Monday, December 4, 2006

Musicians, worship and theology

At a site called, a series of posts by Bob Kauflin about worship leaders, music and theology. The series is called "On Musicians and Reading Books." The most recent Sabbath Recorder contained several articles about music. This, from another musician and worship leader, contributes an additional perspective:
I've had worship leaders tell me they're not that interested in theology because it only causes divisions. They just want to help people worship Jesus. But how can we help others worship Jesus without a clear, compelling picture of who He is and what He's done? How can we worship a God we don't know? And how can we know Him without learning about Him? That's theology!

Theology is simply the study of God. That's why every Christian, musician or otherwise, is a theologian. The question is whether we're a good theologian or a bad one. We're a good theologian if what we say and think about God lines up with the whole of Scripture. We're a bad theologian if our view of God is vague, unbiblical, distorted, or simply reflects our own opinions.

Some musicians claim that music speaks to them more clearly about God than words do. That's why they spend more time working on their music than reading the Bible or books that help them understand the Bible. They insist that words restrict, box in, and limit, while music expands the mind, softens the heart, and opens us up to new ways of powerfully experiencing God.

We can appreciate the impulse to have a "living faith," but that conclusion is terribly misguided. While music affects us in many ways, it can never communicate by itself the meaning of God's self-existence, Christ's substitutionary atonement, or the nature of the Trinity. Nor can music explain what role music is supposed to play in worshipping God. For that, we need to read our Bibles. And to know what the Bible says, we need theology. Good theology.
The entire series of posts would probably be interesting to anyone concerned about the quality of our worship.

In another place Kauflin makes this comment:
Worship is about gladly giving God the glory he alone deserves and is worthy of. God is the only being in the universe whose glory is intrinsic. All other glory is derived and second-hand. God is absolutely committed to his glory above all else, especially through those his Son has redeemed.
Source: On Musicians and Reading Books

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