Foolish Display or Responsible Diversity in Worship Practices?
What Paul writes, 2 Cor. 6, 14. 17, shall and must obtain: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what communion hath light with darkness? Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord. Likewise, when there are useless, foolish displays, that are profitable neither for good order nor Christian discipline, nor evangelical propriety in the Church, these also are not genuine adiaphora, or matters of indifference. (Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, X.6-7)
Here is a link to what "contemporary worship" looks in some churches these days. The praise band is crowding out the altar and baptismal font. The rock music is blaring and they are trying to lead the congregation in singing the song "House of God" [lyrics follow this commentary].
A week or so ago we enjoyed a spirited discussion about one Lutheran congregation’s decision to have a Marian shrine in its nave, or so it would seem to most who view it. How does a congregation decide it has the right to go on its own in this manner? How does a congregation decide it has a right to go on its own in the manner featured in this post?
The praise band rocking away in the chancel … is this really how anyone wishes to suggest our Lutheran Confessions intend worship to be in the church? Is this evangelical freedom in action, or a "foolish display," if not worse? What does such a practice say about Lutheran theology, if anything? Is this the way we worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness?
Here are the lyrics to the song "House of God" — compare this hymn of "invocation" or "welcome" with "Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord" — now ask yourself…which hymn actually proclaims God’s Word, praises Him and confesses the truth? Which hymn is more a device to stir human emotion?
House of God
Welcome to the house of God my friend
All are welcome, all may enter in
Come experience the peace and hope within
We come here, for God and God alone
The house of God
All draw near, make Yourself at Home
The house of God
Come and celebrate His majesty
Dance and shout like those who've been set free
It's about you Jesus and all of your glory
Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord,
With all your graces now outpoured.
On each believer’s mind and heart;
Your fervent love to them impart.
Lord, by the brightness of your light
In holy faith your Church untie;
From every land and every tongue
This to our praise, O Lord, Our God, be sung:
Come, holy Light, guide divine,
Now cause the Word of life to shine.
Teach us to know our God aright
And call him Father wit delight.
From every error keep us free;
Let none buy Christ our master be
That we in living faith abide,
In him, our Lord, with all our might confide.
Come, holy Fire, comfort true,
Grant us the will your work to do
And in your service to abide:
Let trials turn us not aside.
Lord, by your power prepare each heart,
And to our weakness strength impart
That bravely here we may contend,
Through life and death to your, our Lord, ascend.
Hymn # 154 from Lutheran Worship