The Worship Quote of the Week for (05/18/2004):

Music as an Idol
Music and the arts can be very powerful—possibly too powerful. Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is a “hard worship word” from Harold Best’s latest book.

[Please take a look at the five-day worship workshop (July 12-16, 2004, in Louisville, Kentucky) featuring Harold Best, Bob Kauflin and Carl Stam. For more information, you can go to and click on “2004 Summer Workshop.”]

Whenever we assume that art mediates God’s presence or causes him to be tangible, we have begun the trek into idol territory. Our present-day use of music as the major up-front device for worship is a case in point. We need to ask ourselves if we, as worship leaders, are giving the impression that we draw near to God through music or that God draws near because of it. Is music our golden calf? . . . We need to discover the critical theological difference between being merely moved by music and being spiritually changed by it. Yes, music might bring pleasure and change our pulse rates or blood pressure, but so does taking a simple walk in the park.

I know from personal experience how easy it is to draw people into my confidence with music, using it as a means of creating a bridge between them and me, between God and me and between them and God. When we are told by fellow worshipers that our music is actually making God more real, our repentance must be followed by corrective teaching.

—Harold Best, UNCEASING WORSHIP: BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES ON WORSHIP AND THE ARTS. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003, p. 166. ISBN 0-8308-3229-7

[WORSHIP TO THE GLORY OF GOD (July 12-16 in Louisville) will feature today’s WORSHIP QUOTE author Harold Best and also Bob Kauflin of Sovereign Grace Ministries. The five-day workshop is available as a two-credit course at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary or simply as a workshop for interested participants. You can expect an intensive experience combining both theological reflection and practical guidelines for planning and leading authentic biblical worship in today’s church. All lectures and materials will be relevant to both traditional and contemporary expressions of corporate Christian worship. If you have questions, please let me hear from you.]

Have a great week.

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

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