Who Gets to Decide How the Church Should Worship?

Who should decide how Churches are to go about worshipping the Lord?

Should it be the Pastor? He’s been to seminary, and he gets paid to think about these things on a full time basis. He could probably come up with some really interesting and significant symbolism, some really deep rituals with all sorts of connections to scripture.

Should it be the culture? Obviously we want to attract members of our society so that we will continue to grow, and certainly we want people to come and hear the Gospel, so why not design a worship that reflects the broadest aspects of the pop culture, particularly so that the transition from outside the church to inside the church won’t be too difficult? After all, if the church is merely a baptized reflection of the culture then we won’t have to worry about culture shock will we?

How about the youth? They are, after all, the next generation, if we fail to attract them, then the church will gradually die out won’t it? So why not let them design worship that is hip and intelligible to them and their peers. Old Granny Jones may be driven out of the church by the hip-hop praise band, but she is hardly the future of the church and if we can get 10 shiny new high school kids attending, then isn’t it worth it? Even if they aren’t converted, it at least keeps them off the street.

Well what about traditions? Why not let the preferences of our ancestors be the arbiter, that way we can say we are following in the flow of established tradition. This was the way my Great-Grandmother worshipped in the 1930s, or as is more common today; this is the way we worshipped way back in the 1980s when we first decided to let the culture decide how we should worship.

Or maybe we should try to blend it all together? We can have a bunch of different worship services from high church liturgy to rave worship and just keep adding stuff as it occurs to us, and essentially offer people a user-friendly smorgasboard so they can choose the worship they prefer – let them do what is right in their own eyes. That after all, is essentially what the Emergent church is doing.

Those are just a few of the potential answers that people have come up with throughout the years, and of late in many denominations the differing answers and preferences have lead to what have been called “the worship wars.” Worship wars are what break out when your “preferences” in worship clash with my “preferences” in worship. Usually they are fought on the basis of arguments appealing to “aesthetics” (i.e. what is most artistic, tasteful, and beautiful) or arguments appealing to “relevance” (i.e. what is most appealing and intelligible to our culture). Ultimately these usually break down broadly into “CONTEMPORARY” versus “TRADITIONAL” and they are frequently settled by me going off and joining a new church so I don’t have to put up with your awful preferences any more.

But is that the way it’s supposed to be? All of God’s people church shopping till we find a church that best caters to our tastes or amuses us the most at that moment in our lives? Is that the biblical answer?

Well let me ask, who is the object of our worship? Is it us? Admittedly, we are the ones who benefit from worship. But do we gather together as a church to entertain and amuse ourselves? Isn’t it our Almighty God whom we are supposed to worship? Therefore, who should decide, how we worship? Who is best qualified to answer that question?

This may seem like an overly simple answer, but isn’t God best qualified to tell us how we should worship Him?

Well in the Second Commandment, that is exactly what God is telling us. Just as in the First Commandment, God told us who we should worship, in the Second Commandment he tells us how we should worship.

That should be a tremendous relief to us, that it isn’t a case of worship being decided by the preferences of the largest number of sinners (because that, brothers and sisters is who makes up the church, sinners like you and me) but rather it is a sinless and perfect God who tells His people how to go about worshipping in His word, the Bible.

The idea that the Bible alone should be the only arbiter of how Christians worship is a radical idea these days, but it really shouldn’t be. Because as Christians we are supposed to believe that not only is God’s word true, but that it is also sufficient. The Apostle Paul said it this way:

2 Tim. 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

In other words, the bible was given to you as your guidebook for your life, your faith, and your practice of that faith. In all of these things it is a complete and trustworthy guide.

And that is a good thing, because we all are born with a sinful tendency towards idolatry. To paraphrase Paul in Romans 1:22-23 we think we are very wise and become puffed up and then we “change the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man.” Our tendency is to take our Holy God and recast him into something he isn’t – an image made like us and then we worship this image saying “this is what God is like – he is like me, and he likes the things I like.” That keeps him safe and manageable the way we like him rather than the way he really is – not safe but good to borrow from C.S. Lewis.

That is why in the Second Commandment God specifically tells the Israelites not to worship Him – the true God – the way the other nations worship their false Gods, by using an image either made to look like man or some other creature. They had of course just left Egypt where all their false god’s were worshipped with images made to look like combinations of men and animals.

God knew their hearts only too well didn’t he? God’s people have only just received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai when they react to the frightening and prolonged disappearance of Moses into the cloud at the top of the mountain by demanding that Moses’ brother Aaron make them an image. So he takes their gold jewelery and produces the Golden Calf.

Now this was not an image of a false God, but a false image of the true God, which is why Aaron declares in Exodus 32:4 “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” That phrase was carefully chosen. By it Aaron is saying, that this calf which looks like the kinds of idols that the cultures they lived amongst produced, is an image of Yahweh who delivered you and who declared in the introduction to the Ten Commandments: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Ex. 20:2)

Then Aaron goes a step further and declares the first uncommanded Holy Day saying “Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD.” He specifically uses the name YAHWEH so that there can be no doubt that he was referring to the same God who had defeated Egypt, and lead them to Sinai, and who was even then present in the midst of thick clouds and fire at the top of the mountain. This is no new god they are worshipping, it is a new way of worshipping YAHWEH that Aaron and the people had invented.

Now let me ask you, if it was acceptable for the people to determine how they were going to worship the Lord, what would God’s response have been to all this? If God really shared their presuppositions (and those of many in the church today) He might have said to Moses “Hey, the important thing is that they are worshipping me and enjoying themselves in a culturally relevant fashion that seems to really appeal to all kinds of Israelites.” But he didn’t, instead God was furious with their presumption that they could decide how to worship Him, and it is only the intercession of Moses on their behalf that saves them from being utterly destroyed.

Now is it just making images that God, was concerned about? Clearly not. He was concerned that they not adopt any worship practices that he had not commanded, especially by borrowing from the surrounding cultures.

In fact throughout the first five books of the Bible God strives again and again to tell his people, the nation of Israel, which is the church in the Old Testament, that they are a peculiar people set apart and dedicated to His service. That made the people of Israel really weird and different from the surrounding people, but God knew all too well what the practice of adopting their worship practices – which is a process we call syncretism – leads to:

Deut. 12:28-32 “Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God. When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ “You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”

God knew that what they would do is start by adding a little here and a little there, as they borrowed from the worship practices of the surrounding cultures: “O look what they do in Moab on March 12th*, isn’t this a cool ritual, wouldn’t our God be pleased by it? I know it pleases me and my neighbors!” And gradually Israel’s worship would come to be more and more adulterated with the preferences, imaginations and inventions, of men. God knew that after this process had become commonplace, they wouldn’t even hesitate to add abominations like temple prostitution or child sacrifice that went directly counter to God’s moral law. Often people argue that they aren’t adding anything to worship that is forbidden, but the history of Israel and the church both show that when we start to add our own uncommanded additions to God’s worship, we will inevitably end up excusing and then adding even explicitly forbidden elements.

So God says in essence, “don’t even start down that road, I will show you how I desire to be worshipped in my Word, by commandment and example so just be careful to observe it; you don’t need to add to it nor take away from it. This is what pleases me.”

One of the many reasons that God did not want His people to add to the worship that he instituted was that the ceremonies and observances that he instituted were, as the author of Hebrews tells us, “shadows” or “types” of the good things to come. Observances like Passover pointed to the coming sacrifice of Jesus and thus served to build the people up in faith in the coming Redeemer. Inventions like the Golden Calf on the other hand, had no reference to Christ, they may have made people feel closer to God but all they taught were lies.

Moving from the Old Testament to the New, we see that by the time the Son of God, Jesus Christ came to dwell with his covenant people, they were about the practice of adding to His worship again. Not with anything as crass as idols, but our Savior could barely move without offending the Pharisees by violating one of their made-up worship traditions. Gradually, over hundreds of years a body of uncommanded Rabbinic worship practices had developed and the Pharisees and Scribes taught that these inventions of men must be obeyed.

So Jesus said to them – Matt. 15:8-9 “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

Jesus taught that our made-up worship traditions are vain, no matter how old they are, if they aren’t God’s commandments, God is not pleased by them (think about it, does God prefer old lies to new ones?) Paul calls them will-worship or self-imposed religion in Col. 2:23 and says they have no value.

One could wish that after the coming of Jesus and His corrections, the church never again erred when it came to worship and stuck to the principle that our worship should be simple and biblical and based on the premise that if the Apostles didn’t do it, we don’t need to either.

Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, and almost as soon as the Apostolic age was over God’s people again started borrowing from the surrounding culture, adding rituals, garments, feast days, even images of Saints and the three persons of the Trinity. By the time of the Protestant Reformation, it had gotten to the point where the simple worship commanded in scripture had been entirely jettisoned in favor of a highly stylized mélange of culturally inspired traditions .

Consequently, at the heart of the Reformation was the desire to get rid of all these unbiblical traditions and return to the commands and teaching of the Bible. They did this by calling the church back to the Great Commission Jesus gave the church: Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”

Jesus has not given the church the power to teach things that they have made-up or that seem like a good idea. Rather Jesus commissioned His church and gave them His delegated authority to teach and practice only what He has commanded in His word, the Bible.

Apparently, God takes worship very seriously indeed. We should too, especially considering it is what we hope to be doing in heaven for all eternity. Speaking of the worship in heaven, I have never heard anyone seriously contend that the church will order or add their own inventions to the worship there, so if our worship here on earth is intended to be practice for our eternal worship hereafter, shouldn’t we be about the practice of learning to worship the way God commands here and now?

So when people push their worship preferences, or ask if we are for traditional or contemporary worship, we would do well if we answered along these lines:

“I’m not for men’s traditions or preferences be they new or old. I’m for simple biblical worship and not because I’m stodgy, but because they are what my Savior Jesus Christ commanded me to do, and I love him and I remember that He said “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” So I sacrifice all my pride and my vain preferences, and I joyfully observe the elements that he commanded: Prayer, The reading of the Scriptures, the sound preaching of the Word, the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, the administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, and I do all of these things with Love in my heart towards Him, knowing that He Saved Me, and has designed all of these things to be a benefit to me and my fragile faith.”


* Yes I know that the there is no month of March in the Jewish Calendar, purists should insert the word “Abib” here instead.

About Andrew Webb

I was converted out of paganism and the occult in 1993 and while I was initially Charismatic/Arminian in my theology, I became Reformed and Presbyterian through bible study and the influence of ministries like RC Sproul's. After teaching in local bible studies, and taking seminary courses part time, I began to feel called to the ministry in 1997. I was Ordained as an RE at Christ Covenant PCA in Hatboro, PA in 2000 and as a TE by Central Carolina Presbytery in 2001 when I was called to be the Organizing Pastor/Church Planter for Providence PCA Mission, Cross Creek PCA's church plant in Fayetteville, NC (home to Ft. Bragg and Pope Airforce Base). In 2005 when the Providence PCA Particularized I was blessed to be called by the congregation to be their Pastor
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15 Responses to Who Gets to Decide How the Church Should Worship?

  1. Pingback: Some Links For Today « Green Baggins

  2. steve says:

    obviously, lost of really very good stuff to mine here.

    however, i wonder if this isn’t a tad ahistorical? i don’t mean to champion the mere “traditions of men.” we have a church in town that uses the willow creek model to attract ward and june cleaver instead of the beav. it’s still based on preferences, just the middle-upper, educated and somewhat elite class structures, falling into that awful category “traditional.” so i get that. in fact, my own church leans this way and is bothersome to me.

    but your ‘waht about tradition’ category seems wanting and given to be defined by admittedly man-made categories. i have hard time swallowing that the cloud of faithful witnesses that have gone before have little to offer us in terms of how we both understand and enact worship. the principles you begin to lay down here have to have been manifest somewhere in the tradition, somewhere in history. the question becomes, where?

    some of what you say seems almost biblicistic. i think it’s a venerated aspect of our reformed tradition to emphasis simplicity, to be quite sure. but just as there is at once a fine line and a wide gap between simple and simplistic, there is also one between sola scriptura and solo scriptura, isn’t there? i think so.


  3. Brother Andrew,

    Another excellent article!

    Would it be possible to reproduce this article for the folks at our church here in Wytheville? You can email me with details, if it is agreeable with you.

    God Bless!

  4. Andrew Webb says:

    Hi James,

    I’ll post something about this in a while, but our desire is to create materials that help and encourage actual congregations – so unless we explicitly state that something is copyrighted or not to be reproduced, please by all means feel free to copy and distribute all the materials on the blog.

    – Andy

  5. Robert says:

    So, when does your church start singing exclusively the Psalms?

    Grace and Peace,

    Rob Wieland

  6. Andrew Webb says:

    Hi Rob,

    In answer to your query, when God removes the words “Hymns” and “Spiritual Songs” from Eph. 5:19 & Col. 3:16. I hope you understand that our church sings Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual because we believe that we are explicitly commanded to sing all three in the word of God.

    I am very familiar with the EP argument that Paul is essentially stuttering in those verses and saying Psalms, psalms, and psalms, but along with Presbyterian exegetes like Eadie and Hodge I don’t find that argument to be exegetically persuasive, I also don’t think that somehow a wealth of hymnody suddenly appeared the church contrary to the Apostles instruction between the death of John and the time of Clement without an argument being raised anywhere.

    In any event, to repeat the former point I sing hymns because I believe that I am commanded to do so, and that therefore that our practice is application of the RPW.

    We’ll address congregational singing in a little while. In the meantime I’d appreciate it if you’d hold off on pressing the EP or Textus Receptus arguments. To tell the truth, I’d rather this didn’t degenerate into yet another “majoring on minors” blog. Establishing the importance of the RPW at the present time is more pressing than arguing a particular with those who already embrace it.

    – Andy

  7. Robert says:

    Hi Andy:

    I do not need to argue the point: For your article does it very nicely for me here:

    Now let me ask you, if it was acceptable for the people to determine how they were going to worship the Lord, what would God’s response have been to all this? If God really shared their presuppositions (and those of many in the church today) He might have said to Moses “Hey, the important thing is that they are worshipping me and enjoying themselves in a culturally relevant fashion that seems to really appeal to all kinds of Israelites.” But he didn’t, instead God was furious with their presumption that they could decide how to worship Him, and it is only the intercession of Moses on their behalf that saves them from being utterly destroyed.

    and here,

    So Jesus said to them – Matt. 15:8-9 “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

    and here,

    God knew that what they would do is start by adding a little here and a little there, as they borrowed from the worship practices of the surrounding cultures: “O look what they do in Moab on March 12th*, isn’t this a cool ritual, wouldn’t our God be pleased by it? I know it pleases me and my neighbors!” And gradually Israel’s worship would come to be more and more adulterated with the preferences, imaginations and inventions, of men.

    The question then comes to mind: Do we interprete “Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” according to the traditions of men (as you seem to indicate) or, do we interpret them by the infallible means of Scripture interpreting Scripture?

    Grace and Peace,

    Rob Wieland

  8. Christian says:

    Great article! I plan on using it in some teaching in the near future. Thanks so much!

  9. Barry Walton says:

    I have two questions in regards to this post.

    Is Pauls command for men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer a command for lifted hands in worship? Also, what bearing do the commands of the Psalms have on our new testament worship?
    It would seem that the worship prescribed in the Psalms and in the command from Paul in Timothy would appear outwardly to be quite charismatic.

  10. Andrew Webb says:

    Hello Again Rob,

    Rob, you and I have been over this ground at length on the Warfield list – for instance in this post, I answered essentially the exact same argument:

    I have no desire to turn this blog into an unprofitable battleground where tireless proponents of Exclusive Psalmody can do battle with Inclusive Psalmody advocates. The fact is that I hope this blog will be of use to Old School church planters in both camps. We’ll address the subject of what we should be singing in later posts, and I’ve asked Pastor Herzer to present a paper on Inclusive Psalmody. But to tell the truth, I believe this is precisely the kind of water-balloon fight that diverts our resources away from the more foundational issues.

    In the meantime, if you want to form your own blog entitled “Building Exclusive Psalmody Churches” at WordPress then I would encourage you to do so, but I would once again ask that you not attempt to turn this one into just another place to fight over that particular issue.

    Thanks in advance.

    – Andy

  11. blueridge says:

    Very good. Now dare apply this principle to the practice of Christmas, and compare it to the opposition to observance of Christmas by the Pilgrims, Puritans, Spurgeon, and Colonial Americans, who fled the corrupt church of England. (The idea of using decorated trees in a Babylonian manner was never a part of “Christian” observance of that festival, until the 19th century, and is blatant paganism).

    Interesting how the Westminister Confession is used, while those who wrote it banned Christmas from England entirely, under Cromwell, and dissenters and “non-conformists” brought the same to early America! (Christmas was always the mark of the persecuting false church, from Rome to England, and still is).

    Bringing down Christmas and other false worship is the first work in Reformation, and will be as revolutionary as when Gideon destroyed Baal’s idol on his father’s property, which sparked both revival and revolution. (It begins with home and family first).

    Will-worship prevails (i.e. we will worship the way we want!), and the Pharisees will gnash their teeth, again, to defend their “traditions”. Many sheep have been scattered by these bad shepherds that teach the traditions of men. It is the greatest sign of apostasy, which indicts most every church in America, in contrast to Colonial times. “Stiff-necked” cannot be applied to only the Jews but to modern nominal Christians, who take cover under the abused text “Judge not” and perverted “liberty of conscience” that rebels against scripture.

  12. texpresby says:

    Dear Barry,

    Regarding modern day “charismatic” worship and what we see in the Psalms and elsewhere in the Bible, the two are as far as east is from west. Prayer with arms upraised was a posture of supplication in Bible times(probably done by the individual privately or by the leader on behalf of the gathered body of worshippers). Modern hand raising in charismatic churches (and I have attended many) seems to be individual expressions of “I agree with that” or “Doing this makes me feel spiritual when I sing”. The Psalms describe lots of things but I doubt that anybody seriously wants to bring swords or beds into our meetings to worship God (see Psalm 149). The true biblical prescriptions for corporate worship are “everything to be done decently and in order” (this from Paul to the church in Corinth, a church that was riddled with problems and looked very much like the charismatic churches of today)…and “worship with reverence and awe”. We should not get hung up on whether hands are up or down, or whether running in the isles is somehow more spiritual, but is God honored with worship that is biblical, decent, in order, reverent and full of awe. The externals of posture are not primary (for example, I took off my shoes everytime I worshipped in Japan, I don’t do that here in Texas). Are the elements of our worship clearly commanded in scripture (good and necessary consequence and all that too), and do we draw near to God with our hearts as well as our lips? Basically, I am just trying to say that no matter how superficial the similarities between modern charismatic worship practice and some mention in the Bible of lifted hands, the two are really quite distant from each other, and that we can easily lose sight of the main point (God alone has the authority to determine how He is to be worshipped). Let’s keep our eye on the ball and determine to do only what God has commanded in His worship and to be sure we meet the decent, in order, reverent and full of awe commands before we take up some of the other issues.

    grace and peace,

    mark g.

  13. Barry Walton says:

    Mark, am I correct in saying that you believe all the commands regarding worship and praise to God in the psalms are totally irrelevant to us regaring how we are to worship corporately in the new testament church?

    Also, I must ask you to step outside of our culture for a moment. The presbyterian church here in America is dominated by white culture. I think this is reflected in our methods of worship. If we go to the Congo, where dancing and singing are probably much more deeply ingrained parts of the culture, then dancing and singing in their worship services would follow quite naturally. It would probably be quite odd for people from such a culture to stand stiff and sing 3 songs from a hymnal. I suggest that this particular tradition of standing quite still and singing with no clapping or dancing is more a reflection of white, non-charismatic church culture than it is a reflection of biblically ordered worship.
    We are not only commanded to show reverence and awe. I affirm that those are very essential to biblical worship, however we are commanded to rejoice over and over again. We are commanded to praise, and to show thanksgiving.
    And regarding the command that everything be done decently and in order…in the context that is talking about the use of spiritual gifts, which a majority of presbyterians think are longer in existence.
    Finally, I agree that everything should be done decently and in order, however “decently and in order” can be taken many different ways by different cultures. I fear that in defending a certain style of worship we unknowingly begin to defend white culture more than the scriptures.

  14. Mark Gibson says:


    Thanks for the interaction.
    For your first question: No, you are not correct in saying that I believe ALL commands in the Psalms are TOTALLY irrelevant regarding our corporate worship. Some of the Psalms are corporate in nature, some are individual. What is appropriate for me to do in individual worship of God may not be appropriate corporately. Also, not everything mentioned in a psalm is normative for worship (either in the Old or New Testament). For example, do you believe that we MUST of necessity bring beds and swords into our corporate meetings in order to obey Psalm 149? I hope not, as the psalm is an ascription of praise for military victory and not a prescription of corporate worship for the people of God. While it would not be wrong to sing psalm 149 in a worship service I do not believe that it mandates Lord’s day corporate sword waving and prone praise from cots. This comment thread is too short a forum to go into all the ins and outs of what the psalms do and do not corporately mandate for our gathered worship. They are not irrelevent, neither are they meant to be taken as a one for one prescription of what must occur in our corporate worship.

    Next, I am not pleading for white culture in our worship. The elements of worship and the biblical commands for reverence and awe and EVERYTHING done decently and in order transcends race and culture. If Africans want to worship God acceptably, then they cannot do what “comes naturally” anymore than the children of Israel could when they worshipped the gold calf at the bottom of the mountain. We are only allowed to do what God commands us to do in worship of Him. The elements of worship are set by Him. The clothing of the worshippers (three piece suits vs surongs etc), the time of meeting, how long you meet, whether or not you are wearing shoes, etc, this is all peripheral. As I mentioned in my last comment, I didn’t wear shoes in worship for two years in Japan, but I do here. This is not a difference in who gets to say how we worship but a difference in culture. This is not the main point of Andy’s post. The main point again is God alone tells us the elements of worship that He requires and we are obliged to perform. He also informs us of the heart attitude etc. in worship. The order of worship may look somewhat different from place to place, but the acceptable elements will not be different. I hope you see the distinction I am trying to make. We are to read the Bible, preach the Bible, sing the Bible, pray the Bible and see the Bible (in the sacraments). If we (white presbys in America) sing the Bible (sing things that are true to the Bible, good theology etc) using solid Bible based hymns, and the Psalter in English etc and use tunes and words drawn from over the centuries of Christian worship, that does not mean that other countries who don’t speak English must now learn English and use our tunes and hymn book and Psalter. It DOES mean however, that they must sing things that are good theology, true to the Bible and do it in a way that is with reverence and awe and decently and in order. Your whole point of people worshipping in a way that comes natural to their culture proves the point Andy is trying to make in the original post. It is not what comes natural to us, or is most like our culture, or whatever…It is what pleases the Lord, what does He command in corporate worship. I am not trying to defend white presbyterian southern culture. I am trying to defend the principle that God alone has the authority to tell us what is and is not acceptable in worship, the elements of worship are set by Him and His authority alone and revealed in the Bible. People do not tend to accept this principle first before they begin speaking about this topic. They run quickly to culture, and preference without first settling this ever so important issue of who has the right and the authority to tell us what is and is not acceptable in worship. I hope that is clear.
    thanks again for the good interaction.

    grace and peace,

    mark gibson

  15. Barry Walton says:

    Thanks for your response Mark. I think I agree with most of what you said. And sorry this took so long to respond…I come to this page from another blog that is buried deep in my subscriptions. I guess what I want to know in particular is: Are any of the commands in the psalms to dance and sing loudly to the Lord, to clap your hands to the Lord, etc etc relevant to us in new testament worship? I understand that different psalms are applied differently, and that a public service should be done decently and in order. I would assume that if one person is singing loudly and everyone else is not that is out of order, and that if one person claps and no one else does that might be out of order. But if all sing loudly, and if all clap, is the one man out of order for his loud singing and clapping?

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