I’m a music guy who, over time, evolved into a worship guy. That calling to be a worship leader led me to this passion for understanding and sharing theology of worship.
This post follows up “8 Compelling Reasons To Study Worship Theology.”
“Theology is taught by God, teaches of God and leads to God” Thomas Aquinas
The practice of worship is inextricably woven together with theology in our praise, prayers, lifestyle, and yes – music.
Studying theology is both necessary and practical for anyone leading worship.
Leaders must be thinkers. The worship leader/ musician/ artist must learn and practice discernment, “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Paul commended the Bereans for studying the word of God on their own initiative (Acts 17:11).
In my own experience, countless times I’ve heard the pastor say, “don’t just take my word for it, see it yourself, with your own eyes in your own Bible.”
Regarding worship in spirit and truth then, I believe that worship leaders have an obligation to the Lord, and to the people they serve, to be God pleasers first and foremost.
The worship leaders role is to be more than a live juke box spinning the latest worship hits or crowd favorites and trying, somehow, to please people.
What’s in it for the worshiper?
“Theology is all about knowing how to sing the song of redemption: to know when to shout, when to mourn, when to be silent and when to hope. But in order to enjoy the song and sing it well, we must learn the words and the music.” A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology by Kelly Kapic.
Three benefits of studying theology:
1. Accurate Information.
When we study God’s word, we get accurate information about him.
“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
I believe that informed minds lead to enlivened hearts which result in transformed lives.
The truth is a “who”, his name is Jesus. Our worship must be faithful to the truth.
2. The Perspective of Biblical Context
For “spirit and truth” to have authority in our hearts , we have to drill down and honestly resolve the complexities of our life experience and the claims of scripture.
The harsh realities of life (and ministry!) will challenge the reasoning of simplistic faith. It is understandable to be disappointed with God and get disillusioned.
Some folks object to sections of scripture that seem to be contradictory. There is a Greek word for that antinomy- which means the apparent incompatibility of two laws.
There’s another word of Greek origin, paradox – which means “a seemingly self-contradictory declaration which is in fact true.”
For example, we are to both “fear the Lord” and “delight in him.” Two seemingly opposite positions, yet both equally, transcendently true.
The values of the kingdom of God are full of paradoxes.
Such as - the first will be last, the last will be first, the proud will be humbled, the humbled will be exalted, we gain by losing, and we live by dying.
Studying theology helps us resolve these apparent contradictions by seeing the big picture, viewing all scripture in context.
3. Fuel For the Journey
Our understanding of God and his ways will always be imperfect. Human beings are limited by our finiteness and our sin nature.
12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! 1 Cor 13:12 (Message)
However, our knowledge of God is dynamic and will grow as we “live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) with Him.
In this regard ,we are all on a journey, with the goal of relationship – intimacy with God, closeness to Him. We will never “arrive” at the this destination, but we are joyful on the journey, and celebrate the progress we make.
Our success is not measured by obtaining a type of perfection, but whether we are making progress in growing and knowing Him.
Are we more mature? Do we have more fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives? Are we living for His glory?
We will never fully get there on this side of eternity. But we’ll be headed in the right direction.
Our faith, which is hope that is not seen (Hebrews 11:1), is fueled by the knowledge of God.
So “…we sing to cheer us on our journey” – Augustine
A Book Recommendation
Finally I’d like to end with a quote from a wonderful new book recommended by Pastor Dave entitled A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology by Kelly Kapic.
This book is clear, inspirational and very relevant for worship folk. I highly recommend it.
“By coming to the living God with our life, questions, fears and hopes, we grow in our knowledge of God. This knowledge is not merely intellectual; it is also passionate, touching both our understanding and affections.”
Over to you. What do you agree or disagree with? What would you add?
Coming oh so very soon! My new e-book “Wholehearted Worship”. :