MUSIC AND EMOTIONALISM

raised-hands-in-worship
The role of music in today’s churches

The influence of music in today’s churches is becoming a cause for concern because of the way music is being used to stimulate a spiritual experience. How music and emotional feelings have become synonymous with being an expression of worship.

The question to be asked is, Are Praise and worship the same or are they different?

We have to look at music but in its context, what it is used for and why?

Music is used as a way and means to promote the gospel, which in itself is not wrong, however it is being used as a technique to persuade people that what they are experiencing is a “true Spiritual experience”.

In this day and age many Christians believe that the gospel is not effective and inefficient in this present social climate so it is reasoned that Jesus must be dressed up to make him presentable and relevant to the world, that the Biblical idea of salvation from sin and eternal punishment should be de-emphasised.

That which has been tried and tested over centuries of church history is being abandoned in favour of what is felt to be a more culturally relevant way of communicating the Gospel. Less and less of us preach the gospel and more and more of us seek to entertain people thus consigning the example of Christ, the apostles and countless generations of what men and women of God to the garbage heap. What so many have died for in the past is now either forgotten or simply taken for granted. Was it all for nothing?

People forget the Luthers, Calvins, Torreys and your D.L Moodys etc. as being yesterdays material, instead lets have this “Spirit of Friendship” the popularising of Christianity. If it werent for the example of people like these we would never have had the spreading of the Gospel message, nor would we have had the Bible in our own language!

The attitude of many Christians today is that “its un-cool to be a boring normal Christian”, so instead they do as the world does. In order to get members they preach “Come and Join the Party!” Or they say that being a Christian is also about having Fun and Going Out!

Its not that going out is wrong, you have to look at that in its context. What do they mean by the word Fun and the word Going Out whats the motive?

God looks at the intent of our hearts.

There is great pressure on todays youth (especially teenagers who claim to believe in Jesus and who are being fed on a diet of milk). The world  throws all sorts of things at them such as what they see on television or read in the papers, magazines, the internet etc. Everything is about experientialism, and the need to feel a buzz.

Emotions are not wrong but if we thrive on them there is danger.

This is what Jesus says in Mark 7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with [their] lips, but their heart is far from me.

There is a tendency to think that Christian worship revolves around musical forms and the emotions that this generates. Christianity needs to have Street Cred!

Many don’t seem to understand that true worship revolves around your conduct on a daily basis. It is about how we treat others and our own witness before the multitudes of the unbelieving world. It is not just about prayer but also the spreading of the gospel, the message of repentance from sin and turning to Christ, this is what it means to worship.

We don’t need to feel God in order to act on our faith and do what Jesus commands us to do on a day-to-day basis. Worship is doing what is required of us, a daily sacrifice.

Romans 12:1
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.
NASB copyright 1995 Lockman Foundation

We look at praise, the thing you do to express your self to God in song and dance. People often get that mixed up with worship.  Simply because a person has a heightened sense of spiritual experience doesn’t make it worship. This becomes an emotional experience not necessarily a spiritual one.

The scriptures say to test the spirits to see if they are of God.

Now we look at the concept of emotionalism.

Emotion is a very powerful motivational tool.

Emotion can cause us to change.

Emotion can make us from being tired to motivated.

Emotion can make us depressive and takes the form of causing us to have the feeling of hopelessness.

The Bible talks very much about our emotions and how they affect our conduct to God:

2 Corinthians 7:8-11. Godly Sorrow moves us towards repentance which motivates us to do what God wills

It would be wrong to say (or think) that the Christian faith was ever intended to enrich our emotions. Emotions can be a powerful thing and there are dangers with us trusting in our emotions. They can often lead us astray.

In the bible the emotion of anger is not sinful, but to act upon anger can lead us to sin. Ephesians 4:26.

The cares and pleasures of this world can hinder the truth in our hearts. (Luke 8:13,14).

It would seem that not only are our own emotions dangerous ground when it comes to our own personal lives and conduct but, when we are dealing with matters of our faith, there are some things that we need to be aware of: our emotions and our conduct must be brought under obedience to God.

Our Personal Faith.

Emotions can cause us to avoid learning the matters of our faith. (Galatians 4:16; Isaiah 30:9-13).

Emotions can deceive us in believing that we are acceptable to God when we are not. (Jeremiah 6:13-15; 10:23).

Emotions in False Teaching.

False teachers will entice people by appealing to the emotions. Feeling good or bad for example. (I Corinthians 2:1-5).

False teachers will teach people to depend on emotions to determine matters of faith. (II Timothy 4:3,4).

Conclusion. The Bible does not call upon us to be void of emotion, but we must never allow our emotions to determine, or direct our faith. (Psalm 119:105-106).

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