Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Authentic Worship" -- Harold M. Best

I have found the writings of Dr. Harold Best to be some of the most insightful and Biblical when it comes to authentic Christian worship. Here is an extended excerpt from an especially comprehensive and carefully articulated essay on worship (for more information, see below).

"...We are talking more about worship today than possibly ever before in Church history, certainly more than the Scriptures do. We need to remember that when we make worship too much the subject, we risk destroying the very thing for which it is intended. The subject can never be worship until the subject is first of all the Lord. To the extent that attention is overly drawn to worship, to the extent that it becomes the primary object of our work, the overriding protocol, within which the Lord and His work are subjects, we can only assume that we have begun to worship worship, or at least, to worship about worship, therefore to worship about God.

"Visit the typical seminar or conference and you will discover that the attention is on tools for worship (whatever they are), on worship enhancement, ideas, options, and worship leading, in effect, as a spin-off of management technique. And as to the ideas about worship teams, let me say that, theologically speaking, the only worship team that is worthy of the name is the congregation, the people of God who, as a corporate body raise their voices in response to a command, not in acoustical competition with (or surrender to) a select group of miked-in folks.

"I repeat, the attention is, first and last, to be on the Lord, so much so that worship ceases to be the primary subject, the focus, the action in itself. But when we keep ourselves steadied upon the Lord, worship gains its rightful place as the full articulation, but not the substance, of this steadiness. Left to itself, worship is a dangerous thing, for it needs an object, a preposition. For it is not how or when or with what degree of quality, variety, and imagination that we worship. It is whom we worship. It is a passion about God that finds its voice. It is the 'of-God' worship that begins the separation of authentic worship from inauthentic worship...."

-- from "Authentic Worship & Faithful Music Making"
Presenter: Dr. Harold Best, Former Dean of Wheaton Conservatory of Music and Author of Music Through the Eyes of Faith. Harold addresses a diverse audience of professional musicians at the American Choral Directors Association.
Location: Music & Worship Interest Session, ACDA National Convention, Chicago, Illinois, February 27, 1999

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