…. worship. Actually, Carl Trueman, professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, has another fitting term, “Hey, it’s rubbish.Â So let’s just call it rubbish, shall we?” Thanks to Scott Clark, I read with amazement and amusement Trueman’s essay about a “worship service” (worship of whom) he attended as part of a theological conference several years ago. Here’s a couple of his observations,
The service was, in many ways, a multifaceted microcosm of a lot that is wrong with the church at large today.Â I remember sitting in the room and looking around at the earnest faces as they concentrated on the crashing waves, or empathized with the linguistic struggles of the spontaneous inclusive language guy, or were carried heavenward by the mellifluous tone of Mr G’s saxophone.Â Â Almost all of these people have PhDs, I thought; many have published subtle works from distinguished academic presses; most of them would no doubt despise me and my institution as somehow obscurantist and ignorant; and yet, when push comes to shove, they sit here mesmerized by this garbage.Â The sophisticated post-Kantian theology for which they stand comes to this — sitting around on a Sunday morning, listening to PC Man mangling the Bible and Kenny G playing Amazing Grace.Â I mean, give me a break. Kenny G!?!Â It wasn’t even John Coltrane or Charlie Parker.
A church service involving clowns or fancy dress or skits or stand-up comedy does not reflect the seriousness of the gospel; and those who take the gospel seriously should know better. Frankly, it is more appropriate to liberal theology which does not take the gospel, or the God of the gospel, seriously. Serious things demand serious idioms.Â Â I heard recently of a church service involving dressing up in costume and music taken from a Tom Cruise movie.Â Now, if I go for my annual prostate examination, and the doctor comes into the consulting room dressed as Coco the Clown, with `Take my breath away’ from Top Gun playing in the background, guess what?Â I’m going to take the doctor out with a left hook, flee the surgery, and probably file a complaint with the appropriate professional body.Â Â This is serious business; and if he looks like a twit and acts like a twit, then I can only conclude that he is a twit.
Read for yourself, “Look, It’s Rubbish!”