The Worship Quote of the Week for (08/25/2009):

Music and Christian Snobbery
There is a brief health update at the end of this message.

Some years ago (April 2005), we had the great honor of welcoming Dr. David Peterson, author of ENGAGING WITH GOD, to our campus for a series of lectures on biblical worship. Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE was transcribed from the opening comments of his fascinating talk on musical styles in the service of the Christian community. His Australian accent is charming, and his wisdom about the topic is "spot on." (If you have time, take a listen to the lecture at

We all know that music is a great encouragement to snobbery. You can either be a classical snob, or a rock snob, or a folky snob. Basically, what we do with our music is we say, "I love this kind of music; this is what really excites me, and I can't bear that other stuff. I am not going to listen to your stuff."

The sad thing is that Christians fall into this same worldly trap. We become so familiar with and comfortable with our particular styles of music that we end up saying, maybe overtly sometimes, "I am not willing to listen to your kind of music. I am not willing to sing one of your silly songs." We get even more intense than that. We say, "Your music is not true worship. Your music is not honoring to God."

This is one of those areas where Christians feel at liberty to be quite unrestrained and quite ungodly in the way in which we position ourselves and talk to one another when it comes to music. So if music is going to be a meaningful and effective part of our church life, we need to submit it to the Scriptures. We need to apply the Scriptures in a very rigorous fashion from the pulpit about this subject. It is not just something for musicians to consider. I believe that as pastors of churches and as theological teachers, we have a responsibility to bring this, as with everything else, under the Word of God. [He goes on to talk about false trails and biblical clues on the way to some answers. I found this lecture to be very interesting and quite practical.]

-- David Peterson, "Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs: Does the Bible Direct Us in the Choice of Musical Styles?" a lecture delivered at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on April 14, 2005, as part of the Institute for Christian Worship. (


Dear Friends,

Thanks for praying for my healing. There are longer journal entries and some new photos at

My next PET scan and CT scan are scheduled for Friday, September 11. These tests will allow the doctors to see if my body is really cancer free. In honesty, I was hoping to be feeling stronger by this time in the process, but I willing to accept the Lord's timing on that.

We are in the middle of the second week of classes at the seminary, and things are going well. It is so exciting to see hundreds of new students beginning their preparations for gospel ministry in local churches and on mission fields around the world.

Your friendship and prayers are a great encouragement to us.

Blessings in Christ!

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

To subscribe, unsubscribe, or view a complete
index of worship quotes, please visit