Thursday, July 15, 2010

Good Music Does Not Create Good Worship

With all I wrote recently about the necessity of making musical choices that honor Jesus, I don't want you to think "I listen to good music, so I'm safe."  It is frighteningly easy and common to worship God with our lips while our hearts are far from him.  The video clip below is a stark example of this.

Prayer Service for the Opening of the Sixty-fourth Session of the United Nations General Assembly
14 September 2009

Church of the Holy Family
The United Nations Parish
New York City

1 comment:

  1. Hi Daniel, Catching up on your posts and ran across this. This is interesting video. From your comments you are saying these worshippers' hearts are not in a "worship mode." I would have to ask on what basis you make that judgment? All I can see (and anyone for that matter) is what is on the outside -- just as you noted in your final post on music. Yet it is what is on the inside that matters. This is where God knows our true self.

    But lets take the external for just a moment and advance the notion that it is a valid indicator of what is going on in the heart. If so, then what metric are we to use? You offer none here other than to define this as "heartless lip praise." So where is the video that shows what is acceptable on the outside?

    There are so many types of worship. While I strongly agree that many churches do not worship with the heart, that is not constrained by the style of worship nor the music that is used. The flip side is there are also deep heart felt worship in many types of services.

    I am uncomfortable in many pentecostal style churches where there is unstructured oral prayer, multiple speaking in tongues and the like. There is a scripture for this, "God is not the author of confusion." Paul goes on to talk about the orderliness of the service. Yet even in what I consider unstructured worship I cannot determine the state of the worshippers' hearts.

    In contrast to this I have also attended many liturgical churches where the stoic and staid responsive readings and said prayers exhibit an outward stiffness that can deny what is going on in the heart. A excellent example of this in film is "A Man Called Peter." It is the biography of Peter Marshall who was an evangelist and chaplain of the US Senate for two terms after WW2. He was Presbyterian at a time when the staid and stoic were familiar to most in the USA. I would recommend both reading the book and seeing the 1950s film of the same name. It is a compelling story of what would appear to be straight-laced man who was sincerely after God's heart.

    On the flip side of this is a wonderful DVD entitled "EE_TAOW" from New Tribes Missions. This is filled with pure emotional response to the gospel. We could as easily ask, "Where is the reverence in all this?"

    All that said, I probably wouldn't have attended this worship service. It appears to be Catholic and that is far from my scriptural understanding. But let's be careful in assigning heart motives or lack of it to external appearances.