Reformed Baptist Fellowship

An Open Letter to Praise Bands

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on August 18, 2012 at 8:09 am

“What I have found in most churches that have praise leaders/teams is that for them, worship is the music itself. It’s not what is prescribed in worship according to Scripture. The means of worship according to Scripture are… and get this, reading God’s word, the declaration of God’s word (known as preaching), prayer and the sacraments. No where are we given praise teams/leaders.”

Read it here

  1. I don’t believe this is an accurate statement and such a wide statement should not be made about genuine believers. Of course there are those that this does apply to but attacking all worship teams/leaders is very wide and gives a very inaccurate depiction of true believers. The last thing we need is another reason to separate true believers from one another.

    Other things the Bible doesn’t address:

    Passing out tracts, holding up signs while preaching, internet evangelism, electricity in the church, etc.

    However, the Bible does address unity in the church, patience and kindness towards one another. We should make sure that these attacks on genuine believers need to be Biblical and accurate. Otherwise, that just makes us another radical that only has a vain message and not a life-changing message.

  2. Psa_66:4 All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.

    Psa_7:17 I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.
    Psa_9:1 To the chief Musician upon Muthlabben, A Psalm of David. I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.
    Psa_9:2 I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.
    Psa_21:13 Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.
    Psa_28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
    Psa_33:2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.
    Psa_40:3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
    Psa_43:4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
    Psa_57:7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
    Psa_150:5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.

    Mirriam – Webster Dictionary
    Definition of PRAISE
    transitive verb 1 : to express a favorable judgment of : COMMEND
    : to glorify (a god or saint) especially by the attribution of perfections

    Vines

    בּרך
    bârak
    baw-rak’
    A primitive root; to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit); also (by euphemism) to curse (God or the king, as treason): – X abundantly, X altogether, X at all, blaspheme, bless, congratulate, curse, X greatly, X indeed, kneel (down), praise, salute, X still, thank.

    Praise: What more appropriate place could there be, than church ?

    Resources:

    • Praise, One of the Chief Employments of Heaven
    Jonathan Edwards

    2 Corinthians 1:11-12 – The Power of Prayer and the Pleasure of Praise
    C.H. Spurgeon

    2 Corinthians 9:15 – Praise for the Gift of Gifts
    C.H. Spurgeon

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and thoroughly agree! Praise Bands are all into “look at me and what I can do!” The entire focus is really not about the worship of our most holy God, but the worshipping of the flesh, making ourselves feel good, and it makes us beleive we have somehow done God a favor. Worship is all about the glory of God. It is not primarily to make us feel better about ourselves! The central focus in true worship is the preaching of the Word of God and prayer.
    As I read the last paragraph of this piece, concerning communion, I was reminded of a time when I was still lost in my sin, but frequented a “church” which had a praise band (in fact, the drummer used to be my boss!). I knew most of the congregation. Very often, after “church”, we would all go to the beer store together, or the local drug dealer’s house. In other words, the majority there (including myself) were still very much lost in our sin. Anyway, concerning communion: This “church” actually served communion during every service, while the rock band played loudly! Of course, this was just a ritual that did not discern the body of our Lord properly, not a real communion service. There was also a little sermonette (lasting usually about 10 minutes) which vaguely referred to a passage from scripture, usually taken out of context, while at the same time, someone would be painting some “work of art” while the “pastor” spoke. You know, God has really made a change in me! I think of that concert hall called a church from time to time, and my earnest prayer is that God would change those who are still there, and make them new creatures in Christ Jesus, where old things have passed away and all things become new.

  4. Your unfortunate situation is no argument against “praise bands” Exegetically show me where, if the content is biblical, an element is being denied by use of a group of people up front leading music? Would not this, if content is sound, fall under circumstances rather than elements, and thus not be a violation of the RP? Shall we argue as some that all choirs or musicians be in a balcony at the rear of the nave? Or take Spurgeon’s and Dabney’s opinion on the evils of Organ and Piano as well? It’s time to stop with the nitpicking. Is it really ordained of God to use crusty Gadsby hymnals(which our church actually sings retuned hymns from using a praise band) sung to a beat keeping piano in the upper left hand corner of the room? Our church has the sacrament every week after an hour long period of expository preaching. We have a group of individuals who play skillfully as the psalmist declared, I think in ps 33 somewhere, and play rich old and new Christ/cross centered music. Many baptisms take place after a strong catechesis nearly every Lord’s Day. There is, contrary to popular opinion much God is doing outside ARBCA without any sacrifice to the solas or RPW, not to deny the good He is doing within ARBCA. It’s high time folks realize their preference is merely that, preference; not some Divinely stamped for approval liturgical style. No wonder some churches remain at 50 people forever. It isnt always because they are so committed to God nobody else is spiritual enough to join due to their compromise with modernity or fleshly methods. No, its because there is no “official” circumstance of worship the RP dictates as long as the elements are faithful to the text. And so when people come and go, or never come its sometimes because others realize you dont have to dress, act and worship in a style that was once “contemporary” two to three centuries ago. Seriously…

  5. @ Mike. Keep in mind that not all ARBCA churches are the same. Now I havnt been to all of them, but I can say that the ones I have been to were completly different, but still very consistant in persuing a reverent approach to worship. Also keep in mind that not all Reformed Baptist churches are associated with ARBCA. So your absolutly right that there is alot more that God is doing outside of ARBCA. As a Reformed Baptist myself I don’t choose to be traditional simply because it’s my preference, but because it takes the focus away from all the secular approaches to music and allows me to meditate without distraction on God and His grace. I also would like to point out that Reformed Baptist do sing contemporary songs, just without all the noise. From my experiences it seems that most churches with rock bands are trying to be like one another more so than churches that prefere to use only hymnals. If people decide to leave or stay away from Reformed Baptist church because of their desire to be Biblical than so be it. Being faithful is far more important than having 1000 people show up every week. We are not called to be relavent, but faithful to defend the true worship of God.

  6. Tyrese – you beat me to the punch, so to speak! I didn’t intend to make Mike so angry. I am sure my experience is not always the case, and, I, too, have no problem using songs that are not old, dusty, hymns, as long as they give glory to God and not ourselves. Also, Mike, if you read this, I am familiar with ARBCA, and have a great deal of admiration for what they are doing, but I am not affiliated with them. In fact, the “church” I mentioned before is affiliated with the same denomination I am. The church I attend utilizes hymns as well as chorus songs, but we do not try to Christianize worldly music to draw a crowd. What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God (not ourselves) and enjoy Him (not ourselves) forever.

  7. So using modern instruments and not using hymnals is “secular”? Having a growing church which adheres to the RPW with biblical elements and reformed theology and yet uses contemporary circumstances is “unfaithful”? I seem to remember the incarnation of Christ and His tenting among us was contemporaneous with the culture of the day. He didn’t, nor does the bible associate reverence with a mood or tone of music, its a heart attitude that is even present in a major key. Relevant and faithful are also not necessarily exclusive either to attain “True worship of God”.

  8. Tom, I am not angy. I find it quite sad and lamentable. One doesnt need to adhere to a particular style of circumstance in worship to fulfill the meaning of the 1st question of the Shorter Catechism.

  9. Why is it that bringing up the subject of worship music is like whacking a wasp’s nest? THAT’s the real issue…

  10. That isnt the issue. The issue as ascribing to a circumstance of worship(not an element) a Divine mandate and then casting aspersions on those who dont share the same style even though the biblical elements are there, saying one circumstance is holy or reverent of true worship. That is schismatic and unbiblical. May the Lord bless all who worship Him in SPirit and Truth in His church.

  11. Thanks for this article…

    I’ve frequently noticed that there is a certain crowd that has difficulty “getting into it” when the music doesn’t have a particular driving beat. I greatly prefer those theological masterpieces that have been filtered through the sands of time. I fear those that are constantly searching for something fresh and new in their music will do so in their theology. I personally have great difficulty “getting into” the modern worship styles because I did not grow up listening to rock and roll or other worldly music forms.

  12. Jude, you are right. It’s just like whacking a wasp’s nest! And, Andrew, I did grow up listening to rock&roll, so I personally may be a little more sensitive than some in this area. When I listen to that stuff now, I can’t tolerate it. And, Mike – I certainly hope I have not offended you in any way. We certainly can disagree & still be brothers in the Lord. In fact, my best friend likes Christian Rap, & we disagree strongly with each other on the subject, so we don’t discuss it very often. But when we do, we still walk away as friends, recognizing that we both serve the same Lord. As strongly as we all feel on this subject, we should be able to talk about it in love, even if we happen to disagree.

  13. just a few thougths: I am serving a truly reformed church plant in Germany (Heidelberg Ctechism…), and often sind without any instumnt, but thats because of the lack musicians.
    I don’t think that praise bands are the problem. The problem is the way we handle this.
    First of all it’s wrong to deny one style of music, because it is to emotional. We should praise God with all we are, and praising God with emotions is not wrong, when the text of the song is biblical. We often split the human in body, soul and spirit, but that ist not the biblical way. The Human is one.
    Secondly: The problem is, that praise bands often become Gods, Not all of them, I know a lot good praise bands. So I can’t let the play, if I know they playing to present themselfs, or if the congregation makes them their heros.
    So we have to find a balance.

  14. Yes, balance is the key. We all must recognize that God in His love for us left His Word for us, and it should be the supreme focus in our worship(preaching, teaching,applying it to our daily walk,etc). If we did, maybe we would understand these things better among ourselves, & not have such vast opinions that differ. I include myself in this most of all. God bless, have a wonderful Lord’s Day, & may we all give Him praise to the glory of the Father!

  15. Music is great but it is not the focal point. Jesus did not have a special singer to sing before He preached. He spoke the Word. Church is where the early christians gathered in hopes they would not be killed, yet they came. They came because they knew in at the name of Jesus, there is salvation, healing and comfort. They knew there was eternal life. A praise band nor special singer cannot stand alone because when all was in one accord the Spirit moved mightily and that is why the early christians counted death a gain God was among them. It does not take all the entertainment to bring the lost to Christ, but the word of those who believe.

  16. Yes, Maryjane, the Word of God preached should always be the focal point of worship. God’s Word is used to convict of sin & bring repentance unto salvation!

  17. […] An Open Letter to Praise Bands (Reformed Baptist Fellowship) […]

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