Idolatry on Sunday AM

I’ve been thinking and reflecting on Christian worship lately. I remembered a quote I posted a while ago and just some other readings and things have kept coming up. Anyway, it was quite timely when Bob Kauflin, the Director of Worship Development for Sovereign Grace Ministries, a Reformed Charismatic church planting organization whom I have a lot of respect for, began blogging on Idolatry on Sunday Mornings (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5).

Bob makes some excellent observations such as “idolatry can be active in my heart even as I’m outwardly worshipping God. That’s a sobering thought. Whenever I think I can’t worship God unless ‘X’ is present, I’m making a profound statement. If ‘X’ is anything other than Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, I’ve moved into idolatrous territory.” After some great comments on tradition he says, “The complementary idols of familiarity and comfort are often revealed in the words, ‘We’ve never done it that way before.'”I recall JI Packer saying something positive about tradition in Knowing God but I don’t have access to a copy at the moment. It would be interesting to compair the two (Packer and Kauflin) to see how these two godly men approach the question of tradition. This is certinally a trap we can fall in to. “What do you mean we’re doing Communion before the message?”

At the same time, Kauflin is fair and spread the warning all around, “Creativity is never our goal in worshipping God. It’s simply a means to the end of displaying and seeing the glory of Christ more clearly.” Amen. Just because we have PowerPoint and we can use it, should we? Technology (just to pick on a specific issue) has a way of inviting itself into places that it may not actually help. While words projected onto a screen may keep the congregations heads up and the voices going forward instead of into a book or the floor, hymnals are helpful because they have the music printed. Some people (a declining number I fear) can actually read music and may be able to sing parts. I’m not saying that one or the other is best, but we need to make sure that, as Kauflin said, we’re not doing it just because it is new.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. I think it will be very helpful and I’m so glad that it is coming from someone who is involved in leading music. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, criticize. I’d like to hear a person who can, criticize.

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