The Worship Quote of the Week for (11/29/2005):

Examine Christ
Recently, I came across a powerful quotation that I remember hearing as a teenager. Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is by the New Testament scholar and Bible translator J. B. Phillips. He reminds us that many who reject the claims of Christ actually know very little about the claims of Christ.

So long as a man confines his ideas of Christ to a rather misty hero figure of long ago who died a tragic death, and so long as his ideas of Christianity are bounded by what he calls the Sermon on the Mount (which he has almost certainly not read in its entirety since he became grown-up), then the living truth never has a chance to touch him. This is plainly what has happened to many otherwise intelligent people. Over the years I have had hundreds of conversations with people, many of them of higher intellectual calibre than my own, who quite obviously had no idea of what Christianity is really about. I was in no case trying to catch them out: I was simply and gently trying to find out what they knew about the New Testament. My conclusion was that they knew virtually nothing. This I find pathetic and somewhat horrifying. It means that the most important Event in human history is politely and quietly bypassed. For it is not as though the evidence had been examined and found unconvincing: it had simply never been examined.

— J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), RING OF TRUTH. New York: The Macmillan Company, 3rd Printing edition, 1967. [Also available in a modern paperback edition and with a revised title, RING OF TRUTH: A TRANSLATOR’S TESTIMONY, Regent College Publishing, 2004, ISBN 1573833266.]

[Certainly, our worship services must be faithful in exposing Christ—his life and teaching, his death, his glorious resurrection, his present and future reign, and his love for the church. We know that the Scriptures point to the Messiah; but if our songs, prayers, and sermons do not expose Christ, we are severely negligent.]

Have a great week,

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

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