Theologian denounces contemporary worship: It ‘harms discipleship,’ ‘doesn’t mature believers’ By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter
A Florida Presbyterian Church in America pastor and former professor of theology has denounced contemporary Christian worship, saying that it, among other things, goes against the “reverence and awe” that church services should have for God.
In his remarks, titled “Reformed Doxology: Worship According to Scripture,” David McWilliams, senior minister of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Lakeland, critiqued popular trends in contemporary worship, especially the music often used, during a speech on Wednesday afternoon at a Gospel Reformation Network conference.
McWilliams read from Hebrews 12:18-29, a passage that includes a verse commanding believers to “worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”
“We long for a Holy Spirit-induced relish for the truth, a delight in the triune God, a heart moved promptly and sincerely by God’s glory in our private and public worship,” said McWilliams.
The minister added that one of “the main principles of worship” was that it must be done with “reverence and awe,” which can be hindered by “casual attitudes, carnality, certain kinds of music, and even vocabulary.”
“For example, who can think that a service peppered with salsa rhythms will lead the congregation to worship God in reverence and awe? Or rock music. Will sentimental tunes or music that remind one of night clubs lead us to reverence and awe?” he posited.
“Therefore, certain forms of music, attitudes, and actions are immediately excluded from worship by the one principle that we are to worship our God in reverence and awe.”
According to McWilliams, true worship should be like “a different universe” and not include “smokescreens,” “movie clips,” or “changing the color of lights,” saying “style is not neutral.”
He championed the supremacy of the Psalter and traditional hymns, noting that a contemporary song “may say ‘God is awesome,’” yet “hymns tell us why God is awesome.”