The Worship Quote of the Week for (04/22/2003):

Medium and Message
Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is from Harold Best’s book MUSIC THROUGH THE EYES OF
FAITH. Here he reminds us of the importance of worshiping God rather than
worshiping moving music or powerful preaching.

No one can deny that people often turn worshipfully to God because the music
has made them tender toward the words or the stylistic force of the singer
has made both words and music into a deeply effective force. But once this
happens, it becomes the duty of the ministerial leadership to explain the
difference between a message delivered with personal power and the superior
power of the message, irrespective of the force and gifts of the deliverers.
Failure to do this can easily lead to the idolatry of personality cults and
musical determinism, in which the singer or the sayer and the style in which
the gospel is sung or said become so important that nothing much can be
thought to happen without them. The medium becomes the message or, at the
very least, inseparable from it.

— Harold Best, in MUSIC THROUGH THE EYES OF FAITH, Chapter 10, "The Practice
of Church Music (II): Music and the Witnessing Church," Harper Collins, 1993,
p. 208. ISBN 0-06-060862-5

Have a great week.

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