Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Limelight of Christian Worship

Another great "worship quote of the week" that came my way . . . .

I like the word "variegated" to describe what worship should be. I think our worship at Grace is "variegated," don't you?

Traditionalists have much to answer for in their reluctance to understand that tradition does not mean stasis but change. In their reaction against contemporary styles, they fail to understand that what they have gotten used to was once contemporary and often objectionable. Contemporists likewise fail to understand how blunted their tastes are when only "their music" seems to do the trick and when what they are doing has, ever so quickly, frozen itself into a tradition. So we end up with two kinds of shortsightedness, one supposedly old, the other supposedly new, and both wish fulfilling. The separation of worship into preference groups is everyone's fault, in that narrow musical satisfaction has turned out to be more important than style-proof outpouring. I encourage people of all practices to become intently and intensely curious about each other's ways.

The church desperately needs an artistic reformation that accomplishes two things at once: first, it takes music out of the limelight and puts Christ and his Word back into prominence; and second, it strives creatively for a synthesis of new, old and crosscultural styles. A deep understanding of the arts, coupled to the understanding that at best the music of corporate worship is simple, humble and variegated, would bring something about that would make all churches into worshiping and witnessing churches that happen to sing.

-Harold Best, UNCEASING WORSHIP: BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES ON WORSHIP AND THE ARTS. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003, p. 75. ISBN


Josh Mock said...


Tim Weaver said...

"takes music out of the limelight and puts Christ and his Word back into prominence"

This is the issue more than anything. If Christ is exalted and that is our interest, musical style becomes a very small thing. Each of us has a style that we like more than another, but it should be a small thing to us. I need to see Jesus lifted high. I'll use my stereo at home for music that is my style.

I'm narrow in this way, but I don't believe that church should be put into any specific style for the purpose of appealing to everyone who walks through the door. That may be a way to get the unchurched to be churched, but being churched doesn't equal being saved and following Christ. Worse than that, it puts people-pleasing before God-pleasing and then we are the target of Jesus' 'Woe to you' words in Matt 23.

It is His house. He and His Word must be the most clearly seen and exalted things.

But the question of how should this be practically done is a whole lot more difficult to answer.

Andy Gibson said...

Amen Weaver!

Missed you at bball.

bryan said...