The Worship Quote of the Week for (02/13/2001):

Worship Through the Ages
How do you understand the content, structure and style of Christian worship?
What is constant and what is appropriately changeable? Today's WORSHIP QUOTE
is from a new book that talks about authentic diversity in the quest for
biblical standards of worship.

Christians, for the most part, take the Bible and historic liturgical
tradition as the grounding for their liturgical practices. In debates over
worship we hear not only a call for a return to the biblical way of worship
but a insistence that worship forms developed in earlier centuries of
Christendom are as valid today as they were then. What this argument fails to
take into account . . . is that neither Scripture nor the subsequent history
of Christendom offers us one monolithic form and language of worship. Human
beings have always worshiped God in their cultural milieu, and God has
incarnated himself and revealed himself to worshipers in settings that are
culturally familiar.

. . . As the church, both Protestant and Catholic, embarks upon the
twenty-first century, it is faced with the same dilemma and opportunity that
has faced God's people throughout the ages (from the Hebrews, the Jewish and
Greco-Roman Christians, and the Europeans to a culturally diverse worldwide
church): how to make worship culturally relevant yet utterly God- and
Christ-centered. It is a challenge to which we must respond both corporately
and individually.

HISPANIC PERSPECTIVES, Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2000,
pages 29 & 40.

[It seems quite obvious that our worship experiences together include an
interesting mix of content (universal truths about God), structure (the way
this time is organized so that we can best hear from and respond to God), and
style (the cultural language we use to speak to and about God). Some of our
problems and challenges seem to come when we forget which is which. Yes?]

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky