polarize Christians today. Some demand exuberant praise while others lobby for sedate singing. Love for the “old hymns of the faith” vies with a yearning for the latest choruses.
Variations on this theme have been with us through the centuries. After all, differing approaches to worship energized the formation of many of our denominations. Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, and Pentecostal churches have crystallized particular views about worship into fixed traditions.
Can Christians from differing backgrounds find common ground? Can we strike a balance even within our own local church between the “traditionalists” and the “innovators”? Are there biblical principles the Holy Spirit can use to lead us to put down our “arms” and join hands in exalted worship of the one true God?
Yes, I believe there are common principles that bind us together—principles that God can use to help us strike a balance in our local worship—and enable us to reach out more lovingly to believers in other denominations.
Balance, of course, cannot be found until we return to worship—as worship. Worship is not entertainment, per se, although true worship ought to be enlivening. Worship is
RAR 9:3 (Summer 2000) p. 26
not a product we peddle to attract people to church, although nothing is so attractive as genuine worship. Nor is worship something we go to church to get—consummate consumers that we are.
Worship is an offering we bring to God in response to who he is and what he does. The Psalmist cries, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the Lord in holy splendor” (Psalm 96:8, 9a). Worship is not necessarily what we get nor what we enjoy, but what we give to God. As our joy in the Lord overflows we respond to him by bringing a multiplicity of offerings.
Varieties Of Offerings We Bring To God In Worship
The infinite worthship of our Triune God woos us to happily bring offerings of praise. “Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Hebrews 13:15). The God-centered heart, like a magnet, sweeps through the dross of our days and picks out the heavenly ble...
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