Do you remember the ‘good old days’ when we didn't need smoke machines, laser light shows, a twelve piece band, a superstar worship leader, backing vocalists, with a mixing desk the size of your living room to worship God? We rendered our thanks to Him in song accompanied just by Nellie at the piano. Oh how things have changed. Now it’s all about "leading people into", "ushering in" or "hosting" the "presence" or some other wet-sounding mystical mumbo-jumbo. Then, it was about singing to Him because we just simply wanted to give thanks for His mercy and goodness; now it’s about achieving an altered state of consciousness so that "stuff" can happen, so that the "anointing’" can flow and "manifestations" occur.
Do you remember when worship songs and hymns were filled with solid doctrinal content, as they were intended to educate and instruct, as well as ensure that worship was intelligent and as much in truth as it was in spirit? Do you remember worship before it became a repetitive mind-numbing tool to manipulate the audience and generate the right kind of atmosphere and condition of suggestibility for whatever happens next?
Do you remember when the centrepiece of our service to God, was actually the sermon? When hearing directly from Him through His life-giving Holy Word was the main event -just as it was in the Early Church?
"Over the past decades music has gained an unprecedented prominence in the church. So much so that music has replaced faith and preaching as the new means of grace. The influence of music has become so dominant that it is not unusual for worship ministers and worship teams to spend more time in ministry with the congregation than pastors do expounding the Word of God… An Australian pastor recounts a conversation he had with his worship leader just prior to a 2-day seminar. The worship leader asked, "How long do you want us to worship? Twenty minutes?" The pastor responded "What about two days." "I don't think I could play my guitar that long" the worship leader retorted. The pastor's response was "you're talking about music, and I am talking about worship". There is a subtle understanding now that suggests that music alone constitutes worship. Barry Chant asks the question: "Have we unknowingly, actually arrived at a position where music has replaced faith as the means by which we appropriate God's blessings and where the worship leader, [or the worship team] rather than the evangelist is responsible for bringing people to God?"…. Barry Chant insightfully observes, "an unhealthy number of new songs focus more on rhythm and harmony than melody.... 'feeling' is what matters. So the pulsating rhythms throb through our beings, the compelling beat makes our bodies respond and the intellectual or biblical content only needs to be sufficient to justify calling what we are singing 'Christian'" (The Restoration of the Tabernacle of David/Warfare Worship By Orrel Steinkamp, The Plumbline, Volume 7, No. 4, September/October 2002)