Monday, August 18, 2014

Is Your Theology of Worship Scriptural?

Recently, Daniel Block has written a book aimed at recovering a proper theology of worship.  I have not purchased it yet, but if this quote from a Baker Book House blog post is an indicator of the contents, the book should be near the top of your wish list.

A number of years ago I preached in a large church with three Sunday morning services.  I shall never forget when, at a transitional moment in the service, the “pastor of music and worship’ declared to the congregation, “Now, before we continue our worship, let me read a passage from Colossians 3”—as if reading and hearing the Scriptures are not exercises in worship.

This restricted notion of worship is common in our day and is reflected in the ubiquitous labeling of CDs as “praise and worship” music, the specification in church bulletins of the singing period as “worship time,” and the identification of musicians on the pastoral staff as “worship ministers” or “ministers of worship arts.”  In fact, the worship industry tends to equate worship not only with music but with a particular type of music: contemporary praise.

These practices raise all sorts of questions, not only about the significance of other aspects of the Sunday service (prayer, preaching, testimonials, etc.) but also about religious rituals in the Bible and the Scriptures’ relative minor emphasis on music in worship.  Not only is music rarely associated with worship in the New Testament but the Pentateuch is altogether silent on music associated with tabernacle worship.  All of this highlights our skewed preoccupation with music in the current conflicts over worship. (xi)

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