Posted tagged ‘emotion’

Paul Washer on worship

September 10, 2009

The book of Psalms is a songbook. Of worship.
So yes, you can sing. But here is something it would be very important for you to understand: if you ever write a book on the doctrine of God, you’re gonna notice something very unusual. What I mean by the doctrine of God is you write a book on all the Bible teaching about the attributes of God. You know what you’re gonna discover? That more than 50 percent of your entire book will come from Psalms. You will find most of the texts about the attributes of God in the book of Psalms.

So our singing ought to be theological. And if you are gonna have a worship leader, he needs to be a theologian. He needs to know God. And he needs to walk in the fear of God and holiness probably even more than he who preaches the Word. It is a terrible thing what we do in churches in regard to worship. Because we do not know the fear of God. A young boy has a guitar and he can sing well…let’s have him lead worship. We ought to realize that in the book of Leviticus God killed two worship leaders. Because they did not worship Him conform to the Scriptures. Worship is a dangerous thing.

Another thing that we need to realize is this: worship is supposed to be didactic. It is supposed to be a tool for teaching. Let me read a text to you. Colossians 3:16:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

So worship springs forth out of someone who is saturated by the Word of God. And and the purpose of singing in the church is first and foremost, to bless God. Secondly, it is didactic, to teach those who are singing, to admonish them, encourage them, and even be, I suppose, a witnessing tool for those who are listening that are unbelievers. This is a problem I have with much of the modern music. Not all of it, but a lot of it. They don’t follow these principles. It’s more about feelings.

I’m gonna be very honest with you. And if you’re gonna get angry with me,  just forgive me.
Much worship in the churches today is nothing more than a celebration of flesh. It is an exercise in emotions. If you begin to feel the presence of God during the high emphatic notes of the song, when the rhythm has been lifted up, and the music is just glorious, and you only feel the presence of God then, it’s not the presence of God you’re feeling. It’s emotion. I have known people, some of the holiest people I know, that would sit down and worship. They have no music. I’m not saying this is the only way to do it. It’s not. But they have no music. Someone would say “Let’s sing hymn number. 52” and they’ll start singing. And then another person will say, after it’s over: “what about hymn 103?” and they’ll start worshiping. They’re some of the godliest people I know on this planet. Who understand worship deeply. And yet you bring people to that church who are all about the music. And they’ll go “boy, this is dead”.  Because their idea of life is not the true presence of Christ. It’s these amazing songs that lift your emotions. There’s not necessarily something wrong with that, but be very careful. Once I was with a group and they said “God is here. Man, the music was going, God’s here!” I said “no, He’s not”. And they said “how do you know?” “Because most of you would be dead if God was here. Because He is a holy God. And you know the sin that is going on in this church. People get so in the flesh because they feel something.

I hear people say “I was shaving this morning and Jesus appeared to me”. Did you stop shaving? They’re so nonchalant about the presence of God. In the Bible when the presence of God showed up “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts”. Isaiah’s experience. You say “that’s Old Testament”. John on the isle of Patmos when Christ appears falls as a dead man. I’m not saying that the presence of God is always like that. But when it’s never like that, when it’s always “bless me, bless me, bless me”, “joy, joy, joy”, “dance, dance, dance”, something is terribly wrong.