The Worship Quote of the Week for (10/19/2004):

Too Beautiful for Worship?
WQOTW FAVOR: If you are a pastor, church musician, church choir member, or worship leader, please consider taking fifteen minutes to fill out a survey ( from our friends at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. The goal is to help in the important task of training worship planners and leaders for service in the local church. I hope you will do it.

Is it possible for eloquent language or beautiful music actually to be a distraction in Christian worship? Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is another from the pen of C. S. Lewis. See what this professor of literature wrote about the beloved King James Version of the Bible.

We must sometimes get away from the Authorized Version, if for no other reason, simply because it is so beautiful and so solemn. Beauty exalts, but beauty also lulls. Early associations endear, but they also confuse. Through that beautiful solemnity, the transporting or horrifying realities of which the Book tells may come to us blunted and disarmed, and we may only sigh with tranquil veneration when we ought to be burning with shame, or struck dumb with terror, or carried out of ourselves by ravishing hopes and adorations.

—C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), GOD IN THE DOCK: ESSAYS ON THEOLOGY AND ETHICS, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994. ISBN: 0802808689

[Think about it. Pray about it. This is an area of concern for all of us who plan and lead Christian worship. I am very fond of beautiful music and strong texts, but I agree with Lewis that sometimes we can be lulled by words that are overly familiar or especially beautiful. Care must be taken to present God’s Word in a way that is fresh and real and convicting. May the Lord help us.]

Please do the survey:

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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