Todd Pruitt, Lead Pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia, has written a short article about so-called contemporary worship, “Is Your Church Worship More Pagan than Christian?” He writes that this popular kind of worship is more pagan than Christian:
There is a great misunderstanding in churches of the purpose of music in Christian worship. Churches routinely advertise their “life-changing” or “dynamic” worship that will “bring you closer to God” or “change your life.” …
… Music is viewed as a means to facilitate an encounter with God; it will move us closer to God. In this schema, music becomes a means of mediation between God and man. But this idea is closer to ecstatic pagan practices than to Christian worship.
… Music and “the worship experience” are viewed as means by which we enter the presence of God and receive his saving benefits. There is simply no evidence whatsoever in Scripture that music mediates direct encounters or experiences with God. This is a common pagan notion. It is far from Christian.
So he lists 4 tragic outcomes of this kind of “worship experience,” which I excerpt here:
1. God’s Word is marginalized.
In many Churches and Christian gatherings it is not unusual for God’s Word to be shortchanged. Music gives people the elusive “liver quiver” while the Bible is more mundane.
2. Our assurance is threatened.
If we associate God’s presence with a particular experience or emotion, what happens when we no longer feel it? We search for churches whose praise band, orchestra, or pipe organ produce in us the feelings we are chasing.
3. Musicians are given priestly status.
When music is seen as a means to encounter God, worship leaders and musicians are vested with a priestly role. They become the ones who bring us into the presence of God rather than Jesus Christ who alone has already fulfilled that role.
4. Division is increased.
This is why so many churches succumb to offering multiple styles of worship services. By doing so, they unwittingly sanction division and self-centeredness among the people of God.
So do not be deceived: are you in a Christian church, or a pagan temple?