Recently, my daughter and I attended a Bible conference. We attended it because they had a high view of the inspiration of the Bible and were premillennialists. Since we those things in common we thought it would be a constructive time.
Unfortunately, the conference did not spend a great deal of time on either inerrancy or premillennial interpretation of Bible passages. One of the major themes of the conference was how many churches are falling prey to worldly and sinful influences.
One such influence was how many churches use music. The speakers pointed out that there is a liberal push in the area of the use of music in worship. This is seen in the use of contemporary songs and choruses. Such contemporary expressions of worship use sinful instruments of music such as guitars and drums.
Another area of emphasis was how pastors dress. It was stressed that the world has become too laid back in this area. A pastor, as the spiritual leader of God’s people, should not go out in public without a coat a tie. Such dress is a statement as to the importance of his role. The pastor is to set the example and one particular speaker stressed that the pastor should wear cufflinks as well.
Now, I recognize that people have different preferences. Some, like myself, prefer the old time hymns. Others prefer more contemporary songs. Some (I am not included in this group) do not like guitars and drums in churches. Some (and I am definitely not in this group) think that a pastor should never been seen in public without a tie (and for some, evidently, even cufflinks. I must admit that I don’t own a set of cufflinks.).
It must be kept in mind, of course, that these things are just that—personal preferences. The use of drums is not a sin. If a pastor does not wear cufflinks he is not sinning. In fact, we could say that neither one of these things could be called a sinful influence of the worldly system opposed to God.
We cannot make our personal preferences means by which we judge others. In addition, we cannot allow such preferences to prevent us from serving others. Paul is a great example of this.
On his first missionary journey, Paul went to Galatia. This was a Gentile area. Paul was Jewish. When I read the book of Acts I get the strong impression that Paul preferred to live in a Jewish way. He celebrated Jewish religious feasts. I get the impression he preferred what we call today Kosher food and followed the Old Testament teachings about food in his personal life. My guess is that if he had had a son, that boy would have been circumcised.
But when Paul came to Galatia, he was able to set those things aside. He did not allow them to prevent him from preaching and teaching the people of that region. The way he puts it in Galatians 4:12 is, “Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I became like you.” The believers at Galatia wanted to adopt Jewish practices and thought they doing so would please God. Paul rebukes them and reminds them that when he came to them, he adopted their practices and gave up his own. Why now do they think they must perform these Jewish cultural things?
Last month I had the privilege of attending a church service in Zambia, Africa. The worship there was not what I was used to. There were bongo drums. As the choir sang, they approached the stage in a single file and the members of the choir were dancing to the music. I don’t think the pastor was wearing cufflinks either.
How sad would it be to say that we could not worship with other believers because of these things. Paul didn’t. And we do not have to go around the world the run into this situation. We are all comfortable doing certain things. We feel most comfortable around certain kinds of people. Sometimes, however, when we want to minister to others, we must leave our comfort zone. We should ask the Lord for opportunities to do so, even if it means we have to leave our cufflinks at home or listen to a drum.