Saturday, August 21, 2010

Help for Worship Leaders

Just finished Bob Kauflin's 2008 book entitled "Worship Matters" (ISBN 9781581348248) and was encouraged, exhorted, informed, instructed and generally edified by this brother's good work. Kauflin is the Director of Worship Development for Sovereign Grace and has been actively involved in both music ministry and pastoral leadership for over 30 years.

The book is well organized and is divided into four main sections. The first deals with the spiritual life of the worship leader, the second and third with the organization and implementation of God-pleasing corporate worship. The fourth section is devoted to understanding and resolving the conflicts that inevitably arise when sinful people, saved by grace, work together in close proximity. A brief annotated bibliography on the topic of worship rounds out the book. Kauflin's writing style is not overly technical and his liberal use of examples which practically illustrate his points make the work an easy read.

I greatly appreciated Kauflin's humble writing style and his genuine heart for the people of God shines through. Above all, his firm and passionate commitment to the gospel of grace clearly motivates and informs his approach to the subject of worship. This alone makes the book a must read in a day when so much of what passes for contemporary worship is man-centered and actually weakens the faith of God's people.

My only serious point of contention with Kauflin comes with regard to his charismatic commitments and in particular to his belief in ongoing fallible prophecy. "For many years I've sung spontaneous songs during corporate worship that I believe are a form of prophecy. They're similar to a spoken prophetic impression from the Lord, only they're sung, they rhyme, and they are often sung 'from God to us.' I've never believed for a moment that the words I sing are 'word for word' from God. That's called Scripture. But these songs seem to consistently communicate in verse the Lord's heart for a particular individual, group, or situation." (pg. 140). This erroneous understanding of biblical prophecy could ultimately undermine the authority of the Scriptures, and thus should be abandoned. [For a refutation of the idea of ongoing fallible prophecy which is being popularized by Calvinistic charismatics such as Grudem, Piper, Mahaney, et al, see my post entitled "Is God Still speaking?"]

To the discerning this weakness in Kauflin's book does not undo all the good therein and I heartily recommend it to my fellow pastors as well as those involved in worship leadership.

1 comment:

  1. Great book! I think what the Sovereign Grace folks call prophecy should merely be called Spirit-led encouragement or exhortation. Having been in their services, I don't object to the practice (it seems quite in line with some of the spirit of sponteneity seen in 1 Cor. 12-14), but I believe it has been wrongly labled "prophecy" ("Thus says the Lord"-speech).