Romans 14 from a Worship Leader's View

1 Give a welcome to anyone whose faith is not strong, but do not get into arguments about worship styles.

2 One person may have faith enough to worship through any kind of music; another, less strong, will worship only through one style of music.

3 Those who feel free to worship through edgy rock music are not to condemn those who are unwilling to worship through edgy rock music; nor must the person who does not worship through edgy rock music pass judgement on the one who does-because God has welcomed him.

4 And who are you, to sit in judgement over an electric guitar player? Whether he deserves to be upheld or to fall is for his own band leader to decide; and he shall be upheld, for the Lord has power to uphold him.

5 One person thinks that “How Great Thou Art” is holier than “How Great Is Our God”, and another thinks them all equal. Let each of them be fully convinced in his own mind.

6 The one who sings “How Great Thou Art” sings it in honor of the Lord. So the one who sings “How Great Is Our God”, sings in honor of the Lord, making his thanksgiving to God; and the one who does not, abstains from singing “How Great Is Our God” in honor of the Lord and makes his thanksgiving to God.

7 For none of us sings for himself and none of us worships for himself;

8 while we are singing, we are singing for the Lord, and when we worship, we worship for the Lord: and so, singing or worshiping, we belong to the Lord.

9 It was for this purpose that Christ both died and came to life again: so that he might be Lord of both the singers and the worshipers.

10 Why, then, does one of you make himself judge over his brother, and why does another among you despise his brother? All of us will have to stand in front of the judgement-seat of God:

11 as scripture says: By my own life says the Lord, every knee shall bow before me, every tongue shall give glory to God.

12 It is to God, then, that each of us will have to give an account of himself.

13 Let us each stop passing judgement, therefore, on one another and decide instead that none of us will place styles of music in any brother’s way, or anything that can bring him down.

14 I am sure, and quite convinced in the Lord Jesus, that no music is unusable in itself; it is only if someone classifies any kind of music as unusable, then for him it is unusable.

15 And indeed, if through any kind of music you are causing offence to a brother, then you are no longer being guided by love. You are not to let the music that you use in worship cause the ruin of anyone for whom Christ died.

16 A privilege of yours must not be allowed to give rise to harmful talk;

17 for it is not singing a certain style of music that makes the kingdom of God, but the saving justice, the peace and the joy brought by the Holy Spirit.

18 It is the person who serves Christ in these things that will be approved by God and respected by everyone.

19 So then, let us be always seeking the ways which lead to peace and the ways in which we can support one another in worship.

20 Do not wreck God’s work for the sake of music. Certainly all music is usuable; but all the same, any song can be evil for someone to whom it is an offence to sing.

21 It is best to abstain from singing any song, or dancing any dance, or from any other activity which might cause a brother to fall away, or to be scandalised, or to weaken.

22 Within yourself, before God, hold on to what you already believe. Blessed is the person whose principles do not condemn his practice.

23 But anyone who worships with qualms of conscience is condemned, because this worshiping does not spring from faith-and every action which does not spring from faith is sin.

from the New Jerusalem Bible

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2 thoughts on “Romans 14 from a Worship Leader's View

  1. My comment relates to v2 – One person may have faith enough to worship through any kind of music; another, less strong, will worship only through one style of music.

    I do not believe it is a matter of how strong one’s faith is, but rather what type of gifts he/she has…. For those whose gift is music, they can hear things that I will never hear. I first noticed this when watching the Kennedy Center honors this year. To a person, those who were musicians listened to all the varied music with a different ear than I did, and they appreciated it all… From Barbara Streisand to Morgan Freeman to Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, I could almost see (through their body language) their minds working, processing the music note by note, and the joy they felt was almost palpable.

    My gift or passion is for God’s creation. I hear the music in the earth’s strata, a bird’s song and gecko’s feet. At the last council meeting there was a mosquito hawk (Crane Fly*) flying around. What I saw was a miracle flying about living as God intended (well He may not have intended for the crane fly to be in the community room, but you get my drift). Others only saw an annoying pest and wanted it killed. So is their faith less strong? No, they either have not learned to (or cannot) hear this song.

    Just some random thoughts…… Joyce Kuhlman

  2. Thanks so much for the comment! I’m glad you read my take on Romans 14, and I’m glad you responded! Here is what the original text said:

    “One person may have faith enough to eat any kind of food; another, less strong, will eat only vegetables.”

    Obviously food was a big deal in the Jewish culture. It either identified you as part of the “in crowd” or it could defile you. Now Paul is saying that a greater measure of faith is required to eat any kind of food, and someone who just sticks to what is safe may be weaker in the faith. My whole premise for this Romans 14 thing was to swap Paul’s subjects – instead of talking about food, make it about worship music.

    I also like to think of it this way: some people have blinders on their hearts, and can only lift their hearts to God in one or two forms of musical worship. Other people have the blinders of their hearts removed, and they can lift their hearts to God and express devotion in a multitude of musical expressions. They see value in and appreciate different styles of worship.

    I do believe this: if a person’s heart is truly set on Jesus, and worshiping him, the outward stimulus for worship will not matter.

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