A new liturgy

The rumor has been going around that this new liturgy will be replacing Divine Service One in the Lutheran Service Book.   It dates, though, from April 1.  That is to say, April Fool’s Day.  (HT:  Todd Wilken.)  Still, I suspect this order of service will inspire both outrage and the desire to adopt it:

OUR SERVICE
Setting One

GREETING AND AFFIRMATION

A MEDLEY OF MOOD-SETTING SONGS is sung. Stand spontaneously during the final Guitar Solo
The sign of applause may be made by all in gratitude to the PRAISE BAND.

P.    Good Morning!

C.   Good Morning.

P.    Aw, come on now. Say it like you mean it. Good Morning!

C.    Good Morning!

P. Give yourselves a hand.
Applause

MESSAGE

Silence for Preparation of the Power Point Projection.

P.    Let’s lift our hearts to God in prayer.

A MOOD-SETTING MELODY is played quietly in the background. This MELODY continues through the prayer and for 2 minutes into the MESSAGE. It begins again 2 minutes before the end of the MESSAGE.

The Pastor speaks an EXTEMPORANEOUS PRAYER.
P. Lord, we just want to thank you…

…because You’re an awesome God. And all God’s people said…

C.    Amen.

P.   Aw, come on now. Say it like you mean it.

C.  Amen!

A RELEVANT, GENERALLY INSPIRING MESSAGE is spoken by the Pastor, as well as a series of ANNOUNCEMENTS AND PROMOTIONS, concluding with another EXTEMPORANEOUS PRAYER.

MORE AWESOME MUSIC

A MEDLEY OF INCREASINGLY UPBEAT SONGS is sung. Standing Ovation

P.    Have a great week everybody!
Applause

P.   Aw, come on now. Clap like you mean it!

Applaud until the Pastor smiles and signals to stop.

P.  Give yourselves a hand.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    No group hug? And when are the participants permitted to make the sign of the “thumbs up”?

  • Pete

    No group hug? And when are the participants permitted to make the sign of the “thumbs up”?

  • larry

    That’s funny. Sad thing is, I remember experiencing this.

  • larry

    That’s funny. Sad thing is, I remember experiencing this.

  • Spaulding

    One of the Easter services I played at was a contemporary service. (I have always loathed them instinctively) It seemed to me that the sense of awe and fear of the LORD was missing. The recognition that I am basically little more then useless slime without Jesus in the presence of a holy God.

    Also a mistake, the message may be inspiring and relevant but says nothing, no law or gospel.

  • Spaulding

    One of the Easter services I played at was a contemporary service. (I have always loathed them instinctively) It seemed to me that the sense of awe and fear of the LORD was missing. The recognition that I am basically little more then useless slime without Jesus in the presence of a holy God.

    Also a mistake, the message may be inspiring and relevant but says nothing, no law or gospel.

  • larry

    The lack of reverence is a big part of it, but not so insignificant is the constant back drop of unsureness. The “prayer” that starts, “Lord if you will just…”. I remember that, that “prayer” is a constant prayer from the pulpit to the prayer circles. What lay behind it is that nagging doubting assurance “Lord if you will just (nudge your power somehow someway in my direction) I can conquer sin x, y and z or do evangelism here there and yonder or (fill in the blank). It becomes at lenght, sadly, the “means of grace”.

    I recall that prayer hundereds of times at altar calls by the pastor or asst. pastors, even the Billy Graham crusade. One is struggling with assurance of salvation (due to the fact that the old man remains of course) and you come to the altar call or its variations for help, and that prayer exactly or with little variation is given, “Lord if you would just somehow show X, that he/she is saved…”. Bounce that against yesterday’s confession and absolution and the firm Word of absolution from God.

    I’ve always said this, there area a great number of Christians in these heterodox churches starving to death for confession and absolution, they walk the aisles bare during alter calls and such for it (these are the Luther’s BEFORE he made his Gospel breakthrough).

  • larry

    The lack of reverence is a big part of it, but not so insignificant is the constant back drop of unsureness. The “prayer” that starts, “Lord if you will just…”. I remember that, that “prayer” is a constant prayer from the pulpit to the prayer circles. What lay behind it is that nagging doubting assurance “Lord if you will just (nudge your power somehow someway in my direction) I can conquer sin x, y and z or do evangelism here there and yonder or (fill in the blank). It becomes at lenght, sadly, the “means of grace”.

    I recall that prayer hundereds of times at altar calls by the pastor or asst. pastors, even the Billy Graham crusade. One is struggling with assurance of salvation (due to the fact that the old man remains of course) and you come to the altar call or its variations for help, and that prayer exactly or with little variation is given, “Lord if you would just somehow show X, that he/she is saved…”. Bounce that against yesterday’s confession and absolution and the firm Word of absolution from God.

    I’ve always said this, there area a great number of Christians in these heterodox churches starving to death for confession and absolution, they walk the aisles bare during alter calls and such for it (these are the Luther’s BEFORE he made his Gospel breakthrough).

  • Michael B.

    “P. Good Morning!
    C. Good Morning.
    P. Aw, come on now. Say it like you mean it. Good Morning!
    C. Good Morning!

    I detest it when speakers do this. It’s like something a second grade teacher would say to her class. I place it in the same category as people who don’t say “goodbye” or “bye” at the end of a phone call, and just hang up. When people do this do me, I call them back and just ask if the connection went dead. That way, no time is saved for them, and they learn a lesson in basic politeness. When a speaker does this, I try to remain as silent as the grave. I just wish everyone else would too. If a speaker wants an excited group, try not having the conference early in the morning when they’re half asleep, and try to have an exciting message. A speaker shouldn’t just demand enthusiasm from his audience, because he’s basically asking them to lie.

  • Michael B.

    “P. Good Morning!
    C. Good Morning.
    P. Aw, come on now. Say it like you mean it. Good Morning!
    C. Good Morning!

    I detest it when speakers do this. It’s like something a second grade teacher would say to her class. I place it in the same category as people who don’t say “goodbye” or “bye” at the end of a phone call, and just hang up. When people do this do me, I call them back and just ask if the connection went dead. That way, no time is saved for them, and they learn a lesson in basic politeness. When a speaker does this, I try to remain as silent as the grave. I just wish everyone else would too. If a speaker wants an excited group, try not having the conference early in the morning when they’re half asleep, and try to have an exciting message. A speaker shouldn’t just demand enthusiasm from his audience, because he’s basically asking them to lie.

  • http://www.fronthestacks.wordpress.com Kristin

    I *just* came home from an ecumenical retreat weekend where this was very much the norm. I served on the weekend, I was the guitar solo. (so to speak)
    It is a very difficult position to be in, where I loathe the focus on self, and where I try to redirect. The people I served with love the Lord, no doubt. The Lord loves them, no doubt.
    Is it worth it to be involved?? I am struggling with that.
    We have a liturgy in this ecumenical group & I am constantly explaining it, protecting it, reminding others it is what keeps us ecumenical.

  • http://www.fronthestacks.wordpress.com Kristin

    I *just* came home from an ecumenical retreat weekend where this was very much the norm. I served on the weekend, I was the guitar solo. (so to speak)
    It is a very difficult position to be in, where I loathe the focus on self, and where I try to redirect. The people I served with love the Lord, no doubt. The Lord loves them, no doubt.
    Is it worth it to be involved?? I am struggling with that.
    We have a liturgy in this ecumenical group & I am constantly explaining it, protecting it, reminding others it is what keeps us ecumenical.

  • Tom Hering

    As much as Luther needed confession, he refused to go if the Pope commanded it.

    Likewise, as much as I need the assembling together, I refuse to go if the service is an inspirational/motivational seminar designed to manipulate my emotions and turn me into an unfailingly upbeat, positive-thinking person. I get enough of that crap from the rest of American culture. (Yes, I’m saying such services are reflections of our culture, and nothing but reflections of our culture.)

  • Tom Hering

    As much as Luther needed confession, he refused to go if the Pope commanded it.

    Likewise, as much as I need the assembling together, I refuse to go if the service is an inspirational/motivational seminar designed to manipulate my emotions and turn me into an unfailingly upbeat, positive-thinking person. I get enough of that crap from the rest of American culture. (Yes, I’m saying such services are reflections of our culture, and nothing but reflections of our culture.)

  • SKPeterson

    There needs to be a rubric for the sermon which suggests that two things are part of the sermon:

    P: (Phrase or word). Repeat (phrase or word)!
    C: (Phrase or word)

    P: Turn to your neighbor and say (phrase or word).
    Time for passing of the phrase or word.
    P: Y’all are awesome!

  • SKPeterson

    There needs to be a rubric for the sermon which suggests that two things are part of the sermon:

    P: (Phrase or word). Repeat (phrase or word)!
    C: (Phrase or word)

    P: Turn to your neighbor and say (phrase or word).
    Time for passing of the phrase or word.
    P: Y’all are awesome!

  • Pete

    Here’s a link to a video parody of exactly what you are talking about. Funny,….and sad.

  • Pete

    Here’s a link to a video parody of exactly what you are talking about. Funny,….and sad.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I saw this yesterday and I threw up a little in my mouth and I like contemporary divine services.

    I went to a church where the pastor would say “and all God’s people say…” and I wanted to throw something at him every time. I also wanted to throw something at the pianist for playing elevator music during the prayers and then I realized how distracted I was by that desire and then I just wanted to fill the piano with C4 lest it lead me to sin.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I saw this yesterday and I threw up a little in my mouth and I like contemporary divine services.

    I went to a church where the pastor would say “and all God’s people say…” and I wanted to throw something at him every time. I also wanted to throw something at the pianist for playing elevator music during the prayers and then I realized how distracted I was by that desire and then I just wanted to fill the piano with C4 lest it lead me to sin.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Don’t forget that the sermon needs to be a thinly veiled form of works-righteousness and needs to end with a emotionally manipulating altar call.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Don’t forget that the sermon needs to be a thinly veiled form of works-righteousness and needs to end with a emotionally manipulating altar call.

  • SKPeterson

    Our somewhat newly minted assistant pastor uses the “and all god’s people say …” so it must be something that has gotten traction in homiletics at CSL. He also uses “Good Morning!” as his sermon intro, instead of more pastoral (to me anyhow) “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” or some other appropriate phrase. After his arrival we’ve also suddenly gone to “sermon series” which is troubling, but for now, the pastors seem to be still preaching Christ, but they’re starting to get pretty darned “relevant.” So, as an elder, I’m forwarding the original pdf doc of this, as a gentle chiding.

  • SKPeterson

    Our somewhat newly minted assistant pastor uses the “and all god’s people say …” so it must be something that has gotten traction in homiletics at CSL. He also uses “Good Morning!” as his sermon intro, instead of more pastoral (to me anyhow) “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” or some other appropriate phrase. After his arrival we’ve also suddenly gone to “sermon series” which is troubling, but for now, the pastors seem to be still preaching Christ, but they’re starting to get pretty darned “relevant.” So, as an elder, I’m forwarding the original pdf doc of this, as a gentle chiding.

  • PStad

    Tom Hering @7 – you are so right! (I like a lot of what you have to say.) And J. Dean@11 – I remember those all too well from my own youth in a Methodist church, Please, Lord, let this so-called proposal for a new Lutheran liturgy be an April’s Fool joke!

  • PStad

    Tom Hering @7 – you are so right! (I like a lot of what you have to say.) And J. Dean@11 – I remember those all too well from my own youth in a Methodist church, Please, Lord, let this so-called proposal for a new Lutheran liturgy be an April’s Fool joke!

  • http://necessaryroughness.org Dan at Necessary Roughness

    They forgot the extreme appeal to do God’s work by writing a check, or passing the plate around a second time. :)

  • http://necessaryroughness.org Dan at Necessary Roughness

    They forgot the extreme appeal to do God’s work by writing a check, or passing the plate around a second time. :)

  • http://www.twitter.com/bassmanbrian Brian

    How far away is this from many Sunday services? Sadly it is not that far away I believe.

  • http://www.twitter.com/bassmanbrian Brian

    How far away is this from many Sunday services? Sadly it is not that far away I believe.

  • Donna Perkins

    The key is that the focus is not Christ. A different style of worship is not wrong if the focus is still the gospel. Our service is a mix of hymns and Sovereign Grace type songs (all pointing to Christ). Fortunately, our preaching team does an amazing job of presenting God’s word as God’s word. No humanism, works, etc watering down the focus on God’s revelation of Himself.

  • Donna Perkins

    The key is that the focus is not Christ. A different style of worship is not wrong if the focus is still the gospel. Our service is a mix of hymns and Sovereign Grace type songs (all pointing to Christ). Fortunately, our preaching team does an amazing job of presenting God’s word as God’s word. No humanism, works, etc watering down the focus on God’s revelation of Himself.

  • helen

    There are places where all God’s people should say “Amen”.
    It’s even in the hymnal, and the congregation still ignores it. So perhaps Pastors should occasionally be given the benefit of the doubt on this one?
    [Possibly it would be more effective to teach a series on the liturgy in Bible class and let the members who attend and learn lead the congregation into better practice.] What do you think?

  • helen

    There are places where all God’s people should say “Amen”.
    It’s even in the hymnal, and the congregation still ignores it. So perhaps Pastors should occasionally be given the benefit of the doubt on this one?
    [Possibly it would be more effective to teach a series on the liturgy in Bible class and let the members who attend and learn lead the congregation into better practice.] What do you think?

  • Spaulding

    @Helen #17 My pastor did an adult Bible study on that a few years ago. It gave us a better appreciation and understanding of the liturgy and just how much of it comes out of the Bible.

  • Spaulding

    @Helen #17 My pastor did an adult Bible study on that a few years ago. It gave us a better appreciation and understanding of the liturgy and just how much of it comes out of the Bible.

  • Mom

    The Baptist church we used to attend was worse than this. The music leader began services yelling, “Come on, Church!” as the drums started thumping. This went on for 35-40 minutes, including solos, repetitious P&W, with the occasional single chorus of a hymn thrown in to pacify old folks like me.

    The opening prayer contained so many “Fathers” I lost track, and the sermon always contained sports hero analogies.

    Fortunately, the Methodist church we attended last week sang hymns, and the pastor actually preached the gospel. I had to refrain from tearing up.

  • Mom

    The Baptist church we used to attend was worse than this. The music leader began services yelling, “Come on, Church!” as the drums started thumping. This went on for 35-40 minutes, including solos, repetitious P&W, with the occasional single chorus of a hymn thrown in to pacify old folks like me.

    The opening prayer contained so many “Fathers” I lost track, and the sermon always contained sports hero analogies.

    Fortunately, the Methodist church we attended last week sang hymns, and the pastor actually preached the gospel. I had to refrain from tearing up.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hilarious/accurate.

    But they forgot the obligatory spontaneous repetition of the final chorus. “The praise band will not end this song until you are appropriately sanctified. You can alert the band to your level of godly enthusiasm by raising your hands.”

    Also, the next time I hear a pastor/prayer leader say “… and all God’s people said”, I will be very tempted to reply with, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.”

    DLit2C said (@10):

    I just wanted to fill the piano with C4 lest it lead me to sin.

    The piano already has C4 in it. It’s an octave above C3.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hilarious/accurate.

    But they forgot the obligatory spontaneous repetition of the final chorus. “The praise band will not end this song until you are appropriately sanctified. You can alert the band to your level of godly enthusiasm by raising your hands.”

    Also, the next time I hear a pastor/prayer leader say “… and all God’s people said”, I will be very tempted to reply with, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.”

    DLit2C said (@10):

    I just wanted to fill the piano with C4 lest it lead me to sin.

    The piano already has C4 in it. It’s an octave above C3.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @21 tODD but my C4 makes more of an impression. =)

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @21 tODD but my C4 makes more of an impression. =)

  • JunkerGeorg

    I might laugh more were such a ‘creative’ liturgy not so true in so many of our churches. I get most ticked off with the pastors, both the ones that outright promote it, and, ala Aaron, the ones who flee the cross appointed by caving in to the Golden Calf style of worship which the vocal minority demands from them. The cowardly fools don’t realize what a Pandora’s box that is once it’s opened–the pressure to constantly change once change for change sake becomes the principle…every Sunday having to outdo the last in terms of cotton candy “WoW” factor, of always coming up with something ‘new’, which, after all, is what “contemporary” demands, forsaking the past for the present. Funny though how the cry for “contemporary” comes currently from Boomers whose notion of what “contemporary” is is way off, often amounting to Puff the Magic Dragon 60′s folk and/or the standard old church campfire ditties kinda schtick.

  • JunkerGeorg

    I might laugh more were such a ‘creative’ liturgy not so true in so many of our churches. I get most ticked off with the pastors, both the ones that outright promote it, and, ala Aaron, the ones who flee the cross appointed by caving in to the Golden Calf style of worship which the vocal minority demands from them. The cowardly fools don’t realize what a Pandora’s box that is once it’s opened–the pressure to constantly change once change for change sake becomes the principle…every Sunday having to outdo the last in terms of cotton candy “WoW” factor, of always coming up with something ‘new’, which, after all, is what “contemporary” demands, forsaking the past for the present. Funny though how the cry for “contemporary” comes currently from Boomers whose notion of what “contemporary” is is way off, often amounting to Puff the Magic Dragon 60′s folk and/or the standard old church campfire ditties kinda schtick.

  • Jon

    @5 Apropos to MichaelB …

    Don’t you hate this exchange?

    “P. How are you?
    C. Fine.
    P. Fine? Just fine? Not great?
    C. OK, I’m great.”
    P. [Give a smug look, exit]

  • Jon

    @5 Apropos to MichaelB …

    Don’t you hate this exchange?

    “P. How are you?
    C. Fine.
    P. Fine? Just fine? Not great?
    C. OK, I’m great.”
    P. [Give a smug look, exit]

  • http://www.pastorsstudy.net Matt

    @SKPeterson – This is NOT something guys are getting from the homiletics profs at St. Louis and I wish people would stop with their assertions and insinuations without any basis in fact. Knowing most of the homiletics profs personally and having studied under them not too long ago (graduated in ’05), I’ve found them all to be faithful, confessional men who teach their students to preach law and gospel rightly.

    I believe many of the young pastors learn their practices, not from the seminary, but from the churches they grew up in, the churches where they did their fieldwork, and the churches where they did their vicarage. My home pastor, fieldwork pastor, and vicarage pastor were a far greater influence on my pastoral practice than any professor at the seminary.

  • http://www.pastorsstudy.net Matt

    @SKPeterson – This is NOT something guys are getting from the homiletics profs at St. Louis and I wish people would stop with their assertions and insinuations without any basis in fact. Knowing most of the homiletics profs personally and having studied under them not too long ago (graduated in ’05), I’ve found them all to be faithful, confessional men who teach their students to preach law and gospel rightly.

    I believe many of the young pastors learn their practices, not from the seminary, but from the churches they grew up in, the churches where they did their fieldwork, and the churches where they did their vicarage. My home pastor, fieldwork pastor, and vicarage pastor were a far greater influence on my pastoral practice than any professor at the seminary.

  • Grace

    I wish with all my heart, there were more churches like the ones my dad pastored, and those I attended when I left home, large ones, and small.

    This thread brings tears to my eyes, and need to weep for the condition of many churches and their congregants.

    God have mercy.

  • Grace

    I wish with all my heart, there were more churches like the ones my dad pastored, and those I attended when I left home, large ones, and small.

    This thread brings tears to my eyes, and need to weep for the condition of many churches and their congregants.

    God have mercy.

  • Chris

    I think everyone here is complaining way to much. Worship should come from the heart. I don’t see anything wrong with this. People need to remember how Christ would be not think with a religious attitude.

  • Chris

    I think everyone here is complaining way to much. Worship should come from the heart. I don’t see anything wrong with this. People need to remember how Christ would be not think with a religious attitude.

  • Grace

    Chris,

    ” Worship should come from the heart.”

    That’s correct – but when someone has a bottle of water in one hand, while swaying to the music in jeans and top that doesn’t cover their middle, one wonders ………. It’s distracting – the majority of people wouldn’t dream of going to their offices that way, the next day – but church? hey, that’s OK in their mind.

    I don’t believe it is as you state, “think with a religious attitude” – - the irreverent behavior, music, (if you couldn’t understand the words, over the drums, etc) would sound very much like a nightclub.

  • Grace

    Chris,

    ” Worship should come from the heart.”

    That’s correct – but when someone has a bottle of water in one hand, while swaying to the music in jeans and top that doesn’t cover their middle, one wonders ………. It’s distracting – the majority of people wouldn’t dream of going to their offices that way, the next day – but church? hey, that’s OK in their mind.

    I don’t believe it is as you state, “think with a religious attitude” – - the irreverent behavior, music, (if you couldn’t understand the words, over the drums, etc) would sound very much like a nightclub.

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    If this was what was available I fear I would look into staying home or going for a drive into the mountains on Sunday. I have seen variations on this theme. It would be funny if not for those previous experiences.

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    If this was what was available I fear I would look into staying home or going for a drive into the mountains on Sunday. I have seen variations on this theme. It would be funny if not for those previous experiences.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Chris said (@26):

    Worship should come from the heart.

    “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” Genesis 8:21

    “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart.” Proverbs 21:2

    “I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well—the delights of the heart of man.” Ecclesiastes 2:8

    “The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.” Ecclesiastes 9:3

    “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9

    Hmm. I could go on, but I think you get my point.

    Perhaps there is a better measuring stick for worship than whether it comes “from the heart” or not?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Chris said (@26):

    Worship should come from the heart.

    “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” Genesis 8:21

    “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart.” Proverbs 21:2

    “I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well—the delights of the heart of man.” Ecclesiastes 2:8

    “The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.” Ecclesiastes 9:3

    “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9

    Hmm. I could go on, but I think you get my point.

    Perhaps there is a better measuring stick for worship than whether it comes “from the heart” or not?

  • SKPeterson

    Matt @ 24 – But where did the practices you describe in the field come from? I can see that this might be the result of home church influence, but I also see what we’ve gotten from CSL. I admit it is not bad; in fact much of the preaching is very, very good. I’m just wondering where this stuff is coming from if not St. Louis, or why, if it isn’t, is the influence of St. Louis so slight on our seminarians and young pastors. Those of us in the congregations see CSL graduates (or CTSFW grads) and we see their practices, we see their similarities, and we thereby draw inferences.

    If I grant your challenge credence, and I’ll accept it as at least one part of an explanation, then my conclusion must be that the encouragement for such practices is coming with the explicit or implicit approval of the district.

  • SKPeterson

    Matt @ 24 – But where did the practices you describe in the field come from? I can see that this might be the result of home church influence, but I also see what we’ve gotten from CSL. I admit it is not bad; in fact much of the preaching is very, very good. I’m just wondering where this stuff is coming from if not St. Louis, or why, if it isn’t, is the influence of St. Louis so slight on our seminarians and young pastors. Those of us in the congregations see CSL graduates (or CTSFW grads) and we see their practices, we see their similarities, and we thereby draw inferences.

    If I grant your challenge credence, and I’ll accept it as at least one part of an explanation, then my conclusion must be that the encouragement for such practices is coming with the explicit or implicit approval of the district.

  • Chris

    Grace-All I hear are people complaining out word appearance. I don’t care if my worship leader is in jean and a top of they lead great worship and holy spirit is present who cares? Don’t be religious anyone can apply scripture to any context.-Todd.

    All I know is this there is no one right way and when people think like that you have fallen into dead religion. If the message is Christ focused and The worship is too stop worrying about the what everyone is wearing and focus on God.

  • Chris

    Grace-All I hear are people complaining out word appearance. I don’t care if my worship leader is in jean and a top of they lead great worship and holy spirit is present who cares? Don’t be religious anyone can apply scripture to any context.-Todd.

    All I know is this there is no one right way and when people think like that you have fallen into dead religion. If the message is Christ focused and The worship is too stop worrying about the what everyone is wearing and focus on God.

  • Grace

    Chris,

    Midriffs bare – is not appropriate, even in Southern CA, for church. It’s distracting. Those who do it, usually want attention, which they get, all negative.

  • Grace

    Chris,

    Midriffs bare – is not appropriate, even in Southern CA, for church. It’s distracting. Those who do it, usually want attention, which they get, all negative.

  • Chris

    However if your worship leader is wearing near nothing I see your point. Ha

  • Chris

    However if your worship leader is wearing near nothing I see your point. Ha

  • Grace

    Chris,

    The Worship leaders aren’t in the condition you are describing @ 33, but there are congregants who certainly are. Shorts that don’t cover the back end as well.

  • Grace

    Chris,

    The Worship leaders aren’t in the condition you are describing @ 33, but there are congregants who certainly are. Shorts that don’t cover the back end as well.

  • Chris

    Ok clothing aside grace I don’t see an issue with this. If the worship it authenic and sincere and gives glory to God and lastly bring relationship between us and God, then what’s the issue?

  • Chris

    Ok clothing aside grace I don’t see an issue with this. If the worship it authenic and sincere and gives glory to God and lastly bring relationship between us and God, then what’s the issue?

  • Chris

    But Grace who cares what others are wearing focus on God not others. I agree with you it not appropriate, however its not going to hinder worship.

  • Chris

    But Grace who cares what others are wearing focus on God not others. I agree with you it not appropriate, however its not going to hinder worship.

  • Grace

    Chris,

    That’s one of the problems – there is NO RESPECT to God Almighty, it’s a matter of making the church resemble a night club, rather than a place of Worship –

    We don’t agree, best to move on.

  • Grace

    Chris,

    That’s one of the problems – there is NO RESPECT to God Almighty, it’s a matter of making the church resemble a night club, rather than a place of Worship –

    We don’t agree, best to move on.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Now see, this raises an interesting question:

    Evangelicals have two worship principles: there is the Regulative Principle of Worship (“What is not commanded in the Bible is forbidden”) found mostly in Calvinist circles, and seen by singing only psalms (some even forbidding anything besides acapella singing); and there is the Normative Principle of Worship (“What is not forbidden in the Bible is permitted”) which is found more in the Arminian circles (with the extreme being the pumped up rock band worship).

    Where does Lutheranism fall on this continuum? Or does it have a third worship principle that addresses something else?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Now see, this raises an interesting question:

    Evangelicals have two worship principles: there is the Regulative Principle of Worship (“What is not commanded in the Bible is forbidden”) found mostly in Calvinist circles, and seen by singing only psalms (some even forbidding anything besides acapella singing); and there is the Normative Principle of Worship (“What is not forbidden in the Bible is permitted”) which is found more in the Arminian circles (with the extreme being the pumped up rock band worship).

    Where does Lutheranism fall on this continuum? Or does it have a third worship principle that addresses something else?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Chris said (@31, 36):

    …stop worrying about the what everyone is wearing and focus on God…

    …who cares what others are wearing focus on God not others.

    I wonder, then, why God himself inspired both Peter (1 Peter 3) and Paul (1 Timothy 2) to address their comments to what others were wearing? Is it possible that how we dress can reflect our own focus on God (or lack thereof), and take away others’ focus on Him as well?

    All I know is this there is no one right way and when people think like that you have fallen into dead religion.

    Most of the people I’ve heard say things like that actually seem to adhere pretty strongly to a particular, “contemporary” aesthetic — in fact, they seem to think it’s much more the “right way” than anything involving, oh, organs, stained glass, vestments, candles, chanting, and so on.

    If the worship it authenic and sincere and gives glory to God and lastly bring relationship between us and God, then what’s the issue?

    I can’t help but notice that you use some strange measuring sticks there. “Authentic and sincere”? That just focuses on man, not God. Mormons and Muslims both are authentic and sincere, no doubt, for whatever that’s worth.

    But, yes, you said “and gives glory to God”. But then, which of these greetings gives more glory to God: (1) “Good morning!” or (2) “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.”

    Or which of these benedictions gives more glory to God: (1) “Have a great week everybody!” or (2) “The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you, the Lord look on you with favor and give you peace.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Chris said (@31, 36):

    …stop worrying about the what everyone is wearing and focus on God…

    …who cares what others are wearing focus on God not others.

    I wonder, then, why God himself inspired both Peter (1 Peter 3) and Paul (1 Timothy 2) to address their comments to what others were wearing? Is it possible that how we dress can reflect our own focus on God (or lack thereof), and take away others’ focus on Him as well?

    All I know is this there is no one right way and when people think like that you have fallen into dead religion.

    Most of the people I’ve heard say things like that actually seem to adhere pretty strongly to a particular, “contemporary” aesthetic — in fact, they seem to think it’s much more the “right way” than anything involving, oh, organs, stained glass, vestments, candles, chanting, and so on.

    If the worship it authenic and sincere and gives glory to God and lastly bring relationship between us and God, then what’s the issue?

    I can’t help but notice that you use some strange measuring sticks there. “Authentic and sincere”? That just focuses on man, not God. Mormons and Muslims both are authentic and sincere, no doubt, for whatever that’s worth.

    But, yes, you said “and gives glory to God”. But then, which of these greetings gives more glory to God: (1) “Good morning!” or (2) “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.”

    Or which of these benedictions gives more glory to God: (1) “Have a great week everybody!” or (2) “The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you, the Lord look on you with favor and give you peace.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    J. Dean (@38), I’m not sure that Lutherans, as a group, could be said to have any single principle on this topic. For good or ill, we’re just as much engaged in the Worship Wars as most of American Christianity, it would seem.

    That said, I don’t see how anyone could endorse what you term the “Regulative Principle of Worship”. That just seems so obviously unscriptural. No, if I had to pick one of the two, I’d err on the side of the “Normative Principle”, but even that is unnecessarily simplistic.

    Remember what Paul said (1 Cor. 10):

    “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

    We as believers are free, yes — we are not bound by particular rules on what we must say or how we must dress or what we should sing. But, we are bound by the law of love for our neighbor.

    This means, first and foremost, that we shouldn’t seek our own good — that is to say, to merely argue for our own preferences. Just because I like this style of music doesn’t mean that everyone else does or has to.

    But — and this is often overlooked by advocates of “contemporary” worship, in my experience — we aren’t merely to consider the preferences of others, but also to seek what is good for them. Which might mean ignoring their style preferences, as well.

    Again, remember how Paul concluded the above chapter:

    So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    J. Dean (@38), I’m not sure that Lutherans, as a group, could be said to have any single principle on this topic. For good or ill, we’re just as much engaged in the Worship Wars as most of American Christianity, it would seem.

    That said, I don’t see how anyone could endorse what you term the “Regulative Principle of Worship”. That just seems so obviously unscriptural. No, if I had to pick one of the two, I’d err on the side of the “Normative Principle”, but even that is unnecessarily simplistic.

    Remember what Paul said (1 Cor. 10):

    “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

    We as believers are free, yes — we are not bound by particular rules on what we must say or how we must dress or what we should sing. But, we are bound by the law of love for our neighbor.

    This means, first and foremost, that we shouldn’t seek our own good — that is to say, to merely argue for our own preferences. Just because I like this style of music doesn’t mean that everyone else does or has to.

    But — and this is often overlooked by advocates of “contemporary” worship, in my experience — we aren’t merely to consider the preferences of others, but also to seek what is good for them. Which might mean ignoring their style preferences, as well.

    Again, remember how Paul concluded the above chapter:

    So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

  • mikeb

    Our former LCMS church has a beautiful contemporary Divine Service. And the pastors are faithful men who preach Christ Crucified, Law and Gospel. Nothing like the service listed above.

    And, as bad as this is, it could be worse. We could offer a money back guarantee like North Point Church: http://www.northpointchurch.tv/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=258&Itemid=243

  • mikeb

    Our former LCMS church has a beautiful contemporary Divine Service. And the pastors are faithful men who preach Christ Crucified, Law and Gospel. Nothing like the service listed above.

    And, as bad as this is, it could be worse. We could offer a money back guarantee like North Point Church: http://www.northpointchurch.tv/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=258&Itemid=243

  • Rob

    I almost want to poke fun at all the smugness posted here and carry on about how many Lutherans and Methodists I know that I didn’t know were Christians by their lifestyle or the stuff that comes out of their mouths, and how evidently their liturgy isn’t helping…but lest I digress…

    Some people like formal liturgy, some people don’t. If the Law & Gospel are being preached and not some form of Christless Christianity, should we trifle over liturgical, formats? These are still your Bothers and Sisters in Christ you’re poking fun at. But I guess you’d rather throw your own law of worship at them… because after all you’re right and everyone else is wrong.

  • Rob

    I almost want to poke fun at all the smugness posted here and carry on about how many Lutherans and Methodists I know that I didn’t know were Christians by their lifestyle or the stuff that comes out of their mouths, and how evidently their liturgy isn’t helping…but lest I digress…

    Some people like formal liturgy, some people don’t. If the Law & Gospel are being preached and not some form of Christless Christianity, should we trifle over liturgical, formats? These are still your Bothers and Sisters in Christ you’re poking fun at. But I guess you’d rather throw your own law of worship at them… because after all you’re right and everyone else is wrong.

  • Tom Hering

    Well, that was Christ-like. Welcome to our fail club, Rob. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    Well, that was Christ-like. Welcome to our fail club, Rob. :-)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Rob (@42), I want to second what Tom said (@43), but in a more long-winded fashion.

    I almost want to poke fun at all the smugness posted here…

    Well, I almost want to thank you for not coming across as smug at all. Almost.

    …how many Lutherans and Methodists I know that I didn’t know were Christians by their lifestyle or the stuff that comes out of their mouths, and how evidently their liturgy isn’t helping.

    So what you’re saying is that you believe the point of the liturgy is to “help” people live better lifestyles? If so, that’s your theological problem. Lutherans harbor no such illusions. We teach that it is God who works in us to will and to act according to his purpose. And one way we teach people about God is through the liturgy.

    If the Law & Gospel are being preached and not some form of Christless Christianity, should we trifle over liturgical, formats?

    Okay, but the follow-up question, then, is: do worship formats themselves preach something, for good or ill? Is it your claim that form has zero impact on content? If so, then why does God so often address format in his Word? Why was the Old Testament riddled with it? And why are the New Testament churches so frequently chided for how they conduct their worship? Is God, in fact, indifferent to how we worship?

    But I guess you’d rather throw your own law of worship at them… because after all you’re right and everyone else is wrong.

    And so what you’re saying is that you’re not “throwing your own law” at us, and that you don’t believe you’re right and we’re wrong here? Because I kinda got the opposite impression from your comment there.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Rob (@42), I want to second what Tom said (@43), but in a more long-winded fashion.

    I almost want to poke fun at all the smugness posted here…

    Well, I almost want to thank you for not coming across as smug at all. Almost.

    …how many Lutherans and Methodists I know that I didn’t know were Christians by their lifestyle or the stuff that comes out of their mouths, and how evidently their liturgy isn’t helping.

    So what you’re saying is that you believe the point of the liturgy is to “help” people live better lifestyles? If so, that’s your theological problem. Lutherans harbor no such illusions. We teach that it is God who works in us to will and to act according to his purpose. And one way we teach people about God is through the liturgy.

    If the Law & Gospel are being preached and not some form of Christless Christianity, should we trifle over liturgical, formats?

    Okay, but the follow-up question, then, is: do worship formats themselves preach something, for good or ill? Is it your claim that form has zero impact on content? If so, then why does God so often address format in his Word? Why was the Old Testament riddled with it? And why are the New Testament churches so frequently chided for how they conduct their worship? Is God, in fact, indifferent to how we worship?

    But I guess you’d rather throw your own law of worship at them… because after all you’re right and everyone else is wrong.

    And so what you’re saying is that you’re not “throwing your own law” at us, and that you don’t believe you’re right and we’re wrong here? Because I kinda got the opposite impression from your comment there.

  • Pete

    Rev. Ken Jones, of the “White Horse Inn” had a good insight once that made an impression on me. As a child, he noticed that his grandfather always got all dressed up to go to church. When young Ken asked him why, his grandfather’s response was, “Because I’m going to the King’s house.”

  • Pete

    Rev. Ken Jones, of the “White Horse Inn” had a good insight once that made an impression on me. As a child, he noticed that his grandfather always got all dressed up to go to church. When young Ken asked him why, his grandfather’s response was, “Because I’m going to the King’s house.”

  • Michael B.

    @Jon@23

    hahaha — yes, I hate that too

  • Michael B.

    @Jon@23

    hahaha — yes, I hate that too

  • Jack

    Why would a congregation that is a member of a body that teaches that the entire Bible is the very Word of God want to have a single service that is anything other than The Means of Grace from beginning to end?

  • Jack

    Why would a congregation that is a member of a body that teaches that the entire Bible is the very Word of God want to have a single service that is anything other than The Means of Grace from beginning to end?

  • Rob

    My smugness was intentional.  And it obviously struck a nerve like your comments poking fun at other Christians who don’t follow a certain form of liturgy did with me.  My comments were written so you could see what it looks like when someone who does things differently than you bashes your form of liturgy and assumes your faith is weak because you do things differently.   It isn’t very Christlike or Brotherly for either of us to shoot darts at the other.

    No I don’t believe that liturgy is to help you “be a better you” Oprah can do that.   If through various forms of liturgy we’re learning about God and what He has done for us through the Gospel and what His will is for His elect,  that should play out in how we interact daily with the world… Shouldn’t it?

    I believe the format could preach both good or ill depending on the object of worship.   If it’s rock and roll and it’s directed towards God-good,  directed towards something else-ill.  “Whether you eat or drink,  or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 
    The Bible addresses worship in the Old and New Testament to keep us on track,  to keep God and His Gospel at the center of it.  When they’re not central that’s a problem.  So no, I don’t believe form has a bearing on content and I don’t believe God cares about our liturgical format as long as it’s for His glory and His praise.  If there’s scripture that I’m missing that says otherwise please let me know, I mean that sincerely.

    I don’t believe either of us are wrong in our liturgical format as long as the Law and the Gospel are central to our preaching and our worship is directed at God.  Some choose to worship formally and some informally and that doesn’t make either right or wrong.

    I threw the law comment out there because it seemed to me as though you were saying you’re right and everyone else is wrong.  Again the comments about folks who are non formal in their liturgy aren’t Christlike or understanding of the other Brother which was the point of my smugness.Sorry I went there, but it was to show you how ugly religious people can be towards those who have different practices.

  • Rob

    My smugness was intentional.  And it obviously struck a nerve like your comments poking fun at other Christians who don’t follow a certain form of liturgy did with me.  My comments were written so you could see what it looks like when someone who does things differently than you bashes your form of liturgy and assumes your faith is weak because you do things differently.   It isn’t very Christlike or Brotherly for either of us to shoot darts at the other.

    No I don’t believe that liturgy is to help you “be a better you” Oprah can do that.   If through various forms of liturgy we’re learning about God and what He has done for us through the Gospel and what His will is for His elect,  that should play out in how we interact daily with the world… Shouldn’t it?

    I believe the format could preach both good or ill depending on the object of worship.   If it’s rock and roll and it’s directed towards God-good,  directed towards something else-ill.  “Whether you eat or drink,  or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 
    The Bible addresses worship in the Old and New Testament to keep us on track,  to keep God and His Gospel at the center of it.  When they’re not central that’s a problem.  So no, I don’t believe form has a bearing on content and I don’t believe God cares about our liturgical format as long as it’s for His glory and His praise.  If there’s scripture that I’m missing that says otherwise please let me know, I mean that sincerely.

    I don’t believe either of us are wrong in our liturgical format as long as the Law and the Gospel are central to our preaching and our worship is directed at God.  Some choose to worship formally and some informally and that doesn’t make either right or wrong.

    I threw the law comment out there because it seemed to me as though you were saying you’re right and everyone else is wrong.  Again the comments about folks who are non formal in their liturgy aren’t Christlike or understanding of the other Brother which was the point of my smugness.Sorry I went there, but it was to show you how ugly religious people can be towards those who have different practices.

  • Tom Hering

    But Rob, did you notice that very few comments were about the music? Or the informality? Most of the comments focused on the pastor’s cheerleading and the congregation’s response. Did you also notice how many comments were from people who’ve actually experienced contemporary worship? Do you imagine these are people who only like organ music, and never listen to rock or other pop music? Or only dress in starched clothing, and never wear shorts and sandals? They say they’ve found contemporary worship to be shallow – even oppressive. Are you saying they’re wrong to feel the way they honestly feel? Or just wrong to be honest about the way they feel – here, in their comments? Maybe you just don’t like the way we treat this subject satirically. Fair enough. But it’s what we often do here. You’ll just have to get used to it. Or change the channel.

  • Tom Hering

    But Rob, did you notice that very few comments were about the music? Or the informality? Most of the comments focused on the pastor’s cheerleading and the congregation’s response. Did you also notice how many comments were from people who’ve actually experienced contemporary worship? Do you imagine these are people who only like organ music, and never listen to rock or other pop music? Or only dress in starched clothing, and never wear shorts and sandals? They say they’ve found contemporary worship to be shallow – even oppressive. Are you saying they’re wrong to feel the way they honestly feel? Or just wrong to be honest about the way they feel – here, in their comments? Maybe you just don’t like the way we treat this subject satirically. Fair enough. But it’s what we often do here. You’ll just have to get used to it. Or change the channel.

  • larry

    While the humor of this “liturgy” is obvious it is in fact the logical conclusion or logical extension of the doctrines of the heterodox churches. These more crass versions of “worship” didn’t “pop” up out of thin air anymore than did the less obviously crass wolf Finney in the second great awakening and the “new measures”, than did the more serious and “reverent” first great awakening under the Puritans.

    All have their roots in a desire to “connect with God” (which is THE critical part of this) but it is without wisdom and the Word and all these worship styles whether they be the more crass and fairly obviously lampooned Warren’s and Ostean’s or the more “reverent” wolves like John MacArthur is really just a matter of external decorum on otherwise equally false teachings.

    Take the generic “altar call” which has its roots in Finney. It basically came about out of desire to “connect with God”, as does all charismatic movements, as does all inner searchings we find in Calvinism and its variant strains. In other words if you disconnect the way God has Worded that He is actually present with, to and for us savingly – the souls of men become like a flapping rope in the wind that has been disconnected from their tie down spot. And so they flap, invent, reach out and generally grope around in the dark for God “for me” and not just “God for me” in a legal arrangement but actually there. So when men’s doctrines seek to lead men astray from the Worded realities God has put Himself, His name, His Word, His body and His blood in – when you say in essence “God is not really there these are sign, symbols, etc…pointing somewhere else – then it is quite natural to any fallen creature to begin to grope around for God for him (man was created for intimate communion with his Creator, he lost that when rejected the Word and now has no natural knowledge of God but a vestige of “some thing is missing here” and without the Word, he then gropes for God.

    When God is not in the sacraments then the heterodoxies begin to grope and grasp for God anyway they can, some more crassly than others, some with a greater appearance of reverence than the others but all lead astray be they a more obvious clownish false teacher like Joel Olstean on one end of the spectrum or a more erudite false teacher like Al Mohler – both lead the sheep of Christ astray just one looks more acceptable to kind society than the other. One wolf dresses in sheep’s cloth that presents “heart worship” and that sounds wise as one of the Scriptures Todd quoted states, the other wolf dresses in sheep’s cloth that presents itself “more serious” about the matter. But the common factor is that both falsely teach doctrines of demons leading men further and further away from God and His Word where alone He is found as He states He is found in His Word.
    So, having unhinged the sacraments, that men grope around and find/invent various ways to God never Worded by God is quite natural (all heathen religions and heterodoxies are fundamentally based on this) So they grasp and grope variously: “here is the altar call here’s where God is”, God is here in the doctrines of dispensationalism, “here is God in this charisma for the day”, “here is God in this or that sign”, “here is God in my changed/proof life that I’m elect/reborn/regenerate/truly converted”, “here’s God in the sign of my success”, “here’s God IF you truly repent and believe”, “here’s God in the heartfelt worship”, “here’s God in this inspiring message”, “here’s God in my Desiring God” and so forth. But God says, “This is My body” plainly. And this can happen to Lutherans too who fail – it is the temptation of all men – to keep the truth in mind (i.e. “This is My body is not naturally believed).
    Think about it, the Gospel always divides, this is why the battle is always does indeed center on the sacrament (“this sacrament is the Gospel”), that’s why the sacrament is divisive, it is the Gospel. Put another way the reality of the divisiveness concerning the sacraments is very same reality of the divisiveness concerning the Gospel, because they are one and the same. “I am the way, the truth and the life” and “This is My body/blood…given/shed for you for the forgiveness of sins” are one and the same and thus both being the same divides.

  • larry

    While the humor of this “liturgy” is obvious it is in fact the logical conclusion or logical extension of the doctrines of the heterodox churches. These more crass versions of “worship” didn’t “pop” up out of thin air anymore than did the less obviously crass wolf Finney in the second great awakening and the “new measures”, than did the more serious and “reverent” first great awakening under the Puritans.

    All have their roots in a desire to “connect with God” (which is THE critical part of this) but it is without wisdom and the Word and all these worship styles whether they be the more crass and fairly obviously lampooned Warren’s and Ostean’s or the more “reverent” wolves like John MacArthur is really just a matter of external decorum on otherwise equally false teachings.

    Take the generic “altar call” which has its roots in Finney. It basically came about out of desire to “connect with God”, as does all charismatic movements, as does all inner searchings we find in Calvinism and its variant strains. In other words if you disconnect the way God has Worded that He is actually present with, to and for us savingly – the souls of men become like a flapping rope in the wind that has been disconnected from their tie down spot. And so they flap, invent, reach out and generally grope around in the dark for God “for me” and not just “God for me” in a legal arrangement but actually there. So when men’s doctrines seek to lead men astray from the Worded realities God has put Himself, His name, His Word, His body and His blood in – when you say in essence “God is not really there these are sign, symbols, etc…pointing somewhere else – then it is quite natural to any fallen creature to begin to grope around for God for him (man was created for intimate communion with his Creator, he lost that when rejected the Word and now has no natural knowledge of God but a vestige of “some thing is missing here” and without the Word, he then gropes for God.

    When God is not in the sacraments then the heterodoxies begin to grope and grasp for God anyway they can, some more crassly than others, some with a greater appearance of reverence than the others but all lead astray be they a more obvious clownish false teacher like Joel Olstean on one end of the spectrum or a more erudite false teacher like Al Mohler – both lead the sheep of Christ astray just one looks more acceptable to kind society than the other. One wolf dresses in sheep’s cloth that presents “heart worship” and that sounds wise as one of the Scriptures Todd quoted states, the other wolf dresses in sheep’s cloth that presents itself “more serious” about the matter. But the common factor is that both falsely teach doctrines of demons leading men further and further away from God and His Word where alone He is found as He states He is found in His Word.
    So, having unhinged the sacraments, that men grope around and find/invent various ways to God never Worded by God is quite natural (all heathen religions and heterodoxies are fundamentally based on this) So they grasp and grope variously: “here is the altar call here’s where God is”, God is here in the doctrines of dispensationalism, “here is God in this charisma for the day”, “here is God in this or that sign”, “here is God in my changed/proof life that I’m elect/reborn/regenerate/truly converted”, “here’s God in the sign of my success”, “here’s God IF you truly repent and believe”, “here’s God in the heartfelt worship”, “here’s God in this inspiring message”, “here’s God in my Desiring God” and so forth. But God says, “This is My body” plainly. And this can happen to Lutherans too who fail – it is the temptation of all men – to keep the truth in mind (i.e. “This is My body is not naturally believed).
    Think about it, the Gospel always divides, this is why the battle is always does indeed center on the sacrament (“this sacrament is the Gospel”), that’s why the sacrament is divisive, it is the Gospel. Put another way the reality of the divisiveness concerning the sacraments is very same reality of the divisiveness concerning the Gospel, because they are one and the same. “I am the way, the truth and the life” and “This is My body/blood…given/shed for you for the forgiveness of sins” are one and the same and thus both being the same divides.

  • Katie

    Rob @48

    Scripturally speaking, what is the direction that a divine worship service is supposed to take?

    To further clarify the question, is the direction of a church service to be us going to God, or is to be God coming to us?

  • Katie

    Rob @48

    Scripturally speaking, what is the direction that a divine worship service is supposed to take?

    To further clarify the question, is the direction of a church service to be us going to God, or is to be God coming to us?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Rob (@48) said:

    My smugness was intentional. And it obviously struck a nerve…

    Sorry, no. I’m used to smugness. What “struck a nerve” was your hypocrisy, what with your decrying smugness even as you engaged in it. So I don’t think your plan worked like you’d hoped.

    My comments were written so you could see what it looks like when someone who does things differently than you bashes your form of liturgy and assumes your faith is weak because you do things differently.

    My! I dare say you’re bringing along some baggage to this conversation! Where did anyone assume your — or anyone else’s — faith was “weak”, exactly?

    Regardless, if you think you need to show me what it’s like for a fan of “contemporary” worship to “bash my form of liturgy”, thanks, but no, I’ve seen that plenty of times. Like I said, fans of “contemporary” worship often aren’t as open-minded as you’re painting them to be.

    If through various forms of liturgy we’re learning about God and what He has done for us through the Gospel and what His will is for His elect…

    You keep saying it like this, but never examining the underyling assumption. Again I’ll ask you: is the standard “contemporary” worship service equivalent to a more traditional liturgy in terms of teaching the faith?

    If it’s rock and roll and it’s directed towards God-good, directed towards something else-ill.

    I bet you think I’m some old dude who has never once been in a mosh pit. Allow me to disabuse you of that notion. I’m a drummer, having played in several rock bands in my time (some metal, some ska, some indie — it was the 90s), and even having recorded some CDs and played several shows at non-Christian clubs. I like me some rock music.

    But I really can’t see that you’re examining the nature of the medium here. Do you own any classical recordings? Can you name several of the people who are making that music? Now, do you own any rock recordings? Can you name several of the people who are making that music? My point here is that rock is more personality-driven than classical music.

    Now, church music isn’t really the same as classical music, but the point is the same: Some forms of music invite you to just listen to the music and enjoy it. Others invite you to pay more attention to the musicians.

    I mean, think about it. Where do you typically find organs in churches? In the back. Typically, the person in the church can’t even see the organist — maybe if he really cranes his neck, which is awkward in church.

    Now, where do you find most worship bands? Up front. Just like musicians at a rock concert. Are these just coincidences, or is it possible that rock music, whether used in a church service or not, is person-focused? And how might that affect one’s worship? Might it distract one away from God?

    So, no, I don’t agree that every worship form — that every artistic medium — is completely neutral, equally capable of conveying any and every message.

    There’s a reason nearly every preacher you hear on TV is incapable of preaching about Jesus. And it has to do with the medium of TV.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Rob (@48) said:

    My smugness was intentional. And it obviously struck a nerve…

    Sorry, no. I’m used to smugness. What “struck a nerve” was your hypocrisy, what with your decrying smugness even as you engaged in it. So I don’t think your plan worked like you’d hoped.

    My comments were written so you could see what it looks like when someone who does things differently than you bashes your form of liturgy and assumes your faith is weak because you do things differently.

    My! I dare say you’re bringing along some baggage to this conversation! Where did anyone assume your — or anyone else’s — faith was “weak”, exactly?

    Regardless, if you think you need to show me what it’s like for a fan of “contemporary” worship to “bash my form of liturgy”, thanks, but no, I’ve seen that plenty of times. Like I said, fans of “contemporary” worship often aren’t as open-minded as you’re painting them to be.

    If through various forms of liturgy we’re learning about God and what He has done for us through the Gospel and what His will is for His elect…

    You keep saying it like this, but never examining the underyling assumption. Again I’ll ask you: is the standard “contemporary” worship service equivalent to a more traditional liturgy in terms of teaching the faith?

    If it’s rock and roll and it’s directed towards God-good, directed towards something else-ill.

    I bet you think I’m some old dude who has never once been in a mosh pit. Allow me to disabuse you of that notion. I’m a drummer, having played in several rock bands in my time (some metal, some ska, some indie — it was the 90s), and even having recorded some CDs and played several shows at non-Christian clubs. I like me some rock music.

    But I really can’t see that you’re examining the nature of the medium here. Do you own any classical recordings? Can you name several of the people who are making that music? Now, do you own any rock recordings? Can you name several of the people who are making that music? My point here is that rock is more personality-driven than classical music.

    Now, church music isn’t really the same as classical music, but the point is the same: Some forms of music invite you to just listen to the music and enjoy it. Others invite you to pay more attention to the musicians.

    I mean, think about it. Where do you typically find organs in churches? In the back. Typically, the person in the church can’t even see the organist — maybe if he really cranes his neck, which is awkward in church.

    Now, where do you find most worship bands? Up front. Just like musicians at a rock concert. Are these just coincidences, or is it possible that rock music, whether used in a church service or not, is person-focused? And how might that affect one’s worship? Might it distract one away from God?

    So, no, I don’t agree that every worship form — that every artistic medium — is completely neutral, equally capable of conveying any and every message.

    There’s a reason nearly every preacher you hear on TV is incapable of preaching about Jesus. And it has to do with the medium of TV.

  • Chris

    @Todd-
    Matthew 15:8
    King James Version (KJV)
    8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

    Listen Todd you can throw scripture at me all day and pull them out of context. I get what your saying and i dont necessarily disagree with you. However I believe if worship is giving glory to God and is bring the worshiper closer to Him. And its authentic and sincere and it is truly out of love and adoration for God, then stop picking at it. IF you prefer a more structured way of worship go to a church like that. However I don’t think its right to trash and put down another style of worship because you arent comfortable with it. IF this way of worship was out of context and not scriptural then absolutely it needs to be done away with. Its like young people if worship to them isnt hymns or or church song then let them use more contemporary music. If drums or and guitars are in it who cares id rather see our you people have great worship and experience God. God inhabits the praises of his people Psalm 22:3. And I’ll even be honest I now attend a nondenominational church because I can’t stand how some denominations think they know whats best. No man, No Church, NO denomination, is ever going to know 100% what the right way is.

    This is why i say worship should come from your heart.Matthew 15:8
    King James Version (KJV)
    8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

    You can worship all day long and quote scriptures all day long but that doesnt mean your heart is for the Lord.

  • Chris

    @Todd-
    Matthew 15:8
    King James Version (KJV)
    8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

    Listen Todd you can throw scripture at me all day and pull them out of context. I get what your saying and i dont necessarily disagree with you. However I believe if worship is giving glory to God and is bring the worshiper closer to Him. And its authentic and sincere and it is truly out of love and adoration for God, then stop picking at it. IF you prefer a more structured way of worship go to a church like that. However I don’t think its right to trash and put down another style of worship because you arent comfortable with it. IF this way of worship was out of context and not scriptural then absolutely it needs to be done away with. Its like young people if worship to them isnt hymns or or church song then let them use more contemporary music. If drums or and guitars are in it who cares id rather see our you people have great worship and experience God. God inhabits the praises of his people Psalm 22:3. And I’ll even be honest I now attend a nondenominational church because I can’t stand how some denominations think they know whats best. No man, No Church, NO denomination, is ever going to know 100% what the right way is.

    This is why i say worship should come from your heart.Matthew 15:8
    King James Version (KJV)
    8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

    You can worship all day long and quote scriptures all day long but that doesnt mean your heart is for the Lord.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @52 I would say that the arguments for rock music have been more personality driven, not that the music style itself is personality driven. I have seen contemporary musical settings work rather well with the band shoved off to the side.

    Like I said, fans of “contemporary” worship often aren’t as open-minded as you’re painting them to be.

    Ain’t that the truth, I am a fan of contemporary services, but if it ain’t about Jesus giving us the good stuff in His gifts of word and sacrament it ain’t worth the paper the order was printed on.

    @Chris, no true worship does not come from the heart. True worship comes from the spirit, namely the Spirit(Jn 4:23-24). You know the one who worked faith in us by uniting us with the death and resurrection of Jesus via the gifts He instituted for us. If a service no matter the format detracts from that or as the parody in the op does makes much of you, it is not good, right, and salutatory.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @52 I would say that the arguments for rock music have been more personality driven, not that the music style itself is personality driven. I have seen contemporary musical settings work rather well with the band shoved off to the side.

    Like I said, fans of “contemporary” worship often aren’t as open-minded as you’re painting them to be.

    Ain’t that the truth, I am a fan of contemporary services, but if it ain’t about Jesus giving us the good stuff in His gifts of word and sacrament it ain’t worth the paper the order was printed on.

    @Chris, no true worship does not come from the heart. True worship comes from the spirit, namely the Spirit(Jn 4:23-24). You know the one who worked faith in us by uniting us with the death and resurrection of Jesus via the gifts He instituted for us. If a service no matter the format detracts from that or as the parody in the op does makes much of you, it is not good, right, and salutatory.

  • Grace

    Chris,

    Are you part of TBN, or their affiliates, pastors, and churches, or perhaps the Emergent Church? Sure sounds like it!

  • Grace

    Chris,

    Are you part of TBN, or their affiliates, pastors, and churches, or perhaps the Emergent Church? Sure sounds like it!

  • Joe

    DRL21 — I have heard it can be done, but I’ve never actually seen it. But I have to ask, why off to the side? Why not in the balcony or the choir loft or the back. My old church had its praise band off to the side too and all that happened was folks turned sideways …

  • Joe

    DRL21 — I have heard it can be done, but I’ve never actually seen it. But I have to ask, why off to the side? Why not in the balcony or the choir loft or the back. My old church had its praise band off to the side too and all that happened was folks turned sideways …

  • Chris

    John 4:23-24
    New International Version (NIV)
    23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

    Amen! We should always worship in spirit but you cant worship in spirit if you heart doesnt know Jesus which was my point. You can know scripture, biblical knowledge, church history, however none of that matters if you dont know truly know Christ! At my church we always worship in spirit we let God leads not a script.

    I guess at the end of the day reading stuff like this just makes me thankful where God has placed. I dont belong to religion or a church that needs to preach with a script. I’m a born again Spirit filled believer who loves Christ and all hes done for me!

  • Chris

    John 4:23-24
    New International Version (NIV)
    23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

    Amen! We should always worship in spirit but you cant worship in spirit if you heart doesnt know Jesus which was my point. You can know scripture, biblical knowledge, church history, however none of that matters if you dont know truly know Christ! At my church we always worship in spirit we let God leads not a script.

    I guess at the end of the day reading stuff like this just makes me thankful where God has placed. I dont belong to religion or a church that needs to preach with a script. I’m a born again Spirit filled believer who loves Christ and all hes done for me!

  • https://profiles.google.com/114761676313688657626#114761676313688657626/about P. C.

    Rob @48 and Chris@53,

    Well said, both of you. I seldom weigh in anymore concerning arguments of contemporary versus liturgical worship formats. It is usually a colossal waste of time. Contemporary Christian music versus traditional Christian music is really a silly argument. Many people who have a negative opinion about contemporary Christian music have never actually studied it, or they have a tendency to pick and choose, and then destroy it out of hand (see comments above).

    To those of you who are strictly traditionalists, are you ever overwhelmed by the archaic language (“riven, bidd’st me, tis, pine”) in some traditional hymns? How many times (weekly, I bet) have you sung a traditional hymn and by the time you got to verse four you can’t remember what verse two was all about? If that is the case (and I know it happens to all of us), then traditional Christian music should equally be considered as “fluffy” and meaningless as some argue contemporary Christian music is. The traditional words might be there but the worshiper’s heart, soul, and mind are far, far away.

    When I hear people describe contemporary music as “rock music,” i.e., amplified, I just shake my head. I have no doubt that if electricity was available in David’s time his harp, lyre, strings, and flute would have been amplified and his Ludwig drum set and Zildjian cymbals would have had a microphone overhead.

    By the way, I like both forms of music and worship formats, just like I love playing my Martin guitar and listening to my other favorite instrument, the pipe organ (I have numerous church organist Charles Bonow’s CDs). Both instruments have been known to be used to praise God.

  • https://profiles.google.com/114761676313688657626#114761676313688657626/about P. C.

    Rob @48 and Chris@53,

    Well said, both of you. I seldom weigh in anymore concerning arguments of contemporary versus liturgical worship formats. It is usually a colossal waste of time. Contemporary Christian music versus traditional Christian music is really a silly argument. Many people who have a negative opinion about contemporary Christian music have never actually studied it, or they have a tendency to pick and choose, and then destroy it out of hand (see comments above).

    To those of you who are strictly traditionalists, are you ever overwhelmed by the archaic language (“riven, bidd’st me, tis, pine”) in some traditional hymns? How many times (weekly, I bet) have you sung a traditional hymn and by the time you got to verse four you can’t remember what verse two was all about? If that is the case (and I know it happens to all of us), then traditional Christian music should equally be considered as “fluffy” and meaningless as some argue contemporary Christian music is. The traditional words might be there but the worshiper’s heart, soul, and mind are far, far away.

    When I hear people describe contemporary music as “rock music,” i.e., amplified, I just shake my head. I have no doubt that if electricity was available in David’s time his harp, lyre, strings, and flute would have been amplified and his Ludwig drum set and Zildjian cymbals would have had a microphone overhead.

    By the way, I like both forms of music and worship formats, just like I love playing my Martin guitar and listening to my other favorite instrument, the pipe organ (I have numerous church organist Charles Bonow’s CDs). Both instruments have been known to be used to praise God.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Chris, do you realize how dismissive of Scripture you sound in your comments?

    Don’t be religious anyone can apply scripture to any context.-Todd. (@31)

    Listen Todd you can throw scripture at me all day and pull them out of context. (@53)

    You keep saying things like “if worship is giving glory to God…”, but you don’t seem terribly interested in the Scriptures by which God reveals Himself to us.

    Frankly, given an attitude like that, it’s perhaps not surprising that you likewise disdain traditional liturgies, which are chock-full of Scripture that you would presumably also accuse of being out-of-context and irrelevant.

    But how then can one assess whether a new form of worship is good and right, if one keeps sniffing at Scripture? Should we just trust our hearts and not worry so much about God’s Word? If it feels good — that is to say, if it feels holy — do it? Oh … as long as you’re being “sincere”, of course.

    I don’t think its right to trash and put down another style of worship because you arent comfortable with it.

    Straw-man alert! I never said I’m not “comfortable” with it — I expressed concern about whether “contemporary” worship does everything you claim it does. You’re ignoring my actual criticisms and pretending I’m an old fogey who hates rock music.

    IF this way of worship was out of context and not scriptural then absolutely it needs to be done away with.

    “Scriptural”?! Don’t you know, Chris? Anyone can apply Scripture to any context! Bah!

    If drums or and guitars are in it who cares id rather see our you people have great worship and experience God.

    Yeah, I’d rather have our young people learn that church is a place where their cultural expectations are met, not challenged! To learn that church is just like a (fairly lame) rock concert, only it’s free (as long as you don’t put money in the offering plate). And, when they inevitably get tired of that particular style of music, the youth will move on, or just go to a real rock concert.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Chris, do you realize how dismissive of Scripture you sound in your comments?

    Don’t be religious anyone can apply scripture to any context.-Todd. (@31)

    Listen Todd you can throw scripture at me all day and pull them out of context. (@53)

    You keep saying things like “if worship is giving glory to God…”, but you don’t seem terribly interested in the Scriptures by which God reveals Himself to us.

    Frankly, given an attitude like that, it’s perhaps not surprising that you likewise disdain traditional liturgies, which are chock-full of Scripture that you would presumably also accuse of being out-of-context and irrelevant.

    But how then can one assess whether a new form of worship is good and right, if one keeps sniffing at Scripture? Should we just trust our hearts and not worry so much about God’s Word? If it feels good — that is to say, if it feels holy — do it? Oh … as long as you’re being “sincere”, of course.

    I don’t think its right to trash and put down another style of worship because you arent comfortable with it.

    Straw-man alert! I never said I’m not “comfortable” with it — I expressed concern about whether “contemporary” worship does everything you claim it does. You’re ignoring my actual criticisms and pretending I’m an old fogey who hates rock music.

    IF this way of worship was out of context and not scriptural then absolutely it needs to be done away with.

    “Scriptural”?! Don’t you know, Chris? Anyone can apply Scripture to any context! Bah!

    If drums or and guitars are in it who cares id rather see our you people have great worship and experience God.

    Yeah, I’d rather have our young people learn that church is a place where their cultural expectations are met, not challenged! To learn that church is just like a (fairly lame) rock concert, only it’s free (as long as you don’t put money in the offering plate). And, when they inevitably get tired of that particular style of music, the youth will move on, or just go to a real rock concert.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Also, why is it always “drums and guitars”? It’s as if the whole of “contemporary” music is viewed by those types of Christians as consisting of nothing but repetitive, lite-style alt-rock from the 90s.

    You know what’s a bit more contemporary than that? Dubstep. Or trance. How about reggaeton? Or just some straight-up hip-hop? Did you know that hip-hop is popular with the youth of today? It’s true! Why aren’t you playing that for them? If you really want to reach the youth with their cultural preferences, ditch the “praise band”, get a couple of turntables up there, and say hello to MC Pastor Mike!

    But, golly, there seems to be quite a bit of cultural rigidity, after all, in supposed fans of “contemporary” worship. I wonder what the underlying assumptions are? Why is there no kicking bass system in these churches? Think of all the relevance you’re missing!!

    Anyhow, to continue with Chris’ comment (@53):

    And I’ll even be honest I now attend a nondenominational church because I can’t stand how some denominations think they know whats best.

    I see. So you thought you knew better than those denominations, and that’s why you left? Mm-hmm. Say more.

    No man, No Church, NO denomination, is ever going to know 100% what the right way is.

    And you’re sure about that? Say, 100% sure?

    This is why i say worship should come from your heart.Matthew 15:8
    King James Version (KJV)
    8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

    Way to use a relevant Bible translation there, Chris. I can’t understand your olde-timey words, Chris! I was born in the last 40 years! Can you rap it for me so I can understand it better?

    Also, just a pointer here. God doesn’t actually condemn them for honoring him with their lips. He just says their hearts weren’t in it. Wanna know a secret? That’s just as likely to happen at a “contemporary” service as it is in a musty old liturgical service!

    And hey, at least in a liturgical service, drawn as it is from Scripture, you can know that your lips are actually honoring God. When people are speaking spontaneously from their hearts, who knows what’s going to come out? (Ask Benny Hinn.)

    You can worship all day long and quote scriptures all day long but that doesnt mean your heart is for the Lord.

    My heart isn’t for the Lord. It’s caked over in sin. But I know that God’s heart is for me, because he sent his Son to pay for the sins that spew forth from my heart. But then, that’s just something I hear every week in my crusty old liturgy. Don’t worry about it. Just keep telling us how awesome your heart is.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Also, why is it always “drums and guitars”? It’s as if the whole of “contemporary” music is viewed by those types of Christians as consisting of nothing but repetitive, lite-style alt-rock from the 90s.

    You know what’s a bit more contemporary than that? Dubstep. Or trance. How about reggaeton? Or just some straight-up hip-hop? Did you know that hip-hop is popular with the youth of today? It’s true! Why aren’t you playing that for them? If you really want to reach the youth with their cultural preferences, ditch the “praise band”, get a couple of turntables up there, and say hello to MC Pastor Mike!

    But, golly, there seems to be quite a bit of cultural rigidity, after all, in supposed fans of “contemporary” worship. I wonder what the underlying assumptions are? Why is there no kicking bass system in these churches? Think of all the relevance you’re missing!!

    Anyhow, to continue with Chris’ comment (@53):

    And I’ll even be honest I now attend a nondenominational church because I can’t stand how some denominations think they know whats best.

    I see. So you thought you knew better than those denominations, and that’s why you left? Mm-hmm. Say more.

    No man, No Church, NO denomination, is ever going to know 100% what the right way is.

    And you’re sure about that? Say, 100% sure?

    This is why i say worship should come from your heart.Matthew 15:8
    King James Version (KJV)
    8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

    Way to use a relevant Bible translation there, Chris. I can’t understand your olde-timey words, Chris! I was born in the last 40 years! Can you rap it for me so I can understand it better?

    Also, just a pointer here. God doesn’t actually condemn them for honoring him with their lips. He just says their hearts weren’t in it. Wanna know a secret? That’s just as likely to happen at a “contemporary” service as it is in a musty old liturgical service!

    And hey, at least in a liturgical service, drawn as it is from Scripture, you can know that your lips are actually honoring God. When people are speaking spontaneously from their hearts, who knows what’s going to come out? (Ask Benny Hinn.)

    You can worship all day long and quote scriptures all day long but that doesnt mean your heart is for the Lord.

    My heart isn’t for the Lord. It’s caked over in sin. But I know that God’s heart is for me, because he sent his Son to pay for the sins that spew forth from my heart. But then, that’s just something I hear every week in my crusty old liturgy. Don’t worry about it. Just keep telling us how awesome your heart is.

  • Grace

    Chris

    The passaage below talks abouut “reverence” and “godly fear” I don’t see this in any of your posts.

    Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
    Hebrews 12:28

    reverence Strong’s Greek Dictionary

    aidos- ahee-doce’

    (through the idea of downcast eyes); bashfulness, i.e. (towards men), modesty or (towards God) awe:–reverence, shamefacedness.

  • Grace

    Chris

    The passaage below talks abouut “reverence” and “godly fear” I don’t see this in any of your posts.

    Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
    Hebrews 12:28

    reverence Strong’s Greek Dictionary

    aidos- ahee-doce’

    (through the idea of downcast eyes); bashfulness, i.e. (towards men), modesty or (towards God) awe:–reverence, shamefacedness.

  • Grace

    The passage below covers the current discussion very nicely:

    God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.
    Psalms 89:7

    Take heed!

  • Grace

    The passage below covers the current discussion very nicely:

    God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.
    Psalms 89:7

    Take heed!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Chris said (@57):

    We should always worship in spirit but you cant worship in spirit if you heart doesnt know Jesus which was my point. You can know scripture, biblical knowledge, church history, however none of that matters if you dont know truly know Christ!

    Well, I guess you’ve made it explicit now. Your “heart” outranks Scripture. You tell me I need to “know Jesus”, but then you tell me the way to “know” him is through my heart, as Scripture apparently won’t do the job.

    At my church we always worship in spirit we let God leads not a script.

    Yeah, “not a script” … or the Scripture? I mean, how do you know that it’s God that “leads” at your church? The Bereans tested what they heard from their leaders against the Scriptures. (But then, I only know that because I read the Bible.) You don’t seem interested in that. You just keep telling us how trustworthy your heart is in guiding you — and us, too, it would seem.

    I dont belong to religion or a church that needs to preach with a script.

    Right. Nothing formulaic about the arguments you’re making here! First time any of us have heard these opinions! And there’s certainly nothing scripted about “contemporary” worship services. Unless, you know, you recall the parody that started this conversation. Which, in my experience, has not a little basis in reality.

    Oh, and heaven forbid that you actually repeat the words of Scripture in your church service!

    I’m a born again Spirit filled believer who loves Christ and all hes done for me!

    Sounds like one of the lines you repeat twenty times at the end of a “contemporary” “praise” song. Except to make it really accurate, you’d have to remove the part about “all he’s done for me”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Chris said (@57):

    We should always worship in spirit but you cant worship in spirit if you heart doesnt know Jesus which was my point. You can know scripture, biblical knowledge, church history, however none of that matters if you dont know truly know Christ!

    Well, I guess you’ve made it explicit now. Your “heart” outranks Scripture. You tell me I need to “know Jesus”, but then you tell me the way to “know” him is through my heart, as Scripture apparently won’t do the job.

    At my church we always worship in spirit we let God leads not a script.

    Yeah, “not a script” … or the Scripture? I mean, how do you know that it’s God that “leads” at your church? The Bereans tested what they heard from their leaders against the Scriptures. (But then, I only know that because I read the Bible.) You don’t seem interested in that. You just keep telling us how trustworthy your heart is in guiding you — and us, too, it would seem.

    I dont belong to religion or a church that needs to preach with a script.

    Right. Nothing formulaic about the arguments you’re making here! First time any of us have heard these opinions! And there’s certainly nothing scripted about “contemporary” worship services. Unless, you know, you recall the parody that started this conversation. Which, in my experience, has not a little basis in reality.

    Oh, and heaven forbid that you actually repeat the words of Scripture in your church service!

    I’m a born again Spirit filled believer who loves Christ and all hes done for me!

    Sounds like one of the lines you repeat twenty times at the end of a “contemporary” “praise” song. Except to make it really accurate, you’d have to remove the part about “all he’s done for me”.

  • Joe

    Then Chris stood up and said, “‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector!”

  • Joe

    Then Chris stood up and said, “‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector!”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    P.C. (@58) said:

    I seldom weigh in anymore concerning arguments of contemporary versus liturgical worship formats. It is usually a colossal waste of time.

    Well good job staying above the fray, there!

    Many people who have a negative opinion about contemporary Christian music have never actually studied it…

    “Studied it”? Is there a class I can take at my community college?

    Anyhow, thanks, but I’ve been listening to CCM since 1986. Just, thankfully, on my iPod or stereo, not at church.

    To those of you who are strictly traditionalists, are you ever overwhelmed by the archaic language (“riven, bidd’st me, tis, pine”) in some traditional hymns?

    Sometimes I am. But then, I also notice that my hymnal’s editors have done their best to keep the hymns free of archaic language — rhyme scheme permitting — so I don’t find this to be a terribly valid complaint.

    How many times (weekly, I bet) have you sung a traditional hymn and by the time you got to verse four you can’t remember what verse two was all about? If that is the case (and I know it happens to all of us), then traditional Christian music should equally be considered as “fluffy” and meaningless as some argue contemporary Christian music is.

    How many times have you read your Bible and by the time you got to the end of your reading, you couldn’t remember everything you’d just read? Well, by your logic, the Bible is now “fluffy” and “meaningless! Congratulations! (Oh, and I’ve been to plenty of “contemporary” services where my mind wandered as we were endlessly repeating some refrain where I was telling God what I was going to do or how committed I was to him or something.)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    P.C. (@58) said:

    I seldom weigh in anymore concerning arguments of contemporary versus liturgical worship formats. It is usually a colossal waste of time.

    Well good job staying above the fray, there!

    Many people who have a negative opinion about contemporary Christian music have never actually studied it…

    “Studied it”? Is there a class I can take at my community college?

    Anyhow, thanks, but I’ve been listening to CCM since 1986. Just, thankfully, on my iPod or stereo, not at church.

    To those of you who are strictly traditionalists, are you ever overwhelmed by the archaic language (“riven, bidd’st me, tis, pine”) in some traditional hymns?

    Sometimes I am. But then, I also notice that my hymnal’s editors have done their best to keep the hymns free of archaic language — rhyme scheme permitting — so I don’t find this to be a terribly valid complaint.

    How many times (weekly, I bet) have you sung a traditional hymn and by the time you got to verse four you can’t remember what verse two was all about? If that is the case (and I know it happens to all of us), then traditional Christian music should equally be considered as “fluffy” and meaningless as some argue contemporary Christian music is.

    How many times have you read your Bible and by the time you got to the end of your reading, you couldn’t remember everything you’d just read? Well, by your logic, the Bible is now “fluffy” and “meaningless! Congratulations! (Oh, and I’ve been to plenty of “contemporary” services where my mind wandered as we were endlessly repeating some refrain where I was telling God what I was going to do or how committed I was to him or something.)

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Was I just told I am not a christian because I use a script?

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Was I just told I am not a christian because I use a script?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    But hey, Chris, if you won’t listen to the passages of Scripture I keep ripping out of context for you, preferring instead to follow your heart, then will you at least listen to the voice of contemporary Christian music? I present, for your edification, (excerpts from) Daniel Amos’ song “Big, Warm, Sweet, Interior Glowing”:

    He will always trust his own vision
    Could be a dangerous man, he’s guided by no one
    Attracted to the sound of the interior voices
    He will not listen hard enough to any other man

    He gets a big, warm, sweet, interior glowing
    He gets a grand, elitist, superior knowing
    This convinces us he’s infallible – yeah …

    He downs another coffee and the feeling grows
    He’s building monuments so high in his expanding mind
    He eats a six course dinner and hears the voice of the spirit
    This voice says, “Well done my very good and faithful servant!”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    But hey, Chris, if you won’t listen to the passages of Scripture I keep ripping out of context for you, preferring instead to follow your heart, then will you at least listen to the voice of contemporary Christian music? I present, for your edification, (excerpts from) Daniel Amos’ song “Big, Warm, Sweet, Interior Glowing”:

    He will always trust his own vision
    Could be a dangerous man, he’s guided by no one
    Attracted to the sound of the interior voices
    He will not listen hard enough to any other man

    He gets a big, warm, sweet, interior glowing
    He gets a grand, elitist, superior knowing
    This convinces us he’s infallible – yeah …

    He downs another coffee and the feeling grows
    He’s building monuments so high in his expanding mind
    He eats a six course dinner and hears the voice of the spirit
    This voice says, “Well done my very good and faithful servant!”

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @56 I have seen it done once with the band in the choir loft. Really can’t say how well it worked. The church was making a token effort at being contemporary.

    The places I have seen the band off to the side work, the band was blended into the background. They didn’t act like performers, no exaggerated movements meant to draw the eye. They simply played and sang the music. It also helps if you use screens to put them near where you want people focused. In our sanctuary, if people want to know what to sing they can’t help but look towards the altar and a big giant cross.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @56 I have seen it done once with the band in the choir loft. Really can’t say how well it worked. The church was making a token effort at being contemporary.

    The places I have seen the band off to the side work, the band was blended into the background. They didn’t act like performers, no exaggerated movements meant to draw the eye. They simply played and sang the music. It also helps if you use screens to put them near where you want people focused. In our sanctuary, if people want to know what to sing they can’t help but look towards the altar and a big giant cross.

  • Joanne

    Are we talking about music styles, or are we talking about liturgy? Why would using rock or reggae music styles, need to change the liturgy? Why would today’s pop music style require us to drop the liturgy? Music styles are music styles and Lutheran composers have used them all since the polyphony of the German Renaissance. Even if you like classical music, old polyphony is hard on the ears. At the 10 Concordia’s we have music departments where Lutheran composers are using the current styles to write church music.
    So I ask again, are we discussing music styles or the liturgy. I worked with a musical pastor back in the mid 70s who wrote a most beautiful jazz setting for the liturgy. It didn’t affect a single word of the liturgy, but it was really cool jazz that was still more beautiful that bar roomy.
    We ain’t talking about the music are we. We’re talking about the constriction of the liturgy to make us all do the same thing all the time. That’s the catholic (common) principle of worship. In worship, all the church walks together. Through the liturgy the 17th century church walks right along with the 19th century church. You are complaining that the Lutheran Church is a catholic church and you ain’t a catholic, you’re a sectarian and you want to be freely and directly connected to God; no means of Grace for You.
    The liturgy of the church is the doctrine of the church confessed in worship. The word of God is enough. Visions and godly innovations are fine, but if they are from God, they will say what the Bible has already said. They are nice, but not necessary because of the means of grace that Jesus gives us that are woven into the liturgy.
    The next worship principle is orthodoxy, no false doctrines even in the song I just wrote late last night just for this service. Innovation must be strained through the tines of true doctrine. You’ve got to put a 60 day delay before any innovation can appear in the public service of God, so that the Berians can check it against the Scriptures to verify correct doctrine in it. Innovation is ok, but it must go through the meat grinder of heresy detection first before it hits the streets.
    Through this thread, I’ve come to believe that the music style is really just a red herring to draw our attention away from those who object to the doctrines confessed in our liturgy.

  • Joanne

    Are we talking about music styles, or are we talking about liturgy? Why would using rock or reggae music styles, need to change the liturgy? Why would today’s pop music style require us to drop the liturgy? Music styles are music styles and Lutheran composers have used them all since the polyphony of the German Renaissance. Even if you like classical music, old polyphony is hard on the ears. At the 10 Concordia’s we have music departments where Lutheran composers are using the current styles to write church music.
    So I ask again, are we discussing music styles or the liturgy. I worked with a musical pastor back in the mid 70s who wrote a most beautiful jazz setting for the liturgy. It didn’t affect a single word of the liturgy, but it was really cool jazz that was still more beautiful that bar roomy.
    We ain’t talking about the music are we. We’re talking about the constriction of the liturgy to make us all do the same thing all the time. That’s the catholic (common) principle of worship. In worship, all the church walks together. Through the liturgy the 17th century church walks right along with the 19th century church. You are complaining that the Lutheran Church is a catholic church and you ain’t a catholic, you’re a sectarian and you want to be freely and directly connected to God; no means of Grace for You.
    The liturgy of the church is the doctrine of the church confessed in worship. The word of God is enough. Visions and godly innovations are fine, but if they are from God, they will say what the Bible has already said. They are nice, but not necessary because of the means of grace that Jesus gives us that are woven into the liturgy.
    The next worship principle is orthodoxy, no false doctrines even in the song I just wrote late last night just for this service. Innovation must be strained through the tines of true doctrine. You’ve got to put a 60 day delay before any innovation can appear in the public service of God, so that the Berians can check it against the Scriptures to verify correct doctrine in it. Innovation is ok, but it must go through the meat grinder of heresy detection first before it hits the streets.
    Through this thread, I’ve come to believe that the music style is really just a red herring to draw our attention away from those who object to the doctrines confessed in our liturgy.

  • Michael B.

    I was just thinking of something funny, or at least I though it was funny. Suppose I started making claims about what music Gene Veith likes and dislikes: Gene loves classic rock, especially Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. Gene hates classical music, and thinks people who listen to it are elitists. Gene hates bands like Grateful Dead, Phish, and any rap groups, as he thinks they promote drugs and violence.

    I think people would rightly respond to me by saying, “how presumptuous of you to think you know what Gene likes and dislikes. You’ve probably never even had a conversation with him — who do you think you are?”. However, I can start making claims about the music that the ruler of the universe likes and dislikes for his worship, and no one will bat an eye. The way Todd talks about God you’d think they were college roommates.

  • Michael B.

    I was just thinking of something funny, or at least I though it was funny. Suppose I started making claims about what music Gene Veith likes and dislikes: Gene loves classic rock, especially Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. Gene hates classical music, and thinks people who listen to it are elitists. Gene hates bands like Grateful Dead, Phish, and any rap groups, as he thinks they promote drugs and violence.

    I think people would rightly respond to me by saying, “how presumptuous of you to think you know what Gene likes and dislikes. You’ve probably never even had a conversation with him — who do you think you are?”. However, I can start making claims about the music that the ruler of the universe likes and dislikes for his worship, and no one will bat an eye. The way Todd talks about God you’d think they were college roommates.

  • mikeb

    Michael B. @ 70

    Actually, I think tODD was the RA on that floor… ok, so it wasn’t very funny but I tried.

    Actually, I get the sense that tODD is a 21st century Berean.

  • mikeb

    Michael B. @ 70

    Actually, I think tODD was the RA on that floor… ok, so it wasn’t very funny but I tried.

    Actually, I get the sense that tODD is a 21st century Berean.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael B. (@70) said:

    However, I can start making claims about the music that the ruler of the universe likes and dislikes for his worship, and no one will bat an eye. The way Todd talks about God you’d think they were college roommates.

    What comment of mine are you referring to, exactly, Michael? The one where I said what God “likes and dislikes”? Do tell.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael B. (@70) said:

    However, I can start making claims about the music that the ruler of the universe likes and dislikes for his worship, and no one will bat an eye. The way Todd talks about God you’d think they were college roommates.

    What comment of mine are you referring to, exactly, Michael? The one where I said what God “likes and dislikes”? Do tell.

  • SKPeterson

    I don’t think the issue is contemporary sounding music v. traditional sounding music, but rather the focus and theology of the hymnody being offered.

    My two main criticisms of much of contemporary worship v. traditional are:

    1)Where’s the focus? My congregation (LCMS) has two traditional services and a contemporary. I’ve attended all three, and all three do follow a liturgical framework. However, I would have to say that the contemporary service has suffered from a lack of focus; the important thing has been the praise band and not the work of God in the midst of a called and gathered congregation. Part of what I call “focus” is the concept of directionality; what is the order of the service or how is it structured? In the traditional services, the focus is (usually) God’s work for man as found in the means of grace which elicits a call and response, a dialog of sorts between God and man initiated by God in which the congregations are the passive recipients who receive the mercies of Christ. The hymnody and liturgy serve to unify the congregation and order both the reception of God’s grace, but also to properly respond to that gift. In the contemporary service, there is more of a man to God directionality in play, in which the praise band serves to inspire and direct what I will call (derisively, I must confess) a mystical, semi-kundalini experience in the people attending in which they strive to “feel” some connection to the divine. While the liturgy constrains this from full-blown mysticism, the hymns or praise songs being used often consist of mantra-like verses or lines being continually repeated accompanied by suitably ascendant music.

    2) The theological content of the hymns and liturgy is quite different and reflective of the issues I cite in 1). In the traditional service, the hymns serve to remind the congregation of the wonders of God’s works in the lives of men, the Cross of Christ, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, the hymns are sung by the congregation as a whole; the congregants sing hymns together. Within this context as well, the liturgical format assures that form follows function – the service provides the means for God’s grace to be delivered to His people and the form of worship provides for this to happen to the benefit of all. In the contemporary service I have been somewhat bemused how a service that often lacks even a third of the liturgical content of the traditional worship services can last one and a half times longer. By lacking content, I mean this: a) a truncated Confession and Absolution, in which sins aren’t really confessed, contrition recognized, or our need for repentance acknowledged, and a wishy-washy forgiveness that gives new meaning and life to Bonhoeffer’s idea of “cheap grace.” b) the above-mentioned praise songs that are sung to the congregation and that the congregation somewhat sings along to but not really together. c) an often limited selection of Scripture from the lectionary. The traditional services have OT lesson, NT lesson and Gospel. The contemporary will have only one of these, and occasionally it will be a truncated version of even that. d) The recitation of some modified version of the Apostle’s or Nicene creed. Perfectly straightforward language adopted by some of the best minds of the ancient church, translated for our benefit by some of the best theological minds of the modern church gets thrown out in favor of some slippery and often ill-conceived notions about the Trinity. Again, one-third the content and even the quality of the content provided is questionable.

    My concern with contemporary worship is not the musical style; it is with its abandonment of proper directionality and focus in worship, and the preferred usage of hymns or praise songs that are conducive to semi-mystical worship experiences and poor reflections of orthodox Christian theology.

  • SKPeterson

    I don’t think the issue is contemporary sounding music v. traditional sounding music, but rather the focus and theology of the hymnody being offered.

    My two main criticisms of much of contemporary worship v. traditional are:

    1)Where’s the focus? My congregation (LCMS) has two traditional services and a contemporary. I’ve attended all three, and all three do follow a liturgical framework. However, I would have to say that the contemporary service has suffered from a lack of focus; the important thing has been the praise band and not the work of God in the midst of a called and gathered congregation. Part of what I call “focus” is the concept of directionality; what is the order of the service or how is it structured? In the traditional services, the focus is (usually) God’s work for man as found in the means of grace which elicits a call and response, a dialog of sorts between God and man initiated by God in which the congregations are the passive recipients who receive the mercies of Christ. The hymnody and liturgy serve to unify the congregation and order both the reception of God’s grace, but also to properly respond to that gift. In the contemporary service, there is more of a man to God directionality in play, in which the praise band serves to inspire and direct what I will call (derisively, I must confess) a mystical, semi-kundalini experience in the people attending in which they strive to “feel” some connection to the divine. While the liturgy constrains this from full-blown mysticism, the hymns or praise songs being used often consist of mantra-like verses or lines being continually repeated accompanied by suitably ascendant music.

    2) The theological content of the hymns and liturgy is quite different and reflective of the issues I cite in 1). In the traditional service, the hymns serve to remind the congregation of the wonders of God’s works in the lives of men, the Cross of Christ, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, the hymns are sung by the congregation as a whole; the congregants sing hymns together. Within this context as well, the liturgical format assures that form follows function – the service provides the means for God’s grace to be delivered to His people and the form of worship provides for this to happen to the benefit of all. In the contemporary service I have been somewhat bemused how a service that often lacks even a third of the liturgical content of the traditional worship services can last one and a half times longer. By lacking content, I mean this: a) a truncated Confession and Absolution, in which sins aren’t really confessed, contrition recognized, or our need for repentance acknowledged, and a wishy-washy forgiveness that gives new meaning and life to Bonhoeffer’s idea of “cheap grace.” b) the above-mentioned praise songs that are sung to the congregation and that the congregation somewhat sings along to but not really together. c) an often limited selection of Scripture from the lectionary. The traditional services have OT lesson, NT lesson and Gospel. The contemporary will have only one of these, and occasionally it will be a truncated version of even that. d) The recitation of some modified version of the Apostle’s or Nicene creed. Perfectly straightforward language adopted by some of the best minds of the ancient church, translated for our benefit by some of the best theological minds of the modern church gets thrown out in favor of some slippery and often ill-conceived notions about the Trinity. Again, one-third the content and even the quality of the content provided is questionable.

    My concern with contemporary worship is not the musical style; it is with its abandonment of proper directionality and focus in worship, and the preferred usage of hymns or praise songs that are conducive to semi-mystical worship experiences and poor reflections of orthodox Christian theology.

  • Tom Hering

    “Directionality” nails the most important difference precisely. Thanks, SK.

  • Tom Hering

    “Directionality” nails the most important difference precisely. Thanks, SK.

  • Rob

    I owe you all a huge apology. I’m sorry for being an idiot. I’m sorry for not being Christlike at all and I’m sorry for bashing my Christian brothers and sisters. I was foolish and I am truly sorry. I do sincerely hope you will forgive me.

    This has haunted me ever since and I have been trying to find this set of posts for a while now. I left in anger and deleted my history and couldn’t remember this site. I just finally came across it tonight.
    Again, I’m sorry.
    God Bless all of you, Rob

  • Rob

    I owe you all a huge apology. I’m sorry for being an idiot. I’m sorry for not being Christlike at all and I’m sorry for bashing my Christian brothers and sisters. I was foolish and I am truly sorry. I do sincerely hope you will forgive me.

    This has haunted me ever since and I have been trying to find this set of posts for a while now. I left in anger and deleted my history and couldn’t remember this site. I just finally came across it tonight.
    Again, I’m sorry.
    God Bless all of you, Rob