Emotions in Worship

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by LarryN, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. LarryN

    LarryN
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    Frequently I have seen objections to contemporary worship music that say something along these lines: "Why, it's designed to appeal to the listener's emotions" or "It's performance-oriented".

    The thought occurred to me the other day that those who say such things, and therefore state a preference for "traditional" worship music, are oftentimes the same ones who seem to have no objections to emotionalism during the preaching segment of a worship service. Think about it: I'm thinking of tearful personal stories being told, pounding of the pulpit (bonus points for actually breaking something), shouting, running around the platform (lots of "performance" going on), etc.- usually culminating in several tear-choked choruses of "Just As I Am" or "I Surrender All". I've been in (and know of) some IFB churches that are just as I've described.

    It's not so much that many people or groups are actually outright opposed to perceived displays of emotion in worship services: it's that they choose to limit such displays to only the segments of worship services in which they are comfortable with or accustomed to such displays.

    Some may agree with what I've said; I'm sure that others won't. So what do YOU think?
     
  2. exscentric

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    Personally wouldn't attend either one of the churches you speak of. Your right there isn't much difference, though I would guess some of those preachers would argue with your implied characterization of their preaching as a performance.

    Some guys are just in touch with their feminine side and get emotional - aren't you [​IMG]
     
  3. Joseph_Botwinick

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    I think this may be a bit of a mischaracterization of many people's position. Allow me to clarify some points:

    1. All music appeals to the listener's and even the performer's emotions.

    2. All music is performance driven since it must be performed.

    3. Appealing to the emotions is not a problem as long as your message is Biblical and not just feel goodism. There is a difference, you know?

    The thought occurred to me the other day that those who say such things, and therefore state a preference for "traditional" worship music, are oftentimes the same ones who seem to have no objections to emotionalism during the preaching segment of a worship service. Think about it: I'm thinking of tearful personal stories being told, pounding of the pulpit (bonus points for actually breaking something), shouting, running around the platform (lots of "performance" going on), etc.- usually culminating in several tear-choked choruses of "Just As I Am" or "I Surrender All". I've been in (and know of) some IFB churches that are just as I've described.[/QUOTE]

    I am opposed to this kind of manipulation in the sermon. If the Holy Spirit is leading you to do something, then do it. But, make sure your message is Biblical, and not just empty doctrine glossed over by manipulation of other people's emotions. When I think of what I wish to see and hear from a pastor, I think of the words of Paul to the Church of Corinth:

    1 Corinthians 2:1-4

    In other words, I long for a pastor who emphasizes sound doctrine from the Word of God as the objective truth rather than a post modern emotion driven feel good message. I would rather hear the Word of God in monotone than hear the wisdom of man from an angelic voice.

    It's not so much that many people or groups are actually outright opposed to perceived displays of emotion in worship services: it's that they choose to limit such displays to only the segments of worship services in which they are comfortable with or accustomed to such displays.

    Some may agree with what I've said; I'm sure that others won't. So what do YOU think?
    [/QUOTE]

    I have no problem with showing emotion as long as it doesn't become a situation where it is emotion for emotion sake at the expense of sound doctrine from the Word of God.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  4. USN2Pulpit

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    I agree with the OP. The form of music (contemporary or traditional) isn't the issue. As for those that would accompany the music or lead it, I believe they must strive for excellence. If they strive to do well in their role in the music, why is that labelled "performance?" It shouldn't be.

    BTW, another example of "performances" that we're comfortable with - the gospel quartet! Why is it okay for them to be excellent, but not okay for the contemporary artist to be excellent?

    Just so everyone knows - I enjoy both genres, and find that I'm able to worship and praise with many styles of music.
     
  5. Victory in Jesus

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    Without emotions we'd be abnormal. But we have to be careful with our emotions...that we don't allow them to control us.

    I've stated in this forum before that I strongly believe everyone makes decisions--big and small...minute by minute... by weighing penalty and reward UNLESS we bring the Lord into the decision-making.

    I believe emotions themselves are a large part of decision-making. We say, "I help people because it gives me a good feeling inside". That "good feeling" is addicting like a drug and it's a good thing. It helps us help others. One of the side-effects from actual drugs such as narcotics is that they can dull the feelings making the user feel "numb" or without any feeling, good or bad (depression can do the same thing). This is why drug addicts can break into a house and steal money and possessions to support their habit. It's a combination of a very strong need for drugs and an absense of guilt toward those they're hurting. Frankly, they just don't care.

    God blessed us with feelings and I think we fail to use them enough in some of our churches. However, they can get in the way of true worship if we're not careful.

    My childhood pastor once told me that he doesn't take committment decisions seriously at missions conferences. He encourages those who have gone forward and committed themselves to the mission field. He treats them as if the decision is real because sometimes people struggle for years before they surrender their lives to the mission field. But too many times he's seen the "committment" fade and they eventually go back to their regular lives. Why? Because the slideshows with music in the background, starving children in the pictures with flies on their faces and big brown eyes looking up at the camera while the missionary says, "People need the Lord... If you don't reach them, who will?"...all of this can tug at the emotional heart and can cause people to make snap decisions based on the slideshow.

    It's easy to walk forward when you're touched by the slides of women carrying huge bundles on their heads and the missionary saying, "They carry a physical burden, but only God can lift the spiritual burden of sin. They need you to tell them". But, the practical side of it...the part where you have to give up much of the things you own, pack only the necessities, travel church to church asking for support, learning new customs and a new language, ...unless you are truely committed and willing, emotions isn't going to get you through all this. Emotions aren't going to carry you all the way to the mission field.

    And yet, the slideshow may be just what a missionary-to-be may need to give them that nudge forward after they'd been struggling with the decision for months and years.

    Emotions can be deceiving...but we need them. If we're pumped by a message, why not yell out a few "amen"s? But it's the next day...a Monday of all days...that tests our true feelings on the message. We amen!ed the pastor Sunday when he says we should witness, but do we witness Monday?
     
  6. donnA

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    In a hurry, so this is brief.
    I see nothing wrong with being emotional in worship, wether singing or the preaching, or even bible study. We love God, and thats an emotional event, I get emotional over my family, happy, joyful, sad, extatic(sp?) on last Sunday morning. So why shouldn't I be emotional when I meet with my Father.
    Worship has to come from the heart. Which is an emotional event.
    Those who don't think worship is the place for emotions, well, I just wonder about them.
     
  7. dianetavegia

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    Agree with Donna. God created us as emotional beings and why should we not get excited, tearful, feel like our heart is going to burst, etc. over what Jesus did for us?

    Anyone read the Psalms lately??? Pretty emotional if you ask me! David danced in the street with tambourines in his 'linen ephod' (undergarments). Shedding a few tears when a song touches our very soul should not be at question.
     
  8. TaterTot

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    I agree with Joseph. Emotions are fine, so long as the "experience" is not the focal point of worship.
     
  9. StefanM

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    I have no problem with emotions, as long as people don't expect EVERYONE to react in the same way. I don't usually get overly emotional in response to music (with a few exceptions), and my main concern is that people might think I'm "cold" when I'm not.
     
  10. Johnv

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    If worship doesn't appeal to a person's emotions and thoughts, it's ineffective worship.
     
  11. Lorelei

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    The world is led by their emotions and their actions generally follow their emotions. We are to be led by the Spirit and let our actions lead and our emotions follow. For instance, we should love our enemies. We won't "feel" emotionally excited about the thought at first, but after being obedient and loving them anyway, an emotion of joy shall follow. The world must "feel" the love before they will act upon it, so they will not love their enemy. The difference between the two emotions, is one is from the Lord and the other from the flesh.

    This is why I am cautious of any attempt to affect ones emotions, especially in church. The Word of God is living and powerful and yet we seem to often get more worked up over someone singing about the Word rather than the hearing of the Word itself. I would much rather hear teaching from the Word rather than crafty stories meant to choke me up. I have left such a church like that. But when I hear how God so loved the World that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life, now THAT Is exciting, whether it is read reverently, lifted in song or shouted from the rooftops!

    ~Lorelei
     
  12. DHK

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    In many Charismatic-type services and consequently modern day CCM emotion filled services, emotionalism becomes the base for the service. It becomes an emotional charged service based on emotion instead of the Word of God, though the Word of God may have been preached.

    It was the opposite in Acts 2. When Peter preached the Word of God was his base. Christ was his theme. Emotion was the result. For the Holy Spirit convicted many, and with that conviction there was repentance and an outpouring of emotion.

    That is unlike many services today where emotion starts from the very beginning when carnal music is played from the beginning giving a wrong emotional base to the service. Humorous stories are told throughout to keep the audience captive, again appealing to the wrong side of the emotions. Decisions are made on the basis of emotions (carnal) not the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
    DHK
     
  13. untangled

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    I believe emotions are played upon in traditional and contemporary services. I see nothing wrong with using the new music, however it should not be the focal point of the service. In worship our hearts and minds are to be set upon God.

    At times I've seen emotions get out of hand to the point of screaming. This was in a traditional service although it was mixed some.

    The Word of God can provoke emotion. I believe worship leads to emotion in any setting whether it be traditional or contemporary. Not saying to the point of tears. How can one not feel joyous when talking about the Savior? I mean just thinking of my sin and that Christ paid my debt on the cross makes me rejoice in His blessed ressurection.
     
  14. Johnv

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    The CCM issue is a blind issue. I cry on Good Friday when we sing "Were you there". I cry on Christmas Eve when we sing "Silent Night". I cry on Easter Sunday when we sing "Christ the Lord is Risen Today", and on Memorial Day when we sing "God Bless Our Native Land".

    So don't tell me that emotionalism is carnal, and don't even try to pin it on CCM.

    If you don't like it, then don't use it in worship. But don't you dare tell me that I'm evil for liking somethign you don't, or emoting when you don't. That's pure unadulterated pharasaical selfrighteousness.
     
  15. webdog

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    I'm curious about something. It has been said that "emotions are fine, as long as they don't get in the way of worship". What is "worship"? Aren't our LIVES supposed to be worhisp to the Lord? Isn't that "good feeling" we get when we help someone "woship"?

    I don't know about anyone else, but when I came to know the Lord, I felt SCARED that I was separated from God, ASHAMED about the way I had lived my life, THRILLED that Christ paid my penalty, and ECSTATIC when He came to live within me. All of these are emotions, emotions I still use daily to worship the Lord in all I do, daily, not just on Sunday!
     
  16. dianetavegia

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    Isaiah 43:21 This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise.

    Jeremiah 13:11 For as the sash clings to the waist of a man, so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me,' says the Lord, 'that they may become My people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they would not hear.'

    Isaiah 61:11 For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

    Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.

    Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

    1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

    Revelation 4:11 "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."

    Psalms 147:1 Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.

    Psalms 33:1 Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.


    Revelation 5:12 saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!" 13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!" 14 Then the four living creatures said, "Amen!" And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.

    Revelation 7:12 saying: "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen."

    Psalms 63:1 A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. 2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. 3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. 4 Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. 6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. 7 Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. 8 My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me

    1 Chronicles 16:9 Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works!

    Honestly, there are so many verses that speak of praising God and all are quite emotional, in my humble opinion! [​IMG]
     
  17. donnA

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    We are supose t be joyful, isn't worship a joyful experience? Joy comes from God.
     
  18. dianetavegia

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    Amen Donna! Joy is also a Fruit of the Spirit and is mentioned SO many times in the Bible!

    Ezra 3:11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord: "For He is good, For His mercy endures forever toward Israel." Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.

    Psalms 95:1 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.

    Psalms 98:4 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.

    Psalms 100:1 A Psalm of Thanksgiving. Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
     
  19. just-want-peace

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    I certainly hope emotion ain't all bad, cause there are a few CDs that really tap my emotion center!

    Gaither's "Hymns, Precious Memories, Church in the Wildwood, and Heaven" cause me to get all choked up everytime I listen to them! [​IMG]

    MARANATHA!!
     
  20. Joseph_Botwinick

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    I am not sure why this thread is causing so much emotion about the topic. Let me ask you a few questions:

    1. Has anyone on here stated that we should never appeal to other people's emotions?

    2. If not, who are you trying to convince that we should appeal to emotions?

    Joseph Botwinick
     

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