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June 12, 2013


Hi KWM, well, it seems like a chord has been struck that has caused you to take personal offense at what I am saying. I hope it isn't deemed to be on purpose. You're continuing to say that I haven't addressed the original post so I'll start there to see if I cant at least justify my point--whether or not it slays a sacred cow on your end.

Here's a sentence from the original post by Justin:

"The best thing you can do is to consider carefully the purpose of your role as you make your decisions for each service. You have the noble position of enabling all of us to draw together as one before God to express our love and honor through a powerful medium."

Here's what Amy said that prompted me to respond to her:

"When I think about the most powerful worship times I've experienced, they've been the times when the living voices were surrounding me and I was part of them. On the other hand, the loneliest times of worship have been when I couldn't hear anyone worshiping (whether because the music was too loud or because no one was singing) and I felt that isolation."

Here's what I replied to Amy...this is just prior to your incredulous response to "p" and I's comments:

"This implies that meaningful worship is subjective to the worshipper. I wont repeat much of what "p" has said, [and even though his use of the OT scriptures having been challenged, they'd stand as examples of what happens when men decide to worship according to their own subjective whims], but would add that a theme in the New Testament centers around what it looks like to be a true worshipper. He must be worshipped in spirit and truth...not just spirit. Worship of God is corporate worship, done in compliance. There is not a lot of room for personal preference....[I didn't say no room, btw]"

So, the OP quote plainly is attributing worship as the music portion of a service. If this isn't separating the music from the worship service I dont know what is. Amy then supports my understanding of the OP when she basically equates a good or vaulable worship service being guaged by her own personal experience and her participation in the singing of it along with the congregation.

My response to Amy which seemed to have put you off so as to blind you to what I'm saying dealt with the problem of the worship leader model in the first place. I dont have to comment about the loudness or the tendency to drift off in some variation when prior to that point, the model in the first place is unbiblical and problematic. I think I get that you take offense to that, but you cannot say that I'm not addressing the post, I think you just dont agree with what I have to say. You say improper worship is at least still worship, I say that careless minor offenses can certainly profane the worship service and should be avoided.

As far as my deferring to others, yes, the called ones ala Eph 4 should be submitted to. If you think every congregant has the same calling and authority to lead and decide how and what is proper worship, it explains a lot. I have a hard time swallowing that though but at the same time it would make sense of some of what you've said. Why would I defer...because God called teachers and preachers to shepherd the saints have demonstrated a calling and have been approved by examination by other qualified elders that are able to confirm their commitment to theological soundness and ability to shepherd.

Needless to say, I think the modern evangelical worship leader is unqualified to lead theologically-all you have to do is pay attention to what is being said in about 80% of the songs that are popular.

I agree with Amy's original post that if the worship-leader's job/ministry is to lead worship, then he shouldn't do it in a way that makes worship inaccessible to the person in the church trying to worship.

But here is what I can't get. Why is it that we only define worship as the music and singing? Why is it that we call musicians "worship leaders" when they are musicians? Sure, they are leading part of the worship. But the singing isn't the only part that is worship. As a pastor of a liturgical church, we have many prayers and 80% of our service is scripture and all of it, songs, prayers, sermon, bible reading, the Lord's table, all these things comprise our corporate worship. It is so much more than just music. The same arguments can be made about other aspects of a worship service as have been made about music. For example, if the entire service is done in a language no one understands- such as Latin- then it hinders worship because it limits or flat out denies participation by the people. And while worship may not be about the people, but about the object of their worship, if they can't participate, then they didn't worship.

Since Reformed worship is not popular, nor even vaguely known about, I want to make a suggestion for anyone who's willing to invest a few hours of reading to get familiar with why American Evangelicalism has strayed far from its Protestant roots to a point where it really isn't even rightly/definitionally "Protestant".

This debate is in a format I think we blog participants can follow and enjoy and benefit from experienced and knowledgeable elder type men as they argue for their position.

Both debaters are Reformed Presbyterians, John Frame and Darryl Hart debating the "Regulative Principle of Worship". This debate is not recent, I believe 6-7 years old, it has been put into an organized format that really makes it easy to follow the argumentation and this makes it a very tightly packed, informative exchange where the issues are brought forth with clarity. In this format, I think an individual unfamiliar with Reformed worship can grasp what is at issue....agree or disagree, Hart takes the hardline Reformed position, Frame believes he's within his confessional vows to allow modern worship in his services.

With what is at stake, worship pleasing to God, I think we should all be familiar with what God requires.

When choosing the appropriate volume level for music in any setting a person should choose a level that is safe for the congregation and that will not cause noise-induced hearing loss. Noise induced hearing loss occurs when the loudness of a sound reaches or exceeds the level of 85 decibels. For comparison, a person whispering is about 30 dbs and a normal conversation is around 60 dbs. The Center for Disease Prevention and Control states the following:
Your ears can be your warning system for potentially dangerous noises. The noise is too loud when:

You have to raise your voice to be understood by someone standing nearby.
The noise hurts your ears.
You develop a buzzing or ringing sound in your ears, even temporarily.
You don't hear as well as you normally do until several hours after you get away from the noise.

Obviously, the volume level of a large congregation singing may exceed 85 dbs, but to intentionally raise the volume to very high and dangerous levels is inconsiderate of others and damaging to the hearing of all. Anyone can measure the volume level of a sound system by simply using a Mini Digital Sound Level Meter ($23 on Amazon). It is the responsibility of those who are setting the levels to make sure they are doing good and not harming the ears of the congregation.

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