Shall We Dance?

June 5, 2007 at 5:01 pm (God thoughts)

Dancing is a positive, natural, reactionary inclination that has been suppressed or perverted by culture.

That’s my conclusion.

Now I’ll tell you how I got there.

Last night I had the great pleasure of taking by nieces and one of my nephews to chuckecheese. It was awesome. If you have kids and have yet to take them to CEC I strongly urge you to try it. It was even better than I remembered it being.

Children, unlike adults, haven’t learned how to mask their emotions. They don’t realize that grown up culture prohibits certain types of activities. They don’t have the same cultural standards that we have. They are just children.

The point is that the standards for children are different than the standards for adults. This goes for everything from clothes, to language, to personal interaction and (for the purpose of this post) worship.I used to think that I was the master of this standard. That I created my own standards of what will be seen as acceptable and therefore I could wear what I wanted, say what I wanted, act how I wanted and… worship how I wanted.

I learned in junior high that the pressure against wearing certain types of clothes was too much for me (goodbye overalls).

I learned in high school that the pressure for me to not use certain words was too much for me (hello cuss words).

I learned in college that the pressure for me to interact with people in a certain way was just too much for me (goodbye treating everyone like friends).

But when and why did the cultural pressures tell me that I can’t dance to worship my God?

I loved dancing when I was a child. I see my little nephews and nieces responding with quasi-rhythmic gyrations to any and every melody they hear. They aren’t bound by parameters telling them what dancing is and isn’t. Neither were they taught how to dance. They hop, twirl, skip, run, twist, giggle, turn, spin, flail and bounce without anyone telling them to or showing them how to.

Dancing is as natural as breathing. Not dancing is as unnatural as  driving. Yes driving. Driving is a completely unnatural act. It is trained, taught and tested. After all of our years of driving we may be deceived into believing it is a natural action. The reality however is that it’s a skill set that took a tremendous amount of development and practice. Just like not dancing.

We are trained to not dance the same way we are trained to not cry. We are told, “big boys don’t cry”, and that we need to “toughen up”.

We are told that joy, jubilation and gratitude need to be expressed in “thank you” notes and well thought out words of appreciation.

But then those sneaky little occasions slip in where our surprise and glee overtakes all of our cultural training and we skip just a little while seeking to embrace a long missed loved one.  Or we hop a tad at the sight of something beautiful. Or we nod our heads to the rhythm of a catchy tune.

But if cultural suppression wasn’t enough to stop us from dancing perhaps cultural perversion will. Now dancing is either associated with immorality or disassociated to certain ethnicities. “You can’t dance, it’s sinful” isn’t much different than, “you can’t dance you’re white.”

Both are lies. Both are wrong.

Indeed dancing is often rightly perceived as sinful, just watch 5 minutes of MTV, VH1 or BET to know what I’m talking about. But these are examples of the perversion of dancing, not the normal reaction of what dancing truly is.

Dancing being seen as better suited for certain races is  another perversion. This simply isn’t true. All that needs to be done is to explore the international styles of dance to see that because one is different from the other doesn’t necessarily mean that the other is “better”.  There may be better and worse in a particular style of dance i.e. out of 3 couples waltzing you may judge 1 couple the finest. But this doesn’t allow us to judge waltzing as a “better” style of dance than  rumba, samba, ballet, tap,  square or line.

You may have a preferred style of dancing, one that you are more skilled in than another, and you may not be skilled in any style at all. But this should not prohibit you from dancing.

You need to dance.

Dancing is a response to victory.

Exodus 15:19-21

19 When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen went into the sea, the Lord brought the waters of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground. 20 Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. 21 Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.”

Dancing is an act of humility.

Psalms 149:1-5

1 Praise the Lord. 2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King. 3 Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp. 4 For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation. 5 Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds.

Dancing is a recognition of the greatness of God’s presence.

II Samuel 6:14-16

14 David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. 16 As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.

Dancing is an act of celebrating salvation.

Luke 15:22-25

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. 25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.

I’ve often experienced that painful feeling of eyeballs burning into the back of your head. Those judgmental glances are so strong that you can actually hear their muttering thoughts.

I’ve experienced that feeling for something as minute as standing during worship, or clapping or lifting my hands. But Oh how strong is that feeling when I am compelled to dance?

My little nieces and nephews don’t know that feeling. They are getting older and  probably starting to pick up on it a little more, but it hasn’t overtaken them yet. Has it overtaken you? I can almost remember the day it took over me. It’s tragic when it gets you because it goes a step further. You don’t just stop dancing but you become the one casting the glances. We cynically justify our refusal to dance by condemning those who are dancing. How quickly we become like Michal. How quickly we disdain the jubilation, victory and even the salvation of others.

The question is not “can you dance” it is “will you dance”? Everyone can dance, but not everyone has the faith it takes to shake off the cultural condemnation and abandon themselves to physically rejoicing in the triumph of Jesus Christ’ saving grace.

I hope you will.

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278 Comments

  1. RubeRad said,

    You need to dance.

    I don’t need to dance. I’m a musician.
    Maybe my boys have the innate urge (you should see #3 shake his little diapered bootie with immobile legs and trunk. He looks like a hula-bobble!) but I have never had (or suppressed or perverted) any such inclination, beyond being inclined to tap my feet.
    More seriously, I don’t think I was ever told (explicitly or implicitly) not to dance — on the contrary, peer pressure at BMT was more likely to encourage me to join in the “Evans Shuffle”. But I never cottoned to it any more than ecstatic tongues. Speaking of which, I wonder how dancing in church can be done “decently, and in order”, so that if “outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?”

  2. RubeRad said,

    P.S. Just because children do it naturally, doesn’t make it right. The same argument would say that sin is good. I’m not saying that dancing is sinful, I’m just saying that your argument from childlike innocence doesn’t work. The biblical arguments are better.

  3. 5najeras said,

    “And if you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you daaaance, I hope you dance….” Too bad you can’t have background music for your posts. That would definitely be the theme song for this post. I think we should all dance daily. I dance all the time, at home at least (oh and the occasional wedding), but at church I have pretty much kept it at a sway. I wonder why that is. Maybe because I don’t want to be the only person dancing. Kinda like I wouldn’t be the first person out on the dance floor at a wedding and never be the one on the outskirts. I am no David, that’s for sure. He is a better man than I. (Even if I were a man) 🙂

  4. itsasecret2u said,

    Dancing in church can totally be done “decently and in order.” I’m always “dancing” during worship. I can’t help it. Music makes my body move and it always has. I never suppressed it, but it was funneled into a culturally appropriate setting (ballet/tap/jazz classes).

    Dancing during worship doesn’t mean you have to be wiggling your body wildly or doing pirouettes down the aisle. For me, it means my feet are never still during worship. If they are, it usually means I am distracted and not paying attention to what I’m supposed to be doing (worshiping). If I am worshiping, I can’t help but move.

    I don’t know that I think everyone needs to dance. I think some people are, like Rube said, musicians and don’t have the inclination to move when they hear music. I am reminded of a certain youth who plays guitar. And when I say he plays guitar, this guy SERIOUSLY PLAYS the guitar. He rocks out like I can’t even hardly believe. But if you took a picture of just his face and showed it to someone, they might think he was taking a geometry test. I can’t keep still when he’s playing, but it seems totally natural to him. I think that’s ok. But, likewise, I don’t think dance should ever be discouraged for those who are natural dancers (and I’m not talking about ability or talent, I am talking about a very natural inclination to move while hearing music, particularly in an act of worship).

    Nice post. 🙂

  5. itsasecret2u said,

    5N,

    Too bad we usually stand on opposite sides of the sanctuary or you could come dance with me. 😀

  6. Bruce S. said,

    Being at work right now, I can’t pontificate much. But I will say this: I predict triple digits in the comment count.

  7. amyleesspace said,

    I see nothing wrong with dancing during worship at all… We all worship differently and if dancing for the Lord is somthing that you want to do, that is part of how you worship the Lord then go for it !! I don’t think that you should be critisized if you are jumping up and down to a worship song. At the same time I don’t think you should be critisized if you don’t either. We all have different ways of worshipping the Lord, however that is, I think it’s all the same to Lord. The Lord looks at our hearts, whether we’re jumping up and down, swaying, raising our hands, or standing there… The Lord knows our hearts and if we are worshipping him.

    For me personally, I, like Lindsay can not help but to move during worship. I am not usually the one jumping up and down.. ( that may have a little something to do with the fact that I am always pregnant and I really don’t wanna bring the house down) but my feet are always moving, occassionally have a leg shake or two, and my hands are drumming the pew infront of me. ( I think this also may be a habit picked up from Wences)

    **On a side note, I think I need to learn how to blog… Its like pulling teeth to get a comment 🙂

    **Another side note- I have not run into very many white people that have rythm… I am often the butt of a dancing joke or two by my dear loving hubby 🙂 ( not saying that all white people can’t dance) I just think that there are not too many as compared to other cultures.. That is probably why it is a commong thing to hear “White people can’t dance”

  8. RubeRad said,

    Too bad you can’t have background music for your posts.

    Here’s background music for my comments…

  9. RubeRad said,

    my hands are drumming the pew infront of me

    Oh yeah! Even though I don’t dance, I am a confirmed finger-drummer! I think I missed my calling to be a missionary to the snare-drum community. And I “have rhythm” — which is not the same as having coordination, which is what I think you mean (and I am white, in case you don’t know me…)

  10. danielbalc said,

    Amy,

    Another side note- I have not run into very many white people that have rythm…

    Flat out lie.

    Rube,

    but I have never had (or suppressed or perverted) any such inclination.

    I think that’s a lie as well.

    5n,

    Maybe because I don’t want to be the only person dancing.

    BINGO. That’s called cultural suppression

  11. amyleesspace said,

    Rube- I know you, your Emilys brother. I am Amy Juarez, Wences Juarez’ wife.. ( I believe you know Wences)

    and more power to you, I have no rythym or co ordination.. but it doesnt stop me from trying 🙂

    DBalc- How can it be a flat out lie if I haven’t run into many white people that can dance.. That is not saying that they are not many white people out there that can dance, that is just saying I haven’t ran into many.. 🙂

  12. danielbalc said,

    Dancing doesn’t have to be is a particular style…

    swaying is dancing…

    toe-tapping is dancing…

    hopping is dancing…

    I say you “need” to dance because it’s a positive and natural reaction to the goodness of God. We are created to dance.

  13. danielbalc said,

    Amy, you have run into them. Nearly every white person you know has rhythm. thats why they nod, tap, sway and clap to music without any problems.

  14. danielbalc said,

    There are far more people who have rhythm than those who don’t have rhythm, and skin color has NOTHING to do with it.

  15. amyleesspace said,

    okay okay… maybe you are correct maybe I am using the wrong term for dancing… “rythym”

    Maybe I should rephrase what I said I can not dance, and I do not have rythym…. actually not a one in my family does…

    There I guess I should have said it that way… my opinion is based on my own lack of dancing skills.

  16. danielbalc said,

    but that’s a relative skill set you are thinking of. You think because you are unable to dance in a particular fashion that your dancing is somehow insufficient. Don’t you see how such an idea only comes about through false perception? change your viewpoint. You can dance, any way you want. just dance. don’t let culture (or your husband) tell you that you’re no good.

  17. amyleesspace said,

    Wences did you hear that—-I CAN DANCE!!!!! 🙂

  18. itsasecret2u said,

    I think the “white people can’t dance” thing comes from the fact that American culture and some European cultures do not have dance as part of the culture. OK, it’s like this:

    I was at the wedding of my (white) friend recently who was marrying a native Argentinean man. This was in Ohio and her family is out here, his is out there. The wedding, particularly the reception, was very “Latin,” if you will, meaning the music, dancing, etc. was very much centered around that culture. It was really cool.

    Anyway, they had a dance for the married couples and they were mostly older members of his family. This was a slow dance to a “white song” (a Shania Twain song, in fact). However, every single Latin man on the floor was completely in time with the music, moving well, and leading his partner as he should. Now, are Latin people just blessed with a greater ability to dance? I say no. I say it has to do with the fact that dance is taught from day one in that culture. The little Latin boys and girls could all “move” too. In our culture, that is not encouraged, unless you’re a little girl in dance classes or whatever. We don’t have a “cultural dance” that everyone learns from their parents and grandparents (Argentine tango, anyone?).

    It’s the same thing in African culture. Dancing is a part of life. I think this cultural difference carries over into American culture with the Latin-American and African-American communities. In fact, now that I think on it… I don’t even know what it is to “dance like a white girl,” unless I bust out some ballet or maybe a little line dancing. But dancing like a black girl? That’s a lot of what you see on MTV and BET and is heavily influenced by African tribal dance. It’s all a matter of cultural norm.

  19. Bruce S. said,

    Before we go any farther, I think we should get the correct spelling of rhythm on the table.

  20. RubeRad said,

    There’s a distinction to be made between ‘dancing’, and ‘good dancing’, and to the extent that dancing is appropriate for corporate worship, no dancing should be discouraged on the basis of quality or lack thereof. It’s just like singing. The worst singer in the world should be encouraged to join his brethren in making a joyful noise, and those around him should bear with him. He should only be lovingly admonished if he is so loud that he is distracting and disruptive to decent order (in which case the problem can be solved if he sings as loud as, and no lounder than, everybody else is singing)
    Conversely, the best singer (or dancer) in the world should not be so indecent or disorderly as to draw attention to themselves when the congregation is supposed to be focused on worshipping God. Dad can probably recall from BMT a certain black lady who was an operatic singer (quite possibly an actual opera singer) who often seemed to think that the congregation was the backup chorus for her (God-given and truly excellent) talent. Or what if, during a bout of congregational dancing, Mikhail Bar-christian-kov decided to worship God with his best stuff, flying and whirling through the air in his tights and codpiece…

  21. itsasecret2u said,

    Amy,

    You totally have rhythm! You’re a singer and you sway when you sing. You are always swaying with the music. To be a musician of any kind, you need rhythm. And I maintain that all you need to dance is a little rhythm. 🙂

  22. Bruce S. said,

    Which Daniel had right.

  23. RubeRad said,

    Daniel, that’s quite an expansive definition of dancing. You forgot finger drumming, and head-bobbing (esp. in combination with the “white man’s overbite”).

    To be a musician of any kind, you need rhythm.

    Very true; thus why not throw in all music-making too, since music is also a primal form of rhythmic, artistic, expression.

    Daniel, you seem to agree that dancing which conforms to the carnal purposes of this world is inappropriate for worship. So why is it appropriate to use a rock band (electric keyboard, guitar, bass, drums, miked lead and backup singers) for congregational singing? Other than Christian words, how is such music different than an easy-listening (or hard-listening, I suppose, depending on how Xtreem your church is) concert?
    (Uh-oh, there he goes again!)

  24. Bruce S. said,

    Daniel,

    You need to make a case for “You need to”. So far I have seen description and one case of permission (“Let them . . . .”). But for you to move the argument to “You need to” you will have to fill in some blanks. As far as I know, only God can make these commands.

    Perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea for you to tell us what you even mean by the phrase “You need to”. Is that like a doctor telling me I need to finish my whole bottle of anti-biotics otherwise it won’t work? Or is it some kind of authoritative command – i.e. binding my conscience so as to say if I am not dancing, I am somehow not properly related to God?

  25. setty said,

    I thought I might add a comment, cuzz three digits is a long way off and maybe one more will help get there.
    Re: whites vs. blacks. On the Dancing With the Stars program, the first winner was white, the second winner was white, the third winner was black, the last winner was white. Laila was not too bad, Jerry rice was pretty good, the last tall basketball player was relatively poor. And of course there were some terrible white dancers. So where are we?

  26. itsasecret2u said,

    Re: Dancing with the Stars, or So You Think You Can Dance or any other dancing shows…

    Last season on SYTYCD, the final 4 were 3 white people and 1 black person. I think there are two separate skills one needs when competing on that sort of show: natural ability to move (“rhythm,” as some have called it here) coupled with a great skill set (or not necessarily on DwtS) and the entirely separate skill of being able to learn choreography and several different styles of dance quickly. Those two things are totally different. I think a lot of people can do the former, but the latter might be a more difficult skill. At any rate, neither is dependant upon race, in my opinion.

    (So what’s this, #26? Yeah, three digits is far away…)

  27. danielbalc said,

    thanks for calling me out on “need to” Bruce, I was hoping someone would.

    I don’t mean it as an authoritative command. I mean it’s something that we are so strongly inclined to do that we must do it. I mean naturally. It’s a natural response to music.

    When you make a good shot in golf or basketball their is a tendency to pump your fist or raise your hands. How much of this is cultural and how much simply natural?

    Dancing is very much the same way. We move because we are created in such a way that music moves us, physically AND emotionally. Appreciation, gratitude, joy moves us to dance. to not dance is an emotional constipation of sorts.

    I think also it should be noted that is not intended to be limited in regards to corporate worship on Sundays but rather individual actions at any time.

  28. danielbalc said,

    28 in only a couple of hours aint too shabby. Seeing as how I am doing just one post a week this may have a pretty decent chance at triple digits.

  29. itsasecret2u said,

    Daniel, I think you’ll like what the girls are planning for this Sunday night. 😀

  30. gospelordeath said,

    Before you read the rest of my post, read this: dancing is fine outside of church.

    Read it again: dancing is fine outside of church.

    But inside church, no, absolutely not.

    While the people of Israel may from time to time have praised the Lord with dancing, you’ll notice that this isn’t said to have taken place in the synagogues, but at times like the death of Pharaoh or at the temple. But remember, they went to the Temple only a couple times a year for various feasts. That’s not how they worshiped Sabbath after Sabbath. The Temple worship was different than the regular, ordinary Sabbath worship in the synagogues. If you think we ought to do what they did in the Temple worship, then don’t just dance and play lots of instruments, but also be sure to include the sacrifices, the incense, the veil, etc. Obviously we don’t do everything in exactly the same way as they did in the Temple. Just think about it.

    I think some of you would disagree with what I’m about to say: worship is NOT, absolutely not a matter of expressing yourself in whatever way comes naturally to you.

    Read that again. Worship is NOT a matter of expressing yourself to God in whatever way comes naturally to you.

    YOU in your natural state are not acceptable to God. Only clothed with Christ are you acceptable to God. If you offer yourself to God, it is not acceptable. Christ is what we offer to God, because Christ is what is acceptable.

    So that means that in the worship of God, that something comes naturally is not a virtue at ALL, and that which must be explained to us, which can only be done after training, discipline and practice is better. Those are of course not absolutes, because not everything that requires training should be done in worship. For example, no one wants to see a plumber unclog a toilet in the worship service. But what should be done in worship requires training, and ultimately, God has to be the one to train us. He has to tell us how to do it, because HE is the standard.

    Many of you on this thread have taken the opinion that whatever you choose to do is fine, and God will look on your heart and see your sincerity and accept your worship. Don’t you realize that you make yourself the standard of acceptable worship? As long as you mean well, God will accept your worship?

    The children of Israel sincerely believed that the golden calf was Yahweh, who brought them out of Egypt. They named it that and worshiped. They were worshiping the one true God, but their worship was false because it was contrary to God’s commands.

    Or do you imagine that Cain wasn’t sincere in his sacrifice? He was sincere. God rejected his sacrifice because it was not according to the example set when God killed animals to make clothing for Adam and Eve. This was the first sacrifice, and God was the one who did it, showing Adam and Eve how to do it after him. And Cain didn’t do it that way, but offered the works of his own hands. He was a farmer, so he offer his own labors to God. But it wasn’t our labors that God wanted, it was the shedding of blood. That was Cain’s mistake. It was an honest mistake, and it simply reflected a misunderstanding. But when he found out that God didn’t accept his worship, he became angry, much like many of you are getting as you read my comments here, and murdered his brother, who did understand it and worshiped according to the commandment.

    If you want to dance in your homes before the Lord, do it. But one person on this blog talked about how ANY AND ALL MUSIC causes her to want to move.

    So let me get this straight. Someone plays Green Day on the radio, and you sing a song in church, and your response is EXACTLY THE SAME???

    Pardon my zeal here, but that there is a problem with this should be common sense to any believer. We don’t go to church to be entertained by good music. Sure, go to a concert, be entertained, dance the night away, have a few drinks and a few laughs and have fun – and all to the glory of God. But when you are in church, you are not there for the same reason. It is not the music that you are there to be moved by. God doesn’t speak to you in the music.

    God speaks to you in the sermon through the Word preached by his chosen minister. You can choose to hear from God through the music if you like, but doing so is no different at ALL than making the golden calf and calling it Yahweh. You don’t get to hear God’s voice where YOU want to, just like you don’t get to figure out what God looks like and shape a golden calf. You only get to hear God’s voice where HE has chosen to speak.

    Music is not inherently the voice of God. There’s nothing wrong with music. Not at all. But if you suppose that when any and all music moves you, it must be God’s presence being communicated to you through the music – as if music is the voice of God or something – then you are simply making up your own theology and making up your own belief system. You might as well go and carve a golden calf, because that is what you are doing.

    And anyway, in church, you are not supposed to be responding to the music. When you sing a song in church, you are singing TO GOD, not the other way around. God speaks in the sermon, and you respond to him by singing songs, praying, paying tithes, etc. God doesn’t speak to you in the music, you are addressing God.

    On the other hand, music is certainly God’s creation, and is to be therefore enjoyed to his glory. I myself love music, and get a great deal of pleasure from it. I even find myself spontaneously dancing a bit in my own home. But this is not what church is. There is a distinction between what you do in church and what you do outside of church.

    You may enjoy the Terminator movies. I know I do. I love them. it’s very natural to me to enjoy those movies. It comes as naturally as breathing. But I don’t suppose we should cancel the next Sunday night service and have movie night instead. But why not? Worship has rules, and God has instituted those rules.

    Pardon me if I seem angry and frustrated. I am angry and frustrated. Worship has RULES. There are RULES for worship, and God has given us those rules. Now, I really don’t care to debate about the finer points of those rules, but for crying out loud, how can you even glance casually at the Bible once in a while and not recognize that there are RULES about how to worship God?

    The second commandment is more than just a rule against worshiping other gods. That’s covered in the first commandment. The second commandment is a law against making images that reflect the creation, and worshiping it as if it is God. That’s what the second commandment is. That’s a RULE about worship, no matter how you interpret it.

    I really don’t mind if you disagree with me as to what the rules are, but I am absolutely unwilling to compromise with someone who says that there are no rules, but whatever you feel is right is fine, and God will smile on you no matter what you do. That’s just anarchy. Don’t you see that? When has it ever been acceptable to God for everyone to do what was right in their own eyes? And worship even more so. Don’t you remember what happened to the sons of Aaron who broke the rules of worship, and fire came out of the altar and consumed them where they stood? Don’t you know that story in Leviticus 10? Look at this:

    Heb 12:28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,
    Heb 12:29 for our God is a consuming fire.

    When you read this, do you CARE about what it says? Do you know what reverence and awe are? Do you CARE what they are? Do you CARE whether or not your worship is reverent and full of awe? Do you CARE that the BIBLE says that acceptable worship is characterized by REVERENCE AND AWE!!!??? Do you CARE about that? Or perhaps you’ve never read it before?

    Could someone please tell me how anyone’s comment on this whole thread agrees with this passage in even some small measure? Which one of you has said anything in this whole thread that even considers what is said here? Which? I have not noticed anything on this whole thread that even bears a slight resemblance to these comments in Hebrews. How can that be? How can it be that no one has even considered these comments?

    “Well, I think worship should be…” It doesn’t MATTER what you THINK. It matters what GOD THINKS, and he TELLS us what he thinks by speaking to us in the Scriptures, and he says acceptable worship is characterized by reverence and awe, and every single one of you acts as if he has not said that, and if he has said it, you simply don’t care. This absolutely offends me. You are simply ignoring the Word of God and making up your own religion. How could I not be offended? How could I sit here and say nothing while you simply turn a deaf ear to God’s voice, choosing to hear him in the music instead? He has spoken in his Word, and you have not listened, yet you feel absolutely free to comment on what you think, as if we should all be silent before the authority of your mind.

    As it is with my mind and my authority, so it is with yours: it means NOTHING. God’s Word is what has authority, and even a donkey, when speaking God’s Word, has God’s authority, but when even a minister brings another message, what he says is of no value. So I have no idea why you people seem to think that your opinion – which is based on nothing but what you feel when you hear music – carries so much weight that you choose to completely ignore God’s opinion.

    And why do you suppose he says that our God is a consuming fire after talking about acceptable worship? Surely he’s not talking about the sons of Aaron who broke the rules of worship and were consumed by fire from the altar…and surely he’s not reminding us then that worship has RULES, and you had better abide by them, because we worship the same God who consumed the sons of Aaron with fire from the altar. God has not changed. He is the same God.

    Worship has RULES, and you need to pay attention to them and think about them and try to conform to them. Sure, you won’t understand them perfectly or conform to what you do understand perfectly, because you are sinners – but you are saved by grace thanks to the sacrifice of Christ. You are sinful, but God has forgiven you.

    But that does not, by any means mean that you can just ignore the rules. Your freedom in Christ does not give license for anarchy and sinful disobedience. Just because God forgives your sin doesn’t mean your sin doesn’t matter. It DOES matter, and you better start laying it aside.

    You guys have really got me worked up. Now just imagine how God feels about your attitude. Maybe you say I’m crazy and I have no idea what God is thinking and feeling, but all you have to do is explain what reverence and awe is, and why that makes our worship acceptable. Don’t just blow that off. You had better think about it. You can blow me off if you like, but you had better not blow off the Word of God, because that’s blowing off God.

    And I’m telling you that I am doing nothing but giving the passage I cited a voice among you, because none of you have done so. None of you have considered anything other than what you want to consider. None of you have considered this passage in Heb 12, even though it is perhaps the CLEAREST statement in Scripture about New Testament worship.

    Dance at home, have parties, whatever. Have fun, have drinks, laugh, have a good time. Church is for reverence and awe.

    REVERENCE AND AWE

    God said it, not me.

    E

  31. Laura said,

    I appreciate Rube’s comment #20 – well-said!

    My take on Daniel’s “you need to dance” was not a command, but an encouragement.
    I can kinda hear his voice saying this to me, as if I had voiced a doubt that I couldn’t dance or felt self-conscious about dancing – something like that.

    There isn’t much more than swaying, nodding, and finger/toe tapping in my current congregational setting, but the musicians (guitarists) will hop when they get to a very rhythmic section of a song they are playing. My guess (and opinion) is the restraint is cultural, as Daniel points out.

    I had a lot of fun two Sundays ago – the worship band was playing a song after the service was dismissed, and the music and the words were so joyful and victorious that I just had to jump to it! Like the Masai do! Like teenagers sometimes do in a youth rally or whatever! Did some people look at me funny? You bet! Did I care? Nope!Did I get a look from the worship leader? Yep! One of delight! And a hug of appreciation from another person who was dancing, too! I was responding to the word of the Lord in the lyrics of the song with a joyful dance, and it was great.

    By the way, when I dance in a “cultural” setting (not at church), I dance for my pleasure, because I enjoy it (usually with my husband, often with other gals, like at a wedding reception) – not because I think I can dance well. I don’t care if other people think I can dance, because I am not in a competition or a video or a recital.

  32. RubeRad said,

    natural ability to move (”rhythm,” as some have called it here)

    “to have rhythm” is to be able to accurately subdivide time, which is why it is essential for all good musicians. “Natural ability to move” is coordination.

  33. Bruce S. said,

    None of you have considered

    Hold on. I hope you aren’t including me in that. I was circling the wagons as you were typing.

  34. Laura said,

    Echo, please don’t be offended at my post above. We don’t post to purposely offend, (at least I don’t think most of us do!) but to make comments and add thoughts. Yes, most of don’t take a long measured look at the thological implications of what we say, and I agree, that is to our detriment, but I don’t think we write with the thought to pick fights…

    I have to say that you really make a point, and you are right on. But does it say anywhere in the N.T. that we should not dance as part of the worship experience?

    Why cannot dance be acceptable, if our attitude towards God is one of reverence and awe?

  35. RubeRad said,

    Could someone please tell me how anyone’s comment on this whole thread agrees with this passage in even some small measure?

    How about: “to the extent that dancing is appropriate for corporate worship, no dancing should be discouraged on the basis of quality or lack thereof,” or “Just because children do it naturally, doesn’t make it right”, or 4 references to “decently, and in order” (which is certainly a rule for worship). Also, Daniel has posited an extremely expansive definition of ‘dancing’ (would you forbid toe-tapping and swaying in church?).You take quite a strict view of the regulative principle — do you also exclude musical instruments from congregational worship, or restrict congregational singing to versified (or verbatim?) scripture?

  36. danielbalc said,

    Echo, I don’t understand how you think dancing can’t be done with reverence and awe. As I have already noted in this thread when i defend dancing I am doing so in general. In the realms of congregational worship I certainly beleive that there must be an attitude of deceny and order. I do NOT believe that you can just do whatever you want in congregational worship and have it be acceptable. This does not however prohibit dancing in congregational worship. you said over and over in your comment that there are RULES, yet you failed to site a rule of worship that says anything like, “DO NOT DANCE”. On the contrary I sighted Psalm 149 in my post which says, “let them praise his name with dancing.” How can you have the boldness to say this verse doesn’t apply to congregational worship? It seems clear that you are the one perverting scripture to suit your personal preference. You may have a rule that no one is allowed to dance in church but God doesn’t. Don’t make your standard God’s standard. Where have I heard that before?

  37. LynnH said,

    I thought it was “white men can’t jump?”

  38. amyleesspace said,

    Echo.. I typically agree withy many of your posts… but not this one..

    I had so many things to say but your post was soo long that when I got to the end of it, I forgot 1/2 of them.. ( not meaning any disrespect)

    Where in the Bible does it say, that dancing for the Lord is not showing reverance for the Lord…or is any way desrespecting the Lord???

    “And anyway, in church, you are not supposed to be responding to the music. When you sing a song in church, you are singing TO GOD, not the other way around. God speaks in the sermon, and you respond to him by singing songs, praying, paying tithes, etc. God doesn’t speak to you in the music, you are addressing God.”

    -Pls excuse me if I have mis understood what you are saying by the above passage… but I will comment on what I feel you are saying by this.
    I COMPLETELY disagree with this!!! Yes I agree that worship is time for us to WORSHIP the Lord with everything within us… But there has been several occassions while I was worshipping that a verse popped into my head, and I KNEW in my heart the LORD put that verse on my heart…. it was applicable to current situations that I was in.

    There has also been times when I was worshipping where the Lord put a certain someone on my heart…… and a verse …. I do not agree through personal experience that the Lord does not speak to us through worship.. I do not agree with that at all..

    Your whole passage sounds legalistic to me, I am not one to disrespect the Lord or the Lords house and NEVER would…. I don’t think that you should be doing the booty shake and say your doing for the Lord….. and I don’t believe this is what Daniel was referring to either….

    Also I feel that the way you approached everyone commenting here was harsh…. yes you are upset and that is okay to be upset and to express what you need to say… but when you come at people the way you did, you make people want to turn a deaf ear to what you are saying and not listen..

  39. amyleesspace said,

    sorry Daniel I read your after I posted my last comment, some what redundant of yours..

  40. danielbalc said,

    Lynn,

    “white men can’t jump” is another lie.

    The past 3 NBA MVP’s have been white.

    Of course Gary Sheffield says that Black men can’t play baseball because they don’t know how to respect authority so maybe we can make that into a catchy phrase that everyone accepts as truth…

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19013033/

  41. amyleesspace said,

    Bruce- Thanks… I didnt have time to look up the correct sp of rhythm, and just couldnt remember 🙂

  42. Bruce S. said,

    I looked it up too. Nice comment count padding.

  43. LynnH said,

    Sorry Daniel. I haven’t been watching much NBA. Of course, you don’t have to jump if your already 7 ft tall.

    Maybe Sheffield’s logic explains why the NBA players are so out of control.

    Sorry Echo, but…”just imagine how God feels about your attitude”

  44. Alex said,

    Echo,
    You said: “Church is for reverence and awe.”

    Amen. Therefore I will sing and dance unto the Lord because he is worthy of ALL our praise. How do these verses fit into YOUR rules for “leave your emotions at the door” worship? .

    Psalms 30 1-12

    I will exalt you, O LORD,
    for you lifted me out of the depths
    and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
    2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help
    and you healed me.

    3 O LORD, you brought me up from the grave [b] ;
    you spared me from going down into the pit.

    4 Sing to the LORD, you saints of his;
    praise his holy name.

    5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime;
    weeping may remain for a night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning.

    6 When I felt secure, I said,
    “I will never be shaken.”

    7 O LORD, when you favored me,
    you made my mountain [c] stand firm;
    but when you hid your face,
    I was dismayed.

    8 To you, O LORD, I called;
    to the Lord I cried for mercy:

    9 “What gain is there in my destruction, [d]
    in my going down into the pit?
    Will the dust praise you?
    Will it proclaim your faithfulness?

    10 Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me;
    O LORD, be my help.”

    11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

    12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
    O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.

    After your done with that go ahead and re- read the Psalms.

  45. RubeRad said,

    I know that Echo will be back with thousands more words, but “leave your dancing at the door” does not mean “leave your emotions at the door”

  46. Alex said,

    Rube, what else would trigger “dancing before the Lord”? Can you imagine the guy that says ” I’m only dancing before the Lord because they did in the Bible.”

    Echo, what about singing? Can you not do that in reverence and awe?

  47. LynnH said,

    A question to consider? Is praise different from worship?

  48. danielbalc said,

    yes absolutley. Praise is an aspect of worship and praise is an aspect of the sunday morning service (we call it worship but really it’s praise) but praise isn’t all of what worship is supposed to be.

  49. 5najeras said,

    >“So let me get this straight. Someone plays Green Day on the radio, and you sing a song in church, and your response is EXACTLY THE SAME???
    Pardon my zeal here, but that there is a problem with this should be common sense to any believer. We don’t go to church to be entertained by good music. Sure, go to a concert, be entertained, dance the night away, have a few drinks and a few laughs and have fun – and all to the glory of God. But when you are in church, you are not there for the same reason. It is not the music that you are there to be moved by. God doesn’t speak to you in the music.

    Echo, it is possible to both dance to “secular” music and before the Lord in the same way that we can sing along to a Beatle’s song and then turn around and sing praises to the Lord. Are you telling me you have never sung along to a secular song?? Poor argument.
    Worship:
    1 : to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power
    2 : to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion
    Reverence:
    profound adoring awed respect
    Awe:
    an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime
    I don’t see how dancing can be excluded from any of those definitions.
    If God gives you a voice, sing for Him. If God gives you talent with instruments, play for Him. If God gives you talent with your body, move for Him.
    Psalm 150
    1 Praise the LORD. [a]
    Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
    2 Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
    3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
    4 praise him with tambourine and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and flute,
    5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.
    6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
    Praise the LORD.
    You must be very very sure of yourself to claim that God will not be pleased by someone dancing before him in worship in his House.

  50. LynnH said,

    Yes absolutely!!!!! Thanks Daniel,

    Therefore,

    1 Praise God in his sanctuary;

    4 praise him with tambourine and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and flute,

  51. Bruce S. said,

    You guys doing all the quoting of Psalms must think Echo is stupid or something. Don’t you think he reads his Bible and knows those verses?

    He put a fair amount of time in his post and no one is addressing his argument in any kind of systematic way.

  52. LynnH said,

    He sure seems to overlook it. Besides, I don’t have time to blog a 1000 word thesis.

  53. Bruce S. said,

    He sure seems to overlook it.

    No. His argument addresses it.

    I don’t have time to blog a 1000 word thesis.

    So you do have an argument? But because you don’t have the time you are going to ignore the argument and throw verses at him that he has already read?

    Since I agree with his position, how about doing it for me, instead.

  54. Albino Hayford said,

    This just ends up the way many other discussions end up lately. “Our method or style of worship is REAL worship, not the way all you other (insert denominational flavor here) worship.

    The problem with going down that road is that there is always somebody more conservative or more free than us. I know of a church that does not allow any musical instruments, because we don’t find the playing of musical instruments in the N.T. They would say that Echo (GospelorDeath) is the liberal, wild one here.

    On the other side, I have been in churches where they feel like we haven’t really worshiped God until we do the charismatic two-step, wave banners, jump in the air or have somebody fall down “under the power”. They think I, and all you LWC people are waaaaay too conservative.

    I recently talked with a guy who was telling me that in his church they only sing the psalms, because hymns aren’t spiritual enough. The irony there is that they sing about dancing, shouting and raising hands and do NONE of those things in worship.

    I guess my point here is that our differences, in the end, are more cultural and personal than Biblical. Does our church worship like a church in Africa, for example? Do we use the same instrumentation as a church in Ukraine or in China? Can’t we admit that much of this is cultural?

    Instead of trying to get every church to be exactly the same, why can’t we celebrate our differences and allow for some variety?

    Worship legalism, whether overly conservative or overly ecstatic, can go jump in the lake.

    As for me, Albino can’t dance but he does like to rock and roll for Jesus, babeeeee! Slap that bass and let’s have some church up in here!

  55. gospelordeath said,

    Albino,

    I advocate unity based on truth, unity based on Christ, not unity based on compromise.

    You are trying to grab for yourself the moral highground by your apparently virtuous desire to celebrate differences, which to you are merely cultural, but meanwhile, I am different than you, and all you can do is criticize my difference. Why not celebrate my different view?

    You aren’t really interested in celebrating a pluralistic church which embraces a wide range of styles of worship, you’re interested in discrediting the view that there is only one way to properly worship. You tell me if this is truly an honest position.

    Can we totally divorce our worship from our culture? No, because after all, we do have to speak in English, and not, say, Latin, but church is not the place to celebrate our culture. That’s what the other 6 days of the week are for. Church is a place where we come OUT of our earthly culture, and come INTO the heavenly culture.

    Sure, the guys who say that psalms only should be sung are wrong. But that’s not simply because we want to sing more than psalms, but because the NT exhorts us to sing “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs”. Those who say it should be psalms only have to explain this away. I don’t know how they explain it away, but they are explaining it away.

    Now, if you want to argue that dancing should be done in worship because it’s biblical, that’s fine. I disagree that it is biblical (and yes, I have read the book of Psalms once or twice), but at least we agree that what we do in worship is not a matter of opinion, or self expression, but according to the rules of the Bible.

    I don’t really care too much if people get the rules wrong, so long as they’re trying to figure out carefully what those rules are, and that they’re trying to abide by them.

    What I cannot and will not say nothing about is the attitude that I can do whatever I want in worship, and God will accept it. That’s patently false and completely and totally contrary to the Bible. Such an attitude is an expression of autonomous rebellion towards God, and I’ll speak out against it any time.

    So if someone wants to make an intelligent argument about why the fact that dancing is spoken of in the Bible means that we should practice it today, hey fine, great. Make your intelligent argument. But the Bible also says to stone a child who refuses to obey his parents, and NO ONE even for a moment thinks that we should do that. Why not?

    It’s not enough to simply say that the Psalms say we should dance, because by the same deficient reasoning, we should stone our disobedient children and anyone who commits adultery. We don’t do this. More needs to be said than simply quoting a verse like a parrot.

    And the truth is that for the first 1,000 years of church history, there were no instruments AT ALL in public Christian worship. But I suppose you guys will argue that for 1,000 years, no one read the Psalms. Brilliant conclusion.

    In the words of Albino, “Try again.”

    E

  56. gospelordeath said,

    And how come you dancers don’t sacrifice animals to God? That command is all over the place in the OT. The Psalms say that too.

    Psa 5:3 O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

    Psa 54:6 With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good.

    Psa 66:15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals, with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams; I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah

    Psa 118:27 The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar!

    Did you guys ever read these Psalms? Obviously, if you don’t have an altar where you’re sacrificing animals to the Lord, you obviously have overlooked these Psalms. Where are your bulls? Where are your goats? Where is your incense? Bind the animal and bring him up to the altar and cut its throat for your children to see. It’s commanded in the Psalms.

    Come on guys. Why don’t you do this? It’s right there in the Psalms. Double check my quotations if you don’t believe me.

  57. Pablo Honey said,

    Echo you have really outdone yourself this time. I love how you just tear everyone apart for their desire to worship God. It makes me physically ill when you start going on your rants, every word oozing with pride and contempt for the rest of us idiots.

    You were constantly eluding to “RULES” for worship, but fail to give them to us, or even point us in the right direction to find them in scriptures. All you give us is Hebrews 12:28-29 and hammer REVERENCE AND AWE over and over again. Why do you ignore all the scriptures that talk about dancing to worship the Lord? Maybe you feel you’ve covered those scriptures with this:

    “While the people of Israel may from time to time have praised the Lord with dancing, you’ll notice that this isn’t said to have taken place in the synagogues, but at times like the death of Pharaoh or at the temple. But remember, they went to the Temple only a couple times a year for various feasts. That’s not how they worshiped Sabbath after Sabbath. The Temple worship was different than the regular, ordinary Sabbath worship in the synagogues.”

    My question is, what do you feel about 2 Samuel 6:1-15?

    1 David again brought together out of Israel chosen men, thirty thousand in all. 2 He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah [a] to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, [b] the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark. 3 They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart 4 with the ark of God on it, [c] and Ahio was walking in front of it. 5 David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs [d] and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals.6 When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. 7 The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God. 8 Then David was angry because the LORD’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah. [e] 9 David was afraid of the LORD that day and said, “How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me?” 10 He was not willing to take the ark of the LORD to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it aside to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. 11 The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the LORD blessed him and his entire household. 12 Now King David was told, “The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went down and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 13 When those who were carrying the ark of the LORD had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14 David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, 15 while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets.

    Here in verse 7 we see a clear example of what God truly considers “irreverent”. Uzzah touched the Ark, the presence of God, and he was killed because of it. Now according to your logic, maybe God should have killed the whole house of Israel that was celebrating so vigorously with all of their instruments right in front of him. Certainly David, when he “danced before the LORD with all his might” should have been killed by the Lord for not showing reverence and awe.

    Remember these events were taking place right in front of the Ark of the Covenant! Your argument that they did not dance in the synagogue doesn’t make sense to me if they could dance right in the presence of God. What do you think?

  58. Franky said,

    “I will dance, I will sing, to be mad for my king. Nothing Lord is hindering the passion in my soul. I’ll become,, even more undignified than this, HEY,HEY, HEY, HEY!”

    🙂

  59. Albino Hayford said,

    Ok, Echo (gospelordeath),

    Maybe this will satisfy you: Your restrictive rules are wrong.

    The message is the same, but culture MUST impact the methods. You did nothing to discuss the obvious differences in the way we worship and the way Africans or Chinese worship. What makes our western musical scale superior, or your choice of musical style superior? And please don’t tell me you buty that nutty garbage about “devil beats”. Should our African brothers burn their bongos and Mexicans burn their guitars? Are we stuck with the organ around the world? And if we can only use our voices, can I beat box a rhytthm?

    Appreciate and enjoy the differences…the huge tapestry and variety of worship to God. Don’t limit Almighty God and the gifts He has given us to worship HIm.

    Avoid the implulse to be a worship legalist.

  60. itsasecret2u said,

    Echo,

    Echo,

    Sorry, but this:

    “I don’t really care too much if people get the rules wrong, so long as they’re trying to figure out carefully what those rules are, and that they’re trying to abide by them.”

    is a complete and total lie. You seem to only care that we have not come to your conclusion on what the rules for proper and reverent worship are.

    Have you ever been to one of our services? Do you have any idea how our praise and worship looks? Then how dare you assume you know enough to call the lot of us irreverent? When I say that I am “always dancing” during worship, do you imagine I am rolling around on the ground, dancing provocatively, or wiggling my body so as to be a distraction, somehow forgetting in that moment that God is holy? What about movement, in and of itself, is irreverent when done in church? Am I allowed to stand? Am I allowed to sit? How still, exactly, do I have to be? Can I clap?

    I don’t mind if you say you don’t agree with dancing during church. Great. Cite your verses. I will read them. Explain your logic. I will think about it. I always do. But don’t tell me that God hates my attitude because I’m so disrespectful toward Him in His house. Did I ever say that I dance because music makes me feel a certain way? Did I say I dance because our praise music is so entertaining that I simply can’t help it? No, I didn’t. But you certainly assumed as much.

    Is it possible to have joyful worship (or praise, I suppose, is the proper word)? Is it possible that dance is a joyful expression of praise to God? I guess you don’t think so… or maybe that our praise, whether it be singing, playing instruments, or dancing shouldn’t be joyful at all, rather reverent and awe-inspired. Where I would disagree is that you seem to find joy and reverence to be mutually exclusive. I do not. And I haven’t seen any scriptural basis for why dance should be excluded and instruments and singing should not.

    I think you are simply trying to confuse people when you say that we don’t do everything in the OT that they used to do and that this is reason enough to not assume it is acceptable to still dance as an act of worship, as it was in the OT. You cite OT civil (stoning of a disobedient child) and spiritual (animal sacrifice) laws. For some reason, you then lump praise dance in with these obsolete laws. This seems a very poor comparison to me. Was dance ever part of the law and I just don’t remember? If it was, why would it now be obsolete? If it wasn’t ever part of the law, why did you make the analogy? I mean, really…

    “But one person on this blog talked about how ANY AND ALL MUSIC causes her to want to move.
    So let me get this straight. Someone plays Green Day on the radio, and you sing a song in church, and your response is EXACTLY THE SAME???”

    This is so lame I don’t even want to address it. But since you made it personal, I will. I never said I would respond in the same way to a secular song as I do to praise songs. Never did I say that. Is all singing the same? Would you say that James Hetfield snarling into the mic is the same as a person singing a beautiful hymn to the Lord? Would you tell that person that they’re obviously ridiculous and lack common sense because listening to a Metallica song inspires the “same” response as hearing that good ol’ organ music on Sunday morning? Of course not. You wouldn’t consider it the “same” response at all. Snarling along to Metallica is not the same as singing a hymn. Dancing salsa on Saturday night (sorry, I don’t do Green Day for dance) to some good Latin music is not the “same” response I have when praising God on Sunday morning. Just because my body moves in both instances does not mean it is the same.

  61. itsasecret2u said,

    I’m admittedly very cranky at the moment, but the fact that I typed “Echo” twice somehow is still amusing me. I said “Echo,” and it’s like there was one…

  62. itsasecret2u said,

    Incidentally, Echo, I also don’t like your Cain and Abel conclusion:

    “God rejected his sacrifice because it was not according to the example set when God killed animals to make clothing for Adam and Eve. This was the first sacrifice, and God was the one who did it, showing Adam and Eve how to do it after him. And Cain didn’t do it that way, but offered the works of his own hands. He was a farmer, so he offer his own labors to God. But it wasn’t our labors that God wanted, it was the shedding of blood. That was Cain’s mistake. It was an honest mistake, and it simply reflected a misunderstanding. But when he found out that God didn’t accept his worship, he became angry, much like many of you are getting as you read my comments here, and murdered his brother, who did understand it and worshiped according to the commandment.”

    The blood of Abel’s sacrifice didn’t make his offering acceptable to the Lord. It was the faith behind the blood offering that caused Abel (and his sacrifice) to be acceptable, was it not? Or has God changed from the OT to the NT and he wanted red blood cells then, but wants faith in blood now? No, didn’t think so. So if it was Abel’s faith that made him acceptable, then it is quite reasonable to assume that there was NOT faith behind Cain’s offering, as it was unacceptable to the Lord. In fact, we know there was no faith behind that offering because Cain didn’t bother to obey a very clear command from the Lord on how to worship Him. The Lord said (or demonstrated), “This is how it’s done. Do this for me,” and Cain did something quite different. No faith. It is not exactly the “honest, sincere mistake” you made it out to be. It was his faithless attempt to do things his own way.

    So, if you want to argue that we are not Christians, that is, we have no faith, because we choose to dance in church (or at least find it acceptable to do so), then you can use the Cain/Abel illustration. Or if you want to argue that we OBVIOUSLY have no faith because we made a rebellious choice to disobey God’s clear command NOT to dance in church, then I’ll go with that too, though thus far you have been unable to produce such a command out of scripture. But you can’t exactly use that argument for “you may have made a simple, honest, theological mistake, but God will still find you and your worship detestable, just like our friend Cain.” And the added implication that our alleged anger at your self-righteous post is in any way mirroring Cain’s murderous anger and hatred toward his brother is just tacky.

  63. RubeRad said,

    So if it was Abel’s faith that made him acceptable, then it is quite reasonable to assume that there was NOT faith behind Cain’s offering

    Indeed, but faith + vegetables does not equal an acceptable sacrifice.

    Ps150: 1 Praise God in his sanctuary;…4 praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute,

    If you glance at Ps 150 in its entirety, you will see that it is a list of different ways to praise God, illustrating that we should do them all. Key word different. There is no implication that the dancing should be in the sanctuary, rather that worship by dancing is distinct from worship in the sanctuary.

    My question is, what do you feel about 2 Samuel 6:1-15?

    I don’t see the point. God made a rule that the ark was to be carried by priests, using the poles through the rings on the sides. Uzzah died because he chucked the ark in a U-haul. And David’s dancing is clearly outdoors, and not in the context of sabbath worship (and in any case, not shared by the congregation as a whole).

    Would you say that James Hetfield snarling into the mic is the same as a person singing a beautiful hymn to the Lord?

    No, and I would also say that there is no musical difference between today’s modern worship music, and KyXy LiteFM.

    Have you ever been to one of our services? Do you have any idea how our praise and worship looks? Then how dare you assume you know enough to call the lot of us irreverent? When I say that I am “always dancing” during worship, do you imagine I am rolling around on the ground, dancing provocatively, or wiggling my body so as to be a distraction, somehow forgetting in that moment that God is holy?

    Echo has not, but he grew up Assemblies of God, so I assume he is familiar with the general flavor of things. I, however, grew up in your church, so I have seen hundreds of your services, and (unless things have become more radical, which I doubt, based on my observation of the trend of speaking in tongues) I can tell Echo that there is no dancing. Given Daniel’s expansive definition, yes, there are swayers, maybe shufflers-in-place, but nobody is busting out into the aisles and shakin their money-maker. And if that’s what Daniel is advocating, then I say that would be a shame.

  64. danielbalc said,

    Bruce,

    You guys doing all the quoting of Psalms must think Echo is stupid or something. Don’t you think he reads his Bible and knows those verses?
    He put a fair amount of time in his post and no one is addressing his argument in any kind of systematic way.

    I think we think Echo is argumentative, not stupid. He makes some very condescending assumptions and then builds his position based on those FALSE assumptions. Why would we waste time “systematically” responding to his arguments when his arguments are a straw man, this straw man…
    “Dancing in Church is wrong because the people doing it falsely believe that they can do whatever they want and have it be considered pleasing to God.” (Thats not a direct quote but rather a paraphrase, if echo disagrees that he is implying that he is welcome to challenge it. In the meantime I will demonstrate that this is a FALSE assumption by asking all readers to weigh in…
    Does anyone here believe that WHATEVER they choose to do in a church service setting will be considered pleasing to God?
    I honestly don’t think anyone thinks that, because I know these people. Echo doesn’t so his is an assumption. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he misunderstood some people comments and allow him to build a case against dancing for a different reason (if he has one).

  65. danielbalc said,

    Rube, I’m not really pushing for there to be more dancing in church, I’m pushing for there to be more dancing in an individuals life. I lament the fact that the difference between the two arenas has been blurred on this thread. I am saying you should dance individually, at home, at work, in the parking lot, wherever… It’s good for you,

    I am also saying that we shouldn’t NOT dance in church. If we do decide to dance in church we should do so decently, respectfully and orderly (while recognizing that it is God to whom we are rejoicing and celebrating.)

    As for Echo’s other straw man of “why don’t you do animal sacrifices” I almost refused to respond on the basis of the argument being so ridiculous but I decided however to point out to Echo that we here in a nondenominational church actually believe in the satisfactory sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We actually have read Hebrews. We even got to the point where it tells us that the sacrifices that we bring are things like praise and good works (Hebrews 13:15-16).

    Indeed the entire chapter of Hebrews 13 is very poignant to this discussion especially considering that Echo’s SUPER RULE “reverence and awe” comes from the same context. I will challenge echo to explain what 13:13 “let us, then, go to him outside the camp” means.

    Echo, please comment on that verse

  66. RubeRad said,

    We all worship differently and if dancing for the Lord is somthing that you want to do, that is part of how you worship the Lord then go for it

    Why cannot dance be acceptable, if our attitude towards God is one of reverence and awe?

    This is the ad hoc hermeneutic Echo is reacting against. Reasoning like this can justify anything in church. More generally, though, I think Echo wants to criticize a tendency to approach worship with “How do I feel like worshiping God?”, rather than “How does God require me to worship him?” The former is the kind of attitude that leads to this kind of nonsense.

  67. Bruce S. said,

    I want to know how you can call Echo a liar. Are you a mind reader or something?

  68. danielbalc said,

    Re 66:

    Rube, I realize how Echo could be put off by statements like that and come to his conclusions, but that is why I said I will give him the benefit of the doubt. Just like I give Amy the benefit of the doubt in assuming (because I know her) that she doesn’t believe anything and everything as long as it’s done with the right heart is acceptable.

    Bruce, Echo didn’t give anyone else a fair chance, he just made a blanket assumption that they (we) worship God without reverence, awe etc. If he’s going to talk to people like that then people will be equally disrespectful to him in return. It’s an unfortunate reality.

  69. RubeRad said,

    Rube, I’m not really pushing for there to be more dancing in church, I’m pushing for there to be more dancing in an individuals life

    FWIW, I actually got that from your original post (but don’t expect me to start dancing…)

  70. danielbalc said,

    🙂

  71. Bruce S. said,

    he just made a blanket assumption that they (we) worship God without reverence, awe

    No. By definition dancing in church shows a lack of reverence and awe. That’s part of his argument.

    I don’t know where you are getting this strawman idea. It should be pretty obvious that all of these Psalms verses being thrown at the argument indicates that there is some kind of underlying equation between temple worship and new covenant church. He is arguing that there is no such equation. Defend your use of Psalms (i.e. OT temple worship) as a defense of dancing in the new covenant church. You need to somehow establish this equation.

    My own view is that a big part of me is offended and disgusted by this practice of dancing in church. Another part of me says “where do you sit, young lady? I wouldn’t mind coming and watching you gyrate your body (albeit ever so subtly – the more subtle the better) to the rhythms that surge through you”.

  72. danielbalc said,

    By definition? what definition? His own? Your own? c’mon

  73. Bruce S. said,

    If it’s wrong then all the reverence in the world ain’t gonna matter. As with the Israelites who sincerely felt that their construction of the golden calf was pure worship. If it’s wrong, then your sincerity needs to be corrected. So, don’t let me put words in his mouth. But maybe this is better: The presupposition is that it is wrong therefore your reverence is hollow.

    Don’t you think secret meant to say that Echo is an obnoxious liar?

  74. Alex said,

    Bruce,
    I guess this is a bad time to remind you that your granddaughter will be dancing in church this sunday night. = )

    I don’t recall any LWC church members telling you and Echo that the way you guys praise and worship God is ” simply ignoring the Word of God and making up your own religion.” Bruce those are bold statements. The thing that disgusts me is that you back this guy up everytime. He still hasn’t accounted for any of those verses in Psalms. Where’s the systematic arguments against the many Psalms? Where?????

    Echo, I just realized something today. I have read many of your posts and I have agreed and disagreed with you on many points but the thing you need to remember is it will NEVER be your eloquent explanations or preaching that will change someones mind. Everytime your “righteous anger” errupts, at that very moment, you have to realize maybe you are putting your interpretation, your opinion, over the Bible. The Bible holds it’s own everytime. It has for centuries. We are just told to preach the Gospel.

    Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

  75. danielbalc said,

    Re 73:

    Exactly Bruce, It is a presupposition that it is wrong. But there isn’t a scriptural basis for why it is wrong. There isn’t a rule. There is a RULE to not make idols. There is a RULE that everything be done in a fitting and orderly way. Prove the presupposition. That’s what we are all asking for. PROVE your offense is based on someone violating God’s word and not violating your personal standards.

    I don’t know the church you are currently attending but I am going to assume that they do these four things…
    1. Praise God in English.
    2. Sing Hymns written within the past 1000 years or so.
    3. Have instrumental accompaniment not mentioned in the Bible.
    4. Have a “worship leader” type of person standing in front of the congregation.

    If these things are done they are done using the exact same logic and biblical reasoning that comes to the conclusion that guitars, drums and contemporary songs can all be used in the corporate worship setting. What’s more is that I gave a broad definition of dancing as basically movement inspired by music. So there is probably some form of “dancing” going on in your congregation. I am advocating that both Echo and yourself discover try to figure out your adopted church culture has inspired/restricted the way you worship.

  76. Albino Hayford said,

    Alex,

    Yup. The only guy Bruce will defend against perceived harsh attacks is his boy, Echo. I have noticed and pointed out the same thing repeatedly. I think maybe Bruce owes Echo a poker debt or something. But Bruce did indeed disagree with Echo (and it probably just killed him to do it, too) over on my blog. I was so surprised, I even wrote about it in my diary 🙂

    http://jimost.wordpress.com/2006/02/06/why-i-hate-the-cheerleading-culture/#comment-2260

  77. amyleesspace said,

    “We all worship differently and if dancing for the Lord is somthing that you want to do, that is part of how you worship the Lord then go for it”

    I guess this quote of mine needs some clarification, as this has turned into some debate over something I said…

    I guess I need to be MORE Specific when I write things, I apologize I’m at work
    ( probably shouldnt be blogging) so I tend to respond quickly, I guess my haste is to my detriment here.

    I DO NOT think that shaking your bon bon, or jumping across pews, or screaming and yelling at the top of your lungs, as long as your heart is in the right place is acceptable. I did not realize my comment would be read so deeply into, that I would even have to be explaining myself here…. but I see that it is a must, so I will.

    By my comment I was implying (in response to the post at hand) that if you want to jump up and down ( obviously in a civil manner, didn’t think that would need clarification either) out of joy, and praise for the Lord I have read NOWHERE in the bible where it is says this is unacceptable.. My “Go fo it” comment simply meant, if you want to do that then that is ok. If you don’t want to do that, that is ok too.

    My comment “The Lord knows our hearts” I was eluding to (guess I should have said) the Lord knows whether we are trying to make a statement by dancing, clapping, swaying, raising hands… if we are trying to put up “a show” if you will….. and he also knows if we are truly worshipping him. That is what I meant!!

    I will put more thought into my comments, as I can see every word is picked apart, that is ok. I will just be more thorough.

    I however don’t think that someone should attack others views of “praise and worship” just because they do not PERSONALLY agree with them. Show me ONE verse that clearly states that dancing (Again I would like to magnify here, in a respectable manner that is not distracting) is not acceptable worship to our Lord..

  78. 5najeras said,

    Daniel, I know you just wrote this post because you new it would be a blockbuster, guaranteed to boost your stats. Did you hit 414 yet? 😉

  79. itsasecret2u said,

    Indeed, but faith + vegetables does not equal an acceptable sacrifice.

    Yes, I agree. My point is that if he had faith, he would not have openly disobeyed a clear command in the first place, then thrown a gigantic, murderous tantrum about it. Yes?

    My own view is that a big part of me is offended and disgusted by this practice of dancing in church. Another part of me says “where do you sit, young lady? I wouldn’t mind coming and watching you gyrate your body (albeit ever so subtly – the more subtle the better) to the rhythms that surge through you”.

    Gyrating? When did I say I gyrate? What exactly are you picturing when I say I dance in church? I’m talking about swaying, perhaps feet moving during an up-tempo song, and lifting my hands. Bodily movement does not equal gyrating. Please don’t insinuate I’m doing something disgusting in church. Perhaps a clear definition of what we are talking about when we say “dancing” would be helpful, because I starting to think we are all using different definitions.

    I want to know how you can call Echo a liar. Are you a mind reader or something?

    I can call Echo a liar because his actions here have been ENTIRELY contrary to that other statement he made that he “doesn’t mind if we don’t have the rules right so long as we are honestly trying to figure them out.” If this were true, he would NOT have attacked the way he did (somehow Rube managed to disagree with us all and did not attack… AMAZING!) He also assumed SO MUCH about what our attitudes were toward worship, God, and the church. Is HE the only mind-reader in the house? I guess so. Or he at least holds the distinction of being the only one here who has your seal-of-approval to pose as a mind-reader and make wild assumptions.

    Was it rude to call him a liar? Absolutely. I will freely admit that. But do I mind occasionally being rude to Echo? Nope. He is consistently rude, disagreeable, argumentative, and combative in discussions such as these.

    Really, I don’t mind if anyone wants to call me irreverent toward God IF you have come to a church service and observed me during worship. Please, be my guest. Then at least a judgment could be made off of actual observation and not wild speculation. No one really has a right to be offended at what I say about my “dancing” in church without first observing it… no matter how righteous you consider your offense. The fact is, you don’t really know what you’re offended about because you haven’t seen it. Feel free to make all the judgments about me, my heart, my faith, and my reverence (or lack of) toward God when you’ve seen it in person. Or at least met me once.

  80. Alex said,

    Echo, Apparently I failed to read your other posts where you did address the psalms. My fault. You came back with ” How come you dancers don’t sacrifice animals to God?”
    Is that it?
    If you want to bring sacrificing in to the argument then I bring in singing praises (which is throught the OT as well), Do you still sing Hymns to God at church Echo? Why do you still do that?
    Weak Echo, real weak.

  81. Bruce S. said,

    Do you still sing Hymns to God at church Echo? Why do you still do that?
    Weak Echo, real weak.

    Colossians 3:16

    Sorry it took awhile to respond. I had to go ask Echo.

  82. Alex said,

    Bruce, I don’t understand what took so long to ask Echo if he’s sitting on your shoulder. = )

    Great verse, but you had way more verses in the Old Testament you could have used to support singing praises to God and you didn’t use them. Hmmm?

  83. Bruce S. said,

    The thing that disgusts me is that you back this guy up everytime.

    It’s not like you to be a whiner. You’re just going to have to deal with the fact that Echo is not a church of one with me as his lap dog. I am siding with the majority report that has been around for centuries.

    Jim, do you realize what an insult it is to me personally for you to characterize Echo as “my boy”? I am truly astonished that someone who mounts a pulpit weekly can harbor such a condescending and mocking tone toward a brother.

    We are just told to preach the Gospel.

    Check out Col 1:28-29 along with his Col 3:16. Consider yourself taught and admonished.

    come to a church service and [observe] me during worship

    Can’t we meet in a bar or something? I don’t approve of dancing in church.

    Seriously, it’s not how your particular gyrations go and how super sweet your attitude is, it’s that it is wrong. Not commanded by scripture.

  84. Bruce S. said,

    Great verse, but you had way more verses in the Old Testament you could have used to support singing praises to God and you didn’t use them. Hmmm?

    Don’t give me that condescending Hmmmmm

    Didn’t it dawn on you that I go to the NT for a reason? The OT stuff is only supported by the equation that OT Temple Worship = New Covenant church. You need to keep reminding yourself that this is what this debate is about. Somebody on your side needs to prove it. Otherwise, your Psalms verses don’t hold up. Forget all the personal character assassinations and focus on the topic.

  85. itsasecret2u said,

    Bruce,

    My point was that I don’t think what I am defining as “dancing” falls under your definition. Or maybe it does. I can’t get a clear answer on what you mean by “dancing in church.” You mentioned gyrating, which is quite a long way from what I refer to.

    Disagreement doesn’t bother me. At all. What bothers me is an angry, condescending rant toward a Christian brother or sister, specifically about the acceptability of their worship, based solely on a personal conclusion drawn outside of scripture, namely that dance by definition cannot be done with reverence and awe. That is not a scriptural conclusion (if it is, by all means, show me some scriptural support), it is a personal conclusion. Anyone is entitled to that personal conclusion and should act accordingly, namely by not dancing in church and not attending a church where dancing is acceptable. But to personally attack brothers and sisters over it? Not ok. And it makes me want to puke, which is why I don’t post about this type of thing on my own blog and really shouldn’t comment on it here. It gets me way too riled up to be healthy.

    To put it in a different context: I have made a personal decision not to drink. I don’t think it is good for me spiritually, as evidenced by my past drinking behaviors. So I avoid it. There are many scriptures that warn against drunkenness. There are also many that suggest and even outright prove that drinking alcohol is not an evil thing to do. Thus, my decision to not drink alcohol is a personal one, not one based on a clear command in scripture. I am completely convinced of the benefit of not drinking in my life. However, I would never attack a brother or sister who has come to a different personal conclusion. So long as they are avoiding drunkenness, as is commanded, they are perfectly within the standard of acceptability. Likewise, as long as God is approached in a reverent and awe-inspired manner (which in my personal estimation does not exclude bodily movement), my worship is within the standard of acceptability, whether or not you personally agree with it, thus I don’t feel I should be personally attacked about it. If you (or Echo) want to argue why you feel you have more scriptural support for your position, be my guest. But is that impossible to do without self-righteous, condescending rants?

  86. gospelordeath said,

    Secret,

    You don’t know me, and have never observed me in church. How can you say that I’m mean and whatever else?

  87. gospelordeath said,

    You guys are really doing a great job of lashing out at me, and I really do appreciate it. Frankly I’m impressed at some of your “counterattacks”.

    To be honest though, I have achieved my objective, and you guys didn’t even know it. And no, my objective was not to put you in a bad mood or to simply insult you and be mean to you and provoke the same kind of response in return.

    But I won’t tell you what my objective was. If you would read what I said, you can probably figure out what my objective was. It’s funny; some of you have even quoted my clearest statements of my objective, and have totally missed the point. But that’s alright. I did what I wanted to do.

  88. gospelordeath said,

    Alex,

    My use of the psalms which exhort us to offer sacrifices was not an argument. It was a request for an argument – well, I guess from Daniel, who simply quoted psalms talking about dancing, and said, well, therefore we should dance.

    My point was if simply quoting a command from the OT suffices as an argument for why we should do something today, then surely we should be stoning disobedient children and offering sacrifices in our worship services. (Secret, sacrifices were a form of worship.)

    Since we obviously all understand that we shouldn’t stone our children or slaughter bulls on Sundays, then MORE NEEDS TO BE SAID about dancing than simply parroting a psalm. This is not sufficient to support dancing, because it’s not sufficient to support sacrifices and stoning. You can’t just quote a command from the OT and say, therefore, we should do this. Well, not necessarily. Maybe you should, maybe you shouldn’t. More needs to be said about whether this command applies today.

    We are not under the Mosaic covenant. We are not under Moses. We are not Jews living in Israel under the Mosaic laws. We eat hot dogs. Therefore, there is a difference to us between the OT and the NT. The OT is still the Word of God, but it doesn’t mean the exact same thing to us today as it did to them back then.

    Look, my point in all of this is that how we worship God can only be dictated to us by God himself. My tastes, my cultural influences, should not have a part in it. What you do in worship is not a matter of personal choice or personal taste. it’s a matter of doctrine. It’s a matter of right and wrong.

    For this reason Paul gives us the command to do things decently and in good order. And since everyone seems to have mentioned that, I won’t argue that this still applies to us today. Why should we do things decently and in order, rather than everyone doing their own thing? Because what you do in worship is not a matter of PERSONAL taste or opinion or choice. There are not many options, all of which are equally fine, from which you have the freedom to choose whatever you happen to like.

    You know, in the so called “emerging churches” they have a great deal of anarchy in their services. Everyone’s doing their own thing. One guy is in the corner lighting candles, another guy is lifting his hands and swaying to the beat, while another guy is kneeling in prayer. There is no order here. This is a cacophony, not a symphony.

    Worship is corporate. You don’t come together with the people of God to be an individual. Why? Because it’s not about SELF EXPRESSION. It’s about obedience. It’s about obedience, because obedience is the imitation of God. Far from expressing ourselves to God in worship, we are to imitate someone else, namely HIM, that we might reflect him back to himself, because it is only HIS righteousness that pleases him, which is why we need Christ.

    This is why it is not and cannot be a matter of personal taste or choice. Worship is not individual. We must worship God together as God’s people and be instructed about how to worship properly, and we must all do it together, without variation. God expression, not self expression. We must be taught by the minister and elders how to do it properly, because worship is not subjective. It’s not a matter of opinion. It’s not up for debate.

    God expression, not self expression.

    This was and has been my point. This is why I say that I don’t care so much if you abide by all of God’s rules for worship, so long as you recognize that there are rules and you are trying to abide by them as you come to understand them more and more over time. But what I was railing against and will rail against again with no regret, is the notion that worship is a matter of personal choice, personal taste or opinion.

    If you say well, you can dance if you like, or not dance if you like, you are violating the most basic principles of worship. It’s not a matter of taste or opinion. It’s not a matter of what you feel led to do. Worship is a matter of right and wrong, a matter of doctrine.

    You certainly wouldn’t say that you can believe whatever you like. You wouldn’t say that you can believe many different things, and all are ok, so long as you feel led to believe it, so long as you feel so moved to believe it.

    Belief is not an option. It’s not a matter of personal choice or taste or opinion. You believe what God has told you to believe, or you go to hell forever. It’s that simple. You all know this and agree with this.

    What you believe is a matter of doctrine. You believe certain doctrines because God has told you to believe them. What you do in worship is a matter of doctrine. You do what you do in worship because God has told you to do it.

  89. Alex said,

    Bruce,
    Personal character assasinations? You mean when Echo says that we are, and I quote,”simply ignoring the Word of God and making up your own religion.”
    I can’t imagine what colorful words you would have chosen for me if I had said that to either of you two.

    The topic is dancing in church. I say it can be done in reverence and awe and you say it can’t. Myself and others point you to several verses in the Bible about dancing unto the Lord including Psalms 150 (specifically in the sanctuary) and your response is, “that’s in the Old Testament.”

    What about another quote from Echo:
    “And how come you dancers don’t sacrifice animals to God? That command is all over the place in the OT. The Psalms say that too”

    Try Hebrews chapter 10.

    BTW, i’m still waiting for those “we no longer need to dance” verses.

  90. amyleesspace said,

    Oh boy oh boy… The more I read the more I am SOOOO grateful for my pastor… Who is a wonderful shepherd and watches over his sheep.. I trust that if my pastor felt there was something biblically wrong with kicking a little leg here and there out of praise and joy and worship for the Lord, he would be sure to let us know..

    Which brings me to this…….Echo you seem to use SOOO MANY words, they are start to just repeat themselves… but no one has yet to give a verse that says Dancing in church is a SIN!! So it sounds to me that YOU are the one using personal preferences here, not anyone else..

    **I must elaborate on “kicking a little leg here and there ” by this I am meaning dancing for the Lord.. Oh but ofcourse in the most reverent way… I thought I would clear that up before it was thrown for another 20 comment debate.

  91. Bruce S. said,

    By character assassination I was referring to things like “this guy” as if he is some Mafia hit man, or by demeaning me as a cretin as if I were his personal lap dog. The quote you are referring to is not what I call a character assassination, even though you may not like it and may object to it. He wasn’t impugning your character, but your ecclesiology.

    need to dance

    This was Daniel’s original thesis. Based on primal urges of some kind. I of course don’t buy it.

  92. Bruce S. said,

    The topic is dancing in church. I say it can be done in reverence and awe and you say it can’t.

    Not true. I say that being wrong can be done in reverence and awe all day long. It doesn’t make it not wrong. Your attitude is not what is being discussed at all. What we are trying to discuss is the equation OT Temple worship = New covenant church. I say it doesn’t; you say it does. You need to prove it. So quit quoting Psalms verses. Please.

  93. Albino Hayford said,

    Hum “Me and My Shadow” as you read the following sentence:

    Just 8 more defenses of Echo by Bruce and we will reach the 100 comment mark!

  94. danielbalc said,

    Bruce, the equation you are asking for does NOT need to be met for dancing to be a ligitimate and acceptable form of worship. Prove that it does. In doing so you will condemn your own worship services and you know that.

    Why pretend this isn’t true?

  95. danielbalc said,

    Bruce, I think I explained the “need to dance” statement already. Do you still need firther clarification? How about if I say you…

    need to smile.

    need to laugh.

    need to cry.

    need to play.

    need to walk.

    I guess you could deny the necessity of each one of these things, but what type of life is that? I think dancing is so valuable to our personal growth and maturation that we should promote it. I think it’s gotten lost in our culture. by our culture I am not talking America I am talking church. church culture has lost this wonderful thing. That’s sad.

  96. amyleesspace said,

    I NEED A BURGER 🙂

  97. Alex said,

    Bruce, I have nothing to prove here. I will continue to Worship, praise, dance etc… You and Echo on the other hand have a lot to prove. Where are the verses that dancing is wrong? It sure seems like you and Echo are “dancing” around the scriptures that make dancing in church so clearly wrong. I will continue to call out for them. Seriously, feed me the Scripture, not personal preference.

    I’ll check back in a little for those verses.

  98. Albino Hayford said,

    Our worship legalists have their work cut out for them here:

    1 Defend organ playing in church
    2 Defend piano playing in church
    3 Defend harmonizing in church

    Daniel is right. The emperor has no clothes, because their own arguements will eliminate their own worship services as acceptable forms of worship. Oops; sawed off the limb they were sitting on…doh!

  99. Pablo Honey said,

    Echo, how do you reconcile these quotes from this post:

    “Many of you on this thread have taken the opinion that whatever you choose to do is fine, and God will look on your heart and see your sincerity and accept your worship. Don’t you realize that you make yourself the standard of acceptable worship? As long as you mean well, God will accept your worship?”

    “Pardon me if I seem angry and frustrated. I am angry and frustrated. Worship has RULES. There are RULES for worship, and God has given us those rules. Now, I really don’t care to debate about the finer points of those rules, but for crying out loud, how can you even glance casually at the Bible once in a while and not recognize that there are RULES about how to worship God?”

    “When you read this, do you CARE about what it says? Do you know what reverence and awe are? Do you CARE what they are? Do you CARE whether or not your worship is reverent and full of awe? Do you CARE that the BIBLE says that acceptable worship is characterized by REVERENCE AND AWE!!!??? Do you CARE about that? Or perhaps you’ve never read it before?”

    ““Well, I think worship should be…” It doesn’t MATTER what you THINK. It matters what GOD THINKS, and he TELLS us what he thinks by speaking to us in the Scriptures, and he says acceptable worship is characterized by reverence and awe, and every single one of you acts as if he has not said that, and if he has said it, you simply don’t care. This absolutely offends me. You are simply ignoring the Word of God and making up your own religion. How could I not be offended? How could I sit here and say nothing while you simply turn a deaf ear to God’s voice, choosing to hear him in the music instead? He has spoken in his Word, and you have not listened, yet you feel absolutely free to comment on what you think, as if we should all be silent before the authority of your mind.”

    With these ones you previously posted on Jim’s post titled: A Farmer Explains Church Music

    “For this reason, I don’t want to judge anyone else for their worship. I think the Bible makes some very clear points about worship, and once they have all been considered, there isn’t a whole lot of room for variation. While I may think some things are wrong, I wouldn’t properly judge anyone for it.”

    “For my part, if some Christian or other disagrees with me on worship, I don’t want to make a big deal out of it. Sure, we can talk about it, but I don’t want to be hostile about it, because I’m much more concerned THAT you worship than with HOW you worship. I am concerned about how we worship. I think it’s tremendously important. But I think that someone understands the gospel is FAR more important.”

    Sounds like an awful lot of judgment going on here….

  100. amyleesspace said,

    Leave it to Pablo Honey…. EXCELLENT!

    Aren’t you out with my hubster?

  101. RubeRad said,

    The OT stuff is only supported by the equation that OT Temple Worship = New Covenant church.

    ;I haven’t caught up reading all of this yet, but I just want to quickly note on my way out the door that if you’re going to base your theology on a preponderance of verses concerning Israel under the old covenant, you might as well become a theonomist and start agitating for laws to execute blasphemers.

  102. danielbalc said,

    447 views yesterday. My new best day ever by over 100. Thanks to everybody for making it happen. I couldn’t have the rookie 5n, hanging her 414 over my head for much longer.

    But seriously the comment padding needs to stop.

    Keep the comments on topic please.

    I’m still waiting for Echo and/or Bruce to tell me how they justify their own worship services OR what scriptures they use to demonstrate danicing as an inappropriate form of worship. I will accept either arguments.

    As for the rest of you, please only comment if it adds to the conversation or creates a relevant side note (like my BDE 😉 )

  103. Midge said,

    First there are rules to WORSHIP. Now there are rules to COMMENTING???

    I don’t get it… :-/ Tell me what’s next, Fidel??

  104. danielbalc said,

    Rube,

    Re:66

    Yeah that does seem over the top. Not so much each style, but the fact that they are all marketed in the way that they are. However just because a style of music is a certain way does not change what is being said/done. It’s preposterous to assume that the “waspy”style of worship being practiced by some is more acceptable than the Chinese style.

    I would very much like to hear what the “rules” are from our worship policemen in the conversation. Although it seems to me that one (or maybe both) have decided to stop commenting for personal reasons (I can understand that), I really think there is still value in holding this conversation. BTW Midge, that’s why I am asking people to stay on topic. All the distractions (and personal attacks) are detrimental to the ideal of edification.

  105. Matt S said,

    I look forward to my “spiritual spanking” in heaven for all the times I have danced in a worship service. I am sure God is very displeased with me, but I just can’t help myself.

  106. Jessica said,

    Wow I don’t read this blog for 2 days and look what I missed. It took me a long time to read all these comments and I admit I skipped a few.

    Maybe this issue is a cultural issue rather than a theological one. Here is a video I took from the mission trip to Ghana last summer.

    http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=947405985

    These people are dancing just for the pure fun of it and I’m sure for the sense of community it bring to their village. Each village had their own “signature” dance. Now when we went to a worship service on a Sunday they danced with the same or more enthusiasm and energy to their worship songs. BTW their worship began with high praise and dancing and then moved to lifting of hands and ended in a very solemn time of bowing with their faces in the dirt. Is this wrong for them too? Or because they are not as “civilized” as we are maybe it’s okay for them but not us in America.

    On the other hand I recently expierienced another flavor of worship when my family visited a church (while no vacation) of a well known reformed teacher. They started the service with a solemn time of reflection and confession with only a violin playing. Then a choir stood up along with the congregation and sung 3 hymns all of which I was unfamiliar. The whole service was very uncontemporary, but the sermon was great. In fact they highlighted the fact that they were not contemporary and nver would be on the back of their bulletin. Unfortunately I was having cough attacks throughout the service so I stood outside where I could hear and see the service.

    My thoughts on this view are :
    Weren’t hymns once contemporary music when they were written?
    What about using contemporary elements in your service not used in the early church such as tiny communion cups, little bits of inedible crackers, choir robes, microphones, organs, etc. Where do you draw the line.
    My husband and I were on staff at a church where you couldn’t have a beard but they had a picture of Jesus w/ beard hanging in the sanctuary. They wouldn’t think of dancing at that church.

    Regarding the reformed church we visited they are reaching a segment of culture with their style of worship that maybe another church could not reach. Saddleback type church reach out to another segment of or culture, LWC hits another segment.

    I have more thoughts but no more time!

  107. danielbalc said,

    Rube I’m a bit confused on where you stand on this issue. Could you clarify, do you think dancing is an acceptable form of praise to God?

  108. RubeRad said,

    Rube I’m a bit confused on where you stand on this issue. Could you clarify, do you think dancing is an acceptable form of praise to God?

    You can put me on Echo & Dad’s “side”. Dancing as worship is fine on your own, but not “in church” (where “in church” means Lord’s Day congregational worship, and “dancing” means “really dancing” — I’m not trying to put a moratorium on swaying etc.)

  109. Albino Hayford said,

    Still no defense of pianos, organs, etc.

  110. danielbalc said,

    ok rube, now that you have taken a “side” can you please explain why you chose that side?

    the reason I am asking is because I feel like i get a clearer answer from you.

  111. Matt S said,

    I submit that those who believe dancing has no place in corporate worship believe this because they are uncomfortable with dancing as a whole.

    I am going to go out on a limb here and say that Bruce, Rube and Echo (to name a few) would not be found on a dance floor by choice at any function.

    Thus at church when others are dancing it becomes awkward for those who are not comfortable entering in in this manner to just stand there like fish out of water.

    So instead of just saying, “I feel weird dancing in church and do not want to but if others are comfortable doing it then great for them”

    you say, “dancing in church is wrong not because the Bible says so but because I do not like to do it so it must be wrong”

    Finally, I suggest that those of you who condemn dancing in church get alone in your room, crank up the praise music and learn a few moves because I got a feeling we are all going to be doing it when we get to spend eternity face to face with the King of Kings!

  112. Matt S said,

    ….. Also, you can stop now with your “Why don’t we let everyone do whatever they want in church” nonsense as such things as barking, rolling on the floor, and other antics are strangely absent from the BIble while dancing does make an appearance a few times.

  113. Jessica said,

    This whole conversation reminded me of this voicemail message to a pastor:

    http://ship-of-fools.com/Signs/movies/hello_pastor.html

    Albino had it on his blog awhile ago. I just thought it was appropriate.

  114. gospelordeath said,

    Matt,

    Re: 111

    You think worship is a matter of personal taste, or perhaps a matter of culture, not a matter of right and wrong. Therefore you assume that the healthy attitude about worship is, well, if you want to, go ahead.

    Our view is that worship is a matter of right and wrong. It’s not a matter of taste or culture. Worship is not a time for everyone to do their own thing, expressing their own feelings and emotions and heart. That’s not what worship is. It is not self expression. Having emotions, obviously, is not wrong. But worship is not the time to express yourself. It is a time to imitate God, and to do so together, in unison. Worship is corporate. If everyone is standing and singing a song, and you begin dancing, you have just declared yourself an individual and separated yourself from the body. You have done that by saying that you wanted to express yourself in a way differently from how everyone else is doing it. How everyone else is doing it does not satisfy you. You are particularly joyful, and you’ve just GOT to express yourself with a little jig.

    The reformed view of worship entails a rejection of this kind of individuality. Do you want me to show you a verse which says, “You are not an individual in worship, but a part of the body.” I cannot show you one. But neither can I show you a verse that says that communion ought to be served to women. It is never said in the Scriptures. Not once. But we all agree that serving communion to women is good and biblical, even though it isn’t even stated in Scripture. Not anywhere. If your demand is that everything be laid out in baby talk for you in Scripture, then you won’t be satisfied. The Bible was written for adults who can comprehend larger concepts and derive principles from them. You may disagree that worship is something that is corporate, and that’s fine. Go ahead disagree, but that’s the reasoning behind it. Mostly that’s because everything in the Bible seems to point towards a corporate understanding of things, and if you look at history, this radical individualism that we all grow up breathing in our culture is new to the world in the last 150-200 years or so. Prior to that, it would have been contrary to common sense to think so individualistically as we do today.

    The bottom line is that dancing in worship is all about self expression. But we don’t think worship should be about self expression. You should conform to worship, worship should not conform to you. That is a general principle illustrated by even the second commandment. The worship of God cannot be formed by us. That’s why making uncommanded images is prohibited. Of course, the Israelites were commanded to make images in the temple, namely of the cherubim, right, so that’s why I say uncommanded. And anyway, that’s the point of the commandment, namely that you can’t worship God however you want to. That’s the main point.

    All of the arguments in favor of dancing point to this: “My dancing is justified because I want to dance, and there were some people in the Bible who danced at some times. And if I want to do something in worship with sincerity, it must be ok, because didn’t the Spirit of God make me happy, and isn’t my expression of that happiness a good thing, and doesn’t dancing express that joy that we all have in the gospel of Jesus Christ?” Boy that sure sounds good, but it’s wrong. It’s absolutely wrong. You don’t get to do whatever you want in worship. It’s not a time of unrestrained individuality. It is a time for CONFORMITY. I know every fiber of your being cries out against this way of thinking, along with all others on this thread, except Bruce and Rube, so I don’t even know why I’m bothering to write this, but I am anyway.

    But I’ll say it again. Worship is not about individual expression or taste or personal preference, it’s about CONFORMITY. Yes, you hate that, because being taken over by the Borg is your worst nightmare, I know. But the Christian life is about conformity, namely conformity to Christ. You did know that, I’m sure. But the Christian life is about conformity, it only makes sense that worship would follow that pattern.

    And again, the dancing in the Bible is not at a regular worship service. Do you honestly think that people were really and truly dancing in the early worship services of the apostolic church? Do you really? Why is there no mention of it?

    Now, sure, there was dancing at various times. Daniel mentioned the Israelite response to the destruction of Pharaoh in the Red sea. Great. That’s not a worship service. That verse is useless to you to prove that dancing should be done in church. Utterly useless. Verses that prove that dancing was done in the first century, like the story of the prodigal son that Daniel also mentioned, does not by any means have anything at ALL to do with a worship service. In fact, Jesus’ parable here seems to indicate that dancing is associated with special feasts/festivals/holidays. And what do you know, in the OT, dancing is always associated with special times at the Temple, where people would go a couple times a year for special festivals and feasts!

    So the equivalent would be that every year at Christmas time, all the people of your church went to church every day for a week to eat dinner together, big feasts. And as part of the dinner feasts, you’d have entertainment. You’d have people come and dance and sing and all sorts of things. Maybe you could even do a full on talent show, and everyone will have a great time enjoying one another.

    But this is a party. But notice that it’s a CHRISTMAS party. In the OT, they were commanded to throw a lot of parties. In the NT, we aren’t commanded to throw parties. We’re only commanded to go to church. You can have a party if you want, you can even call it religious – say if it’s a Christmas party or something – and you can dance at said party. Feel free.

    But the regular worship of God is not a party. It is the regular worship of God. It is a time for restraint, discipline and conformity. I know you hate that very concept. But try to come up with a reason for why you hate it so much.

    Now, meanwhile, Albino wants to talk about instruments. Sigh. I don’t understand why no one wants to actually interact with my arguments, but only wants to prove that I’m a hypocrite. Why is that? Do you think that if you prove that I’m a hypocrite you can discount my arguments? What would you do if a hypocrite said something that was biblically sound that you needed to hear? What then? Would you ignore what he has said because he is a hypocrite? Judge what I have said based on what I said. It’s pointless to prove me a hypocrite. Would you like proof that I am a hypocrite? I am a sinner. Of course I exhibit hypocrisy. You just want a reason to reject what I’m saying because you don’t like it because you have embraced the radical individualistic assumptions that everyone embraces, and which I grew up believing in quite strongly. You think worship is a matter of individual self expression. It isn’t though. You’re wrong.

    But Albino, worship has circumstances and it has elements. An element is something like the sermon. It’s not an option. You have to have a sermon. That’s an element. It is essential to worship. A circumstance is something that wisdom governs, not law, such as what time you should meet for worship. It is not more pleasing to God to meet at 6 in the morning. In fact, this doesn’t please God at all, because everyone will be half asleep, they won’t want to be there, they’ll all be cranky all day long because they got up too early, etc. But there’s no law against having worship at 6 am. You can if you want to. But it is unwise. It is pastorally irresponsible.

    Having instruments at all or what kinds of instruments you have is a circumstance. But actually, I find that singing as a whole is a circumstance. There is no proof that anyone sang in a worship service in the NT, and there is no historical proof that the early church did any singing at all in their worship services. Sermon and communion was all they did in the early, early church. I’m thinking of Justin Martyr in the 2nd century, circa 150 or so. No singing at all. But, and now I can’t remember, I think they did have some type of confession of faith. So the congregation did participate in confessing or affirming what they believe, and I think this was associated with the Lord’s Supper. To respond to the sermon and the Lord’s Supper by a confession of faith is very, very appropriate, since these things are supposed to work faith in you, and faith is primarily expressed through confession of faith. But this confession cannot and should not be your own confession, but one that is taught to you and conforms to Scripture. Thus something like the Nicene Creed or Apostle’s creed (which originated in the early church as something used as a confession of faith in worship services) should be and can be used in church.

    But these are justified because they conform to Scripture. And it would not be inappropriate to sing the Nicene or Apostles’ Creed, so as to make it easier for the people to memorize. Moses was commanded to teach the Israelites a song at the end of Deut, which he did, and they were to memorize it. Well, the point was for the Israelites to memorize it, so that they’d all know it. They sung it to make it easier to memorize. So if it is good to confess your faith in response to the sermon or Lord’s Supper, then it is appropriate to sing something you have memorized that conforms to Scripture, and teaches you what to believe, just as Moses did with Israel. Notice it’s appropriate even though Moses never mentions singing it in worship, but just singing it. All I’m saying is that singing makes memory easier, and Moses illustrates that. So I don’t see any reason why singing cannot be a part of the worship service as an aide to memory.

    However, if it’s ok to sing the Creed, which is not Scripture yet conforms to it, then there’s no reason why we can’t sing other songs which also conform to Scripture. And we all have hymns or whatever that have particular meaning for us. Let’s face it, people do a lot of learning when they sing.

    But if we are to sing in church, we should sing decently and in good order. We shouldn’t all be making up our own tune. We should agree on a tune in advance, or perhaps have someone playing an instrument to help us sing together. But the purpose of the instrument is to help us sing together along with the tune, the tune being what unites our voices together.

    I think a piano is a good option for this, but certainly not the only option. I think an organ is a terrible option for this. The reason why is that an organ tends to drown out the sound of the peoples’ voices, and that ruins it. What you’re supposed to be doing is confessing what you believe in response to what you have heard, since what you have heard has provoked you to faith (Rom 10:17). Part of why we respond by confession of faith is to teach the people that they are supposed to be responding to the message by believing in the truths of Scripture. So that’s why we confess our faith. And part of why it works to teach people is that they hear their neighbor saying the same thing they are. They are part of the body of believers who all believe the same thing. They are united by their common confession. That’s what makes us a called out people, namely what we believe. What we believe we believe together. The Greek word for confession literally means saying the same thing, and it’s used all over the place in the NT. We speak in conformity to the unity of the church. Saying the same thing is what gives us unity, because we believe in the same thing, namely Christ our hope.

    So if you have some loud organ with these gigantic mega pipes that are so loud you can’t even hear your own voice singing, even though you sing at the top of your lungs, an experience I’ve had more than once, I find there to no longer be any point to singing at all. Why sing if you can’t even hear yourself?

    There is a difference between speaking your confession and thinking it. It’s important to say it out loud. Other people can hear you speaking, and that’s powerful, but you can also hear yourself speaking, and that’s also powerful. When you say something out loud you convince yourself that you believe it because you hear yourself saying it. You need to hear yourself proclaiming the truths of God. And after all, this too is hearing the Word, when that song you are singing/confessing conforms to the Word of God, because it is the truths of Scripture you hear yourself declaring, reflecting the sermon. And that we sing it helps us to remember what we have heard, what we have said we believe.

    If you do not like the words of a song because you do not believe them, by all means, do not sing those words, do not give your word lightly. Do not confess what you do not believe.

    But anyway, an organ deprives us from hearing ourselves or our neighbors. This, however, is a circumstance, not an element. You violate no law having an organ or drums or guitars or whatever. You violate no law. However, wisdom tells us that if we are trying to hear one another confess our faith, and if we are taking that seriously, we should have as few distractions from that as possible. The mood should be somber and serious, to reflect the seriousness of what we are doing. That’s why Hebrews 12 tells us to have reverence in worship. Reverence is not the same thing as simply respect. It is quiet somber seriousness motivated by respect and fear and worshipful adoration. Worship is serious business. Look at how emotional people get about it? All of us take worship very seriously. So when we worship, our worship should reflect that.

    So I don’t think the Bible is advocating a type of worship that is, as we say, happy clappy. It should not be characterized by loud and distracting music and fast rhythms. It should be somber, reflecting the seriousness of what we are doing. We are confessing our faith. Yes, we’re happy about it, but we aren’t there to express our happiness, we’re there to confess our faith. That’s the point. The POINT is not to express our happiness. Happiness is a good thing to be sure, but it’s not the POINT. Do you understand what I mean by this, talking about the point, the focus of what we are doing?

    In other words, when we sing, we’re not trying to say, “I”m happy”, but rather we’re trying to say, “Here’s what I believe”. We believe that worship should be simple. It should be as simple as possible, without a lot of additional stuff added to it. Simplicity is a virtue of good worship. So what is superfluous to confessing our faith is not part of what we should be doing.

    And I mean, seriously, God wants you to be happy and full of joy. But happiness is not the specific response to the sermon we’re looking for here. For Paul does not say that JOY comes through hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ, but rather he says that FAITH comes through hearing…etc (Rom 10:17). That’s the point. When we hear from Christ in the sermon, we respond to HIM, saying “I believe you”, not “I’m happy.” I mean, it’s good to be happy, don’t get me wrong, but who cares? I don’t care if the sermon makes you happy, I care if the sermon built you up in your faith. You can be as happy as you want, but no amount of happiness will get you to heaven. What will get you to heaven is faith in Christ. What the worship service is about is being fed by the Word of God and responding in faith, reflecting your belief in that Word of God.

    Basically, in the worship service, God says, “Believe this” and we respond “We believe it.” That’s the worship service in a nutshell. Now if God says, “Believe this” and you say, “I’m so happy!” what sense does that make? “Believe that Christ died to save you from your sins and to make you righteous before God.” “I’m so happy! Yay!” Huh? That’s not the proper response. it’s silly and strange. The proper response is, “I believe it, and I’m grateful to God for it.” That’s very different from “I’m happy”.

    Hey, be happy, that’s great. Sermons often make me very happy. I love a good sermon, and it makes me happy. And nothing ruins my mood like a moralistic sermon. Nothing. Ruins my whole day. Believe me. But this response is not what the corporate worship service is about. It’s about “God, I believe what you have told me to believe.” In other words, we are giving our “amen” to the sermon.

    God speaks and we say, “Amen (it’s true).”

    It’s kind of like when God calls “Abraham, Abraham!” and Abraham responds “Here I am.” God demands something of you, and you comply, offering yourself to him as his servant. God calls you saying, “Believe this” and you respond with, “Here I am, I believe it.”

    Anyway, that’s what singing should be about in church. It’s is not self expression, not at all, but conformity to another, namely God, for he calls us to belief, and we respond by confessing our faith, all saying the same thing.

    Music, singing, can be an aide to help us confess our faith together, and can help the people to memorize and learn lots of things. Most people learn much of their theology from songs. It’s true. We do a lot of learning that way.

    Wisdom dictates that the simpler the music is, the better, because you don’t want the music to distract from the point of what you are doing. You are confessing your faith. It should be somber, reverent.

    So no, happy clappy singing in church is not a violation of law per se, but it is a violation of the principles of worship, and only shows that those principles are not understood. Because as I said, we’re not trying to say, “I’m so happy!” but we’re trying to say, “Yes, sir!” to God when he tells us what to believe.

    Imagine a Marine Corps drill instructor telling the recruits to make their beds, and someone responds with “I’m so happy!” Is that the proper response? No, it’s nonsense.

    Happy clappy worship simply doesn’t understand the proper response, the appropriate response. It’s kind of like telling jokes at a funeral. It’s inappropriate. It’s not really a sin, but it’s unwise, and betrays a lack of understanding and appreciation for what you’re doing and the nature of the occasion.

    Right now you are probably all marveling at how much talent I have in making you absolutely crazy with rage. Fine. This is nothing beyond simple common sense when you look at the Scriptures. Common sense. Once you understand what the point of a worship service is, and what you’re doing, how you should do it is common sense.

    God is saying “Believe this”, and we’re saying, “Yes sir!” It’s quite simple. Temple worship was different. That’s not a dialogue between God and his people, that’s a feast and a festival, a party. Dance at parties, not when talking to God.

    The purpose of the music in worship is not at all for its own sake or to be enjoyed. It’s to help us sing together. Nothing more. And we sing to help us remember what we have said in confession to our Lord. And we should remember it, because we have given our word to believe it by confessing it to God. We have, by saying we believe it, committed to believing it. We have promised to believe it, so to speak. Such a serious thing should be taken seriously, like taking vows at a wedding. Who have you ever seen jumping around excitedly at their own wedding? It’s a very joyful, yet somber occasion. In our worship services, husband and bride reunite so to speak to renew their marriage vows. God says believe this, we say amen. Since believing in Christ is what unites us to Christ, this constitutes something very similar to renewing wedding vows, reaffirming wedding vows, like when a husband and wife talk about how much they love each other. “I love you, darling, I’m so glad I married you.” “Well, I’m glad I get to spend the rest of my life with you.” You get the idea. God speaking to us, telling us what to believe, and our response that we believe it is a similar kind of thing. It’s a renewal of wedding vows, a reaffirmation of our mutual promise to each other.

    So it is to be taken seriously and somberly, because what we are doing is serious, even though it brings us great joy. A wedding is the same. It brings everyone great joy to even witness it, much more to participate in it, and yet there isn’t a dry eye in the place because of the weight of the moment. And it is somberly expressed. The witnesses are in an awed silence as the ceremony progresses, waiting to be told what to do and when to do it.

    And afterwards, they go and have a big feast together and drink and dance the night away. All of which is very appropriate. If you want to have a fellowship dinner on Sunday afternoon and have dancing, perhaps even hiring a DJ, knock yourselves out. But not in the worship service. It’s not appropriate just like it isn’t appropriate to jump up and start dancing while the bride and groom are exchanging their vows. Only a moron would do that.

    I’m not calling you morons. I assume you understand what’s going on in the worship service differently than I do. I think if you understood it the same way as I do, these things would be very plain to you as they are to me. So I’m trying to get you to think about it in the way that I do.

    Not because I’m convinced that MY view is superior because I am superior. I am convinced that my view is that which is espoused in Scripture. But nowhere does it say that a worship service is like renewing your wedding vows. However, nowhere does it say that it should be a celebratory feast either. Have feasts, but the worship service is not a feast, it’s not a party. It’s a ceremony if you like. But you won’t see that clearly stated in those terms in Scripture.

    But that something is not clearly stated in baby talk is not at all sufficient to say that something is unbiblical. Again, if it is, then you better stop serving women communion, because nowhere in the Bible are they included in discussions about it. there is no clear statement that women should be given communion. You might argue that no clear statement is given that infants can or should be baptized, but once again, not everything has to be clearly stated in baby talk. You are not the original audience after all. This book is over 2000 years old, some of it more than 3000 years old. You are very far removed from the original audience who would have understood it quite naturally. Not everything is clearly said in baby talk terms current with our times. The Bible wasn’t written in our times. If it was, it would be a different book.

    Sometimes you have to put some things together, and utilize common sense. And you have to know something about the Bible as a whole. You can’t read it the same way you read the newspaper. The Bible does in fact advocate serving women communion, even though it is never stated clearly in those precise terms.

    And unless your church doesn’t give women communion, then you agree with this principle. You may disagree that it applies here, but you do agree with this principle.

    I have appealed to this principle, to a basic understanding of what worship is, and good common sense in order to make my argument to you in a way that you will understand. And even though I know you will all understand it well enough, I know you will reject it and not believe it, and you will accuse me of all sorts of things, and you will fail to interact with my argument at all.

    That’s alright. I’m not worried about it. The Word of God always brings about the effect God intends for it. And even your rage at me personally proves that it has the effect intended. So go ahead, do your worst.

  115. gospelordeath said,

    Daniel, you were right. The infrequency of my responses was deliberate.

  116. amyleesspace said,

    Echo through all of these words you once again have not give ONE single verse that states dancing as a form of worhship is wrong.

    You went off on how if one is dancing the rest aren’t you have singled yourself out.. Okay so lets say this… If the whole congregation is dancing is it ok in “your book” then… because no one has singled themselves out????

    “Why sing if you can’t even hear yourself?”

    We are not singing for ourselves are we, I thought we were singing to the Lord???? Why do we need to hear ourself?

  117. Matt S said,

    I tried to head off that diatribe with post #112, apparently to no avail.

  118. Matt S said,

    I hope the singing and rejoicing in heaven is not too loud for your tastes.

    In all seriousness, here is my question:

    How do you think God is responding to the way people worship in other “non-reformed” churches? Is he upset? Does it anger Him?

    By worship I mean the music is loud, the instruments are plenty, the words are not from a hymnal, and the response is lifting of hands, clapping and dancing.

    Please just answer that question

    BTW by your logic no one should lift their hands, clap, sway, sit if everyone is standing, stand if everyone is sitting, kneel, bow, sing too loud, cry, etc… because all of the above would draw attention to themselves correct?

  119. gospelordeath said,

    Amy, God doesn’t get hungry, and if he did, he wouldn’t look to us to feed him. He doesn’t get hungry for worship either. Nonetheless it is him we are worshiping.

    Matt, you’re missing the point. You suppose that what I’m saying is that if we obey the rules of worship, then our worship is acceptable. The only problem with that is that our obedience can never be but filthy rags. That doesn’t mean we don’t obey, and that doesn’t mean obedience is not important. What it means is that you recognize that your worship is only acceptable through Christ the Mediator. But because of this, we want to strive to do it properly, just like we want to strive to live obedient lives, to the glory of God. We don’t worship properly in order to get God to accept our worship, we strive to worship properly as an act of worship! Just as the gospel doesn’t give us a license to sin all we want, the gospel doesn’t give us the license to worship however we want.

    Re: your BTW question…more or less. Not exactly. It’s not like old people who can’t stand are being sinful by not standing, or as if parents who have to get up and take a fussy child out are sinning. Your question indicates that you find my view ridiculous, and I can appreciate that, but try to see it as a view that I believe to be commended in Scripture, and as such is not some monstrous oppression of the worshipful spirit of the people of God. Believe me, I am a VERY independently minded person. When I came into the OPC, I wrestled with anything and everything for a while. But I eventually came around, and I have really learned to appreciate what you can now only see as monstrous oppression. It’s not monstrous oppression any more than God’s law and our call to obey it is some kind of monstrous oppression for believers. I have learned to appreciate reformed worship, and the result is a far more satisfying Sunday than I ever had in any of the myriad of churches I have tried in my life.

    Look, I know exactly how you view what I’m saying. I understand perfectly. I’ve been there myself. I have walked in those shoes.

    Who among you other than me, Bruce and Rube has experienced more than one or two reformed worship services? How many of you have learned about it and figured out what is going on in it, so as to be able to appreciate it, and actually experienced it for yourself?

    Do you find it odd that the only ones that have experienced it are those that are in favor of it, and to a man, all of you who are against it have never given it a chance? Do you further find it odd that Bruce, Rube and I all used to think just like you all do once upon a time? Do you find it odd that the only ones who have given all the various forms of worship a fair hearing are those who choose to be reformed – also to a man?

    And you know, please tell me what I stand to gain by you going to a reformed church? Please tell me what my evil, wicked motive might be for trying to convince you to see things from the reformed perspective. What do I stand to gain?

    Nothing. I don’t want anything from you.

    I know you think I’m just a mean person or whatever. But really, I want something better for you.

    You’ll probably really find this insulting, but I can’t help it. I’d rather you be insulted and see it how I want you to see it.

    I see it as if every Sunday I’m dining on filet mignon, wrapped in bacon, cooked to perfection, and I go to this great restaurant where every Sunday they give it away for free. And I see you shelling out huge amounts of money to get McDonald’s. This is really how I see it. I’m just trying to tell you that you can come over to this restaurant and get a free filet mignon, that’s all. And your response is simply that you love McDonald’s, and how dare I suggest that it isn’t perfectly nutritious.

    I just want you to eat steak. that’s all. I know how good it is. And I really just want to share it with you. that’s all. I know I come across sometimes like, “Eat this steak whether you like it or not!” But I don’t mean to.

    For your own sake, try the steak. It’s so much better. But you have to learn to appreciate it first. You can’t just try one steak one time. It doesn’t work like that.

    Oh well.

    Just because I’m sinful doesn’t mean the reformed haven’t got it right.

  120. Pablo Honey said,

    Echo, first off, why do you continue to insult our intelligence? Please just write your posts, state your thoughts, and let it be. I am tired of hearing you say that you are inciting us to anger to prove a point. Now in regards to your post, I can’t believe you wrote that whole huge post to tell us that singing and instruments are a circumstance of worship, but dancing is not. How hard is it for you to convince yourself that what you are writing is biblical and true? The fact remains that you cannot justify your form of worship any more than you can ours. I am not trying to say that the way you worship is wrong. I have been to many worship services similar to the type I am sure I would find at your church, and believe it or not, I enjoyed the worship. I enjoy worship as long as the focus is to praise God. I do not enjoy worship when I feel like the focus is drawn away from God. I have been to many worship services that I did not enjoy. Most of these services tend to be more like concerts than worship. I do not like it when the congregation is not involved. I do not like singing a lot of songs that talk about me. I get very turned off by the songs that constantly say “I do this…” Because you are right that worship is not about us. I HATE when I see people jumping around or acting silly just to make a spectacle of themselves. But I do not have a problem with people dancing to worship God, because you CAN be overcome with joy when giving him praise! I wish I had time to write some more but I have to run, but please tell me what you think without calling me an imbecile.

  121. Albino Hayford said,

    Ok, I have been in a fair number of reformed church services. Surprise! I still favor using a variety of instruments and musical genres to worship God. Your worship style is not my cup of tea.

    This is a cultural issue. You have done nothing to defend the piano, the organ, or how you would change the Africans or the Chinese and their expressions of worship to God.

    “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”

  122. gospelordeath said,

    Pablo,

    I don’t think your problem or anyone else’s problem has anything to do with anyone’s intelligence. Not at all. Forgive me if I gave that impression. I appreciate your post. It sounds like you have given worship a lot of thought, and for that I rejoice. And I think you’ve come to a lot of the right conclusions about it. Great!

  123. gospelordeath said,

    Albino,

    I never said that once you’ve been to a fair number of “reformed” worship services, you’ll never go back to rock concert style, happy clappy stuff ever again. There’s something missing there from my comment, namely the bit about learning to appreciate it, which obviously you never got around to doing, because appreciating reformed worship and appreciating a vast diversity of types of worship services and saying that worship is merely cultural (as if worship is nothing more than the style of music – and it is a gross oversimplification to say that this thread is all about mere differences in styles of music), these are mutually exclusive. You cannot truly appreciate confessionally reformed worship and think that worship is merely a matter of cultural opinion.

    Everything you said boils down to this: “I don’t understand what you’re saying.” You don’t understand what I’m saying. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you do. You don’t. You don’t get it at all. I know why you don’t get it. You should not think that you do get it. You don’t.

  124. Albino Hayford said,

    This is what you are saying: “Everyone who has a different style of worship than the one embraced by my particular flavor of reformed theological tradition is anti-Biblical and not pleasing to God.” — Then you throw in condescension: “I used to be like you simple Christians, but now that I’m in this deep stream of Reformed theology, I know exactly what kind of worship pleases God, and it’s not the kind you do in your churches.” Do I have you about right?

    Echo, you totally missed several really good points that exposed your arguments as hypocritical. If, as you claim, we should not use electric guitars, drums, sing songs with a rock beat, sway, dance, or clap in worship to God because, according to you, that is not part of the New Covenant, then you MUST defend anything not specifically mentioned in the New Testament church that you embrace. This is YOUR burden to prove.

    You MUST defend piano playing, organ playing, harmonizing, any song played during the offering, etc. because those things are NOT mentioned in the N.T.

    If, however, you say, “It’s about the heart’s attitude and reverence toward God, not the outward expression,” THEN we agree. Somebody can sing 200-year old hymns and be dead inside and NOT pleasing to God, just as someone can dance and clap and not be pleasing to God.

    And still no answer for Chinese or African forms of worship to God. Sigh…

    And your condescending “happy clappy” comment would, I’m sure, include King David who instructs us in the Psalms to “Clap your hands all you people, shout unto God with a voice of triumph.”

    We spiritual simpletons will await more manna from above.

  125. gospelordeath said,

    Albino,

    No. No you haven’t gotten it right. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. Again, you don’t get it. You are advocating an antinomian view as a response to a perception of legalism. You don’t get it. I’m sure it’s my fault for not explaining it thoroughly enough, but I’m sure neither one of us has the patience for any more elaboration. Suffice it to say that no, you absolutely don’t understand what I’m saying at all. You don’t get it.

  126. gospelordeath said,

    And by the way, as long as you continue to insist that you DO get it, which you are convinced you do, then how can progress be made? You misunderstand what I’m saying, and then argue against what you think I’m saying. I say you don’t get it, you say I’m arrogant, as if my claim about your misunderstanding is some kind of personal attack. Dude, you don’t have to be particularly smart to understand my view. That’s not it. But the fact is, you don’t get it. Why you don’t get it doesn’t matter all that much, but the fact is, you don’t get it. Until you allow me to be the judge of whether or not you understand what I am saying, then no reasonable discussion can take place. I’m sorry, that’s just how communication works.

  127. Albino Hayford said,

    When the music fades and all is stripped away
    And I simply come
    Longing just to bring something that’s of worth
    That will bless Your heart

    I’ll bring You more than a song
    For a song in itself
    Is not what You have required
    You search much deeper within
    Through the way things appear
    You’re looking into my heart

    I’m coming back to the heart of worship
    And it’s all about You
    All about You, Jesus
    I’m sorry, Lord, for the things I’ve made it
    When it’s all about You
    All about You, Jesus

    King of endless worth, no one could express
    How much You deserve
    Though I’m weak and poor, all I have is Yours
    Every single breath

    I’m coming back to the heart of worship
    And it’s all about You
    All about You, Jesus
    I’m sorry, Lord, for the things I’ve made it
    When it’s all about You
    All about You, Jesus

    — Matt Redman

  128. Matt S said,

    Echo,

    The worship style you gravitate towards is a matter of taste and personality. I would never say the reformed style of worship is wrong and you should never say the “happy clappy” (as you put it) style of worship is wrong.

    The simple fact is God is pleased when we worship Him with sincerity no matter how it is done. This is why a tribe in Africa can dance around in circles in a dirt lot and please God and the reformed can sings older hymns with limited instruments inside a building and please God.

    You, Bruce and Rube are in a reformed church because the worship style is pleasing to your personality (among other reasons) and when you worship God is pleased. I am in a non-demonational, “charismatic” church because the worship style is pleasing to my personality (among other reasons) and God is also pleased when I worship.

    You are being dogmatic about a subject that is a matter of preference once again. Stop it.

    And why is it that the reformed are the only ones so adamant that they know the right way to do everything? I do not get it.

  129. itsasecret2u said,

    Echo,

    Is this your position:

    There is a right way to worship; there is a wrong way to worship. The bible tells us the right way to worship. Any worship being practiced that is not in line with the worship of the bible is displeasing to God.

    ?

    Did I get it right?

  130. danielbalc said,

    I appreciate the tempering of emotions that it takes for people to not respond to certain quips made in this discussion. I have to say it has been valuable for me to hear opponents of my understanding. I have not been persuaded but rather further entrenched in the certainty of the relevancy of dance as an acceptable act of praise.
    There is simply too much for me to reply to everything but I think this paragraph was worth replying to…
    Echo said…

    “And you know, please tell me what I stand to gain by you going to a reformed church? Please tell me what my evil, wicked motive might be for trying to convince you to see things from the reformed perspective. What do I stand to gain?
    Nothing. I don’t want anything from you.
    I know you think I’m just a mean person or whatever. But really, I want something better for you.
    You’ll probably really find this insulting, but I can’t help it. I’d rather you be insulted and see it how I want you to see it.
    I see it as if every Sunday I’m dining on filet mignon, wrapped in bacon, cooked to perfection, and I go to this great restaurant where every Sunday they give it away for free. And I see you shelling out huge amounts of money to get McDonald’s. This is really how I see it. I’m just trying to tell you that you can come over to this restaurant and get a free filet mignon, that’s all. And your response is simply that you love McDonald’s, and how dare I suggest that it isn’t perfectly nutritious.
    I just want you to eat steak. that’s all. I know how good it is. And I really just want to share it with you. that’s all. I know I come across sometimes like, “Eat this steak whether you like it or not!” But I don’t mean to.
    For your own sake, try the steak. It’s so much better. But you have to learn to appreciate it first. You can’t just try one steak one time. It doesn’t work like that.”

    Echo i will tell you what you have to gain… You have to CONVINCE yourself that you are eating filet mignon by radically denigrating every conflicting stance. It’s human nature. It’s the same reason I mock the dodgers. To ME the worse the dodgers look the more satisfaction I can take in the Padres. To YOU the worse other churches or denominations are the better your church/denomination is. That is the “evil wicked motive” that you have.
    I have the same problem when it comes to baseball. my criticism of the dodgers is just about the same as what my criticism of the padres would be. Consequently I must be careful so that in my effort to elevate the thing I like (Padres) by denigrating the thing I dislike (dodgers) I don’t destroy the thing that I love (Baseball)
    The fact is you aren’t eating filet mignon and we aren’t eating mcdonalds. That’s silly. I’ve seen a number of comments on a number of different threads that gave allusion to you thinking this but please hear this warning…. Be careful so that in your effort to elevate the thing you like (your denomination) by denigrating the thing you dislike (other denominations) you don’t destroy the thing that you love (The Church). Because that also happens to be the thing that Christ loves.

  131. RubeRad said,

    Most of these services tend to be more like concerts than worship

    Can you understand that from where I’m standing, any church service with a rock band looks more like a concert than like worship?

    And why is it that the reformed are the only ones so adamant that they know the right way to do everything? I do not get it.

    Probably because we are the only ones that know that there IS a right way. And this is Echo’s whole point. You have to understand that there is a right way, before you can figure out what the right way is.

    There is no proof that anyone sang in a worship service in the NT, and there is no historical proof that the early church did any singing at all in their worship services.

    Col 3:16 and Eph 5:19 notwithstanding, I really really doubt that anyone here thinks that apostolic churches were cutting the rug. And I totally agree that instruments should be minimized — supporting the singing, not driving the singing.
    Here’s (I think) a new point that hasn’t yet been made in this thread. It is critical to incorporate the WORD in all that we do in worship. Worship is two parts: Word, and Sacrament. Sacrament = baptism & communion, and the rest is word — but both word and sacrament have the common purpose of directing us to Christ. That’s why we listen to sermons, that’s why we have scripture readings, that’s why we have responsive psalm reading, that’s why we have corporate prayers, that’s why we affirm our common beliefs in written confessions, that’s why we sing — because these are all ways of expressing the Word of God to each other, and back to God.
    If there were no words, singing would not be worship. Humming in church would be pointless. Music alone is not worship. Music can be beautiful, it can evoke emotions, it can make people cry, but without WORD, music is only entertainment — pure vanity (Incidentally, that is why I (as a pretty good violinist, who gets called upon to do a lot of ‘special music’ at church) I have decided to stop playing classical music in church — it’s just decoration, entertainment. If what I play does not evoke in the listener WORDS that direct them back to scriptural truths, then my playing is just entertainment that directs attention to me, and my violin, and it’s a detriment to worship)
    So where’s the WORD in dancing? Maybe if the dancers were like a marching band and spelled out “Christ!”, but apart from that, I don’t see how it is possible for dancing to direct us to the Word made flesh, who is Christ.

  132. Matt S said,

    So where’s the WORD in dancing?

    Where is the Word in clapping?

    Where is the Word in the instruments?

    Where is the Word in the lifting of hands?

    Where is the Word in standing instead of sitting?

    These are all expressions of worship. Yes the words that you profess in the songs is of utmost importance but that does not mean you cannot have other elements of expression.

    Why is dancing being attacked, but instruments, lifting of hands, clapping, etc… are seemingly acceptable?

    It is a double standard. Assuming lifting of hands and clapping are acceptable which come to think of it are probably not in reformed circles, right?

  133. danielbalc said,

    I think it strange that both echo and now rube have ignored the fact that at the end of the last supper Jesus, along with the disciples sang a hymn (Matthew 26:30). You both have rightly emphasized the value of the Lords Supper as a sacrament that directs the people to Christ. But what is often neglected is that the conclusion of the passover meal (the last supper and our model for communion) was the singing of a hymn. Actually a series of Psalms. The Hallel Psalms. hallel, from which we get the word “halleujah” Hallel = Praise. Jah = Jahovah or “the LORD”.
    There are surprisingly few instances of the word “hallelujah” in the Bible (especially considering how often we hear the word in Christian circles). The two general areas of scripture and how and when they were used in early church custom is quite interesting.
    First of all there were the Hallel Psalms. 15 chapters of Psalms use the word “hallelujah” or “praise the Lord”: Psalm 104-106; 111-113; 115-118; 146-150
    The “egyptian hallel” (Psalms 113-118) were the Psalms sung at the end of the passover meal. These songs are the songs that Jesus sang just before his death! They were a reminder of the passover, the deliverance of the people from Egyptian tyranny. This is the same event that was marked by the singing and dancing of Miriam (Exodus 15).
    and then there is Revelation 19: 1-10. No where in scripture outside of the previously mentioned Psalms do we see the expression “praise the Lord” and then all of a sudden we have this incredible glimpse of Revelation 19. Now your eschatology matters. Some might consider this an event to take place in the future. That’s fine by me, but usually those same people have no problem saying “praise the Lord” or “hallelujah”. How dare they? If it’s future, only AFTER Christ has returned in glory then we should not rejoice in victory, we should not “rejoice and be glad” until we are participating in the wedding supper of the Lamb. After all it isn’t until “salvation and glory and power belong to our God” and until “our Lord God Almighty reigns”, and we recognize his judgments and his vengeance that we would be rightly echoing the refrains of Revelation 19.
    Or we could suppose that Revelation 19 isn’t just about the future, but about a present attitude of victorious praise that can be offered to God due to the victory of Jesus Christ on the cross.
    If you hold the latter view then you should be able to sing the Hallel psalms understanding that deliverance wasn’t by the blood of the lambs in Exodus but by the blood of the lamb at the cross. You should be able to say…
    Psalm 149

    1 Praise the Lord. 2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King. 3 Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp. 4 For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation. 5 Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds.
    6 May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, 7 to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, 8 to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, 9 to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints.
    and
    Psalm 150
    1 Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. 2 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. 3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, 4 praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, 5 praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. 6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

    it’s too bad that we don’t get any steak, but I guess I’ll have to settle for rejoicing in the salvation, glory and power of our God by praising him according to his word.

  134. RubeRad said,

    Where is the Word in clapping?

    Not there, unless clapping is supporting music (maintaining rhythm) like instruments do. I would note that the notion of a ‘clap offering’ is unbiblical. I suppose you would want to make the assertion that dancing can be in support of singing. I would say yes, there are many physical motions that can help a singer sing better, like swaying, clapping, opening your mouth, breathing, standing, … But real-dance-dancing is not one of them. Why do you think Ashley Simpson and Britney Spears lip-sync their concerts? Because dancing inhibits singing.

    Where is the Word in the instruments?

    See above.

    Where is the Word in the lifting of hands?

    Lifted hands point to Christ, and redirect us to Christ.

    Where is the Word in standing instead of sitting?

    We stand out of respect for the Word. When the scripture is read, people stand up. When the benediction is given, people stand up. When the call to worship is given, people stand up. For responsive readings and confessions, people stand up.

  135. RubeRad said,

    I am going to go out on a limb here and say that Bruce, Rube and Echo (to name a few) would not be found on a dance floor by choice at any function.

    I’ll agree that’s true of me, and I’m pretty sure that’s true of dad, but Echo admits to some amount of extra-congregational dancing somewhere up there in the comment trail. But what we prefer has nothing to do with whether what we say is correct.
    Consider, for instance, music. I am a classical musician. I prefer to hear classical music. I prefer to play classical music. It’s better music. (PS I do not consider traditional hymnody to be in the category ‘classical music’). But eventually, I came to the understanding that the sanctuary is not a concert hall (well, it may serve as one outside of Sunday morning…), and decided that my preference is not appropriate for worship. As you can see, in this case, my preference, and my understanding of theological correctness, are opposed.
    In the case of dancing in church vs. out of church, it so happens that my preference and my understanding of theological correctness, are aligned. So what?
    Have you ever had to submit your personal preference to scripture? I sure hope so, because if you never have, then either your preferences are perfect (and the Bible was wrong about total depravity), or you have no idea how your preferences are imperfect. We should all be constantly looking for ways to submit our personal preferences to scripture.

  136. Matt S said,

    Why do you think Ashley Simpson and Britney Spears lip-sync their concerts?

    They do? I was front row and I swear I heard her……well never mind.

    >blockquote>I prefer to hear classical music.

    Wouldn’t you admit that because you like classical music that you are more inclined to enjoy the type of worship your church plays? This is my point. Your liking of classical music leads you to a church whose worship is much more subdued and quiet.

    Just like someone who grew up listening to rock and roll when they become a Christian would gravitate toward a church whose worship has more diverse instrumentation and is louder.

    It is a matter of preference and personality. You are arguing for ONE correct way to conduct a worship service and I do not believe there is ONE correct way in this instance.

  137. RubeRad said,

    Your liking of classical music leads you to a church whose worship is much more subdued and quiet.

    Actually, I prefer my classical music complex and bombastic.

    Just like someone who grew up listening to rock and roll when they become a Christian would gravitate toward a church whose worship has more diverse instrumentation and is louder.

    My wife grew up a true child of the 80’s; her love for Depeche Mode and U2 probably verge on the idolatrous. But she hates rock in church.

  138. amyleesspace said,

    I guess that was a no on the pie, DARN!! I was craving one too :)!!!

    Well I do have to say on Sunday while in worship, everytime I tapped the pew infront of me or my body began to sway to the right and to the left, I was reminded of this blog. And reminded of how the joy of the Lord causes me to move, I just can’t help it!!

  139. Albino Hayford said,

    I will give You all my worship
    I will give You all my praise
    You alone, I long to worship
    You alone are worthy of my praise.

  140. 5najeras said,

    Amy, I didn’t think you were serious. Do you really want one?

    Daniel, sorry I broke a comment rule. 🙂

  141. amyleesspace said,

    Emily,
    I am always serious about food 🙂 if it wouldn’t be too much trouble I would LOVE one!! It was DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!

    Okay DBalc don’t yell at me I promise no more talk about food on this blog 😛

  142. RubeRad said,

    How else are we going to get to 200 comments?

  143. gospelordeath said,

    Secret, Re: 129 – Pretty much. But remember that it is only the merits of Christ that make our worship acceptable, not our law keeping, even in worship. But that does not mean that we through the law out. Rather, because Christ makes our worship acceptable, therefore we strive to do it how God wants us to do it, now how our hearts and imaginations figure we are allowed to do it.

    Daniel, Re: 133 – The Lord’s Supper took place at the Passover meal. Not a worship service. But, surely nothing I said indicates that I’m arguing against hymn singing. I have no idea why you think the fact that I haven’t address the hymn singing at the Lord’s Supper is so strange.

    Matt, Re: 136 – I can’t speak for Rube or Bruce, but I happen to love heavy metal. I was in the Metallica fan club for…4 years I think. I still listen to Megadeth and Anthrax, Faith no More, etc. I am also really into techno, such as Crystal Method and Chemical Brothers, and I really dig some industrial music, such as Juno Reactor (who you’d recognize from some of the Matrix soundtracks), and I even like Bob Marley once in a while, Dave Matthews, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, etc. I’m not sure how my musical tastes have anything to do with my theology, but if you can find a connection, I guess I’d be interested in what you come up with. When ARE you guys gonna figure out that this is not a matter of elevating my musical tastes to the level of ‘law of God’? This isn’t about taste at all. Not at all. It’s not a mere matter of preference and personality. You think it is, but the only reason you think it is, is because you disagree with me. The fact that your OPINION is that worship is only a matter of taste is NOT an argument that answers what I’m claiming. Maybe you’d like to tell me WHY you think worship is merely a matter of taste and that sincerity is all that matters – now that would actually be an argument that addresses my claim. Back up your argument with Scripture. Show me one place where there is even a hint that all sorts of different approaches to worship are acceptable, as long as you’re sincere. Show me something in Scripture that even REMOTELY supports that view.

    Or perhaps since you THINK worship is merely a matter of taste, you wouldn’t NEED to support your view with Scripture, since Scripture doesn’t tell us what our TASTES should be – is that your claim? If that’s your claim, then what does Scripture have to say about worship? Does it say anything? Does Scripture need to guide what we do in worship, or can we just make it up? If sincerity in worship is all that matters, how come Moses got so mad at the Israelites and Aaron about that golden calf? If sincerity in worship is all that matters, would the Bible say anything that would teach us that? I’d love for you to point out in Scripture where it says that, so I can be corrected. Unless of course the Bible doesn’t say that – in which case it would be true that in your view, not only is sincerity the only thing that matters in worship, so that what you do is your own invention, but the fact that sincerity is the only thing that matters in worship is also your own invention. That would mean that God cares so little about worship, that he didn’t even bother to say anywhere in the Bible that sincerity was important. Of course, that would mean that sincerity wouldn’t be all that important after all, and well, I guess worship wouldn’t really matter at all, because even sincerity doesn’t matter enough to God for him to say anywhere in Scripture that sincerity is required for acceptable worship.

    How ironic is that, by the way, that your position, that sincerity is all that matters in worship, actually demonstrates that either God has said nothing in the Bible about worship, or you’ve completely ignored whatever he HAS said about worship! This is totally true, because you are totally dogmatic about sincerity being all that matters. You said in #128:

    “The simple fact is God is pleased when we worship Him with sincerity no matter how it is done. This is why a tribe in Africa can dance around in circles in a dirt lot and please God and the reformed can sings older hymns with limited instruments inside a building and please God.”

    Of course, you probably realize that this hyper-importance you give to sincerity is found nowhere in Scripture. So why do you even think THAT matters? Either you made it up yourself or the men who have taught you to think this way made it up, because it’s not derived from Scripture.

    So either God has said nothing about worship in Scripture, or you’re completely ignoring what he HAS in fact said in order to embrace your doctrine of sincerity, which you have made up.

    You’ll hate me for giving you this much truth all at once, but this is the very thing that Jesus accused the Pharisees of doing – ignoring GOD’s law in favor of their own man-made laws. Your sincerity law is man made, because either you or your pastor made it up. And since you think that’s the ONLY thing that matters in worship, you are ignoring EVERYTHING God has said in his Word about worship, as if he had never said it.

    For example, since sincerity, according to YOU, is ALL that matters in worship, then reverence and awe in worship can’t be important, because reverence and awe aren’t the same thing as sincerity, and you said that sincerity is ALL that matters. So according to you, reverence and awe actually DON’T matter. That’s what you have said effectively. But actually, the Bible says differently doesn’t it? In Hebrews 12, as I quoted above, it sure seems like reverence and awe are not merely polite suggestions, but actually commands for having acceptable worship. And commands in Scripture are not man made but commands from GOD.

    So that’s how you’re like the Pharisees, who made up their own laws, and elevated them to have a higher importance than God’s law. You have elevated sincerity to a higher place than anything else in worship, so much so that you have declared that it is all that matters in worship. But this is directly contrary to the Scriptures. Not only will you not find any place in Scripture that supports your sincerity idea, but actually this is at least one place that DIRECTLY contradicts your position.

    So the only question is, will you submit to Scripture, or continue to hold your view as having more authoritative weight than Scripture?

  144. gospelordeath said,

    Albino, Re: everything you know how to say about worship, that is, “Echo has to prove that pianos are ok”: I have answered that objection. Instruments are a circumstance, not an element. Singing at all is a circumstance. Confessing your faith, responding verbally to God – that is an element. I have written quite extensively on this topic. Any further claims that I have not answered this objection must henceforth be qualified with something like, “in a way that convinces me.” Maybe I haven’t convinced you of my view, and that’s ONLY to be expected, but to continue to claim that I haven’t answered this objection is contrary to fact. And by the way, you too need to realize that I’m not arguing in favor of my personal TASTES. It’s not about taste at all. It’s a theological debate, not a musical debate. My arguments, if you’ll look really, really closely, are about more than just styles of music used to sing. It’s about the whole worship service, for which you have no theology other than that we should sing, there should be a sermon, and we should collect money that I can discern. If you really want to engage in this debate intelligently, I have a suggestion for you.

    Describe for me the parts of your worship service that you think are important. Tell me why you do them. What are the guiding principles behind these things? Now argue for these principles biblically, and then show how these principles, having first proved that they’re biblical, allow you to make the further claim that how you sing makes no difference. What does make a difference? Does anything? Are there any rules at all? do you really HAVE to have a sermon every Sunday? Why? Where does it say that in the Bible???

  145. gospelordeath said,

    Daniel,

    You deserve more credit than I have heretofore given you. You made an intelligent argument and used Scripture as well as common sense to back up your view. I still disagree, but I can respect you for arguing this way.

    But seriously, I’m going to found a new church and call it the church of the logical conclusion of evangelical thought. There will be no sermons, because the Bible doesn’t say that there has to be a sermon every worship service. And we’ll sing songs, but they won’t be about God at all. Rather, they’ll all be vague love songs that could be about anyone or anything. The pious in the audience can reflect on how we’re all in love with God, but the rest can just enjoy some good music. And we’ll have skits, lots and lots of skits, like a community theater, and the skits will be love stories, and again, the pious will know that we’re talking about Jesus, our lover, and everyone else will simply enjoy a good love story, and eventually love will convince them of what is right. You know, the Beatles, even though they were pagans, were right to say that love is all you need. Yes, if we can just find one good woman, everything will be alright. My new church will be called the church of love. And we’ll meet together every Sunday, and meet with each other, and just love one another, because that’s what it’s all about. The pious will know that God is involved somehow, but the rest will just enjoy some good fellowship. And we can even play that Beatles song every week to get us in the mood. “All you need is love.” That’s what the people need to hear. And we’ll just love everyone. And we’ve got to make sure we let people express themselves however they want. We’ll be like the emerging churches, only we will have emerged even farther. We’ll have altars and holy water blessed by the Pope – I mean, he’s a man of God too isn’t he? Surely if he blesses the water something good will come of it. And even if it doesn’t, it can’t hurt anything. And when people splash it on themselves, we’ll call it baptism. We won’t really mean it, but it’ll be fun. And we’ll have altars, with loaves of bread and bottles of wine, so that people can serve themselves communion if they want, but they don’t have to. And we won’t have any elders or a pastor. No, we’ll just have a worship coordinator. That’s all a pastor is anyway. And no one will mind. He’ll just be like a conductor. I know of a guy that would be perfect for the job. I mean, he’s gay, but what does that matter? He’s a really good musician, and he’s got great taste. I bet he’d put on a show every week we’d never forget, and everything would be tasteful and well organized and color coordinated. And he’d work hard. I think he just quit his job at the design studio, so he’s looking for work anyway. And you know, he’s a really nice guy and a lot of fun to be around, so why not make him a leader? It’s all just a matter of taste and style, and he’s got both is greater measure than anyone else. We’ll even have cheerleaders to keep the men interested. And of course, we’ll have a testimony time, but we’ll call it open mike instead, so that people realize how fun it is and think of karaoke, and we’ll let anyone come and speak, and we won’t judge anything they say, because who can tell someone what they’ve experienced and what they haven’t, and how can we tell someone how to feel? So we’ll let ’em all up there, whoever wants to talk, and they can just tell us what they’re thinking and feeling. Not as a sermon from on high, because we won’t believe in church authorities, but just as a way of being open and honest with each other. Then we’ll all get to know each other better and we’ll love each other more. In fact, I think I’ll mandate that everyone has to do this at least once, and we’ll rotate through everybody that comes regularly. Won’t that be wonderful? Then we’ll be sure to get to know everyone equally, and we’ll accept one another because we’ll all know where everyone’s coming from. Oh it sounds so nice. And we’ll have lots and lots of music, all different kinds, like a variety show every week. Ed Sullivan, eat your heart out!

  146. danielbalc said,

    Echo,
    I appreciated this…

    Daniel,
    You deserve more credit than I have heretofore given you. You made an intelligent argument and used Scripture as well as common sense to back up your view. I still disagree, but I can respect you for arguing this way.

    But then within the exact same comment you went on from “I can respect you” into a lengthy and ridiculous insult campaign. Why would you do that? What was the underlying purpose that motivated you to make the preposterous and degrading insinuations as you make above?
    I think you give yourself far more credit than you deserve when you say things like this…

    You’ll hate me for giving you this much truth all at once

    (Comment 143).
    If anyone does hate you it is more for your rabid misconceptions than it is for your jumping on comments poorly written (which is how I will defend Matt’s misinterpreted comment #128). Though I don’t ordinarily jump to the defense of others but rather leave room for them to defend themselves I, knowing Matt personally, doubt highly that he intends to open the door to “anything done in sincerity”. I think you are fine to attack that statement of Matt’s because it is a valid complaint. This would not under any circumstances bring about hateful thoughts from anyone. However to extrapolate upon those words and to cast the description that you did onto our worship services then I, or anyone else on the thread, can be given just cause in making up and throwing out hurtful and disgusting mischaracterizations of your worship services. I would prefer not to go down that road. Wouldn’t you?
    Instead of those, lets attempt to be civil and reasonable and continue a discussion based on Biblical understanding and common sense. Lets leave the personal insults and attacks at home. ok?
    that being said let me reply to this comment of yours…

    Daniel, Re: 133 – The Lord’s Supper took place at the Passover meal. Not a worship service. But, surely nothing I said indicates that I’m arguing against hymn singing. I have no idea why you think the fact that I haven’t address the hymn singing at the Lord’s Supper is so strange.

    I think it strange because in your #114 diatribe you said this…

    “There is no proof that anyone sang in a worship service in the NT, and there is no historical proof that the early church did any singing at all in their worship services. Sermon and communion was all they did in the early, early church. I’m thinking of Justin Martyr in the 2nd century, circa 150 or so. No singing at all.”

    I assumed that you knew that there was indeed singing at the last supper, the model for our communion. So if the early church made communion a central focus of their services, did they or did they not include singing of hymns and Psalms?
    It seems clear to me that singing was quite common. Romans 15:7-13; I Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; James 5:13 (gasp) even tells us that singing songs of praise is a proper response to happiness.
    The point is that if the early church sangs songs, hymns and psalms we must examine to whatever extent we can, what those songs were about and whether or not we can validly sing them today. I demonstrated through simple biblical research that Jesus Christ and the disciples were familiar enough and comfortable enough singing the “hallel” (Praise the Lord) psalms. In those Psalms come clear admonitions to dance as well as use musical instruments as forms of praise to God.
    I Peter 2:5 tells us that we are a holy priesthood offering “spiritual sacrifices” that are deemed “acceptable to God THROUGH Jesus Christ”
    looking through the NT to find out what these “spiritual sacrifices” are leads us to…
    Romans 12:1 (our selves) Philippians 4:18 (Our Money) Hebrews 13:15-16 (Our Praise and our Good Works).
    Those are things we do. We don’t do them on our own behalf or through our pious lifestyle, but through Jesus Christ.
    If our Praise is rightly included as a spiritual sacrifice and praise is clearly seen in the Psalms as musical, harmonious, instrumental, physical, emotional and even poetic demonstrations of individual and corporate recognition of God’s salvation then shouldn’t we make it a priority to offer united praise to our savior whenever we come together in his name?
    I think so.

  147. Matt S said,

    Back up your argument with Scripture.

    This is very interesting to me. I am afraid the burden of proof is on you, my friend.

    Countless verses have been brought up that deal with dancing as an acceptable form of worship and since your TASTES do not allow for dancing in worship you need to explain away these verses.

    Nevertheless, I am sure all your seminary profs have given you great reasons why these verses are not applicable for today.

    You have something you want to believe is right and you will twist and contort Scripture any way you can so that it appears to support your belief instead of just taking the verses at their face value. Good luck with that my friend.

  148. Matt S said,

    One more question for you Echo,

    Have you ever been on a missions trip to a foreign country? If not, I think you would be well served to participate in one.

    It should give you a broader perspective on the God we all serve. I would hope you would not be so quick to preach to citizens of other countries about the “crazy” ways they worship our same God.

  149. Alex said,

    Attention Bloggers,
    Echo is frustrated right now. He is frustrated because we don’t “see” what Echo “sees.” You see, it’s so clear to Echo and because it’s so clear to Echo he is only more frustrated because he can’t explain it well enough for all of us to “see.” The problem with Echo’s arguments is there is a whole lot of Echo (his opinion) and not any scripture. Make no mistake my fellow bloggers, if there were verses to back up his opinion he would absolutely be sharing them with us. A lot of what Echo has to say is based on his “past experiences” with evangelical churches. Maybe you can understand where he is coming from now. He “sees” evangelicals as he “sees” mormons, lost. I’m willing to step out and say this and chance that I may be way off but I’m pretty sure of it (Echo, you can correct me if I’m wrong I won’t be mad).

    Echo,
    When I sing, clap, kneel, pray, read his Word it is only in “reverence and awe” because I will be the first to admit that I am just flesh, I’m prideful, and a sinful man and if it wasn’t for Christ I would not worship anything other than myself. When I worship God on Sundays it’s only because I recognize that I need a Savior. I don’t sing and dance and clap and pray to God out of disrespect but rather because I recognize that I am poor, wretched, sinful and the Word of God reminds me of this. So stop quoting that scripture over and over because you are implying that we evangelicals(at least the one’s that I personally know) don’t do worship out of “reverence and awe” like you do. The Word of God is completely sufficient to change lives, to sanctify His believers without your personal opinions. How do I know when it’s more opinion or personal preference? When you don’t have scripture to support it. For example, If another believer was to argue with you and say homosexuality is not a sin I’m sure that you would be able to come up with a VERY strong argument that it is in fact a sin based solely on scripture. You are right. There is no doubt it is clear in scripture that homosexuality is a sin but does this mean they will change there opinion? Maybe not right now. Does it change the truth of the matter? Absolutely not. You see lives are not changed by man’s eloquent words but only through the truth of scripture. Not Echo’s words but God’s word. We are just called to preach His word and then get the heck out of the way. I love you Echo because you are my brother in the Lord. Even though we may not worship God in the same church and even though it may be in a different way make no mistake, it’s worship, and it’s pleasing to God.

    (Disclaimer: this is not a personal attack on Echo)

  150. danielbalc said,

    Alex, you’re not a blogger until you have your own blog. I suggest you start your own, it’s free and easy.

  151. danielbalc said,

    FWIW it sounds like a personal attack on echo

  152. gospelordeath said,

    Daniel,

    Sorry, the second part of that post wasn’t really directed at you exclusively at all, or even focused on you. I should have made that more clear. I was kind of speaking to everyone at that point. Sorry to have done it in a way that seemed so personally directed at you. I see that now when I look at it. That should have been a separate post.

    Anyway, that they were singing at the PASSOVER meal doesn’t PROVE anything about worship services. I agree with singing. I’m just saying that there’s no proof that they did it in their worship services, so it’s possible to argue that they didn’t. And we know for a FACT that Justin Martyr circa 150 AD did NOT have any singing in his worship services. I don’t think this is definitive, but nonetheless, it’s pretty compelling. But by saying that, I’m NOT saying that we shouldn’t sing. But what I AM saying is that we don’t HAVE to sing at all. We could just read something in unison. I find that confessing our faith in response to the Word of God is absolutely important, that that’s something we DO have to do. But we don’t have to sing to do it. I think singing is an appropriate form of confession, but it’s not the only possible form. that’s my point.

    And when James says, hey, if you’re happy, then praise God – sure, but notice he doesn’t say to tell God you’re happy, but rather encourages us to reflect Scripture back to God, confessing our faith – joyfully, but what we’re still expressing there is not PRIMARILY happiness, but primarily our faith. We do so with joy in our hearts to be sure.

    It’d be like if I said to you, hey, are you happy? In a good mood? Tell your wife you love her. When you do so, you aren’t saying, “I’m happy”, you’re saying “I love you”, and that is a way of demonstrating your good spirits or whatever. Anyway…

  153. gospelordeath said,

    Matt and Alex,

    This is how someone responds when they aren’t defending themself.

  154. danielbalc said,

    Echo, I agree that you don’t HAVE to have singing as a part of your Sunday service. Absolutely. You also don’t HAVE to have an offering. You don’t really HAVE to do much. Shoot you don’t even HAVE to do communion but once in a blue moon.

    Even though there are a whole bunch of things we don’t HAVE to do I think we can agree that it is a good thing to offer up corporate praise to God.

    I didn’t think we were debating the necessity of corporate praise in weekly gatherings as much as we were debating HOW to offer corporate praise. I thought it was reasonably understood that corporate praise at a Sunday service was a good thing.

  155. itsasecret2u said,

    *sigh* I guess I’m the only thick one around here, but I still don’t see the biblical basis for “dancing in church = bad, unacceptable worship.” I don’t even see the logical string of thought that helps us to arrive at that conclusion. Is there any way that this can be simply and concisely explained by anyone in that camp? (Remember, I said I’m thick, so the fewer words, the better.)

    I’m not trying to be a jerk… I’m really trying to understand your position, but I just don’t see it. Even if I don’t agree with your position on other things (infant baptism, for example), I can at least see it. But not here.

  156. Matt S said,

    Echo- RE 153

    This is a good debate tactic.

    Make an inflamatory comment about dancing in church being unnacceptable.

    Fail to back it up with any Scripture

    Insult everyone who does not hold to your unproven “belief”

    Plead the 5th when asked to defend your erroneous position.

    Some of your better work, Echo

  157. gospelordeath said,

    Secret,

    I hear you. Let me ask you this. Do you understand what I’m saying about worship being a dialog between God and his people? God speaks and his people respond? God says, believe this, and his people respond by confessing their belief? Do you understand this much?

    All of my line of thinking is laid on this foundation. The concept that worship is a dialog is really not in dispute at all, but is something that every single Christian church does, even if they wouldn’t describe it in these terms. Perhaps one of the ways to prove this is by considering the sermon.

    Paul tells Tiimothy in some very serious language to “preach the Word”. He gives him this charge, and says that he is charging him with this responsibility before God. It’s very serious. Oh here, I’ll just quote it:

    2Ti 4:1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:
    2Ti 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

    Now when he says to preach the Word, he is referring to the Scriptures, because what he means is the Word of God. (And according to John 1, we see that Christ is the Word of God, and IS God, so the content of our sermons should be undeniably Christ at the center.)

    So what we need to ask is, why? Why do we have sermons, and why is it so important that the sermon be the preached Word of God? We’re not saying that everything the preacher says must be exactly what Scripture says, but rather that it reflects what Scripture says. So fundamentally, the sermon ought really just be an explanation of what the text is saying. If that is the case, then the preacher isn’t saying anything other than what the text says, he’s just helping people understand it. He is interpreting it for them, showing them how it is relevant to their lives, etc.

    But since he is preaching the Word, and not saying anything beyond what the Word says, then we understand that when we hear from the preacher in the sermon, we are actually hearing from God, telling us what to believe. And we know that we are hearing from God because the sermon is grounded in the Word of God. The sermon says the same thing as the text, it just says it in a different way that the people can understand. This is a type of prophetic function on the part of the minister.

    So that’s one half of the equation, and we’ll stop there for discussion.

    I am absolutely willing to discuss it further with you.

  158. itsasecret2u said,

    Ok, I’m with you so far. No dispute.

  159. Albino Hayford said,

    We fall down
    We lay our crowns
    At the feet of Jesus
    The greatnesss of mercy and love
    At the feet of Jesus

    And we cry holy, holy, holy
    Is the Lamb

    Wow…I feel so wicked for singing that in church….NOT!

  160. gospelordeath said,

    No dispute, ok.

    So look at the parenthetical insert there. I said:

    “Now when he says to preach the Word, he is referring to the Scriptures, because what he means is the Word of God. (And according to John 1, we see that Christ is the Word of God, and IS God, so the content of our sermons should be undeniably Christ at the center.)”

    Now if we preach the Word, according to Paul’s charge to Timothy – which hopefully we can agree is something that all preachers should consider to be a charge to them too – and we know that Christ is the Word incarnate, then clearly what we are preaching is Christ. And the Scriptures certainly support this. Here are some examples:

    Col 1:27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
    Col 1:28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
    Col 1:29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

    The key phrase here for my purposes is “Him we proclaim”. I included v. 27 so that it would obvious to all that “Him” refers to Christ, this same Christ who is in you, and who is THE hope of glory. That he is our hope of glory speaks of Christ as our Redeemer, who earns eternal life for us. That is the glory that we have a hope of, namely glorification, when, as Paul says, we will be changed, raised up in glory (see 1 Cor 15 about verse 50 or so to the end of the chapter). This is the glory that we have a hope of attaining, and we will attain it through Christ, and it is preaching this Christ, this message about our hope of glory in Christ, the same Christ who now dwells in us by his Spirit – HIM we proclaim, and this is the goal that Paul has set for himself, striving and toiling to this end.

    1Co 1:22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,
    1Co 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
    1Co 1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

    Again, Paul distinguishes the content of what “we” are interested in, what “we” preach, from what Jews and Greeks preach. We are not like the Jews who seek signs and wonders; we are not like the Greeks who long for the wisdom of pagan philosophy, rather OUR wisdom and power from God is wholly contained in Christ crucified. The crucified Savior is utterly unique among the world. Our morality is not what distinguishes us. Love your neighbor is our fruit, and Jews and Greeks don’t really bear this fruit like we do – but our message is not unique for our moral ideas. Christ did not come to bring us a new and better law. Rather, he came to fulfill the law on our behalf, and reveal God to us, by dying for us and being raised for us, and THIS is our wisdom from God and the power of God for our salvation. So our message is a simple one: Christ crucified. Paul says nothing different here than he said in his charge to Timothy, when he charged him so seriously to preach the Word. Preach the Word, the whole council of God, but in so doing, WE preach Christ crucified. Him we proclaim.

    Rom 1:15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
    Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
    Rom 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

    Here, Paul tells us that it is the gospel – the message of Christ crucified – that he preaches, because he is not ashamed to do so, precisely because it is the power of God for our salvation. This is what the gospel, hearing the preached gospel of Christ crucified, accomplishes: our salvation. Why? How? Because the gospel tells us about how the righteousness that comes from God is by faith – alone. It is not the righteousness that comes from obeying the law, as so many confused Jews who didn’t understand the OT believed, namely the Pharisees, but the righteousness that God requires is ours by faith in Christ. And this is the great message of the gospel, the message that sets us free, the message that opens blind eyes. We cannot earn God’s approval. He will never approve of us on our own, because we have all failed to obey the law. Paul says this in a number of places throughout the rest of the book of Romans. In this book, Paul is telling the Romans, look, I want to come and preach this gospel to you, but since I haven’t been able to make it out there yet, I want to make sure you understand it, so here you go, here’s the gospel that I would be bringing to you if I were there, and hopefully I’ll come to answer your questions later. Meanwhile, read this letter, and strive to understand it, because I’m about to tell you what the gospel is all about. And the very first thing he says about the gospel is that it teaches us how we can be righteous before God.

    This is the most important thing about the gospel. It tells us how to be righteous before God. It is not through our own efforts, but through faith in Christ.

    This is fundamentally the job of the preacher, to make sure people grasp this and understand it – that they may live it out in their lives. This is the struggle that the preacher takes onto himself, to teach people about the gospel of Christ, and he is to do it utilizing all of Scripture, not just a few pet verses, as some tend to do. Rather we are to interpret ALL of Scripture as pointing to THIS message of THIS gospel about THIS Christ, who dwells in us and in so doing makes us righteous before God by faith alone.

    This is not a message that says that what we do doesn’t matter at all. What we do does matter. But what we do doesn’t earn us our salvation, but rather reflects the fact that we understand the nature of our salvation. For if we understand at what high a cost our salvation comes, then how could we then turn around and spit in God’s face by sinning against him – him who loved us so deeply and paid such a terrific price to purchase us from our sinful wallowing in our misery and living under the shadow of death? If he loved us this much, ought we to love him in return?

    Moralistic preaching then, has no place in the church, because it doesn’t accomplish what it’s trying to accomplish. Do you want the congregation to live more holy and productive lives for the kingdom of God? Don’t give them the law alone, or 5 simple steps to living a holy life, but give them the gospel of Jesus Christ, because the law has no power to do anything but condemn us, while the gospel tells us of how we can be made righteous before God, and it is this message that brings about the desired response.

    People don’t get more holy by preachers telling them, “You have to be holy.” They get more holy by focusing on what Jesus has done for them, and this melts their heart, their stoney, cold, callous hearts which keep them hardened in their sin. This message is what melts those hearts, and we fall in love with Christ, and like a devoted wife who falls in love all over again and longs to submit to him and devote herself to him, so too we who hear the gospel of Christ, and of how he has died and risen again to purchase our salvation, fall in love with him all over again, and long to obey him and submit ourselves to him.

    That this is the message of ALL of Scripture, not just parts of it, can be seen clearly in the words of Christ himself:

    Joh 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,
    Joh 5:40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

    This is Jesus laying into the Pharisees, which he of course did quite a bit. But look at what he says. He says that the Scriptures (notice he doesn’t qualify that at all) bear witness to him. And then he complains that if they had recognized this, they would have responded to him properly, by coming to him to have life. The Scriptures testify to the fact that Christ is the fountainhead of life. And when Jesus said this, he wasn’t just referring to the NT, because at the time, there WAS no NT! He was referring to the OT. The OT, when interpreted properly, bear witness to Jesus Christ, namely that eternal life is found in him. And this is confirmed:

    Luk 24:25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
    Luk 24:26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
    Luk 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

    Here Christ rebukes the disciples for not understanding that he had to be crucified by reading the OT! That may seem harsh to us, because most of us read the OT, and we see it saying some things here and there about the Christ, but surely, if we didn’t know the story, we would not have been able to figure out that his crucifixion was portrayed in the OT, right? But Jesus rebukes the disciples for not getting it. But he doesn’t say that it was hard to understand, and so that therefore it’s understandable that they couldn’t figure it all out. No, he rebukes them for being reluctant (slow of heart) to believe what the Scriptures say. This is astonishing. The reason why they didn’t get it was because they didn’t believe it. So what does he do to cure them of their unbelief? He walks them through the OT (law and prophets, a way to refer to the whole OT), and explains how it all, ALL, points to him.

    But if even the disciples who walked and talked with him and sat directly under Christ’s teachings, and looked him in the face and believed that he was in fact the Christ to come – if even they were slow of heart to figure it out, reluctant to believe the Scriptures – how much more must this be true of us?

    That is why Paul prescribes the same cure for the church as Christ administered to his disciples. We preach Christ crucified. This was the disciples’ stumbling block, and it is our stumbling block, as it is everyone’s stumbling block. We need the same cure the disciples did, and we need it all the time, namely a sermon from all of Scripture that holds forth the crucified Christ. (Not all of Scripture every sermon, but also not just from a few scattered pet verses or passages. All of Scripture. No Scripture should be omitted or forgotten.)

    This is what the sermon is supposed to be: Christ crucified, now from this passage, now from that passage, here a little, there a little more. Now from the Psalms, now from Genesis, now from Revelation, now from Isaiah. This is what we need.

    And why do we need it? Because we remain sinful. Why do we remain sinful? Because of our reluctance, just like the disciples, to believe in the testimony in Scripture about Christ. We do believe it, but we are dragging our feet. Our faith is not perfect, but it must be continually nurtured and coaxed and grown and watered and tended just like a plant. So we need to hear the gospel every week, because no matter how mature we are in Christ, even if we are one of the 12 Apostles, we still need this shot of gospel power to grow in our faith.

    So when we come to church, we come recognizing our problem: sin, stemming from unbelief. Just as true faith necessarily produces good works, so too unbelief produces sin. We remain sinners, much as we strive to the contrary, so we continue to need a growth in faith, so we continue to need the gospel. We come to church in recognition of our problem, to find the solution.

    The solution to our sin problem which we bring with us to church is the message of Christ crucified.

    This is what church is all about. ALL about. Church is ALL about our unbelief finding its cure in Christ.

    Therefore, there are two categories, and only two categories, of speech that take place in church. God speaking to his people, and his people responding to what he has said.

    And remember, we come searching for a cure to our unbelief, and the preaching of the gospel is that cure.

    So we come, saying, basically, Lord, we confess our unbelief and sin, please give us the cure. This he does, by preaching the gospel to us in his Word through his minister, your pastor. Once the cure has been administered to us, we cry out, “I can see!” Just as if we had walked in blind, so to speak (though not entirely blind, because we are Christians when we come in, but nevertheless with imperfect faith, and therefore blind to a degree), and been cured of our blindness. We come in like a wilting plant, and we walk out standing upright and green, full of life and vitality. All thanks to the cure that the gospel message of the crucified Christ brings us.

    This is what’s going on in the worship service. Now this is a bit of an oversimplification, but nonetheless, this is the basic gist of what’s happening. And all churches have some kind of sermon – though many churches today are not properly preaching Christ – and all have the “I can see!” response in the worship.

    But we can and should understand worship a bit more clearly. We can understand it as a declaration that we have been cured of our blindness, but also a declaration of what we see, so to speak. We say what we can see to demonstrate that we can in fact see.

    So our blindness is our unbelief (speaking again not absolutely but in degrees), and we come in and Christ cures our blindness, and in order to demonstrate that we can in fact see, we tell him what we can see. So he gives us his message, which at once tells us WHAT to believe, but also GIVES us that belief.

    Rom 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

    See, the gospel is not like the law. Both demand something of us. The law demands obedience, good works, the righteousness of God; but the gospel demands only belief. Yet unlike the demands of the law, the demands of the gospel bring about what it is demanding.

    In other words, by saying, “Believe the gospel”, the result is our belief in the gospel. The demand brings about the response. And of course, our faith in the gospel gives forth the fruit of obedience.

    But we don’t believe on our own effort. Rather, the Spirit uses the preached message of the gospel to bring about belief in the gospel in our hearts.

    So when we hear what we are to believe in the gospel, the Spirit gives us the proper response, namely faith in the message of the gospel.

    So in the worship service, we come in like beggars looking for bread, and the bread of life that we require is faith in Christ. The sermon gives us this faith in Christ, and so we express this by confessing our faith.

    Everything we say in the worship service is some form of confession, whether of our sin or of our faith.

    For example, when we come in initially, most churches begin with some sort of song of praise, whether it be a hymn or whatever. Usually it’s something about the greatness of this God we have come to worship. What this boils down to is our confession that we recognize that we are coming to God to find the cure for what ails us. He is the great God, so we are confessing our faith in him as our God, and thus as the one in whom we must have our faith and our trust and our confidence. At the same time, we are acknowledging that we are looking to him for our spiritual food. When we sing “How great thou art”, we are saying, “Give us our daily bread, because you are the one who created this world, and you are the one who provides for us.” And usually after we have worshiped in this way, we eventually come to the sermon, where God feeds us that spiritual food that nourishes us. And he is able to do that because he is God.

    Then we sing more songs in response to the sermon, confessing the faith into which we are continuing to grow, thanks to the work of preaching, which is ongoing and won’t end till Christ returns. Our confession and need for spiritual nourishment is ongoing, and his care and provision for us is also just as ongoing.

    It is very important to understand about all of this WHAT we are saying to God when we speak to him.

    It’s so important that I gave it its own paragraph. If you want to see my point of view, this is the point you want to see: WHAT we are saying to God, WHAT we are communicating to him.

    And fundamentally, what we are saying is a confession of what we see with the eyes of faith, namely our need for Christ, and our confidence that we have been given Christ, and all he accomplished on our behalf.

    Just as what gives us faith is the same thing as the content of our faith – because the preached gospel grows us in our faith and at the same time is what we have faith IN – so too what gives us faith and what we believe in is the same thing that we confess: namely the Word of God.

    It is the preached Word (interpreted as pointing to Christ) that we hear, and it gives rise to faith in us. What do we have faith in? The Word that we heard. So when we confess that we have in fact heard it, that our ears have been opened, then we must confess what we have heard.

    Therefore, our confession, just like the sermon, is the Word. Both should reflect the Word in the same way. The minister should preach the Word to us, and we should confess the Word in response. It is often helpful when ministers pick songs that reflect the content of the sermon, in order to illustrate this fact more clearly, though of course it’s not absolutely necessary. But nonetheless, just as the sermon is charged severely with having the Word as its content, so too our confession is so charged. It must be the Word that is preached and it must be the Word that is confessed in response.

    It is God speaking in his Word, and his people reflecting his Word back to him. In this way, we come to God in unbelief, and leave reflecting a growth in faith. We come to him in weakness, but walk away in power. Like Moses whose face shone brightly because he reflected the glory of God after meeting with him, so too we reflect the Word of God by confessing it after we have heard it.

    This is the great ongoing dialog between God and his people. And this communication is the content of our relationship to God. Consider a marriage. What does it consist of if not communication? Even when a marriage is consummated, it involves physical, full bodied communication. It is two people speaking on the most intimate and personal level, a form of speech that requires no words. Our relationship to God also consists of communication, but a type of communication that reflects what is being said. Marriages are like this too. The husband says “I love you”, and the wife’s appropriate response is “I love you too.” It is reflective. She reflects what he has said, which confirms that she heard him, understood him, believes him, trusts him, and feels the same way about him. They have made a promise to each other, to love each other forever, but these little reflective communications simply serve as assurance, and serve to grow one another in their trust of one another.

    So it is with our relationship with God. He speaks his Word to us, and we reflect his Word to us. This is what it means to be in a covenant with God; it is just like a marriage, involving a great deal of communication, and in fact consisting in that communication. Even our deeds can be considered a further type of communication, since by our sin we spit in God’s face, and by our obedience we express our love for him. So we are always in constant communion with God, and everything we do either says, “I love you too” or “I don’t care if you love me, I hate you” (again, speaking in degrees, not absolutes).

    But ok, now I hope you understand the type of communication that is going on in the worship service. It is a covenantal dialog. A marriage is a type of covenant. Our relationship to God in Christ is another type of covenant. So our dialog, our communication with God, is a relational (covenantal) dialog or communication.

    Now the only thing left is to apply this to what should and should not be done in worship. But before we move on to that, I’d like to make sure you’re still with me.

    E

  161. Albino Hayford said,

    The splendor of the King,
    Clothed in majesty
    Let all the earth rejoice,

    He wraps himself in light,
    And darkness tries to hide
    And trembles at his voice,

    How great is our God,
    Sing with me
    How great is our God,
    and all will see
    How great, How great
    Is our God
    ================
    Man, now I’m really feeling guilty…

  162. RubeRad said,

    To summarize Echo’s 160, I would point you back to 131, 132, and 134 — there’s no Word in dancing.

  163. danielbalc said,

    Luke 19
    36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. 37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: 38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” 39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” 40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

  164. danielbalc said,

    we must praise him. MUST.

    Praise God from whom all blessings flow
    Praise him all creatures here below
    Praise him above ye heavenly host
    Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost

    Amen

  165. Albino Hayford said,

    Speaking for my family, we could never go to a “throwback to the 50’s” church with organ and piano, singing only songs and hymns written years ago. I’d rather be a Cleveland Cavs fan in the cheap seats watching the Spurs sweep their pathetic behinds out of the finals tonight.

    Sing to the Lord a NEW song. Make music to Him and bless His name.

  166. Albino Hayford said,

    I couldn’t sleep last night so I channel-surfed and came upon a classic Billy Graham Crusade from 1958 in Charlotte, N.C. The choir sang several hymns I recognized, and good-old George Beverly Shea belted out some of his classics. Everybody in the stadium was in suits and ties, even the children, and all were dead quiet between musical selections. Billy was, of course, great, preaching the Gospel with great zeal. It was inspiring.

    Here is my point. I could go into many churches today, in 2007, and find EXACTLY THE SAME MUSIC, EXACTLY THE SAME INSTRUMENTS, WITH EXACTLY THE SAME STYLE. The reason these are “classic” crusades is that they are from the past. Music is constantly changing and God continues to inspire writers with new lyrics of praise. Let’s not get stuck in a time-warp; same message, different cultural settings. Why is this so tough to understand?

  167. Alex said,

    Albino, I say it has alot to do with tradition. Take a look at the definition of Tradition according to Merriam-Webster:

    Tradition

    1 a : an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom) b : a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable
    2 : the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction
    3 : cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions
    4 : characteristic manner, method, or style

    The answer is tradition. People love tradition. Christians love tradition.

    Psalm 150
    1 Praise the LORD. [a]
    Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.

    2 Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.

    3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,

  168. itsasecret2u said,

    Still with you, Echo. Again, no dispute. Though I think I see where you’re going and I will have a couple questions for you once we arrive there. But this is very helpful.

  169. danielbalc said,

    Well shoot if secret isn’t going to dispute it I will…
    Echo said,

    Therefore, there are two categories, and only two categories, of speech that take place in church. God speaking to his people, and his people responding to what he has said.”

    The fact that you emphasized this point by repeating “only two categories” demonstrates that you really believe it. If you really believe this you have a whole lot more ecclesiology to study.
    Now I’m willing to grant that contextually you may mean something other than what is read, but it sound like your describing a church where a drove of people in uniform walks single file into a sanctuary to prearranged seating locations; the Bible is then read and the people stand like zombies and repeat in unison a pre-made reply. Then they file out silently while only acknowledging the people around them with head nods.
    Where in this description to the members of the church speak to one another? when do they build each other up and encourage each other? When do they offer up prayers and petitions?
    Basically I am saying you need to amend your statement that there are only two categories of speech that take place in the church. Or stand by it, that’s fine, but it would be an unbiblical foundation to build further conclusions on.

  170. RubeRad said,

    Speaking for my family, we could never go to a “throwback to the 50’s church with organ and piano, singing only songs and hymns written years ago”

    So are you saying that the 50’s invented boring church, and everybody else throughout history understood that worship should be exciting?

    Or are you saying that for all of Christian history up to the 50’s, everybody was inhibited, and incorrectly restricted themselves only to boring church, but now You have figured out (or gotten new revelation?) that everybody should have been dancing all along?

    The answer is tradition. People love tradition. Christians love tradition.

    Just because something is traditional doesn’t automatically make it wrong. Do you do anything the way your father does? Is not “attending LWC” a tradition in your family?

    It’s pretty bold and arrogant to buck centuries of tradition. Jesus did it right (correcting the Pharisees on how to understand Moses’ Law), Luther did it right (correcting Rome on how to understand Justification by Faith Alone) — and in both cases they were returning tradition-gone-wrong to a previous, correct state. So where is the historical church that correctly practiced dancing in its worship services? Are you saying you are finally understanding scriptures that thousands of years of Christians just never got?

    You might say I am requiring church today to be exactly like the earliest apostolic churches — no organs, no pianos, no microphones, no projectors, no light bulbs, no hymnals, no communion trays with little plastic cups, no King’s Hawaiian bread (yes that’s what my church uses, and I’ve always found it kind of odd)…

    I’m not saying that at all. All of those things were inventions — technological improvements that made it easier to Do Church. If you’re going to restrict the church to 1st century technology, then you better throw out all those machine-printed bibles for a start! And if somebody had invented microphones for addressing large crowds, I have no doubt Peter and Paul would have appreciated it in Acts. If the printing press had been invented by that time, I have no doubt that the churches would have been churning out pamphletized epistles and gospels as fast as they could, in order to better spread and teach the Word.

    But what about dancing? Had dancing been invented by 100 A.D.? Judging from all the quotations from the Psalms around here, I’d say pretty clearly yes. So if dancing is such an critical requirement for proper worship (“you need to dance”), where’s all the historical church dancing?

    Here’s a challenge that I know you charismatics won’t take up: look through history for churches that danced, and see if you can find one that wasn’t a heretical cult.

  171. itsasecret2u said,

    Ew, I didn’t think he meant that…

  172. itsasecret2u said,

    (Responding to Daniel Re: Echo’s post, I mean)

  173. RubeRad said,

    Here is an interesting article, apparently written by a Pentecostal. He makes some lame points (dancing would cause some Christians to stumble (by which I mean be offended, not trip and fall)), and many good points. The best point (I thought) was, look at the pictures of worship in Revelation:

    Anyone can easily check the Revelation and see that the following things are included in heavenly worship: people prostrating themselves before God, verbally praising God, singing praises to God, crying out before God in loud voices, casting their crowns before God, singing new songs and playing harps. However, there is no mention or illustration of dancing before God.

    Hmmmm, the best, most perfect, most reverent, most awe-full worship that will ever be, and no mention of dancing!

    (BTW, there will be musical instruments in heaven…)

  174. itsasecret2u said,

    Another lame point from that article, Rube:

    Dancing even as worship can have negative associations. Here I refer to the dancing of the pagan prophets of Baal, which we read of in 1 Kings 18. In addition, the Israelites once are recorded as participating in such idolatrous dancing before the calf idol, as we read in Exodus 32:19.

    Uhh, people pray to Allah, Satan, statues, trees, “the Universe”… It doesn’t discount the validity of praying to God. Not saying there aren’t good points, but that was too weak to ignore.

  175. danielbalc said,

    Thank you rube for pointing to Revelation. This is what I did in post 146 how I explained Revelation 19 and the use of the word “hallelujah” to connect us with the “hallel psalms” which happen to be the psalms that instruct us to praise the Lord with dancing.

  176. RubeRad said,

    The fact that you emphasized this point by repeating “only two categories” demonstrates that you really believe it. If you really believe this you have a whole lot more ecclesiology to study.

    I think this is actually rather beside the point, because no matter how many categories of speech in the church, none of them would fit Dance (there is no Word in Dance).

    Also, there is no Word in eating bread and drinking product-of-the-grape. But we do that because it is an Ordinance (command). And communion is more than just two-way communication — it’s not just about the individual’s vertical communion with God through Christ, but it’s also about the horizontal comm[on]-union of the body of Christ with each other, throughout the world, and throughout all time.

  177. gospelordeath said,

    Daniel,

    Re; 163-164

    This is really aggravating. Who is advocating NOT praising God???!!!

    I’m saying that we respond to the Word of God by reflecting the Word back to him. That’s praise. I sing the doxology every week for crying out loud.

    It’s like you’re TRYING to misunderstand the reformed position.

    And don’t tell me I’m TRYING to misunderstand the non-reformed position, as if I didn’t grow up in a non-reformed church, breathing the same air you’re breathing, and as if I didn’t spend lots of time at lots of different types of churches, as if I were born thinking according to the reformed view.

    I not only understand your view, but have HELD IT MYSELF for MOST of my LIFE. How’s that for walking a mile in your shoes?

  178. danielbalc said,

    dish it out but can’t take it? C’mon that’s not the echo I know… (See post 145).

    Your gigantic commentaries were leaving out the aspect of praise in church. That’s why i said what I said. This conversation is essentially about one thing…is dance acceptable praise to God or not? You’re the one who tried to take it in another direction.

  179. danielbalc said,

    BTW “not dancing” is NOT the “reformed position”

    It is a position held by many churches both under the title of “reformed” an outside of that title as well. Likewise I know of churches that would classify as “reformed” but also allow dance. hmmmmm

    this isn’t an attack on you or your denomination echo. It is a defense of praising God by dancing

  180. gospelordeath said,

    Daniel,

    Re: 169

    FINALLY! Something I can respond to.

    First of all, we do not believe in things like greeting one another during the worship service. “During the worship service” is defined as between the call to worship in the beginning and the benediction at the end. Between those two times, there is no such thing that takes place that isn’t God speaking to his people or his people responding. The way it works in a typical reformed liturgy is this:

    Call to worship: God calls his people to come and worship him (to be nourished in their faith).
    His people respond by worship: either a hymn or the doxology or whatever.
    Reading of the Law: God declares his law, his standard which must be met in order to have communion and fellowship with him in worship.
    His people respond by confession of sins.
    Declaration of Pardon: God hears the confession of sins, and responds by declaring his people forgiven of their sins based on the merits of Christ alone. And I mean that ministers that do this properly actually say, “People of God, your sins are forgiven, thanks to Christ,” etc.
    His people respond with praise, thanksgiving – because they BELIEVE IT.
    Reading of Scripture and the sermon.
    His people respond with explicit confession of faith, song, collection of tithes, and the pastoral prayer. (The pastoral prayer is the peoples’ response to God, that the pastor makes on their behalf.)
    The Benediction: God blesses his people, because he has received and accepted their worship through the mediatorship of Christ.

    Everything in our liturgy is God speaking to his people or his people responding. We are not there to talk to each other. We think of worship as vertical, primarily. Of course, there is SOME horizontal between people. If there weren’t, why would it be necessary to gather together? But this horizontal communion/fellowship is limited to being able to be encouraged by one another’s singing for example. But we don’t stop the worship service at any point to shake hands with our neighbors and say hello. We strongly encourage that after the worship service, and we think it’s very important. So we always have coffee and some snacks or something, to encourage people to stick around and talk. That’s very, very typical in the OPC. We are not fools, we recognize that fellowship between believers is important. In fact, in my own church, we recently had a dinner fellowship program, in which guests were randomly assigned to a host’s house for dinner. It is a way to get to know one another. We also do a fellowship lunch once a month after church on Sunday. It’s a pot luck. All designed to build the unity of the believers with each other.

    I don’t know how much I need to say about the prayer that you mentioned. We do have a number of prayers throughout the service, not the least of which is the pastoral prayer immediately following the sermon. This is a longer, intercessory prayer. This is the pastor speaking to God on behalf of the people. While the sermon is prophetic because it speaks for God, the pastoral prayer is priestly, because it speaks for the people. This is nothing outrageous.

    So when I say that nothing happens that isn’t God speaking or his people speaking, I’m not saying anything uniquely ME. This is a very, very, very old view of worship. I won’t be so bold as to simply assert that this goes all the way back to the apostles (though of course I believe that), but this is a very old view of worship, and has clearly been practiced since ancient times.

    The dialogical principle as such goes back at least to the time of the reformation, but if you look at the liturgies of the church throughout its history, this kind of liturgy has a very, very, very long history, going back to the simple services of Justin Martyr circa 150. Simplicity has been the goal all along, and the goal has always been a dialog between God and his people, because this is what it means to be in a covenant.

  181. gospelordeath said,

    Rube,

    176

    Actually, the Lord’s Supper is a speech act that is visible, as is baptism. It is the visible preached Word. The bread and wine point to the body and blood of Christ, the Word incarnate. In the sermon, we are being told about Christ, who is the content of the Word of God. In the Lord’s Supper, we are being shown about Christ. It’s God’s visual sermon illustration.

    While it is absolutely true that we do this in worship because we have been commanded to do it, it is also true that we have been commanded to do it because it is in keeping with the dialog of worship between God and his people.

  182. gospelordeath said,

    Daniel,

    178

    By saying that I have left praise out of worship, you are just telling me that I have not yet explained my view to you enough yet, because I am considering praise to fall under the category of response of faith from the people to God.

  183. itsasecret2u said,

    Echo,

    What do you mean when you say this:

    His people respond by confession of sins.

    ?

  184. itsasecret2u said,

    Echo,

    Re: 182

    There is still another installment of the explanation, though, right?

  185. Alex said,

    Sounds A LOT like the RC church ( I would know because I’ve been to many RC services in my younger years).

  186. gospelordeath said,

    Look at this passage:

    ESV Isaiah 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
    2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
    3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
    4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.
    5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
    6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.
    7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
    8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
    9 And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’

    Call to worship: v. 1
    Reading of the law: vv. 2-4
    Confession of sin: v. 5
    Declaration of pardon: vv. 6-7
    Word-response: v. 8
    Sermon: vv. 9ff

    Now, this isn’t a worship service. But what it is, is a covenant establishment ceremony. It is God commissioning Isaiah as a prophet. And we take our worship services to be a covenant renewal, just like when husband and wife remind each other, saying, “I love you”, “I love you too.” It’s a covenant renewal. The married couple, by saying “I love you” is promising to each other. But they’re already married, so the promise is already there, they’re just renewing their committment to that promise. It’s a covenant renewal. That’s what we view worship as.

    For some more explicit comment, see here:

    http://tinyurl.com/2cb3yl

    That’s a .pdf that will download, but it’s very small, only 2 pages. But it is well written I think. More or less.

  187. gospelordeath said,

    Secret,

    Re: 183

    I mean in our worship service, the pastor reads from the law, whether OT or NT, and then we have a few moments of private, personal reflection and silent confession of sins in our hearts, and then the pastor prays a prayer of corporate confession of sin. This follows Isaiah’s declaration that his lips are unclean, and that the lips of the people among whom he lives are also unclean. Anyway, the peoples’ verbal response is in the pastor’s prayer of confession. (This is liturgical, corporate confession of sins, and not meant to be the only confession of sins you ever do. This is just to remind us of the terms according to which we can approach God, since we are in fact sinners requiring the grace of Christ. That’s the point here.) And this doesn’t even have to be a prayer, but can be something written out that all the people say together out loud in unison. Either way is appropriate. I even know of a church that always sings a hymn of repentance. Well singing is just a form of prayer, once you recognize that worship is a dialog between God and his people. If his people are speaking or singing, it is prayer and confession at the same time. Anyway, there is some room for some small variation. One of the best hymns for this hymn of repentance is this:

    WE HAVE NOT KNOWN THEE AS WE OUGHT

    We have not known thee as we ought,
    Nor learned thy wisdom, grace and pow’r;
    The things of earth have filled our thought,
    And trifles of the passing hour.
    Lord, give us light thy truth to see,
    And make us wise in knowing thee.

    We have not feared thee as we ought,
    Nor bowed beneath thine awful eye,
    Nor guarded deed, and word, and thought,
    Remembering that God was nigh.
    Lord, give us faith to know thee near,
    And grant the grace of holy fear.

    We have not loved thee as we ought,
    Nor cared that we are loved by thee;
    Thy presence we have coldly sought,
    And feebly longed thy face to see.
    Lord, give a pure and loving heart
    To feel and own the love thou art.

    We have not served thee as we ought;
    Alas! the duties left undone,
    The work with little fervor wrought,
    The battles lost, or scarcely won!
    Lord, give the zeal, and give the might,
    For thee to toil, for thee to fight.

    When shall we know thee as we ought,
    And fear, and love, and serve aright!
    When shall we, out of trial brought,
    Be perfect in the land of light!
    Lord, may we day by day prepare
    To see thy face, and serve thee there.

  188. gospelordeath said,

    Secret,

    184

    Yeah.

  189. Matt S said,

    ….But if exceeding joy overtakes you because of the grace God has bestowed on all of us make sure not to express that joy in the form of dancing. Crazy.

  190. gospelordeath said,

    Secret,

    184

    And here you go.

    The bottom line is this: since we view worship as a covenant renewal ceremony, then some things become appropriate, and other things do not.

    Probably the most important thing to note is that not all the worship or praise or whatever going on in OT worship is in the context of a covenant renewal ceremony, a dialog between God and his people. The Psalms, for example, have lots of different purposes for lots of different occasions. Just as an idea of this, some of the songs are songs to be sung on your way to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices in the temple.

    My contention is that the covenant renewal ceremony is inherently a somber undertaking. Not sad, like a funeral, but formal like a wedding. In a wedding ceremony, there is GREAT joy, so much joy that some people might feel like dancing in order to express their great joy that two people have been married. But no one dances during the wedding ceremony. It’s not appropriate. Now, you have a big celebration afterwards, and there is when you dance. But during the ceremony, things are taken very seriously and it is very formal.

    Now when you consider something like a wedding reception, you can see many similar kinds of occasions going on in the Israelite theocracy. Some things taking place are more like the wedding ceremony, some things more like the reception. Both are spoken of as praise and worship and before the Lord. But that doesn’t mean that everything that is considered praise and worship belongs in the ceremony, simply because what we are doing in the ceremony is worship.

    I’m NOT saying dancing cannot be worship. What I AM saying is that it is not appropriate for the wedding ceremony of the worship service.

    The worship services we see in the NT are only in the book of Revelation, where the liturgy is made explicit, and it follows this pattern. Like Rube said, there’s no dancing going on there. That doesn’t mean dancing is evil – again, it can be worship. It’s just not the kind of worship that should be done in church during the covenant renewal ceremony. It’s a ceremony. It’s serious and formal, yet joyful, just like a wedding ceremony.

    Just because dancing is an appropriate way of rejoicing in the Lord doesn’t mean it belongs in the worship service. A man may make love to his wife as an expression of his joy and gratitude to God for the great blessings he has been given in the gospel, and in his wife. He is grateful to God, and so enjoys those blessings which God has given him, as a way of expressing his joy and satisfaction in what God has done for him. This is totally appropriate and true and correct. And the OT commends this to us, telling men lots of things about how good it is to be satisfied in your wife and to take pleasure in her, because this pleases God.

    But I daresay, I don’t think anyone would think that sex is appropriate for the worship service. Now of course, this is an extreme example, but all I’m saying is that the fact that something is a valid way of expressing joy to God does not mean it belongs in the worship service. There is a line that must be drawn, and on one side of that line is what is appropriate, and on the other is what is inappropriate. The line must be drawn somewhere. That there is a line at all there can be no doubt, because no one would advocate making love with your spouse in church, though this is a beautiful thing not to be ashamed of. Nonetheless, the line must be drawn somewhere.

    So what I’m doing is describing for you where we draw this line. On the side of inappropriate is dancing and loud, distracting instruments. We don’t say that multiple instruments are prohibited in church, but loud and distracting music is inappropriate. I frankly have NO USE for organs whatsoever. I far prefer a piano. But to accompany a piano is not wrong. To use an accustic guitar would be fine.

    The point is, music is to be used to AID UNITY among the congregation. It’s to help them sing TOGETHER. The point of the music is precisely NOT to appeal to our taste. That’s not to say that we can’t enjoy the music, but enjoying the music is not the point. The point is to confess our faith and to do so together. Singing helps us remember, and a practiced muscian who can play a tune helps us sing together. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    When we begin to add things, it looks more like taste we’re trying to appeal to. But we want to make our worship services simple. The simpler the better is a good rule of thumb here.

    But honestly, I’m in favor of people singing loudly, and when we speak together in unison, I’m in favor of speaking very loudly, even shouting. There’s nothing wrong with that, that’s even good.

    And I’m not saying that no one is allowed to get emotional when singing or something. it even happens to me once in a while, believe it or not. But again, the focus is important. We are not aiming for an emotional experience, we are aiming at confessing our faith. And when someone comes to church, and his heart really just isn’t in it that day, and his sincerity is severely lacking – even he benefits from church, because the efficacy of your worship, and whether or not it is accepted by God is unrelated to our sincerity. The worship service still has its effect on you of growing you in faith, whether you feel it or not. We have confidence that God uses his Word as a means of grace, regardless of whether or not we realize that we have experienced that.

    Anyway, because of the formality and sobriety of the ceremonial aspect of our worship services, certain forms of praise and worship of God are inappropriate. They belong in the reception, not the ceremony. And that’s ok. Receptions are fine. We have fellowship meals. But you can even practice this stuff at home if you want. But the corporate worship service is a special thing to be done in a special way because of what it is.

    This all hinges on the corporate worship service being a covenant renewal ceremony. If it isn’t a covenant renewal ceremony, then everything I have said about worship is wrong. If, however, it IS a covenant renewal ceremony, then not only is everything I said spot on, but really a mere matter of common sense, provided we just think about it like a wedding ceremony.

  191. gospelordeath said,

    Matt,

    Unbelievers think the gospel is absolutely crazy. Paul says that they think it is foolishness. That something appears crazy to you is not exactly a devastating critique. The things of God must be believed and accepted before they make sense. Again, the gospel makes no sense to those who do not believe and accept it. The Holy Spirit must awaken faith in us before we can believe it, and we must believe it before we can understand it.

    So that you think my views on worship are crazy – while it may be the case that I actually AM crazy – may only mean that my view is correct and you simply don’t believe it, because you refuse to accept it. That would mean you are in good company with the disciples, who were slow of heart to believe what the Scriptures say. So maybe you’re right, maybe I am crazy. But the fact that you perceive my views as crazy doesn’t prove that I am, and may in fact prove that I’m right.

  192. gospelordeath said,

    Alex,

    Re: 185

    Sounds a lot like the Roman Catholic church huh? What would you say if I said that the fact that you take communion sure sounds a lot like the Roman catholic church, that has communion every service?

    Trust me, I hate Rome every bit as much as you for their false gospel, but it’s not as if everything about everything they do is wrong. They do have church sometimes on Sundays – that doesn’t mean having church on Sundays is wrong. They do serve communion every service – that doesn’t mean that’s wrong. They do have something like a sermon, that doesn’t mean that’s wrong, etc.

    They are an apostate church to be sure, but their roots are the same as ours, namely true Christianity.

  193. gospelordeath said,

    Daniel,

    Re: 179

    Are you saying that anyone who chooses to call themselves reformed has the right to shape how everyone views the “reformed” position?

    Today, many people call themselves “reformed” baptists. They say that they are reformed because they adhere to the London Baptist Confession of Faith, which is very similar to the Westminster Confession of Faith.

    To that I respond, well, those who voted to adopt the WCF are the reformed. And the Baptists felt the need to write a DIFFERENT confession, because they don’t believe the same things we do. They felt their DIFFERENCES were sufficient for them to write their own BAPTIST confession.

    What is known today as a “reformed” baptist, would have been simply called a baptist a few hundred years ago, because there were no Wesleyan/Arminian Baptists. Now there are, so the “reformed” baptists are simply trying to distinguish themselves.

    But just because they call themselves “reformed” doesn’t make it so. The reformed position is the same position they’ve had for nearly 400 years, and it is captured in the Westminster Confession of Faith for the Presbyterians, and the Three forms of unity, 100 years older, that the Dutch reformed tradition follows. We haven’t been changing our mind and constantly shifting back and forth. We’ve tried to basically stay the same, using the same confession, since the Reformation.

    The reformers themselves have the right to describe the reformed position, because they established it. And they established it in the reformed confessions of faith.

    that’s how I’m using the word anyway.

  194. RubeRad said,

    This conversation is essentially about one thing…is dance acceptable praise to God or not?

    Maybe the problem is that you’re in a different conversation. The one thing this conversation is about, is whether dance is acceptable praise to God or not IN CHURCH.

    Maybe I can put it this way. Do you (or your cohorts) believe that there is ANY form of praise to God which is acceptable generally, but not acceptable for inclusion in congregational worship?

  195. itsasecret2u said,

    I’m digesting. I have a slow processor. I must be running on a Pentium II. Computer joke! Anyone? Anyone…?

  196. Albino Hayford said,

    Why can’t you worship legalists agree that we are arguing CULTURE here???

    No one ever answered my questions waaaaay up this thread about worship styles in China, in Africa or in Mexico. Can’t you cede the point that “what” we are doing is worshiping God, but “how” we are doing it has to do with culture and the time in which we live? Aaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!

    And sorry, Echo, but your liturgical description leaves me cold as ice. I have attended many Reformed church services, and THANK GOD, many of them were much more contemporary than what you descibe. Give me some sleepy time tea or just KNOCK ME OUT before I have to suffer through responsive readings out of a book. Ugh…

    SING TO THE LORD A NEW SONG!!!

    And, not to plough old dirt here, but where we DO find a description of order in a New Testament service is in I Corinthians 12 and 14, and our reformed friends don’t even allow many of the things described by Paul, even flat-out violating his admonition not to forbid speaking in tongues. So spare me the “we’re bore Biblical worshipers” tripe and take it up with the Apostle Paul.

  197. Alex said,

    Rube, no one is saying our way of worshipping in church is better than yours. No one is even going as far as you(and your 3 cohorts) have gone to say your particular way of worshipping God is wrong. You(and your cohorts) have brought accusations of error in our style of worship. So once again bring verses if you are going to accuse the church that I attend of error. If you have no verses to show error than we just might be done with this topic.

  198. gospelordeath said,

    Albino,

    Don’t you understand that if I concede that this is only about culture, then I’m just accepting your view of worship? Why are you so frustrated if my view of worship is the same as yours? Oh, that’s right, our views of worship are different. You’re thinking about this only from your own perspective and in your own categories. It’s NOT about culture.

    Why do you think that what country your in changes anything but the language you speak?

    Do you honestly think that my tastes in music have ANYTHING to do with what I think music ought to look like in church? If my tastes are influencing my opinion, then we’d have techno music and heavy metal in church, as I’ve already described my taste tending toward. This is not a cultural issue or a matter of taste. it’s a theological issue.

    Now, I recognize that getting you to admit that is tantamount to accepting my view of worship. So since our views are SOOO vastly different that we can’t even agree on what the issue is, why not quit torturing yourself by continuing to read my posts? Let it go. You and I are speaking a different language here.

  199. gospelordeath said,

    Secret,

    how can I help you digest? I think the most helpful focus is in the marriage analogy.

  200. gospelordeath said,

    I just wanted to be number 200.

  201. Matt S said,

    I would like an answer from someone in the Reformed camp to the question Albino and myself have posed about worship in other countries.

    If this is a matter of right and wrong and there is only one right way it should transcend borders and be right in every culture. Such as homosexuality is wrong in EVERY culture.

    Is it then wrong for other cultures to worship the way they do?

  202. itsasecret2u said,

    Ha.

    I get the marriage analogy, the problem I am having is that the marriage thing might be cultural here. I’m trying to think about marriage ceremonies around the world. Are they all solemn and serious or are we using a cultural reference for something spiritual? At any rate, that’s what I’m thinking about.

    Also, I might agree about everything except where the line is. Thinking about that too.

    Also, I’m thinking about whether or not the covenant renewal aspect is, in fact, the only aspect of a worship service and whether or not praise in the form of joyful singing/dancing ought to be included there, too. I’m thinking here about Daniel’s argument from Revelation.

    I understand everything you said, I just have to decide if I agree with it (all).

  203. gospelordeath said,

    Secret,

    The marriage analogy, you have to remember, is an analogy. So while certainly some things that take place in a marriage ceremony are culturally influenced, it’s just an analogy.

    For example, in ancient Greece, when a man and woman were married, the day of their marriage didn’t include any member of the clergy or any kind of ceremony at all. The only vows that were ever taken were between the father of the bride and the young man, when the father promised to give his daughter to this guy. The bride wasn’t even present.

    Nevertheless, ceremonies are often formal occasions, though I am sure someone could come up with a counter-example.

    A biblical example of covenant making ceremony is in Gen 15, where God, in the form of a pot giving off smoke, passed down the aisle between the pieces of cut animals. Strangely enough, even today, brides still walk down an aisle to meet her husband at the front. As it turns out, covenant-making ceremonies weren’t just done in Israel, but was a very common practice in the Ancient Near East. There are astonishing parallels between Hittite customs of the day with regard to covenant making and the practices of Israelite covenant making in Scripture. For example, the idea of cutting an animal in half as a way of saying that this is what shall be done by God (or the gods) to the one who violates the covenant.

    But one thing covenants always have in common – they are a matter of life and death and to be taken very seriously. How much more seriously should we take the matter of eternal life and death?

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t have joy – we should. There’s something wrong with you if the gospel doesn’t make you happy. But there is a certain formality that is absolutely appropriate to the gavity of the moment. There is nothing in this world that we should take more seriously than our worship services.

    John Piper wrote a book called, “Brothers, We Are Not Professionals”, which was about pastoral ministry. One of the things he talks about is how utterly inappropriate being cute and funny in the pulpit is. These are serious matters being discussed. If we really recognize that, it just makes no sense to be cute and funny in the pulpit. And that’s not a cultural thing at all. That is something that is common to man. People who are always cracking jokes and never take anything seriously are annoying aren’t they? If you went to your husband and had a serious issue you wanted to talk to him about, wouldn’t you be annoyed if he kept cracking jokes and didn’t take things seriously? Anybody would. This is the kind of thing I’m talking about. Because of the seriousness and gravity of the issue of our ETERNAL destiny, and the fact that we are meeting with GOD, certain behaviors, according to normal common sense, just become inappropriate. This is why I have focused on what is going on in the worship service, and how we should conceive of it.

    Intuitively, we all understand that a line should be drawn somewhere. If you don’t agree with where the reformed draw the line, very well, disagree. It is really the attitude that has been exhibited here – that sincerity is all that matters – which I cannot fail to respond to. I interpret this as saying that there is no line, and that just defies common sense. There IS a line. The type of situation we are in informs us of how we should behave in that situation.

    Everyone understands that different behaviors are appropriate at a funeral than at a wedding reception. Perhaps only children fail to understand this. But I would expect any reasonable adult to grasp this question clearly. A wedding reception is a time of wine and song and dancing and loud laughter and everyone having a good time celebrating the occasion. A funeral is quite different. Loud laughter is inappropriate, for example. It’s not a party, but a time of mourning.

    Our worship services are neither a party nor a time for mourning. Nonetheless, there are certain behaviors that are appropriate, and some aren’t. Properly understanding the situation will inform us about what is appropriate and what isn’t.

  204. gospelordeath said,

    Matt,

    That question has been answered. I’m so sorry it isn’t to your satisfaction. Sometimes, we don’t always get what we want. See 198.

  205. danielbalc said,

    Rube, comment 194 is a very interesting question.

    I think there are acts of praise that do not “regularly” belong in the church service. however many, if not all, can be a relevant part of the church service provided they are done in an orderly fashion. For instance we Psalm 71 says “I will shout with joy” as an act of praise. I am certain that no one will ever dare to “shout with joy” in Echo’s church (because that would be out of order), but what would be equally out of place would be is if someone decided to “shout for joy” during the sermon in our service (again because it would be out of order).

    Now where do we get this idea of having order in the church service?

    Albino alluded to it earlier, it’s pretty much the only verse that you guys will use out of I Corinthians 12-14. This is so strange. sooo strange to us.

    Paul talks about order, not liturgy. In fact Paul’s idea of order would be chaos to echo I’m glad that echo has described in detail what he’s decided is the “right way” of worship. Even though the liturgy isn’t backed up by scripture it’s the “right way”.

    1 Corinthians 14:26-33
    26 What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two–or at the most three–should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. 29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints,

    There you have it. Scriptures describing a worship service. weird.

  206. danielbalc said,

    define irony:

    Albino’s gift to Danielbalc upon ordination? John Piper’s “Brothers, we are not professionals”

  207. gospelordeath said,

    Daniel,

    Re: 206

    I’m glad you found my example of Piper’s book so illustrative of the point that I was making, that it resonated with you so. I’m so glad.

  208. gospelordeath said,

    Daniel,

    You said: it’s pretty much the only verse that you guys will use out of I Corinthians 12-14.

    What exactly do you mean by this?

  209. RubeRad said,

    Why can’t you worship legalists agree that we are arguing CULTURE here???

    Because it’s not (I will echo Echo here): YOUR argument rests on “but it’s my culture, so it must be OK”, OUR argument is “culture has nothing to do with the question”

    whether or not praise in the form of joyful singing/dancing ought to be included there, too. I’m thinking here about Daniel’s argument from Revelation.

    Secret, that was not an argument from Revelation. It was a shaky connection between a greek phrase for “praise the Lord”, and the Hebrew word which is the root of Hallelujah. There is no dancing in the book of Revelation.

    Is it then wrong for other cultures to worship the way they do?

    Dancing in a Christian church service is just as inappropriate (or appropriate) in any other culture as it is in America. You think it’s fine, we argue it’s not.

    I think there are acts of praise that do not “regularly” belong in the church service. however many, if not all, can be a relevant part of the church service provided they are done in an orderly fashion.

    In other words, your answer is “no, with enough sincerity, we can worship in church in any way we can worship outside of church”.

    For instance we Psalm 71 says “I will shout with joy” as an act of praise. I am certain that no one will ever dare to “shout with joy” in Echo’s church (because that would be out of order), but what would be equally out of place would be is if someone decided to “shout for joy” during the sermon in our service (again because it would be out of order).

    Orderly shouting is not out of place. If the pastor says “let’s all shout ‘Praise the Lord'” (and that did happen once in my church!), then that’s orderly. Also, there is shouting in Revelation.

  210. Albino Hayford said,

    Ok, maybe there is no more ground to be plowed here. I have no idea how you can’t grasp that worship services in different cultures look and sound different (have you ever been to a Black church before?). I believe these differences should be celebrated. What kind of wacky missionary would you be if you forced your piano and organ on peoples of other countries?

    You folks on the other side of this argument believe that “contemporary” music has no place in worship. How do you define that, and don’t you agree that those norms change over the years? This is what you fail to grasp. It is, in fact, you, who are pressing your culture into Scripture, not me. Somehow, your “culture meter” stopped in the 50’s, when it was normative to sing hymns with an organ and/or piano. How is that more Biblical?

    Anyway, you think I don’t “get” you, and I definitely think you are not “getting” my point either.

    FWIW, John Piper is one of my favorite preachers. He is a reformed Pastor who does not baptize babies and believes in the operation and flow of the gifts of the Spirit encouraged by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. He also enthusiastically works and ministers with evangelicals like Luis Palau and others at huge outdoor rallies that feature LOTS of contemporary praise and worship. My dream is that you guys would emulate him more and Westminster Seminary less.

  211. danielbalc said,

    Albino, they didn’t stop in the 50’s. the stopped in the 1600’s.

    Rube you have to acknowledge that your present worship service isn’t any more like the NT church than ours is. It’s impossible. Honestly how can you think that?

    I’m shocked to hear you say you had orderly shouting in your church once. What does Echo think of that?

    If you can have organized and orderly shouting than why can’t we have organized and orderly dancing? Is Psalms less god’s word than Revelation? And when you say I make no argument from Revelation. At least I am using scriptures dude. You might not have understood the point but that doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant. I’m sorry you missed it.

  212. 5najeras said,

    Well said Albino.
    Can you imagine Echo visiting a tribe in Africa?
    During the worship service he would be running around frantically through the people yelling, “Stop that! Hey you, God doesn’t like that! And you over there, you’re sinning!!!”
    Silly Echo.

  213. LynnH said,

    What’s wrong with Christianity as defined in the Bible. Why does Christianity need to be Reformed? Hmmm.

  214. danielbalc said,

    It needed to be reformed after the Roman Catholic church preverted it. But why do we assume that in just a couple of generations the reformers finished the job? Why do we always defer to Luther or Calvin instead of to the scriptures? That’s where the confusion comes in.

    Rube, Bruce and Echo are promoting a liturgical form and substance reminiscent of the reformation. “the good ol days” if you will. But how good were those days? How clear was their understanding? How right were they?

    I’m certainly not willing to abandon all of their teaching and understanding of the Bible, heck if it weren’t for them we wouldn’t be here. Nevertheless I think that early church reformers themselves would acknoweldge that they did not have it all figured out.

  215. Matt S said,

    Can you imagine Echo visiting a tribe in Africa?

    This is my point. How can your church be effective with missions when you are so hung up on all these stupid legalistic rules.

    You would spend more time trying to change people’s worship style (and probably a myriad of other things they do “wrong”) than ministering to the lost.

    Get over the WAY people worship and celebrate the fact that there is diversity within the body of Christ!

    I am guessing missions is not a big part of your calling, right?

  216. itsasecret2u said,

    Echo,

    I promise I’m not nitpicking your explanation apart, comparing it to a marriage ceremony. I realize it’s just an analogy. But a lot hinges on the solemn ceremony part of it.

    I think that I just find the line in a different spot. I also can’t ignore Daniel’s Revelation argument (sorry, Rube, I think it’s a good one), or the passage he cited in 1 Corinthians. Paul’s description doesn’t sound a lot like what you described. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think what you described is at all bad (especially if you have joyous, “wedding reception” times of praise outside of church service). I just don’t see the scriptural support for it being the only acceptable way. I liked your passage out of Isaiah, showing how your services mirror that. But that passage admittedly is not describing a worship service. Again, I don’t think it’s wrong. I just don’t see the support for it being the only way.

    I really do appreciate you taking the time to explain your position fully. I understand now where you’re coming from.

  217. RubeRad said,

    Why do we always defer to Luther or Calvin instead of to the scriptures?

    Who is deferring to Luther or Calvin? Other than yourself just there, and myself right here, the only mention of Luther or Calvin is in my #170, where I wasn’t holding him up as an example of correct worship.

    Rube, Bruce and Echo are promoting a liturgical form and substance reminiscent of the reformation. “the good ol days” if you will. But how good were those days? How clear was their understanding? How right were they?

    If you feel the need to reform beyond Luther and Calvin (“why do we assume that in just a couple of generations the reformers finished the job?”), then you are saying there was remaining perversion in the RC that Luther and Calvin failed to do. And that’s OK — I understand that’s your position wrt infant baptism. Which means you believe that originally, the apostolic church was not baptizing infants. It’s a separate question whether you are historically correct about baptism, but in this scope, you must also believe that the original, unperverted church was dancing. Otherwise, you are just adding dancing to the church, because why — because you feel like it?

    So here it is: we see no dancing in church in the new testament, we see no dancing in heaven in Revelation, and we see no dancing in the entire history of the church, until Albino’s threshold of the awful boring 50’s.

    You need to come right out and either admit

    * You think there was dancing in the apostolic church, and throughout church history until perversion erased it

    * You think the apostolic church was deficient because there was no dancing.

  218. Albino Hayford said,

    Still no answer for cultural differences in different countries.

  219. danielbalc said,

    or can we admit that the praise services adapted to culturally familiar practices that did not violate scriptural mandates?

    I mean isn’t that EXACTLY what happened to form your liturgical services? Are they or are they not an offshoot of the RC services the reformers were so used to?

    And then didn’t your congregation further change to allow for the few instruments you use as well as having service in English?

  220. gospelordeath said,

    Daniel,

    With all the dancing going on in the Psalms, and frankly, EVERY festival in the ancient world, I think you’ve got a LOT to prove to say that if there was no dancing in the NT church it was culturally motivated. Such a claim fails to take account of the culture of the time, and is simply a guess.

  221. gospelordeath said,

    Albino,

    I have told you that I have answered your question. There is still no acknowledgement that I have done so. In fact, you keep ignoring the fact that I have answered the question, and repeating that I haven’t, as if the whole idea of people doing worship in Africa is this big stumbling block to my whole house-of-cards view that I dreamed up on my own over the course of 5 minutes, and unless I shut my eyes to what goes on in Africa, I can’t possibly sustain my amateurish, ignorant, legalistic view. Indeed, looking to Africa, if only I would, would cure my legalism.

    I am trying to tell you that worship is not about culture. Why do you think that arguing that since black churches are totally different than, say, my church, that you have made some kind of valid argument? What makes you think that I think it’s ok for black people to worship completely differently than me, simply because they’re black? Being black doesn’t mean you worship a different God, and if they’re not worshiping a different God, then the rules are the same for them.

    To which you will undoubtedly reply: Echo, are you saying that black churches who worship God by lots of singing and dancing and performing, like James Brown in the Blues Brothers is – gasp – wrong, even sinful?

    Yep, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

    When we gather together to worship God we are not to bring our culture with us. We are called OUT OF the culture into the presence of God.

    Performances have no place in church. None. None at all. Soloists are out of accord with the dialogical principle I have articulated in detal. Choirs are too. Yep, I’ve got a radical view of worship that includes no worship band, no praise singers up front with big cheesy smiles encouraging us to enter into worship (talk about throwback to the 50’s), no rock concert atmosphere, no performances of any kind. We aren’t there to put our talents on display or to hear the applause of men. We are there to communicate with God, to have a serious and sober conversation with him concerning our salvation. There is no place for performance, dance, solos, choirs, or the like.

    So if by churches in Africa, you mean some kind of tribal dancing and jumping, and that sort of thing – no, that’s absolutely unacceptable. Period. God can of course still accept their worship through the mediatorship of Christ, as he accepts all worship, but there is LAW involved in our faith. We don’t get to just do whatever we want. You say I’m a worship legalist, but the fact that I talk about the gospel so much, and say that even the most sinful and wicked and idolatrous worship can still be accepted by God through Christ proves otherwise.

    But I might turn around and declare you an antinomian. You seem to believe that if people are doing it, then by the fact that they’re doing it, it’s ok. Well, it’s not ok. People are often living together these days without getting married. And guess what? Even this sin won’t keep you out of heaven if the blood of Christ covers you. God can still accept these people. But does that mean what they’re doing is ok?

    You guys all seem to think that since God can accept us through Christ despite our shortcomings, sinful tendencies, and idolatrously tainted worship, that therefore as long as we’re sincere, God can and will accept our worship. But you forget that that’s only because he’s FORGIVING YOU for your shortcomings in worship, for your sinful, idolatrous tendencies, which we ALL fall victim to. No matter how closely we try to follow the rules, we’ll still fail – but that doesn’t mean the rules suddenly don’t matter. Does it?

    Look, I’ll tell you what, here’s all I’m saying. We should worship like they did in the early church more or less, operating on the same principles. And don’t even start with tongue speaking. We’ve had that argument too many times.

  222. Albino Hayford said,

    When we gather together to worship, we do not bring our culture with us.

    Ok, that’s just ignorant, Echo. The style and tempo of music is ALL ABOUT your culture. Can’t you grasp this? If you choose to sing with a pipe organ, that is your cultural expression. If you have a piano accompanying your worship, that’s a cultural choice. If you only sing 200 year-old hymns with no music, THAT’S ALSO a cultural choice. It is IMPOSSIBLE to divorce your culture from your expression of worship.
    Haven’t you heard the national anthem sung differently in every stadium and at every sporting event with different instruments and styles? Yet, when we come before God with our worship, we must all be White, hymn-singers, with no instrumentation other than the organ (and how was that choice made?)
    Am I making ANY progress here?
    And do you really think Black churches are anything like the Blues Brothers’ parody? Have you even attended a Black church in your life? Wow, what a false choice that was: Blues Brothers or total white bread church?
    Leaving your culture at the door of the church is as ignorant as leaving your skin color at the door. Keep dreaming, Echo.
    Same Gospel, different cultures…different styles.

  223. Albino Hayford said,

    Daniel…can you clean up my blockquoting mess please? I only meant to blockquote Echo’s statement at the top. [Done.]

  224. Bruce S. said,

    no praise singers up front with big cheesy smiles encouraging us to enter into worship

    You mean cheerleaders?

    leaves me cold as ice. I have attended many Reformed church services, and THANK GOD, many of them were much more contemporary than what you descibe. Give me some sleepy time tea or just KNOCK ME OUT before I have to suffer through responsive readings out of a book. Ugh…

    This is pure apostasy. Now we have no reason to doubt that your bottom line deal is that you are pleased or blessed in worship. It’s what worship does for you that matters. That your cultural expression is served is what seems to be the motivating factor in all your argumentation.

    As for your near racist appraisal of Africans worshiping God, I will get the low down directly from the Westminster Seminary team when they return from Malawi on their month long training session to Presbyterian pastors in that poverty stricken country. I’ll ask them how the savages do their tribal dancing for the Lord.

  225. Matt S said,

    There is no place for performance, dance, solos, choirs, or the like.

    But a piano and an acoustic guitar are ok because it “helps keep time for the singers”. Nice.

    You are making your own rules just like you are accusing everyone else of doing.

    Unless, of course, you can show me the verse that shows the apostolic church tickling the ivories and strumming away.

    Your worship service is no more like the early church version than anyone else’s, sorry you can’t see this.

  226. Albino Hayford said,

    Yeah, Bruce, let’s react so violently against the extremes of “seeker sensitive” churches that we pull the wheel all the way back the other way and make church services insufferably boring and stripped of any cultural or up-to-date sounds or styles. That makes sense. NOT. Again, the message is the same, but the cultural setting and method is not.

    And nice try with your branding me as a racist, dude, after Echo compared all Black churches to the Blues Brothers’ parody (but, of course, you missed that — shock!).

    And good luck getting Mexicans, Africans and Chinese to sing White hymns like White Americans from the 50’s. Make sure to not let them play drums, guitars or any other instrument other than the organ or piano, and DEFINITELY nothing with an amp or a beat that I might want to clap to (gasp!) I’m interested too, to see how that worked out for your colleagues. A good Christmas carol to teach them might be, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.”

    You guys are unbelievable. The hypocrisy is hip-deep.

  227. Bruce S. said,

    The argument that we have been making is that you may only do in worship what is commanded in scripture. The idea that cultures make this impossible is your idea. And where did you get the idea that we are mandating “white hymns”? Where did you get the idea that we are mandating that only organs or pianos are suitable “circumstances” in worship? Where did you get the idea that we are mandating that a guitar or drums can’t accompany or assist singing as well as a piano? How come you keep missing the idea that this has nothing whatever to do with cultural preference.

    Your “clapping” bit falls again into the “element” category vs. the circumstance category. The means of accompaniment is a circumstance where as clapping is not. There are lots of circumstantial things not commanded but permitted. Such as pews, microphones (yeah, we do use an amp), bulletins, collection trays etc. Why have you and your followers not once engaged the claim that there are elements and circumstances and that they are hugely different and important for the discussion? Had you done so, a lot of your mockery could have been shelved. For example

    But a piano and an acoustic guitar are ok because it “helps keep time for the singers”. Nice.

    was an opportunity to discuss the distinction. All we get is a condescending “Nice”. Why all the mockery?

    I get the idea that you are under the impression that “we” don’t like clapping or whatever. If that is the case, then once again you would be wrong. As Reuben pointed out a while back on a different thread commenting about women holding a church office, he said that he personally has no objection to a women being an officer in church. But that since scripture forbids it, he acquiesces to it. Same with clapping or whatever. So, don’t mock us for being prudish or twisted or inhibited. Even though everybody has them it is not about personal preference. That being the case, all your mockery we see as being directed at God himself and his Word, not at us.

    As for the African racist charge, that is exactly how you come across. I didn’t see Echo’s remark about the Blues Brothers. That must have come through about 100,000 words back. So I don’t know what you are talking about. At least not yet.

    As for the “seeker sensitive” bit, I don’t know what a seeker is since as you well know the Bible says that such a creature doesn’t exist.

    It’s too bad you and your followers scuttled the discussion by bringing out the “culture-personal preference” red-herring. It would have been helpful had you actually engaged the argument. In fact a much better discussion could have centered around how the regulative principle of worship might play itself out in China, Mexico, Africa etc.

    Sorry you have been burning so much energy arguing against a position nobody on my side holds. But that is what you have been doing.

    Would you have broken 200 at Oakmont today? I bet I would have struggled to break 140. Actually the big question mark on that is how many 4 and 5 putt greens I would have had. My own score could easily get out of control. Maybe 200.

  228. Matt S said,

    Bruce this is where I got the idea that instruments were not to be used in worship.

    Echo says,

    Yep, I’ve got a radical view of worship that includes no worship band, no praise singers up front with big cheesy smiles encouraging us to enter into worship (talk about throwback to the 50’s), no rock concert atmosphere, no performances of any kind.

    Which I responded sarcastically by saying basically, “Why does a piano or organ or acoustic guitar get to make the cut?”

    My basic point is who is in charge of drawing the line? The Bible? I do not believe so since there is no description as to what instruments are and are not allowed

    And by the way, I could have have broken 150 today with my “A” game.

  229. Albino Hayford said,

    Echo’s racist remark was in post #221, characterizing Black churches as being like the Blues Brothers’ parody of Black churches with James Brown leading worship.

    Nope. You still don’t get it. You and your colleagues are restricting worship to what you perceive to be Biblically correct worship, but are making no room for different cultures, nations or the passing of time. Just like the anti-rock-and-roll legalists before you, who held court when I was in high school, you want to regulate everyone’s worship according to what you think is appropriate, when, what you should be considering are the lyrics of the song and the joyful, passionate love for Jesus Christ of the person worshiping. Don’t you get a whiff of legalism here?

    And Echo did argue against all forms of modern styles of music, so don’t say that we are attacking windmills here.

    Again, nobody is saying you guys can’t worship God like your forefathers did in the 50’s, with old hymns and organs. Nobody is saying you can’t have your fun responsive readings by rote either. Knock yourself out. But when you cowpokes peer out of your quiet and reverent sancturaries and gaze over at us enthusiastically lifting up the Name of Jesus with clapping, lifting of hands, dancing, and with modern styles of music, and HAVE THE GAUL TO SNEERINGLY SUGGEST THAT GOD IS NOT PLEASED WITH US, well then you’ve got to take your medicine and get popped a few times. Sorry, but you ain’t the victim, big man. You earned every bit of sarcasm.

    Again, enjoy your throwback services. Revel in your responsivie readings by rote, but don’t make the rest of us suffer through them. Ugh.

    Sing to the Lord a new song. If we don’t do it, the rocks will cry out.

    As to Oakmont, it feels good to watch the pros do what I do every week. I think they call that “Schadenfreude”. I did, however just get my Father’s Day gift. A complete set of John Daly clubs…they’re supposed to be forgiving…let’s hope they are.

  230. danielbalc said,

    Bruce,
    “That being the case, all your mockery we see as being directed at God himself and his Word, not at us. ”

    Please, if you honestly feel that the praise we offer to God is in violation to his commands show us. Secret showed the absolute best possible attitude and listened intently to Echo’s diatribes without making any objections. She wasn’t convinced. I honestly have tried to listen and see the perspective that is being advocated by you and Rube and Echo. You’ll just have to take me at my word, but I have really tried. I simply do not see a reasonable argument being presented that #1 demonstrates the liturgical form described by echo as more biblical than our worship. and #2 demonstrates our praise services to be scripturally out of line.

    Now either My heart is just too hard from my upbringing OR you guys are doing a bad job of explaining the position OR our position is the correct one and I don’t need to be changed.

    Now the exact same arguments can be reversed from your point of view. Either your heart is too hard due to your experiences (which I am really enjoying reading about on your blog) OR we are doing a really bad job of explaining our position OR your position is the correct one (which of course puts us back into the above situation).

    I doubt highly that we are going to get anywhere further than where we are at, but if anything has been accomplished I think personally I feel even more secure in how I worship. Perhaps you do as well.

    I just can’t see how.

    Echo, I didn’t say that there was or wasn’t dancing in the NT church. I simply don’t know. I wasn’t there. I imagine there was. I imagine times of great jubilation as well as times of great heartache. But all I can do is imagine. IN your imagination of the NT church service is is similar to the liturgy that you go through on a weekly basis? I hope you think of it that way, otherwise why the heck do you do it? I just can’t see how you percieve it that way. The one thing that is consistent in my meditations upon church history is that I see the worship style changing and adapting to the culture. I really do. I imgaine it because I have seen it play out in reality (as have all those commenting on this thread). We have been to different cultures and seen the different “styles” of worship and still recognized the same savior. What we cannot imagine is each and every one of those cultures and styles being a bunch of clueless idiots. But that’s what we hear you saying.

  231. Matt S said,

    My basic point is who is in charge of drawing the line? The Bible? I do not believe so since there is no description as to what instruments are and are not allowed

    This comment is not meant to say that the BIble is not to be used as the standard.

    Obviously it is to be used as the standard when it has something to say about a subject.

    My point is the Bible has no definitive answer as to the ONE correct worship style, you guys argue it does, thus the disconnect, thus the merry-go-round of comments.

    NOW BRUCE,

    I would be interested to hear from you when you talk to those who have spent time in Africa.

    Do the Presbyterian pastors in Africa conduct a service in the same way a presby service is conducted here? (i.e. is the worship the same, liturgical structure the same, etc…) I am assuming these men were once in presby churches in America and were sent to Africa as missionaries, right?

    If the answer is yes, was it always that way or did they have to change the mindset of the people first?

    If the answer is no, it would go a long way toward you understanding where I and others are coming from.

    Look forward to the report.

  232. gospelordeath said,

    Matt,

    Re: 225

    You seem to indicate that ANY AND ALL forms of worship are equally acceptable. Are you sure you want to say this? Perhaps I’ve misunderstood your position. Is there any type of worship service that you think is inappropriate? Any inappropriate practice that anyone on this planet does? Just wondering.

  233. gospelordeath said,

    Albino,

    229

    You said: Again, enjoy your throwback services. Revel in your responsivie readings by rote, but don’t make the rest of us suffer through them. Ugh.

    Aren’t you glad that I don’t actually HAVE any authority over you to force you into conformity with the Scriptures as I read them, and that this is actually just a discussion?

  234. gospelordeath said,

    Albino,

    I’m not sure how familiar with what Bruce meant by using the word apostate, but I just wanted to say that I don’t agree. Though I disagree very strongly with your view of worship, I would not say that having such a view makes you an apostate. I think you’re wrong – and to be wrong is to be rebellious by definition – but that’s really not the end of the world, is it, since Christ covers even the sin of not understanding worship – whether yours or mine.

  235. gospelordeath said,

    Daniel,

    230

    You said: We have been to different cultures and seen the different “styles” of worship and still recognized the same savior. What we cannot imagine is each and every one of those cultures and styles being a bunch of clueless idiots. But that’s what we hear you saying.

    I’m glad, very glad you said this. I don’t think people from other cultures are inferior to those from “our” culture. Not at all.

    But you said something quite profound here when you said that despite all these cultural differences, you can still perceive the same Savior. That’s exactly right! The true, pure worship of God transcends cultures. Cultural expression is not the true worship of God. There is a true, pure worship that transcends all these different cultures. Now, of course, you DO have to conduct worship in the language of the people, and that will be different in different places, but what I’m advocating is removing the culture as much as possible, so as to be able to practice the purest, simplest worship possible, so that we don’t perceive a Savior alongside a cultural expression, but rather perceive ONLY our Savior. There is plenty of time in the week for cultural expression, but worship services on Sunday is not it.

    I doubt this line of thinking will in any way convince you, but surely this helps you see at least what we’re striving for, even if you don’t see us as acheiving that objective. We aim to have a church that is distinct from culture, because the church transcends culture, even as Christ transcends culture.

    Man that was a helpful comment you made. And by the way, I seek to lay my own culture aside when I worship. I have already referenced my tastes in music, and the hymns we sing is not what I referenced/described.

  236. danielbalc said,

    Echo, I appreciate that I really do. I agree in trying to leave culture at the door, but this doesn’t mean walking through a time portal into 1678 Germany. That’s what Albino and the rest of us see in your description of your services. We are saying that your services are no more like the early church than ours are.

    We both acknowledge that some forms of the culture are going to slip through those doors, to what degree do we stop it? What culture do we try to imitate? Some might say the “heavenly” culture (I’m assuming Rube would go with this since he uses Revelation as his model for worship). Other would say the “New Testament Church” or “Early church”. We hear you saying “reformation Germany”. That’s weird. That’s nonsensical. (To us). We say lets have things make sense to an unbeliever who is coming in. lets talk to them in a language they can understand. Lets not put standards that even we are unable to meet onto them.

    you see?

  237. gospelordeath said,

    Matt,

    231

    The Bible doesn’t answer EVERY question about worship, to be sure. But it answers many questions, and gives us principles, which, when coupled with biblical and pastoral wisdom allows us to arrive at the right answer.

    Just as an example, the Bible doesn’t tell us that we HAVE to have worship at any particular time of day on Sunday. But the Bible teaches us that our leaders ought to be thinking of the people, and seeking to serve them. So therefore, it would be unwise to conduct worship at 6 in the morning, because this would be a hardship on the people. Nowhere in the Bible will you see a command to have worship at a particular time, but I would contend that having worship at 6 puts such an undue burden on the people that such a church’s leadership would be sinning by doing that. It’s out of line putting that kind of burden on people – I mean think of the families with kids!

    And by the way, I know you were addressing Bruce, but I just wanted to say that it doesn’t matter what Presbyterian ministers do in Africa. Here’s why: 1) the minister might not have the same view of worship I do, and 2) he might not think it’s important, even if he does have the same view. But I can guarantee one thing: he would have his work cut out for him to try to get them to worship that way, but the same is true of Americans. Just look at how you’re reacting to it.

    The bottom line is that what they do in Africa really doesn’t matter. What matters is what God wants us to do. And the question is whether or not WE are doing it. What you do or I do or what they do in Africa could all be sinful and unacceptable. Just because we do it proves nothing.

    But we know that since we have faith in Christ, our sins, even in worship, are forgiven, and so we continually strive to conform to what his standard is, gratefully reminding ourselves of our forgiveness in Christ for our shortcomings. We can’t EVER worship God perfectly according to his law. That’s impossible for us sinners. Totally and utterly impossible. So I’m NOT AT ALL saying that God accepts my worship because my worship is of the form he wants, while yours isn’t. No, it is only Christ that makes our worship acceptable. But we strive to do it GOD’S way, because HE is the one we’re worshiping, and we know that he will forgive us of our many idols that we have erected in our hearts. But we strive to conform ourselves to him. That’s our job as Christians. That doesn’t just go for our deeds, but also our worship.

  238. danielbalc said,

    BTW Dancing in worship isn’t about cultural expression. In fact the very first thing I said about dancing is that it has been perverted and suppressed by our culture.

  239. gospelordeath said,

    Daniel,

    Sure, I see, but I’m not advocating reformation Germany. Otherwise, I’d be advocating speaking in German, like the Amish do. And besides, the Presbyterian tradition is English, taking their cue from Calvin, not German. And anyway, it’s not reformation England I’m shooting for either, but the early church. And while I grant that there isn’t a whole lot of evidence for how the early, early church worshiped, there’s plenty of evidence that shows that beginning in at least the second century, the liturgical form of worship I describe was universally – UNIVERSALLY – practiced in ALL churches for almost the following 2000 years. This is the support for my claim that the liturgical worship service I describe is not merely a matter of culture and taste. The liturgy of the church hasn’t changed much at all, up until just the last 100-200 years, and the most significant changes occured with the Pentacostal movement in the last 100 years.

    And you might think that it’s ok for big, big changes to have taken place in worship only in the last 100 years or so. You might think that’s ok, and that these changes were a breath of fresh air into a church stuck in its ways for almost 2000 years. That’s fine, you’re certainly entitled to hold that opinion. I don’t agree with it though, and I don’t think such an opinion would be biblical. And I think the 2000 year history of the church speaks with quite a bit of weight that the liturgical form I describe is how worship ought to be done. I’ll grant that it isn’t definitive, even as I told Matt that how they worship in Africa means nothing. But a 2000 year history, all doing it approximately the same? It’s at least compelling. And that’s world wide too, culture transcendant.

    And by the way, tell Albino that the organ was brought into church along with Cathedrals, in order to impress people, and I don’t agree with that at all, not at all. My rule of thumb on music is actually pretty simple: remember the point – as an aid to worship, not an enhancement. The people don’t come to church to listen to good music, but to give God his due worship, and to hear his word of pardon for their sins, and to confess anew their faith. They aren’t there to be entertained, so we try to remove anything entertaining or whatever tends to be entertainment. Organs don’t inherently fall into that category, but they tend to overpower and drown out the worship, exceeding their mandate as an aid to worship.

    But worship is a broader category than merely singing and music and instruments. Much broader, encompassing everything in the worship service.

  240. gospelordeath said,

    Daniel,

    Re: 238

    I got that. I’m glad you bring that up again. If dancing is culturally transcendant, then surely that there are some times when it is appropriate and other times when it isn’t is also culturally transcendant.

  241. Matt S said,

    Wow Echo I really sense a softening here and it is nice to read, if you would have said some of those things along time ago alot of this would have been avoided (but what fun would that be)

    But I can guarantee one thing: he would have his work cut out for him to try to get them to worship that way.

    This is absolutely true and absolutely the point I have been trying to make.

    If there is ONE correct way to worship then ALL other ways would be sin. If you or I were sent to another country as missionaries and saw them worship in a way that was different from the ONE correct way we would have to change their worship. There would be no way we could allow for them and ourselves to worship in a way that is is sinful.

    This is why having such a hard line on ONE correct way to worship does not work. You cannot expect to change other people’s style that is 100’s of years old very easily if at all. You would be focusing all your energy on the wrong thing.

    Thus we have to say either:

    1) There IS one correct way to worship and everyone must conform to this ONE way or they will be continually in sin.

    2) There is NOT one correct way to worship and as long as it can be supported by Scripture it should be allowed

    I repeat, this is not a sin issue, it is a preference issue.

    Any inappropriate practice that anyone on this planet does?

    There are things being done in church worship services that I do not agree with and it basically boils down to whether or not I see a precedent for it in Scripture.

    I see dancing as being evident throughout Scripture and thus is ok. You would argue otherwise and that is fine.

    I do not see people being “slain in the spirit” in Scripture, thus I do not support such a practice.

    I do not see people barking like dogs, rolling on the floor, or other similar antics in Scripture, thus I do not support such a practice.

    Hope this helps.

  242. danielbalc said,

    re 240

    yes very true.

    As it says in Ecclesiastes 3:4 A Time to mourn and a time to dance.

    You’re saying whenever the church gathers together on a Sunday it is NOT the time for dancing.

    I’m saying, some Sunday’s it is, some Sunday’s it isn’t. But whenever the gospel is preached, heard and accepted I think that there is a time for rejoicing.

  243. Bruce S. said,

    I’m not sure how familiar with what Bruce meant by using the word apostate, but I just wanted to say that I don’t agree.

    I knew that was coming. I get a little carried away with my toy guns. Sorry.

  244. gospelordeath said,

    Matt,

    That is helpful, thanks.

    I find that your numbers 1 and 2, however, are more simplistic than a position I would take. While there is ONE correct way to worship, that doesn’t mean that there’s like ONE correct song to sing at this or that point in the worship service, or ONE correct sermon to preach, etc. Again, there are elements and circumstances, and there are principles that guide us. Elements are a matter of law, and violating those is sin. (For example, if you don’t have a sermon, you are omitting a crucial element of worship.) Circumstances are a matter of wisdom. There aren’t absolutes here, but sin may or may not be involved. (For example, having church at 6 am might be sinful, because it ignores the needs of the people, such as the need to sleep a certain number of hours each night, and get the kids breakfast, etc. But this is not a LAW to not have church at 6 am. Having church at 6 is unwise. Very unwise. But not a violation of law. Nonetheless, some things in this category can in fact rise to the level of sin.) There are also, as I said, guiding principles. These are things you strive to be in conformity to.

    This striving is my main objection to your numbers 1 and 2. I can tell you now, the worship at my church is not acceptable to God because of how properly we do it. Our worship is acceptable to God because Christ died for us, taking on our sin and giving us his righteousness in exchange. Thus we are righteous in God’s sight, being covered by the blood of Christ. So even the worst worship in the world, while idolatrous, such as the being slain in the Spirit, can still contain true worship. People who practice being slain in the Spirit may be true believers, and therefore when they come to worship God, they are worshiping through Christ. So God accepts THEM, and consequently their worship, that they’re doing in faith to the best of their ability, according to what they have been taught.

    Despite this, we strive to bring our worship into conformity to what God wants. We’ll never, ever arrive at perfect worship in this life. Nonetheless, we think Scripture gives us something to shoot for. This concept of having worship that is culture transcendant is perhaps one way to characterize such worship. The more unnecessary stuff we can remove from our worship the better. The more pure our worship can be, the better. Like Daniel said, even in these other worship services that we unfamiliar to him, he could still perceive the true worship of Christ in them. And what I’m saying is that we strive to burn off that dross, to be further refined like gold in a furnace, buring away impurities. None of us are 100% pure. But we have something to shoot for, and it’s important that we have that goal fixed firmly in our minds, because if we don’t, we won’t make progress toward that goal, because we won’t be aiming for it.

    What I have argued for is a goal that we should all be setting for ourselves. This is what we should be striving for.

    Now I can tell you that if I were to go to a church where there were many things wrong with the worship service, I wouldn’t think it would be wise to simply act like the Inquisition all by myself and root out all the wrong practices all at once. God doesn’t do that with us. You build and grow on whatever foundation is present, and you prune away the impurities little by little. This is why I say that the man in Africa has his work cut out for him. You can’t just demand people change overnight – perhaps as you have perceived me doing here on this thread – but rather people must be guided and led and shepherded.

    I admit that in this thread I have not exemplified that approach. You may interpret that how you like. But a pastor of a church must be very careful with his flock, and bring them along, seeking those who wander to bring them back into the fold. And we can’t demand that everyone be perfect overnight, because it’ll never happen, and Christ is our righteousness, not our own perfections or lack thereof.

    Nonetheless, what I have argued for is something to strive for, some basic principles to aim at.

  245. RubeRad said,

    I see that while I was gone, this hornet’s nest has turned into a love-fest.

    Still no answer for cultural differences in different countries.

    Here’s your answer. Just like everything else, cultural differences have a root cause in God. In this case, God’s judgment. So I wouldn’t say that cultural differences are anything to celebrate.

  246. Albino Hayford said,

    Sigh…Follow your conclusion toward its ultimate end, Rube. Is your answer forcing everyone to bring all their music and cultural distinctives into line with our White, 50’s style of American worship service? Maybe we should all become Messianic Jews…whoops….you would be dancing then!

    If your answer is that culture come in line with the Bible….YES..but that goes right back to my original point…the MESSAGE stays the same but the METHOD AND STYLE must adapt along with the passing of time and the culture.

    I’m amazed that this is even being debated.

  247. gospelordeath said,

    I’m amazed that tongues are still being debated today. I’m surprised election is debated. I’m surprised people believe in a works based salvation.

  248. Matt S said,

    Somebody post something new!

    I am weary from beating this tired, dead horse!

  249. danielbalc said,

    ask and ye shall recieve

  250. Albino Hayford said,

    Ok, Matt, can I dance if I have been given the title of “Apostle”?

  251. Albino Hayford said,

    I am REALLY impressed that this thrtead made it past 250 comments. I guess the only thing left to say, in the words of that old hymn, is “You can dance if you want to, you can leave your friends behind.”

  252. Alex said,

    Acts 3

    The Lame Beggar Healed

    1″ Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.[a] 2And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him”.

    WoW! The crippled man was walking and leaping and praising God in the temple courts. I was just reading this passage this morning. Pretty cool. (I’m still trying to make it to 300 comments)

  253. gospelordeath said,

    Yeah, it’s cool that he was healed. You’ve got a huge amount of work to do in order to make the logical leap that this has anything to do with dancing in our worship services.

    First, what goes on in the temple is not what goes on in our worship services. There are no sacrifices in our services, no incense, no candles, no priests, etc. What was good and proper and even commanded for the temple is not what is commanded to us. The temple was destroyed. God is the one who destroyed it.

    Second, the man was healed miraculously, and his walking and leaping – neither of which is dancing by the way – was simply a demonstration of his having been healed. So every step he took, every leap he leaped, was a declaration, a proclamation of his having been healed of his ailment. His jumping and walking and leaping and such was actually a form of preaching. And it was Peter, the apostle, doing the preaching, because he is the one who had healed the man.

    And just so that we don’t miss the devotional opportunity afforded by this passage, this is a great illustration of the efficacy of the preached Word of Christ. This illustrates the power of the name of Jesus Christ, in fact of the power of Christ himself. So much power to heal us has he that even his apostles, speaking in his name, has the power to make the lame walk and leap. This lame man is a picture of the sinner saved by grace. We were dead in our trespasses, unable to save ourselves, unable to stand up and walk on our own. We were nothing but beggars. But then God sent his messengers to us, and they spoke to us in the name of Christ, and we were raised by the power of his Spirit, and of his resurrection, and we were raised to newness of life, to work good works by his power and not our own. It is not by his own power that the cripple walked, but by the power of Christ working through the one he had sent, the apostle Peter. And so powerful is that power, that the man not only walked, but leapt. He didn’t take a small, tentative baby step, but was leaping. Such is the power of God at work in us poor sinners through his preached Word.

  254. Alex said,

    Echo,
    I actually thought you kind of gave up on trying to discredit dancing in church due to the lack, and I do mean lack, of scriptural backing. Remember, the truth will always remain the truth regardless of what interpretation any of us mere mortals hold to. I thank God my thoughts are not God’s thoughts. I rest in “His ways are not my ways” That to me is reassuring.

  255. Albino Hayford said,

    That lame man would have been summarily thrown out of most conservative churches in America for being “overly exhuberant” and worshiping God “individualistically”. Shame on him, huh? So much emotion! How dare he “keep it real”!

    I think we need a reality check here and review what happened to King David’s wife when she “despised” his dancing.

  256. gospelordeath said,

    Alex,

    You thought wrong.

    Albino,

    David’s wife and Saul’s daughter didn’t despise his dancing, but his humility. And unless Peter would have healed the guy right during the worship service, then no, this reaction would need to be saved until after. Notice it didn’t take place in a worship service.

  257. Alex said,

    Echo,

    “David’s wife and Saul’s daughter didn’t despise his dancing, but his humility”

    So then dancing is a sign of humility? I like that. Good point. Did I just agree with Echo. Wow!

  258. gospelordeath said,

    You might notice I made a distinction between his humility and his dancing, as they are not the same thing. Not all dancing is a “sign of humility”. Turn on MTV for a few moments if you want to see how absurd such an assertion would be.

  259. Alex said,

    Echo, dancing CAN be a sign of humility, right? We are talking about the story of King David undignified before the Lord, right? So in the context of the passage it was his dancing that was a sign of humility, correct? Where is the disconnect?

    Daniel, I really tried my hardest to get your stats up to 300 but I failed. There seems to be no argument left on this thread.

  260. gospelordeath said,

    Alex,

    Just because David’s humility was at one point manifested through dancing, does not mean that dancing = humility. “Can be” does not mean “is”. There is the disconnect. And furthermore “was for David” doesn’t mean the same as “can be for anyone”.

  261. Albino Hayford said,

    Echo…

    You are all tied up in knots trying to eliminate dancing as legitimate worship of God. The “David dancing with all his strength” should have ended the argument. Come on.

  262. gospelordeath said,

    Albino,

    So all dancing, as long as it is, with all our strength, is pleasing to God? Is that what you’re trying to say?

  263. Albino Hayford said,

    David’s dancing was CLEARLY pleasing to God, and the one who despised it became sterile.

    You got busted by the Word of God, Echo. It didn’t fit into your 50’s throwback worship grid. Sorry.

    Maybe you should bust a move for Jesus like King David, too.

  264. gospelordeath said,

    Since all the Word of God says is that DAVID’S dancing was pleasing to God, and I haven’t disagreed with that, I fail to see how I’ve been “busted” by the Word of God.

  265. Albino Hayford said,

    He was “a man after God’s own heart”. He danced with all his might and it was pleasing to God. The one who despised him for being undignified was struck sterile by God.

    Asked and answered.

  266. gospelordeath said,

    yeah, but I don’t despise David’s dancing or his humility. Asked and not answered.
    Do you suppose that the fact that his dancing was with all his might or all his heart was what pleased God? Does that mean that a little swaying or foot tapping (if foot tapping can be called dancing) is NOT, since it’s not with all the heart or all the might or whatever?
    Are you saying that I despise David’s being undignified, despite that I said I don’t? Perhaps I despise him and have deceived myself into thinking that I don’t? Do you think that’s even possible? If that’s possible, do you suppose that it’s possible for a preacher to preach in such a way so that he thinks he’s preaching the gospel, but really isn’t? I’m just trying to figure out what’s possible here.

  267. Albino Hayford said,

    I’m saying you give King David a pass and despise everybody else who dances with all their might before the Lord.

  268. gospelordeath said,

    Now you’re changing your claim.

  269. Albino Hayford said,

    Just going by what you are asserting.

    This topic is getting old.

    Let’s agree to disagree and hang it up.

  270. gospelordeath said,

    You still haven’t answered my questions in 266. Asked and…silence.

  271. Albino Hayford said,

    Ok, Echo, you’re going to hate this. Ready? What dancing is is relative to each culture. Dancing is body movement but how each body moves and to what music is a an expression of culture. Therefore, again, although the concept is the same the METHOD changes. Sound familiar.

    To us Scandanavians, a warm hug is a pat on the shoulder. To an Italian, it is an embrace and kiss. To a Ukranian, it is an embrace and kiss on the lips. Is it still warmth in each culture? Yes.

    The same is true of dancing.

  272. gospelordeath said,

    2Sa 6:14 And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod.

    So you’re saying that for David, dancing with all his might means actually exerting himself physically, working hard to move his body around, dancing in front of the ark of the covenant – but today, a little bit of swaying can be culturally defined as dancing with all the might? Are you saying that the phrase “with all his might” is actually culturally defined? That would mean that what a human being is capable of is culturally defined. For David, it means physical exertion, working up a sweat, dancing through the streets of Jerusalem, spending his physical strength. But today, people are made of less hearty stuff, so a little swaying back and forth is all they’re capable of, and it exhausts them, so therefore that is what it means to dance with all the might.

    It seems to me that this is what you’re saying. I hope I’m wrong about that, and it isn’t what you’re saying, because it’s absolutely absurd. If it’s not what you’re saying, I’m glad to be corrected, and will even feel greatly relieved.

    But you still haven’t answered these questions:

    Are you saying that I despise David’s being undignified, despite that I said I don’t? Perhaps I despise him and have deceived myself into thinking that I don’t? Do you think that’s even possible? If that’s possible, do you suppose that it’s possible for a preacher to preach in such a way so that he thinks he’s preaching the gospel, but really isn’t? I’m just trying to figure out what’s possible here.

  273. gospelordeath said,

    Crickets, crickets…

  274. Alex said,

    Echo,
    here’s a little sample of what us “whacky’s” were confessing last Sunday in our praise and worship time.

    You stood before creation
    Eternity within Your hand
    You spoke the earth into motion
    My soul now to stand

    You stood before my failure
    Carried the Cross for my shame
    My sin weighed upon Your shoulders
    My soul now to stand

    So what can I say
    What can I do
    But offer this heart O God
    Completely to You

    So I’ll walk upon salvation
    Your Spirit alive in me
    This life to declare Your promise
    My soul now to stand

    So what can I say
    What can I do
    But offer this heart O God
    Completely to you
    So I’ll stand
    With arms high and heart abandoned
    In awe of the One who gave it all

    So I’ll stand
    My soul Lord to You surrendered
    All I am is Yours

  275. gospelordeath said,

    Ok. Why are you telling me this?

  276. Knee-high Miah « Blogorrhea said,

    […] other thing I noticed, is that Nehemiah instructs us not to dance in church.  The advocates of shakin’ yer groove thang as part of corporate worship can offer only one justification: “David did it, and he told us […]

  277. Albino Hayford said,

    I wonder how Mormons attempting to sway and sing a Black Gospel song would fit into this discussion?

  278. Calvinists Dancing in Church? « Word to the Wise said,

    […] has been a topic of debate over in Daniel’s Den , on Blogorrhea, and, at some length on Who Owes Me Three Dollars? (although comments were closed […]

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