Worship and Opinion Polls
opinion polls as the spiritual compass for corporate worship.
WORSHIP AND OPINION POLLS
The opinion poll [has too often become] the substitute for genuine
theological and musical leadership. When will we learn that the newest and
most popular is not always the best vehicle (nor is the old, necessarily) to
carry the eternal, the character forming, the authentic praise of all the
people with all our best and sacrificial gifts?
Personal opinions are not God. "Growing" congregations are not God.
Charismatic pastors and winsome worship leaders are not God. Church buildings
are not God. Worship forms and musical styles are not God. Numbers are not
God. Educational programs are not God. Service projects are not God, nor are
womenís groups, youth groups, church councils, or stewardship schemes. The
vocation of all of these is to praise God in the Trinityís absolute
sovereignty and sympathy, mercy and might. If any of the above move away from
that calling, it is idolatry, a case of fallen powers.
People object, "But our congregation might decline if we donít use the new
music" (or whatever else becomes an idolatry). So??? The issue is not whether
oneís numbers stay up. The issue is for what reason they are declining. Is it
a lack of hospitality, a loss of focus, a rejection of the Churchís true
calling, a failure to make Christís presence known? OF COURSE we should use
new musicóbut only if it praises God better (which it often does!).
ó Marva J. Dawn, POWERS, WEAKNESS, AND THE TABERNACLING OF GOD. Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 2001, p. 117. ISBN 0-8028-4770-6
[For other provocative thoughts on worship by Marva Dawn, please refer to the
WQOTW author index found at www.wqotw.org/WQOTW_index.htm.]
Have a great week,
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary