It’s not about the music — A journey into worship
EP Books, 220 pages, £7.99,
It is one of the tragedies of our day that one of the major disagreements among evangelical believers concerns how we worship God. Instead of worship being a unifying factor, it is a bone of contention which divides churches and families.
And instead of the question being about what is worthy of God and acceptable to him, it is much more about what is authentic to worshippers and acceptable to them. Dan Lucarini has already written two previous books, one a bestseller entitled Why I left the contemporary Christian music movement. He knows what he is writing about.
This book examines what the Bible says about worship. Two appendices set out all the references to the word ‘worship’ in Old and New Testaments. It is enlightening just to read them.
Not everyone will agree with every detail of the book, nor does the author answer every question that could be asked. He does, however, bring before his readers the priorities of biblical worship, the big things that we must be right about. If we are wrong about these things, then we are indeed wrong.
The first half of the book, with eleven short, easily-read chapters, is entitled ‘GPS (God’s positioning system)’. This is a thoughtful examination of the biblical teaching.
He spends four chapters on sacrifice — Christian sacrifice, not Old Testament sacrifices. He focuses in on what he calls some missing jewels of worship — prayer, Bible reading and the Lord’s Supper.
Some will be surprised that there is no chapter on preaching. There may be two reasons for this. Firstly, most churches still have preaching of one sort or another. Secondly, if the preaching fits the spirit of worship disclosed in this book, then there is no need to say anything.
Six chapters are found in part two’s ‘Wrong turns and cul-de sacs’. There is some trenchant writing here, but not more forceful than their subjects deserve.
Part three is one chapter: ‘U-Turn’. Three chapters conclude the book, ‘On the road again’. Is there nothing about music in all this? Of course, music finds a mention, but the book is not prescriptive. If you get the worship right, you will look for music that is appropriate.
This book is written in a gracious, pastoral spirit. It needs to be widely circulated and read. Worship is too important for us to allow any element to get out of proportion, and God is too great and too good for us to allow worship to fall short of what the Bible tells us it should be.
Paul E. Brown