My friend wrote this comment below and I think he’s right. Please don’t misunderstand my reasons for putting it here. I’ve enjoyed charismatic worship; and I have not enjoyed charismatic worship. But there is now a well trodden critique of this particular tradition in recent years.
The charismatic movement has much to teach the wider church, not least an expectation that God is present and God will move and God will save! That’s not a bad expectation at all! But I’m afraid the comment below is, by and large, a fair reflection of the situation in many places around world, and it exposes, not merely a problematic worship scene, but a much wider, ecclesiological, soteriological and eschatological amnesia that borders on the insane:
“Having suffered the evils of charismatic choruses for many years, the thought of heaven being one big “worship celebration” – a kind of “celebration of celebration itself” or “worship of worship itself” – feels more like hell to me.
Charismatic worship jingles tend to allow the Holy Spirit to activate—as formative speech-acts—only slogans and teenage-crush lyrics. Thus, the Holy Spirit is allowed to open up only tiny impoverished language-worlds that have few points of relational resonance or connection with our hearts, minds, and relational lives. This situation is not helped by an under-developed musical understanding that thinks that the theme-tune to Rainbow can open up the depths of the soul.
The result is a relational claustrophobia that imposes teenage relational crush-dynamics—or even “tots-at-a-puppet-show” relational dynamics—onto adults who are trying to worship. Thus, charismatic jingles deprive adults of genuine adult relational contact with God. And yet, the adults are often then berated (as though they were tots) for not “pushing into worship”. The perpetuation of such a scenario for all eternity would indeed be hell.
But even if we allowed that heavenly worship music would sound better than the great classical composers’ pieces, to reduce worship to music would still be hell. Worship includes the full range of consecrated human activities, only one of which is singing God’s praises. I find it truly annoying when people speak of heaven as though it were one great musical session that never ends. That would be an absurd suppression of all the other dimensions of worshipful activity, which include all that human beings were created to be, do, and accomplish. Heaven is more diverse than this life, not less.”
Thank God for that……..and this: