When I read the article above from an issue of the “Wall Street Journal,” I knew it was time to speak out. Sadly, it took a secular newspaper to expose a new distortion of Christianity: high-amped worship bands creating a secularized rock concert atmosphere, with deafening decibels. Some evangelical churches are saying goodbye to expository teaching and contemplative prayer. In the WSJ article, an attendee at one such service described the musical environment as “louder than a lawnmower.”
In these churches the decibel level has sound peaks that rival secular rock concerts and runway jets. Some attendees wear noise-canceling headphones. Ear plugs are available in the lobby, for the faint of heart. The sound sometimes exceeds standards set by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. I won’t name names, but I’ve been there and heard it. So, what’s the danger in rocking out for Jesus at headbanging volume levels? As a former professional musician, I like a good praise band, especially if they have great musicians who can jam for Jesus. But in certain megachurches, it’s lawnmower Christianity every Sunday, all the time, intentionally pushing the limits of hearing endangerment by making music as loud as possible.
Haven’t we had enough of pastors who dress less dignified than TV sportscasters? Or preachers who sound more like a used car salesman closing a deal than a prelate with eternity in mind? There is a time and a place for loud music and Jimmy Page-esque guitar licks. But most of the audiences the “Journal” article describes have never cracked a real hymnal filled with classic poetry and well-thought-out messages. It’s also noteworthy that not one of these over-the-top churches believes in or practices deliverance and exorcism. Personal holiness takes a back seat. Spiritual warfare, deliverance-style, isn’t on their agenda. It’s all about the emotional experience of auditory bombardment and lightly seasoned sermons. The visceral experience is what’s important. When it comes to the pastors and propagators of this trendy approach to evangelism, I make no judgments. Only God knows their hearts. But it seems that this brand I call lawnmower Christianity may end up mowing under many new, naïve Christians who never learn foundational, biblical truth. And I fear that underneath all the noise, demons can easily hide and continue their torment of young believers who haven’t stopped to hear the “still, small voice of God” (1 Kings 19:12).
An encouraging word: FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE
In today’s blog I quote the words of the Psalmist, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). The Living Bible beautifully states verse 16 of this Psalm: “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!” Wow, that sure doesn’t sound like evolutionary chance. That’s nowhere near “survival of the fittest.” The real missing link in evolutionary ideas is God, who made all that is with detail and intent.