by Robin Parry
Here’s a book to make you stop and think. Robin Parry challenges the general level of theological content in much of what is sung in particularly the new and charismatic churches today. He particularly highlights our lack of Trinitarian worship in that he discovers that our focus is often narrow, self-centred and perhaps lacking the kind of depth that many traditional hymns have formerly provided.
He argues that our doctrine and our worship songs are often mutually reflective; we sing what we believe and believe what we sing. So this is something we must take seriously.
Robin Parry argues, ‘The knowledge of God we gain in worship is not the knowledge one can learn from a book but the participatory knowledge that comes from being involved in a relationship.’ He adds, ‘Those who shape public worship do need to think clearly and plan carefully to facilitate a rich and rounded encounter with the Christian God week by week…very diluted theology in worship songs and prayers leads to spiritually impoverished worshippers.’
One more quote: ‘The songwriters and worship leaders of today play an enormous part in shaping the faith and life of the church of tomorrow. This is an awesome responsibility. Those who shape worship are the de facto theologians of the church, whether they want to be or not.’
For me, his chapters on the Trinity (even if they had not been in a book on worship) are well worth reading in their own right. He is extremely lucid in handling a difficult and mysterious subject. I found my own spirit was stirred by simply reading those excellent central chapters.
I was not over impressed by his various suggested applications in response to the main thesis of the book, but this is a book well worth reading and one which I wholeheartedly recommend.