Have a free-for-all time with a small group and design a service of worship that is entirely focused on meeting all your needs, hopes, desires, style preferences and favorite theological ideas. This might be considered an exercise to get it out of your system!
—Robbie F. Castleman, Robbie F., Story Shaped Worship, Following Patterns from the Bible and History, 76
A slogan that I think nicely defines what evangelicals have become in the early twenty-first century: “Anything you can do, we can do later. We can do anything later than you.” We seem ready to accept trends just after the sell-by date of the rest of the academy.
—Gregory Alan Thornbury, Recovering Classic Evangelicalism, 22
Worship has become narcissistic, focusing on me and my praise of God; and spirituality has turned toward a preoccupation with my journey of faith and my spiritual condition and experience. . . . When we become narcissistic, the place of worship and spirituality in God’s narrative is lost and worship and spirituality become subject to the whims of culture.
—Robert E. Webber, Who Gets to Narrate the World? Contending for the Christian Story in an Age of Rivals, 131
I think when you’re in church and a worship song is played (provided it’s not heretical), you have two choices:
2) Criticize, evaluate, and engage in pompous elitism.
I think what we need to do is just worship. When we got to church yesterday (we were very late) I didn’t feel like worshipping, for various reasons. And I may not have liked every song that was played.
But that’s my problem. None of the songs were heretical, and just because I wasn’t inspired to lift up Jesus, it doesn’t mean that the people around me were wrong to do so. In fact, they were right. I was wrong.
I think what’s needed in the worship wars, ultimately, is humility, thankfulness for what we have, and a renewal of the desire to worship God in spirit and truth. Worship, like grace, does not find an easy dwelling in an agitated, proud, critical heart.
What’s wrong with worship?
—paraphrasing G. K. Chesterton, “What’s Wrong with the World?’
God says, ” I don’t want your offerings or songs.” [Amos 5:22-24]
Evangelicals spend most of their time talking about offerings and songs.
—Cole Huffman, sermon, 10/7/07