Emotionalism in Worship

“Rampant Addiction to Emotionalism Discovered in Much of the Western World!” says Jason. Do emotionally charged church services — contemporary or otherwise — help or hinder our worship of God? Do we sometimes find ourselves going to church because it just feels good to worship God, rather than because it is right to give Him praise?

This has bearing as well on our music, because heaven knows I’ve sung more than my share of church songs which, rather than praising God, instead turn into meta-worship which praises the wonderful emotions that accompany praising God. (Or worse, songs which prefer to repeat the word “love, love, love” again and again and just treat it as implied that God is the subject.) These days, when I find myself singing a song that starts singing about me and how I feel rather than how great God is, the song begins to taste sour, and I can no longer sing it. I recently experienced such a pang with I Can Only Imagine, which seems more about how the singer will react to standing before God, and not about the glory of God Himself. (But maybe that’s just me. Sorry, Julie! ;) (Never mind that. I’m just being a stupid, snobbish, heresy-hunting killjoy, especially considering that there are Psalms which praise God through meta-worshipful phrases just like that. Sorry.)

Which is why we are called to take every thought captive to obey Christ, and to prove all things and hold fast that which is good. We need to ask the Spirit to search hearts for any way that is against Him, that we may rise above shallow worship and smash the idol of emotion-worship, that we may worship God in spirit and in truth.



  1. Jason Wall says:

    Your last paragraph capture the essence of my argument Paulo. I don’t abhor emotion, though I find music that overflows with it a matter of some concern sometimes, especially when it is overwhelming in its ubiquitousness. But taking every thought captive, and poving all things as is says in Philipians 1 is the essence of my argument. The mind should always be in control, and actively participating in the worship. One should not simply loose ones self in it, because you opening your mind to who knows what. Believe me, Satan misses precious few opportunities to take advantage.

  2. wyclif says:

    How about The Rampant Addiction to Emotionalism amongst Bloggers?

    The “emo-blog” thing does nothing for me. To me, the blog is just a filter to the good stuff on the ‘Net, not my personal emotional gauge…

  3. Jason Wall says:

    I would agree with you, though I think you limit blogging to much. To much deep personal information is almost embarrasing to read, and often times some of that stuff should be private. But bloging has so many applications for publishing that extend far beyond filtering and aggregation. Paulo’s WhyBlog project is a testament to that. As an outlet for creative publication, filtering, discussion, and collaboration, blogs are excellent tools. And those are only a few applications. There are some personal blogs I enjoy emmensly, because I know who those people are and welcome the opportunity to keep up with whats going on.

  4. wyclif says:

    My point wasn’t that there should be some limit on the application of blogs, or that blogs are only filters.

    It’s just that the embarrassing emo stuff makes me cringe.