Just when I think the “worship wars” within the Christian community are over, a whole new set of articles about the superiority of one form/style of worship over another hits the internet.
Unfortunately, because I’m a bit of a church geek, I get sucked into these articles.
And, the truly sad part is that none of the articles bring any thing fresh to the conversation. Each article is a regurgitation of previous articles. Some are more aggressive. Some are more passive. But, in the end, most of the articles give the same 5-10 reasons why one form/style of worship is better than others.
A quick Google search of “worship wars” will bring up 884,000 results in about a one-second search.
There are articles that imply the superiority of liturgical/traditional/high-church forms of worship.
There are articles that imply the superiority of contemporary/modern forms of worship.
There are articles that imply the superiority of emerging and ancient-future forms of worship.
There are articles that imply “worship wars” are damaging the witness of the Church.
As I read the articles, I generally find myself growing tired of the argument. I mean, I can’t believe we’re still debating which form of worship is best. I’m pretty sure Jesus’ Great Commission said, “Go and make disciples”, not “Go and fight about which form/style of worship is superior to others.”
The substance, the theology, the heart, the authenticity, the honesty, the openness of the worship life of the church should be of utmost importance. And, substance, theology, heart, authenticity, honesty, and openness are not dependent upon the style or form.
The ongoing “worship wars” really come down to personal preference. Sure, some of the articles are written by theological scholars and sound incredibly convincing. But, again, it comes down to personal preference.
If a church utilizes liturgy, hymns, and the bells and smells of traditional worship, there will be people who resonate with that form/style of worship. At the same time, there will be some who do not appreciate the experience.
If a church utilizes bands, cool lighting set ups, hip pastors in blue jeans who make references to Future and Lil’ Yachty in their sermons, there will be people who resonate with that form/style of worship. At the same time, there will be some who do not appreciate the experience.
If a church simply gathers together for a simple meal, time of fellowship, and a few reflective thoughts, there will be people who resonate with that form/style of worship. At the same time, there will be some who do not appreciate the experience.
Again, it comes down to personal preference. The “worship wars” seem to be about justifying our own practices. We write books, blogs, and articles that raise up our preference and belittle things we do not enjoy. We try to make ourselves look better by making others look inferior.
In the end, no one wins.
So, I’ll continue to pray that we can drop the “worship wars”. I pray that we can celebrate that God uses a wide variety of forms/styles of worship to connect with a wide variety of people in a wide variety of places. I pray that we can just focus on giving our best, regardless of form/style.
Maybe if we spent less time arguing about worship forms/styles, we might actually have something relevant to say to our neighbors!