Is it OK that Contemporary Worship is more Anthropocentric than Theocentric?

Is it OK that Contemporary Worship is more Anthropocentric than Theocentric?
Posted by in Facebook's Pentecostal Theology Group View the Original Post

62 Comments

  • Troy Day
    Reply September 2, 2018

    Troy Day

    This is a good one Andrew Gabriel whats your take on it?

    • Terry Wiles
      Reply September 2, 2018

      Terry Wiles

      It is true that you can tell a congregations theology by the words of their songs. Everyone should examine the words.

    • Ray E Horton
      Reply September 2, 2018

      Ray E Horton

      Not in my opinion. Too much begging God to help poor old me, rather than faith and scripture. Our church sorts them out and keeps the focus on the Lord.

    • Scotty Searan
      Reply September 3, 2018

      Scotty Searan

      Ray E Horton Is “Where Could I Go? Unscriptural

    • Ray E Horton
      Reply September 3, 2018

      Ray E Horton

      Scotty Searan Sure! Just checked the lyrics and it is faith-filled. To me, praise and worship should glorify the Lord and build us up from a faith-filled, New Covenant perspective.

    • Ray E Horton
      Reply September 3, 2018

      Ray E Horton

      There is a balance! God doesn’t need our worship, we need to worship. I know people have issues and problems they want to bring to the Lord, and that’s ok to acknowledge as long as our focus is on the answer, faith in the Lord and His goodness and faithfulness. So, getting back to the original question, I see it as a matter of focus.

  • Daniel J Hesse
    Reply September 3, 2018

    Daniel J Hesse

    The elephant in the house! Let’s milk that sacred cow.

  • Andrew Gabriel
    Reply September 3, 2018

    Andrew Gabriel

    It really depends what you mean. I doubt many of you would argue that we shouldn’t be singing “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like ME,” but isn’t that pretty anthropocentric? And yet, at the same time Amazing Grace has some good theology to it.

    • Troy Day
      Reply September 3, 2018

      Troy Day

      not really concerned with the centrality of the homily but rather the central place of the altar where God is revealed to the congregation, alike Orthodoxy – a central place of temple worship representing heaven within the service with a focus of being served to … rather than a dark room concert where people jump on a stage thus energizing other people to jump around the said stage in regard to a divinity that is left to appear only in the background shadow of a smoked and color lighted professional scene rather than in the mid of God-gathered congregation where the focus of the gathering is God and not the worship itself or not even the worshipers as in a mad-golden calf syndrome Terry Wiles Alan Smith http://www.pentecostaltheology.com/are-we-worshiping-worship/

    • Ray E Horton
      Reply September 3, 2018

      Ray E Horton

      Even Amazing Grace isn’t good theology unless we sing it fully aware they we once were a “wretch,” but no longer – now a saint.

    • Ray E Horton
      Reply September 3, 2018

      Ray E Horton

      The concert quality is wonderful, and can enrich our worship experience, but the concert style is a total distraction of what would otherwise be really good.

      It shouldn’t be performance, but rather, true worshippers worshiping before the congregation, leading them into meaningful worship.

      Thus, I have a problem with worship videos focused on “performers,” and prefer those just showing the lyrics overlaying pertinent scenes, with maybe just an occasional brief cut to the worship leaders and/or congregation.

    • Troy Day
      Reply September 3, 2018

      Troy Day

      if you sing it faster it becomes much better theology 🙂

    • Ray E Horton
      Reply September 3, 2018

      Ray E Horton

      But often much worse worship. The jumpy stuff tends to get too fleshly for me.

  • Andrew Gabriel
    Reply September 3, 2018

    Andrew Gabriel

    One of my favorite old hymns was “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine, oh what a foretaste…” Seems to me some of the “old songs” are just as anthropocentric as “contemporary worship.” But given the prominent place of testimony in the history of Pentecostalism, I would think that some “testimony” type songs, as anthropocentric as they may be are acceptable.

    • Scotty Searan
      Reply September 3, 2018

      Scotty Searan

      But isn’t Blessed Assurance theologically sound.?

    • Troy Day
      Reply September 3, 2018

      Troy Day

      Andrew I think Scotty Searan got a point here It aint the text that makes it man-centered Both song texts cited begin with Christological centricity that cannot be easily amended by the personal pronounce, which though egocentric at first glance are actually decentralized by the divinity – both amazing grace and blessed assurance being literal expressions of divine grace serving to remove the man-focus of the sinner and replace it with the God-focus of the Savior http://www.pentecostaltheology.com/worship-is-about-pleasing-god/

    • Ray E Horton
      Reply September 3, 2018

      Ray E Horton

      Troy Day To me, it’s all about whether it is Christ-centered and faith-filled.

    • Andrew Gabriel
      Reply September 3, 2018

      Andrew Gabriel

      Scotty Searan, I didn’t mean to suggest that Blessed Assurance isn’t theologically sound. That wasn’t the question. My point in bringing up Blessed Assurance and Amazing Grace was twofold: 1) To ask the question about what we mean by “anthropocentric.” If we only mean “theologically unsound” then there is no point in asking the question, because the question assumes an answer. 2) To point out that the question may focus unnecessarily on “contemporary” worship songs, when in fact some older songs may be anthropocentric too. Consider this advert from a 1940’s volume of the “Pentecostal Evangel.” You might say that worship wars are not new. 🙂

    • Scotty Searan
      Reply September 4, 2018

      Scotty Searan

      Andrew Gabriel I was not comparing genres or styles. Yes I believe there were anthropocentric songs in the Pentecostal church Hymnals.
      One of the the most popular hymns sung in Pentecostal churches that I think is anthropocentric is “I’ll Fly Away” but it is not the most Theocentric song.
      Now I am 100% Southern Gospel music lover and I love to sing that song but it is one of those songs that makes you feel good.
      Now I am gonna analyze 2 more that are old standards that are theologically sound, but I put them in the anthropocentric category
      “I’ll Have A New Life” & “Everybody Will Be Happy Over There” Why did I do that, They were written to feature the bass singer and to promote Professional Quartets abilities
      Now I am hope to prove to you that i can think unbiased about music
      There is one thing though that I don’t see the emphasis on like it was when the Pentecostal movement was starting and that was evident in the songs and that is “The Cross and the Blood” and “The Second Coming of Christ ” These themes seems are lacking in Contemporary Christian Music.
      Maybe it is because the songs are written for the younger people but they need to be reminded of these themes, because the Blood cleanses us from sin and the 2nd Coming of Christ is our blessed hope
      Please critique 2 or 3 popular praise and worship songs

    • Andrew Gabriel
      Reply September 4, 2018

      Andrew Gabriel

      I agree for sure on the latter points. Here is an example of what you’ve asked for. https://www.andrewkgabriel.com/2018/02/06/gods-love-reckless-bethel/

  • Joshua Roach
    Reply September 3, 2018

    Joshua Roach

    In the past was Jesus of the future. Ro(a)ch(e) (rock) Ruach (spirit) 1 Cor 10:4

  • Tim Anderson
    Reply September 3, 2018

    Tim Anderson

    John 4:21 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
    22“You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
    23“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
    24“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” NASB
    In the context of the opening question, can anyone comment on this statement by Jesus. Appreciate the thoughts of this group.

    • Reply September 3, 2018

      don martin

      Hello, All,
      First post here.
      I think John 4:23,24 points us to the fact that worship is spirit-to-spirit communication between God and His creation. Our minds, set on the spirit, responds to that “downward” flow that continues on to our bodies.

      This is “whole man” worship, integrating all three parts as one, and is “theocentric” because the intimate connection through our spirits enables a deep focus on the Lord.

      I will take anthropocentric to mean something that that is more focused on fleshly motives, like “how good a musician I am.” Here us where the mind, set on the flesh, is not really connecting to his spirit, thereby not engaging the Holy Spirit.

  • Scotty Searan
    Reply September 3, 2018

    Scotty Searan

    I believe that the American church culture, for the most part do not know what worship is.
    Troy Day many times you have said when we would quote a scripture, you would say tHat is not what the Greek says.
    I am not talking about musical genres or styles.
    Worship is not necessarily a song. Worship in the Bible for the most is a lifestyle.
    Singing though it could be considered a type of worship, for the most part is praise and admonishing, lifting up the ones singing spiritually.
    Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

    Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
    But for the most part a lot of our praise and worship is promoting oneself so much of the time.
    I am a singer, though I do not consider myself professional, i do know how to emphasize my ability, by showing how high I can sing or how long I can hold a note.
    But I do not do that when I am singing. I have rearranged songs that are written so that my abilities do not blind the message..

  • Dustin Wilcox
    Reply September 4, 2018

    Dustin Wilcox

    Selling songs now outweighs true worship.

    If pastors and leaders can fall into the trap of becoming sell-outs, so can musicians.

  • Troy Day
    Reply September 4, 2018

    Troy Day

    is Selling songs now a sin? Dustin Wilcox

    • Dustin Wilcox
      Reply September 4, 2018

      Dustin Wilcox

      Personally, I wouldn’t sacrifice the truth to make money.

      That’s like preaching the prosperity gospel, or that the church must tithe so the preacher can make an income.

      With the sanctity of the Bible at stake around the world, all the pluralism and false teachings, I hold the truth to be more valuable than money.

      In fact, this idea is Biblical.

  • Ray E Horton
    Reply September 4, 2018

    Ray E Horton

    Nothing wrong with selling songs. Artistic people need to make a living too. But, when it leads to sappy, non-faith-filled songs that attract some people, I avoid them. They shouldn’t be used by worship leaders just because they are popular.

  • Troy Day
    Reply September 4, 2018

    Troy Day

    Andrew Gabriel I know what you mean about
    Blessed insurance, Jesus is MINE
    but in all post-Pentecostal (reformist) theology
    Jesus is the sole provider of insurance

    • Dustin Wilcox
      Reply September 4, 2018

      Dustin Wilcox

      Agreed. I would like for the music to be free, but I agree it is unrealistic.

      I think it comes down to knowledge of Scripture, or lack of it. Many people listen to the soft stuff on the radio who have never read the Bible. I’m glad they get some sort of connecting to God at least.

    • Troy Day
      Reply September 5, 2018

      Troy Day

      When was the last time you heard a song about JOB?
      Something in the line of Lord make me more like Job

    • Dustin Wilcox
      Reply September 5, 2018

      Dustin Wilcox

      Haha! Yes, rarely.

    • Troy Day
      Reply September 5, 2018

      Troy Day

      ATT: Hillsong, we want a song about JOB !

  • Troy Day
    Reply September 7, 2018

    Troy Day

    Andrew Gabriel so are you saying its OK or NOT?

    • Andrew Gabriel
      Reply September 8, 2018

      Andrew Gabriel

      I think it depends on what you mean by anthropocentric. If you simply mean songs that talk about us more than God, then it could be okay at times. As I was saying above, Christianity, and Pentecostalism more specifically, has a long history of songs that are more testimony in nature, which naturally talk more about us and the change God has wrought in us.

    • Troy Day
      Reply September 9, 2018

      Troy Day

      you already said that BUT in modern day worship it is pretty clear what anthropocentrism is and needs no further clarification

  • Daniel J Hesse
    Reply September 7, 2018

    Daniel J Hesse

    Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs making melody in your hearts to God.

  • Troy Day
    Reply February 25, 2019

    Troy Day

  • Daniel J Hesse
    Reply February 25, 2019

    Daniel J Hesse

    I can see you in Jean’s, sneakers and a Jesus freak tee shirt!

    • Troy Day
      Reply February 25, 2019

      Troy Day

      Sorry I wear boots BUT I am looking for that one sermon on Legalism that describes the same …

    • Louise Cummings
      Reply February 26, 2019

      Louise Cummings

      Troy Day I think it’s ok to wear boots. What we wear shouldn’t hinder our Worship. Unless we are dressed indecent. And for sinners I’m not talking about them. They should have respect for the House Of God. But if they come. They Might be saved while they are there. Jesus wore Sandals. So I don’t believe He would mind if you wear boots. When I was a little girl , Times was hard. We went to a church one night to the revival. And one of the brothers there at church , pulled off his shoes that night. And gave them to the preacher that was going to preach , to keep him from having to preach barefoot. It wasn’t our regular church. It was just a little undemonasional Church. People would meet and have church.

  • Ray E Horton
    Reply February 25, 2019

    Ray E Horton

    The Crosswalk article may be nit-picky, but I tend to agree with most of the points. Having been married to a worship leader who was always careful in her selection of a set to listen to the Holy Spirit and glorify the Lord.

    It’s a pet peeve of mine that of what we call worship music focuses on our problems and issues, and they are light on the Lords magnificent attributes. Yes, we need to be able to relate, but not at the expense of true worship singing. I won’t say that every song that uses “I” and “me” isn’t true worship, but, where is the focus. I have heard sets where half the song are dealing with our “fear” or “sorrow” or “rage” in one case. I’m not experiencing those emotions, especially when trusting the Lord, and that overemphasis is a turnoff for me.

    I see the worship set as ideally going from the out to the holy of holies, starting with praise songs about the Lord, stuff to draw people in, songs that are a call to worship, then songs about the Lord and getting to songs to the Lord. This can bring us into an atmosphere of high praise, with free, spontaneous, prophetic worship with the gifts in operation. To be blunt, and hopefully not offensive, as one sister said years ago, it is often like cutting off the sex act before the orgasm. 🙂

    • Louise Cummings
      Reply February 26, 2019

      Louise Cummings

      Ray E Horton I think I know what you are saying. But we sing one song at our church. I cried all the way through the song. The name of it was This Blood. It talked about Jesus Blood that they tried to hide. It was Jesus Blood. I wish I could the words. But it talks about Jesus Blood that He gave on Calvary. They put it in a Tomb to his. But in three days , He breath again. Well the whole song just makes what Jesus did for us on Calvary. I’ve heard people say before. The devil tried to kill Jesus before the Cross. There was a song come out that said When they nailed my Jesus to that old Cross. The devil jumped around with glee. He thought he would take us and throw us in a firefly sea. But I got to thinking about that the other day. It just came to me. The devil tried his best to keep Jesus off the Cross. Look how many times he wanted to kill Jesus. Jump down from this pencil. It won’t hurt you. The angels will keep you from dashing Your foot against a stone.and many others ways he worked through Pharisees to get him killed. But the devil is a sly old fox. He didn’t want Jesus to get to the Cross. He knew the Cross would have been the only Sacrifice , if He got to the Cross. Would be the only Sacrifice that everyone could come to and His Precious Blood could set men free. And would be the only Blood that could save man from sin. The blood of bulls and goats or sheep couldn’t save anyone from hell. But the devil knew Jesus Blood could. And he would be doomed , unless he could trim people to believe a lie. So I don’t believe the devil ever wanted Jesus to get to the Cross. I pray The Lord will give me opportunity to preach that some time. But good songs is what means something to me. But there are some good Shouting. Songs. I know a lot of people thinks shouting is just emotions. But if that’s true. I’m so thankful the Lord gave me some emotions. Because there are some songs that can’t hold me to my seat. I have to get up and Worship.

    • Ray E Horton
      Reply February 26, 2019

      Ray E Horton

      Louise Cummings Preach it, sister. And, yes, there are ‘shouting songs” that are good. Why would we not shout for joy about all that Jesus did for us, by His blood forgave our sins, set us free and gave us new life?

    • Louise Cummings
      Reply February 26, 2019

      Louise Cummings

      Ray E Horton Amen. And thank the Lord He lets me know. When it’s real.

    • Louise Cummings
      Reply February 26, 2019

      Louise Cummings

      That already had your name there. I wasn’t suppose to write there was I. What can I do to fix it. If I deleted. Would it leave your name like it was ?

    • Ray E Horton
      Reply February 26, 2019

      Ray E Horton

      Louise Cummings No problem!

    • Louise Cummings
      Reply February 26, 2019

      Louise Cummings

      Ray E Horton she needs a heart change. If she is depending on a song to get her through , especially feeling like that. In my opinion , she need a Revelation from the Lord. Her thought life doesn’t seem to have changed at all. She need a real Revelation from God to kill out the old man , and let true worship come in.

    • Ray E Horton
      Reply February 26, 2019

      Ray E Horton

      Louise Cummings I don’t know who you are talking about, Louise.

    • Louise Cummings
      Reply February 27, 2019

      Louise Cummings

      Ray E Horton the one talked about a song Being sung. Then cut off. Before a certain time. I can’t remember names. Just something about the ending of a song. I thought it sounded like her mind wasn’t on God. Anyway I shouldn’t have said anything. I love discussing The Word Of The Lord. But I know , I’m probably saying to many comments. I should give someone else a chance to say their opinion. I speak up to much I think. I know I need to listen sometimes.

    • Louise Cummings
      Reply February 27, 2019

      Louise Cummings

      Ray E Horton

    • Ray E Horton
      Reply February 27, 2019

      Ray E Horton

      Louise Cummings It is good for you to speak up as well as listen, sister. People will read as much or as little as they want to anyway.

    • Louise Cummings
      Reply February 28, 2019

      Louise Cummings

      Ray E Horton

  • Daniel J Hesse
    Reply February 26, 2019

    Daniel J Hesse

    Sensual v. Spiritual?

    • Troy Day
      Reply February 26, 2019

      Troy Day

      sensitive to the Spirit ?

    • Tim Dalton
      Reply February 26, 2019

      Tim Dalton

      Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! Psalm 96:1 but it says unto the lord 1 Ch 16: 23 Sing to the LORD, all the earth. Proclaim His salvation day after day. Psalm 13:6 I will sing to the LORD, for He has been good to me. Psalm 105:2 Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all His wonders John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease

    • Daniel J Hesse
      Reply February 26, 2019

      Daniel J Hesse

      Sensual as defined by Scripture.

  • Louise Cummings
    Reply February 26, 2019

    Louise Cummings

    I don’t know the difference in the names or title of what songs are. I just know if it speaks to the heart. And you can worship and feel Gods presence through them. I looked them up on google. They seemed to think the last one you mention was better worship songs. I just know I want to feel God through good worshipping in singing. To be honest about. The Bible tells us to enter into His House with Thanksgiving and in His Courts with Praise. I know you don’t even have to have a song to Worship Him. But the Bible speaks a lot about Music , singing. And Praise. I believe it helps bring us into Worship.

  • Daniel J Hesse
    Reply February 26, 2019

    Daniel J Hesse

    Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. I always get spiritual goose pimples singing Father Abraham!

  • Troy Day
    Reply February 26, 2019

    Troy Day

    for all startup preachers out there THIS IS how worship ought to be done Alan Smith https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KTi0DScuJ8

  • Louise Cummings
    Reply February 26, 2019

    Louise Cummings

    I didn’t mean that as judging. But I guess that’s what I did. Bit I can’t understand someone calling it worshipping with carnality in their heart. Your mind is suppose to be completely on Hod in worship. I think Brother Troy. Let your songs be to Magnify the Lord. Well he didn’t say it out exalts like that. But it was good. Let your Songs be to Magnify The Lord. He is who we are singing to and for. So sing to Jesus. And bless the church.

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