Archive for the ‘Worship’ Category

A Question About Instrumental Music in Worship

October 24th, 2008

Several times during this past month, I was asked why we do not use music at church. A Bible study that came as a result of this question allowed for the opportunity to explain why we do not use mechanical instruments in our Christian worship. The notes from that Bible study are reproduced here for your benefit:

A. Worship Is About God

1. Genesis 4:1-5 – God orders worship, not man.

2. John 4:23-24 – True worship has two conditions.

3. Leviticus 10:1-2 (Rom. 15:4) – Unauthorized worship (v. 1) is unacceptable worship with God (v. 2).

4. 2 Samuel 6:1-8 – Obedience is preferred over the best-of- intentions.

B. Re: New Testament Worship

1. It is to be distinguished from O.T. worship (2 Tim. 2:15; Heb.8:9;9:1;12:28).

2. “Christians” are told to sing (Eph. 5:19; James 5:13).

3. There is absolutely no evidence that that early church used instruments in worship. In fact, the early Church Fathers, after the manner of the Apostles, strictly opposed mechanical instruments in worship.

4. The kind of music which God desires today is clearly stated. The only acceptable music, under the new covenant, is identified as from the heart, not the harp (see Col. 3:16,17 for authority-“in the name of the Lord Jesus” [not Moses; not David; nor the traditions of men]

-Robert M. Housby

Guidelines for New Testament Worship

December 23rd, 2007

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth , for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth”

(John 4:23-24)

Most would agree that it matters how one worships (John 4:23-24). Still, the guidelines for New Testament worship are being challenged today by many would-be followers of the Lord.

Five prominent and seductive areas in which Christian worship is being displaced today include:

1. Non-verifiable worship (“Now, where’s that in the NT?”)
2. Talent -based worship (“Who gets to go to the mic?”)
3. Entertainment based worship (mechanical; clapping; etc.)
4. Validation object (God or Man?)
5. Feedback (Effectiveness is marked by 2,3,4 above)

What is the scriptural source of authority for worship? If it is older than the NT, it is too old (Heb. 8:8-13). If it is newer than the New Testament, it is too modern (Heb.12:28-29). Authority derives from Jesus (Matt. 28:18). So, if worship is not “in Jesus name”—that is, by his authority, it cannot be legitimate (see Col. 3:17).

In contrast, NT worship is scripturally verifiable; privileged not talent based; heart based rather than hearer based; directed to God not man; and feedback comes from the Lord—his word-based will.

– Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, John, New Testament, Worship Tags:

Jeroboam’s Religion: A Refusal of the Lord’s Way

July 29th, 2007

“So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold”

(1 Kings 12:28)

The story of Jeroboam’s golden calves is contained in 1 Kings 12. The Bible says that he put one of the golden calves in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 1 Kings 12:30 states that the people then went to these places to worship. The respected Hebrew scholar, F. Furman Kearley asks—“Was Jeroboam’s religion as good as the religion of God as revealed through Moses?” This question is very timely because people today are saying that one religion is as good as another; or, that one church is as good as any other (Is One Religion as Good as Another? Gospel Advocate (May, 2003): 20-21.

Jeroboam led this rebellion against Rehoboam and thereby divided the kingdom. He feared that if the people continued to worship according to the law at Jerusalem, they would leave him and go back to Rehoboam. So, he simply started a new religious practice to satisfy his own feelings.

1. He rejected the law of the Lord (from Moses’ to his own).
2. He changed the manner of worship (from Yahweh to familiar calves of Egypt).
3. He changed the place of worship (from Jerusalem to Dan and Bethel)
4. He changed the time of worship (originally the 1st, 3rd and 7th mos. to the 8th mo.)
5. He changed the people authorized to offer worship (originally Levites).

There are many today who choose the golden calves of Bethel; leave Jerusalem, and go as far as Dan to worship in the glitter of Jeroboam. This was sin then, and it is sin today.

– Robert M. Housby

Categories: 1 Kings, Bible, Old Testament, religion, Worship Tags:

Boomland: “When Shall I Reach That Happy Place?”

June 3rd, 2007

“…they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one”

(Hebrews 11:16)

Growing up in northern Illinois, where fireworks were not legally sold, naturally I was overjoyed when my friend informed me that his family was traveling to Missouri and that he had plans to bring back boxes of fireworks. That summer was spent throwing firecrackers at passing cars from a concealed location across a canal, where the culprits could not be seen. The adrenaline flowed like soda that summer. Many years later (having repented of those deeds) and now living in Missouri, with Boomland so near, I could care less. Isn’t that the way it is with immaturity? We think that we know what we want out of life, and then when it comes our way we have lost interest. Still, the “precious faith” (2 Peter 1:1) is persistently and consistently precious. It does not wane with the years; sag with the tears; or feign with the rain. The Christian faith has a hope that begins in this life and reaches into the next.

Some Christian groups (individuals), in order to pursue their immature need for the pops and cracks of adolescence, must worship with the innovations of musical bands; religious garments; incense; statues of saints; holy water; ad infinitum. But, we did not so learn Christ (see Eph. 4:20). These sensual aspects of church worship are a better reflection of pagan culture, than the Acts of the Apostles (Eph. 4:17-24).

That happy place is neither Missouri nor Boomland, but heaven (Colossians 1:5). May your hope bring you to worship God daily, in the specific splendor of the simplicity which is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3,4).

– Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, Hebrews, New Testament, Worship Tags:

Not Teachable—Not Reachable

April 23rd, 2006

“And they will all be taught by God”

(John 6:45)

There are many versions of Christianity in the marketplace today. To most, this is a rather pleasant arrangement, as it allows for a smorgasbord approach to God—take what you want and leave the rest. But, there is a deep problem here. It is the same problem which Isaiah spoke of many years ago:

1. Preferring the word of men above the word of God (Isaiah 29:13).

2. Persevering in a plan that is not God’s plan (Isaiah 30:1).

3. Persistently refusing the Lord’s instruction (Isaiah 30:9).

To be taught by God is not optional (Isaiah 2:1-3; John 6:45;63; Hebrews 8:10-11). Jesus, himself, applied this information to the religious humanists of his day—“…in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men” (Mark 7:7-8).

So, would you be open to new information—information which comes directly from the Bible—without human creed, without human catechism, and without presumptuous human claim of direct revelation (2 Timothy 3:16,17; Galatians 1:6-9)? So, what is your attitude about Bible study?

Are you reachable or unreachable (Isaiah 59:1,2,21)?

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, God, Isaiah, Old Testament, Outreach, Worship Tags:

Why Christian Worship Has Become A Pagan Garage Sale

August 14th, 2005

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.”

(John 4:23)

There are central concepts to Christian worship, as indicated on the pages of the Bible. But, these central concepts have been marginalized. In other words, marginal notes and human ideas have become more important than the text of the Bible. For example, in John 4:20-26 we learn just how far moderns have actually strayed from the original will of God regarding Christian worship:

A. Note, the text says, “true worshipers” (Jn. 4:23). But, in modern religious thinking there are only “worshipers.” What happened to the word “true”?! Furthermore, John 4:24 says, “in spirit and truth;” not just in spirit.

B. John 4:24 reads, “… and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (emphasis mine, RMH). But, in modern religious thinking there is no “must.” What happened to the word “must”?

Jesus’ remarks in John 4 should not be surprising; for, they reflect the monotheistic principles of Deuteronomy 12:

1. There is a way to worship, and a way not to worship (Deut. 12:4,5).
2. Privatized and pluralistic religion is not the way to worship (Deut. 12:8).
3. Popular opinion is not the way to worship (Deut. 12:29,30).
4. Worship carries with it these warnings: “Take care…” and “Be careful…” (Deut. 12:13,28,32).

The pagan garage sale is an option, but not for “the true worshipers” of God!

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, John, New Testament, Worship Tags: