You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free
Scriptural Praise & Worship Versus Church Praise & Worship Music
[Acknowledgement to Edgar Winter who produced this image]
I did not read Edgar Winters’ “The Worship Evolution,” and therefore cannot recommend it as sound doctrine. However, the illustration of this ‘spiritual evolution’ of believers from humble servants to ruling “little gods,” (“manifest gods” or ‘god in the flesh,’ who is “another” Jesus,) says it all.
Paul warned in 2 Cor. 11:4, “...I fear… as he serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds [thoughts] were corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another [false] Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different [holy] spirit which we have not received, [through a] different gospel, which we have accepted - you may well put up with it!”
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IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “CHURCH” PRAISE AND WORSHIP MUSIC, AND NEW TESTAMENT COVENANT PRAISE AND WORSHIP?
I have been receiving letters on how charismatic praise and worship leave some believers cold. Yet, others seem satisfied that they are really praising and worshiping God in a Scriptural way, while in traditional churches, there is not much to be said for the type of ‘praise,’ (usually the same old hymns on dusty organs,) as worship does not even enter their minds. While researching this topic, I was shocked by the reality of empty praise and the unscriptural concepts of worship, which are engulfing believers who are exposed to money-making, self-seeking, ‘sexy’ bands, which flourish in churches and on social media. As always, I had to flee to God and His Word for answers.
Even during the Old Testament Covenant, which was done away with at the cross in favor of Jesus’ Eternal New Testament Covenant, (Heb. 8:13) praise was connected to thanksgiving – and then worship ‘naturally’ followed. Neither in the Old Testament nor in the New Testament, praise, (admiration or applause that stems from thanksgiving,) nor worship, (adoration or reverence,) was an option or obligation. Both praise and worship are actually personal “sacrifices” of love and adoration to the Highest God, Creator of the Universe. Praise, worship, (and the personal sacrifice that flows from it,) are really our outward expression of reverent obedience to the highest, inward Moral Law of God, which commands, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart… and your neighbor as yourself,” (Lu. 10:27.)
Praising and worshiping Jesus on a merely intellectual level happens because of insincerity and a lack of personal commitment to Christ, but mainly because of the brainwashing church dogmas, structures, norms, and forms, which contravene the Truth and commandments of Scripture; robbing believers of personally and sincerely praising and worshiping God according to His will. Thus, where God described the cursedness of the sin-state without Him, (Deut 28:45-48,) He warned, “These curses shall come upon you… because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart for the abundance of everything…”
So, this passage in Deut. 28:45-48 tells us what praise really is. It is “joy” in God; [not uncontrolled laughter, twitching, falling, rolling, screaming, and other madness, but] “gladness of heart” for everything He does for His believers - and even for unbelievers.
Psalm 100 describes how we do this practically: “Give a joyful shout to the Lord… serve Him with gladness, come before His presence with singing [knowing] that the Lord is God Who made us… Enter into His gates with thanksgiving… and praise. [This is of the Old Testament norm of temple worship. New Covenant believers simply begin to praise God ‘from the heart.’] Be thankful to Him, and bless His Name...”
And so, Psalms 149 and 150 totally ousted traditional, joyless hymns and grieving church organs by commanding, “Sing to the Lord a New Song [inspirited by the Holy Spirit Himself,] and His praise in the Assembly of saints. [The ecclesia.] Praise God in His [heavenly] sanctuary… Praise Him for His mighty works and excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of trumpet, harp, timbrel, and dance, [not manmade and satanic ‘stage diving,’ ballet, and otherworldly dance and madness, but Holy Spirit inspired dance!] stringed instruments [like guitars,] flutes, loud and clashing cymbals…” (Read Ps. 98:4-9.)
Thus, traditional church members who complain that guitars, etc. do not belong in “church” (or rather, the assembly of believers,) should read the Bible. The problem is not the loudness of the praise or the musical instruments, but the content of church praise and worship. It is not the instruments that have changed Scriptural praise and worship, but the motive, church doctrines, and worldly additions to it.
I have been looking back on the old praise and worship songs of singers like Jim Reeves; comparing the doctrines in their songs with those of modern praise and worship “leaders,” whom Christians have been getting addicted to during the last decades.
The differences between their dogmas are major. There is, in the older songs, except for the choruses, no constant repetition of one or more words in the song like in many modern songs.
One needs to use one’s intellect to understand and sing the songs. One cannot sing what one does not understand, because the lyrics in songs are declarations to God, ourselves, other people, and the devil. While in modern songs, words like "worship… worship… worship…" sometimes continue for several minutes at a time. This is an ‘emptying’ of the mind or thoughts, (like in Eastern yoga and other occult practices,) by useless “repetitions,” which Jesus sternly forbade in Mt. 6:7. Whether we pray, praise or worship, “we are not heard because of our “many words and vain repetitions like the heathens” believe.
Additionally, the lyrics of the old songs were clearly focusing the attention on Jesus and eternal life in heaven, while the lyrics of new songs “pull down” heaven and replace it with “me,” being blessed by worshiping God. In reality, “I” am already fully blessed in Christ as His born again child and disciple, (Gal. 3:10-14,) and must therefore “bless” God with my praise! Praise is not to ascribe blessing to “me,” but to ascribe glory and honor to God.
Then, there are the dangerous lyrics powered by false doctrine. The "Come Now Holy Spirit..." refrain is totally unscriptural, because since Pentecost until Jesus returns (Mt. 28:19-20) the Holy Spirit with His full "anointing" constantly "abides" inside all His true believers, (1 Jn. 2:20; 27.) He does not "come down on them" like during the Old Testament, before Jesus went to the cross to cleanse all believers as the "temple" of the Holy Spirit.
As many others, the song, “Let My People Go,” also falls into this criterion. Jesus cannot be calling to Satan to “let His people go.” Satan was already permanently and completely “cast out” of all Jesus’ blood-cleansed believers at the moment of their personal, sincere rebirth in Christ, because Jesus eternally dethroned him as the spiritual “ruler” of this world at the cross, (Jn. 12:31; Col. 2:11-15.) Jesus’ victory also manifests in the fact that believers already have Jesus’ complete authority and commission to prayerfully and in Holy-Spirit leading, “go into all the world and make disciples” by preaching His True Gospel to them…" (Mt. 28:19-20.)
Calling up the “Elijah” spirit of prophecy through praise songs is another deadly deception. There is no such thing as “mediating” prophets like these Promise Keepers, “manifest sons of god or god in the flesh” say they are. Jesus is the Only Mediator between God and man, and the restoring ministry of old “Elijah has already come through John the Baptist” to prepare Jesus’ ministry, which led to His crucifixion, death, resurrection, ascension, and the outpouring of the indwelling Holy Spirit at Pentecost, (Mt. 3:11-12.)
None of this will ever happen again, (1 Tim. 2:5; Mt. 17:12; 11:11-19.) We have Jesus God as the Last and Final, Mediating Prophet, and no one can ever take His place, (Heb. 1:1-14.) “Mediating prophets” or 'go-betweens' such as old Elijah and Moses forever belong to the ousted Old Testament Covenant, (Heb. 8:13.)
The praise and worship of the true ecclesia is also not the temple-structured “priest”-leading of the Old Testament. As all sincere believers are spiritual “kings and priests” in Christ, (Rev. 1:6-8; 1 Pt. 2:9-10,) together, they must function under the complete leading of the Holy Spirit as Paul explained, “…When you come together [in the assembly of believers,] each of you has a psalm, [a song of thanksgiving and praise,] a teaching… a tongue, a revelation, an interpretation…”
Naturally, not everyone can sing as well as these singers can, and there is nothing wrong with them uplifting us with their music if it is Scriptural and above all, Holy Spirit inspired. However, quite the opposite of what happens in church must happen in the assembly of true believers. There, believers are entertained by “professional” praise-and-worship leaders. Here, everyone, led by the Holy Spirit, should participate in different ways because we are all members of One body: the body of Christ, where He Alone is The Head of His body, (1 Cor. 14:26; 12:4-11; 12:12-31.)
It is right to believe that God communicates with us as we communicate with Him in praise and verbal worship — and of course, in prayer, (Jam. 4:7-8.) Submitting to God and thus bowing before His throne to pray, praise, give thanks and to “worship Him in spirit,” will surely “let God also draw close to us.” In fact, God is always in and with us through the indwelling Holy Spirit. However, but as we concentrate our thoughts on Him in praise and worship, we become much more aware of His closeness to us.
Still, our highest form of worship, which cannot be loosened from our ‘heart’ and verbal worship, is what Paul commanded in Rom. 12:1, “...Present your bodies, [human spirit, soul or mind, thoughts, will, intellect, and your physical body] a living sacrifice; holy, [as you became holy at the moment you received Jesus when you were spiritually reborn, (Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3-5,) and so, you are fully] acceptable to God. This is your reasonable [worship or] service [to God.]”
This is not lip-service to God. Worship-service is giving in totality ourselves, and everything that pertains to our lives as a “living sacrifice to Him.” This is our personal lifestyle of worship in Christ by constant surrender to the “completeness of Christ” in us, (Col. 2:9-10.) Without this personal ‘sacrifice,’ true praise, thanksgiving, and worship are impossible.
"But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices [of practical worship] God is well pleased, [for faith without Holy-Spirit led ‘works’ of the Moral Law is dead.]" This is where the second part of our “love” for, or our practical worship-service to God comes in: we must show Moral-law “love” to our “neighbors,” loving them in deed and truth as we love ourselves, (Jam. 2:14; Jn. 13:34.)
This is yet another reason why “tithing to earn blessing” belongs to the temple-worship of the Old Hebrews. Fully blessed believers in Christ (Gal. 3:10-15) give, as someone rightly said, “as the Holy Spirit leads them [because it is love and a most important form of worship to God, as well as] a privilege and pleasure, because it all comes from God Who supplies all our needs,” (2 Cor. 8:1-5.)
Inward and verbal “worship” of God culminates in our “service” to others.
Not to gain anything from Him, but to glorify or “worship” our Lord, God, Savior and King in everything.