In part two of this two-part editorial, the Editorial Board explains why the traditional a capella style of worship could be kept in Chapel. Click here to read the opposing argument.
We worship God because he is God. True worship is defined by the priority we place on who God is in our lives. We can worship through our words, actions and, obviously, music, but what makes worship true worship is our intention behind it.
A capella worship has long been a tradition within the Church of Christ and, therefore, within ACU. Biblical texts have been used to argue against the use of instruments in worship, as well as to defend them. We must look deeper than a book and verse to find direction for our worship. We must look into our intentions.
Yes, worshipping with or without instruments can be a preference issue. Many pro-a capella worshipers complain they are too distracted by the instruments, so the pro-instrument worshipers argue it’s a difference in church-goers’ preference; God doesn’t care how he is musically worshipped, so long as he is the one being praised. However, when instruments are added, it’s not just a distraction for the ADD audience, it’s distracting everyone away from God. The instruments, the musicians or the band, make the worship more about the type of music rather than the message. Our intentions are focused around the people or the show on stage rather than the words that are being said.
Pro-instrument worshippers argue instrumental worship allows the church to be more relevant to the current culture, welcoming a wider audience. But this approach to worship is also skewing the purpose behind it. Worship is not a marketing device. Faith should not be dependent on culture. By using only our voices, we are offering a counter-culture relationship with God, one that keeps our focus on him being a priority in our lives, not finding a place for him to fit into our cultural preferences.
There are benefits and reasons to keeping worship, specifically in Chapel, a capella. The unison of human voices created by God is adoration of his ability to create. The instrumental Chapel service that is offered once a week is a place to allow the musically gifted students to use their talents. The loss of a capella practice is a loss of tradition that has been a constant throughout ACU history. But no matter the reason, our decisions should be traced back to their intentions.
Worshiping God with our voices is the simplest way to keep him at the center of our intentions and the priority of our praise.