Want to start a heated debate? Just start a conversation about worship. “Worship wars” have been raging for several years, and everyone thinks they’re right. Sadly most of the arguments are based on personal preference rather than scriptural admonitions. Some like a certain style of preaching or music, etc. and they think everyone else ought to feel the same way. And some folks change their minds so often that you never know where they stand.
For some it’s traditional hymns only. Others prefer Southern Gospel. With many it is nothing but contemporary music. But it’s not just about music. Even when it comes to preaching people have their preferences. Some want one kind, others want another. Sadly most people don’t have a clue as to what constitutes “good preaching”. They are stuck on a certain style and anything different doesn’t suit their taste. A lot of folks in the south think if you’re not screaming at the top of your lungs, panting like a dog chasing a deer, foaming at the mouth, and walking on six inches of your pant legs you aren’t really preaching. Others can’t stand that much emotion. They insist that the delivery be dignified and every word pronounced properly, etc.The truth is that good preaching can come in many forms– as long as it is done in love, with humility, in sincerity, and according to the truth. I’ve heard great sermons delivered without the preacher ever raising his voice and great sermons delivered in the style of the deep south. But, regardless of how it was delivered, it was “in love, with humility, in sincerity, and according to the truth”, and I was blessed by it. Preachers should be themselves, rather than trying to copy someone else.
Too many people have lost sight of what worship is all about. It’s about glorifying God, not gratifying the flesh. Whether sermon of song, it should be about pleasing God rather than pleasing yourself. And if you can’t prove that the Lord is displeased with a certain style you have no justification for criticizing those who differ. There are plenty of things for which we ought to contend, but this isn’t one of them. No one has a right to insist that all the music be of their favorite style.
It’s time that we get personal preference off the table. If we aren’t guided by the Word of God we are sure to error and go astray. The craziness needs to stop. We ought to stand firm regarding scriptural doctrines, but when it comes to debating about our desires that’s another matter. Having a preference for one thing over another is fine, condemning those who differ isn’t. Think about it!