“He will glorify Me” (John 16:14) (3)

Babel is inverted Pentecost and Pentecost is Babel turned right side up. It is so because God takes the initiative and does His building from His throne, at whose right hand the risen and ascended Christ is seated. I think it safe to say that at Pentecost stylistic singularity went out the window and a thousand tongues turned out not to suffice.

—Harold Best, Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts, 170

Musical Idolatry

How perplexing to think of the burden we have placed on music, this fleeting human construct! . . . 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.

—Harold Best, Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts, 75

The Real Worship War

We are not in a worship war. Well, yes we are, but not the one some commentators like to refer to. There is only one worship war, and it is between God and Satan, each the supreme object of someone’s worship, either redeemed or lost. We are self-absorbed when we use the “war” word as a working term for the petty and overly self-indulgent skirmishes that we enter, almost always over transient, not eternal things.

–Harold Best, “Traditional Hymn-Based Worship,” in Exploring the Worship Spectrum: 6 Views, 60

Another Comforter (2)

Babel did not last forever, nor need it persist with us. It remained for Pentecost to set things right, for Babel is inverted Pentecost and Pentecost is Babel turned right side up. It is so because God takes the initiative and does his building from his throne, at whose right hand the risen and ascended Christ is seated. I think it safe to say that at Pentecost stylistic singularity went out the window and a thousand tongues turned out not to suffice. 

—Harold Best, Unceasing Worship: Perspectives on Worship and the Arts, 170

On Making Music

A few words as to how God looks at our music making. . . . Music making is an offering to God; . . as musically magnificent as the offering might be, it has no special merit; and . . the condition of the offerer’s faith takes precedence over the time, circumstance, and quality of the art. There is only one way to God, through Jesus Christ, author and finisher. All sacrifices, living and inanimate, are saved to the uttermost when they come to God through Christ. This means that God sees and hears all of our offerings, perfected. God sees and hears as no human being can, all because our offerings have been perfected by the giver. The out-of-tune singing of an ordinary believer, the hymnic chant of the aborigine, the dance of a Barishnikov, the open frankness of a primitive art piece, the nearly transcendent “Kyrie” of Bach’s B Minor Mass, the praise choruses of the charismatic, the drum praise of the Cameroonian—everything from the widow’s mite to the poured-out ointment of artistic action—are at once humbled and exalted by the strong saving work of Christ. While the believer offers, Christ perfects. It is all of Christ and it is all by faith.

–Harold Best, Music Through the Eyes of Faith, 155-56