Friday, December 3, 2010

Worship Acceptable to God through Christ Jesus...

     R.S. Clark has a new post at Heidelblog titled The Scandal of Pagans Leading Worship commenting on the rising trend of pastors and clergy allowing "those who make no Christian profession, who regard themselves as non-Christians, non-believers, those we used to call “heathen” or “pagans” to lead worship through leading or playing musical instruments."  
     This is a timely essay by Scott on a wayward drift that touches too many churches today.  It seems that the before-unheard-of  idea of "inclusiveness of unbelievers" for the purpose of music in Christian worship is a growing phenomenon; unfortunately one that moves the church in the direction of the muting of the Gospel to the ears of the very unbelievers brought in to aid worship.  The rationale, apart from the increased aesthetic of music and singing, is that the talented unbeliever will be exposed to the Gospel.  Really?  The bright line between lost sinners under God's wrath and the merciful salvation offered in Christ is blurred as churches elevate the vehicle of music aesthetic in worship to a place of importance at or above that of the Word.  I was in a church that had unbelieving "cantors" (and, more or less, promoted the idea).  Beautiful singing... inspiring!  And after two years they moved on to another gig.  How can the Gospel be a clear call of repentance and faith to the lost who have already been brought into the worship of the Most High?  

Dr. Clark writes:
"Nowhere does the spiritual and epistemic antithesis come to a clearer expression in Holy Scripture than when it considers public, corporate worship. We live in the world, under God’s common providence, with unbeliever’s sharing (Matt 5:48) in God’s common gifts to humanity but when we gather, on the Sabbath, for Christian worship, we withdraw from the common into a special, sacred space and time. It is not a time to celebrate our common humanity with non-believers, it is not a time for cultural, artistic expression and achievement. It is a time to bow before the face of our Holy Triune God and worship him as he as commanded (WCF 21.1). In this sense, holiness is about distinction (antithesis) between belief and unbelief. To make something sacred is to set it aside. That’s what we are, in corporate worship, God’s holy people, his holy priesthood (1 Pet 2:5), a holy temple. It is then that we express our status as a “holy nation” (1 Pet 2:9)."


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