Music in the Church
MUSIC IS AN ART FORM
Art is basically a physical process. Keys are pressed, notes written onto paper
or sung into a microphone. Paint is brushed onto canvas, or objects are arranged
in some sort of order. Such processes produce sights and sounds, but physical
processes alone do not make art. Spilling a can of paint, shaking a rattle or
randomly pressing the shutter button on a camera may produce something artistic,
but few would call it true art unless creative thought is involved.
Some people would contend that any expression of thought is an art form, but no
one I know argues that all art is of equal value or quality.
We could argue long and hard about what constitutes art and what is not art,
but I think all would agree that artistic expression can and must be evaluated
in order to classified as art. If no one considers it art, it isn't, but if you
think the scribbling of your four-year-old art, it is.
Andy Warhol painted a can of Campbell's Soup that now hangs in a museum and
is worth a fortune. The artistic value of his "masterpiece" can be questioned,
but Warhol's "pop-art" is nevertheless a legitimate art form that appeals to
A sand castle can be considered a work of art even though the next wave
washes it away. Not the sand is art, but the castle made of sand. Not everything
made from sand is art, however. A bulldozer may move tons of sand around without
creating a work of art.
It is a similar situation with sound. Sounds do not make music but music can be
made from sound. And not every sound can be called music.
PERSONAL TASTE and PREFERENCE
For most people today, music is primarily for personal enjoyment, but sound
vibrations that appeal to one person may annoy another.
Back in the fifties, when diners and fast food became popular, customers fed
coins to juke boxes so they could listen to the latest hits. Other customers
wanted peace and quiet during their meals, and that created a crisis for
restaurant owners. I am told that a clever college student solved the problem.
He copyrighted a 45 RPM record of silence for juke boxes that made him rich. The
student definitely put creative thought into his invention, but he could hardly
be called a recording artist, let alone a musician!
Some music is almost universally accepted and enjoyed. We once attended a
concert of the "The King's Singers," a British group that sings without any
instrumental accompaniment. People of all ages and classes enjoyed the concert,
even giving a standing ovation.
There is also music which some can barely tolerate. A friend told me that
bagpipe music reminds him of his school days, when the teacher's chalk screeched
on the blackboard.
My wife and I enjoy most Christian hymns, choruses and songs, but dislike
constant repetition of almost meaningless choruses currently popular in many
churches. We attend most concerts of the Pitman Hobo Band because there is no
charge for admission and the Hobos play a lot better than they look. Another
reason is because my Uncle was one of the founders of the band. In May, 2007, we
enjoyed a concert of the world-famous Johann Strauss Orchestra under the
direction of Andre' Rieu in Atlantic City. We like to sing, listen to CDs and
attend both Christian and secular concerts. We do have our personal preferences,
however. I like country, bluegrass and some of the sixties style music of Simon
& Garfunkel, the Beach Boys and The Kingston Trio. My wife would rather hear
accordion or classical music.
Certain age groups are noticeably missing at some of the concerts we attend, and
many of those present have white hair or none at all. There are reasons for
this, but they have little to do with the quality of the music. When I was a
teenager, I preferred rock 'n roll or rhythm and blues to the fox trot and big
band records my parents listened to. People tend to like "their" music long
after it becomes old-fashioned. I still get nostalgic when I hear the Platters
or Peter Paul and Mary.
It's the same with other things. As a teenager, I liked hot rods and custom
cars, but my younger brothers were more into muscle cars of the sixties. That is
why most of the people at car shows have white hair or none at all. Harley
Davidson bikers may wear jeans, leather jackets and grow beards, but they are
mostly senior citizens.
I am at a loss to even guess what kind of nostalgic yearnings today's youth may
have five decades from now. Cars all look alike today. Kids do texting and play
video games, but i-phones and X-Box hardly seem like viable candidates for 2070
collectors. Many older folk wear hearing aids, but these kids' eardrums will be
totally destroyed by the time they reach our age.
Still, you can't argue with a person's preference or taste. Most people like ice
cream and few like liver. My wife likes horse radish and I like peanut butter.
Cats are always cleaning their fur while dogs love to roll in cow manure. It's a
matter of personal preference.
Because it is a fruitless task, I will not spend any time here trying to define
what is good music and what is bad based on my own preferences. Preferences do
not determine what is art, let alone good or bad art.
GOD and MUSIC
Tastes and preferences play a major role in church music, but to date, no clever
student has come up with a satisfactory solution for churches. I have given the
matter some serious thought, however.
It is technically possible to copy major airlines and install video screens
and earphone jacks on the back of seats or pews. There could be various channels
with options for music style, language and sermon preference. This would
eliminate the need to provide multiple services with traditional, contemporary
and blended music. Because younger persons like to clap their hands and seniors
are prone to shout "amen" during the sermon, certain restraints would be in
order, but the idea just might catch on. On a recent flight, I noticed a credit
card swiper next to the screen to pay for films. This could be used instead of
passing collection plates.
Sounds were created by God and have always been an important part of life.
Birds and animals make various sounds. The brook babbles while waterfalls and
the surf roar. From the buzzing of busy bees to thunder and lightning, nature
And people make sounds. Man was given a voice and soon learned to sing. Earliest
known civilizations made musical instruments. From the cradle to the grave,
people sing, play and listen to music.
Music plays an important role in scriptures and throughout church history. One
fact that few Christians are aware of, is that unrehearsed, harmonious communal
singing (we call it congregational singing) is practically unknown outside the
Christian church. And within Christianity, singing is most common in groups of
believers who have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In
liberal churches or where the gospel is not clearly preached, music tends to be
liturgical and rehearsed. Singing together for the joy of making music soon
diminishes where personal relationship with God and each other is not
In my opinion, the trend away from singing hymns to repetitive choruses led
by worship teams and accompanied by amplified instruments is an indicator of the
spiritual condition of churches.
SATAN and MUSIC
Destroying, desecrating, counterfeiting and prostituting good things is an
effective method that the devil uses to accomplish his purposes.
If possible, Satan would gladly destroy all that is good and replace it with the
worst of the bad. But his main objective is keeping people under his influence
and away from God, and even bad people don't like rotten apples. If you burn a
masterpiece, it is destroyed and ceases to be art. No one will buy it or even
accept it for free. Because most people do not easily accept the obviously bad
stuff, the devil must resort to other methods to peddle his wares and seduce
victims. His most common tactics are distortion, counterfeiting and prostitution
of that which is inherently or originally good.
1) Desecration or distortion of that which is good appeals to those with
rebellious hearts. They push at accepted rules and limitations, delighting in
life on the edge. We can most clearly observe this in the fashion world. Even in
churches, we see women parading their sexuality in clothing that borders on or
exceeds accepted decency. Deliberate deviation from that which is obviously good
music or ignoring accepted standards may enhance the popularity of music but not
its artistic or spiritual value. Mixing base, worldly elements into Christian
music to make it appeal to the unsaved or carnal Christians is a popular tactic
of the devil.
2) A counterfeiter attempts to make a close copy of the genuine article in order
to fool people into accepting it. I have seen counterfeit paintings that are
undeniably excellent works of art. Satan resorts to counterfeiting especially
with those who would not accept that which is obviously wrong. The Mormon
Tabernacle Choir is an effective tool in winning favor for that religion. "Ave
Maria" is without a doubt lovely music, but it lulls Roman Catholics into
worshipping Mary rather than God and Jesus.
3) The prostitution of good Christian music is more common than one might think.
The dictionary defines prostitution as "the act of offering or devoting one's
talents to an unworthy use or cause." The use of music to encourage any
unethical, illegal or immoral activity is obviously wrong anywhere, but it is
especially abhorrent in the church.
Most people think immediately of money when they hear the word, "prostitution."
Businessmen have long recognized that shoppers spend more money when music is
played in the background. Secular businesses and singers may prefer worldly
"xmas" music, but they are not opposed to singing or playing Christmas carols to
attract religious customers. The utilization of music for economic gain is
common and not entirely evil. The primary motivation of music producers and
manufacturers of musical instruments is to earn profits. Many musicians earn a
living from music. Some may consider this a prostitution of music, but before
you get too harsh with business establishments, I should remind you that the
idea originated in churches. They call it the "offertory." Music is often
prostituted where money is involved.
Using good music to promote false teaching is exemplified by Family Radio.
Harold Camping uses the best Christian music available to promote his errant
religious teachings. Camping even claims that churches and institutions which
produce the music he plays are of the devil!
Exceptional talent may be involved, but prostitution of the human body cheapens
sexual experience. It is the same with the prostitution of the arts. The
artistic value of a statue, painting or a musical work may be great, but when
prostituted it becomes a mere marketing tool.
Music usually carries some sort of message or has a purpose. If not, it is
merely noise, but even then it reveals how the musician feels or what he is
thinking. The intention may be to create a mood, deliver a message or simply to
entertain. Operas and Broadway shows combine music with drama to tell a story. A
mother sings lullabies to her baby. Some dentists have found that patients feel
less pain when listening to music. A neighbor of ours was plagued with ferrets
in his attic. Someone told him to place a short wave radio up there and tune in
some high pitched sounds. The pesky animals left immediately!
Music can be therapeutic. Music that is designed to appeal to the senses, to
relax or to energize may or may not be good music. People troubled by difficult
life situations may respond favorably to soft, soothing sounds that offer a
sense of peace and tranquility. Or they may prefer loud, boisterous sounds that
drown out their misery. Elevator music keeps people from getting claustrophobia,
and airline passengers are less nervous on takeoff if music is playing.
Church music can also be effectively used to create a desired atmosphere in
preparation for a message and for other situations. Using music for therapy does
not prostitute it unless the purpose is wrong.
MUSIC IN CHURCHES
I don't like classification based on casual observations of a few individuals.
Generalizations may be legitimately made in cases where many people have
observed the same thing and come to the same conclusion. But even in such cases,
we must be careful to allow for exceptions to the rule. We must be especially
careful not to judge a person's motive or intent.
When I speak of "worship music" and "worship teams" in the following paragraphs,
I am referring to a noticeable trend that is fairly typical but certainly not
all inclusive. Many members of church worship teams might agree with my
observations of the movement, yet disagree with the conclusions that I have
drawn. I hope to avoid passing judgment on anyone's motives and welcome any open
discussion on the part of those who disagree.
FROM WORD to WORSHIP
For decades, many of our evangelical churches were weak on praise and worship.
The emphasis was on “doing” rather than “being”; on man’s accomplishments rather
than on God’s unique attributes. Along came the charismatics, who reintroduced
praise and worship. They grew while mainstream evangelical churches criticized.
Eventually, evangelical Christians learned that worship and praise belong in the
church. The course correction was needed, but in many churches today, we can
witness an over-reaction. Worship leaders and musicians are more important than
pastors, teachers and spiritual counselors. The investment of time and money is
rapidly shifting from ministry of the Word to worship.
It must be understood that certain elements of the church are of utmost
importance and dare not be neglected, while others are secondary or even
trivial. Music is Important, but not Indispensable. Like a picture and its
frame, music belongs to the periphery and should draw attention to that which is
Music is a great and important ministry in the church and an effective tool in
evangelism. People can be saved or blessed in Christian concerts, but it is not
the music which convicts of sin and brings salvation. It is God's Word. Although
music played a role in both the Old and New Testaments, I believe it is safe to
say that music is not absolutely indispensable in churches and in evangelism. We
cannot say that about God’s Word. There are only two references in the New
Testament, which encourage Christians to make music. Both are closely associated
with the teaching of God’s Word.
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit,
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and
making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things
unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting
yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (Ephesians 5:17-21)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and
admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with
grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)
WORSHIP IS "IN"
In the past two or three decades, music has become a divisive issue in many
churches. In the beginning, only isolated churches in some mainline
denominations experimented with modern music styles. In most cases, the churches
involved were facing a crisis. Young people were leaving and older members
slowly dying out. Today, few churches remain unaffected by the so-called
Recently we attended a piano concert of a musician who has composed and arranged
many numbers familiar to Christians across the nation. We thoroughly enjoyed his
concert, but I had to disagree with a statement that he made. He defined worship
as "intimacy with God."
When I got home, I got out my concordance and looked up the word "worship." In
most places where worship is mentioned in the Bible, the worshipper recognizes
God's holiness and his or her own unworthiness. The worshipper is often struck
with fear and falls on his face. Job even rent his mantel.
That pianist probably gets intimate with his wife occasionally, but I seriously
doubt that it involves falling on his face and admitting his own unworthiness!
The heathen worship idols, the sun and stars. Isaiah speaks of men worshipping
moles and bats! That doesn't sound like intimacy to me.
The dictionary defines intimacy as close association or familiarity. Worship is
defined as a reverent expression of love and allegiance. I prefer the dictionary
definitions even though it's definition of worship does not completely fit
examples given in the Bible.
THE TYPICAL WORSHIP TEAM
I have no problem with a person or team leading a congregation in singing, but
problems surface when you add floodlights and many decibels!
We attended a fundraiser sponsored by a Christian organization for its
supporting constituency. The banquet took place in a luxury hotel. Ladies were
dressed in long evening dresses and men in suits. The tables were set with
crystal glassware and seven pieces of silverware. When it was time for the
program, four musicians filed onto the stage like a bunch of disorganized bums.
One was wearing jeans with torn knees; another had slacks and a sport shirt with
open collar and arms rolled up. Two guitarists with low slung instruments and
scrubby two or three day beards took their places. Then came a girl wearing
tight jeans and a daringly low décolleté. Finally, the drummer sauntered onto
the stage with long un-kept hair and his shirt tail hanging out. After
rearranging his instruments, he sat down and the band began to play.
I thought, "What would people think if I came to the banquet looking like the
members of the worship team?"
Many worship teams, like secular rock bands, seek to become the central focus of
attention. They are on stage and their instruments and voices are amplified.
They expect applause and recognition. They dress and act to draw attention to
themselves. The biggest difference between some Christian worship teams and
secular bands is that worldly groups don't try to convince you that they are
Typical worship team members seem to have one interest. They want to make
their music. If they get applause, they are happy, but nothing bothers them
more than criticism, regardless of who gives it or how its presented.
Satan uses good things to lead people into sin. The people pictured in sex
magazines and advertisements for alcohol and cigarettes, for instance, are
always the finest specimens of humanity. They are healthy, strong and
good-looking. It shouldn’t surprise us that the devil seeks to use talented,
good-looking Christians to further his purposes in the church whenever possible.
He can do nothing to harm the church from without, but if he gets his foot in
the door, he can do a lot of damage. Attempting to attract others to Christ with
sex, worldly music and other questionable means is a typical ploy of the devil
and certainly not of God!
Because many older Christians have little scriptural knowledge and are worried
that young people are leaving the church in large numbers, they condescend and
permit just about anything.
THE WORSHIP BAND
Worship team musicians are often like the instruments they play. The capability
for producing good music is there, but one never knows what kind of sound will
come out of them. Although worship teams may use many kinds of instruments,
keyboards, drums and guitars are practically mandatory.
The manufacturers of keyboards have one selfish interest -- they want to sell
keyboards. It is not the audience that buys keyboards but musicians. That is why
the attractive side faces the musician. The audience sees only the posterior
with all of its plugs and accessories. And as with pickup trucks, the brand name
is also emblazoned on the backside in large bold letters.
As a rule, the drums are located on center stage to the rear. Sometimes the
drummer sits in a sort of cage so the noise isn't overpowering, but it is always
made of transparent material. Gestures, facial expression and posture are just
as important as the sounds a drummer makes. As with the keyboard, the large drum
has its ugly backside facing the audience.
The most common utterance of a young person when speaking to an older person is,
"I'm bored!" When young people get bored, they look for excitement -- and noise.
As a teenager, I liked rock n' roll music and loud mufflers. My parents did not
share my tastes and I tried not to offend them. Kids still like noise, but few
of them show concern for the tastes of their parents and older Christians.
A worship band normally has a lead guitarist and another person playing the bass
guitar. Other guitars are optional. The guitar is slung low and held to look
A Christian musician lecturing at an international worship conference in Holland
claimed, "There is no such thing as good and bad music. Music is neutral." After
reading this in a newsletter, I saw that person and challenged him on his
assertion. I asked him if he purchased music CDs based solely on the price. He
didn't of course. I followed by asking what criteria he used in buying music. He
said he bought music he liked. Music he didn't like was not necessarily bad.
Knowing that he was a music teacher, I asked how he graded his students. He was
forced to admit that there are good and poor musicians, but continued to argue
that music is neutral.
I explained that letters of the alphabet are neutral, but as soon as you put
them in a specific order, they make a statement. Some people take God's name in
vain to show their contempt for God, religion and Christians. We certainly
wouldn't consider that neutral!
Like letters of the alphabet, musical notes are neutral, but when arranged in a
certain order, the neutrality disappears. He agreed with that statement but
still insisted that all music is neutral and can be used in worshipping God.
In this paper, I am not attempting to identify good and bad music. I will leave
this job to trained musicians. Nor do I insist that only worldly rock music is
wrong. Even the best of music can be wrongly used. Christians can be lulled into
spiritual apathy or mesmerized by good music that they constantly listen to on
their radios, CDs and I-pods.
When you listen to the gushy words of the worship team leader, it all sounds so
heavenly. The only professed desire of the worship team is to worship God and
encourage others to do the same; “We want to see only God and lift him up and
magnify him; Let’s get our eyes off ourselves and the world around us and draw
near to God” is a typical statement.
The first hint that something is amiss can be seen in mannerisms which draw
attention to themselves rather than to God. As I already mentioned, music
belongs to the frame that should draw people's attention to the central point of
focus -- God and his Word. Worship music normally does exactly the opposite. It
distracts from the Word and draws attention away from the Head of the church,
Jesus Christ, focusing instead, on the musicians.
I am reminded of the two men praying in the Synagogue which Jesus described. One
was a wretched sinner seeking forgiveness. He was off in a corner, probably
looking at the floor or even lying prostrate. The other was a Pharisee who stood
center stage with his eyes and arms lifted heavenward so that all could see how
holy he was. Jesus exposed the Pharisee as a hypocrite.
A special breathing technique is used by singers in many worship teams. Sounds
are formulated with a maximum of air and minimum of hard consonants. The latter
are generally avoided by those who compose modern worship songs, and if a song
contains hard consonants, singers know how to suppress them. The trick is
allowing a maximum of breath to escape while holding the microphone close to the
lips to compensate for the consequent loss of volume. Modern amplification
systems make anything possible and the person at the sound console is important.
Another popular psychology is alternating between soft and hard music. Recently,
we attended the mission conference of a well-known Bible college. The main
sessions were dominated by musicians, who in turn were led by a worship leader.
The Worship Team didn’t seem to care what the speaker’s subject was in its
choice of songs, but it knew how to move the crowd of young people by
alternating between soft breathy worship songs and loud eardrum-blasters.
I wish I had taken a video camera with me to film one scene in the auditorium of
that Bible College. Many students were not singing and some who were, seemed in
a trance with their hands in the air and their eyes closed. A girl in tight
jeans and a sweater that exposed several inches of bare belly was twisting and
gyrating to the music with her arms stretched heavenward. The college President,
dressed in a dark pinstriped suit and holding his briefcase at his side, was
standing solemnly with his wife in the row just ahead of the girl. The contrast
It is not just a new trend in music, but an entirely new concept of “doing
church” which forms the foundation of the worship movement. The New Testament
church was a group of believers who committed to follow Jesus and his teachings.
The new movement seeks to make the church a semi-religious theme park that even
unsaved people can enjoy.
Just this morning (November 5, 2009), I received the following in an email sent
mostly to such churches and Christian workers.
"It's not too late. Don't stay stuck with an expensive, hard-to-use solution
when you can switch from your existing presentation software to EasyWorship 2009
and get a site license, free technical support and powerful new features for
just $199. As a bonus for making the switch, you'll get a free media kit that
includes $300 in popular media from producers like Floodgate, Hyper Pixels,
Igniter and more."
Although there is nothing morally or spiritually wrong with this ad, it
symbolizes the shift to entertainment in many churches.
The so-called worship movement has taken many churches and training institutions
hostage. Pastors, deacons and church members give in to the demands of the
worship team. Church leaders and members fear being labeled legalistic,
old-fashioned or selfish, so they submit either willingly or grudgingly to the
worship team's wishes and demands. Once worship leaders become firmly entrenched
in a church, they begin to use their position to control other aspects and
ministries. Ultimately, those who don’t fall into line, start looking for
another church, but finding a church that is not controlled by a worship team is
getting increasingly difficult.
We have personally observed this scenario in many of the churches we have
visited. Several of our faithful supporter churches have fallen prey to worship
teams. In nearly all these churches, the teaching of the Word and missions
emphasis gradually took a back seat until they became mere vestiges of the past.
Worship teams generally don’t see themselves seeking control of the church any
more than spoiled kids are aware that they seek to control their parents to get
what they want. They feel that what they want is good and right. Members of
worship teams will readily and honestly tell us that they only seek to glorify
God. How could any Christian criticize their efforts to serve the Lord with
their gifts! I am not in any way questioning the motives of worship team members
or church leaders. But I contend that many are unknowingly being lulled into a
false movement and used of the devil.
One of the main arguments for worship teams and modern worship music, is that
the church must go this route if it wants to reach (or keep) young people.
Another argument that we frequently hear is that the old hymns are out-of-date.
To the former argument, I ask if the ends justify the means. There are many
other things that young people like and dislike. Some churches have offered
Bingo for years and others now include big screen television coverage of the
Super Bowl or NASCAR races when they fall on a Sunday. Free beer may be next.
People who don't like hymns have reasons for this. They feel that they are
old-fashioned and no longer relate to modern people on the street. I ask why
they don't write good up-to-date hymns with four-part harmony? The music that
has replaced hymns leaves much to be desired. Many worship choruses have few
words and little meaning. The text is projected onto a big screen without the
music. This makes it difficult to sing a new song and almost impossible for
people to sing parts. Kids grow up never learning to read notes.
Many worship teams are not concerned about this, however. It's all about being
seen and heard (-worshipped!).
I recently attended the Christmas Program of a large evangelical church on the
west coast. The church worship team put on an elaborate musical performance
including a paid professional musician. Half the musical numbers were secular
songs including “He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. He
knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.”
DOES THE BIBLE HAVE NOTHING TO SAY ABOUT CHURCH MUSIC?
A major reason for worship wars is the sad fact that few pastors know much about
music and worship leaders have little Bible knowledge.
I doubt that anyone can adequately define what is good and what is bad
music. The Bible makes no attempt to do this either, but it sets certain
standards and gives us guidelines for all subjects, deeds and relationships.
Music is not excluded.
First of all, everything is to be done decently and in order. We shouldn't need
a biblical injunction to tell us that music should be appropriate for the
occasion, audience and surroundings. Even worldly musicians don't need to be
told that different kinds of music are played at funerals and weddings. There
are many passages of scripture that teach and demonstrate this principle, but
not a few worship teams seem to think that any music is appropriate in the
The message of music must be in line with scriptural teaching. The hymn “Just as
I am” is appropriate as an invitation hymn, but the popular worship song, “Come
just as you are to worship” is not scriptural. Christians are commanded to
prepare their hearts for worship. We should enter into God’s presence with
respect and awe. We should search our hearts for anything that may hinder
fellowship and seek forgiveness. We should enter into his presence with clean
One big reason why music divides churches, is the false understanding of the
church and its purpose. The church is not a building, but rather the body of
Christ, the believers. The purpose of a church is not to attract the unsaved,
but to prepare Christians and send them into the world as witnesses. Churches
that have gotten swept up in the worship movement, often called "seeker
churches," or "emergent churches," are generally careful not to offend or
embarrass anyone. Political correctness is very important. A person who even
hints that something could be wrong and unscriptural is quickly reprimanded as
being judgmental, legalistic and unloving. Members try not to talk, act or look
too much like Christians because they think it might keep others from attending.
We are called upon to tell the nations of God's attributes and proclaim his
salvation to the lost. When Christians proclaim the gospel faithfully to a lost
world, they may be ridiculed or persecuted, but hardly applauded.
Paul wrote that there may be nothing inherently wrong with meat that was offered
to idols, but he warned against disregarding another person's convictions. God
desires harmonious relationships and harmonious music. Making music that
unnecessarily divides Christians and disrupts fellowship is unscriptural.
There are many other passages which could be mentioned here, but any honestly
seeking Christian can discover what God thinks of this matter if he or she
desires to be consequent and do God's will (John 7:17).
THE DEVIL'S KITCHEN
Satan knows very well how the Holy Spirit works in hearts and what appeals to
fleshly appetites. God's Word gives us the essential ingredients of the true
The Bible is no longer a basic ingredient in the worship movement. Church
programs, including those for children and youth, have become music and
entertainment oriented. If the pastor reads something from the Bible, he uses a
paraphrased version and keeps the Bible out of sight.
Prayer meetings have never been as well attended as other services, but in
most churches today, there is little room for prayer. Prayer meetings have all
but vanished. The larger the church, the fewer prayers are offered. Few
Christians have a personal time of Bible study and prayer each day.
Another essential ingredient of the Church of Jesus Christ is fellowship of
the believers. There is less opportunity for fellowship in a large church. It is
not uncommon for regulars to attend a service with 2,000 others and not
recognize a single person they know. Any fellowship that takes place in the
church is confined to small groups, but these too lack the essential ingredients
of a healthy church. Because churches are trying to attract unbelievers, they
are little different from any other worldly groups. Music belongs to this
category, but the music in many churches tends to divide Christians rather than
A healthy church must teach obedience coupled with accountability. In larger
congregations, no one knows much about what others do during the week.
Ralph V. Harvey