Be Clear and Specific

Featuring Bob Kauflin Posted on April 18, 2010


Every time we lead people in singing God's praise, we stand before people who, just like us, tend to forget who God is and why he's so worthy of worship. We're called to clearly and specifically remind them what God has shown usa bout himself. 

John Owen, a Puritan pastor of the seventeenth century, wisely wrote,“We must not allow ourselves to be satisfied with vague ideas of the love ofChrist which present nothing of his glory to our minds.” Vague ideas of God don't serve us or the people we lead. If most of our songs could be sung by Buddhists, Muslims, or Hindus, it's time to change our repertoire. 

Of course, songs aren't meant to be systematic theology. Songs arepoetry. They include figurative images and creative metaphors. Trees clap.Oceans roar. But our songs don't have to be obscure or ambiguous. They should help us accurately identify and praise the only true God who has revealed himself in the Savior, Jesus Christ. 

If our songs aren't specific about God's nature, character, and acts, we'll tend to associate worship with a style of music, a heightened emotional state,a type of architecture, a day of the week, a meeting, a reverent mood, a timeof singing, or a sound. We'll think of all the things that accompany worship rather than the One we're worshiping. Worse, we'll create our own views of God, portraying him as we like to think of him.

Reimaging or renaming God isn't an option he's given us. He has told uswho he is, and because of that he commands the kind of glad response that John Stott defines as true worship: 

All true worship is a response to the self-revelation of God in Christ and Scripture, and arises from our reflection on who He is and what He has done. . . . The worship of God is evoked, informed, and inspired by the vision of God. . . . The true knowledge of God will always lead us to worship.


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