Much of today’s worship is oriented, consciously or not, around the idea of entertainment. Pastors and elders fall under tremendous pressure to conduct services that are lively, practical, and relevant in order to keep the people in the pews interested in what is happening. The constant fear is that members will leave a boring style of worship for the church across town with better music, a bigger and younger congregation, and with better lighting and sound systems.
Sermons are becoming messages geared more to “felt” needs than to driving home the needs that the bible says fallen men and women (both redeemed and unredeemed) have. And the message itself is delivered by someone who tries to come across as a “regular guy,” not God’s servant who is a steward of the mysteries of God, who must handle the word of truth with care, and who has been set apart for this holy task.
Writing in the Christian Century, Edward Farley recently commented that contemporary worship creates a tone that is “casual, comfortable, chatty, busy, humorous, pleasant and at a time even cute.” He goes on to suggest that “if the seraphim assumed this Sunday morning mood, they would be addressing God not only as ‘holy, holy, holy’, but as ‘nice, nice, nice.'”
Some defenders of contemporary worship even go as far as to deny that there is any distinction between the purposes of worship and the purposes of entertainment. In a recent book tellingly titled Entertainment Evangelism, one megachurch pastor argues that effective worship is measured by the extent to which it is a good entertainment. This is because those “raised in an entertainment age find church to be insufficiently interesting or stimulating”.
Another book puts it more cautiously when it asserts that worship should take place in “an informal service with a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, and contemporary styles in language and music”. Following this logic, worship style becomes a matter of taste. We would agree, but only if the taste that He is referring to is God’s taste. Irreverent worship is a violation of God’s holy style. God desires reverent worship, worship that reflects the seriousness that is inherent in a religion that required the death of His only begotten Son in order to redeem a chosen people from the bonds of sin and misery, and to deliver them into the glorious blessedness of God’s children. Quoted From With Reverence and Awe
– Hart & Muether
We are called to see that the Church does not adapt its thinking to the horizons that modernity prescribes for it but rather that it brings to those horizons the powerful antidote of God’s truth. It is not the Word of God but rather modernity that stands in need of being demythologised.
David F. Wells No Place for Truth pg. 100
What is at stake is authenticity…Sooner or later Christians tire of public meetings that are profoundly inauthentic, regardless of how well (or poorly) arranged, directed, performed. We long to meet, corporately, with the living and majestic God and to offer him the praise that is his due.