The Worship Quote of the Week for (10/23/2001):

Fifth-Rate Hymns
Here’s another WORSHIP QUOTE from the writings of C. S. Lewis, this time on
the subject of Christian deference and preferences in worship. That's right,
ours is not the first generation in which followers of Jesus have struggled
over style issues as they relate to the music used in corporate worship.

When I first became a Christian, about fourteen years ago, I thought that I
could do it on my own, by retiring to my rooms and reading theology, and
wouldn't go to the churches and Gospel Halls; . . . . I disliked very much
their hymns which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate
music. But as I went on I saw the merit of it. I came up against different
people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then
gradually my conceit just began peeling off. I realized that the hymns (which
were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and
benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then
you realize that you aren't fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your
solitary conceit.

C. S. Lewis, "Answers to Questions on Christianity" from GOD IN THE DOCK:
ESSAYS ON THEOLOGY AND ETHICS: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970. (Reprint
edition, 1994) ISBN: 0802808689

[In another place, Lewis says that good taste in poetry or music is not
necessary to salvation.]

[Lord, give us grace to major on the majors. Forgive our "solitary conceit.

Have a great week.

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