One says, “I love loud electric guitars in our worship music! It adds a lot. I love it.” The other says, “Well, I love when I can just hear the voices raised!” Now what?
Is one better than the other? Of course not.
One of the great things about attempting to be a biblical Christian is remembering that our opinions and preferences aren’t better than anyone else’s. Ever. Far too often, we can pull muscles in our brains by thinking so highly of our thoughts. “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” (Rom. 12:3). Sober thinking—as opposed to a sloshing and opinion-oppressing tomfoolery.
No matter what your opinion is concerning music volume, we are all in danger of cult-like behavior when we raise our dictates over other Christians. We can become church bullies. Our thoughts are not supreme. Our own personal view of how corporate singing should be done isn’t a force to be reckoned with. Feel free to have an opinion. And keep it as an opinion, expressed with humility, kindness and grace. “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Col. 4:6).
Worship Style Isn’t Supreme
God’s word, God himself, reigns supreme over our thoughts, mouths, words, emotions and opinions. Realistically, the Bible says very little about how New Testament church gatherings are to function. Everything else is up to each local church and the elders that lead her.
Our own styles, or “what we like,” isn’t the style of our brothers and sisters all around the world. Bible-beltians are fond of making a mold for the rest of Christianity all around the world—and for others in the same room. Our brothers and sisters in Iran mouth the words of many worship songs, so they don’t get killed. Are they wrong for not hearing each other sing or for not cranking the bass? Our family in Zimbabwe that dances, beats drums and echoes through the town—are they wrong? When we elevate style over substance, we are in serious danger. When we think our way is the supreme way, we are more like the Father of Lies than we realize.
Now, this isn’t to say that there aren’t some style elements to consider. Style, to a degree, does matter for church singing. Singability is the big one. And twin-jet-engine-in-face-space-loud would be nuts. Too quiet would be annoying. There is a balance. And there are safe decibel levels that music should fall into. And sometimes a mix with too much bass or way too many highs is “harsh.” It’s not loud—it’s more painful to your soul. But the long and short of it is: To pit one style against the other is prideful nonsense.
Loud Is the Flavor of the Bible
It’s hard to ignore the language of the Bible when it comes to the environment and volume of worship. It is characteristically loud. Loud singing. Loud instruments. And loud shouts (for emphasis sake).