Sunday, September 21, 2014

Neckties and Drum Sets: Things We Should Get Over

If we don’t know what the basic principles and doctrines of Christianity are, (those things that constitute faithfulness to God), we will argue over silly things, unworthy issues, and secondary matters.

The playbook of church religion says I should be a defender of the status quo, reacting against modern innovations and speaking with reverence of the glorious days of the past.

I’ll not be doing any of that.

The status quo is nowhere I want to camp out.  The past is nowhere I want to live.  The past is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Modern innovations and ministry methods are what we make of them, good or bad.  And the glorious days of yesteryear were anything but glorious.  They were amazingly like today and a lot like tomorrow.

Personally, I like laptops, cell phones, and the internet.  I enjoy blogging.  I like having 60 channels on television (since there’s rarely anything worth watching on 50 of them).

I enjoy air-conditioned church buildings.  I like padded pews (better yet, padded chairs) much more than those old fashioned benches made from wooden slats that would pinch your backside every time someone on the other end moved.

I am thankful for the technology in today’s sound systems that can make the singing and music in any church building sound as good (or better) than a congregational choir singing in a cathedral built in Europe 800 years ago. 

I enjoy preaching and teaching without a suit or a necktie.  I like wearing my shirt with the tail hanging out, not tucked in.  It's more comfortable.  Simple as that.  

I love it that our church is not racially segregated (like churches were in the past, you know, in the good old days).  Rather, we have people from all races and a variety of nations from around the world.  We even have a few racially mixed marriages in our congregation.  I think it's a good thing that we provide the kind of environment where they feel welcome.

When I see children enthusiastically running down the Kidz Zone hallway on Sunday morning because they can’t wait to get to their class, I am elated.

Unfortunately, some people get a bad case of indigestion over such things.  Even hostile.  They believe such innovation and modern ministry methods are compromise, or conforming to the world, or whatever.

What I would sincerely say to some of my brethren is simply:  Get over these hang-ups about secondary issues.

Jesus never wore a necktie.  None of the disciples did either.

Some things are cultural and not spiritual.

Not one word in the NT supports the idea that one’s go-to-meeting clothes should be any different from his/her weekday clothes.  Not.  One.  Word.

And we’re going to argue over suits, neckties, denim, and sneakers?

These issues are cultural and a matter of personal preference.  That’s all.  You can't leverage the Bible to support your position (of personal preference); it's a misuse of Scripture.

1.  If I read from the Bible bound in black leather with the pages edged in gold, and you read from a printed message guide (or large screen), am I more spiritual than you?

2.  If Preacher Joe wears a necktie and dark suit and Preacher Bob wears a sports shirt and khakis (and doesn’t tuck his shirt in), is Joe a greater preacher or better qualified to occupy the pulpit today?

3.  If the church service features music from a pipe organ and grand piano, is that more Christ-honoring than two guitars, a bass guitar, keyboard, harmonica, and a set of drums?

Fifty million Christians on the continent of Africa need to know this because, if so, they’re getting it all wrong.

4.  If one church sings hymns such as “Old Rugged Cross” and “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” in their service, are they more spiritual than the church that features “The Day’s of Elijah” and “We Will Ride”?  (BTW, at PCC we sing them all).  :-)

5.  Is a worship service more spiritual where everyone is quiet than the one where many people throughout the congregation are standing, clapping, and shouting?

We need to know these things and get it settled before we break fellowship with one another over unworthy issues.

If we differ on whether Scripture is inspired of God and is profitable for doctrine, then that’s one thing.  Some things are worth fighting for and I’ll go to the mat over things like that.

But not guitars, denim, and drum sets.

Those things are a matter of personal preference and one's Christian liberty.

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