Fallacy Number Two: You Must Worship in the Right Way
To the woman’s understanding, Jesus’ response was based on a similar false assumption. He said, “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:21–22, nkjv). Her concept of true worship was based on her cultural understanding. She knew that Jews worship one way and that Samaritans worship another, and her form of worship seemed best to her, because it was all she knew.
How many worship wars are started over the issue of style? What is the most anointed style of worship, Southern Gospel or Contemporary? How many times do we hear statements like these: “I wish we had the old red-backed hymnals back” or “When are we going to start putting the lyrics up on a screen?” I had just started pastoring when churches first discovered the overhead projector. My parishioners felt I had committed the unpardonable sin when I removed the hymnals so we could sing from overheads. Sometimes worship wars are frivolous!
“Worship is not about the song that you sing, but the heart that you bring!” It has been my good fortune to travel the world preaching the Gospel. I have ministered in the remotest parts of Africa where pots, pans, and drums were the only musical instruments available. That’s where I have heard some of the most anointed worship in the world. Those people are not preoccupied with equipment, lights, or styles. They are preoccupied with Jesus. During my latest trip to Nigeria, the worship was so anointed that hundreds of people manifesting demons were delivered—through the power of worship alone. They did not have hymnals or projectors and screens, high-quality musical instruments or trained vocalists. They were just people bringing to God their hearts of worship.
Worship transcends style. When we get to Heaven, we will see every style of worship because we will see every tribe, tongue, kindred, and nation in full demonstration around the throne. It is foolish to expect everyone to abandon his or her cultural style in favor of the red-backed hymnal. If you are offended to think that your favorite worship style is being threatened, it could be that God is trying to give you a secret from the well of worship. I happen to love Southern Gospel music above all other types (and I am convinced that God loves it too). However, in my church we sing mostly contemporary songs. Why? We decided to use the style of music that inspires this current generation to worship. Real, biblical worship is the blending of many styles; “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).