Thursday, October 13, 2005

On Adapting Worship To the Tastes of Culture

On Adapting Worship to the Tastes of Culture

“Jesus taught his disciples that God wants to be worshipped in spirit and in truth (John 4: 23). A great deal can be said about the spirit of modern Christian worship, and we shall turn to it later. But here truth is at stake. It ought to be clear that we cannot have both syncretism and truth in worship. The two are mutually exclusive. Syncretism is a part of the twentieth-century mood, but truth is part of the nature of God. If we want our worship, or attempts at worship, to mean anything, we have to strive to conform it to the nature and will of God, and not to the mood or taste of the twentieth-century.

In twentieth-century America, with its millions of well-intentioned but fuzzy-minded “good Christian people,” we rejoice—in certain circles, anyway—when church attendance rises, and are concerned when it declines. This is a mistake. Throughout our fair land, a good many of our churches are in the position of the Philistines’ temple at Ashdod. They are trying to worship two or more deities, which are not mutually compatible. The God of the Bible cannot coexist peacefully in the temple with a Dagon----either Dagon will wind up in pieces, or God will leave, or both….

It is often warned that the doctrinal foundations of Christianity are under severe and prolonged attack, and that we must rally to their protection. That is true. The neglect of doctrine is fatal. But even sound doctrine must be put into practice---that is its whole purpose---and from the nature of Christianity it must be put into practice in the worship of God. Until we recognize and act upon the principle of truth in worship, we are in danger of creating a new Ashdod instead of the New Jerusalem.” (Brown, Harold O. J., The Protest of a Troubled Protestant, Arlington House, 1969, pp. 31, 43.)

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