“The reason men worship God in a slight way is because they do not see God in His glory
– Jeremiah Burroughs, 17th Century Puritan pastor
This past week one of the worship leaders at our church recommended a message by C.J. Mahaney
given at the 1999 conference on worship for what is now Sovereign Grace Ministries
. It was a wonderful message on Cross-centered worship and the need for church leadership and worship ministries to reject cultural models and methods that obscure the Cross and for that leadership to resolve to build exclusively on the Cross.
Mahaney closed with a wonderful story about the well-known English pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon to highlight the truth that in a world given to churches which prop up methodology over theology (and the Cross at its center), we should devote ourselves to having services preoccupied with preaching Christ and him crucified (cf., 1 Cor. 2):
During the 1880s a group of American ministers visited England, prompted especially by a desire to hear some of the celebrated preachers of that land. On a Sunday morning they attended the City Temple where Dr. Joseph Parker was the pastor. Some 2000 people filled the building, and Parker’s forceful personality dominated the service. His voice was commanding, his language descriptive, his imagination lively, and his manner animated. The sermon was Scriptural, the congregation hung upon his words, and the Americans came away saying, “What a wonderful preacher is Joseph Parker.
In the evening they went to hear Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. The building was much larger than the City Temple, and the congregation was more that twice it’s size. Spurgeon’s voice was much more expressive and moving and his oratory noticably superior. But they soon forgot all about the great building, the immense congregation, and the magnificent voice. They even overlooked their intention to compare the various features of the two preachers, and when the service was over they found themselves saying, “What a wonderful Savior is Jesus Christ.” (Arnold Dallimore, Spurgeon: A New Biography)
May our churches and those who lead them through preaching, singing and others elements of the service work hard to clearly reveal Christ and his glory without reservation so that people find themselves saying as they exit, “What a wonderful Savior is Jesus Christ.”