"CHOOSE YOUR BLEND"
by Wayne S. Walker
Sometime ago at our home we received a flier from a nearby denominational church (which shall remain nameless). On the front, it said, "A church where you can Choose Your Blend," and pictured two cups of coffee, one "Smooth, Traditional, Inspiration, Rich," and the other "Robust, Fresh, Contemporary, Experience, Rhythm." The reverse side explained, "It’s not the same old grind. You have your own style, and at — you’ll find a church service that’s just right for you. The Celebration Service features casual dress, a full band and an informal style. At the Early & Late Services, you’ll enjoy a classic, more traditional experience. Whatever your style, you’ll find a spiritual connection that will enrich your week and your life. Come sample one of our ‘house blends’ this weekend. You now have a choice of worship experiences." There is something within me that reacts rather nauseatingly to the comparison of worshipping God with choosing a cup of coffee.
We used to hear people say, "Attend the church of your choice." Now we are hearing people say, "Seek out the ‘worship experience’ (whatever that is) of your choice." It is simply the idea of putting human preferences and wisdom ahead of God’s revealed word, which has been around for a long time, gone to seed. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12). "’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts’" (Isaiah 55:8-9). "O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps" (Jeremiah 10:23). "For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21).
The word of God has some things to say about our worship, both negative and positive. "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:8-9). "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). So God has had something to say about worship. And just as the Bible does not teach that we can attend the church of our choice, it does not teach that we can order the worship of our choice. Rather, we need to be more concerned with both the church and the worship of God’s choice!
It has become increasingly popular among denominational churches (and even some "churches of Christ") to become more "consumer oriented" and to make changes in their worship to suit people’s desires that they might draw larger crowds. One such church in Dayton, OH, a few years ago advertised "jeans and sneakers worship." In the past, when God’s word was more respected even by people in error, churches put up signs advertising "Divine worship" because they understood that they were worshipping Divinity. Does the advertisement of "jeans and sneakers worship" imply that people are now worshipping denim pants and tennis shoes? The way some people promote this idea, I truly wonder!
In all the services at faithful churches of Christ, we shall not offer worship that is merely "traditional" (just because we have always done it that way) or "contemporary" (in tune with the desires of this present world). Rather, it is our intention to offer worship that is in spirit and in truth because it from our hearts and conforms to the teachings of the inspired scriptures which are given to equip us thoroughly for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We invite all who desire truly to please God in their worship to visit and join with us. "…Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear" (Hebrews 13:15). (—taken from Faith and Facts Quarterly; January, 2006; Vol. 34, No. 1; pp. 72-74)