Creepy music. Bloody hands. A gruesome hanging. Bloody spurting from a wound. Heavy breathing.
A trailer for Friday the 13th?
The promo video for Mars Hill Church’s Good Friday Service(s).
Certainly the death of our Lord was a gruesome occasion. Certainly our consideration of that day is a somber occasion.
But this video, and I assume the content of the service(s), is over-the-top sensationalism.
People should be moved through the propositional truths of Christ’s death for our sins. People should be moved with the weight of guilt that it was their sins that put Him there.
People should not be moved by sensational images.
A statement on Mars Hill’s own website reveals the attraction of such visceral images:
Mars Hill is full of twenty-something indie-rockers who wear a lot of black—so it’s no wonder that Good Friday is one of the most popular services of the year.
No, Good Friday services are not popular because they draw people to Christ; Good Friday services are not popular because the truth of Christ’s vicarious atonement is moving.
Good Friday services at Mars Hill Church are popular because they provide dark, violent, gruesome, sensational spectacle that fits well with what these “twenty-something indie-rockers who wear a lot of black” are accustomed to.
Mark Driscoll says that he believes in the Regulative Principle of Worship. But this kind of sensational, visual “worship” flies in the face of the Reformers’ vision for simple, unadorned, non-sensational, word-driven worship.
I’m getting more and more concerned with the use of sensational visual images to make a “spiritual” impact. I’ve seen their use in “conservative” churches just as much as “contemporary.”
Tomorrow, let us consider with solemnity what the King of the universe did on our behalf. Let us let the words of Scripture move us as we consider such truths.