Friday, April 29, 2016

Worship and the Performance Spirit

Greetings, all. Wow. I haven't posted since February. Illness in the family and work has pretty much consumed me the last several months if not longer, so there has not been much time for blogging. It figures something would have to nettle me so much to spur me to write.

Have a look at this video taken from what I am guessing is a worship service. (Edited to add: I have since come to see that it's a practice session, not actually worship in front of the congregation. That makes me feel better, but the general commentary stands). I guess it blessed the person who posted it, but it bothers me as a Bible teacher. Here is the video in question. Watch it, then come on back.

Now, what bugs me? We have a fundamental, growing misunderstanding of what biblical worship is supposed to be. Why we do it, and how. We're not under the Law of Moses. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and our church buildings are places to gather for worship and fellowship, not temples. So why does this video of a kid messing around on stage during worship bug me?

When you are leading worship, the whole intent of it is to point people to God. Focus their attention on Him - who He is, what He did, and why He did it. As a worship leader (and this includes those on the platform providing instrumental accompaniment), you are not to draw attention to yourself. It's not a time for goofing around, putting on a show, getting laughs, etc. Anything you do that distracts people from being focused on the Lord is a performance spirit, not a worship spirit.

Now, I'm sure the accusations of legalism, judgmentalism, etc. will follow. I make no judgment of the kid's heart at all. If anything, it's bad teaching. I wouldn't for a minute rob anyone of their joy. However, the joy comes from knowing that the Lord Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and rose again from the dead for our justification. Our joy comes from giving Him the praise and glory He is due. It's not a silly, goofy, giddy joy, especially in leading people in WORSHIP.

A couple points to ponder. God struck people dead for not treating Him as holy in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, He struck people dead for lying to the Holy Spirit and for mishandling communion, or the Lord's Supper. When you look at those who encountered the Lord after His resurrection, and consider what the Apostle John saw in Revelation, our God is a consuming fire. He is not to be approached casually or lightly, but with reverence.

This is not a buzzkill. This is not dousing the embers of someone's joy. This is teaching and showing the reason for biblical joy in the Lord. If this was a band concert, or an informal songfest, I would have no problem with it at all. But a worship service is an entirely different matter. We also need to think of unbelievers who might be present. What example are we setting when they come to observe?

Think about it.

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