Archive for October, 2012

Worship Wars: It’s About Doctrine

October 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Pastor Todd Wilken gets to the real reason for the worship wars, in his article in the Fall 2012 issue (6.1 MB pdf) of Issues, Etc. Journal, titled, “Behind the Music: The REAL Worship War”.


Pentecostals worship like Pentecostals because they believe what Pentecostals believe.

Baptists worship like Baptists because they believe what Baptists believe.

Methodists worship like Methodists because they believe what Methodists believe.

Riddle: Why do some Lutherans worship like Pentecostals, Baptists and Methodists?

I admit, it isn’t much of a riddle. The answer is obvious, or at least it should be.

Some Lutherans worship like Pentecostals, Baptists and Methodists because they believe what Pentecostals, Baptists and Methodists believe. It is that simple. Certainly, these Lutherans will never admit it, but the truth is, they worship like they do because they believe what they do. They no longer believe what Lutherans believe.

Decades of Pentecostal and Revivalist worship in Lutheran congregations have produced congregations that are effectively Pentecostal and Revivalist, not Lutheran. These congregations may still carry the Lutheran logo, but Sunday after Sunday they are practicing Pentecostal Revivalists. Your church’s logo may be different, but I bet the results have been the same.

The worship war is about doctrine. Doctrine is teaching. So, what does the pastor’s latest new idea for worship teach? What does it confess? What is the new idea’s, the new practice’s Doctrine? What will we be teaching and confessing if we do this?

Before the lead singer steps into the spotlight, before the guitar sounds its first power-chord, the question must be asked. What does this confess? Before the house lights dim or the video splash screen rolls, ask: What does this teach? Before we lift our eyes to the big screens or our voices in another Hillsong or Casting Crowns chorus, ask: What are we teaching and confessing with this?

Everything in worship confesses something. Putting the preaching of the Word and Sacraments front and center says something about what we believe. What does putting the praise band front and center say? The preaching of Sin and Grace says something about what we believe. What does life-coaching and how-to preaching say? Reciting the Creed says a lot about what we believe. What does omitting it say? Following the historic liturgy, with its unmistakable emphasis on the forgiveness of sins and the presence of Jesus in the sacrament, says something about what we believe. What does abandoning the liturgy say?

Categories: Wrong Worship