Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Some Interesting Thoughts About Worship Issues
These are just some citations I copied down many years ago because they made me think. I was going to make a collection of this type of citation, but I decided there would be too much work writing them all out (before I had a computer) so I just kept the two sheets, on which these were written, in my files. Nothing really profound, just things to think about.
The source of all our troubles is in not knowing the Scriptures.
Chrysostom (A.D. 347-407) quoted in The Culting of America, p39
Boredom is a chronic symptom of a pleasure-obsessed age. When pleasure becomes one's number one priority, the result, ironically, is boredom. The ceaseless attempt to rekindle pleasure in the face of boredom can lead to moral degeneration.... The more we seek pleasure for its own sake, the less we will have.... Augustine...said that sometimes, when the choir sang the Psalms, he got so caught up in the beautiful melody that he neglected the words of Scripture that the song meant to proclaim. The pleasure he received distracted him from the true object and purpose of worship. Augustine realized that worship is not supposed to be entertainment, the equivalent of a concert or a nightclub. Contemporary congregations and church growth consultants would do well to remember this insight.
Gene Edward Veith, Table Talk, September, 1996, cited in AFA Journal, January, 1998, p. 20
The great hymns of the church are on the way out. They are not gone entirely, but they are going. And in their place have come trite jingles that have more in common with contemporary advertising ditties than the psalms. The problem here is not so much the style of the music, though trite words fit best with trite tunes and harmonies. Rather it is with the content of the songs. The old hymns expressed the theology of the Bible in profound and perceptive ways and with winsome memorable language. Today's songs are focused on ourselves. They reflect our shallow or nonexistent theology and do almost nothing to elevate our thoughts about God. Worst of all are songs that merely repeat a trite idea, word, or phrase over and over again. Songs like this are not worship, though they may give the churchgoer a religious feeling. They are mantras, which belong more in a gathering of New Agers than among the worshiping people of God.
Dr. James Montgomery Boice, pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia
cited in Maranatha Bible Church, Cedar Rapids, IA, newsletter, 2/98
Church architecture varies. Every church building communicates some kind of nonverbal message. In the past, the Gothic cathedral was designed to focus attention on God's transcendence. The use of high ceilings, vaulted space, towers, and spires all served to communicate that in this building, people met with the holy. While some contemporary church buildings still use spires and vaulted ceilings to suggest God's awesome holiness, other church buildings have been designed to create a fellowship facility. These churches can look more like town meeting halls or even theaters. In some of these churches, the sanctuary becomes a stage, and the congregation becomes an audience. The trend may be seen as a profanation of sacred space to remove any discomfort suggested by the presence and terror of our holy God. In these settings people are comfortable with other people as they enjoy fellowship with one another. What is often lost in these functional church designs is the profound sense of threshold. A threshold is a place of transition. It signals a change from one realm to another.
Dr. R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God, p.212
...if the image has replaced the word, music has replaced the book. Young people watch and listen more than they read.... Music appeals primarily to the emotions....
Music and the image, then, the two most potent influences on young people today, conspire to bypass the reasoning powers of the mind and to encourage thinking by association rather than by analysis. The relationship between this trend and the emotional orientation of young people...should give us pause for thought whenever we discern signs of spiritual shallowness...among student Christians.
Sue Brown, cited in The Gagging of God, p.509