Worship Wars: What Both Sides Are Missing!

Discussion & Devotional Thought of the Day:10649504_10152396630845878_3341349315020260479_n

12  I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. Leviticus 26:12 (NLT)

25  “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 26  And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27  And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. 28  “And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be my people, and I will be your God. Ezekiel 36:25-28 (NLT)

9  Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel climbed up the mountain again. 10  There they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself. 11  And though these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence! Exodus 24:9-11 (NLT)

1  And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Romans 12:1 (NLT)

43      We should offer the Lord the sacrifice of Abel. A sacrifice of young unblemished flesh, the best of the flock; of healthy and holy flesh; a sacrifice of hearts that have one love alone—you, my God. A sacrifice of minds, which have been shaped through deep study and will surrender to your Wisdom; of childlike souls who will think only of pleasing you. Lord, receive even now this sweet and fragrant sacrifice.

For forty to fifty years there has been a war raging in the church, transcending denominations, dividing churches, causing much pain, and without the sorrow which should be accompanied by such division.  It is known as “Worship Wars.”
It is often said to be about whether a church will use classic hymns, or contemporary praise music.  It is also defined as whether you use us a traditional liturgy, or a simper (yet often more complex) order of service. There is also the arguments over whether a worship service should be planned primarily for the believer, or for the seeker.

The final point of division is thought to be profound:

Is a worship service about man praising God, and the movement from earth to heaven?  Or is a worship service about God delivering gifts to men?

And the arguments go on, dividing the church.  People will actually be so defensive, so demanding, that they are willing to break apart what Christ died to bring together.

And both sides are missing the point.

Worship Services aren’t  primarily about God being served, or primarily about man being served. As one of my professors used to describe the liturgy,

“Worship and Liturgy is about the people of God being in the presence of God”  it is not all about God, and it is not all about man.  It is about the communion of God and Man.  It is about fellowship.  We are His people, He is our God, and He gathers us together to celebrate this reconciliation, this amazing miracle.

It is incarnational, as we find ourselves in the presence of a God who invaded the world 2000 years ago, and still invades and takes up residence in the lives of His people today.

That is what the worship service, the mass, the gathering,  the church service is about.  Nothing less than a feast that gives us a glimpse of the feast to come.  To recognize the truth that God is in our midst together, at work in our lives, giving us the power and desire to to do His will, to accomplish what pleases Him.

To only focus on God serving man leaves the people without a voice to praise Him, it becomes a one way monologue, where everyone becomes passive.  You see this when people can’t sing, where they are limited in serving, where the sermon and sacraments take on a uni-directional focus.  The same passivity is seen if the service focuses only on man serving God, as we start to assume He is silent, that we have to strive to make ourselves acceptable to Him.  This is seen where the sermon becomes a self help session, the worship is led, rather than facilitated.

it’s about God and man, together, as God has always desired, as He has always revealed to His people as His plan.

Receive His love with joy, offer Him your life to use, and go into the world knowing His presence, and His desire to see prodigals come home, and join in the celebration that they do.


(1)   Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 387-391). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on September 29, 2014, in Devotions, Poiema, The Forge, Theology in Practice and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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