For all of the negative things I have said(not all deserving) about my current church home, the major positive I cling to is this-the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is lifted up every Lord's Day. The past two Sundays our preacher has preached on the theme of holiness in the life of believers-not something you would expect to hear in a contemporary church. This is a topic that is ignored in too many churches these days, including traditional churches. We are beginning a series of sermons on the Book of Daniel that will encourage us to take up our crosses daily and follow our Lord, despite the pagan culture that surrounds us. In 1 Peter 1:16 we are commanded to be holy, because He is holy.
Today we sung praises to our Lord, accompanied by a keyboard and an acoustic guitar. Here's the thing, not one of the songs was a hymn, and what is even more is the fact that I was o.k. with it. The music was beautiful and the words/lyrics were theologically accurate. I still yearn, however, to hold a hymnal in my hands and sing more of the great hymns. Lately, however, we have been singing more and more hymns and the contemporary selection has been better than ever before. I guess those that say we can only sings hymns are similar to those that say we can only sing psalms. Too often modern Christian music sounds like the music produced by the world and is lacking in theological content. However, there are many good contemporary songs that are suitable, I believe, for a worship service. The danger with music, as I see it, is when music becomes entertainment or just is not appropriate for a worship service. There are many out there that believe any music can be used in a worship service and I cannot agree with them-the line must be drawn somewhere.
As for the preaching each Sunday, it is excellent in my opinion. Personally, I walk away convicted each week, ready to do battle with the culture around us until the following Lord's Day. Our pastor is not afraid to step on toes that need to be stepped on, including his own. Our mighty God is presented as not only a God of love, but also as a God of justice and holiness and wrath. Jesus is not presented to us as a buddy or a pal, but as our Redeemer, Saviour, and Lord. We are not taught that when you become a Christian life will be grand, but that we will encounter daily struggles and obstacles on our path heavenward.
I mention these things because our church does not fit the sterotypical label of a contemporary church. Maybe, just maybe, God is not as narrow-minded as many of us tend to be. For those who love tradition as I do, e.g. hymnals and the King James Bible, we must always guard ourselves against being overly critical on non-essentials. Some of my previous posts regarding worship have possibly painted too broad of a stroke and may have put labels where they were not deserved. However, one thing many modern Christians lack is a backbone, so afraid of offending. I see discussion on these matters as essential, and as long as we are speaking the truth in love I do not see the harm.