'Traditional', 'Contemporary', or Scriptural?
A nearby denomination advertises that it has two worship services each Sunday morning. One is "traditional" and the other is called "contemporary." While we have not visited either one, we suspect that these distinctions indicate that the first follows the routine patterns that have been observed in that denomination for many years. The "contemporary" service, on the other hand, likely breaks those long standing practices and seeks to attract a younger, more religiously 'liberated' crowd.
The whole notion of choice in this matter of worship is what deserves our attention. Choice is good, even preferable in many realms. We would be upset if we had no freedom to choose houses, cars, clothes, food, etc. In these areas we have a preference, and we act upon it. We allow that others may choose differently, and that is okay. "To each his own," we say.
But, men have mistakenly concluded that we are also free to choose what we like in worship specifically, and in religion generally. The "church of your choice" was a popular slogan many years ago. We don't hear that phrase much any more, but we certainly see that the concept has taken root. The denominations are full of people who have sought and found what appeals to them. What God wants -- what He has commanded and authorized -- seems to be of little concern.
Jesus taught that "God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). This important verse emphasizes two key aspects of acceptable worship. It must be "in spirit" -- indicating that the Father expects a sincere, heart-felt service. Without it, He is not pleased (Matthew 15:8). But our worship must also be "in truth," that is, in accordance with the commands of the Scripture. Those who do not submit to the authority of God's law will not be saved (Matthew 7:21-23).
"Traditional" or "contemporary" is the choice offered by men, but the only right choice is to serve God according to the truth of Scriptures. Anything else is an eternal mistake. Think!
- by Greg Gwin