Thursday, January 21, 2010

Authentic Worship...and the Place of Music (Harold Best)

"As to all of our music, we cannot afford to forget that the whole of all musical undertaking in temple, church, and basilica, is based on a three-in-one commandment, one sentence long, from the Psalms: 'Sing (play) to the Lord a new song.' We can also not afford to forget that it is the commandment, God's commandment, that is of prime importance. We must understand that when God commands, He means what He says, and that it is the commandment that makes music important and not the reverse.

"When we attempt to empower God's commands with something even as wonderful as music we have stepped over a forbidden line, for there is such a thing as musicolatry. We must recognize that as wonderful as music is, and as much as we lovingly strive for excellence in its practices, there are no such ephemera as a theological Mozart effect, or expose-yourself-to-the-masterpieces talk, or what-will-music-do-for-me talk. When music becomes of prime importance and God's work is conditioned upon, or made subject to it, we have already paid the entrance fee into the darkened complexities of religion posing as godliness, of Truth conditioned by beauty, and music taking on the qualities of sacrament, if not Transubstantiation."

-- from Dr. Harold Best, Former Dean of Wheaton Conservatory of Music and Author of "Music Through the Eyes of Faith." From an address entitled "Authentic Worship and Faithful Music-making" presented at the American Choral Directors Association.Location: Music & Worship Interest Session, ACDA National Convention, Chicago, Illinois, February 27, 1999


Anonymous said...

I took my friend to South and she claims it's a megachurch, but I've never thought of South as a megachurch. Is it? (Not that it's bad, just wondering.)

Douglas Phillips said...

Dear Anonymous,

The word "megachurch" has been defined differently, but these days the term is typically used for a church that has 2000+ attending a typical weekly service. (At South our morning attendance is around 1,400.)

No matter what size a church is, the crucial dynamics in the life of a congregation are authentic worship, Biblical instruction/discipling, true fellowship and evangelism/mission.

That's what we prayerfully work toward at South -- we hope that's the experience of you and your friend.

In His grace,
Pastor Doug

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the quick answer. I'm excited to tell her tonight! :)