When Worship Music Replaces Worship Of God

When Worship Music Replaces Worship Of God September 26, 2018

Has worshiping God been replaced by programs, music, and entertainment on stage? In some cases, yes!

In Spirit and Truth

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well that God is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 3:24), but what does that mean? If we worship God is spirit only and have no truth, our worship will be vain or useless to God. On the other hand, if we worship God only in truth and not in spirit, we can become legalists or modern-day Pharisees. Worshiping God must be done in spirit and in truth, or it is not acceptable to God. Worship that is simply going through the motions is no better than having a bunch of friends of Facebook. It means nothing to God if we’re not worshiping God in the truest or most biblical sense. That means we ascribe to God His worth or being worthy to worship and being thankful to God for the great riches He’s provided through Christ. It also means we do not hold musicians, worship leaders, or singers as the center of our attention. Sometimes the show replaces worship, and people come for the entertainment rather than come to be fed by God. The only differences in some cases between worship services and a rock concert is that one is free while you pay for the other, but often, worshiping God is being overshadowed by music, programs, and entertainment.

Samaritan Woman at the Well by Angelika Kauffmann.

Music over God

In one church I went to, they handed out ear plugs to everyone that came in…young, old…even to the children, so I thought to myself that “This is going to be loud!” And it was! Without the ear plugs, my ears would have been hurting, and some children even had their hands over their ears, acting as if it was painfully loud (and it was!). Obviously the music was too loud, but something else was happening too. It seemed like the congregation was worshiping the entertainers and not God. It reminded me of an old Lez Zeppelin concert I attended when I was still a youth. I could see little difference between that concert and worshiping in this church with a full band and a host of vocal artists, plus a dazzling light show. As I waited, I wondered when the message would be given, but it wasn’t a really sermon but rather, it was a sermonette. To me, it was about a 10 minute “motivational speech,” so it was only a sermonette for “Christianettes.” I could have just stayed at home and listened to worship music, and, it wouldn’t have hurt my ears. Today it appears that many churches have confused entertainment with true worship of God. Little if anything is said about repentance, confession of sin, growing in holiness, or being Jesus’ disciple and following Him. Rather it seems they are following the artists and their bands and the show has replaced worship.

The Focus

If worship music focuses on the artists or entertainers and not God, then it’s worshiping God in vain. In the psalms, David often wrote about grieving over his sin, and in deep humility and transparency, but there are also psalms to rejoice too. A talented musician himself, David’s psalms were written as worship music, but he was putting the focus solely on God and His attributes, not the musicians or singers. The psalmist wrote that we should “Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe” (Psalm150:4)! Isaiah the Prophet wrote, “The LORD will save me, and we will play my music on stringed instruments all the days of our lives, at the house of the LORD” (Isaiah 38:20), so worshiping God in music and song is not wrong. It’s only wrong when the show becomes the focus and not God. Actually, worship is not about meeting our own needs but about finding ways to express our wonder at God’s holiness and bring Him glory. We are in awe of God. We should never be in awe of worship musicians and singers because they wouldn’t have anything if it wasn’t given to them by God (1 Cor 4:7), so all glory must be ascribed to God and never to anyone else. It is “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness” (Psalm 115:1)! We don’t go to church to “get” but to give God our best worship, but it can easily become worship of the music and the artists. Anything that takes glory from God and ascribes it to humans, no matter what their abilities are, is robbing from God His due glory, so entertainment can become the show and not focusing on and worshiping Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

If you’re an artist, singer, musician, or whatever, use your talent or gifts for the glory of God and “let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name [but] Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Heb 13:15-16). If you have a skill or talent that can be used in worship services, that’s great, but try to avoid the temptation of being in worship services to becoming part of the show, thereby overshadowing the greatness, glory, and majesty of God. He alone is worthy to be praised. There is no artist on earth that can compare to the glory of God, so let us draw near to God and humble ourselves in worshiping Him and focusing on Christ. Jesus said the Holy Spirit will testify of Him (John 15:26), so we should do the same. Let us stop focusing on putting on a “concert” and trying to fill the pews and focus on the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mar 1:14-15), and try to fill heaven with the children of God.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • pud

    “Music” is and has been a purposeful tool of indoctrination. Simple lyrics repeated over and over to uplifting melodies. Just like cathedrals, robes, ceremonies, ritual, prayers, confession, statements of faith etc…all tools of the cult to train the sheep to be compliant and non critical thinkers.

    All powerful deities DO NOT require “worship” “praise” “glory” or any of the other infantile nonsense you peddle and subscribe to. It is illogical and irrational to suppose otherwise. But what use is reason to you eh jack? Praise by you to an all powerful entity would be like a bacterium praying to you not to spray him with Lysol. “Glory” “worship” etc are EGO centric denoting a NEED and WANT and DESIRE…all words which negate the assumed condition of your deity as being perfect and omnipotent. Omnipotent deities do NOT require ANYTHING jack….simple logic lost on your deluded indoctrinated head.

    This is your greatest character flaw…DISHONESTY! You are one of the most DISHONEST people I’ve ever encountered. You DO NOT ask first what is true and proceed from there…nope…you swallow a barbaric ancient man made book and have convinced yourself that it is immune to critical scrutiny. You have a destructive and delusional pre-supposition which makes everything you utter in defense of this ridiculous contradictory absurd world view DISHONEST

    HONESTY requires coming from a neutral place, asking a question without pre-supposition of the answer and HONESTLY seeking the correct answer supported by evidence and reality….you do nothing of the sort and worse you make your living lying to people and children claiming truths about things you cannot possibly KNOW.

    You’re a snake oil salesman jack…be honest with yourself for once

    • Well said! Pud. Religious leaders know that music is used as a tool for indoctrinating the sheep. Some use it as a tool to lighten the wallets of the flock.

      • pud

        All cults use the same tools…break people…convince them that they are “filthy rags”, shameful, worthless etc and then offer them a cure! Music is purposeful to heighten emotions and make people vulnerable…you see it every day in advertising. Chants, prayers, creeds, oaths etc are all means to break individual will so that it can conform to the cult think

        • Yes, cultists like Glory are completely brainwashed by the cult they belong to, Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

  • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

    Thank you for this article about an extremely important and topical subject. I heartily agree with its main point and admonition. Overall it is a good article. The title alone is worth reading and pondering.

    I do not agree with certain of its lesser points. Regarding John 4:24, which you have cited as “John 3:24”: I’m uncertain as to the meaning of worshiping “in spirit”. I think it is possible that it cannot be separated from worshiping “in truth”–that is, that it is impossible to worship with one yet without the other.

    I agree that, ideally, we should go to church “to give God our best worship”, but should we not also go to “get” from God, e.g. to be edified by hearing the Scriptures read aloud and by hearing the preaching of the Gospel? We can be edified through singing and listening to music, too (Ephesians 5:18-21; Colossians 3:16).

    Regarding “We should never be in awe of worship musicians and singers because they wouldn’t have anything if it wasn’t given to them by God”: I agree that we should be mindful that their talents come from God, but I do not think this should prevent us from being in awe of them or anything else which ultimately comes from God, whether it be, for example, a virtuoso musician, a mountain, the ocean, an earthquake, or the night sky. Google defines “awe” as “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder”. Is it wrong to be “in awe” of anything but God? I don’t think so. It is, though, wrong to worship anything other than God–however awesome it may be. In Psalm 148, the psalmist tells various awesome things to praise God.

    • Jack Wellman

      Thank you sir for your insightful comments.

  • Glory

    I never noticed this. I have seen a lot of people looking like they are being filled with the spirit or experiencing the presence of God at them

    It could vary by person.

  • Glory

    I know pastors love to feed their flocks but rather than worry about musical influences I would rather see more people leave the pews to actually manifest Jesus to the world and be doers of the Word.

    The purpose of the gift of exhortation, in my humble opinion, isn’t to fill church buildings. It is to make doers out of God’s children.

    I think God’s children have settled for too much institutionalized, traditional religion and may be trading in one false tradition for another.

    The people ARE the Church not the building. It would be so much better to see more community charity and people being Jesus to the least of us.

    I decided the main reason to go to Church was to receive Jesus and worship God and fellowship but then you have to go out of the Church into the world and manifest Hjm in as many ways as possible.

    IF people cling too much to sermons did they manifest? I am not sure as people may have different jobs and assignments from God. But I think more people should be delivering God’s message to the world whether ordained by a human institution or not.

    God qualifies those He calls.

    • If there is no god, then he/she/it can call no-one and therefore he/she/it cannot qualify anyone.

  • Alan Drake

    This is not a concern for Quakers 🙂

  • Olamide Ijaduola

    …may GOD continue to help us to know and worship Him in spirit and in truth. God bless you for this spirit-filled expository message.