We know from the Old Testament that Israelites praised God with instruments and voices (e.g. 1Chronicles 15:16) as the whole earth will one day (Psalm 66:3-4). And, according to Paul, the first-century Church also sang songs together in praise and worship (e.g. Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).
There are two ways to handle music in church: listen to the music and enjoy it, which may make us feel good but does nothing for anyone else. Or . . . we can actively participate in singing and playing as instructed by the Bible. This outward expression is a great way to adore, honor, and revere our God and Christ! After all, true love (agape in the Greek) is actionable and the kind of love we’re meant to have for God and our fellow humans.
There’s some concern these days around the use of multimedia and the replaying of Christian entertainment during church services as a form of praise and worship. Whether there’s reason for concern depends on the intent of the performers and hearers.
Are the sessions prideful regurgitations of Christian top-40 music meant to evoke the same kinds of emotions you’d find in a bar over weepy love songs or among lighter-waving teens in a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert 35 years ago? Or, is the music truly a vehicle for outward-bound praise of our Lord and savior? Only the performers and listeners know for sure.
As a praise and worship lead guitarist for roughly 34 years, I can honestly say I’ve seen it go both ways, although the trend seems to be moving away from a participatory worship to more of an appeal to the senses (in my experience and opinion).
Just remember that obedience to God’s commandments is the greatest form of true worship – assigning ‘worth’ or ‘value’ to our God. According to the Bible, this is what God desires over religious activities, and Jesus said this is how we prove we’re His. No amount of donuts in the foyer, weepy worship band music, electric guitar solos, or church programs will save us from God’s wrath to come. However, obedience out of faith will.
Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!
And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!