Soli Deo Gloria: The Erosion Of God-Centered Worship
Wherever in the church biblical authority has been lost, Christ has been displaced, the gospel has been distorted, or faith has been perverted, it has always been for one reason: our interests have displaced God’s and we are doing his work in our way. The loss of God’s centrality in the life of today’s church is common and lamentable. It is this loss that allows us to transform worship into entertainment, gospel preaching into marketing, believing into technique, being good into feeling good about ourselves, and faithfulness into being successful. As a result, God, Christ and the Bible have come to mean too little to us and rest too inconsequentially upon us.
God does not exist to satisfy human ambitions, cravings, the appetite for consumption, or our own private spiritual interests. We must focus on God in our worship, rather than the satisfaction of our personal needs. God is sovereign in worship; we are not. Our concern must be for God’s kingdom, not our own empires, popularity or success.
Thesis Five: Soli Deo Gloria
We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God’s glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone. We deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self- fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.
Quotes from Bob Kauflin’s book “Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God“:
“singing and preaching aren’t incompatible or opposed to each other in any way. Both are meant to exalt the glory of Christ in our hearts, minds, and wills. Then whole meeting is worship; the whole meeting should be filled with God’s Word. And the whole meeting should be characterized by the Spirit’s presence.” (Pg 89)
“Songs are de facto theology. They teach us who God is, what he’s like, and how to relate to him. ”We are what we sing,” one man said. That’s why we want to sing God’s Word.’ (Pg 92)
“Singing God’s Word can include more than reciting specific verses in song. If the Word of Christ is going to “dwell in [us] richly” (Colossians 3:16), we need songs that explain, clarify, and expound on what God’s word says. We need songs that have substantive, theologically rich, biblically faithful lyrics. A consistent diet of shallow, subjective worship songs tends to produce shallow, subjective Christians. (Pg 92)
…….Too often we can be tempted to choose songs because of the music rather than the theological content. We need to realize that when words are combined with music we can be deceived. Music can make shallow lyrics sound deep. A great rhythm section can make drivel sound profound and make you want to sing it again.” (Pg 93)