The more that I am on this board, the more that I am realizing that music isn't what is under attack here - although it seems that way on the surface. What we are really debating is the proper paradigm for worship. A paradigm is defined as "A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline." If we think about it, our ideas of worship are dictated by these assumptions, concepts, values, and practices. For example, there are many with the assumption that a church should not use music in worship, while others assume the opposite. Because there is no clear instruction either way, as the NT is silent concerning the topics of instruments. Some assume that we should take such silence by not playing instruments. Others say that our liberty in Christ and the OT precedent allows us to use such instruments. Both sides are merely assumptions that will probably never be proven. A value that differs between the paradigms concerns the role of culture within the music. One side, undergirded with the doctrine of separatism, says that culture should have no bearing on worship. The other side believes that culture is part of who we are. There are things that are culturally different about us in 2003 than how we were in 1950. We are culturally different than, say, people in Japan. It makes sense to this group that our worship would mirror that. There is an issue about whether culture in and of itself is sinful. Another paradigm in which the two sides differ is in the appropriateness of "experiencing" worship. For example, I know that when I sing praise and worship music, I often raise my hands as a form of surrendering to the God who bought me. This kind of worship is experienced not only through my hearing, but visually and in movement. We see that David experienced worship in a similar way. The other paradigm tends to eschew such experiences. They are more "modernistic" - that is, logical, straightforward, and linear. Sunday morning worship is often dominated by the sermon. In most cases, the sermon is governed by reason, logic, proof texting and linear sequence. Is one paradigm wrong or right? Probably not. However, those who follow the new paradigm do so not because it is the easiest, but because it is within that paradigm that we have been able to experience "true worship." Those who worship only with hymns or specific songs would also, I imagine, experience true worship. Here is my personal experience: The old paradigm of worship demands specific things from me; the other fills me. The old paradigm of worship is, to me, a legalistic effort; the other is a grace-filled gift. The old paradigm of worship tires my spirit; the new one brings me to rest. The old paradigm of worship makes me think, "I did it," while the new makes you aware that God's presence has filled your heart, energized your spirit, and filled you with the sense that, in spite of all your life issues, all is well. And that's why I'm squarely found in the new paradigm of worship. That is why I am a strong proponent of contemporary music. Worship should not be a chore, but should overflow because of the love that we have for Christ. I, along with many people on this board and around the world, have eschewed the old paradigm of the x number of hymns and a sermon and embraced the new one. That, above all the squabbles about specific types of music, is what I think the debate is really about.