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Pentecostalism, emotion, and worship

W. Robert Godfrey provides1 a helpful look at how the Pentecostal movement impacted evangelicalism’s understanding of the nature of emotion (particularly physical expressiveness) in worship. He ties it directly to the revivalism of Charles G. Finney (out of which, along with the Holiness movement, Pentecostalism emerged), and this reveals an essential relationship between these movements that I believe is critical in understanding the nature of worship today:

When emotions are misused, there is a constant danger of manipulation. It is easy for effective leaders to move people, especially trusting and expectant people, to feel what they want them to feel. Easily the church becomes a theater where feeling and catharsis take the place of true faith.

Nineteenth-century revivalist Charles Finney recognized the importance of the emotions in the work he did, and he gave a clear theological explanation for the purely natural ways in which he controlled emotions. In his Lectures on Revivals he writes: “Almost all the religion in the world has been produced by revivals. God has found it necessary to take advantage of the excitability there is in mankind, to produce powerful excitements among them, before he can lead them to obey.” Emotional excitement is essential to revival: “There must be excitement sufficient to wake up the dormant moral powers, and roll back the tide of degradation and sin.” Finney frankly recognizes that this emotion was not at all supernatural. It was entirely natural, at the disposal of the preacher and listener: “There is nothing in religion beyond the ordinary powers of nature. It consists entirely in the right exercise of the powers of nature.” Indeed for Finney, “a revival is as naturally a result of the use of the appropriate means as a crop is of the use of its appropriate means.”In Finney, emotion or excitement became the essential focus of revival or worship and was linked to a Pelagian or Semipelagian understanding of the human will. Finney saw clearly that to excite and move the free will something new would always be needed. He dealt with the problem by saying that since the millennium was coming soon, the need for ever-new excitement would not be a long-term problem. But as Finney was wrong about the nearness of the millennium, so has the burden of finding new excitements remained a constant challenge for his heirs. The restlessness in some charismatic circles to find where the Spirit is moving anew reflects that outlook.

An accomplished leader in the tradition of Finney can easily manipulate emotions in worship, particularly through preaching and music. An effective preacher can create emotions ranging from reverence to sorrow, from joy to tangible sense of power. An effective musician can move the emotions through the words, melody, and instrumentation of music. Especially in the Pentecostal tradition, music has been very self-consciously used to move worshipers. Grant Wacker, a sympathetic historian of Pentecostalism, comments on this phenomenon in early Pentecostalism:

“And then there was congregational singing, one of the most notable and remarked on features of Pentecostal worship. . . . Music offered leaders a ready means for managing the intensity of the service. They could ratchet up the tempo until worshipers broke into ecstatic praise, or tone it down when things seemed to be getting out of hand. Either way, music gave leaders a tool for regularizing the expression of emotion.”

What Wacker sees as true of early Pentecostalism is even truer with the Contemporary Christian Music phenomenon. Praise songs, which originated in charismatic circles and spread widely in other Protestant churches, seem often to express rather spontaneous waves of emotion. But their use is carefully planned with an eye to the emotional effect on the worshiper. In such a session of singing one can predict exactly when the hands will be raised and when other emotional responses will be exhibited.

Many argue for these praise songs as a key way to connect with contemporary culture and to revitalize emotional involvement in Christian worship. Charles H. Kraft, professor of anthropology and intercultural communication at Fuller Theological Seminary, offers a theological rationale for these songs: “True worship . . . usually takes a lot of singing to create an atmosphere of praise and worship.” This experience of worship is created significantly by the music of praise songs: “And it is the new music, sung with eyes closed for 10, 15, or 20 minutes at a time that makes that experience possible.” Kraft praises these songs for breaking the excessively intellectual character of much worship: “Our worship services revolve around an informational sermon preceded by a token number of informational hymns.” These hymns reinforce the unemotional character of traditional worship: “We sing hymns so chuck-full of rational content and information that they are unmemorizable.” Kraft calls on Christians: “Let’s stop being enslaved to the present rationalistic, intellect-centered approach to church that characterizes much of evangelicalism.”

What is important to remember, especially in light of Krafts words above, is that these evangelicals, influenced as they are by charismatic theology and practice, are defining what they call “rationalistic, intellect-centered” worship through lenses that recognize no clear distinction between the spiritual affections and physical appetites.

Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is director of doctoral worship studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.

  1. W. Robert Godfrey, “Worship and the Emotions,” in Give Praise to God, Philip Graham Ryken, (Phillipsburg: P & R Pub, 2003), 368-9. []

46 Responses to Pentecostalism, emotion, and worship

  1. When Finney says, “God has found it necessary to take advantage of the excitability there is in mankind, to produce powerful excitement among them, before he can lead them to obey,” it seems to me that he is implying God tempts us so that He can make us do His will. I’d say this is something contrary to what the Bible states, “….for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” (James 1:13) What happens in a worship service, primarily with the aid of music as emotional stimulus, is that people vent out their burdened feeling. There is nothing wrong with being emotional, or being genuine when we come to the Lord, but if we are constantly seeking for emotional excitement, there is a danger. We might fail to recognize the fact that true faith does not depend on emotion which varies all the time based on circumstances that the worshiper is going through.

  2. I find it interesting reading this discussion 10 years after graduating from high school. I can honestly say that when I was 18 the following statement from Charles H. Kraft really encompassed my view of traditional worship hymns:
    “These hymns reinforce the unemotional character of traditional worship: ‘We sing hymns so chuck-full of rational content and information that they are unmemorizable.'” However, now that I am older and serving in a high school youth group, I see a lot of value in that “rational content and information” that so permeates hymnals. There are so many teens who do not read their Bibles…it’s sad, but true. The content of worship songs also, sadly, does not teach rich truths of God’s character like so many of the hymns. It is vital that we know the God we are worshiping, and I have found through the last 10 years that hymns really can open people’s eyes to who God is and provoke worship, not deter it.

  3. One of Kraft’s quotes which immediately stood out to me was the statement “Let’s stop being enslaved to the present rationalistic, intellect-centered approach to church that characterizes much of evangelicalism.” What he doesn’t seem to realize is that the church can also be enslaved to the subjective, emotion-centered worship practices that he is calling for. Earlier in the selection Godfrey mentions the restlessness of some Pentecostal groups in their constant search for something new and novel to make the feelings flow. Beyond this, I was grieved by Kraft’s view of “true worship” which seemed to be equated with a special experience brought about by long periods of emotive singing. The problem with such an anemic conception of worship is that it can be just as spiritually dead as the overly intellectual worship that he is so critical of.

  4. Ugh! Kraft might as well say, “Let’s check our brains at the door.” Sadly, this article and Dr. Aniol’s online lecture exactly describe my church experience growing up. We were never encouraged to use our intellect. It was all about “emotion.” Worship was always equated with physical response. I remember one Sunday morning I was feeling particularly quiet and was being still during a song and someone came and asked me if something was wrong (because I was apparently unable to worship). There was this pressure to show your worship, which of course, led at times to an outward show even when I didn’t “feel it” lest someone question my spirituality. (Isn’t that an infringement on my liberty of conscience? But they never consider it from that direction.)

    Kraft praises “the new music” as superior to hymns. To use Ken Myers’ words, church leaders have a “deliberate prejudice against things before 1960.” SO prevalent is the teaching that hymns are bad (as is classical music) and that people can’t worship to them. However, in college, when I went to chapel and everyone around me was singing these wonderful hymns with beautiful words and melodies, and I wondered how they all knew them and I didn’t – I felt slighted that this rich tradition had been intentionally kept from me. Thousands, maybe millions, or Christians believe that the hymn tradition (formal liturgy, too) is bad out of pure ignorance, because that’s what the leaders tell them, but most of them have never even been exposed to them. It’s a form of brainwashing, I think.

    Kraft says, “We sing hymns so chuck-full of rational content and information that they are UNMEMORIZABLE.” Plenty of people, young children included, have memorized hymns in their entirety without trouble for centuries. Is he saying that unless we can memorize them in one service (so we can close our eyes and sing for 20 minutes without thought to what we’re saying – which I have done plenty of times) they have no merit? I wonder, does he feel the same way about memorizing Scripture? Perhaps we should dumb that down, too, to make it easier to memorize.

    Megan, I love what you said, “The content of worship songs also, sadly, does not teach rich truths of God’s character like so many of the hymns. It is vital that we know the God we are worshiping.” My mother-in-law grew up in a church that didn’t preach Christ, but they did sing hymns, and that was where she heard and believed the truth of the Gospel. A person can’t get that from most of our worship songs today. Ah, what a state the church is in today!

  5. We walk such a delicate balance in church nowadays… Do the emotions or intellect rule? It really should be that neither are subordinate to the other, but both coexist in harmony to be correctly applied.

    Throughout my church life, I have experienced the dead monotony of the “intellect only” congregation. They go about their worship in a ridged manner dispelling all emotion from the gathering. On the other hand, the superficial “emotions rule!” congregations toss intellect to the wind and run the risk of being completely mindless in their worship.

    God did not give us emotions to be manipulated, but He also did not give us a brain to be heartless. A balance must be found so that we are not worshiping completely from intellect or completely from emotion.

    The high emotion is the syncretism of today’s pop culture. Like the pre-exile Hebrews, the heart is right, but the actions are wrong. High intellect can be related to the post-exile Hebrews in that the actions may be right (or at least closer to “right”), but the heart is not completely right.

  6. I agree with Ben that there should be a balance between emotion and intellect. I think that emotion is good to have but it needs to go with intellect. At the same time I think that if there “too much” emotion, then that creates a shallow response to the way we worship. If we have a shallow sense of worship then we will never grow our relationship with our Lord.

  7. I want to remind you all of something: the term “emotion” doesn’t mean anything precise. I would advise against using it. It just causes problems and confusion.

    For example, I would say without hesitation that it is impossible to have too much affection in worship. There is no need for “balance” between intellect and affection in worship. They are not opposites but rather two parts of the spirit of man, both of which should be nurtured to the fullest in worship.

    However, I would also say that we must guard against allowing the passions to overcome us in worship. The biblical and historical Christian pattern is to avoid using things in worship that quickly and immediately stirs up the passions, because then it is almost impossible to rightly nurture the mind and affections.

    So, when someone says that there needs to be “balance” between intellect and emotion or that we need to guard against too much emotion, that is not anywhere near a precise enough statement to evaluate biblically or historically.

  8. “True worship . . . usually takes a lot of singing to create an atmosphere of praise and worship.” Songs of praise are so important in our worship. Songs of praise lead us to open our hearts and prepare us to listen to God’s word so we need to choose the song and sing carefully in worship. “We sing hymns so chuck-full of rational content and information that they are unmemorizable.” When I read Kraft’s statement, I was sad, but this is true. I realized that I memorized a lot of hymns but I didn’t know the amazing meaning in the hymns. There are a lot of amazing and beautiful messages in hymns. I think when we sing the hymns the atmosphere is both simple while also formal in style. Because of this we are tempted to sing the hymns without emotion or not from our heart. Hymns contain really good theological material that help Christians to draw near to God. In contrast, when we only recognize contemporary worship we fail to see the benefit in hymns and we focus more on our preferences and not on God and His desires.

  9. I grew up in a charismatic church. So “emotional worship” was not really a matter for me. This was because of the churches that I attended at Malaysia had a good balance of emphasis of spiritual filled worship and teaching of God’s words. Not until, I went to a church that over emphasized on spiritual filled worship. I attended this church for a while. Undeniably, at that time, I did have a great worship experience- I was “satisfied by God”. However, at one point, I noticed that my spiritual life was dying away. I desperately hungered for His words. I moved to a traditional church. My worship was satisfied and spiritual life was fed.
    Ooppss,,,,,I made a mistake. Worship is not to satisfy us. Worship is all about God. We worship Him because He is worthy. The only purpose to worship God is to remember His grace and to give thanks to Him.
    After taking this class, only I notice how foolish I was.

  10. Are we denying the power of the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with affection in worship so much so that we need to do His job for Him? The thing missing in Kraft and Myer’s argument is the core of worship- it is not about us! We are worshiping god- we are giving him what is due to Him. It is not a choice, a personal preference, or a kind of “spirit fuel”. It is an honor and we should worship Him in utter humility and reverence.

    This hype of emotion completely derails the purpose of emotion. The devil has so succeeded in turning our biblical liturgy into secular liturgy. God cares about how we worship and makes that very clear to us in Scripture. My question is, if we believe God is truly unchanging than the God of the New Testament cares just as much about our worship to Him as the God of the Old Testament.

    While studying the topic of manipulated emotion in worship I found it interesting to dive into G. K. Beale’s work, “We Become What We Worship”. Beale really sheds light on the subject of idolatry and the fact that we reflect what we are surrounded by or are taking part in. He says, “It is not possible to be neutral on this issue: we either reflect the Creator or something in creation” (16). I believe that God created humans to reflect Him. Now, is this emotion centered, pop culture derived music something that reflects the Holy reverence of God? Or are we reflecting a culture that worships itself and it’s feel good now mentality?

  11. I love what Sarah said on the subject of complicated lyrics (the only thing left that reflects God in this emotion centered music), “I wonder, does he feel the same way about memorizing Scripture?” Of course the devil wants us to think that memorization is something beyond our capacity. But our true armor is the memorization of scripture. Jesus used it Himself to rebuke the devil and He IS God! He left such a clear example for us, his followers. Music is something so aiding to us in the memorization of scripture. If we can’t memorize it to music why would we memorize it at all?

    Growing up in church I never understood the necessity of worship, what it truly was or what mattered in it. My scripture knowledge was shallow and my understanding of God was weak. Going to a church now that seeks to model a biblical liturgy in worship and puts an emphasis on Scripture has opened my eyes to what worship is all about. The increase in Scripture read in each service and in the Scripture sung in the hymns was more Scripture than I had heard in a whole year at my home church. The modern church has really overlooked God completely in a Sunday morning service and have turned their focus on the body of Christ. “What is going to help the body?” But when we loose our first priory- worshiping, knowing and communing with the one true God, we loose everything all together. Our first priority must be God. In a sense we are making idols of ourselves and creating God in our own image!

  12. These following sentences help me make my mind to disagree with Finny: “ An effective musician can move the emotions through the words, melody, and instrumentation of music. Especially in the Pentecostal tradition, music has been very self-consciously used to move worshipers. ” These words indicate that the purpose of worship shift from “draw near to God” to “attract or move people to worship God”. The central target basically shifts from God to people. That is a not only a dangerous thing, but also a wrong target or in another word, wrong motive. Even if the ultimately goal is still “worship God”, it is not right to shift the concentration of worship from God to people.
    However, so sad, I saw so many pastors and music ministers have the same mind set like Finny. In order to attract people and make people feel moved and touched by the worship service, they simply copy the pop culture and convincing themselves that it is from God. They care so much about “ numbers” of people decides to follow Jesus during the altar call, but do not have “time” to care about the brothers and sisters in Christ; or they care more about how many people cried during service, but have no “time” to care about Christian’s daily life.

  13. I used to think that people will feel something during worship when they filled by holy spirit (like the holy spirit comes at Pentecost)and I was trying to seek and experience that “feeling”. Later on, I realized that true worship is not to seek some “feeling” when you sing,I agree with what Dr. Aniol said few days ago that “Worship is not the feeling that comes over you when you sing.” People are all somewhat emotional, especially our musicians. It is not hard for us to make music and move our audiences, but the way we worship our God should not be the same. Worship leaders should not try to lead the congregation to feel what they(WL) want them(C) to feel, but rather from inside out. Again, worship is not the feeling.

  14. Charles Finney adopted new culture for excitement in worship. Also, Finney said that emotion was entirely natural. He thought that emotion and excitement were used for the appropriate means in worship. The tradition of Finney manipulated emotion through preaching and music. Grant Wacker says, “music gave leaders a tool for regularizing the expression of emotion.” I agree that preaching and music can move people’s emotion in worship. When people’s emotion are moved in worship, worship can be enhanced through Holy Spirit. However, I think that a phrase “An accomplished leader in the tradition of Finney” in the article is not appropriate. “An accomplished leader” seems to be described as a leader who manipulates emotion well through preaching and music. I believe that an accomplished leader is a leader who helps people to encounter God through their emotion and encourages them to continue their experience in their normal lives.

  15. I agree with the revivalists that emotional excitement plays an important in Christian worship. As a human being, it’s natural to have certain expressions (or passions) when we are emotionally moved by something. However, having emotional excitement is not the goal of worship. The goal of worship is to please God and to give glory to His name. We should recognize that the Lord is the audience of worship. Emotional excitement is the by-product of true worship. We don’t need to prohibit any emotional expressions but we should not over emphasize them. Emotional excitement may enrich our worship experience but it is definitely not the focus of our worship.

  16. It is important that the primary task of worship leader is to make sure that worship service does not lack intellectual rigor which makes us think theologically and enhances our knowledge of God. In stead of focusing too much on the values of popular culture that always seeks instant gratification, the emphasis should be more on the mature exposition of the biblical doctrines.

  17. I had played the keyboard in the praise band almost 10years in my church. I was struggling about the emotion worship. Because we rarely sang the hymn, but we sang a lot of contemporary worship songs. In my case, as an accompanist in the praise band, I was in the dilemma between creating a spiritual or emotional atmosphere in worship with my music. Beside I was very week about the concept of the true worship and biblical foundation at that time. It is true that the contemporary worship uses the emotional involvements more than the tradition worship. I think that is dangerous to the people who don’t firmly stand in the word as my experience. This article mentioned “Our worship services revolve around an informational sermon preceded by a token number of informational hymns.” I totally agree that point. The sermon and praise must be one in the worship. The praise have to link to the sermon as the one message to confess our mind toward experiencing God in the word. Through confessing in the lyrics of the hymn, I believe that we can experience the truly and deeply emotional touch in Christian’s worship.

  18. A fear in any form a of worship is that someone may be doing it for show. I would say a second fear is that they are doing it because someone else is doing it. Can we truly say that these two concepts are new in contemporary worship. I would say their is one true worship, one led in Spirit and truth (John 4). The article states that “In such a session of singing one can predict exactly when the hands will be raised and when other emotional responses will be exhibited.” Could it be that the Lord speaks to multiple people through the text at the same time. There are places in songs that have great doctrine that may lead a lot of the congregation to lift hands in praise to their Lord. The Spirit could also move in a mighty way in a congregation leading to an expression of what lies in the heart. On the other hand, it could be an act. We must not try to say one person is not worshiping because they do not use the same outward expressions we do (as long as it remains Biblical). We would do better to see their heart by actually getting to know the person, and growing with them in the edification of the Body.

    I do not believe that all worship must be physically seen. Worship is a matter of the heart. To lift hands to God as a sign of his rule is an act of praise. Psalms 63:4 says, “so I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.” Psalms 28:2 says, “Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.” This act of praise can be used in any form of worship. I do not believe this should be done to fulfill the passions. I think that it is not worship, in any genre of music, until the heart issue is solved, and this only occurs through God’s saving grace (Eph. 2). We can not consider it a sign of the spirit just because there is a physical act, but by the fruit of the spirit within them. If their worship is not led by Scripture and the Holy spirit, it is not worship (whether contemporary, blended, or traditional). May we truly be led by the Holy Spirit in every aspect, worshiping God in all that we do. In closing, 1 Cor. 3:17-18 says, “now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is Spirit.”

  19. Reading an article and thinking about Tuesday’s lecture really brought back some interesting memories from my childhood. For most of my childhood and teen years, I attended a church with my family that was very charismatic and highly influenced by the Pentecostal movement. But as a child and young teen, I didn’t fully understand that. For the longest time, I equated a good service with how “emotional” people got, whether it was jumping up and screaming or even at times running down the church aisle (I kid you not). This influenced me going into college (and being exposed to contemporary music) in my worship planning unfortunately. It is so easy as worship leaders to manipulate people and excite the passions in worship. It saddens me when I visit home and people still base how good a service was on how people reacted during the service. It doesn’t matter what the pastor preached or the choir sang, it only matters how excited and worked up people got. It has been helpful to understand where these traditions started and their impact, especially as I have conversations with family and people I grew up in church with.

  20. On the other hand, I do think that the leaders of the church should consider congregation’s necessity, in order to “lead” the people to get closer to God. For instance, it will be better for missionaries to lead the people to sing biblical lyric with folk melodies, so that people could focus their attention on worship God through those biblical lyrics, instead of struggling with the foreign melody. Since I remember, I heard many Chinese Christians saying that when they sing Chinese folk hymns, they are able to worship God more freely. In this kind of case, it is wise for the leaders to use something that fit the folk culture. At the same time, leaders of the church, should also be very careful that, when they aim to help the congregation to worship God freely, they should still keep the target of worship God, instead pleasing people. In the purpose of worship, which is “drawing near to God”, “God” is the center of attention, instead of people “drawing near”. Everything in worship should be pleasing God, instead of people.

  21. I agree with Megan comment, especially with this statement: “the content of worship songs also, sadly, does not teach rich truths of God’s character like so many of the hymns.” The book “Sing With Understanding” states that hymns are theological; I concur with the view for the hymns that we sing today had to stand the test of time, especially since most of them were written more than a century ago. Hymns contain Biblical truths and if the theology is not accurate, the text is either corrected or the hymn is removed from worship.

    I also agree with Megan’s view on the contents of worship song; I find some song are not founded on Biblical truths, while some are based on the feelings of the writer, and others with words just sound “good” together. For example, this morning, I was listening to a Christian radio station and Switchfoot’s song “Love Alone is Worth the Fight” and the stanza that stuck to me before the chorus was:

    So I’m back to the basics
    I figure it’s time I face this
    Time to take my own advice
    Love alone is worth the fight

    I agree that “love alone is worth the fight” but I had trouble agreeing with the verse “time to take my own advice” since it removes God as the one to motivate action and replaces it with the self. I believe it is important to evaluate what we listen to and sing in worship to God. Just because the words sound nice does not mean it is Biblically correct.

  22. Love the discussion–especially your sharing about your mother-in-law’s belief in Christ through hymns, Sarah. I remember times when I was younger that I used to think those around me who weren’t singing and/or clapping their hands were not properly worshipping. I, too, wondered what was wrong with them. However, the older I get, I have found some of the most beautiful times of worship being those moments when I am not singing and am just listening to the truths being proclaimed in the songs. I would like to point out that “standing up” during the music has been another one of those “you’re not truly worshipping unless…” Many times I enjoy just sitting and reflecting on the Lord in my seat. But sometimes we do not feel as free to do this, because the expectations that have been set by the culture around us.

    Kraft’s belief that songs with rich, theological texts are nothing more than “rational content and information” is pretty saddening. I mean, look at Jesus. Everywhere He went, He was constantly challenging the minds of the people around Him. He wanted people to know the truth–and that truth was sometimes “heavy.” Moreover, turning toward actual songs in the Bible, one finds that they were full of theological truth, not some watered-down “I love Jesus and that’s all I know” songs. With richer texts, one actually can grow more in his spiritual walk. This is much like learning to read. As one pushes himself to grow in his reading, the more meaningful the text becomes to him. In the same way, rich texts can give believers a greater understanding and appreciation of God and thereby grant them deeper, more intimate relationships with Him.

  23. The emotional worship versus the intellectual worship. Today, worship in Pentecostal churches is practiced and focused more in the benefit of man and self-satisfaction of the person, rather of worship God as he prescribed. However, always men approaches God and draw near Him should be in reverence, order, and in a coordination between the intellect, which is related to the mind and also his heart or soul, which is related to noble affections. Dr Aniol pointed out the commentary of W. Charles Godfrey that explains “when emotions are misused, there is a constant danger of manipulation”. This statement cannot be closer of the truth, because many times I have heard Charismatic Christians expressions such as: the worship was not good today because I did not feel the presence of God in the songs, there was not fire, and the Holy Spirit did not moved. So often people make judgments based in their feelings and emotions, because if they don´t see people crying or they don´t see people with lifted hands or kneel down then the worship was a failure and God was not there, or the worship leader is in sin, and for that reason they do not feel the satisfaction or physical catharsis that they experienced when music is used in a conscious way to manipulate people´s emotions in worship. What a sordid humbug of these manipulators and liars, that move away people from true worship.
    Worship is not for men satisfaction, it is a need of man to worship God and do it in accordance to His will. God presence is always present in worship within Christians, and is not controlled by natural forces through men abilities. We need to worship God with a clear mind and peaceful hearts because even in our troubles God is in control and he always helps us and take cares about us. Worship is to love God with all our minds, soul and strength, as it is written in the commandments. Worship is not a performance in a theater where “feelings take the place of true faith”, as Dr Aniol explains. Worship is an offering and a sacrifice that pleases God, but just if man does it under His conditions, and are not based in sentimentalisms and emotionalisms. The old hymns that the new generation rejects because the Pentecostalism influence, and because their anti-intellectual minds that just want to be diverted from a worship of knowledge and from the understanding of God and His conditions. Those hymns are the historic inheritance of the worship legacy through the time, and every Christian should appreciate Hymns, and remain in faithfulness to the true biblical worship.

  24. I don’t agree with Kraft’s idea of worship: “True worship . . . usually takes a lot of singing to create an atmosphere of praise and worship….And it is the new music (praise songs), sung with eyes closed for 10, 15, or 20 minutes at a time that makes that experience possible.” I think true worship is not to attract or move people, God is the only subject, people are not gather for a feeling of self-self-satisfiction, but gather together to worship Him and draw near to Him. Worship leaders can not create a real spiritual atmosphere, that so called atmosphere is a emotional atmosphere, it is not purely from God. It is not that atmosphere made people feel that they are truly worship God. People are made with emotion, but when we worship God we should worship from inside out, not let other people’s emotion atmosphere made us feel we are worship, but from our right heart.

  25.         Finney was a flake and a huckster, let’s just get that out in the open straightaway.  His theology was at best semi-pelagian and perhaps worse.  As Martin would no doubt point out, he was the consummate pragmatist.  At the risk of beating the same old drum Finney worked from a incomplete purpose.  His focus was saving the lost and he measured this in the number of people making decisions at his revivals.  Even in this singular purpose he seems to have clearly failed in both manner and motivation.  He also appears to have little or no regard to either glorifying god or edifying the body of believers.  He was essentially glorifying himself and as a revivalist he had no body to edify (an issue for any revival effort that have no local church connections).
            Possibly the primary reason that Finney figures so heavily into the discussion regarding music is that because of his manipulative manner, we wish to associate the music he used in the same regard.  This is the idea that unconsciously says, “I don’t like someone, so everything they do or believe must be bad simply by association.  This is the same sort of rhetoric that has made such a shambles of American political discourse of late.  I don’t like the President or the Speaker of the House, etc, I am therefore opposed to those things they do, believe, or say.  Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussein all believed in eating, does that make eating bad simply by association?  We see Finney here paraded about in a similar manner.
            I have no experience with either pentecostal or charismatic churches.  I do not know what their practices are or the means in which they are executed; nor do I know how they see their purpose as a church.  I am familiar with, and am blessed to work for, a church that strives to understand and execute its purpose prayerfully and biblically in support of the congregation and the community in which we serve.  This is a church where bible inerrancy is paramount and the preaching of the word is the main effort.  All other functions of the church, supporting efforts if you will, are no less important than the preaching but all serve ultimately to support the main effort.
            The music of our church is one of those supporting efforts.  The music used in our church is selected through a deliberate process between the senior pastor and myself.  This process is conducted prayerfully and biblically in support of the church’s purpose, with the senior pastor having the final say in the music selection.  A strength of our church is the genuine, biblical concern that the senior pastor has for the music employed.
            Neither I not the senior pastor have any agenda or desire to manipulate people or to engineer a specific outcome.  I cannot speak for the senior pastor, but I simply do not possess such an ability nor do I desire it.  
            I think Kraft’s position is a bit overstated but not without some merit.  My concern is not that the traditional songs are outdated, outmoded, or otherwise out of touch, (with the possible exception of language) but rather how do continue to use these songs while avoiding the sort of malaise of which Kraft speaks?  I liken this somewhat to observance of the Lord’s Supper.  How do conduct this practice on a regular basis and maintain the beauty, grandeur, and symbolism of this event without it becoming staid and ritualistic simply due to its frequency.  I realize this is not an equal comparison but the concern is quite similar.  My church uses both traditional hymns as well as gospel songs in addition to contemporary music.  The senior pastor and I believe (not feel) that these older songs remain appropriate and useful for our congregation. 
            In the end I am a bit concerned that we are having this discussion as if our actions alone are the determinate factor, and God, through the Holy Spirit, has little or no place in it.  Are we asking Him what is right for our congregations?  I know I fail to do so enough.  Thank you for your time.

    Ryan Thiessen
    November 03, 2013

  26. Alright, let’s take the wording of “emotion” completely out of the conversation and us “affections” and “passions.” These are both sides of the spiritual and emotional coin.

    There is no problem with the body responding to the spiritual stimuli (“passions” responding to “affections”). The balance I addressed earlier needs to occur between intellect, affections, and passions.

    “Passions” should not be 100% banned from the worship arena. They should be kept in check and balance between the other aspects. However, God did gave us our bodies and “emotional” (affections and passions) and we should utilize our whole being to bring glory to God. It is not about us, as many have said already.

    The marriage of body and mind (passions and affections) can be seen in Romans 12:1-2. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

    We are coming into just as much danger by labeling the passions as completely bad, as the other side would say that they completely control worship. Either way begins to fall into legalism, and as Ryan said, “we are having this discussion as if our actions alone are the determinate factor, and God, through the Holy Spirit, has little or no place in it.”

    Actions alone cannot be measured accurately. Motives must be assessed as well.

  27. “…God has found it necessary to take advantage of the excitability there is in mankind, to produce powerful excitements among them, before he can lead them to obey.”
    Really? God has to take the advantage of what we have. Isn’t it that God created us? Why does God have to take advantage of our excitability to make us worship Him more effectively? Taking advantage of the excitability that we have sounds like we naturally own the excitability and God does not give it to us. God is our creator. He created and gave us every thing that we have. If God wants to, He can simply push a button in our bodies or lives to make us worship Him. He does not need to take advantage of what we have to make us worship Him effectively.

  28. I just completed listening to the on-line lecture from Thursday.  I am becoming extremely concerned by the nature and implication of some of the things we are hearing as of late.  Let us be extremely careful of even a passing reference that causes us to question another’s faith.  Particularly when this employs opinion masquerading as fact.  The implication seems to be that certain types of music constitute a significant (if not primary) means to engineer an atmosphere of heightened external feelings, and therefore calls into question, if not clear denial, one’s salvation (R. L. Dabney).
            There are a great many things that I should like to say in reply to such a notion.  I choose to refrain and say only that Mr. Dabney (among others) would seem to call my own salvation into question.  I personally came to faith largely through music used in worship.  This music was not that of Luther, Wesley, and Watts but what many of us would now consider the less-than-ideal praise and worship music of the 1990’s.  Frankly, at that time Luther, Wesley, and Watts would have had no impact on me.  But music that helped me prepare for preaching of the word did.
            This preaching was in no way influenced or watered down in order to support the music.  In this church, unlike the churches I attended that did use Luther, Wesley, and Watts, I heard for the first time in my life a message of salvation.  And no, I did not come to faith straightaway in some sort of frenzied, agitated state.  This happened over several months through a combination of both preached word AND music that showed me the price He payed, the only means to salvation, my sin and sin nature, and my complete and utter dependence on Him.  
            While we are employing the notion of dismissal by association (as with Charles Finney) we may want to have a closer look at Robert Lewis Dabney.  Thank you for your time.

    Ryan Thiessen
    November 04, 2013    

  29. I disagree with the theory of Charles H. Kraft when he calls on Christians “Let’s stop being enslaved to the present rationalistic, intellect-centered approach to church that characterizes much of evangelicalism.” This statement is very far from the truth because the believer´s faith needs to have a good foundation that can only be be founded in the Scriptures and in the history and godly practices of the Church of the ancient times until contemporaneity. Kraft, pretends to disconnect the historic legacy of worship and change it for an emotional, physical and passion response of Christians, instead of promoting a nurture intellectual mind in the worship, in order to build the spiritual life of the person. One of the things that really bothered me when I arrived to the U.S was to see “rock” as the principal musical genre of worship in the majority of Churches and non-denominational Biblical Institutes. It seems that the “new music” that Charles H. Kraft appointed as the perfect worship “with eyes closes during 15 minutes to create the atmosphere of praise and worship”, lacks of intellectuality and rationality. But, does anyone can write a song or make music and sing without the intellect and some measure of reasoning? I don´t think so. The problem here is that Kraft is finding the way to justify how the real worship that includes hymns, psalms and spiritual songs is to obsolete, is to serious and to centered for modern age. He presents the “new music” as the alternative for real worship, and sadly sometimes the listeners and worshippers cannot distinguish if the songs have Christian’s lyrics, or are the songs that the rockers sing in the bar of the corner. I´m not kidding, with my own eyes and ears I heard a “Christian rocker”, singing in the altar of a Biblical Institute part of the worldly song “This night gonna be a good night”. I could not believe it how far this “new music”, is leading Church worship until the abyss.

  30. From the majority of responses, I think we could collectively agree that our modern worship style focuses on appealing to the worshipper than to truly worship God for who He is. Hence, I want to turn the tables around, and ponder what the worship leaders (which includes anyone involved in leading worship at the service) expect and are thinking when they lead worship.

    For two years during my undergrad, I served on the worship team of a Pentecostal church. The worship minister taught me that worship was to prepare the congregation for the pastor’s message and guide them into the “right” mindset. Thus, I would measure the success of worship by the amount of hands that I see rising from the congregation. Until now, of course, taking this class has brought me to a better understanding on what worship truly is.

    I know some of us are either worship minsters or worship team members at a church, I’m curious to know: how do you measure success when you lead worship at church? Should worship even be evaluated for success?

  31. That’s an outstanding question, Jessica, that gets to the heart of the matter. Edwards would answer that the only may to measure “success” in worship is if lives are changed over the long term. “Success” has nothing to do with “experiences” in the moment, which are proofs of nothing.

  32. “Let’s stop being enslaved to the present rationalistic, intellect-centered approach to church that characterizes much of evangelicalism.” I like what Kraft said. He wants to us give our whole heart when we worship to God not just our intellect. We should offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God this is our spiritual act of worship (Romans12:1). If our heart is a right heart before Him, then God is pleased. He knows everything so if we have joy in Him during the worship, the effect of the atmosphere or worship style does not matter. The most important thing in our worship is upon what our minds are centered; it shouldn’t be personal preference.

  33. A Successful worship service….

    Success is a reoccurring theme I have witnessed in today’s churches. Listening to 90.9 on the radio, visiting different churches or hearing talk of successful worship in church is really the “buzz around town”. One common factor I have noticed is that this success relayed in song selections or a sermon based on how the bible can help us in leading successful lives is that we have once again turned church into worshiping ourselves. We do not worship for the purpose of personal gain! We worship God as #1 priority and in turn we gain from a communion with Him. Our experiences or feelings during the service do not measure whether we had a successful time of worship or not.

    I remember visiting churches with my husband and trying to communicate to one another why we did not prefer this or that church. It was so easy to say, “I just didn’t feel it” but that is completely wrong. We felt convicted about the typical feel good church with loud heart felt music and a pastor who cracks a joke every other line. We wanted to worship God in reverence from our understanding of scripture.

    Knowing where something originates helps me to discern whether I wish to be a part of it. As Ryan said, do we refrain from eating because Hitler ate? I’m sorry Ryan but I feel this view of worship is ignorant. As fallen beings we can take good things God has created and use them for evil. Remember God created eating first. So yes because God made something good I will follow it in the way He has designed it. And I will seek to keep it in its pure and holy state and not be like the world in turning what God made for good into something bad.

    Learning that this contemporary music stemmed from the Jesus Movement blows my mind. God has commanded us to have no hint of paganism yet the entire form of contemporary music came from music that was completely Satan lead. We are so ignorant if we do not acknowledge that the devil will do everything he can to distort our worship to the Lord.

    Listening to contemporary songs on the radio lately I have been paying attention to the lyrics so carefully. I have been noticing that the subjects of the sentences are “I the worshiper” and not God. “Here I am to worship”, “When I call out your name something inside awakes my soul” from Hope Now by Addison Road or even in “Bless the Lord oh my Soul”- the climax of the music is Oh my soul!! Very subtly we have turned our lyrics and musical emphasis’ on the worshiper and not God. There are 100 examples I could write on contemporary songs played on the radio.

    I still believe in making a new song. But beware lest we write songs for ourselves and not God. Things such as music and lyrics should not be composed in ignorance. Know where you are pulling from before you provide it for other worshipers to follow.

  34. Also Ryan about your comment, “I personally came to faith largely through music used in worship”, so did I! It was the contemporary music that set my soul on fire for Jesus. But it really is so shallow compared to the depths of His Word and I was so ignorant of this. My point is, God can use anyone or anything he chooses to bring you to Him. He uses us as sinners to disciple other sinners. But when he removes the veil from our eyes to see something specific He desires, that we have been in ignorance about, it is our enslavement to him to be obedient to His calling. What is there to defend in worship? We should be so eager, so prayed up and so saturated in His Word on how he wants us to worship and be nothing but willing to lay aside our wordly understanding and simply obey. Trusting in His soverignty He WILL reveal how he wants to be worshipped if we would only turn to Him and hold the world and all that’s in it with open hands. Our desires will be transformed into His desires because He is all that we seek. If contemporary music is what is leading Americans into a black pit of luke warm Christianity, than God have mercy on us all! It isnt about us and it never was, we were created for the sole purpose to bring Him glory. Are we doing that with songs and lyrics that point to ourselves discreetly? Having the veil removed from my eyes I now see what a shallow Christianity contemporary music was leading me towards.

  35. I am fully aware that some of today’s music has become extremely repetitive and lacking in theological richness. However, I would like to point out that we should not simply use the title “contemporary music” as a synonym for this type of music. Let us not completely throw out songs that have “contemporary” attached to them; rather, we should check each one individually with the Word. There a number of non-hymn songs that are rich in theological truths, standing as great nourishment to the believer.

    Also, I believe Danielle mentioned that some of the titles of newer songs seem subjectivistic in nature. However, I would like to point out that the use of 1st person pronouns is not always a bad thing. The Psalms are full of these pronouns. Moreover, I am very surprised on your view, Danielle, of some of the songs you mentioned. “Here I Am to Worship” is all about glorifying God because He has given the believer salvation–which is the exact same thing the hymn “Amazing Grace” declares. Addison Road’s “Hope Now” is proclaiming that God is the shelter in this storm of life and that all we have left to hold on to is hope in God. That is very similar to the Psalms. And “10,000 Reasons,” though it repeats “O my soul,” is a proclamation that no matter what happens or wherever one is in life, he will continue to lift up the name of God and choose to worship Him. Much like Job.
    These three songs are not “perfect,” but they are very centered on the Lord and His glorious acts.

  36. Danielle, you said “Having the veil removed from my eyes I now see what a shallow Christianity contemporary music was leading me towards.” I must tell you that not all contemporary music is shallow. You can look at the music put out by Sovereign Grace Ministries and see an example of this. I do not think it is best to categorize all contemporary music as being meatless. I personally want to sing Christians songs filled with doctrine, whether contemporary or traditional. I also think that you should look up a lyric sheet of Lacrae, you may be shocked of the amount of doctrine in it. We must not just say something is meatless because it is in a certain genre of music. I will confess that certain genres do have a lot of meatless songs (I like Southern Gospel music but this is one of those genres), but that is a generalization. If the text is built on the truths of scripture and filled with doctrine, I have a hard time calling it shallow.

  37. I really appreciate the distinction between “passion” and “affection.” I realize now that I spent much of my growing-up years feeling conflicted and confused about the issue of emotions in worship. My very charismatic church was all about passionate worship, physically expressed. The congregation had no lack of zeal for God, but the vast majority was not very biblically literate.

    Dr. Aniol, in his book “Worship in Song,” describes worship as “a spiritual response to God as a result of understanding biblical truth about God, [God’s character and God’s works]” (Ch. 2). I don’t believe we can truly worship God without knowing God’s Word. So, if we simplify all our songs, taking out the rich “rational content and information” to make them easier to memorize, and then we do the same to our sermons to make them appealing and non-threatening to “seekers,” what’s left? Lots of hype to excite the passions, but not much substance on which to build the affections. Not true worship, false worship, devoid of truth about God.

  38. As I read the article this week I have to sit an agree that emotions are something to worry about when we are worshiping. Because sometimes the music can take out emotions out of context with how the music is portrayed. Well the same can be said about anything in life really. Scripture reading can stir my emotions and makes me scream if someone is reading it like Dr. Day does. It makes me want to scream Amen. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. Because I am feeling the text he reads through the mic. Just like I raise my hands when I hear the text of songs, that speak of God’s Word through music.

    So instead of talking about if contemporary vs traditional I see we are now going to be Ghost Hunters and when I say this we are supposed to dictate if this movements in worship are done by ‘worldly music’ or the Holy Spirit moving through people. And I can’t do that as a minister or on this earth the only one that can see that is God and once again we address the beginning of the semester and that it is a heart issue not a music issue.

  39. There are many problems afflicting the spiritual health of individual believers and the church in America today. While it is good to think about how music may impact or incite these problems, either beneficially or detrimentally, we must, at times, step back and refocus on the big picture in order to recognize other contributing factors to these problems and to judge whether or not music related issues play as prominent role as we initially thought. While I don’t think that anybody is actually advocating that the misuse of music is entirely to blame for the church’s problems, the focus and scope of the discussion naturally limit the conversation and may even cause us to miss other correlations. Perhaps some of the problems that we have with the use of music in corporate worship are actually symptoms of other, larger problems.

    For instance, if we were to focus too narrowly on whether it is proper or improper to use singing as a means to get people’s hearts and minds in the right place we might fail to recognize the deeper problem of why people are not preparing themselves for corporate worship before they come to the service. After all, a holistic conception of worship involves daily acts of private devotion and obedient living for the purpose of cultivating a believer’s relationship and communion with God. The corporate worship service is a specific time set apart from the rest of the week in which individual believers unite together as the body to worship God. It should serve as a culmination of the individual believer’s daily acts of worship. How might the loss of the conception that the Christian life ought to be vigorous and substantive skew our understanding of music’s role in worship?

    Additionally, too narrow of a focus on music may artificially limit us to think in terms of musical solutions. What if a problem requires a non-musical solution? Let’s return to the problem of people coming to corporate worship with unprepared hearts and minds. If we ask “What type of music will help set the mood for worship?” the question itself sets artificial limits to the range of solutions we might consider. An example of a non-musical “solution” that my church practices is to set apart the sanctuary as a space for silent prayer and preparation for the service. There is time for fellowship before the service, in a separate room, as well as afterward but the service itself, from the time one enters the sanctuary, is focused Godward.

  40. Danielle I am not understanding the argument towards Ryan…I agree that if your faith is based off music then it is shallow. I would say so shallow that its non-existent because you should be saved by the text of the Bible not the worship music. I have never heard of someone stating that man Chris Tomlin’s Jesus Messiah just spoke to me so I became a Christian. I think that the worship can help the Scripture like it does in Hymns because it is a revision of the text put to melodies but nothing can give you a firm foundation like that of the Word. So I didn’t understand what you were saying because that is not in question.

  41. Jessica, I agree with Scott that you pose an excellent question! Unfortunately its one that really isn’t talked about a lot on church music/worship programs (at least wasn’t in mine). Before seminary, I would measure the success of a service by the same things: how many hands raised, how people are actively engaged in singing, how many people come up to me afterwards and tell me they liked the music, etc…

    None of those things are valid when determining the success of a worship service. I hate the fact that I used those criterion for so many years as a worship leader. Now, I don’t consume myself with the question of success in worship week to week. I am very intentional in each element I place in the service (hymns, songs, Scripture, etc…) after spending time in prayer and with the preaching pastor on that given weekend. I try to be aware of whats happening in worship (are people engaged, singing, listening, participating, etc…) but I don’t measure the success of a service by what happens during a particular service. I agree with Scott’s response that the only way you can measure the “success” of a worship service is in the long term. Another good question to ask (especially to young or new worship leaders) beyond what they measure success as, is what they would consider a successful worship service to be/look like.

  42. This discussion has left lots of food for thought. I lead worship on a weekly basis for middle school students (12-14 yrs. old). I do try to be selective on song choice, but I also am very aware of how unrealistic it would be to only sing hymns. (We sing contemporary worship songs and hymns.) Before this class I wouldn’t have even thought about style making any difference at all. Truthfully, I think that to change the style would be foolish and pretty legalistic since I do see good fruit from the Contemporary Christian music movement. (NOT all of it by any sense of the meaning as this discussion has clearly pointed out.) Sometimes the Contemporary Christian music IS wrong. It is lead by manipulated, unchecked passions in order to see an outward response. However, sometimes, traditional music lacks in affections because there is more concerned with the aesthetic than the “worship in spirit and truth.” I know of countless believers who would not have set foot in the door of a traditional service because they would not fit in, but found Jesus and have become true followers of Christ due to the fact that “they liked the music” of a church. Likewise, the youth who play on our worship team play in a contemporary style, and they like it. The style attracted them to want to play. However, this has given me an open door every week to open up the Bible and teach them about what the Bible says about worship. I would not be able to influence them in this way if we had a different style of music. I wouldn’t have any students who would want to play on the team.

    I have been challenged to question my own motivation and affection verses passions. I have started to really look at what the worship songs say about God. Do our songs lead people to truly worship our Creator and Savior, or are they leading people to a passionate moment in a service? I do think it is OK, even right, to have outward expression. John and others pointed out that these expressions are described in the Bible. However, godly affections should be the driving force behind any outward passion that is displayed.

  43. I’ve thought about “the successful worship” Jessica mentioned. When I went to other country for the mission trip, it was very poor condition to have the worship service. It was very hot weather and no instruments and equipments. Many people sat down on the floor in very small place. But they only focused on God to worship and praise with only their voice. It was very difficult circumstance for them, but it was not a problem at all to worship God. No one can stop their worship because their mind and heart desire God. They are heartfully longing for meeting God in the worship. However our church’s circumstance is so enough to worship God. We already had a good instruments and equipment systems in the church. But in contrary, sometimes we are lacking of the desire for God and hunger for God rather than them. I assure that the people who truly look up God and praise him even in their difficulty made the successful worship. God only know what is the successful worship. The exterior material like the musical style, genre that stimulate our emotions and equipments in the worship service to make the good sound might be interrupted to having the successful relationship with God. Putting aside those exterior things, when the humble heart and desire the intimacy with God will be centered in the worship, we will have a successful worship.

  44. Thank you Jessica for bringing up a such good question: “How do you measure success when you lead worship at church? Should worship even be evaluated for success?”
    As a worship leader, I am expecting people to involve in the worship wholeheartedly. When I lead the worship, my goal is to motivate the congregation to put their effort to sing and to praise God. People are not necessary to be very expressive but I think every people should sing along with the praise team.
    In my opinion, worship is difficult to be evaluated for success. Given that the Lord is the only audience of our worship, we people don’t have the right to make judgments. It is difficult to measure whether the worship is successful or not, but we should try our best to encourage people to worship God in spirit and in truth. I think active involvement is the basic requirement that makes the worship to be appeal to God.

  45. Surely, Samuel said “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offernings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” (1Samuel 15:22) True song before God helps for worshipper to follow this Word. In that point, I agree with Kraft’s comment that “True worship . . . usually takes a lot of singing to create an atmosphere of praise and worship.”

    When I think about ‘Psalm’, this marvelous, great praises are very good lesson for us as both song and prayer. More deeply when I think about King David’s worship with huge choir and playing instruments, that worship was standing on the very fearful God’s word, His charactor and what he has done for Israelity. David also danced before God with very great movement. Still for me, distinguishing ‘affection’ and ‘passion’ is not easy. But, always when I prepare the worship songs, I pray for choosing songs for glorify God, to reveal the name of Jesus. Besides, make the way for the sermon is very important. Of course, text of song is first, and depending congregation’s condition, I am very carefully make the balance hymn and contemporary songs. It is not big deal that hymn or contemporary, and music is good or bad. Skillful music is able to help worship, but without heart and love and obeying God, it would be just empty sound. I experienced many times directly and indirectly. ‘The success of Worship service’… In my opinion, Only Glorify God, Jesus the son of God and the Holy Spirit, and lead all congregation to draw near to God through praise, and finally, all worshipper obey to God, having new, true heart before God, this is true worshipp and the success of worship as well. But in the Bible, no where mentioned ‘success worship”. Thank you all!

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