Worldliness is whatever any culture does to make sin seem normal and righteousness to be strange. When we imbibe the Zeitgeist (the spirit of the age) of worldliness, then we feel strange trying to think Christianly and to act according to the Bible’s mandates. That is, when we think the world’s thoughts after it and do not think God’s thoughts after Him, we will not be motivated to do the things that God wants us to do, but we will only feel comfortable acting in a manner that fits into the world’s way of doing things. This is why Christians who cease going to church begin to feel more and more comfortable in the world and less and less comfortable in the church. For the same reason, this is why regular attendance at church is so important. At church we worship by hearing God’s Word, praising God, praying, partaking of the Lord’s Supper and fellowshipping, all of which encourages believers and convinces them that they indeed are the ones who are normal and that the world is strange before God’s eyes. Believers need to encourage one another that, from the biblical perspective, it is normal for God’s people to reflect Christ and his behavior and not the world’s.
—Gregory K. Beale,We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry, 300
“Let’s pray that God will show up,”
“If we can get 100,000 people to gather for a praise festival, God will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing so great you won’t even have enough room to take it in (Malachi 3:10).”
“When we sing to His glory, He starts to work.”
“If we work hard, put in the hours; worship hard enough, God will honor and reward that by blessing us.”
—collected by Jan den Ouden
Pop song lyrics have been de facto the main poetry of the United States since the mid-1960s.
—John H. McWhorter, Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music and Why We Should, Like, Care, 83
Have a free-for-all time with a small group and design a service of worship that is entirely focused on meeting all your needs, hopes, desires, style preferences and favorite theological ideas. This might be considered an exercise to get it out of your system!
—Robbie F. Castleman, Robbie F., Story Shaped Worship, Following Patterns from the Bible and History, 76
A slogan that I think nicely defines what evangelicals have become in the early twenty-first century: “Anything you can do, we can do later. We can do anything later than you.” We seem ready to accept trends just after the sell-by date of the rest of the academy.
—Gregory Alan Thornbury, Recovering Classic Evangelicalism, 22
Worship has become narcissistic, focusing on me and my praise of God; and spirituality has turned toward a preoccupation with my journey of faith and my spiritual condition and experience. . . . When we become narcissistic, the place of worship and spirituality in God’s narrative is lost and worship and spirituality become subject to the whims of culture.
—Robert E. Webber, Who Gets to Narrate the World? Contending for the Christian Story in an Age of Rivals, 131
I think when you’re in church and a worship song is played (provided it’s not heretical), you have two choices:
2) Criticize, evaluate, and engage in pompous elitism.
I think what we need to do is just worship. When we got to church yesterday (we were very late) I didn’t feel like worshipping, for various reasons. And I may not have liked every song that was played.
But that’s my problem. None of the songs were heretical, and just because I wasn’t inspired to lift up Jesus, it doesn’t mean that the people around me were wrong to do so. In fact, they were right. I was wrong.
I think what’s needed in the worship wars, ultimately, is humility, thankfulness for what we have, and a renewal of the desire to worship God in spirit and truth. Worship, like grace, does not find an easy dwelling in an agitated, proud, critical heart.
What’s wrong with worship?
—paraphrasing G. K. Chesterton, “What’s Wrong with the World?’
God says, ” I don’t want your offerings or songs.” [Amos 5:22-24]
Evangelicals spend most of their time talking about offerings and songs.
—Cole Huffman, sermon, 10/7/07
When Christians accept a consumerist culture’s definition at face value, they look to the church primarily to provide them with the means to improve their private lives, enhance their self-esteem, give them a sense of purpose. Worship becomes a form of therapy whose sole aim is to improve the emotional state of the individuals, and to energize them for the week ahead. It is designed principally to make those individuals feel comfortable, and to justify the style of life they find most satisfying.
—James V. Brownson, Inagrace T. Dietterich, Barry A. Harvey, Charles C. West, StormFront: The Good News of God, 7
Worship nevertheless imprints on our whole being the reality that we study. The effect is a radical disruption of the powers of evil in us and around us. Often an enduring and substantial change is brought about.
—Dallas Willard, Daily Devotional, Day 4: “Worship” in Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks
As daily consumers of popular media culture, we have learned to be egocentric in our selection, selfish in our evaluation, impatient for gratification and eager for novelty.
—Mary L. Conway, “Worship Music: Maintaining Dynamic Tension,” McMaster Journal of Theology and Ministry 7 (2006): 147 www.mcmaster.ca/mjtm/pdfs/vol7/MJTM_7-7_Conway.pdf
[We have been] catechized by consumerism.
—E. Byron Anderson, “Worship and Theological Education,” Theological Education, Vol. 39, Number 1 (2003):120