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For Thus Says the Lord

During the Hebrew captivity, prophets like Jeremiah provided instruction of critical cultural discernment. God permitted his people to evaluate the culture of their captors and participate in some aspects of that culture as long as they did not contradict his law.

However, when it came to their worship, the Lord’s instructions were far more strict. The Hebrews were required to follow the clear directives given in the Law, and they were not allowed to add anything beyond what they were told. In other words, there was a distinction for Israel between how they interacted with  culture on a daily basis and what they did in their formal worship.

If there is a particular way to behave in the household of God (1 Tim. 3:15), and if the aesthetic forms of Scripture itself should inform expressions used in worship today, it follows that Christian worship should be regulated by Scripture similarly to Israel rather than a simplistic motivation to “contextualize” to the surrounding culture.

By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture

Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.

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