Challies has posted an extended quote from D.A. Carson on the idea that as we progress into the era where feelings are paramount we are developing an odd tendency to fetishize “worship” itself. Here is a piece of Dr. Carson’s quote, but go to the link to read it all to find out why more lively music ultimately may fail to satisfy the need within a believer to truly worship God.
In an age increasingly suspicious of (linear) thought, there is much more respect for the “feelings” of things – whether a film or a church service. It is disturbingly easy to plot surveys of people, especially young people, drifting from a church of excellent preaching and teaching to one with excellent music because, it is alleged, there is “better worship” there. But we need to think carefully about this matter. Let us restrict ourselves for the moment to corporate worship. Although there are things that can be done to enhance corporate worship, there is a profound sense in which excellent worship cannot be attained merely by pursuing excellent worship. In the same way that, according to Jesus, you cannot find yourself until you lose yourself, so also you cannot find excellent corporate worship until you stop trying to find excellent corporate worship and pursue God himself. Despite the protestations, one sometimes wonders if we are beginning to worship worship rather than worship God. As a brother put it to me, it’s a bit like those who begin by admiring the sunset and soon begin to admire themselves admiring the sunset.
This gets to something that bugs me more than a little bit. It is the idea that worship is that bit of singing before the message at church. Worship should be an attitude of adoration and praise toward God when we read His word, when we pray, when we listen to His word expounded in preaching and teaching, and yes, when we engage in corporate singing of those praises.
By putting “worship” into the corporate singing box, then we have played into what Dr. Carson is talking about. When we realize that all of our ways of pursuing God are worship, then we are more likely to experience true worship in everything that we do.