The Worship Quote of the Week for (09/25/2007):

Worship God, Not Worship!
"We missed you at church today. The worship was fantastic!" Do you hear comments like this? Are we in danger of admiring, even worshiping, Christian worship? Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is a strong challenge and corrective from D. A. Carson.

We worship our Creator-God "precisely because he is worthy, DELIGHTFULLY SO." What out to make worship delightful to us is not, in the first instance, its novelty or its aesthetic beauty, but its object: God himself is delightfully wonderful, and we learn to delight in him.

In an age increasingly suspicious of (linear) thought, there is much more respect for the "feeling" of things--whether a film or a church service. It is disturbingly easy to plot surveys of people, especially young people, drifting from a church of excellent preaching and teaching to one with excellent music because, it is alleged, there is "better worship" there. But we need to think carefully about this matter. Let us restrict ourselves for the moment to corporate worship. Although there are things that can be done to enhance corporate worship, there is a profound sense in which excellent worship cannot be attained merely by pursuing excellent worship. In the same way that, according to Jesus, you cannot find yourself until you lose yourself, so also you cannot find excellent corporate worship until you stop trying to find excellent corporate worship and pursue God himself. Despite the protestations, one sometimes wonders if we are beginning to worship WORSHIP rather than worship GOD. As a brother put it to me, it's a bit like those who begin by admiring the sunset and soon begin to admire themselves admiring the sunset.

— D. A. Carson, “Worship under the Word,” chapter one of WORSHIP BY THE BOOK, edited by D. A. Carson. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002, pp. 30-31. ISBN 0-310-21625-7. Other chapters in this book are by Kent Hughes, Timothy Keller, and Mark Ashton. Highly recommended!

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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