The Church, Worship, and the Arts

Kevin DeYoung, a young pastor and theologian who I am becoming increasingly impressed with, has written a helpful and balanced article on the church and the arts.  His brief comments on the worship service are especially helpful.  Take a look:

“I’m always telling our people that we want “undistracting excellence” on Sunday morning (thanks to John Piper for the phrase).  I don’t want us to think that mediocrity is a spiritual virtue.  Every church will have different capabilities, but the goal is to have excellent music, excellent sound, and excellent instrumentation, just like we want excellent preaching.  The worship service is not usually the time to give little Timmy a chance to play his scales on the piano.  It is an opportunity for those who labored hard at a craft to serve God with their labors.

But, on the other hand, churches need to realize that the goal of the worship service is not to display the talents of artists.  The ultimate goal is for the congregation to be edified and to worship Jesus Christ to glory of God.  This means that the music must be fairly simple for hundreds (or thousands) of untrained people to sing it at the same time.  It also means that our worship services will deal with truth in its propositional forms.  I don’t want people leaving worship wondering what the point was.  I don’t want them exploring different interpretations.  I want the message to be crystal clear.  In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul argues for shared intelligibility in corporate worship.  We aren’t looking for individualized worship experiences.  We want maximum clarity, which means we won’t apologize for being heavy on words and light on other kinds of “art.”

Read the entire article here.

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