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Should our worship be Traditional, Contemporary, or Christ-Centered?

by Casey Lewis on January 14, 2020

There has been an article floating around that I believe is designed to create disunity and distract us from Jesus. It seems to be driven by preferences rather than the gospel. You can access it here.

I have been reading a book entitled Church with Jesus as the Hero. I'd encourage you to pick up a copy on Amazon. In the book, the author has a helpful section on singing. The section is entitled:

Our Hero Saves Us from Singing according to Personal Preference.

I'm going to quote him at length because I believe he says it better than I could.

"Singing with Jesus as the Hero reminds us that his kingdom transcends our own personal preferences. Within the context of the local church, there is no room for selfishness of any kind, including musical preferences. Musical styles are a blessing in the church, but they are often used as self-preferential weapons. Instead of considering the selflessness of the Christ and joyfully submitting their preferences to him, some choose to exalt their personal preferences and create division among the people of God through one of God's good and precious gifts.

The varied testimony of the church through song is a gift that is meant to express the unity of the church and testify among all and to all that Jesus is Lord of all.

Jesus, as the perfect Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, left his heavenly throne and laid aside his power and glory to become a man. He lived a life full of temptation, yet he was without sin, and he bore the full weight of the wrath of God for us, his enemies, so we can be freed from the bonds of sin and death.

When we see Jesus as the Hero of our worship and song, we gladly sacrifice our musical stylistic preferences for the sake of our brothers and sisters standing with us in the congregation. 

In fact, we not only sacrifice our own preferences, but we delight in the preferences of others; in so doing, we recognize that the kingdom of Christ is bigger than the individual and his personal preferences. When we sing with Jesus as the Hero, we can rightly respond to a song that does not fit our personal style with full joy in celebration of the expanse of God's grace in Christ. When we musically count others as more significant than ourselves in the body of Christ, we taste a bit of heaven on earth.

Selfless, Christ-centered, gospel song in the church unifies diverse congregations as genuine and loving households of faith (Eph. 2:19) built by the grace of God in Jesus Christ. 

Reading and applying the Bible with Jesus as the Hero changes everything about the way we respond to him in singing. Our Hero saves us from singing about ourselves and to ourselves. Instead, we direct our songs upward and outward with the glorious central theme of the gospel. Our Hero saves us from singing alone and in reductionistic, monolithic styles that shrink the celebration of grace in the body of Christ. Instead, we must respond by setting aside personal preferences and wholeheartedly embracing the musical diversity of the body of Christ, knowing that one day, all who stand with Christ as conquerors from every tribe, tongue, and nation will sing with one unified voice the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb saying, "Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nation" (Rev. 15:3)!" (74-75)

Instead of counting how many traditional hymns we sing as opposed to contemporary songs. Instead of worrying whether they are projected or printed. Let's listen to the words; let's learn from them; let's do what we came to church to do – to worship Jesus.

Let's be a church that is known for singing Jesus-exalting, Christ-centered songs to the glory of God!

Let's be a people who prize Jesus over everything else. Let's make Jesus famous! Let's worship our Savior in all the musical diversity that is available to us as we seek to reach others in Red Oak and beyond for the glory of God. 

Tags: worship, music, gospel-centered

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