Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Hubbub of Preachers (2)

I was humbled by the time and trouble two scholars took to read my papers and
then they gave presentations, inviting me to respond. Dr. Bryan Chapell is Professor of Practical Theology and President of Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO., and Dr. Don Hedges is Associate Professor and Director of the School of Music at Trinity International University.

Bryan has written a top-notch book Christ-Centered Worship and he rightly pressed me on a couple of theological issues. (1) about the primacy of preaching the Bible. In a worship world of song, images, symbols and sacrament it is only the preaching of Scripture that "locks down meaning." Further, (2) he warned about my stress on the Trinity unwittingly downplaying the Christocentric heart of Christian faith in Jesus Christ. Never forget the "necessity of remembering the redemptive thrust in Jesus Christ," he warned. I certainly need to keep those truths in focus.

Don, with his perspective as someone very committed to music in worship, suggested that in the "worship wars" so far much preaching had been able to stay above the conflict. Indeed preaching had been allowed to continue largely undisturbed. However he foresaw preaching also being subjected to similar stresses in the future, as people began pressing for their preferences in how preaching itself is done. So, for example, the more formal preacher might be less favored than the informal etc. He made many other points warning that worship can be "too much" when it becomes too general, or "too little" when reduced to a matter of sensation, style, and personal taste.

They made many other good points too which opened up into general lively discussion. It all contributes to a continuing debate....I am so grateful for these challenges.

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