Vol. 11 No. 5 May 2009
Donald R. Fox
“Oh, the drums go bang and the cymbals clang and the horns they blaze away” as the band plays on with vigor. Singers of the chorus and the musicians are at par with trained professionals. The worshipers, with arms raised, are swinging to the beat of the music. No doubt, all are enjoying themselves! Most of the congregation is participating with the enthusiasm and ecstasy of the moment. There is a flood of so-called Community churches in our neighborhoods. These churches entertain folks; they will grow in number; this is certain.
In researching Community churches, it seems that they have a statement of beliefs that covers many denominational creeds and doctrines. There are also affiliations with movements such as the “Consultation on Church Union (COCU), the National Council of Churches, and the World Council of Churches.” One in this movement is, “The International Christian Community Churches.” In their statement, they say that they “celebrate the diversity of God’s people and their mission to bring others to Christ. All of our churches are open.”
Local Community churches are diversified in beliefs with the approach, come as you are. Their dress code may be of a casual nature. Those attending these type worship services are not pressed to be obedient to any code, creed or doctrine. Again the idea seems to be, “We accept you no matter what you believe.” “We are tolerant, and we judge not, so come and worship with us.”
It is very common to have this tolerant and liberal type of worship in today’s society. Such has become the norm! So goes the many as they conduct their worship. It is also our observation that the parking lots are always full. Yes, “Let us entertain you!” Questions: “Is there biblical New Testament authority for this type of worship services?” We also add: “Is there any scriptural authority for this Community Church Movement?”
Without going into a deep biblical study on what constitutes Christian worship, we can, in plainness, prove what Christian worship was in the first century. We find that Christians worshiped on the first day of the week. “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow: and continued his speech until midnight” (Acts 20:7).
The New Testament Records Five Aspects of Authorized Worship
(1) Teaching – Preaching as Worship: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2).
(2) Praying as Worship: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer” (Acts 2:42).
(3) Singing as Worship: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19) and “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” (Colossians 3:16). Note: There is no reference to the use of instrumental music in church worship found in the New Testament.
(4) Contributing as Worship: “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2)
(5) The Lord’s Supper as Worship: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16).
Notes: (1) Additional Scriptures can found in the New Testament as to Christian worship unto God Almighty. The above is only a sampling of such authority for worship in the church of Christ. (2) From a secular source for Christian worship in the first century: See pages 460-465, Volume I, Apostolic Christianity, A.D. 1-100, History of the Christian Church by Philip Schaff; (3) “Oh, the drums go bang, etc.” From an ole Irish song “MacNamara’s Band” (Shamus O'Connor & John J. Stamford - 1917).