Steve Bremner

Author, Podcaster & Writing Coach

Entering Into God’s Presence Without Even Singing Songs | PodcastThis post is a 7 min read

Entering Into God's Presence Without Even Singing

This week we have returning guest Stephen Crosby on the show mostly to discuss themes in his book, Praise, Worship, and the Presence of God: A Better Way to Worship — A New Covenant PerspectiveDr Crosby discusses why this book exists in the first place and what motivated him to write it.

We do a lot of things in charismatic evangelicalism that has very little substantiation in the New Testament, and the modern day “worship leader” is among the most prominent.

6:00 – The Worship leader — Access to God through Music?

Do they really take us into and out of the presence of God? Nope. No such thing exists. There are no brokers of His presence. Jesus has done it. We are in God’s presence because of what Jesus did on the cross, and not because of anything the worship leader does. The manifest presence of God is like oxygen in your lungs — it’s something you breathe.

What? I'm not the only worship leader here?

16:05 – The recent history of contemporary worship music and practices (Restoration of David’s Tent)

Have you ever wondered or been asked why we do things the way we do in our charismatic services when it comes to singing song before the preaching? Chances are you have little idea and neither will the person you ask.

We just do it.

In 1948 a move of God is where it all changed. Prior to that, hymns were typical. Out of this movement came the “restoration of David’s tent” which spread a misinterpretation of Amos 9:11-15 through a lot of the church and has evolved during the charismatic movement of the 60s and third wave of the 80s. In this part of the conversation we discuss the need to understand what we are doing and what our theology behind it is.

One of the dangers of believing that we’re in the last days and that we have a special revelation the apostles didn’t have, that they “didn’t get the whole thing” is the danger of arrogance and pride if we believe we’ve got something the original disciples didn’t have.

Preachers also need to come to grips with the reality that they are not the most important piece of the Sunday morning pie, and that people don’t need to hear them preach each week. Similarly, worship leaders need to come to grips with a similar reality. It’s about Jesus, not us nor our talents and gifting.

26:56 – No to apostles and prophets, but yes to a modern paid position that has no NT substantiation?

You can find more churches who will fight and split over modern-day apostles and prophets despite their numerous mentions in the New Testament after the original twelve disciples, but yet you can’t find the modern professional musician worship leader in the New Testament, yet it seems nobody questions that. Why on earth is that?

Also, if we can have the presence of God without music, then we have to ask ourselves why are we bothering and what are we doing? On the other hand, just because we can’t find something in the New Testament doesn’t mean it’s forbidden or morally wrong, however, we should be careful to not then elevate these things to a level of status and requirement.

Not sure if I can feel the Holy Spirit moving, or I'm hungry

Around the 37:00 minute mark Dr Crosby discusses how some worship leaders are abused and their gift prostituted when leadership want them to use their gift and talent for free multiple times per week. Many don’t even pay them any kind of salary or offering because such leaders are building their preaching repertoire realize that the worship leader’s musical gift is attraction for the masses. This obviously doesn’t happen to all, but we take a moment to address this here and call it what it is.

43:00 — Swapping one high for another: when worshipping and sensing the anointing becomes addictive

We talk about how the look and feel of a lot of the “cutting edge” worship can take on a rock concert appearance and if you muted the volume you wouldn’t know the difference. The same way the Jews of Jesus’ day had built so much tradition on what was once originally pure commandment given from the mouth of God to His servant Moses had over the decades and centuries turned into dead religion void of relationship with Him. In a very real sense we’ve done the exact same thing with various traditions related to worshipping through music — among many other things, of course, but in this discussion we are focusing on just music, worship, and the presence of God.What if I told you...Quotable and Tweetable Comments of Stephen Crosby’s include:

We offer songs and praises to God in reaction and response to our gratitude for what we realize or are realizing God has done. We are not causing Him to do anything for us because we’ve sung the correct song.

57:00 There are no second generation burning bushes

Dr Crosby explains how one of the ways we find ourselves in situations or methods and traditions is when one generation experiences God in a certain way, and while discipling the next one the second generation are taught the “how tos” of the first generation’s experience, but without experiencing that same burning bush for themselves. One of two things then tends to happen:

  1. Generation #2 fake it because they want to experience it so bad, or
  2. They go into despair because they are not experiencing it like the previous generation did.

Of course there’s also others who fall into neither of those two options, but it’s something Dr Crosby is seeing more and more millennials come to their senses early about.

Likewise, Kind David’s life is not our example. He merely is a type and shadow who pointed the way to the Messiah who came. The One greater than David has come, and He has united Himself in Spirit with us in the inner most being. If you’re going to create a template for worship and “pressing in” to His presence, do it based on Christ who is IN you and not old covenant modalities.

Deep down in our own souls, we struggle with needing to earn and be rewarded, rather than just accepting what’s been given and freely poured out on the cross at Calvary. Charismatics and Pentecostals who are thrill-addicted struggle to believe it can all really be that simple. The compulsion to believe that we need to DO something in order to receive a blessing from God that we’ve already received is a very real temptation.

You could also swap out some of the things people do in worship and replace it with giving and tithing in order to receive something from God. We need to look at the FINISHED work of Christ on the Cross and start with “it has been fulfilled” rather than going to the Old Covenant to pattern ourselves after Davidic [Old Covenant] worship or Abraham or Moses [or insert other Old Testament figure]’s patterns for singing, tithing and giving or whatever else (you are encouraged to listen to the previous episode Dr Crosby and I did on money).

The only way to experience God is to climb the mountain ourselves and find Him there, not in trying to repeat or duplicate what has worked for others. God will meet you there.

The prophetic is not a divine morse code station, where God speaks to one person and then that person relays to others way He has said. Rather, being prophetic removes the obstacles in the way of seeing Christ.

We close out the last half hour or so of the discussion sharing stories and experiences, for better or worse.

The worship team didn't play my favorite song

I want to love this worship song but it's not 100% Scripturally accurate

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Recommended New Covenant Perspective books of Stephen Crosby’s


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About Steve Bremner

Steve the coffee drinker is a Canadian missionary to Peru, who after raising up disciples to flow in the power of the Holy Spirit within a missional community named Oikos for many years, now helps people bring their own ideas and messages to life through books and audio productions. If you like Steve's blog, you'll also like his books and audiobooks. Note: this post may have contained affiliate links of which the author receives a small commission if you purchase something recommended in the post.

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