In 1674 Jodocus Van Lodenstein, a Dutch Reformed Pietist, first used the term “always reforming” in reference to the church. He said “The church is reformed and always (in need of) being reformed according to the Word of God.” Because of our wily and corrupt human nature it is still true today. Those first reformers were concerned to return to what the Church was meant to be according to scripture, correcting false and corrupt doctrine and traditions. We too need to guard against the siren call to adapt to the culture or indulge personal preferences. We must remember “Sola Scriptura.”
In that spirit Jonathan Aigner suggests 95 more theses for the modern church door. A few of them:
- How to do worship is not fundamentally a question of preference, but meaning.
- Theology, not taste, should determine how we worship.
- Worship isn’t about declaring our attraction and affection for God, but declaring the character of God, and God’s creative and redemptive acts in human history.
- Being a Christian should scare the hell out of us. If it doesn’t, we aren’t doing it right. Worship brings us together in our vulnerability.
- The world around us is ugly, and mimicking the ugliness to make church relevant ends up making the church sad and irrelevant.
- The church’s relevance is found in its divine Alternative to the ugliness of a fallen cosmos.
I had to read this next one a couple of times, but I agree with him. My reading some of the Psalms in which the writer declares his innocence and righteousness come to mind:
- Speaking the truth of the gospel will sometimes be a lie. Liturgy calls us to speak, sing, read, and pray words that we don’t believe. The discipline of choosing to speak the Truth over what is true in our lives at any given point will unquestionably make the truth we live closer to the Truth we speak.
Of course I agree with his comments on entertainment style music and singing in church worship. For instance:
- Music in worship isn’t supposed to be a vehicle for emotional manipulation or sensory gratification.
- Music itself carries expressive potential, and it can support theological meaning well or poorly.
- Music in worship should always serve the liturgy, instead of being either the main attraction or the “warm-up” act.
- Singing in worship is a sacred discipline.
- Through word and sacrament, worship should mold and shape the community of faith into the likeness of its Savior.