Despite my many protestations, it is still quite common within Evangelical circles to equate culture and ethnicity.
The need for "emotional vitality" in worship did not start with the rise of contemporary worship; it started much earlier, first with Romanticism, and then with the theological underpinnings of Revivalism.
A pastor or a missionary should not expect a church in one culture to use the musical forms of another culture; such great differences exist between the cultures that to use another culture's music would be like speaking a foreign language. What I want to highlight in this essay is that there really aren't as many differences between different cultures' musical expressions as contemporary missiologists might imply.
Most people acknowledge that music, at its most basic level, expresses emotional content. However, articulating what that emotional content is can often be a challenge.
From the earliest of ages we inundate our children with Bible verses, we make sure that they faithfully attend church, and we seek to instill in them Bible truths that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. I wonder, however, whether Christian parents are really training their children fully.
Pastors and parishioners perennially battle over who has authority in matters of church practice, particularly in corporate worship. Should what happens in the corporate gatherings of God's people fall under the control of church leadership, or should these decisions be left to congregational input and direction?
It is becoming increasingly popular today to assume that since the essence of worship is the language of the gospel, then it follows that worship is all of life, and there is nothing distinct or significant about corporate gatherings of worship.
Many of the "worship wars" today are fueled by, I believe, differing views of the nature of worship itself. I believe that a fundamental step toward resolving these debates is to seek to understand how the Bible itself defines worship.
Is something beautiful because it brings pleasure, or do things bring pleasure because they are beautiful? The biblical answer to this question is that absolute standards of beauty exist that produce pleasure.
"We shouldn't let our worship preferences get in the way of our worship participation," writes Brett McCrackenin. His argument is that we shouldn't divide over preferences; therefore, we shouldn't divide over music. Or should we?
Christians have always wrestled with how they should respond to the cultures around them. What are we to do? Here are the answers.
Multiculturalism is not the answer because it suffers from the same essential fallacy as white supremacy, namely, that ethnicity and culture are equivalent categories.
The term "culture" is a concept that has developed in the last few hundred years as a way to explain different behaviors between groups of people.
The psalmist knows that God's people are often tempted to take God's grace for granted; we are often tempted to see God's grace as cheap and fail to recognize what it cost for God to forgive his people. We often grow comfortable in our sin because we think that since we are God's people, and he has made unconditional promises to us, then we no longer need to repent; we no longer need to confess our sin. We no longer need to fear God.
Some Christians believe that the Bible is an exhaustive list of prescriptions and prohibitions that reveal how God wants His children to live. If the Bible doesn't address something explicitly, then God doesn't care about that particular issue.
There are 12 Days of Christmas contests on the radio, 12 Days of Christmas sales at the mall, 12 Days of Christmas charity drives, and, of course, that very long song.