These Two Paragraphs Have Nothing To Do With Each Other

According to Christianity Today, Willow Creek is changing the focus of their weekend services. For quite a while they focused on unbelievers “through polished music, multimedia, and sermons referencing popular culture and other familiar themes,” according to the article. Now, Willow is going to “gear its weekend services toward mature believers seeking to grow in their faith.” No word on when the change is going to take place. There are folks standing on the Willow Creek sidelines (and farther away) who have been wringing their hands waiting for this for years. If you think about it, this change was inevitable. There is only so big and ‘audience’ they’re going to reach with this approach and what do you do when you’ve been doing that for 30 years? What do you do with those new believers? For Willow it seems that a lot would grow in the faith and then move on to another church.

I know and really respect Jim Renihan. I’ve known him for years, even stayed at his house for a few days. So when I disagree with him, I want to be clear that I’m doing it with great respect and care. Jim has written an blog post about special music in worship. Jim holds to the “Regulative Principle of Worship” which, in a nutshell, says that what God has not commanded in worship is not permissible. I’m not going to argue the merits or weaknesses of that position here, but simply point out that Jim’s criticism of modern worship seems to me to be largely based on generalizations. For example, what would happen if Jim visited a church and the special music consisted of a truly excellent singer with a string quartet doing an incredible version of some great hymn? It just reminds me of John Piper’s comments about “worshiping excellence” in Let The Nations Be Glad. The answer isn’t easy in either direction: anything goes or nothing.

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