Different styles and modes of worship have caused division among Christians in church and out of church for centuries. Some people prefer one type of music, another group likes another style of music. Aside from mere issues of preference, is contemporary Christian music (CCM) honoring to God and appropriate for a church setting?
Some Christians pay close attention to the instruments that are used or they can hear in worship services. However, there is no passage in the Bible that instructs us what instruments to use in worship. Stringed, wind, and percussion instruments are mentioned in relationship with worship (Psalm 68:25, Ezra 3:10 for example). There is no guidance and no prohibition on acceptable instruments. Style of music and instruments used should make no difference in whether or not a particular song or genre of song can be used to worship.
What is important is the content of the lyrics. Worship songs must glorify God—directly worship Him, invite Him, or tell others about His goodness, glory, and holiness.
Many worship leaders try to gauge both the preferences of their current congregation and the supposed preferences of the community they are trying to reach when choosing music for worship. Which is more important? As long as the music glorifies God and builds up those in the congregation toward worship and unity, we think it is up to the local church leaders.
Some mix up styles within the same service. Some churches try to stay as contemporary as possible in their style of music—a difficult task given the wide variety of music today. Some try to stick with the tried and true hymns of old, forgetting that every hymn and style was new at some point. Ultimately what matters is worshipping and glorifying God, regardless of the style of music.
Perhaps we should post these verses on every church platform: Address "one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Ephesians 5:19–21).
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