What Christians Need to Consider about Changing Worship Styles?

The best worship style is a biblical worship style. The Christian should read the Scriptures and consider the form of worship in the assembly and outside of assembly. How did the first Christians worship? Do modern innovations to worship consistent with worshiping in spirit and truth as Jesus proclaimed? This article will briefly address worship in the assembly.

Changing Worship Styles

For Christians to consider changing worship styles, followers of Christ must act consistently. Christians must not defend biblical worship in one form and justify altering another. What will Christians miss by changing to worship style unlike that of New Testament worship? Will worshipers lose focus upon God when they turn more to ritual, and tradition or toward innovation, entertainment, and amusement?

Jesus revealed, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23–24 ESV). Not only must Christian worship sincerely from one’s spirit, but true worshipers worship according to the truth of God’s Word (John 17:17). God and His Word are the standard for true worship. God’s Word is as infallible as Jesus Christ and His words are infallible (John 6:63; Heb 9:14). Jesus gave His words to His apostles and prophets (John 16:12-13; 17:8; Eph 2:20; 3:3–5).

Altering One Part of Worship and Not Another

For consistency of maintaining the purpose, focus, and form of New Testament worship, Christians must consider how changing worship may alter every act of worship. Is adding lamb to the Lord’s Supper is wrong? After all, “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” is within the same book that says, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” (1 Cor 10:16; cf. 11:23–26).

Believers could add lamb to the Lord’s Supper by justifying that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper during the Passover (Matt 26:17–29; Mark 14:12–25). Some may rationalize: There was lamb’s meat at the last supper (Luke 22:7–16). Also, the Bible does not say, “Thou shalt not eat lamb’s meat in the Lord’s Supper.” Do not Christians have the Holy Spirit and the anointing to know that it is good to add lamb’s meat to the Lord’s Supper (1 John 2:20, 27)? Therefore, what is wrong with adding lamb’s meat to the Lord’s Supper? No one can judge another for how they worship. All should have freedom of religion to choose their worship style.

Here are questions that Christians should ask: Did Jesus establish the Lord’s Supper correctly? Does a person’s freedom of conscience permit that person to disregard God’s Word to alter worship? If God does not say, “Thou shalt not,” then believers can alter God’s commands and organization of worship and the church? Who are believers hurting with such changes?

Questions of Salvation and Christian Fellowship

Many people justify their altering of worship because they do not believe that God will hold that against them for changing His Word. Would altering the Lord’s Supper threaten a believer’s eternal life? The apostle Paul revealed,

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. (1 Cor 11:27–32)

Would changing the Lord’s Supper include factions and divisions?

For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. (1 Cor 11:18–21)

Christians Need to Picture New Testament Worship

What did Christian look like in the first century churches? The Scriptures present that Christians assembled weekly if not daily. They met on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Acts 2 depicted that the first Christians worshiped together. They were devoted to the apostles’s doctrine, to sharing with one another, to the breaking of bread together, praying together, and praising God together (Acts 2:42–47).

Paul also instructed in matters of the assembly in 1 Corinthians 11. Paul in The Hebrews writer exhorted Christians not to forsake the assembling for its purpose to stir one another to love and good works (Heb 10:24–25).

The Implications of Changing Worship

Can Christians or a church change other forms of worship and service to God? Can followers of Christ alter baptism, loving others, prayers, sharing, and church music? If someone is convinced that Christ perfectly established the Lord’s Supper, did Jesus also perfectly set every instruction for the church?

How complete are Jesus’s revelations of baptism? Should believers be baptized for another reason than salvation and forgiveness of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 1 Pet 3:21)? Can Christians change that burial in baptism the believer is raised with Christ (Rom 6:4–5; Col 2:12–13)?

No one can add or take away from God’s Word (Prov 30:5–6; Gal 1:6–9; 3:15; 2 John 9; Rev 22:18–19). 

Unaltered Worship in the Church’s Music

Can Christians add anymore to one institution of Christ than the Lord’s Supper? Can Christians anymore add lamb to the Lord’s Supper than add other forms of music to singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16)? Did not Jesus declare in the Lord’s Supper, “I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt 26:29)?  The apostle Paul exhorted in Hebrews 13:15, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Can we anymore alter or add to “the fruit of the grapevine” than to “the fruit of the lips”?

If believers can alter singing as a church, then they can add lamb to the Lord’s Supper? Did Jesus not institute praise by singing in the congregation? Jesus expressed, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise” (Heb 2:12; cf. Psa 22:22; Matt 18:20)?

Conclusion

Jesus proclaimed the change of worship for true worship. Jesus revealed, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23–24).

About Scott J Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
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16 Responses to What Christians Need to Consider about Changing Worship Styles?

  1. Phil says:

    I would love unity more than anything. I’m thinking you want others to unify with you, yet you won’t unify with those outside your belief. You don’t represent my understanding of what the scriptures say. Your focus is on obedience by human effort and my focus would be on surrender of human effort in. In your system (that is based on personal obedience) the flesh is seen as capable of carrying out the will of God through personal human effort. The system I see in scripture and my own experience is that surrender of personal will is that which invokes the Spirit to awaken in me so that the Spirit become the New Guide, and not the written text. Obedience can happen in two ways. Yes the flesh is capable of obedience, but is also the cause of sin. It is divided in nature and is unstable. Yet this is the mind that you seem to promote towards obedience. You’ve never stated which mind you use towards obedience but you imply that this mind is of the flesh. Correct me if I’m wrong. …OK, when I surrender my mind of flesh (a natural occurrence when I see that I am weak) it invokes a mystical event in which God assumes my consciousness in that moment of surrender and I now serve in the way of the Spirit. It is the Spirit that lives and obeys in and through me. I get no credit for my obedience because in fact I did nothing but surrender. God does the rest in me.

    If you cannot agree on what I just stated then there is no chance for unity between me and you because seem to be extolling the virtues of the flesh while I extol the virtues of the Spirit within me. Yes there is a place for human effort in the scheme of things but not after regeneration. The Galatians were Christians but had yet to be indwelt by Christ. They were still wanting to use human effort toward their goal. You know which scriptures I’m referring to here so I will not spend time posting these. However I have scriptural proof of everything I have stated here and will provide proof if requested.

    Can we unite on what I just posted? If not, why not?

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    • “Correct me if I’m wrong. …OK, when I surrender my mind of flesh (a natural occurrence when I see that I am weak) it invokes a mystical event in which God assumes my consciousness in that moment of surrender and I now serve in the way of the Spirit.” -> I find the indwelling to be of the mind by the words of Christ dwelling on my heart (Rom. 8:5-6, 9-11, Col. 3:16). Yet, I see no break in unity in this as long as you don’t add to Christ’s words, which also come through His apostles and prophets (Heb. 1:1-2, Eph. 2:20, 3:3-5). Though I disagree, I think we can have unity and study this together.

      I cannot overlook matters of conscience that offend me (Rom 14). If our assemblies were focused on communion with God, Christ, and each other, we wouldn’t concern ourselves with turning praise into amusements and entertainment. Why can we not be united in not stirring up such offenses? Why would people rather defend their invented traditions of “worship” entertainment rather than pursuing communion with God and all saints?

      I’ve always agreed that God works through us. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13). Amen? Can we not be united in this?
      “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

      Though I disagree with the Calvinistic idea of the Spirit convicting us unto repentance and repentance bringing belief as the only path of conversion, I’d be united in this path and that the Spirit through the Scriptures convicts us to believe, confess, repent dying to sins, be immersed in Christ’s name to rise to walk in newness of life in communion with Him (John 16:7ff, Rom. 10:9-10, 17; 6:3-7). Yet others would rather use their Calvinism to reject baptism into the death of Christ, and with this I cannot unite either contrary to Christ.

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      • Phil says:

        You said, “I find the indwelling to be of the mind by the words of Christ dwelling on my heart (Rom. 8:5-6, 9-11, Col. 3:16). Yet, I see no break in unity in this as long as you don’t add to Christ’s words, which also come through His apostles and prophets (Heb. 1:1-2, Eph. 2:20, 3:3-5). Though I disagree, I think we can have unity and study this together. ” Why does the indwelling have to be by words? Why can’t it be by direct communication? Many places in the NT it states to live according to the Spirit. It does not say, “according to the words of the Spirit”, as you suggest. If we are not to add to the text then why are you adding to by putting this in? However, I also do not find this difference dis-unifying either.

        You said, “I cannot overlook matters of conscience that offend me (Rom 14). If our assemblies were focused on communion with God, Christ, and each other, we wouldn’t concern ourselves with turning praise into amusements and entertainment. Why can we not be united in not stirring up such offenses? Why would people rather defend their invented traditions of “worship” entertainment rather than pursuing communion with God and all saints?” You assume that IM is for entertainment and amusement. I don’t think you would ever get most who use IM to agree that it is for the purpose of entertainment and amusement. Those who use IM would say it is inspiring, not entertaining. Have you not been inspired by music before? I don’t doubt that there are a few who use it for entertainment, but to categorize everyone who uses IM as doing it for amusement and entertainment is wrong and judgmental.

        Regarding baptism, most see baptism as the effect of salvation, not the cause or the moment of salvation. When all NT scripture is considered it is reasonable to conclude that since NT Christianity is Spiritual in nature that salvation would happen at the point of the Spiritual conversion and not at the point of a physical action (water baptism).

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        • The Spirit only communicates by words. He speaks. Over and over again, you despise the Spirit rejecting the prophesies of Scripture.

          No wonder you like to be entertained in worship. You gutted the Gospel. This is just evil.
          Jesus said, “Whoever believes is and baptized will be saved”. Why don’t you believe Jesus? Christ’s Spirit says that one is raised with Christ into newness of life from baptism. We are united with Christ at baptism. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16). This is the death, the burial, and the resurrection “by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you — unless you believed in vain” (1 Cor. 15:1-4). You cannot even confess the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into the death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also can walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, and yet we also will be of resurrection,” (Rom. 6:3-7). Baptism is the exact moment of salvation. You’d rather have “spiritual conversion” not mentioned in the Scriptures rather than communing and confessing faith by obedience to the death, burial, and resurrection.

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          • Phil says:

            You said, “The Spirit only communicates by words.” Show me where the bible says such a thing? You will not find the bible to state “The Spirit only communicates by words.” You’re speaking where the bible doesn’t.

            You said, “No wonder you like to be entertained in worship. You gutted the Gospel. This is just evil.” Where did you ever see me say that I like to be entertained in worship? Do you know my mind? I have never gone to church to be entertained, but I guess you know me more than I know myself, huh? IM can be for inspiration as much as entertainment. Why do you use the label “entertainment” without knowing the mind of the individual? If you’re not being judgmental here then maybe you can define what being judgmental is? Would you please do that?

            Regarding baptism, you have “assumed” that all baptism that is mentioned without a preface is referring to water baptism and not Spirit baptism. Again, you have spoken where the bible does not.

            Pretty much everything to which you aspire is about outer action as being that which puts one into Christ. The new covenant is an inner covenant, a point you obviously missed as you continue to promote that which is outer. 2 Corinthians 3:6
            “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. ” Apparently you missed the fact that the Spirit is “inner” and the letter is “outer.” Salvation is an inner transformation, not an outer action. If you missed this NT truth then you missed the entire essence of the NT.

            You said, “You’d rather have “spiritual conversion” not mentioned in the Scriptures rather than communing and confessing faith by obedience to the death, burial, and resurrection.” Spiritual conversion is the main point of NT teaching. You are promoting salvation by works. Baptism is a work (by definition”. It is a physical action. How else would you define a work?

            You make some accusations that are without merit. Why do you do this? You accused me of liking entertainment (among other things) without knowing my heart and mind. Your credibility is very suspect.

            Apparently you hate everyone who does not believe as you do. I’m saying this with as much evidence as you had to say that I like entertainment. I guess I can assume things about you as you have about me.

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            • You said, “Those who use IM would say it is inspiring, not entertaining. Have you not been inspired by music before? I don’t doubt that there are a few who use it for entertainment”. A rousing feeling is produced by instruments and so do tribal drums increasing in speed. I find this to be very amusing and entertaining. Many carnal things can produce such “inspiration”, but I’d rather not receive such spirits within. If I judge, I judge that such carnal inspiration is amusing to the senses and produces entertaining endorphins. There is nothing wrong with being entertained or amused until such amusements are added to God’s Word as though His Word is lacking inspiration without man’s inventions.

              Is not “inspire” defined as “to animate and arouse with feeling”? What spirit is from a machine?

              Do the musical instruments inspire or the words more? Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63). Christ’s words inspire more than carnal impulses. Words build up (1 Cor. 14:9-15). Words are from Christ. Words are from His Spirit (1 Cor. 2:13). Christ’s Spirit says, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1). “Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played?” (1 Cor. 14:7).

              Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

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            • Phil says:

              Four part harmony is done for the reason of creating a pleasing sound and certainly inspires more than non-harmony. Why would that be different, except for the reason of what’s scriptural (legal) or non-scriptural (non-legal)? We’re no longer under law so the scriptural (legal) aspect of it is a moot point.

              Gal 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. ”

              I would consider your prejudice against IM a form of bondage. I hate to say this but you preach an awful lot of restriction and bondage in your messages.

              Colossians 2:16
              Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

              Galatians 5:13
              You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ;

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  2. Phil says:

    You said, “From the beginning, I stated that the mind as mine is set on the Spirit and we have been set free from the law of sin and death for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1-2, 5-6, 9-11).” Not sure exactly what that means to you. We are not under law as an obligation to obey commands. Spiritual law is a law within the consciousness that is intrinsic to our inner being (Heb. 8:10). The letter of law is binding. The Spirit of law is not binding. Jesus demonstrated this when he picked corn and healed on the Sabbath which was against the letter of Jewish law.

    Not sure why you you say you have no interest in technicalities of law because you seem totally committed to the technical aspects of the written text, and that upholding these technicalities is of paramount importance to you. Your stand on IM is a perfect example. You’re looking at the legal aspect of it as if it were a written law. WE ARE NOT UNDER WRITTEN LAW ANYMORE! Why are you missing this? You’re reading the NT as if it’s a written law book. NT Christianity is not just another set of laws to be bound to. We are under grace, not law. You want to do everything exactly as it was done in the NT as if we will be bound for hell if we don’t. This is having your attention on the technical aspects of Christianity whether you admit it or not. Your hyper-attention on all of these legal aspects of getting worship right takes your mind away from Christ and his grace.

    You said, “The Bible is not a code in that the Bible can be understood. For the words therein are from Christ and are therefore spirit and life.” True, but your mind is fallible and can misinterpret those words. How many different religions have been created reading the same words, so I don’t know what your point is.

    You said, “There is nothing wrong with singing words from scriptures.” Of course not, unless it distracts one from the purpose of worship. It’s easy to get caught up in getting the words right and missing the communion with Christ. I know, it’s happened. Those with reading and comprehension disabilities can easily get caught up in getting it right and miss the connection with God. Music does not make me lose my connection to God. In fact it helps it. Should I worry more about the technical aspects of the NT and possibly miss a union with God because it’s not scriptural? According to you the answer would be “yes.” Do you see what I’m getting at here? Your attention is on techincal issue of law-compliance, not the fact that one must make the connection with God. Now please don’t take this to the ridiculous conclusion that I’m advocating anyone can do anything as long as they connect with God. I’m not advocating this. Using IM to help one connect with God is not the same as using drugs or other enhancements.

    You said, “Please clarify what you are saying about obedience…” I would never encourage anyone to disobey God, but obedience to biblical commands is not the objective of NT Christians. Being transformed of mind is the obedience that fulfills all of the laws. Not sure you get this given your comments on strict adherence to written NT scripture.

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    • “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” (Rom. 6:15-17).

      See, the Spirit within compels Christians to obey Christ, and therefore, we don’t add to worship. “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).

      We are not under the Law of Moses anymore. The Spirit of Christ states, “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Rom. 3:27-28).

      As you know, the Christians in Corinth needed instruction from an Apostle rather than from inner mysticism. In fact, all of the Apostles show this. please, do not disregard that Jesus taught that we would learn and learning we abide in His word (John 8:31). Don’t forget to not neglect that, “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us” (1 John 3:24). Have you read that Paul taught the words of the Spirit with all of the Apostles so that the words of Christ would be in our hearts (1 Cor. 2:13)? Therefore, you must realize “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). This is the perfect passage for you and me.

      You said, “Jesus demonstrated this when he picked corn and healed on the Sabbath which was against the letter of Jewish law.” No that wasn’t against the Mosaical Law, and not relevant to this discussion.

      I encourage you to look for unity rather than looking to divide. As you know, trying to praise, pray, and teach with mechanical music without the edification of the mind and meaningless worship. Let us pursue meaningful worship.

      Like

  3. Phil says:

    Approaching the NT from the standpoint of obedience to laws, rules and regs spoils the essence of the NT teaching. I’m not promoting ignorance of these things you that disdain (IM, Lamb, etc.), but in the realm of things they are not what’s of most importance under the new covenant. The new covenant is not like the old. We are not under law but are under grace, and grace is not a code of conduct in which we are expected to adhere to the written laws and rules. Where are the laws of the new covenant written? Hebrews 10:16
    “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” NT law is inner and not outer. When our inner consciousness is transformed we are under a new set of laws that are not like the old. I no longer need to spend my Christianity acting out certain behavior because my behavior is now controlled by God’s Spirit within me, not a written rule. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. The principle here is that I am not a slave to do everything technically correct because I am indwelt with the ability to discern right from wrong apart from the written code. IM does not distract me from a spiritual connection with God anymore than a songbook. I tend to get caught-up in getting the lyrics right using a songbook and that distracts me from my purpose more than IM, yet you’d probably give the songbook a pass and say it’s legal to use in worship. Do you see how silly your reasoning is here? You’re caught-up in the legal aspects of Christianity without regard for the Spiritual principles.

    If this conversation is not appropriate here you may contact me by email.

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    • From the beginning, I stated that the mind as mine is set on the Spirit and we have been set free from the law of sin and death for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1-2, 5-6, 9-11). I have no interest in your “technicalities” of law. Yet, I will not accept the inventions of men upon faith and worship. No one should exclude another by changing salvation or changing worship. The Bible is not a code in that the Bible can be understood. For the words therein are from Christ and are therefore spirit and life (John 6:63, 16:12-13, 17:8).

      You are defending traditions of men add to what Christ made perfect. There is nothing wrong with singing words from scriptures. Why exclude people by style of worship? Lets be united in the worship that Christ established. If we are going to add other forms of music to singing, then whose will it be. Should have the organ and the guitar without the drums? Why does it matter? Why would anyone dispute over these traditions and styles? Yet, the denominations do. Christ made worship so simple and so perfect. Please, do not defend their actions. If Christ wanted instruments, He would have specified and the bickering among the mechanical worshipers would cease. Let’s worship in Spirit and truth (John 4:24). Let’s pray and sing in spirit and in mind (1 Cor. 14:15). What is so wrong with being united worshiping with just singing as Jesus instructed? Where is there technicalities and legalism in following Christ in the simplicity of His words?

      Please clarify what you are saying about obedience, because Jesus said, “‘When going and make disciples of all the nations, immersing 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” (Matt. 28:19-20). Also, Christ’s Spirit said through Peter, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Pet 1:22-23).

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  4. Phil says:

    Scott,

    You asked me to use this thread regarding your last post on another thread.

    My approach to Christianity is not about my adherence to laws, rules, commands, etc., especially in light of the fact that NT Christianity is based upon the law of the Spirit not the law of the letter. 2 Corinthians 3:6
    “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” You are totally consumed by the do’s and dont’s with little regard for the inner aspects of the Christian life. Everything to which you argue is to the superficial conformity to outer actions and not inner content. Anyone can refrain from IM, refrain from serving Lamb at the Lord’s Supper, etc….and still remain spiritually asleep. You expect that adherence to these issues makes us right with Christ and it doesn’t. And that using IM and non-compliance to other issues makes us at enmity with Christ. It totally misses the essence of NT Christianity. Those at Galatia had the same mindset as you, and Paul strongly admonished them for it. The Pharisees were the same and Christ strongly admonished them for that also. It’s not that we should ignore these outer things that you address but you’re consumed with these things at the expense of being spiritually awakened and transformed. The outer does not reveal or determine the inner under NT principles. It’s the other way around. One can get all of the outer actions and commands right for the purpose of avoiding hell and still be void of faith. What good is that? You don’t address this point and it makes your message very superficial. NT Christianity is about “content” not “form.” The form is the effect of content under NT principles. Faith is content! If you disagree with this then you have nothing to build an argument on. Basically we are comparing apples to oranges here. I’m promoting content and you’re promoting effect.

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    • Why do you characterize me? “Anyone can refrain from IM, refrain from serving Lamb at the Lord’s Supper, etc….and still remain spiritually asleep. You expect that adherence to these issues makes us right with Christ and it doesn’t.” When did I say keeping ordinances was the whole of the faith and salvation in Christ? I didn’t. Anyone reading these articles can see my pursuit of unity in all matters of faith, worship, and holy living.

      Worshiping God by your own standards is against the essence of Christianity. The very heart and purpose of worship is lost when we look beyond expressing worship in words of praise and look to entertainment, amusement, and aesthetics (1 Cor. 14:9-25, Heb. 13:15-16).

      The Pharisees were liberal adding added traditions to their worship (Matt. 15:1-11). They were tearing down marriage with divorce and remarriage (Matt. 19:1-9), and so progressive that they neglected their parents (Matt. 15). These are the things that I have opposed taught against. Why would you have me add man’s traditions to Christ?

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      • Phil says:

        You said, “Why do you characterize me? “Anyone can refrain from IM, refrain from serving Lamb at the Lord’s Supper, etc….and still remain spiritually asleep. You expect that adherence to these issues makes us right with Christ and it doesn’t.” When did I say keeping ordinances was the whole of the faith and salvation in Christ? I didn’t. Anyone reading these articles can see my pursuit of unity in all matters of faith, worship, and holy living.”

        OK, then what does make one right with Christ? I have yet to see you make reference to the aspects of “Christ within” regarding the natural response we have to this indwelling. Living from Christ within is as important (if not more important) than living from the text.

        You said, “Worshiping God by your own standards is against the essence of Christianity. The very heart and purpose of worship is lost when we look beyond expressing worship in words of praise and look to entertainment, amusement, and aesthetics.

        This is your prejudice against things that are innocuous. An instrument is not bad in itself (Rom. 14) It is bad to you, period. IM music has no power to distract you from worship unless you allow it to. If you can take it then you must refrain. But you are binding your prejudice on others and have no right to do so. As I said, a songbook can have as much distracting power as the instrument, depending on the person.

        My suggestion to you would be for you to invest yourself in the Spirit of law and not the letter of law. The NT is not of the letter but is of the Spirit.

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