It’s Friday morning and that means it is time for me to introduce you to new and old friends that are making gospel connections. In todays post Bob Kauflin helps us to connect the gospel to worship and singing.
All biblical worship is rooted in and made possible by the cross of Christ.
- an awareness that the cross/gospel should be referenced somewhere in the time of singing.
- viewing the gospel as our primary motivation for praising God.
- helping people understand that only Jesus enables us to approach God – not music, musicians, worship leaders, or particular worship songs.
- encouraging congregations to be most enthusiastic about the theme the Bible is the most enthusiastic about – the Lamb of God who was slain.
When the Gospel Loses Its Power
But over the years I’ve seen learned that this vital truth can be misapplied. We can practice gospel-centered corporate worship in a way that is more obligatory than faith-filled. What once magnified the glory of Christ becomes lifeless repetition. My friend, Jon Payne, shared some thoughts with me on this topic that I found helpful. He pointed out that a formulaic approach to gospel-centered worship can lead to some of the following problems:
- thinking every song should be exclusively about justification, boldness before the throne, or our sins being completely forgiven.
- thinking every song list should climax with a “gospel” song.
- an inability to reference or articulate uniquely other aspects of the gospel – adoption, reconciliation, union with Christ, etc.
- a scarcity of other themes in our songs such as the wisdom of God, the eternity of God, the power of God, the incarnation, the kingship of Christ, heaven.
- worshiping a doctrine rather than allowing that doctrine to lead us to a living Savior. We are not “crowning the gospel with many crowns.”
Leading gospel-centered worship in a faithless way can lead to some bad fruit:
- The gospel and the Savior lose glory in the eyes of bored worshipers.
- People develop a limited view of God and his attributes.
- People don’t learn how to apply the gospel to other areas of life/Biblical themes.
- The gospel becomes a crude, repetitive statement of facts rather than a lens through which we view all of life.
- We think an explicit reference to the gospel makes our worship acceptable, rather than trust in a crucified and risen Savior.
- Rather than expecting to encounter God because of the gospel people come expecting to repeat faithless facts.
It’s our responsibility as leaders to make sure, as the Puritans said, that we always “labor to be affected by the cross.” The gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest news the world has ever heard and our singing should show it.
What have you done to make sure that singing about Christ’s redemptive work on the cross never becomes rote?