Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Worship Matters: Don't put trivia in the mouths of God's people

"It's no light thing singing doctrinally accurate & 'sharp-edged' songs. I am singing & writing the very truths that got my brothers like Athanasius exiled or killed. I must not cheapen their memory & the freedom they won by putting trivia in the mouths of God's people. Nobody was ever burnt at the stake for saying "God is nice & He likes you"
Matt Blick

Which is the equivalent of what John Piper writes of Athanasius:

What was clear to Athanasius was that propositions about Christ carried convictions that could send you to heaven or to hell. There were propositions like: “There was a time when the Son of God was not,” and, “He was not before he was made,” and, “the Son of God is created.” These propositions were strictly damnable. If they were spread and believed they would damn the souls which embraced them. And therefore Athanasius labored with all his might to formulate propositions that would conform to reality and lead the soul to faith and worship and heaven. I believe Athanasius would have abominated, with tears, the contemporary call for “depropositionalizing” that you hear among many of the so-called “reformists” and “the emerging church,”younger evangelicals, ”postfundamentalists,” “postfoundationalists, ”postpropositionalists,” and “postevangelicals.” I think he would have said, “Our young people in Alexandria die for the truth of propositions about Christ. What do your young people die for?” And if the answer came back, “We die for Christ, not propositions about Christ,” I think he would have said, “That’s what Arius says. So which Christ will you die for?”

Which challenges me to be careful in the way I prepare to preach on Sunday, the words matter.
What I say matters because Jesus matters. Or as Calvin so beautifully puts it:

“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels.”

Why is this so important? Glen is right:

"Grace is not basically a concept or property. He is a Person. Doesn’t this (literally) put flesh and bones on the concept of receiving grace as a free gift. We’re really asking the non-Christian to receive Jesus – the gift of His Father."